Divorcee Rights for Women in Colorado

by Jim Thomas

A divorce can be shattering, and in some cases a woman may be so traumatized or intimidated at the breakup of her marriage that she doesn't exercise some or all of her legal rights. If you are divorcing in Colorado, there a number of rights you can assert in order to achieve the best outcome for yourself and your children. Talk with a professional if you have any questions about your rights during the divorce process in Colorado.

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Property Division

Be sure to exercise your right to receive a fair distribution of the property owned by you and your husband. As the First Wives World website explains, Colorado uses an equitable distribution formula to divide a couple's assets. It also uses a dual classification system, which means there are two types of property in a divorce: separate and marital property. If you brought certain property into the marriage, it will be awarded to you during divorce proceedings. Marital property -- assets that were acquired by both of you during the marriage -- are divided between the parties, either by the court or by agreement among the divorcing couple. Family law attorney Janelle Weinstein advises couples to take a practical approach to divvying up their stuff. "If you are arguing over who gets the 'Endless Love' CD or a hair brush, you and your soon-to-be ex are spiraling out of control."

Child Custody

Nothing is more important than the welfare of your children. If you have kids, your main concern is to ensure that they will be harmed as little as possible by the divorce. As the Divorce Resolutions website notes, a 2006 law in Colorado eliminated the somewhat antiquated terms "child custody" and "visitation," replacing them with parental responsibility and time sharing. Colorado and every other state bases custody decisions on the best interests of the child. The judge considers the wishes of the child, especially if he is older, as well as the parties' value systems, signs of abuse, violence or neglect in the marriage, and the ability of each parent to put the child's interests first.

Child Support and Alimony

The financial welfare of your and your children is essential to your future as a divorced woman. Child support payments are based on an income shares formula, which requires the parent who makes more money to pay a higher share. Either party can be awarded alimony by the court. You can be awarded sufficient alimony to take care of yourself and your children if their age or condition makes it impractical for you to work.

Mediation

Many Colorado courts require you to attempt to arrive at a mediated settlement to property division, custody and child support and alimony issues. Mediation can enable you and your ex-husband to devise your own solutions to the issues, and perhaps lessen the animosity between you after the divorce. If you're able to work out your differences, the court will approve the mediated agreement and it becomes legally binding on both of you. Colorado law requires a status conference within 40 days of the divorce filing, which also gives you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse a chance to work out your differences with a family law facilitator. Mediation is confidential and it does not deprive you of any of your rights. If it fails, you still get your day in court. If it succeeds, you are not at the mercy of the judge's decision.

Modifications and Enforcements of Agreements

Your situation may change after your divorce -- you may remarry or get a new job in Seattle. The legal system in Colorado takes these changes into account. You can request for a modification of a court order if your circumstances have materially changed, says the McGuane and Hogan law firm. For example, if you lose your job or if you become sick or disabled, the court might modify the divorce decree. If your ex-spouse violates the agreement and doesn't live up to his obligations concerning money issues or parent sharing arrangements, you can ask the court to enforce the agreement.