Our firm provides divorce and family law representation in the following types of cases:
Dissolutions of Marriage or of Civil Union. Effective May 1, 2013, Colorado enacted the Civil Unions Act into law. The Act legally recognizes civil unions. In addition, it provides that Colorado Courts have jurisdiction over the dissolution of any civil unions entered into in Colorado after the effective date, as well as of any civil unions, domestic partnerships, and same-sex marriages entered into in other states if domicile requirements are met.
Colorado is a no fault state. For a dissolution, the marriage or union must be irretrievably broken and one of the parties must have been domicile in the state 91 one days or more immediately preceding the filing.
Provided there is proper jurisdiction over both parties, the court can enter orders not only dissolving the marriage or union, but also addressing the parental responsibilities of the parties’ children, equitably dividing the marital/union’s assets and debt, awarding maintenance if warranted, ordering support for the benefit of the children, assessing fees and costs, and approving a requested name change.
Annulments/Declarations of Invalidity. A declaration of invalidity under Colorado law is an interesting legal remedy. If one of the applicable factors is satisfied, the marriage or union will be deemed invalid from the inception. However, everything else is decided just like a dissolution – property is divided, maintenance is determined.
Legal Separation. Colorado is one of the few states that will enter legal separations. The same requirements for a dissolution are applicable, as is the same relief. However, at the end of the proceeding, rather than being divorced, the parties are still deemed legally married. Interestingly, though, the IRS treats them as if they were divorced, as do some insurance providers.
Common Law Marriage Claims/Defenses. Our state also is unique in that it recognizes common law marriages. The parties simply must hold themselves out to their community as husband and wife. Common law marriage is “all in.” The parties are deemed married for all purposes, including having to file taxes under married status. Also, they must go through a formal divorce to end their marriage. Sometimes, the parties disagree as to whether they were common law married and as of when. An evidentiary hearing must be held for the court to consider the facts and determine whether a marriage, in fact, was formed.
Adjudication of Parental Rights (Child Custody Resolution). The same legal rights to, and obligations for, children of divorce, are applicable to children of a civil union dissolution, as well as to children of unmarried couples. The best interests of the children are the paramount concern. Additional information is provided under a separate web page under “Practice Areas.”
Paternity. Seeking recognition of a legal parent, or pursuing financial support from a parent, can both be achieved in a paternity action. The relief sought can include support retroactive to the child’s birth, and even costs related to the birth.
Post-Decree Modification. Following initial orders, circumstances may change. Modification of maintenance, child support, and/or parenting time and decision-making can be sought if the right standard is satisfied.
Enforcement. Orders entered by the domestic relations courts are not self-enforcing. If a party fails to comply with court orders, the Court is not simply made aware of it. Rather, the non-compliance must be brought to the court’s attention by the party wronged. Various relief is available to enforce the orders, including proceedings for remedial contempt and/or punitive contempt sanctions, judgments, writs of garnishment, income assignments, and a requirement to post security.
We would be happy to discuss any of your legal needs within the domestic relations realm. Our quality representation will make the difference for you. To schedule an appointment, call our Denver law firm at (720) 583-2325 or email us.