Frequently Asked Questions About Estes Park Family Law
What are the grounds for divorce in Estes Park?
Colorado is a no-fault divorce state. This means that you don’t have to explain why you are requesting a divorce. The Court may issue a decree of dissolution of marriage to Estes Park residents after finding that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Generally, the Court will only require one party to testify that the marriage is irretrievably broken and they would like a divorce.
Who determines how assets and debts are divided in a Estes Park divorce?
When it comes to determining how to divide assets and debts in an Estes Park divorce it depends on how amicable the divorcing parties can be. If the divorcing parties are able to reach an agreement on how they would like to divide their assets and debts, they may submit a stipulated agreement outlining these divisions to the court for approval.
If the divorcing parties are unable to come to an agreement, unresolved issues about the division of assets and debts will be decided by a judge in an “equitable” manner, given the circumstances of the case. Colorado courts do not consider the causes of separation when dividing assets and debts.
Where do I file for divorce in Estes Park?
In Larimer County, once you have completed your petition for dissolution of marriage you must file it with the County Clerk’s office. The County Clerk can be found in the Larimer County Justice Center. The address of the Larimer County Justice Center is:
How is child custody determined in Estes Park?
The process for determining child custody can be long and difficult, but the goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of the child. Thus, Colorado has in place a series of laws and procedures for determining child custody. As the general rule, a court will try to ensure that both parties share parenting time 50/50. That is the default position of the court, as courts prefer that both parents be as involved as possible for the benefit of the child. However, there are instances where that simply isn’t possible, and it is more beneficial for one parent to be the primary caretaker of the child. It can be possible to give one parent more parenting time and decision-making than the other, such as education, medical, or religious upbringing. Courts make these determinations based on several factors, but it all comes back to a principle known as the best interest of the child.
The cornerstone of Colorado child custody law is a standard known as the best interests of the child. In every case, Colorado courts will look to what is best for the child in determining custody and parenting time. This standard is enumerated in Colorado Revised Statute § 14-10-124. In determining parenting time, the court will give the highest consideration to the child’s safety and physical, mental, and emotional needs of the child.
How is child support determined in Estes Park?
In Colorado, the courts prefer to defer to the parties in a family law case on anything that can be agreed upon. Courts prefer for you and your child’s other parent to work together and come to an agreement on custody and support you both find to be fair. Most of the time, a judge will sign off on an agreement between parents so long as it is in the best interest of the child. If necessary, you and your child’s other parent can attend mediation where an unbiased third party will help by hearing both sides to assist in finding what is best.
Child support is determined by Colorado statute. These guidelines take into consideration several factors that are entered into a formula designed to determine appropriate child support payments. These factors can include the following:
- The best interest of the child;
- The financial resources of the non-custodial parent (e.g. income, expenses, etc.);
- The financial resources of the custodial parent;
- The financial resources of the child;
- The standard of living the child would have had if the home were intact; and
- The physical and emotional condition/needs of the child including educational needs and medical expenses.
Do I need an attorney for my Estes Park divorce?
There are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not to retain an attorney for your Estes Park divorce case. If your case is a standard divorce, then you likely do not need an attorney. If the two parties are on the same page regarding the issues in the case, then you likely do not need an attorney. However, if there is major contention between the two parties, you cannot agree regarding significant issues such as parenting time, or there are complicating factors such as domestic abuse, substance abuse, child abuse, or income disparity, you will likely need to hire an attorney. If you are unsure, you can always schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate Estes Park family lawyers to discuss your case.
How much does a family lawyer cost?
Everyone wants to be careful with attorney fees, us included. Potential clients always ask our lawyers how much their case will cost. Unfortunately, we can’t provide much insight into their final bill, because there are too many factors at play. The most critical factor impacting the overall cost of a case is the degree of conflict. A client’s ability to control the degree of conflict in a family law dispute is sometimes limited. The amount of conflict is often unknown or underestimated.
Many other factors may also impact the cost of a case. Those include poor strategic planning and selecting an attorney based on factors not related to your goal. Since there are so many things impacting the cost of a case, it’s impossible for a good attorney to quote you an overall cost. We can, however, use our experience to provide you insight into how certain factors impact the average cost, as determined by the American Bar Association.
Click the following link to learn more about the cost of a family law attorney in Estes Park. You may also be interested in our calculators to help you determine costs.
What happens if I don't sign the divorce papers?
In Colorado, our Courts only require one party to sign and file a divorce petition to begin the divorce process. Learn more about the initial pleadings in a Colorado divorce.
What can I do if the other parent is not following the parenting plan?
You can enforce parenting time by filing a motion with the court. The court will then help make up your parent time or require the other party to adhere to a new parenting time that would work best for the child, in some cases the parent denying child support may also be responsible for paying legal fees acquired for having to go to court to enforce an order. Learn more about parenting time in Colorado.
At what age do child support payments in Colorado end?
If your child support order was issued in Colorado, emancipation occurs and child support ends when the child reaches 19 years of age in most cases. However, if the child is still in high school or an equivalent program, support continues until the end of the month after graduation but not beyond the age of 21.
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