By Sarah T. McCain
Often times, the topic of divorce is mentioned and thoroughly discussed in a home prior to either party taking any action to start the process. In those cases, the parties may have a good idea of the agreements they want to make between themselves. Those agreements may generally remain the same throughout the process and may ultimately be memorialized in their final Colorado divorce paperwork.
With the hope of resolving their divorce amicably, agreements may be reached prior to the parties even exchanging their full financial disclosures. Financial disclosures are documents and/or information required to be filed in all dissolution of marriage cases and lay out each party’s financial picture, including income, expenses, debts, and assets. If you have executed a financial settlement agreement prior to these disclosures being exchanged that agreement may be at risk in that if the financial disclosures and agreements do not essentially match, either party or the court may seek to nullify the agreement based on improper disclosure. As such, it may be recommended that you hold off on taking the time to draft, sign, and file any financial agreements with the court until you have exchanged your full financial disclosures. This may save the time and conflict of having an agreement that is later overturned. An agreement being overturned can be avoided if both of the parties are open and honest with all disclosures in their initial communications and disclosures. Your divorce attorney will certainly advise you about the risks of proceeding without full financial disclosures being made.
Once you have reached an agreement, it is a good idea to have a qualified Denver family law attorney review your agreements, as relates to both finances and parenting issues. An attorney may be able to spot some common pitfalls that individuals often make when putting together an agreement. Often, the biggest pitfall the parties run into is being too vague. This is common when the parties are quite amicable during a divorce and are acting under a belief that this amicability will remain the same for the remaining years they are in contact.
Though everyone hopes the amicability will prevail for all time, this is not always the case. When you have to rely on a legal document as your guide regarding the division of a specific holiday time or other specific child custody provisions you want to make sure that your plan covers as many specifics as it can. It is not unusual for an attorney to see a document put together by parties to a divorce or custody case which states the parties will agree to agree to something down the road. The question must be asked at the time of drafting, “what happens if you are no longer amicable and no longer in agreement?” This is where an experienced Colorado divorce and custody attorney can also assist you in making sure the finer, specific points make it into an agreement, including provisions to cover scenarios that you may run into in the future. After you have a final agreement, an attorney can also assist you in putting together the final documents and giving you first-hand knowledge on what to expect for the court appearances that you may have to make to finalize your divorce.
Even in those cases where the parties are amicable, have discussed their situation, and may have reached many agreements, it can be helpful to know the options and the procedure should your agreement fall apart or how to deal with the remaining items that are not agreed upon. An attorney can provide you with their legal opinion regarding what may happen if you proceed to court in a contested fashion and the steps that would be required should the decision to proceed to court take place. When we have a toothache, we identify the problem as best we can and then see a dentist. When our car quits running, we might try to fix it, but ultimately know that a mechanic will likely be needed. The same analogies hold true with a divorce or custody situation. By all means, agree to anything and everything you can. Amicability leads to a calmer future for all involved. Just keep in mind that the watchful and thorough eye of an experienced attorney can help you effectuate those agreements in a proper and binding fashion.
If you have questions about the divorce process and what you can expect with your particular situation, contact Plog & Stein, P.C. today. Our Denver divorce lawyers are available to speak with clients throughout all metro area counties!