Divorce is a complex and often misunderstood process. In Colorado, as in many other places, several myths surround divorce, leading to confusion and misconceptions. This article aims to debunk some of the most common myths about divorce in Colorado, providing clarity and accurate information.
Myth 1: Divorce Always Ends in Court Battles
Reality: Not all divorces end up in court. Many couples in Colorado opt for alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or collaborative divorce. These approaches encourage couples to work together to resolve issues, often resulting in a more amicable and less costly process than a court battle.
Myth 2: The Mother Always Gets Custody of Children
Reality: Colorado law does not favor mothers over fathers in custody decisions. The court’s primary concern is the best interests of the child, considering factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the parents’ ability to provide care, and the child’s adjustment to home, school, and community.
Myth 3: You Can Deny Visitation if Your Ex Doesn’t Pay Child Support
Reality: Child support and visitation rights are treated separately by the courts in Colorado. Non-payment of child support does not legally justify denying the other parent their visitation rights. These issues should be addressed through legal channels.
Myth 4: Divorce is Always Expensive
Reality: The cost of divorce in Colorado varies widely depending on the complexity of the case and the method of divorce chosen. While some divorces, especially those that require extensive litigation, can be expensive, others, such as uncontested divorces or those settled through mediation, can be significantly less costly.
Myth 5: Marital Property is Always Split 50/50
Reality: Colorado is an equitable distribution state, not a community property state. This means that marital property is divided equitably, but not necessarily equally. The court considers various factors to decide a fair distribution, which might not always result in a 50/50 split.
Myth 6: You Can Get Divorced in Colorado Immediately
Reality: Colorado has a mandatory waiting period for divorce. The soonest a divorce can be finalized is 91 days after the petition for divorce is filed and served, provided all issues are resolved and the court is available to process the decree.
Myth 7: Infidelity Leads to Larger Settlements
Reality: Colorado is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that the court does not consider marital misconduct, such as infidelity, when dividing property or determining alimony. The primary considerations are each spouse’s financial circumstances, the length of the marriage, and each spouse’s contribution to marital assets.
Myth 8: Prenuptial Agreements are Ironclad
Reality: While prenuptial agreements are generally upheld in Colorado, they can be challenged and invalidated under certain circumstances, such as if they were signed under duress, if they are unconscionably unfair, or if there was a lack of full financial disclosure.
Myth 9: Alimony is Guaranteed for the Lesser-Earning Spouse
Reality: Alimony, known as spousal maintenance in Colorado, is not automatic. It is awarded based on a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, and the financial resources of each spouse.
Myth 10: Your Divorce Lawyer Will Handle Everything
Reality: While a divorce lawyer can handle the legal aspects of your divorce, there are many other aspects, such as emotional support and financial planning, that you might need to address separately. It’s also important to be actively involved in your case which includes document and information gathering, filling out financial affidavits, and maintaining records throughout the process.
Understanding the realities of divorce in Colorado is crucial for anyone considering or going through the process. Dispelling these myths can help manage expectations and lead to a more informed and less stressful divorce experience. Always consult with a qualified legal professional to get accurate information and advice specific to your situation.