Divorce Lawyer in Eagle County, Colorado
Most people think of legal proceedings as places where the two parties come in and the judge decides what to do. However, this is not always the case. Ordinary lawsuits are far more likely to settle than they are to go to trial, and the rise of collaborative divorce and divorce mediation means that family law cases share this trend. This makes a person’s ability to negotiate much more important. A divorce lawyer in Eagle County, CO from Zweig Law, PC may be at the table to help, but understanding basic negotiation strategies can lead to much more fruitful outcomes.
Take Advantage of Different Valuations
One key thing to remember during negotiations is that people have different perspectives, so two people may place different values on the same object. It pays to take advantage of that. For instance, suppose a couple owns an expensive painting and a speedboat. Those two things might be worth the same amount of money on the open market, but if one spouse loves boating and the other spouse bought the painting, then they can be divvied up much more easily.
This principle opens up two new strategies. First, if the spouses can find things that they both value highly, then they can trade them, making everyone happier. Second, if one spouse knows that there is something that they do not care about, but the other spouse greatly wants, then they can make sure to get a lot of value in the exchange.
Go in with Information
Another important thing to do before negotiations is to prepare. People who are negotiating need to understand what everything they are haggling over is actually worth. For things like bank accounts, this can be simple, but pensions, stock portfolios, and houses can be more difficult to value. Still, it is a necessary step. Otherwise, the other spouse can take advantage of the lack of information and work out a better deal for themselves.
Do Not Be Afraid to Move First
This final tip is a bit more controversial, but research bears out that it makes more sense to make the first offer in negotiations. Some people worry that if they make the first offer, they will give away their own position or start too low. That is a risk, but as long as people start with a bold but realistic offer, they can anchor the deal around that figure. That means that a well-researched opening offer can end up capturing a lot of value for the negotiator right at the beginning. There is also some concern among people that an overly aggressive opening offer will offend the other party. This does happen occasionally, but people have a surprisingly high tolerance for aggressive opening asks in negotiations.
Contact Our Family Law Firm
Remember, no matter what type of negotiations you are involved in, having a dedicated Eagle County, CO divorce lawyer advocating for you will ensure that your best interests will be protected throughout this process. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation.
How to Get Control of Your Finances During Divorce
From paying a divorce lawyer in Eagle County, CO to court fees, divorce comes with many costs. Managing your finances can be extremely tricky, especially during this difficult time. However, if you plan ahead, it’s possible to get a handle on your finances.
- Create a New Budget. A divorce is very expensive and you won’t have two incomes to rely on once the process is complete. That’s why you should reevaluate your budget as soon as possible. Write down all of your current expenses and see if you can realistically cut anything out. For example, you may be able to cut out going out to lunch at work and cancel subscription services you rarely use. Although living on a tighter budget may be tough at first, you will eventually get used to it. Living on less will reduce your financial stress.
- Separate Joint Accounts. It’s likely that you and your ex shared financial accounts while you were married. If the two of you have decided to get divorced, you should separate these accounts as soon as possible. If you neglect to do this and your ex makes charges on these accounts, you will be responsible for paying them after you’re divorced.
- Tackle Marital Debt. Dealing with marital debt is indeed stressful. However, you shouldn’t wait too long to pay it off. After your divorce, you will still be responsible for the debt if your name is on it. It’s a wise idea to start tackling your debt as soon as possible. If possible, get a second part-time job to help you pay down the debt.
- Don’t Create New Debt. A common mistake a divorce lawyer in Eagle County, CO sees people make is taking on more debt. That’s one of the last things you want to do when you’re going through a divorce. Although buying a new wardrobe or booking a tropical vacation might make you feel better in the beginning, it will just create additional financial stress down the road.
- Don’t Keep the Family Home If You Can’t Afford It. Although you may want to continue to stay in the comfort of your family home, it might not be realistic. Without two incomes to depend on anymore, you may struggle to pay for the mortgage, taxes and maintenance costs on your own. It may be wiser financially to sell the home.
Divorce Lawyer Eagle County, CO Infographic
What About the Kids?
If you have minor or otherwise dependent children, you are undoubtedly trying to figure out how to successfully navigate the aspects of your divorce process that will affect them. Know that the trusted team at Zweig Law, PC – Attorneys at Law has extensive experience assisting parents with child custody, parenting agreement, and child support issues – both complex and straightforward. Whether you are hoping to obtain sole custody of your child(ren) or to co-parent as amicably as possible, we can help you advocate for your child(ren)’s best interests.
Creating a Parenting Plan
If you and your child’s other parent disagree fundamentally about your child custody situation, we’ll need to build a strong case on your behalf that can be presented to a judge. The judge will then decide who gets custody and the terms of that arrangement. However, if you hope to coparent following your divorce, you’ll need to draw up a workable parenting plan that will (essentially) serve as a roadmap of your child custody arrangements.
Parenting plans usually detail the schedule of when a child will reside with either parent. However, they can also include other valuable information that sets expectations for the coparenting relationship moving forward. For example, you can specify that you and your co-parent will keep an online family calendar that you will both be responsible for updating so that there is no confusion as to what your child’s extracurricular schedule entails, etc. You can address how holidays will be managed, who will pick up/drop off the child when they travel between houses, etc. Our firm can help you to construct and formalize a parenting plan via negotiation, mediation, or other collaborative means.
Modifying Your Parenting Plan
It is important to understand that while parenting agreements – like other child custody and child support orders – are legally binding, they may be modified under certain circumstances. First, if you and your child’s other parent agree to modify the terms of your parenting arrangement, all that will entail is some formal paperwork and a relatively minor degree of legal assistance. However, if you don’t agree with each other that the order should be modified and/or you disagree about the kinds of changes that should be made, one of you will need to formally petition for modification. You may resolve this issue via attorney-led negotiation, mediation, or by judicial intervention. Take note that the courts will only entertain a modification petition that is contentious in the event that the family’s circumstances and/or child’s best interests have changed significantly since the initial orders were put into place. This boundary helps to ensure that parents don’t drag each other into court repeatedly for unnecessary reasons.
Modifying Your Divorce Decree
When you get a divorce in Colorado, the courts will issue a divorce decree. This decree, also referred to as a judgment of dissolution of marriage, is a court order officially terminating your marriage. As a divorce lawyer Eagle County, CO clients recommend can explain, this decree also explains the terms of your divorce and may include:
- Who is responsible for making child support payments and how much those payments will be.
- Whether one spouse is entitled to maintenance payments and how much those payments will be.
- Marital property division and property rights.
- Parental responsibilities, including custody arrangements.
But what if circumstances change? Maybe you are the custodial parent, and you lose your job, or you were receiving maintenance payments but now you are getting remarried. Can the divorce terms be modified?
Frequently Asked Questions About Modifying a Divorce Judgment
Q: The terms of my divorce are not very favorable to me. Can I change them?
A: You cannot get the terms changed simply because you do not like them unless your former spouse agrees to the proposed changes. But keep in mind that the court will consider the best interests of your children in signing off on any changes.
Q: When will the court modify my divorce judgment?
A: It depends on which terms you are trying to modify. If either party can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances since the judgment was entered, then the court may modify child support, maintenance, and/or parental responsibilities.
Q: What constitutes a substantial change in circumstances?
A: This depends on your situation. For example, if your child becomes ill and requires extensive medical treatment then that likely qualifies as a substantial change. If the party making maintenance payments loses his or her job or starts making less money, then that may constitute a substantial change. Other examples include increased cost-of-living expenses, remarriage of either party, and changes in parental responsibilities. An experienced Eagle County, CO divorce lawyer can help determine if the facts of your case constitute a substantial change in circumstances.
Q: I have a substantial change in circumstances. What do I do to get my divorce judgment modified?
A: Contact an experienced divorce attorney. The next step is petitioning the court for the modification that you want. For example, if you want to pay less in maintenance then you must specifically ask for a modification of maintenance. Note that there will be a filing fee, and the court will not approve your request without hearing from your ex-spouse.
An experienced divorce attorney can guide you through both your initial divorce and the modification process.
Must-Know Facts About Divorce in Colorado
When it becomes clear your marriage is heading for divorce, the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your family is contact an Eagle County, CO divorce lawyer that you can trust. While you may think you understand the process, each state has different laws pertaining to divorce and it is important to consult with someone who knows the details in your state. At Zweig Law, PC Attorneys at Law – we know Colorado divorce law. To help you start your journey, we’ve compiled some facts you may not know (but need to!) about divorce in Colorado:
- You must be separated for at least six months. One or both spouses may be in a hurry to end the marriage, but you cannot file for divorce in Colorado until you have been separated for at least six months. And the separation does not legally begin until a separation decree has been put in place. If you have not already started this process, an Eagle County divorce lawyer can assist you in starting the legal separation.
- You must pay to file for the divorce. Divorce is not free. In Colorado it costs $195 to file a petition to divorce. Typically the fee is paid by the spouse that petitions for divorce. Your divorce lawyer can outline the other costs associated with filing for divorce.
- You must have lived in Colorado for 90 days. If you are considering filing for divorce in Colorado, you must have lived here for at least 90 days. If you just moved here, the best option is to wait 90 days if that is feasible. If not, you will need to contact an Eagle County divorce lawyer to find out what other options you might have available to you.
- You do not necessarily have to be in court for the whole proceeding. While usually both parties filing for divorce are in court, you do not necessarily have to be for the entirety of the proceedings. If both parties have an attorney representing, you can file an Affidavit of Non-Appearance, which would allow both lawyers to go in person, rather than the soon to be ex-spouses for much of the process. However, there are several parts of the divorce process that require both parties to be present in person before the judge.
- You cannot remarry until you are legally divorce. Under the law, you can only be legally married to one person at a time, and since you are still legally married until the divorce is finalized, you must wait until the process is over to marry. Other aspects of your romantic life are not affected by the legal process. Either party can make the personal decision to date at any point in the divorce process.
- Both spouses do not need to agree to get divorced. Although the process is less complicated if both parties agree that divorce is the best option, this is not always possible. If one spouse does not agree to the divorce, the other spouse must show that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This may require both spouses to attend mediation or counseling prior to proceeding with the divorce and can prolong the process.
Divorce law is complicated and varies state to state, but the lawyers at Zweig Law, PC Attorneys at Law know all the details of divorce in Colorado. Let our Eagle, CO divorce lawyer take on the legal process so you can focus on a fresh start.
Let Us Help You with Your Case
If you need family law assistance, do not hesitate to contact a legal professional from Zweig Law, PC Attorneys at Law immediately. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation with an Eagle County, CO divorce lawyer to see if the terms of your divorce judgment can be modified and to ensure your family’s needs are met.