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.

CO Supreme Court Recognizes Same-Gendered Common Law Marriage

On Monday, January 5th 2021 the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that same-gendered couples that were in common-law marriages before the 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges legalization of same-sex marriage are now seen as valid in the eyes of Colorado State law.


Common-Law Marriages in Colorado


Colorado is unique in that it is one of eight states that recognize common-law marriage in the United States. A common-law marriage is a partnership between two people where they are not legally bound by a marriage license, but they hold themselves out as married. A couple may hold themselves out as married if they have combined bank accounts or assets, are recognized by family and close friends as married, live together, file taxes jointly, have children together, share insurance, etc.


Same-Sex Common Law Marriages Before 2015 Now Recognized


This recognition of same-sex common-law marriages that began prior to the 2015 Supreme Court decision is an exciting ruling, as it applies the law fairly for all couples who have ever been in a common-law marriage in Colorado, regardless of their sexual orientation.


This means if you and your spouse are in a same-sex relationship and held yourself out as married without a license before the 2015 Supreme Court ruling, you may be considered common-law married if you meet the criteria for common-law marriage. It also means you can now go through the divorce process if you are separating so you can fairly resolve the dissolution of your marriage through legal means.


If you and your partner are separating and have been in a same-sex common law marriage since before 2015, contact one of our Divorce Matters attorneys today to help. We can help answer your questions about this groundbreaking ruling and how it may affect your case.


You can learn more about common-law marriage here.

This Is How The Divorce Process Works and How Long It Will Take

When it comes to divorce most would say they want the process to be over as soon as possible so they can move on with their lives. This inevitably leads everyone to ask “how long will it be until I am officially divorced from my spouse?” A great place to start is our Divorce Timeline, which can be found under the Tools tab on our website. However, we also want to give a more general overview of how long the process might take. The specific circumstances and complexity of your case will determine the timeline, but overall, this is what you can expect the process to look like.


When You First File-


Once you have filed a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the courts in your county, your spouse must be personally served.  Learn more about what to do if you are the one being served divorce papers.

Once your spouse is served, he or she has 21 days (35 for out of state) to file a response. If you and your spouse both want the divorce and sign a petition jointly, the Service/Response step can be ignored. Your spouse may also agree to waive service if you do not file jointly. Just because you sign jointly does not mean the process is complete, and you will still need to follow the rest of the requirements in the process.


Once Your Ex Is Served-


You have 42 days after the date of filing to set up an initial status conference with the court and submit your financial disclosures. The initial status conference is your first court appearance and is an informal way for both parties and the Court to get on the same page about dates and deadlines in your case. It depends on the county and jurisdiction that you are in as to whether they will schedule a time for your initial status conference automatically once you file, or if you or your attorney have to reach out to the court to schedule your own. The timing for this solely depends on your county’s court and its timeline. You also will need to have your financial disclosures submitted within that 42-day deadline as well.


After Initial Status Conference-


You have the option to file for Temporary Orders, which is only necessary if there is an immediate conflict that must be addressed while your case is ongoing. Temporary Orders can help with decision making, child support or spousal support, or who will live in the marital residence during the divorce process. Temporary orders will be replaced by permanent orders at the end of your case. A temporary orders hearing, which is a separate court date, must be set to decide this and it will extend your case.


Once you’ve had your initial status conference, you and your spouse are then required to attend mediation by the state of Colorado. Everyone who files for divorce in Colorado must attend mediation, with a few exceptions. In rare cases where the parties agree to every issue, it is possible to skip mediation, which would shorten your case. Additionally, you may request mediation be waived in cases of domestic violence.




Mediation is a formal settlement conference where the mediator (whom you hire) assists in trying to reach a full agreement between you and your ex. If mediation is successful, you will leave with a signed or partial settlement agreement. Then your attorneys draft the final agreements and file the documents with the court.


If mediation is not successful, you must either come up with a settlement or prepare to go to trial. If you need to go to trial, this must be scheduled with the court and the timing completely depends on their availability and timeline. This can extend your case; therefore, it is ideal to come up with agreements in mediation or a settlement.




Your divorce will be finalized once a judge issues a decree of dissolution of marriage which then severs the marriage, and you are no longer married.




If a party is not satisfied with the final decision made by the court, then an appeal can be made. There are specific time constraints around appeals, so you will want to speak with your attorney if you wish to appeal any part of your divorce decree.


You also may modify certain orders put in place by the courts if circumstances change after the final agreement has been made. Again, you will want to speak with your attorney if you would like to modify any documents or orders post-divorce.


Overall, it can be difficult to determine the exact length that it will take to finalize your divorce because every situation is different. Your timeline will depend on the specific circumstances and jurisdiction of your case.

If you have questions about your particular situation or would like to speak with an attorney today, contact us.

What Do I Do If My Ex Is Not Paying Child Support?

What do you do if your ex-spouse refuses to make court-ordered child support payments?

Being a single parent can be tough, and child support payments help the parent keep bills and childcare costs under control. So it can be devastating when one party refuses to make those payments.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to force your ex-spouse’s hand. The state takes child support very seriously, and those who do not pay it can suffer some pretty serious consequences. Not paying can lead to long-term financial ruin.

Consequences of Failure to Pay Child Support

Every month that child support is not paid, a judgment is issued against the non-paying party. These judgments, while destroying the party’s credit, build interest at a rate of 12% annually, compounding every month. This means that the longer the person waits to pay, the more they will owe ”“ it is not difficult for a monthly sum of a few hundred dollars to rapidly snowball into a ten thousand or even hundred-thousand-dollar problem.Additionally, child support cannot be discharged through bankruptcy, and the statute of limitations on child support judgments is 20 years. It can’t just be swept under the rug and ignored.

If the financial consequences are not able to convince the party to pay up, there are things we can do to help. The non-paying party can be held in contempt of court, which can put them in jail for up to 180 days and fine them for noncompliance. The courts can order wage garnishments on the nonpaying party, up to 65 percent of that person’s wages. The courts can also attach liens to property owned by the nonpaying party. In short ”“ it’s never worth it to withhold child support payments.

If your ex-spouse is withholding child support payments, our Denver divorce attorneys can help you bring legal action against your ex-spouse.

How to Deal with the Ex’s New Partner

The emotional rollercoaster ride of divorce does not end with the signing of documents. The after-effects can be just as traumatic as the divorce itself, and one of the most tense times can be when your ex starts seeing someone else. The troubles are only magnified when children are involved, especially when your ex’s new partner is going to become a big part of the childrens’ lives.

Having a new authority figure can be difficult for children to deal with. Sometimes the kids will hate the new person; other times, the kids could like him or her. Both sides present unique emotional challenges, so here are a few tips to help your children when a new boyfriend or girlfriend enters the picture.

The Kids Like Him/Her!

If the kids get along with the new partner, you can at least rest assured that the kids are not miserable while with your ex. But the new partner might interfere with your own ability to parent; for example, perhaps the new partner allows your children to do something you don’t agree with, like drinking soda or swimming without supervision. In these situations, it is best to present yourself as a positive person. Never speak ill of the new partner in front of the children. If you have real concerns, the person to speak to is your ex; after all, the kids are his responsibility, too.

You might also consider getting to know this new partner. Having an amicable relationship with him or her can allow you to judge personally whether your children are going to have problems.

The Kids Hate Him/Her!

Unfortunately, a new partner can really upset children. They might feel like your ex does not spend enough time with them, or maybe that the new partner is mean. If the partner has his or her own children, your kids might not get along with them. Again, the person to bring up your concerns with is your ex. Keep the conversation focused on what is best for the children, and if the childrens’ issues with the new partner are serious enough to present danger to the kids, whether emotional or physical, you might consider speaking with your family law attorney.

Divorce Matters ”“ Denver Family Law Attorneys

How to Deal with Exes and Parenting Issues Post-Divorce

Our Twitter feed has been full of great tips for dealing with ex-spouses this week! Whether emotionally or legally, dealing with your ex after your divorce can be a bumpy””but often necessary””ride. The most common reason an ex stays in your life after the relationship ends is shared custody of the kids. If you have children together, your life will likely never be completely free of a former spouse””even after the kids enter adulthood.

Maintaining a civil relationship with an ex””in most cases, except instances of abuse or violence””can benefit everyone involved, particularly children. It may not always be easy, but here are a few tips for dealing with an ex in ways that everyone can live with:

  • Do not badmouth your ex in front of your kids: Face it””everyone is human. And all of us are tempted at times to express anger, frustration, annoyance, or sadness when the kids are going to visit the ex. For your children’s sake””and for your own mental health””please refrain. Seriously. It will not help you, and it certainly is not good for the children to feel stuck in the middle. In fact, try and go the opposite direction. Be generous. Let your children know your ex””their mother or father””loves them as much as you do, even if””inside your head””you have negative thoughts. Try to remember that the most important people in this relationship are your children. They will watch your actions as well as listen to your words. And it is not just the kids who will benefit. Avoiding arguments, harsh words, and negative emotions will reduce your own stress. Find someone to confide in””a good friend, family member, or therapist””and save your negative thoughts for a better setting and recipient.
  • Adjust to changes and be understanding: Your ex is dealing with his or her life too. There may be times when he or she is late for the children’s drop-off and pick-up. Or maybe there is a work conflict or an after-school activity to navigate around. Try to be flexible and understanding. Life happens, so be open to changes and adjust as best you can. If unplanned changes to parenting schedules and visits seem to be happening often, it might be time to review arrangements. If your ex is late to a few drop-offs, the world will not end; however, if it is a precursor to more serious behaviors or habits, consider whether there will be long-term effects. Again, the most important person here is your child. Will this behavior eventually impact your child negatively? If not, do your best to be flexible, even when it is hard.
  • Find neutral help: If you are finding it beyond difficult to maintain civility””and believe us, it happens””find someone who can act as a go-between or mediator for you. This can be a friend or family member, but it should be someone who both of you like and respect””and importantly, someone who can be neutral. This neutral party could then attend drop-offs and pick-ups or any additional meetings between the two of you regarding your child’s upbringing. Often, involving someone who is not directly affected can defuse a tense situation and keep everyone calm.
  • Keep the lines of communication open: Whether your child is having a hard time adjusting to the divorce, is involved in sports that bring frequent schedule changes, or even is having problems in school””you and your ex will need to be able to communicate. The first step is to find the communication style that works for both of you. It could be that email is easiest because face-to-face dredges up too many emotions. It could be that you need a neutral third party we discussed above. Either is fine. Just pick what works for you and the kids and make sure to keep talking. If you see a potential problem at your home with your child, make sure you let the other parent know. If your child is interested in joining a sport, and the games will require out-of-state travel, talk to each other. Communication in any fashion that reduces stress, prevents misunderstanding and ensures both parents know all they need to know to effectively address a child’s needs is the ultimate goal.


Your marriage may have ended, but you will always have your kids in common””and that means a little extra challenge when you are adjusting to life as ex-partners. Whether it is scheduling joint attendance at events, juggling the challenges of daily scheduling or child-rearing challenges, you and your ex will want to develop new””and perhaps unexpected””coping and communication skills to make sure children grow up with as much involvement and interaction from both parents as possible, despite the divorce.