Divorce & Legal Separation
“…the firm’s primary objective is to permit our clients to leave their marriages, emotionally and financially stable and ready to take on the next chapter in their lives.”
What is Divorce & Legal Separation?
Statistics say that divorce is one of the top three most difficult events in a person’s life.
No divorce case is immune from conflict. The shortest marriages can come with the most conflict while the longest marriages may come with the most emotional turmoil. In any case, the firm’s primary objective is to permit our clients to leave their marriages, emotionally and financially stable and ready to take on the next chapter in their lives. We do not treat our clients like a revenue center. We treat them as people with individual goals and expectations. While no two cases are alike, we start every case by first analyzing and prioritizing the client’s goals and expectations. In the best case scenarios, goals lower on the client’s list are higher on opposing party’s list, which makes the case more likely to settle. However, when the parties’ goals are the same, even a case with only a few issues can be a huge battle.
It can be very difficult to define what a client might expect in any divorce case.
The same case with different attorneys or in a different jurisdiction can be resolved in vastly different ways. That is why it is so critical to have an advocate that can adapt, negotiate strategically, and litigate fiercely when necessary. We are not aggressive for the sake of being aggressive. Instead, we aggressively pursue the most difficult and highest stakes outcomes, not by pounding on tables and beating our chests, but by constantly adapting to difficult situations and tackling the most challenging obstacles. The key to success in any family law matter is to be organized and prepared. While a case may start low conflict and seemingly require little work, most cases will go sideways and require a strategic and experienced professional who is ready for anything.
The State of Colorado understands the challenges and conflict that surround most family law cases. That is in part why Colorado is a no fault state, not because the Court is not mindful of the reasons why people get divorced, but instead to provide access to the Court in a manner that is focused much more on the future after divorce rather than the troubled past. In addition, the Court established a separate rule of civil procedure that applies to all family law cases to help expedite or at least avoid the lengthy delays that often plague civil cases. For most intents and purposes, the procedure in most family law cases is the same including divorce, legal separation, and parental responsibilities. Furthermore, the primary difference between a legal separation and divorce is the decree that is issued at the end. Legal separation is appropriate in only a few circumstances: when a party may need health insurance to cover preexisting conditions; when a party knows the relationship is over but does not want to be the one to file; or when a party cannot file for divorce for religious reasons.
“There is a statutory cooling off period in Colorado that precludes the Court from issuing a decree of dissolution of marriage/legal separation for at least 91 days after personal service.”
While the firm cannot provide a comprehensive timeline that will apply to your case in this forum, the parties in any family law case can expect a similar process or chronological order of events. These events include:
File a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/Legal Separation with or without children
Personally serve a summons on the opposing party unless he/she agrees to waive such service
Attend an Initial Status Conference, which must occur within 6 weeks of personal service by rule and is an organizational meeting conducted by a family court facilitator or a judicial officer. While this is the first court appearance, it is usually not a forum where orders are issued
Exchange financial disclosures with the opposing party to help resolve the financial issues in the case, usually prior to the Initial Status Conference
Attend a mandatory parenting class in cases involving children
Schedule a temporary orders hearing, especially in jurisdictions where permanent orders hearings are being set numerous months out, and parties need court orders sooner than later
Attend mediation, which enables the parties to attempt to resolve their cases out of court, is far less expensive and gives the parties more control over the outcome, but often comes with compromises
Complete additional efforts to acquire necessary information and documents to enable the parties to prepare to settle or for a contested hearing. This can include formal discovery, depositions, engaging experts to complete evaluations, subpoenas, etc.
Attend permanent orders hearing, which is the final hearing where all issues that remain unresolved are resolved by the Court
There is a statutory cooling off period in Colorado that precludes the Court from issuing a decree of dissolution of marriage/legal separation for at least 91 days after personal service. The simplest cases can be resolved quickly and occasionally before the 91st day. However, parties are still required to exchange disclosures, which can be time consuming. In cases that have high conflict, high stakes, or complex issues, a family law case can take up to a year. However, Courts generally disfavor protracted litigation and unnecessary delay. The firm generally believes that the longer a case takes to resolve, the more polarized the parties become. Therefore, significant efforts are made to resolve cases out of court while at the same time preparing for contested hearing when necessary. Due to the firm’s extensive accounting background, many options and strategies will receive a cost benefit analysis with the goal of leaving as much of the financial resources in the family. However, some issues cannot be analyzed in this way, especially issues involving children or issues that are the most contested for other than financial reasons.
Because Attorney Márquez has represented more than 500 clients, he has gained an extraordinarily amount of experience in very complex cases. As a result, the firm is equipped to take on the biggest challenges and to find the most efficient and appropriate solutions under any given set of circumstances. Learn about these challenges by scheduling a free consultation with one of our competent and compassionate attorneys.
Divorce & Legal Separation Services
Attorney Márquez’s extensive experience in high conflict, complex financial, and high asset family law cases affords him the unique ability to help parties find detailed and often creative solutions to solve their cases. He is an empathetic and active listener, but more importantly, he is honest, practical and effective. Less time is spent on rehashing the conflict than on understanding the conflict to formulate options that lead to resolutions.
We look forward to assisting you find ways to resolve your complex cases efficiently and fairly.