Within Family Law, divorce is the most common type of case. Many issues compose a divorce action: parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance, and the division of property.
One of the sad results of divorce is that the children get shuffled back and forth between the parents. Kids don't like this, and there are studies about the negative long-term consequences on children. The book, The Switching Hour, discusses, from a child's perspective, what it's like being shuffled back and forth between the parents.
Unless one of the parents could actually be a danger to the children, fathers and mothers generally each get parenting time. Fighting over parenting time is what makes some divorces brutal and expensive. The parenting plan approved at the time of divorce is likely to change as the children grow older and family situations change.
In decades past, parenting time was referred to as custody. Colorado law is compelled to award parenting time based on what is in the best interest of the child or children. It is rare that one parent gains exclusive parenting time because the court considers it best for the child, in almost all cases, to have interaction with both parents. At times the court will order supervised visitation or parenting time.
Any parent understands the endless choices that parents have to make in order to successfully raise a child. When it is one parent's parenting time, that parent will be responsible for the day-to-day decisions, like what the child eats for breakfast. However, the responsibility to make big-picture decisions, like what doctor the child will visit or the school the child will attend, can either be shared by both parents or given to one parent.
Decision making is quite different than parenting time. Similar to parenting time, under most circumstances, decision making is a cooperative effort between both parents. However, it is possible for parenting time to be equal between the two parents, but only one parent to have decision making. More commonly, the parents share equal decision making but unequal parenting time.
If there are children less than 19 years of age, one of the parties in a divorce or Allocation of Parental Responsibilities action will generally pay child support to the other. This is based on a formula pursuant to Colorado Law. However, the figures you use to plug into that formula can vary considerably, and it can be helpful to have legal counsel guide you through the process.
Maintenance is the current Colorado term for alimony, or spousal support. A generation ago, Husband often paid lifetime alimony to Wife. Now, Maintenance is designed to help the lower-income party get back on (her) (or his) feet. The legal landscape of spousal support has changed significantly in the past few years, and it is important to understand what to expect (and what not to expect) in terms of monthly support from one spouse to another. We are well-versed in the frequently changing landscape of the law on spousal support, and are happy to help you navigate this issue.
-Division of property
Colorado law provides that there will be an equitable division of property between the parties. It is not an equal division of property. One of the technical aspects of this area of law is separate property versus marital property. If, say, a husband had assets when he married, and he kept those assets in his own name, those assets would not be subject to division at a divorce. If, say, a wife had assets when she married, and those assets were used to help buy a home for the couple, then those assets would then be marital assets and would be subject to division at divorce. So the spouse that keeps his own property in his own name would keep those assets for (her) or (him)self at the divorce, but the spouse who used assets for marital uses would have those assets subject to division during a divorce.