Your rights in a Colorado divorce do not include the right to have an attorney appointed for you. Your rights in a divorce mean that unless you have somebody who’s providing you with legal representation, to help you navigate through this not minefield. You’re not going to have the past expertise or knowledge of all of the laws that are going to apply to your case. The rights you have in your divorce case in Colorado are spelled out in many, many statutes and laws that we have.
You can also expect that if you’re in front of a judge and your spouse has a lawyer and you do not, that the court has to treat you the same way as the party who has a lawyer. That is you have to be governed by the rules of evidence when you’re trying to admit certain documents into evidence or you want the judge to concert her certain facts or you’re trying to introduce hearsay evidence and testimony. You can expect the judge to say that you have the same rights as the party that does have a lawyer. The courts in Colorado are going to treat you with dignity and respect, almost uniformly. That’s what I have seen.
When you are talking about the division of property, those are called assets in Colorado and the division of debts, there is a law that applies to how a court is going to divide property. That law says that property is going to be divided in a fair, just and equitable manner, but to read the law and to understand the case law that applies, it takes a great deal of training and experience so that the proper legal arguments can be made. It’s very difficult to do that in a vacuum when you do not have experience. Years ago I represented a party in a divorce who was going to college full time and working a job.
This man came to see me and said, “I don’t have time to read all the divorce laws and understand all of my rights. Even though I want to represent myself, I don’t think I can do an adequate job.” Most of the time, it takes that revelation for you to accept the fact that you need help, and that these are very serious matters. These are consequences that are involved oftentimes children and property and spouse’s support, child support, and everything is getting thrown at you all at once. Together with a legal process, that is going to dictate when you have to do things and how they’re to be done and having that revelation that you need help could be the biggest decision that you make and oftentimes the wisest decision you make.