December 1998 & January 1999

Settling The Financial Issues In Divorce
Crafting an appropriate settlement of the financial issues in a divorce can be a complicated task. Based on my experiences as a mediator and expert witness in divorce cases, couples are often overwhelmed by where to start the process and how to sort through a complicated maze of financial information and competing financial needs. Successfully solving any complex problem begins with dividing each element of the problem into a series of simpler tasks.

Most financial issues in divorce fall into the following three categories:

Logic as well as the Colorado Statutes dictates the order in which the financial issues in these categories are addressed. Property division issues must be addressed first. Any income derived from assets awarded in the property division must be taken into account in determining a need or ability to pay spousal maintenance and child support. Likewise, child support cannot be properly calculated under the Colorado child support guidelines without first knowing how much income is derived from the property division and spousal support. Therefore, child support should be the last category of financial issues to be addressed in a divorce.

Property Division Steps

Under the Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) Section 14-10-113, a property division usually contains four phases:

  1. Identification of the the financial estate
  2. Valuation of the financial estate.
  3. Categorization of assets and liabilities as separate or marital property
  4. Setting aside separate property and equitably dividing the martial property
Spousal Support

Under CRS Section 14-10-114, a spouse must demonstrate a need for spousal support by following these mechincal steps:

Child Support

Under CRS Section 14-10-115, child support is determined under a set of guidelines. These guidelines are intended to bring objectivity and consistency to child support awards and are based on the relative gross income of both spouses from all sources not specifically excluded by statute.

A major stress factor for spouses in divorce is a fear of the unknown. Practitioners assisting divorcing couples can provide a useful service by explaining how the mechanics of a financial settlement work. Spouses who understand how the process works are less likely to take no-compromise positions on financial issues and more likely to work out settlements that meet the needs of both parties.

  • Valuation Report Critiques
  • Business Valuations
  • Financial Litigation Support
  • Expert Witness Services
  • Mediation of Financial Disputes
  • Arbitration of Financial Disputes
  • Buy/Sell Formulas
  • Court Appointed Special Master
  • Court Appointed Receiver
  • Economic Loss Analysis
  • Gift & Estate Valuations
  • Financial Issues in Divorce