If you find yourself facing divorce…
You should have an experienced family law attorney representing your interests and educating you on your rights and reasonable expectations. The outcome of this process will likely have long-term consequences so it is important to get it right.
Divorce and child custody cases can be complex and you should have an attorney who focuses in this area of the law. Since 2010 I have devoted my law practice to domestic relations law and have eighteen years experience as an attorney.
Attorney Drew Richman can represent you in your divorce with attention to the following issues:
Because it can be difficult to predict the outcome of any trial I work hard to negotiate reasonable settlements for my clients. However, when a reasonable settlement is not possible I am an aggressive advocate for my clients in the courtroom. Trials require knowledge and compliance with rules of court and evidence and self represented parties are held to the same standard as attorneys. This is litigation and not something you want to try and handle without an attorney. I have been trying cases for over eighteen years.
Some of the cases I handle are considered complex divorces because they involve high value asset estates into the seven figures with complicated property holdings, such as trusts, multiple homes and business interests. Regardless of who you are or what the issues may be I will exercise the utmost discretion and confidentiality while working with you through your divorce.
I will personally oversee every aspect of your case, including management of the expert team that is often required to prepare a complex estate in divorce to mediation or trial. Knowing the right experts to bring in as part of your divorce team and managing those experts is a critical part of how your case will be handled.
Division of Marital Property
In Colorado all property acquired subsequent to your marriage is presumed to be marital property and is subject to equitable division by the court. Even the gain or loss in value of your separate property that occurs during the marriage is characterized as marital property.
Part of my job as your attorney is to help you determine whether your property is going to be characterized as marital and how it should be appraised.
Property appraisers and other experts are often a cost effective part of our divorce team we will utilize to ensure you the best outcome at settlement or trial.
This is often your most valuable marital asset.
Typical issues for early consideration include:
- Which spouse stays in the house while the case is pending (this can be court ordered if necessary)
- Is the house current on its mortgage obligations
- Who is going to pay the mortgage during the divorce process
- Did one spouse own the property pre-marriage
- What is the marital equity in the property
- What type of contributions did each spouse make towards the purchase
In the end, a marital residence is typically dealt with by selling it and dividing the proceeds or by one party buying out the other’s marital interest in exchange for 100% ownership.
Retirement accounts such as IRAs, 401(k)s, pensions, and PERA benefits each need to be characterized and valued carefully. Some of these accounts can be divided through the use of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs) and may even be cashed out without incurring a penalty, however, there will be tax consequences.
Business interests are typically characterized in several ways, one for division of marital interests and another for the personal income they generate. Determining these values requires selecting the right forensic experts. Scrutiny of ordinary operating expenses, future contracts, and history of earnings is critical to the process and is often the subject of dispute.
If either spouse has an interest in a trust it will need to be interpreted to determine whether there is a marital property component and what its value is. Experts will often be used to quantify these interests so they can be accurately presented at negotiation or in court.
Often the spouse who generated the most income during the marriage will be faced with temporary and permanent maintenance obligations. The duration and amount of alimony depend on a multitude of factors set forth by statute and are subject to arguments on each side. Maintenance is not taxed as income to the paying spouse and is taxed as income to the receiving spouse. Maintenance can be contractually waived or negotiated by agreement and this is an important part of the negotiating process. Circumstances change and that may mean a maintenance award needs to be modified. I will need to consider your facts in order to determine whether this is an option for you.
Both parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children. Colorado uses a presumptive guideline amount for child support based on each parents’ gross income and the annual number of overnights spent with each parent. Expenses paid by a parent such as health insurance premiums, work or education related daycare, and extraordinary medical expenses are also factored in to the calculation. If a parent is not employed or is underemployed a court can impute them with a higher income unless they meet one of the legal exceptions. Child support may be modified when there exists a continuing and substantial change of circumstances, such as a disability, job loss or change in parenting time.