Top 3 Misconceptions Clients Have Regarding Domestic Relations Proceedings
Often times potential clients come into a consultation having already acted in regards to their legal issue based on common misconceptions regarding how the domestic relations legal process works. Avoiding these misconceptions will help you understand this process and your rights.
Its Titled In My Name, So It Must Be My Separate PropertyThis is by far the most common misconception that people have regarding divorce. For the most part, anything acquired during the marriage (including debt) is marital property. You can have a 401(k) in your name and your spouse can have a bank account in just their name. If the account was created during the marriage, its marital property. So what happens if you created the account or bought the house before the marriage? Then the equity that you had prior to the marriage would be separate property, however the increase in value from the time of the marriage to the date of decree would be marital property subject to division by the Court.
Colorado Is An Equitable Distribution State, So Everything Will Be Split 50/50This is another misconception by many clients. While Colorado is an equitable distribution state, that doesn't always mean that everything will be split 50/50. Equitable in Colorado means fair given the circumstances. The key word here is circumstances. Every divorce is different and what might be equitable in one divorce might not be equitable in the divorce going on in the next courtroom. All that said, usually an equitable distribution of the estate is between the 50/50 and 45/55 range. Just know that isn't a guarantee.
Child Support Is An Obligation To The Other ParentWrong. Child Support is an obligation from one parent to the children subject to the child support order. The theory is that each parent has a percentage of responsibility based on various criteria set forth in the child support worksheet. The parent receiving the child support is receiving the money to use for the children's benefit. This misconception can really have long term financial ramifications. For example, many people use the concept of "I'll waive child support" as a negotiation point for some other consideration. This can be a false promise, because after the agreement is in place, the parent that waived child support can request child support and they'll likely get it, since child support is a right of the child and not the right of a parent to waive.