Divorce & Family Law
The attorneys at Rotole, Rotole & Blanchard, L.L.C. assist individuals and families throughout the Denver metropolitan area in divorce and other family law matters, including prenuptial agreements, paternity, and family law mediation/arbitration.
Divorce - General Overview
A Colorado divorce begins with the legal filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage, provided that at least one spouse has been domiciled in the state for a minimum of 90 days. Colorado has adopted the concept of no-fault divorce as the only grounds for divorce, so that a divorce will be granted upon a showing that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
Although the parties may decide for themselves how the marital property should be distributed, the court has the final say whether to approve any agreement or fashion its own order if the parties cannot agree. Colorado is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the property must be divided fairly, although not necessarily equally. In determining the equitable distribution of property, the court does not look to either spouse's conduct in the marriage, but rather to factors such as the contribution each spouse made to acquiring the marital property, the value of each spouse's separate non-marital property, and the economic circumstances of each spouse.
Maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony, can be awarded to either the husband or the wife, and is not necessarily ordered in every divorce. Usually an award is made from the spouse with higher income to the one with lower income. The amount and duration of any award is based on factors such as the length of the marriage, the standard of living established during the marriage, the needs of the requesting spouse, and the financial ability of the paying spouse.
Custody and Support
If the marriage produced children, the court will decide issues of child custody and child support. Custody involves both the responsibility for making decisions regarding the child's upbringing (legal custody) as well as the division of parenting time between the parents (physical custody). The court considers a variety of factors in making these decisions, including the wishes of the parents, the wishes of the child, and other issues, and can grant custody to either parent solely or jointly in the child's best interest. Child support may be ordered for either parent, with the amount based on statutory guidelines and what is reasonable in light of the needs of the child and the resources of the parent.
Do I need an attorney to get divorced?
Sometimes spouses break up amicably and are able to work out issues such as property division and support without the need for a trial and judicial imposition of settlement and support orders. At other times, the spouses may not even be on speaking terms by the time a petition for divorce is filed. However, regardless of the circumstances of a divorce proceeding, it is highly advisable for each spouse to be represented by counsel. The legal issues in a divorce are life-changing and permanent; once a final order is entered, it can only be modified through the courts on a showing that circumstances have changed to warrant modification.
We represent husbands and wives throughout the Denver Metropolitan Area in dissolution of marriage and legal separation proceedings. We also assist in other areas of family law, such as adoptions or obtaining or challenging restraining orders based on allegations of domestic violence. If you are contemplating a divorce or have other need for family law legal services, contact Rotole, Rotole & Blanchard, L.L.C.