Denver Divorce Laywers


Denver Office

Denver Office

5990 Greenwood Plaza Boulevard

Suite 130, Building 2

Greenwood Village, CO 80111

Family legal issues can be emotionally distressing and financially costly. The sooner these issues can be resolved, the sooner you and your loved ones can start the next chapter of your lives.

The Denver divorce and family lawyers at Burnham Law understand the seriousness and importance of resolving family legal issues in the best possible way. That is why we are committed to representing clients in a range of family law matters, from divorce, support payment cases, to child custody and post-decree matters.

The guidance of a good lawyer can help secure the best possible outcome for your case. Our attorneys, with more than a decade of experience practicing family law, have the skills and experience to represent you effectively in any legal family matter.

Need Advice Regarding Your Family Law Case? Call (303) 993-0051 or

Email Us For a Free Consultation

We can provide you with priceless advice regarding your rights and options during a free, no obligations consultation. We invite your calls and emails whenever you are ready for answers about your family legal matter(s). In the meantime, please explore the following for additional information regarding our family law practice.

Child Custody

The family court in Denver will generally not get involved in custody cases if parents can agree on division of custody on their own. In these cases, the court will usually review the agreed-upon custody arrangement and issue a final custody order to formalize that agreement.

It is important to understand that dividing child custody involves splitting both parenting time (i.e., physical custody) and decision-making authority (i.e., legal custody) of the child(ren) involved. It can also entail one parent being ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent.

When parents are not able to agree on one (or more) issue(s) of a child custody case, the family court will take a more central role in the case by:

  • Allowing both sides to present their request(s), argument(s) and/or allegation(s) regarding child custody
  • Reviewing the facts of the case, as well as the best interest factors
  • Issuing a final decree regarding how parenting time and decision-making authority are to be divided between the parents.

Child Support

Child support matters are closely tied to child custody cases. In Arapahoe County, family courts generally see both parents as being financially obligated to support their child(ren). Consequently:

  • Prenuptial and/or post-nuptial agreements cannot dictate (or preclude) child support payments.
  • The division of parenting time between the parents may not necessarily be mirrored by the child support orders. For example, a joint division of parenting time does not necessarily mean that no child support will be ordered or awarded.

When child support is a point of dispute between parents, the court will generally use a complex (and fairly comprehensive) formula to determine if child support should be ordered – and, if so, the amount of child support to be awarded. Some factors in this formula include:

  • The number of children and how parenting time is divided
  • Each parent’s earnings
  • The costs related to caring for and raising the children.

With child support orders, it is important to be aware that modifications can be pursued in the future (if or when certain circumstances for either parent change).

Division of Property

Splitting marital property between divorcing parties is commonly a contentious issue in contested divorce cases, particularly when complex and high-value assets are on the line. When dealing with this aspect of divorce, determining the following matters will typically be a priority:

  • Whether (or not) a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is in place – Pre- and post-nuptial agreements can define what property remains separate and/or precisely how the marital property should be divided in the event of divorce.
  • The scope of the marital property – If a valid pre- or post-nup is not in place, figuring out the scope of the marital property will be necessary. This can involve inventorying and appraising the marital assets and/or determining the scope of the marital debt.
  • The economic circumstances of each spouse – The family court will be focused on making an “equitable” division of the marital property. While this doesn’t necessarily mean an exactly equal split, it does mean that the financial status of each party (on his or her own) can be considered when the court is deciding who should get what as part of the divorce process.
  • Either spouse’s separate property was depleted to support the marriage – if, for instance, one party drained his or her separate resources to buy the marital home, this may also be considered when determining who gets the home (or other marital assets).

Alimony/Spousal Maintenance

Also referred to as spousal support, alimony or spousal maintenance payments can be awarded temporarily (while a divorce case is pending) and permanently (when the final divorce decree is issued).

When it comes to spousal maintenance, it’s important to be aware that:

  • A valid pre- or post-nuptial agreement can dictate the amount and duration of these payments. These agreements (when valid) can also stipulate that neither party is entitled to alimony.
  • In the absence of a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, the court will step in to resolve disputes over alimony. Factors like the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s earnings and the standard of living during the marriage will generally be considered by the court in these disputes.
  • Like child support, spousal support can be modified in the future when certain circumstances (for either party or both parties) change. For instance, job loss or remarriage may be grounds for seeking a modification (or termination) of spousal maintenance.

A divorce attorney in Denver, CO can explain whether you may be entitled to receive or obligated to pay spousal support. Contact us for more information about this area of family law.

Grandparent Rights

It is important to protect the grandparent-grandchild relationship via formal court orders when either parent is (or both parents are) not in the picture. For example, if either parent is incarcerated, deployed, or deceased, it is essential for grandparents to seek visitation, guardianship, or custody of a child.

When you need to protect and assert your grandparent rights in Denver, you can rely on the skills and guidance of a Denver divorce lawyer at Burnham Law.

A Denver divorce and family lawyer at Burnham Law is ready to help you formulate the right legal game plan for bringing your family legal issue(s) to the best possible resolution. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Authored by Anthony Doss and Benjamin Hirshfield

 

Once a divorce is final, can it be changed?

In most cases, yes. Generally speaking, there are three areas in which a divorce decree can be modified: maintenance, child support, and parental responsibilities.

Modification to Maintenance (also known as “Alimony”)

Spousal Maintenance, sometimes referred to as “Alimony”, is a payment ordered by the court in an attempt to fairly and equitably distribute the income of the parties and provide for the “reasonable needs” of the lower earning spouse. The court will determine the amount to be paid and the length of payments based on a number of factors, including the financial resources of each party, the age and health of the parties, and the length of the marriage. Occasionally after an order is entered, one or both former spouses will want to modify the maintenance order to change the amount paid or the duration of payments. If you are looking to modify the maintenance award in your case, the attorneys at Burnham Law can provide the advice and representation you need to be successful.

Seeking a modification to maintenance in Colorado

A modification of maintenance is not always a possibility. In limited cases, a divorce decree will restrict a Colorado court’s authority to review maintenance orders. This occurs when there is an agreement between the parties at the time of the divorce that includes specific language setting the maintenance as contractual and non-modifiable. Similarly, the agreement may end the maintenance payments upon a party retiring or remarrying. In most situations however, the court retains jurisdiction over the issue of maintenance.

Assuming that there are no agreements to prohibit modification and the court retains jurisdiction, the statutory standard for modification of maintenance in Colorado is whether there are “changed circumstances so substantial and continuing as to make the terms unfair.” This means that the courts will consider more than the current incomes of the parties, instead looking at the totality of the circumstances, both financial and otherwise.

Some reasons for a modification of maintenance might be an increase or decrease in income for either party, an inheritance, or a life changing disability. As discussed above, the remarriage of the recipient spouse can terminate maintenance entirely, as can the death of either spouse.

The family law attorneys at Burnham Law have decades of experience and are available today to guide you and give you the peace of mind of knowing that you are in good hands.

Modification to Child Support

The court will consider many factors when determining child support. Some of the most common factors are:

  • The incomes of both parents;
  • The number of children;
  • The number of overnights the non-custodial parent has with the children;
  • Costs related to the children (ie. Daycare, medical coverage, etc.).

Colorado Revised Statute C.R.S. 14-10-122 allows for either parent to request a modification in child support if there is a “substantial and continuing change in circumstances” since the previous order.  This requirement can be met by showing aloss of job, a significant increase or decrease in the income of either party, or a change of the physical custody of the children. The court will review the changes in circumstance to determine if they are significant enough to warrant a modification in the child support order.

Modification to Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (Also known as Custody).

The allocation of parental responsibilities, commonly referred to as Custody, is another court order which a party may seek to modify. The allocation of parental responsibilities determines who the child lives with, who is authorized to make the major decisions for the child, and what parenting time (commonly known as “visitation”) will be for the non-custodial parent. A parent is not responsible for anticipating every possible way their lives could change between the dissolution of their marriage and the time their children reach the age of majority, currently 19 years of age. To accommodate for unexpected changes, the court may allow modifications to the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, and decision-making.

The court will look at any change in circumstances since the previous order was entered, or any facts that were hidden from the court when the last order was entered, to determine if a modification of the allocation of parental responsibilities is in the best interest of the children.

Modification of Parenting Time

Modifying parenting time, formerly known as “visitation”, is governed by C.R.S. 14-10-129. Unlike the statutes for modifying child support or maintenance, the statute to modify parenting time doesn’t necessarily require a change of circumstances. The standard for modifying parenting time is the “best interest” of the children, meaning the court can make changes based solely on what it deems to be in the best interest of the children. However, if you are looking to change the actual residential custody of the children, and the other parent does not agree, the standard is a showing of either physical or emotional endangerment.

The family law attorneys at Burnham Law are aggressive and experienced and will help you successfully navigate your post decree modification.