What if We Were Never Married

Allocation of Parental Responsibility (APR) is becoming more and more common in the courts across the country. As society changes, there are more couples who live together or have children without getting married. Upon the breakup of their relationships these couples with children are faced with three issues: 1) Decision Making, 2) Parenting Time and 3) Child Support allocation. In addition, if one parent wants to move because of family ties or economic necessity there is further stress on the family and this issue will need to be addressed. Just as with divorce, the situation can be more complex when … Read more

A Guide to Additional Roles in Family Law Matters

A Guide to Additional Roles in Family Law Matters

Attorneys and Mental Health Professionals sometimes serve in special capacities in family law matters. In this post you will learn about those roles and the where to find the legal authority for each. Guardian ad litem This term means “guardian at law” and is often abbreviated to “GAL.”  When a party is incapable of understanding and/or acting in his or her own best interest because the party is an infant or an incompetent person, then, for purposes of the litigation only, the Court may appoint a guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem will not be a general guardian or … Read more

Child and Family Investigators

Child and Family Investigators

The court may, upon the motion of either party or upon its own motion, appoint a neutral third person to serve the court as a Child & Family Investigator. The relevant statute is C.R.S. §14-10- 116.5 which can be found online at the LexisNexis website. The CFI must also comply with directives handed down from the Chief Justice of the Colorado Supreme Court, specifically Chief Justice Directives (CJDs) 04-05 and 04-08. Those directives cover everything from how an investigation must be conducted to disciplinary procedures for a CFI. The CJDs are also available online. The Role of a CFI The CFI … Read more

Alternatives to Court Post-Decree

Alternatives to Court Post-Decree

Fortunately, if you have a post-decree dispute there are alternatives to court. This can be an opportunity to hit the “reset” button on your relationship with the other party. You can choose not to make it a fight. It can be a particularly important turning point if the issue involves children. You will likely have many challenges as parents well into the future. Learning to manage bumps in the road and resolve issues out of court can greatly improve your life and the lives of your children. Research shows that children suffer long-term effects from prolonged court battles between their … Read more

Why Not Early Neutral Assessment?

Why Not Early Neutral Assessment?

The Early Neutral Evaluation or Early Neutral Assessment (ENA) process has its roots in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The process assists families to resolve child related matters early on in a contested divorce or allocation of parental responsibilities case. The hope was to get the matters related to children settled early so as to lessen the impact on the children while also ensuring these concerns did not become conflated with financial matters. The process and team was designed with care. Team members possessing a strong background in family law matters and parenting disputes are essential. Each team member is a highly … Read more

Top 10 Divorce Mistakes

1. Hiding Money The Court will look with extreme disfavor on any party who hides money in anticipation of a separation or divorce. Always play fair with the other party. You will be disclosing all your financials as a requirement under Colorado law. Hiding assets is rarely successful. Remember that upon service of a Petition for Dissolution (divorce papers) temporary injunctions go into effect and specifically prohibit this type of behavior. Violation of the temporary injunctions is a very serious offense and could result in being found in contempt of court and lead to fines and/or time in jail. 2. … Read more

5 Advantages of Settlement

5 Advantages of Settlement

1.  You remain in charge of the settlement instead of giving it over to a 3rd party decision maker. Who knows the most about your relationship history and your family? The answer to this question is always the two parties involved in the dispute. A judicial officer will never understand your family the way you do. Clients often say, “I want my day in court,” and sometimes continue to insist on that when they could achieve a better and more satisfying outcome by negotiating in good faith. 2.  You save the cost of having to go to court. Even a very … Read more

Assisted Self-Representation… Unbundled Legal Services…. Rule 11(b) Representation… Limited Scope Representation…

Assisted Self-Representation…  Unbundled Legal Services…. Rule 11(b) Representation… Limited Scope Representation…

Confused Yet? All of the terms above refer to the same thing in Colorado. Unbundled Legal Services is a way for an individual to obtain legal services and/or legal advice without hiring an attorney for full representation. There is a component of the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct which allows a lawyer to provide limited representation to self-represented parties. This is permitted by Colorado Rule of Civil Procedure 11(b). Legal services can be “unbundled” so that an individual can obtain just the services needed. If you are thinking, “I am representing myself. Why in the world would I want an attorney involved at all?” … Read more

Mediation – How to Prepare

Mediation – How to Prepare

Reset your thinking Resolve to get the most out of this mediation. Be positive and optimistic. Really, try hard! Be realistic Don’t ask for the moon. Manage expectations. Envision a good outcome, not a perfect one. Go into mediation as an interest based negotiator not as a positional bargainer. Think about to how to communicate what is important about an issue rather than arguing for a specific position or solution. Try to communicate your underlying concerns, needs and interests. This will allow your mediator to look for ways to create a win-win solution. Write out a confidential statement This is a … Read more