Do Children Have a Say Regarding Parenting Time?
Children do have a say regarding child custody and parenting time during a divorce in Colorado, but it is one of many factors a court can consider. Further, courts typically do not call children to the witness stand and make them testify at a hearing or trial. Instead, children whose parents are divorcing can discuss their concerns and wishes with a third-party evaluator, who can relay the information to the judge, if necessary.

In this video, divorce attorney Bridget Finn explains child custody law in Colorado and the extent to which a minor child’s preferences are taken into consideration. If you are dealing with the complex issues of child custody, our attorneys are ready to assist. You can contact our attorneys here.
Divorce Mediation or Arbitration?
Some people want to avoid going to court - testifying in court is stressful, and court proceedings are also public. Interest in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has increased over the past few years, and two of the principal ADR techniques are mediation and arbitration. But is either of these options right for you?

Mediation—Like Negotiation but with Help
Mediation is a popular ADR technique for couples looking to reach an agreement so that they can speed up their divorce. If you can agree on child custody, child support, and the division of marital property, then you can get divorced much quicker than if you need a judge to decide these issues.

This is where mediation comes in. During mediation, you meet with a neutral person, called the mediator. He or she listens to the dispute and helps each side hear where the other is coming from. The mediator is not a judge. They do not pick a winner or loser or assign blame for the divorce in any way. Instead, they help facilitate discussion so that the couple can reach a compromise.

Once you reach an agreement, you write it up in a settlement agreement and submit it to the court. Even reaching agreement on a few issues can streamline the divorce process.

Arbitration—Like a Court Trial, but Private
Another form of alternative dispute resolution is arbitration. It provides you with a way to resolve your disputes privately rather than through the very public judicial system.In arbitration, you submit evidence to an arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators). The arbitrator is often a former judge or an experienced attorney, and he or she will listen to the evidence. You can have witnesses testify and submit documents, just as you would in court. In the end, the arbitrator will enter an arbitration award after everything is presented.

One advantage of arbitration is privacy. The proceedings are closed. You ultimately need a judge to confirm the award, but the judge will not hear testimony on the contested issues. If you have a high net worth or want to maintain privacy, then arbitration could be a benefit.

Alternative dispute resolution is not appropriate in all situations, but it might be just what you are looking for in your divorce. To discuss your options, please contact Divorce Matters today.
How Is Your Marital Debt Divided After Divorce?
As married couples navigate life, it is common for them to incur various forms of debt. A couple may purchase a house together and have mortgage debt; may buy a car and be liable for car payments; may go to graduate or professional school and incur student loan debt; may suffer a health scare that results in medical debt; or incur credit card debt.

If a couple decides to divorce, this debt must be dealt with and the divorce agreement must include a determination about who is liable for which forms of debt and how much debt. If you are getting a divorce in Colorado, here’s a look into how marital debt may affect your divorce settlement–

Marital Debt – How’s it Divided?
Colorado is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital assets must be distributed equitably among the spouses at the time of divorce. This rule also applies to debt; debt must be equitably distributed, but not equally distributed, amongst the two parties during a divorce.

Marital debt is typically considered debt that is incurred during the course of the marriage, whereas separate debt is debt that’s incurred prior to a marriage’s formation. Assets acquired during the course of the marriage include those that are only titled in one spouse’s name. For example, if your spouse purchased a new car during your marriage and the car is only in their name, you will likely still be liable for this debt.

With this standard in mind, the court does not always hold that all debt accumulated during the marriage is marital debt. In fact, the court may assign debt to one party depending upon the type of debt.

Reaching a Property and Debt Division Agreement
You and your spouse have the opportunity to come to an agreement about how marital debts will be divided rather than turning directly to the court for a decision. This is strongly recommended; reaching an agreement together is typically less expensive, and there is a greater chance of you both getting a little bit of what you want. When negotiating your debt settlement agreement with your spouse, consider the following:
 
  • Compromise. Be willing to give up something to get something that you want. The more flexible you are, the better the chances of reaching an agreement out of court.
 
  • Be amicable. It can be difficult to negotiate with your spouse with a smile on your face. While kindness may feel elusive, try to be amicable. This will encourage your spouse to be amicable as well, which can make reaching an agreement more plausible.
 
  • Work with a professional. It’s smart to know exactly what your options are, and what the consequences of your divorce settlement will be. A professional accountant or lawyer can guide you and help to protect your best interests.
 
  • Hire a lawyer. Negotiations can be trying – hire a lawyer to represent you during the process and ensure that you don’t end up with an unfair settlement.
 
If you think you may need to talk to an attorney about your situation, you can visit our website and contact us here, or you can call us at 720-542-6142.
This newsletter is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this newsletter should be taken as legal advice and receiving this newsletter does not constitute an attorney client relationship.