What Is Mediation And Does It Apply To My Case?

Mediation is a word you might hear often when learning about divorce, but do you really know what it is?

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process that most couples in Colorado will go through here in Colorado. In almost all Colorado divorce cases, mediation with be required first thing in your divorce process. The purpose is to try and resolve your case by discussing the issues at hand and hopefully coming up with an outcome that both you and your ex can agree on. Mediation is mandatory in most cases in hopes that a couple can have control over their outcomes and settle their differences before involving the courts. The attorneys from both sides can be present with you at mediation to help advise you.

The mediator is a trained, third-party person that is hired by you and your spouse to go back and forth between you and your ex to facilitate the conversation. They remain completely neutral in hopes of coming to a compromise that is in the best interest of both of you. If mediation is successful and agreements have been made, you and your spouse will sign and submit a Memorandum of Understanding to the Court, which will then be incorporated into a formal, final separation agreement.

If mediation is not successful, and you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, then the next steps options are scheduling a court hearing or, if both parties agree to it, you can decide to go to Arbitration.

Does mediation apply to you?

The answer is yes because it is required by Colorado law for most divorce cases. The state wants everyone to put forth their best effort in trying to settle issues on their own in hopes that they don’t have to go to court and make the situation even more stressful and drawn out. It can save you and your spouse a lot of money, time, and stress to go to mediation, and allow you to keep the most control over what happens to your future.

We always suggest having an attorney present with you for mediation in case anything is unclear, or you need legal advice. It can be beneficial to have legal representation because they will be able to use their knowledge of the law, while keeping your best interests in mind, to help deliver the best result for you and your future.

Contact us today to speak with one of our many experienced attorneys here at Divorce Matters.

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.

How Do I Pick the Right Attorney For Me?

One of the first questions you might ask yourself when you are searching for an attorney is “how do I know which attorney I’ll work the best with?” or “who will align with me and get me the best results in my case?” This is a very important question to consider because if you and your attorney don’t align then you might not be satisfied with their service or your end result. We never want that to be the case. Here are a few criteria to consider when deciding what attorney to hire to make sure that you and your attorney will be the best fit together.


Personality –

One of the most important factors to consider when deciding on hiring an attorney is how their personality would work with yours. When you are going through a divorce, you will end up sharing some of the most important and private details of your life with your attorney. Finding someone who complements you and can be a good partner is a key component to a successful attorney-client relationship.

Situation –

Another very important factor to consider when finding the right attorney is your specific situation. Every attorney has their strengths and areas of family law they practice more than others. If your case is very complex, you might look for an attorney who has more experience handling complex cases. On the other hand, if your situation is a very emotional one, it might be best to find a more empathetic attorney that you feel you can talk to and connect with for support. Another example would be if there is a lot of contention between you and your ex; in this case, you might be looking for a more aggressive attorney that will fight for you in times that get tense. Every situation is different, therefore it is key to find an attorney that will represent you in the way you need to be represented to achieve the most successful result in the end.

Cost –

Lastly, one thing to always keep in mind is how much you can afford when hiring an attorney. Of course, this always depends on each individual case and what you need the attorney to help you with. One of the most important factors that can affect the cost of your case is how contentious the separation is. If you and your ex can agree on most things through mediation, this will keep costs down compared to a case that goes to court. Another factor is what services you need legal help with. In some cases, you may only need unbundled legal services, but other cases will require full representation.


Finding an attorney with the right mix of personality, experience, and cost to help you with your divorce case is an important step in the divorce process. At Divorce Matters, we understand the importance of this decision. We match our clients with our attorneys based on all of these considerations, to ensure we deliver the best possible legal representation to every client.

If you’d like to get to know more about our attorneys visit their profiles here.

Should You Stay Together for the Kids?

Should You Stay Together for the Kids?

Everyone has heard the phrase, “Staying together for the kids.” But is it always a good idea? To decide whether sticking it out for the sake of your children is the right option for you, you should analyze the pros and cons.

Pro: It Will be Easier Financially

Maintaining two households is expensive, and many parents are struggling or barely making ends meet as is. Can you really afford for one parent to set up an apartment somewhere or buy a new home? You will probably pay more in food, gas, and utilities, to say nothing about the extra mortgage or rent payment. If you can not swing a separation financially, then you might need to stay together.

Con: An Abusive Relationship Can Harm Your Children

Some marriages are so tumultuous or abusive that your children live in fear and probably avoid asking friends to come over. Hearing that the marriage is over might elicit a sigh of relief. By ending the relationship, you can dramatically improve your children’s state of mind and can also be more available for your children.

Pro: Your Children Could be Harmed by Divorce

Many people believe that children are resilient and can come through the divorce with flying colors. Although that may be true for some children, it certainly is not true for all. As Time Magazine reported recently, many middle-aged people are speaking out about the pain they have carried from their parents’ divorce decades ago. Therapist Judith Wallerstein, for example, argued in her book The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce that children experience more serious, and longer lasting, harm than many people have suspected.

Con: You Model for Your Children that it is Okay to be Miserable

Children look to their parents as role models, and people who are miserable and constantly bickering set a terrible example for their children. Some parents wrongly believe that they are effectively hiding their disagreements from their children. But as psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps has argued, children pick up more than you might think. Children will learn that you cope with stress by denying that there is a problem””a terrible lesson for your children going forward.

Considering Divorce? Discuss Your Legal Concerns with a Lakewood, Colorado Divorce Lawyer

Whether to get divorced is a complicated question, and only you can answer it. However, if you have questions about how a divorce will affect you legally, you should meet with an experienced Greenwood divorce attorney. At Divorce Matters, we offer potential clients a free consultation, so please contact us today.


Can You Challenge A Prenup?

An ironclad prenup is the best way for a person to preserve their assets following divorce. While prenups are generally a good idea, there are plenty of ways for someone to end up with one that is unsatisfactory or unfair.

Prenups have to be done a certain way to be valid. You may have grounds to contest the terms of a prenup if any of the following are true:

  • If the terms of the prenup are “unconscionable,” then the prenup cannot be enforced. What does unconscionable mean? Basically, if the prenup is excessively unfair to one party and will leave that party destitute upon divorce, generally, the court will not enforce it.
  • If you are coerced into signing a prenup, whether by your spouse-to-be or even an attorney, you could have the prenup thrown out.
  • If the prenup contains invalid provisions, or terms that violate other laws, the prenup can be thrown out, although it is also possible for the court to strike the invalid pieces and enforce the rest of the prenup’s terms.
  • If you are rushed into signing a prenup, the prenup may be unable to be enforced. In many ways, rushing a prenup is akin to coercion.
  • If you have not read the prenup (if your spouse includes it in a stack of papers, for example, and asks you to sign them quickly) then it is possible to have the prenup nullified.
  • If one spouse lies or fails to provide complete information about income, assets and debts, it is possible to throw out the prenup.

Prenups are a very valuable tool for marrying couples, but they are not infallible. As with all matters relating to property and family law, you should speak to a family law attorney about the terms of your prenup.

Same-Sex Marriage One Year Later, And Questions Still Remain

It has been a little over one year since the historic Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling that struck down same-sex marriage bans across the country. That day came with much celebration and rejoicing, and over the course of the last year, many same-sex couples were finally able to make their love official. However, in the exuberance and fanfare, many couples may have jumped the gun, signing their marriage licenses blindly and without considering the potential ramifications if the relationship falls through. Specifically, what counts as marital property for couples who were already in a long-term relationship?

Does Property Acquired During a Long-Term Relationship Count as Marital Property?

Many same-sex couples who celebrated Obergefell by getting married had already lived together and been committed to one another for a long time. This means that these couples probably acquired quite a bit of property together, property that will need to be considered if the couple decides to divorce.

Marital property is property acquired during the marriage ”“ simple enough to understand. In divorce, marital property is divided equitably (not necessarily equally) between the spouses. But when it comes to same-sex couples who have only been legally married for a year (or a little more, since Colorado legalized it in 2014), does property acquired before marriage became legal count as marital property? Divorce law says no”¦but what about common law marriage?

Colorado is one of the few states where common law marriage exists. Common law marriage means that a couple is legally married if they both consent to be married and hold themselves out to the public as married. Even before marriage was legalized for same-sex couples, many couples swore their vows to one another in private ceremonies or even simply introduced their significant other in public as a husband or wife. Would these count as common law same-sex marriages, now that same-sex marriage is legal, and thus subject property acquired during that time to equitable division? It is a very fuzzy question and the answer has not really been established, though we imagine there will be cases coming through the courts in the years to come to determine the answer.

Does the SCOTUS Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Affect Domestic Partnerships?

If you’ve been on Facebook, you’ve probably seen a cascade of rainbow-colored profile pictures celebrating the Supreme Court ruling on the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the case that overturned same-sex marriage bans in four states and effectively legalized marriage for same-sex couples across the United States. Colorado has already had same-sex marriage on the law books for some time, but some couples have chosen to forego marriage in favor of domestic partnerships. Domestic partnerships are similar to marriage and many employers already extend benefits such as health insurance to couples in domestic partnerships.

Because Obergefell’s ruling does not mention domestic partnerships, you might be wondering how yours will be affected by the outcome on the case.

How the Supreme Court Ruling Affects Domestic Partnerships

Employer-provided benefits may change as a result of the ruling. Some employers may discontinue same-sex domestic partner benefits. You should speak with your employer about possible benefit changes and whether you need to take steps to ensure that your partner is covered. This has happened in the past with employers like Verizon and IBM, where domestic partner benefits were rescinded and employees were given a grace period to get married. Your taxes may also be affected by the change.

Our family law attorneys will be keeping an eye on the effects of the Obergefell ruling and will keep this blog updated as more news comes out that may affect your family.

Divorce Matters ”“ Denver Family Law Attorneys