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Aurora Family Law Lawyer

Family Law - Get the Help You Need

Whether you are considering divorce or need help in resolving a child custody or visitation rights issue, the legal challenges you face can seem confusing and overwhelming. It is important to have access to the legal assistance you need to make the right decisions.

What Does Family Law Involve?

Family law involves the legal aspects of family relationships. There are five major types of family law actions:

  • Dissolution (AKA Divorce)/Separation (includes spousal maintenance – AKA alimony)
  • Declaration of Invalidity (AKA Annulment)
  • Paternity
  • Allocation of Parental Responsibility (child custody and support)
  • Third Party and Grandparent Proceedings
Dissolution (Divorce)/Separation

Getting divorced is often an emotional event. There are many approaches to resolving divorce issues such as negotiation, meditation, collaboration and uncontested divorce. In Colorado, divorce is called "dissolution of marriage." Colorado is a “no fault” state which allows couples to dissolve their marriage without being required to establish specific grounds to do so. The legal standard is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” One party may file for dissolution or both parties may file together as long as at least one has been a resident of Colorado for at least 91 days.

Declaration of Invalidity (Annulment)

There are various statutory reasons why a marriage might not be considered valid such as the lack of capacity to consent to marriage or an underage marriage. Your attorney can help to explore whether any of the statutory reasons apply in your case.

Paternity

Sometimes paternity of a child is unclear or disputed. In these cases the Court can assist in resolving such issues and declare paternity. There are certain situations that result in paternity presumptions, such as when a man and women are married during the birth of a child. A presumption can be rebutted based on clear and convincing evidence. A Motion for Genetic Testing can be filed by a child, a mother, the presumed father and certain state agencies. Paternity must be established before an allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody and support) can occur.

Allocation of Parental Responsibility (Child Custody)/Child Support

Would you like to set forth rights and responsibilities with regards to the residency and care of children?
The legal standard is the best interests of the child with a list of specific factors to consider. There is no automatic presumption in favor of either parent, so either the father or mother may be awarded primary custody. A court looks at several factors such as who the primary caretaker has been, and at a party’s ability to prioritize the needs of the child, as well as other factors.

When couples separate or divorce, often one party is the primary custodial parent - the parent with whom the child primarily resides. The non-custodial parent will often have the child in his or her care for specific period of time (AKA visitation). It some cases, the parties have joint custody, where both parents have the children for substantial amounts of time. The legal standard for joint custody is that the children must spend at least 92 overnights with one parent in order to constitute joint custody. This often works best when children are not yet in school, or when parties reside in the same school district for school-age children. An Allocation of Parental Responsibilities action can be part of a divorce or a completely separate action for parties who are not married.

Your attorney can explain child custody and parenting time options and help you create a parenting plan that will work best for you and your family. The needs and desires of every family are different.

Would you like to receive support for children from the other parent?
The legal standard is set forth in the Colorado Child Support Guidelines which use an income shares approach and take into account the number of overnights with a parent, allowing for income proportional add-on expenses, such as those for work-related childcare, and certain child-related medical, educational and travel expenses.

Financial responsibility for children varies based on each party's finances. The Court can issue an order establishing the amount of money to be paid by one party to the other and specify a payment schedule. Usually support is paid on a monthly basis. The amount depends on income and how much time the children spend with each parent. Both parents are obligated to support their children. Your attorney can calculate the amount of child support using the Colorado Child Support Guidelines.

Third Party and Grandparent Proceedings

A non-parent may petition for an allocation of parental responsibilities of a child who is not in the physical care of the child’s parents. Additionally, a grandparent may request that a court order grandchild visitation under certain circumstances. However, as set forth in the landmark Supreme Court case Troxel v. Granville, parents are granted special protections with regards to their relationships with their children, and courts are limited in intervening in family relationships where the parents are properly caring for their children.

Legal Help with Resolving Your Family Law Issue

Nearly everyone faces some type of family law issue in their lives. Family law issues are uniquely personal and emotional. The insight and guidance of a knowledgeable and compassionate family law attorney is invaluable to help eliminate unnecessary stress when dealing with such issues. Consult with your Colorado family attorney with any questions. If you are looking for a dependable guide to lead you through the difficult and unfamiliar divorce and family law terrain, contact me at 720-709-4729, or by using the online contact form.

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