How Do I Get Emergency Child Custody?

Changing a child custody arrangement can be a long and complicated process. But what if there is an emergency and you need custody of your child right away? Luckily, there are specific child custody laws in place for this exact scenario. Before we get into how to get emergency child custody, it is important to know what it is.

Emergency Child Custody

Filing a motion for emergency child custody allows a court to act immediately to suspend all unsupervised parenting time. There are a few restrictions, however. The court can only grant emergency child custody if your child is being put in danger by their other parent. This endangerment can be emotional or physical. Some examples are physical abuse, sexual abuse, excessive drinking or drug use around your child, mental health concerns for the parent, domestic violence, or even neglect. In addition, if your child’s other parent isn’t necessarily the one endangering your child, emergency custody can still be granted. If your child’s other parent has friends or a significant other who endanger your child, this falls under child endangerment on behalf of the parent.

How do I get emergency child custody?

To start the process of getting emergency child custody, you would first have to file a Motion to Restrict Parenting Time with the court. Once you have filed your motion, the court will immediately order that all contact between the parent and child be monitored by a third party. The court will then schedule a hearing in the next 14 days to review the motion. At the hearing, both parents will be allowed to present any evidence they have regarding the endangerment of the child. This can include pictures, emails or texts, and any people who have witnessed the endangerment or lack thereof. The court will then make a ruling on the motion. The judge will either deny the motion, continue the restrictions put in place when the motion was filed, or change the restrictions to be less strict or stricter.

It is important to note that there are penalties for wrongful accusations, including, but not limited to, paying legal fees for the other side. It is vital that you do not file a motion like this out of spite. To avoid this, it is helpful to consult an attorney to make sure that what you are claiming is substantiated. A Divorce Matters attorney can also help you navigate the entire process with ease and expertise.

What Types of Law Does Divorce Matters Practice?

Just from our name, it’s easy to tell that we excel in divorce law, but what other kinds of cases can Divorce Matters handle? We are a law firm specializing in family law. Family law covers a wide variety of different cases including:

Adoption

Estate Planning

Divisions of Marital Property

An important part of the divorce process in Colorado is figuring out how to divide marital property. The procedure generally involves two steps. First, it must be determined what marital property is. Second, the marital property must be divided equitably

Spousal Maintenance

In Colorado, neither spouse has an automatic right to maintenance. The court may award maintenance only if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property to meet their reasonable needs and, in addition, is either unable to support themselves through appropriate employment or should not be required to seek employment because of child care responsibilities. Divorce Matters has lots of experience in Spousal Maintenance negotiations and our attorneys are the perfect choice to help you!

Child Custody

When children are involved, the divorce process doesn’t end once the final paperwork is filed. With children come often contentious and painful negotiations about and modification of parental rights, parenting time, and custody. Our team has deep experience dealing with child custody and parental rights issues and we believe it is our duty and an imperative to help couples address custody and rights issues in ways that reduce the impact of divorce and protect children in the process.

Child Support

In Colorado, child support is based on strict guidelines dictated by state laws and statutes. The issue of child support is separate and distinct from the issue of parenting time, and child support payments may not be conditioned upon parenting time. Due to these strict laws, it is important to have guidance from an expert attorney throughout the process.

Post Decree Modifications

Have your circumstances changed since your divorce? Have you lost your job? Has your ex-spouse received a salary increase? Did your ex-spouse fail to disclose financial matters during the dissolution of marriage? Once your divorce is finalized, fortunately, not everything in your original separation agreement or parenting plan is set in stone. Courts recognize that circumstances change, and, sometimes, spouses hide income or assets during the divorce process. Depending on the exact circumstances of your case, you may have a variety of options post-decree. In the following sections, we explore your options in modifying maintenance, child support, parenting time, custody, and decision-making, as well as how you can reopen your property division.

Mediation and Arbitration

Mediation and arbitration are perfect options for anyone going through a divorce. Both options allow the partners to take more control in the divorce, as well as keep the process out of court. Not only does Divorce Matters represent clients through mediation and arbitration, but we also have a mediator on staff!

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence happens to people in all classes, statuses, and ranks in life, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, education, profession, or socioeconomic status. The unfortunate reality is that one in four women in the U.S. will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, resulting in an estimated 1.3 million women becoming victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.

Contempt of Court

After having gone through a divorce or once you have some orders from the court, you may at some point find yourself on either end of a contempt of court action if one of the parties is not complying with the orders. If you find yourself on either end of a contempt action, Divorce Matters is here to help!

Unbundled Legal Services

Unbundled legal services are the perfect solution for anyone not ready to jump into full-scale representation. With unbundled services, you can hire an attorney at their hourly rate to help you with specific aspects of your legal troubles, like filing paperwork or gathering documents!

Common-Law Marriage

The state of Colorado allows couples to enter into common law marriage. However, the parameters of common law marriage can be hazy and difficult to understand, just like common law divorce

Appeals

If your case falls under family law, we can help with your appeal!

Prenuptial Agreements

While there are a million things to plan when a couple decides to marry, often the most difficult to discuss with your future partner is the possible need for a prenuptial agreement. While this subject is not the most romantic or exciting part of wedding planning, a couple contemplating marriage in Colorado may need to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement, or a contract before marriage.

Military Divorce

To thank our Military service members, we even offer 10% off of legal fees! This discount is offered to all active and retired service members, veterans, and military spouses.

Thomas Legal Firm

While Divorce Matters only deals in family law, we do have a sister law firm that offers other services. Thomas Law Firm deals with Criminal matters as well as Civil Law matters, including general litigation, civil rights, workers’ compensation, and business defense litigation.

Can My Citizenship Status Affect My Divorce?

Divorce can be a difficult process on its own, but when you have citizenship concerns it can become even more daunting. However, if you arm yourself with knowledge about your situation you can properly prepare yourself for what to expect.

Is there any difference in the divorce proceedings or parental rights hearings if I am not a U.S. citizen or if I have recently become a U.S. citizen?

The short answer is no! The proceedings should continue exactly as they would if there were no citizenship concerns. If you have recently become a citizen, there are no concerns as to the status of your citizenship, because your citizen status cannot be taken away due to your divorce.

Will divorce affect my green card status?

This question has a more complicated answer than the first! To understand how divorce might affect your citizenship status, you first have to understand how the citizenship process works. To become a citizen, you must have a green card. In order to get that green card, through marriage, immigration officials must confirm that your marriage is a “bona fide” marriage. This just means it cannot be a marriage for citizenship. After you get your green card, you have to retain it for a certain amount of time, usually 5 years, to gain your citizenship. However, this time shortens from 5 years to 3 years if you are married to a U.S. citizen. If you do file for divorce before the 3 years is up, you will not have your green card revoked, however you will have to wait the 5-year waiting period for citizenship, as opposed to the 3-year waiting period when you are married to a U.S. citizen. This also holds true if you have been married longer than 3 years, but less than 5 years, and have not yet filed for citizenship. If you have already had your green card for 5 years before you file for divorce, however, the divorce will have no bearing on when or if you can file for citizenship.

If the divorce is contentious and your ex-spouse claims that the marriage was not bona fide, the case can become a little bit more difficult. If you already have citizenship, this will not affect your citizenship. If you still have your green card, you will just have to prove that the marriage is or was bona fide, either by what immigration officials have already proven or by your own evidence, to continue in the citizenship process.

What if I am undocumented? Can I still get a divorce?

If you are undocumented, you can still get a divorce and proceedings will continue as they would for any other divorce case. It is important to note, though, that anything you say in divorce court can also be used against you in immigration court. Because of that, if you are undocumented, it is wise to retain an immigration attorney as well as a divorce attorney in the case that you do want to file for divorce. Being undocumented could also make parenting agreements difficult, especially if you are deported or leave the United States. Again, in this case it is important to retain an immigration attorney, as well as a divorce attorney, to protect your parental rights.

Is There Any Way To Shorten The Mandatory Waiting Period For Divorce?

To answer the question above question, we must first delve into what a mandatory waiting period is. In the state of Colorado, there is a mandatory waiting period of 91 days from the date of joint filing or service on the responding party before a divorce can legally be completed. This waiting period is common in a lot of states and is meant to give people time to consider their situation and whether they want to go through with the divorce. However, this waiting period can also feel frustrating, especially if you already spent a lot of time thinking about your situation before filing or if you feel in danger.

With that being said, there is no way to shorten or avoid this waiting period. It is mandatory for every couple getting divorced in the state of Colorado. However, there are a few things that you can do while waiting for the end of your 91-day waiting period. With the help of an attorney, you can ask the court to issue agreements or court orders during your waiting period. These orders can be helpful if you need specific things from the court. For example, it may be difficult to sell your home before the divorce has gone through, but a court order can help with that.  Additionally, it might be helpful to work on filing all the necessary paperwork during your mandatory waiting period and find common ground with your spouse. Completing both of these tasks will make your divorce process go smoother and quicker once you are able to start proceedings.

The easiest way to deal with the mandatory waiting period is to consult with an attorney to see what they can do for your individual situation. If you have a specific reason for wanting to skip the waiting period, it is important to speak with an attorney. They will be able to tell you what is possible in your particular situation, and if you can work within the waiting period to get what you need. To speak to an attorney today, you can call us at (720)542-6142 or contact us through our website.

5 Colorado Summer Vacation Destinations for the Whole Family

Summer break can be a hard time of year for divorced parents. While extra time with your kids and warm weather can bring joy, it can also come with difficulty splitting up parenting time. Sometimes, even just planning a vacation can be difficult if it’s going to be out of state. This list of 5 family-friendly Colorado destinations will make planning your summer vacation far easier and allow you to make the most of your parenting time.

Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, Glenwood Springs, Colorado

  1. Durango: This charming and historic town has a lot to offer during the summertime. Because of the river that runs through town there are plenty of water sports to keep the kiddos busy including kayaking, tubing, paddling, and whitewater rafting. Durango also offers a scenic railroad, in addition to various restaurants, boutique hotels, retail stores, and the Durango Discovery Museum!
  2. Snowmass: New on the summer vacation scene, Snowmass is quickly becoming one of the best family vacation spots in Colorado. There are tons of options for outdoor activities, like the Treeline Trial Challenge Course and the Lost Forest Adventure Park, which offers zip lines, an alpine coaster, a climbing wall, disc golf, and even paintball. In addition, the town of Snowmass boasts restaurants, live music, the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and even a rodeo. The Roaring Fork River also offers water sports, specifically paddle boarding with local guides.
  3. Steamboat Springs: This cute Western town offers a weekly rodeo, which draws many tourists to the area. Main Street offers a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as being close to the Old Town Hot Springs. The springs have numerous pools and areas to play in and are a great spot for kids! There are plenty of activities on the mountain as well, including mini-golf, tubing, mini-boats, bounce houses, climbing walls, a mountain coaster, hiking, and biking. The 4th of July is a great time to visit Steamboat Springs for their huge parade through Old Town.
  4. Glenwood Springs: Another hot spring town? We promise it’s worth the stop! Glenwood Springs has a resort called Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, which offers a mile-long pool for kids to swim to their heart’s content. In the summertime, there are cabana rentals and even a splash zone. For the more adventurous children, there is adventure to be had at the Historic Fairy Caves Tour at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.
  5. Winter Park: Only a 90-mile drive from Denver, Winter Park has a lot to offer its summer visitors. On the mountain, families can check out Colorado’s longest alpine slide, free Friday movie nights, climbing walls, and the Trestle Bike Park, which has trails appropriate for all ages. Families can also take a one-hour walking tour of the kennels at the Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park. The area also boasts 5 mountain lakes, which are perfect for boating, fishing, and water sports. Grand Lake is one of these lakes and is Colorado’s largest body of water. The historic boardwalk has various shops, restaurants, and even a theater to check out. As with all of Colorado, there are beautiful trails and hikes to be found all over this area.

Check out our source (and more info) here

How Much Will A Divorce Cost Me?

Contrary to popular belief, divorce does not always have to be expensive. One of the biggest influencing factors in the cost of a divorce is the complexity of your specific case. These complexities come in a few different forms, and each essentially affects how much time needs to be spent on a particular case and therefore how expensive that case will be. Some of these things will be within your control, and others won’t – this is why it is important to reach out and schedule an initial consultation with an attorney. In your initial consultation, our attorneys can go over your specific set of circumstances with you, and they will be able to give you an idea of what your specific case might cost and how to manage those costs.

 

What will affect the cost of my divorce?

 

As mentioned, there are several main determining factors that will affect the total cost of your divorce. Some of these include:

  1. The amount of assets involved
  2. Whether or not you have children
  3. How contentious (think conflict) your case is

These factors all increase the complexity of your case and therefore increase the total cost.

How you can keep the cost down?

 

There are a few ways you can help keep the cost down in your case. The most popular way is to utilize our unbundled legal services, which involves having an attorney help with one specific aspect of your case, such as drafting and reviewing documents for you, offering coaching or legal advice, or communicating with other parties, opposing counsel, and the courts. However, this option is not always a good fit, especially if your case has any of the factors listed above that tend to increase costs. Another way to keep costs down is to work on coming to an amicable agreement with your ex through mediation or arbitration. This will save time and money on going to court and is often easier on your emotional well-being in the end as well.

 

Every case is different, so it important to speak with an attorney to get a better idea of how much your specific situation will cost and what your options might be. Contact Divorce Matters today to set up an initial consultation with one of our many experienced attorneys who can help put you and your family on the path to a successful future after divorce.

Everything You Need To Know About QDRO’s

What is a QDRO?

 

QDRO stands for Qualified Domestic Relations Order. The simplest way to describe it is as a legal document that splits up the funds in an ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) qualified retirement account. It is filed with the court as a part of a divorce or separation agreement stating that one spouse gets a pre-determined percentage of their ex-spouse’s retirement plan assets. One thing to note, if you choose to split retirement assets without a QDRO, the account holder is still responsible for taxes on the assets transferred. If you have a QDRO, your former spouse is then responsible for taxes once the funds are transferred.

 

Can a QDRO be reversed?

 

If you decide you’ve changed your mind about wanting a QDRO but it has already been received and processed, it is nearly impossible to reverse. The only way to have it changed is if the courts and the administrator agree that the QDRO goes against your divorce agreement and needs to be modified. If there is a misalignment, you might have to go back to your ex-spouse and re-negotiate in order to get the QDRO amended.

 

Do You Need One?

 

It is a good idea for anyone with retirement plan assets going through a divorce or separation to have a QDRO. In many cases, issues related to QDRO’s are overlooked and left unresolved, so it is important to speak with an experienced attorney about your retirement accounts to ensure you have a QDRO in place if necessary and that you’ve cover everything correctly in your divorce agreement.  Not many attorneys draft QDRO’s, but Divorce Matters attorney Ashley Balicki is skilled in drafting QDRO’s specifically. If you would like to speak with Ashley or any of our other experienced attorneys about your situation, contact Divorce Matters today or call us at (720) 542-6142.

Get to Know Our Denver Tech Center Office

About This Office

 

Our Denver Tech Center location is one of our four offices here in Colorado, and also serves as our headquarters. Recently we relocated just up the street into a brand-new, larger office space that can accommodate our growing team and is much easier to navigate to. We love our new space because it allows us to continue growing and expanding while offering a better location for our clients.

 

Who Are We?

 

We are a client-focused practice that understands that divorce, child support, and other family law issues can be extremely stressful and difficult. That’s why we are here to take away some of that stress and difficulty. Every day we uphold our values of integrity, tenacity, compassion, and excellence when assisting and representing our clients. Our firm won’t treat you like just another client or another case. We treat every client with compassion and tailor every legal approach to the specific needs of each of our clients. This ensures that you are set up for a future that you and your family can look forward to.

 

Why Our Denver Tech Center Office?

 

Our Denver Tech Center office is the perfect location for anyone located in Denver and any of the surrounding metropolitan cities such as Aurora, Centennial, Littleton, Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, and many more. Our other locations are located in Lakewood, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs, ensuring that we can serve our clients all up and down the Front Range. If none of our offices are convenient to where you live, we are also able to accommodate virtual consultations and meetings, and our attorneys will travel if necessary for our clients.

 

If you would like to set up a consultation with one of our many experienced attorneys at this location or any of our other three locations contact us here or give us a call at (720) 542-6142.

Who Is Divorce Matters?

Divorce Matters is a family law firm consisting of 15 experienced family law attorneys and 25 support staff serving all of Colorado, with offices in the Denver Tech Center, Lakewood, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. Since our founding ten years ago, we have helped thousands of clients throughout all of Colorado transition to their new future with dignity and compassion.

The core values that we practice are integrity, tenacity, compassion and excellence. All of our employees, from the client relations specialists to the partners, uphold these values every day. Our approach is always a client-focused, humanistic one where we provide guidance and wisdom when you need it most. When you begin the process by calling into our firm, we have a dedicated intake team that listens to your situation and pairs you with the attorney that they believe you will work the best with. Once you’ve had your initial consultation with your attorney and you have decided to become a client, the line of communication is always open, and we will strive to never drop the ball on you and your case.

We truly care about your experience with us and want you to get the most out of your time with Divorce Matters, from start to finish. We know these are difficult times in your life, but we are here to take some of that stress and frustration away. Hiring one of our attorneys to handle your case can benefit you in so many ways, but often the most important immediate impact is that we will make the process less difficult for you by removing stress, anxiety and fear from the equation. Our firm can assist you with a wide array of issues – from big to small, simple to complex – and we take pride in handling every case with tenacity, compassion, integrity and excellence. Our #1 goal is to set you and your family up for a happy, successful future.

If you need our services or would like to set up an initial consultation with one of our attorneys today, please contact us here.

I’m Not Sure I Can Afford An Attorney To Represent Me, Are There Any Other Options?

We understand cost can be a major concern for people when it comes to getting a divorce and hiring an attorney. At Divorce Matters we offer unbundled legal services or limited-scope representation, a type of service that may be able to keep costs down if it is the right fit for your specific case.

 

What are Unbundled Legal Services?

 

We like to describe unbundled legal services as a la carte legal services. Instead of hiring an attorney for full-scope representation, you can hire them to handle specific parts of your case or give advice on an as-needed basis. Some examples of unbundled services include document drafting/review, consulting and coaching, or review of settlement offers. Some cases only need limited help from an attorney and in these cases unbundled legal service can be one way to keep costs down.

 

Difference between full-scope representation and Unbundled Legal Services

 

Full scope representation is probably what you think of when you think of hiring an attorney traditionally. With full representation your attorney will be there with you throughout the entire divorce process, handling all paperwork, court preparations, scheduling any court appearances and mediations, and representing you at every step. With unbundled services or limited scope representation, you are only hiring an attorney for a specific aspect of your case that you need help with.

 

How to decide which service is best for you

 

Every case is different which is why we offer both traditional full scope representation and unbundled legal services. If you only have a few questions about your case or you just need help drafting a document, then unbundled services might be the best option for you and can certainly help keep costs down. If your case is more complex and/or contested then it might be more beneficial for you to consider full representation.

 

In order to figure out which services fit your situation best, contact us today to speak with one of our many experienced attorneys.