The following 'Frequently Asked Questions' is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in lieu of legal advice.
Laws and their interpretations are constantly changing. If you have concerns or questions about the following, please contact an attorney.
Judy West makes no guarantees about the application of the following information to your specific situation.
- How Long Before My Divorce is Final? Mediation saves time.
- How Much Does Mediation Cost? Mediation saves money.
- Outcome: Mediation v. Court Order
- If Mediation Fails, Then What?
- Tax Filing Status Determined on Last Day of the Year.
- What is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order or QDRO?
The mandatory waiting period after filing the divorce petition is 90 days in Colorado. If all documents are complete, your Decree may be entered on or after the 91st day, or at the conclusion of your Contested Hearing. It is not unusual for a contested divorce to take up to two years to complete in many Colorado District Courts. You and the other party may be required to participate in mediation prior to a Contested Hearing, whether or not you are represented by an attorney. This is an opportunity to resolve any issues. You will need to provide proof of the mediation to the Court. Couples who mediate with Colorado Mediators & Arbitrators generally complete all documents and agreements within the 90 day timeframe.
Couples who mediate with me spend an average of $950 - $2,250 to complete divorce agreements and paperwork. This average represents 2 - 3 four hour mediation sessions. Homework completed in-between sessions saves time in mediation, and consequently lowers the overall cost. Couples generally split the hourly fee, and the number of billable hours necessary to produce agreement are generally a fraction of the time necessary for litigation of a contested divorce.
In contested matters, the judge or magistrate makes a decision on contested matters and issues an order that is binding. Often the court relies on the services of Professionals, such as Child Family Investigators (CFI's), Parenting Coordinators (PC's), and Psychologists. You may or may not agree with the court's order or the professional's findings and written reports.
Agreement is not guaranteed in mediation; however, there is no guarantee that a specific outcome in the court will be more desireable. Some of the most contentious cases are those brought after the divorce is finalized due to lack of agreement with an imposed decision. Gaining agreement through mediation allows couples to retain a greater degree of control over the decisions that affect their personal and family lives. Agreements created in mediation are more creative than what the strict letter of the law provides for, and can be tailored to address specific concerns of the restructured family. Couples who participate in creating their own agreements tend to be happier and abide by the agreements that they have created.
If on the last day of the year, you are unmarried or legally separated from your spouse under a divorce or separate maintenance decree and you do not qualify for another filing status.
An individual may be able to roll over tax-free all or part of a distribution from a qualified retirement plan that he or she received under a QDRO. If a person receiving QDRO payments is either the employee's spouse or former spouse (not as a nonspousal beneficiary), then he or she can roll it over, just as if he or she were the employee receiving a plan distribution and choosing to roll it over.