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Denver Family Law Blog

Is there a way to divorce peacefully instead of painfully?

Marriage is not an easy thing to simply walk away from. In fact, it almost seems like our legal system -- as it applies to marriage -- makes divorce feel difficult, complicated and scary on purpose. Perhaps it does. After all, the notion of "until death do us part" is a historical concept that has been hardwired into the fabric of our beings -- even if it's a fantastical notion that is only possible for certain well-paired spouses.

But divorce doesn't have to be such a difficult experience if you and your soon-to-be ex are willing to work with one another peacefully and respectfully. Here are a few ideas to get your mental gears moving in the right direction in this regard as you consider the possibility of divorce:

Retirement accounts and pensions get split in Colorado divorce

Couples with a high net worth or annual income often face unique challenges during divorce. In many divorces, deciding how to split up the marital assets is a major sticking point between spouses. The more assets you have, the more likely it is you are going to disagree about significant issues.

Whether you worry about your ex hiding valuable assets or want to keep your vacation home, you probably have some serious concerns about what will happen when the courts divide your assets.

Social media can help reveal hidden assets

Divorce should be a process in which two ex-partners divide assets in a fair and agreed upon manner. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work that way. If your partner is under-reporting assets, a solution may be at your fingertips.

Social media is for more than just pictures of family ski trips. Your ex's activity online can be an indication of unreported assets. Even better, it can be used as proof in Colorado courts.

When should parents avoid 50-50 child custody arrangements?

It seems like equally shared physical child custody arrangements are the preferred solution for many Colorado parents these days. In the 50-50 child custody solution, the children have two homes and divide their time living between both parents' residences, and many experts on child psychology believe that this is a great way to raise a healthy child post-divorce.

Although psychological studies may appear to support the 50-50 child custody arrangement, it's important for parents to keep in mind that no two children and no two parents are the same. We all have different schedules, different relationships, different emotional needs and different "deal-breaker" scenarios. With this in mind, let's explore some co-parenting situations where the 50-50 child custody solution is probably not going to work:

How much will I pay or receive in alimony?

The payers and receivers of alimony are participating in a valuable tradition that helps protect the individual liberties of those who get married. Essentially, alimony prevents an individual from becoming an economic slave, and staying in a toxic or unhappy marriage due to economic dependency on the higher-earning spouse.

That being said, the societal benefits that allow lesser-moneyed spouses to free themselves from an unhappy marriage do not mean that the alimony payer should have to break the bank to meet his or her monthly payment obligations. Furthermore, in the vast majority of cases, alimony will not be permanent. Colorado courts will strive to set alimony amounts to be affordable and temporary to ensure that the amount to be paid is practically sufficient to assist the lesser moneyed spouse in becoming financially independent.

How do courts determine which parent is the primary caretaker?

The parent who served as primary caretaker of a particular child is the parent whom courts will favor when resolving a child custody disagreement. Determining which parent was the primary caretaker, however, could be subject to different opinions.

One parent might argue that he or she made lunches and dinners for the children, while the other parent argues that he or she drove the children to school, bathed them and tucked them in at night after reading them bedtime stories. In some cases, the parents may have split the child-rearing duties 50-50, while in other cases one parent clearly took care of all the child-raising duties.

2 common options for splitting up your home value in a divorce

If you and your spouse own a home together -- as many spouses do in Colorado -- your divorce is immediately more complicated. You and your soon-to-be ex, for example, will need to make a decision about whether one of you will keep the property or if you'll sell it and divide the proceeds. You'll also need to determine how much of the home equity value both of you are entitled to.

Among the many solutions available to spouses who need to divide a residence in divorce, here are two of the most common options:

Do you need to change your child support orders?

Have you ever made a promise or agreement that you later came to regret? Or, perhaps the agreement served a useful purpose in the past, but now your circumstances have changed so dramatically that the agreement is more of a hindrance than a help.

When it comes to child support agreements, this kind of circumstance happens all the time. It could be that the child support paying parent suffers a temporary job loss. Or, perhaps the needs of the child change and the receiving parent requires more money to make financial ends meet. Fortunately, if you need to change your child support decree -- and you have a viable reason for such a change -- you can pursue a child support modification in court.

Don't forget about your post-divorce financial planning

Finalizing your divorce will be a great relief. No matter what your situation, divorce isn't going to be easy, as you'll need to make difficult and emotionally-fraught decisions during the process.

However, it's important to remember that even after you've inked the final divorce settlement, you'll still have more work that needs to be done — especially in terms of managing your post-divorce finances.

Therapists don't always know how to help a divorcing client

Therapists hold the hands of their clients through divorces all the time. In fact, many people start going to see a therapist because they want to get a divorce and they need to feel validated that it's okay to move ahead and file their divorce papers. But how much do therapists know about the divorce process?

In many cases, therapists have never been through a divorce themselves, and although they can help their clients deal with the emotional aspects of divorce, they might not be able to help their clients with anything else. More importantly, they might not understand the psychological and emotional toll that the various stages of the divorce process could play on their clients.

McGuane and Hogan, P.C.
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Denver, CO 80209

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Phone: 303-691-9600
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Aspen, CO 81611

Toll Free: 800-574-3771
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