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Why DIY Divorce In Colorado Is a Bad Idea

Why DIY Divorce In Colorado Is a Bad Idea

Why DIY Divorce In Colorado Is A Bad Idea

Divorce itself is a difficult and emotionally fraught decision, and so is choosing how to handle the legal aspects of the divorce. Sometimes, the stress associated with divorce is so great, that spouses consider a do-it-yourself divorce, hoping that it will minimize expenses and contention and allow for a more streamlined process. But is a DIY divorce in Colorado a good idea when so much is at stake? The results of a divorce agreement substantially impact each spouse’s future, including their financial future, their property, and the critical issues of child custody and child support.

What Issues Must Spouses Settle in a Divorce in Colorado?

Only in unicorn-rare cases of divorcing spouses who agree to an amicable split, own few or no assets, and don’t have children, is a DIY divorce a doable option. Otherwise, the outcome of these critical issues depends on knowledgeable, diligent handling through an experienced Colorado divorce attorney. Before a judge can finalize a divorce in Colorado, spouses who take on the process themselves must make decisions on all of the following:

  • Which assets belong solely to each spouse as their separate assets, such as those that were theirs before the marriage, inherited by them during the marriage, or gifted to them alone during the marriage
  • How to fairly and equitably divide marital assets (all assets accumulated during the marriage regardless of whose name is on the account, title, or deed)
  • How to fairly and equitably divide all marital debts
  • Which spouse retains the family home or if they sell the property and divide the profit
  • Child custody, including a fair and workable parenting schedule that upholds the best interests of the children by supporting continued close contact with each parent
  • Child support orders according to Colorado’s Income Shares Model for calculating child support
  • Spousal maintenance (alimony) if appropriate from the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning spouse

In addition, a DIY divorce requires the spouses to correctly file a petition—either with one spouse as the petitioner and the other as the respondent or as a collaborative divorce with a joint petition. If only one spouse files, the other becomes the respondent and must respond to the petition within 21 days or 35 days if the respondent is in a different state.

Why A DIY Divorce Is Usually a Bad Idea

Even under the best of circumstances in an amicable divorce, the process is legally challenging. An experienced attorney ensures diligent attention to detail in the petition, paperwork, and filing process. A skilled divorce attorney does the following:

  • Pays close attention to the paperwork process and deadlines
  • Represents their client’s rights in critical matters such as child custody, ensuring they have as much parenting time with their children as possible under the court’s presumption that continued close contact with both parents is in a child’s best interest
  • Ensures that the child support order adheres to the state’s pre-determined formula based on the total incomes of both spouses, the number of children, each parent’s total custody days per year, and any special medical, child care, or educational needs
  • Ensures the spouses submit full financial disclosures and requests further documents from the other spouse when needed to ensure they have a full financial picture
  • Protects their client’s best interests throughout the division of marital assets and debts
  • Determines whether or not spousal support (alimony) is appropriate
  • Defends their client’s position on whether or not they wish to retain the family home or sell it
  • Facilitates negotiations and mediation for disputes that arise in drafting a settlement agreement
  • Creates a carefully worded settlement agreement for all divorce terms and presents it to a judge to issue the final divorce orders, or
  • Represents their client’s rights and best interests in court if the divorce becomes a contested divorce due to unresolved disputes

Getting the terms of a divorce correctly laid out in a settlement agreement and duly signed into binding orders is critical and much easier than requesting a modification later if the spouses make an error while negotiating a DIY divorce.

Call the Experienced Denver Divorce Attorneys at Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C.

You might think that attempting a DIY divorce will simplify the divorce process, but that’s rarely the case. Don’t take chances with your family’s future. Contact the Denver divorce lawyers at Ciancio Ciancio Brown, P.C. today for the experienced representation that puts you on the best path forward.