While Colorado divorce is not an easy process, it does not necessarily need to be a drawn-out, contentious battle that drains the parties’ resources, patience, and energy. Spouses who do not want to remain married may still be able to agree on certain issues, so they can resolve them by agreement in a non-contested divorce.
There are numerous advantages when you do not need the court to decide on property division, spousal maintenance, and child custody, visitation, and support. You save both time and cost, as well as a considerable amount of stress.
However, the question often comes up when the parties get along and can compromise on key issues: If you and your spouse agree on your divorce, do you still need an attorney? Financial considerations are always at the forefront of proceedings to end your marriage, so it makes sense to think about ways to keep expenses low. When you do not expect to go to court and do not anticipate disputes, a lawyer seems unnecessary.
Unfortunately, you could put your rights at risk and could harm your interests by attempting to go it alone. While having a non-contested divorce is certainly easier than a contested divorce, there is still a complex court process that must be followed before the court can finalize your case and enter your divorce decree. This process can be complicated and confusing even if you and your spouse have full agreements on all issues.
Instead of trying to work through the proceedings yourself, trust our non-contested divorce attorneys at Pomper Price, LLC. We will advise you on the relevant laws, so you understand your rights and can make informed decisions about a divorce agreement. Plus, we can assist with drafting a marital agreement, reviewing one presented to you, and court proceedings. Please contact our Denver office to set up a free consultation, and read on for some important information.
Issues That Could Complicate Non-Contested Divorce
The concept of an agreed divorce seems straightforward, and the Colorado Judicial Branch even provides JDF forms that you can use to complete the process. Unfortunately, this view of non-contested divorce overlooks some of the complications that can arise when you did not consult with an attorney.
Many parties are forced to go back to court because they attempted to finalize their cases without the assistance of counsel and have run into major problems because they did not draft their agreement appropriately or they neglected to address an important issue. For many cases, the JDF forms provided by the court simply do not provide enough detail to avoid future problems and litigation. Oftentimes, parties assume their case is non-contested until they start digging into the details and realize they may not actually agree on everything.
The primary disputes and issues that can arise during or after uncontested divorce include:
Colorado law provides that all marital assets must be divided equitably between the parties, but you can divvy real estate and personal property however you wish in an uncontested divorce. Our lawyers at Pomper Price, LLC will guide you through the process, starting with identifying marital and separate assets. We can also conduct valuations on marital property, so you can assess how to divide them between you. Property division can be more complicated than you expect, even in an uncontested divorce, when considering such items as:
- Interests in a business
- Life insurance
- Retirement and pension benefits
- Complex real estate holdings
Spousal maintenance may be appropriate where there is a substantial financial disparity between the parties or one spouse gave up employment or educational opportunities to contribute to the family. It is commendable when parties can agree on spousal support, which can be one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce case. However, you must ensure that your rights are protected when it comes to spousal maintenance in non-contested divorce.
Child Custody, Visitation, and Support
Compared to other aspects of an agreed-upon divorce, there are more limitations when addressing the needs of children. Any agreement on child support must meet or exceed statutory guidelines since parents cannot contract away their obligations. Concerning custody and visitation, the agreement must comply with the best interests of the child standard under Colorado law. Parents can compromise on:
- Allocation of parental responsibilities, i.e., decision making on the important issues involved with raising the child
- Where the child primarily resides
- Parenting time for the non-residential parent
- The general weekly and monthly schedule, as well as arrangements for holidays, school breaks, and special events
The default rule is that the parties will cover their respective legal costs, but you can work out another plan. Note that you should each retain your own counsel when going through an uncontested divorce since you each have separate interests to protect.
While you may be in full agreement when finalizing your divorce, issues can arise regarding ongoing obligations. You may need to go to court to enforce the agreement if your ex-spouse is not upholding his or her end of the bargain in the months and years that follow.
Conflicts in the above areas may stand in the way of going through a non-contested divorce because you must still go to court for a decision. However, you may still be able to follow through with the process and reach a full agreement by participating in mediation.
During this informal proceeding, the parties sit down with a trained mediator whose job is to facilitate productive conversations. Often, you can resolve any remaining disputes over asset division, spousal support, or child custody, visitation, and support. The arrangement you reach during mediation becomes part of your marital agreement.
Reasons to Retain an Attorney for Colorado Uncontested Divorce
The above information demonstrates how a marital agreement can be more complicated and lead to unexpected results if you attempt to go it alone. Working with a skilled family lawyer is essential even when the parties agree, so you can trust our team at Pomper Price, LLC to:
- Explain the relevant laws and legal concepts, so you can understand your rights
- Help you assess a fair balance in determining property division
- Represent you and protect your interests during negotiations
- Assist with drafting an agreement on asset division, spousal maintenance, and issues related to minor children
- Meticulously review a marital agreement presented to you by your spouse
- Guide you through mediation
- Prepare court orders as required by the non-contested divorce process
- Advocate on your behalf if you need to enforce an agreement or defend an enforcement action by your ex
Consult with Our Colorado Non-Contested Divorce Lawyers About Your Options
As you can see, there are complex issues involved with the divorce process even when you and your spouse are on amicable terms. The divorce attorneys at Pomper Price, LLC have decades worth of combined experience to guide you through the non-contested divorce process and help you refine your agreements, and ensure all of your bases are covered.
We serve clients from Fort Collins down to Colorado Springs from our main office in Denver and multiple satellite locations, and we are able to arrange a virtual meeting at your convenience. Please call 720-780-8288 or contact us here to schedule a free, one-hour consultation to discuss your case today.