FAQs And Common Misconceptions

My friend told me that since my child is 12 years old, he can make his own decisions about parenting time. Right?

While one of the factors the court will consider is "the wishes of the child if he or she is sufficiently mature to express reasoned and independent preferences as to the parenting time schedule," there is no specific age in Colorado at which a minor child can make an absolute determination as to his or her own parenting time schedule. Also, the judge will not let your child come testify in court as to his or her preferences.

If my spouse is cheating on me, will I get more spousal maintenance or marital assets?

No. Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, so this is irrelevant. One party just has to assert that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The court will not take extramarital affairs into consideration in deciding the division of property or award of maintenance. The only time it may affect the outcome of the case is when the cheating spouse has depleted marital funds on wining and dining his new paramour.

I gave my wife a really expensive ring when we got engaged/married. That's my property, and I should get it back!

Sorry. Engagement and wedding rings are considered gifts to the other spouse, and so the court cannot order their return.

I only have to pay child support until my child turns 18, correct?

The age of emancipation in Colorado for purposes of child support is 19. Children can emancipate prior to age 19 due to marriage, military service or other specific circumstances.

If my ex is late paying child support, they don't get to see the kids, right?

Wrong. Nonpayment of child support does not impact parenting time, and you may not use it to justify withholding the children from the nonpaying parent.

We've lived together for (X) months or years, so we're automatically common-law married, aren't we?

No. There is no specific length of time required to establish a common-law marriage. Although cohabitation is one element that the court will consider, there are many other factors to consider. Primarily, it comes down to the parties' intent; did they intend to be married, and hold themselves out to the community, friends and relatives as married?

My adult child is going through a divorce, and we don't get along very well, but I want to make sure that I see my grandkids. Can't I get court-ordered time with them?

Probably not. While grandparents may file for visitation rights in a pending domestic relations case, it is highly unlikely that the court will award visitation. Fit parents are presumed to act in their children's best interests, and the parents' rights trump those of the grandparents'.

Won't all marital property automatically be divided 50-50?

No; Colorado is an equitable division state, rather than an equal division or a community property state. While the court may begin with a presumption of 50-50 division of property in determining a final outcome, it is not required to order an equal division.

If we already agree on the division of property, we don't need to file sworn financial statements, do we?

Unfortunately, each party is required to file a separate sworn financial statement with the court, even if they have already reached a full agreement. The court must review the separation agreement to ensure that it is fair and not unconscionable, and so it must have the information provided in the sworn financial statements.

If my spouse controls all of our money and I don't have the funds for attorney's fees at the beginning of my case, can't I just have him pay my attorney at the end of the case?

While you may be awarded some portion of your attorney's fees at a temporary orders hearing, or at the final permanent orders hearing, you will still need to pay your attorney a retainer to commence the case. Also, the court will more than likely order each party to be responsible for some portion of their fees. Your spouse may agree, however, to pay some or all of your attorney's fees and costs.

Call the Lakewood firm of Diane S. Freed, P.C., today at 303-500-8865, or email our lawyer.