Frequently Asked Questions About 2018 Family Law Matters

1. Does the Bercovitz Law Firm offer a free consultation?

Elissa Bercovitz at The Bercovitz Law Firm offers a free consultation to those seeking advice regarding Colorado family law matters. Your free consultation provides you with an opportunity to discuss the details of your domestic relations issue and have your questions answered by an experienced and highly skilled domestic relations attorney. Ms. Bercovitz has almost 20 years of experience, and the advice and information you will receive at your meeting will help you to fully understand your rights and options according to Colorado law.

2. My spouse and I have decided to divorce. Should I hire a lawyer?

It is generally wise to consult with an experienced Colorado family law attorney when you have made the decision to terminate your marriage. An experienced domestic relations attorney will discuss the details of your situation and the laws that govern your property and the custody of your children. Consulting with a seasoned professional who has the experience to protect your rights, and those of your children, is a wise choice.

3. Can my spouse and I use the same lawyer to save on costs?

The parties to divorce in the State of Colorado cannot be represented by the same attorney because it is a conflict of interest for one lawyer to protect the interests of opposing parties. However, the parties to divorce can hire the services of a mediator who can assist them in reaching a settlement agreement. The mediator will help to facilitate an agreement between the two parties without legally representing either party.

4. How do we determine how our assets will be divided?

Generally, the parties to divorce in the State of Colorado can divide their marital property as they wish. If an agreement cannot be reached however, then the Colorado court will make the determination for them. Colorado laws state that marital property is to be divided "equitably" which means equally, unless otherwise specified by a prenuptial agreement.
When dividing marital property, the court generally considers factors that include the non-marital property belonging to each spouse has, the earning power of both parties, the length of the marriage; and the age and health of each party.

5. How do the courts determine the Allocation of Parental Responsibility?

Definition:

The term "child custody" is no longer used in the Colorado statutes and in 1999 it was replaced with the term "allocation of parental responsibilities." The allocation of parental responsibilities is comprised of two components:

1. The division of parenting time between the two parents.

2. The sharing or division of parental decision making.

Gender Neutrality:

In the past, the "tender-years doctrine" favored mothers over fathers when it came to the allocation of parental responsibility , but today the Colorado courts must be gender neutral when making decisions regarding parenting time.

Parenting Time:

When deciding on a parenting schedule, the Colorado court will consider the child's mental, physical, and emotional needs and their ongoing safety. When determining a child's best interest in terms of parenting time, the court will consider the following factors:

3. Child's age

4. The parent's preferences

5. Child's relationship with other family members

6. Parents living situations

7. Child's current living situation

8. Parents social habits

9. History of child abuse or neglect

10. History of parental involvement

11. Parents willingness to cooperate with their co-parent

12. Parents willingness to prioritize the needs of the child

13. Child's wishes, depending on their maturity

Decision Making:

Courts may require both parents to share the responsibility for major decisions regarding the children, or the courts can decide that only one parent will have decision making authority. In some cases, the court assigns specific decisions to one parent. For example, the father may be required to make all decisions regarding education and extracurricular activities, and the mother may be required to make all decisions pertaining to health and religion. Minor daily decisions regarding the children are typically made by the parent at the time the children are in their care

Colorado Courts Supporting Separated Families:

The Colorado courts continue to support co-parenting efforts and seek to keep both parents regularly involved in the lives of their children following a move into separate households. The best interests of the child statute seeks to support families, who are no longer living together, have healthy contact and consistent communication between the children and their parents.

6. How is Colorado child support calculated?

The State of Colorado has adopted child support guidelines to ensure that a portion of each parent's income and resources are used to support the children they share.

The amount of child support is determined using the monthly gross incomes of both parents and the number of overnight visits with the child. The parents also share the costs for childcare, medical insurance and uninsured medical expenses. Child support can also include expenses specific to the child, such as private school, extracurricular activities, extraordinary medical expenses, etc.

Instructions and guideline worksheets for calculating the amount of child support are available at:

https://childsupport.state.co.us.

The electronic calculator is available for use with Microsoft Excel under the Domestic/Family folder.

7. When will my divorce be finalized?

In Colorado, it takes a minimum of 90 days from the time the divorce is filed to the time it will become final. A dissolution of marriage is final on the day it is granted by the Colorado Court if there is a court appearance. If there is no court appearance, and documents are filed without a hearing, then the divorce is granted on the day the Decree is signed by the Judge.

8. Will the Bercovitz Law Firm take my case on a "flat fee" basis?

The Bercovitz Law Firm firmly believes that "Flat Fee" arrangements are often unfair and are rarely cost-effective for the client. It is too difficult for attorneys in family law cases to predict how much will be involved to bring a case to a successful conclusion. Clients at the Bercovitz Law Firm are billed only for actual hours spent on the case.

9. Is it possible to take my case on a "contingency" basis?

Ethical rules in the State of Colorado prohibit family law attorneys from offering contingent fee arrangements for domestic relations matters.

10. How can I keep the legal costs for my family law matter to a minimum?

To minimize your legal costs, it is important to:

1. Send all requested information to your attorney and paralegal in a timely manner.

2. Be aware of your priorities and carefully consider the settlement options that are made available to you

11. How do I handle a business valuation?

The Bercovitz Law firm has considerable experience helping clients value and retain their rights to their marital business interests. The process of valuing and dividing a business is complex, and it is important to retain a domestic relations lawyer with experience working with business valuators. If you are a business owner who is getting divorced, or the soon to be former spouse of a business owner, we can assist you in obtaining a valuation of your business interest. We have relationships with Colorado business valuation experts who have experience in estimating the value the marital portion of a business, and these professionals can also provide expert testimony if your case goes to trial.

12. If I marry again, should I ask my fiancé to sign a prenuptial agreement?

A Prenuptial agreement is generally sought by one party to protect his or her assets. The advantages of creating a prenuptial agreement include protecting your property and minimizing conflicts in the event of a divorce. For a prenuptial agreement to be legal, binding, and enforceable, there are several important aspects to be considered:

1. The prenuptial agreement must be signed voluntarily. The drafter of the agreement should have their prospective spouse consult with their own attorney to review and discuss the details of the agreement well before the marriage takes place.

2. Both parties must provide a "fair and reasonable disclosure" of his or her assets and financial obligations. It is possible for the court to determine that a Prenuptial agreement is not enforceable if it finds that one party did not provide full disclosure.

3. Although Prenuptial agreements often contain provisions regarding a waiver of spousal support, a court can negate those provisions if it finds that certain aspects of the agreement are unconscionable and unfair.

The Bercovitz Law firm has had significant experience in the drafting and reviewing of marital agreements. Elissa Bercovitz can fully advise you regarding your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement and create a document that is legally binding and enforceable.