Denver Divorce Mediation - Ann L. Sussman, Attorney at Law
I help couples planning to get married to protect their assets and property in the event of a divorce or death. This is accomplished by the drafting of a premarital (also known as prenuptial) agreement. I can also review agreements drafted either by the parties or the future spouse’s lawyer, if one has been retained.
If parties are entering into a same-sex domestic partnership, there are no marital laws to their legal rights in the event of that the partnership ends or if either partner dies.
I draft domestic partnership agreements to provide couples with the legal protection they would otherwise lack.
In Colorado, the term Child Custody is now referred to as parental responsibility. The term parental responsibility covers both the issues of parenting time (visitation) and decision-making. Colorado law directs the judge to focus on the best interests of the children in order to determine how to allocate parental responsibility. Judges rely on both the specific facts of the case as well as the law set forth in Colorado Revised Statute Section 14-10-115.
The question as to how to allocate parental responsibility between the parents can be the major source of high conflict in a divorce case. Sometimes parents have very different views as to which of them is best suited to act in the best interests of their child or children.
Parents can reach an agreement as to a parenting plan or proceed to trial and let the judge make the decision. Depending on the parties’ agreement or judge’s decision, parents may share equally in parenting time and decision-making. Parental responsibility can also be awarded solely or primarily to one of the parents. It all comes down to a determination as to the best interests of the child or children.
My philosophy is that parents must, at all costs, avoid engaging in destructive, retaliatory behaviors when addressing parental responsibility issues, as it is ultimately damaging to their children. It is frequently most beneficial to the child if the parents can reach agreements rather than devoting their efforts towards discrediting and disparaging the other in order to get the judge to align with one parent or the other. If the case must proceed to trial, the parents can still minimize the trauma for their children.
I guide the client through the process, obtaining experts if necessary. My dual goals are to zealously advocate on my client’s behalf while simultaneously keeping focused on the well-being of the children.
Child support is calculated according to a formula determined by Colorado state law. Whether the parent is to receive child support or pay it, the applicable law is Colorado Revised Statute Section 14-10-115. The law can be difficult to understand and will typically require the parties to provide financial documents and other relevant documents such as medical and daycare expenses. I will explain how child support is determined and have the means to calculate child support payments. I also provide assistance to parents who seek to modify (reduce or increase) child support payments. Both Colorado Revised Statute Sections 14-10-122 and 14-10-115 set forth the legal guidelines for modification of child support.
The term maintenance was formerly known as alimony. Factors which must be considered are set forth in Colorado Revised Statute Section 14-10-114. There is no mathematical formula for calculating maintenance. Rather, maintenance is determined by consideration of several factors including but not limited to the following: the length of the marriage, income, earning capacity, educational background, and the parties’ joint and separate property.
Each situation has its own unique set of circumstances and I work extensively with clients in order to ensure that I possess all the information I need from both my client and the other party, so that informed decisions can be made.
If you or your family wishes to adopt a child or children or if you wish to adopt your grandchild or stepchild, I will guide you through the process. I handle stepparent adoptions, grandparent adoptions, and same-sex adoptions.