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Broomfield Divorce Law Blog

Why divorce can be more difficult for women than men

For Colorado couples, going through a divorce can be a difficult experience. However, the period after the divorce when a person must rely on his or her own finances can be even more difficult. This is particularly true for women, especially those who stayed at home to raise the children.

Overall, women earn less than men. When median weekly earnings are analyzed, women are paid just 82 cents for every dollar men make. This disparity can become even greater when the type of job and a woman's race are taken into account. For example, the median weekly income for men in the first three months of 2017 was $977. For white women, the median weekly income was $790 while the median weekly income dropped to $645 for black women. Interestingly, married women's median weekly earnings were higher than those of women with other relationship statuses by about 20 percent.

Why prenuptial agreements are smart choices

When a Colorado resident who is planning on getting married wants to have a prenuptial agreement, it may be difficult to bring the topic up because of fears about how the other partner might perceive the request. It is common for prospective spouses to worry that prenuptial agreements mean that the other parties are planning to get divorced in the future, but that is not necessarily true.

Marriages are essentially contracts between two people, and it is smart to treat them as such. Both parties should view them with the idea that they should protect their individual interests while also identifying the roles and responsibilities of each spouse. When people are negotiating the terms of their prenuptial agreements, they must be completely honest, disclosing their assets and debts. This can give the parties clearer ideas about their partners and whether they mesh financially.

How to use a child support calculator

Colorado divorcing parents of young children may try to estimate their child support payments through an online calculator. However, a judge may still create an order that differs wildly from what the parents thought was a reasonable amount. The calculator or worksheet will ask parents for basic information such as how much they make each year and how much time that they will spend with the child.

A judge may use information that a calculator or worksheet may not ask for. It is possible that the judge may add the cost of child care costs or medical expenses for the child. It is also possible that the judge determines that a parent is spending more time with a child than previously estimated. If an order is modified in the future, it may also differ from what a parent expected to pay or to receive.

How legal separation differs from divorce

People in Colorado who are considering a legal separation may wonder about the laws and how this arrangement differs from a divorce. While they can be permanent, legal separations are often temporary until the couple decides whether or not to end their marriage.

A legal separation has several elements that are similar to divorce. Primarily, there may be maintenance payments, which operate much like child and spousal support payments. If the couple goes on to get a divorce, the amounts awarded as separation maintenance may influence the ultimate decision around child support and alimony. The situation may be similar in regards to child custody and visitation decisions as well.

Military spouses at higher divorce risk

Those who enlist in military service may be at a higher risk for divorce. This news comes after an analysis of U.S census data reported that certain stressful careers contributed significantly to divorce risk and that military careers tended to rank most highly. While this certainly doesn't guarantee a divorce, it is something for Colorado residents to keep in mind.

Military jobs took three of the top ten spots in the analysis data for highest divorce rates. While air force careers featured more prominently, those across all ranks and branches of service were more likely to be divorced by age 30 compared to their civilian counterparts. The highest rate was for first-line enlisted military supervisors with a 30-percent divorce rate. The average divorce rate across all personnel was 15 percent.

Presumptions about divorce law could lead to mistakes

The financial costs of divorce might tempt people in Colorado to forgo legal representation, but the consequences could be costly. Well-meaning friends and relatives might offer advice, but they could easily be mistaken or unaware of how the law actually applies to an individual's situation. Child support represents one arena where the services of an attorney could produce optimal results.

Publicly available information about the state laws and formulas that guide child support calculations could make people think that they know what a payment should be, but calculation is not necessarily simple. A support payment that meets the needs of children should be based on an analysis of income, health insurance, child care costs and other job benefits. Rules also exist that allow a judge to deviate from child support guidelines when necessary to produce fair results.

How perceptions of fatherhood are changing

Colorado fathers might be more likely to stay at home with their children than fathers in previous decades. They also spend more time with their children. In a 2015 survey conducted by Pew Research Center, fathers reported spending seven hours a week on child care. This was three times the amount reported by fathers in 1965. However, by comparison, mothers in 2015 still reported spending twice as much time on child care at 15 hours weekly.

Nearly as many fathers as mothers report that parenting is central to their identity at 57 and 58 percent respectively. More than half of mothers and fathers say they always find parenthood rewarding.

Blended families and finances

Colorado residents who have left a previous marriage for a new one may be wondering about how to approach their finances in their new life. Money is an important topic of discussion for couples. It is necessary that partners communicate their values regarding money and their priorities. Two major subjects are children and savings. Spouses want to make good decisions for their children's futures and for their own as well.

Because married partners who come into the marriage after a divorce often both have children, an honest conversation about what each partner considers fair is warranted. If one partner has more children or more wealth than the other, then the two need to discuss how the money will be distributed.

Child support modifications for a change in income

Colorado parents who pay child support might wonder what to do if they have a change in jobs that results in a lower income. This could make meeting their obligations difficult or impossible.

If there is a legally binding child support order in place, the parent must apply through the court system for a modification of the amount. This must be done even if both parents agree to the change. Legally, the parent will still owe the support until the court approves the modification, and the modification is not retroactive. This means that the parent will continue to owe the same amount until the approval, so it may be important for the parent to apply quickly for the modification.

Obtaining rights to a child outside of divorce

There are times when Colorado residents who are not going through a divorce may find themselves in a child custody case. For instance, it may be necessary to determine custody or visitation rights if the parents are not married. It may also be possible for grandparents or others who are close to a child to pursue custody or visitation rights.

If a child's parents are not married, state law usually awards custody to the mother unless the father takes action to dispute this. In cases when the mother is deemed to be a good parent, the father may be granted shared custody of the child or have visitation rights. Custody or visitation arrangements may be made by court order, or the parents may come to an agreement on their own subject to court approval.

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Cooper, Tanis & Armas, P.C.
42 Garden Center
Broomfield, CO 80020

Phone: 720-399-0421
Phone: 720-399-0421
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