9035 Wadsworth Parkway Suite 4500

Westminster, CO 80021

Domestic & Family Law

Unfortunately, many in our society suffer the difficult and agonizing effects of separation, divorce and child custody matters.  The law firm of Charles E. Longtine, P.C. is experienced in assisting individuals facing these types of difficult situations.

Areas of Practice:

  • Divorce
  • Legal Separation
  • Child Custody
  • Child Support and Parenting Time
  • Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
  • Property Division
  • Modification of Orders already in place

What is Divorce?

  • Divorce is: (a) the dissolution of the bonds of marriage; (b) the legal process of getting out of a marriage. 

What if your spouse is divorcing you? 

  • Under present “no fault divorce” law in Colorado, if your spouse files for divorce and asserts that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” (for whatever reason—good or bad), he or she will be able to get out of the marriage, regardless of your own preferences. 
  • Many people whose spouses are filing divorce actions against them do not want the divorce to go through, and would like to keep the marriage intact.  In such cases, you may be able to appeal to your spouse and/or get others involved to stop or slow down the process and try to resolve the problems leading to the filing of the divorce. 
  • If your spouse is divorcing you, it is often wise to retain an attorney for representation in the matter.  Though legal representation can often be expensive, it can be less expensive in the long run by protecting relational interests and rights with children, as well as protecting financial and property rights afforded by law.

 What kind of divorce or domestic attorney should you get?

  • It depends on what your goals are in the divorce.  You will probably want an attorney who shares your values and will help you attain your goals.  Attorneys have different philosophies of the nature of divorce, when divorce is appropriate or not, alternatives to divorce, the process of divorce and/or of resolving conflicts, etc.
  • If you have minor children and you will be sharing custody (“parenting time”) with your spouse and will see your spouse on a regular basis, you may value preserving some of the relationship with your spouse after the divorce.  Other people want nothing to do with their spouse after the divorce. 
  • Some attorneys care about the effects of divorce on the respective parties and their children; other attorneys look at the client merely as a means of making money out of the divorce or getting the most money for their client regardless of the effects on the relationships of the parties or their children. 
  • As a Christian, I personally take the approach that maintaining some semblance of a relationship with the other spouse outweighs the need to “get back” at the other party either financially or relationally. 

Is divorce your only option?

Personally, as a Christian and as an attorney, I place a high value on the institution of marriage.  One of my goals as an attorney is to educate prospective clients regarding the options with respect to marital problems, the last of which is divorce.  The fact is, divorce is a very difficult matter to go through.  We all hate it and fear it – especially kids who are facing the prospect of their parents getting split up.  In addition, God hates divorce – He sees how it ravages marriages and families and others, and wants to keep us from being hurt by it.  I recognize that my views do not represent the views of everyone in our society or the views of many other attorneys who practice family law.  And I might be turning away business by making some of the following comments.  Regardless, my job is not primarily to get people divorced, but to solve problems.  Sometimes divorce is a proper solution and other times it is not.

I have relatives, friends, neighbors and clients who have gone through the heartache of divorce, and I have walked with many of them through those challenging times.  It saddens me every time.  I have also seen the gut-wrenching effects and anguish of children whose parents have gone through divorce.  Divorce is not necessarily a fix to marital problems since the side effects of divorce can be as or more costly than the marital problems themselves.  There are many people who believe that going through divorce is more difficult than dealing with the death of a loved one.  Therefore, if there is any way that a broken marriage can be restored, it would be worth the effort to restore it, and there are many pastors, priests, counselors and organizations (www.familylife.com and www.focusonthefamily.com ) who are available to help spouses with marital problems.  I have seen and heard of many broken marriages that have been made whole through God’s help and the help of others.  Nothing is too difficult with God!  At the same time, restoring a broken marriage takes willingness and effort and commitment from both spouses, and if one or both of the spouses is not willing or committed, then healing the brokenness can be difficult or nearly impossible. 

Most cultures of the world, including ours in the United States, hold marriage as a sacred institution.  Most people who get married exchange vows of love, faithfulness, care, provision, protection, etc.  They often repeat to one another, “I take you…to have and to hold,” and “I will love and cherish you,” and “I promise to be true to you in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer,” and “until death do us part.”  Making those promises is the easy part.  Keeping them is not so easy. 

Marriage is hard.  It is not easy.  It requires: (a) God’s grace; (b) commitment and hard work from husband and wife; and (c) help from others.  Marriages have high points and low points.  Bailing out in a low point is usually not a good idea.  There is hope even for marriages in low points.  We grow strong during the hard times of our lives if we can learn to put our trust in God and rely on help from others as well.  There is hope even in the darkest of times. 

Unfortunately, since the 1960’s when states began enacting “no-fault divorce” statutes, divorce has become the easy way out of a difficult marriage.  Unlike times in the past, divorce has become the norm rather than the exception.  Nowadays it is often easier to get out of the covenant of marriage than it is to get out of a contract with a creditor or business partner.  Personally, I believe that there should be Biblical grounds for divorce, which would include un-repented of adultery and other forms of immorality, physical abuse, and other serious sins.  The Bible never requires divorce, even in difficult situations, but provides divorce as a concession. 

People should not pursue divorce without serious consideration and their eyes wide open to its devastating effects – on God, the parties, children of the parties, and others.  Divorce leaves in its wake many casualties.  The grass may appear to be greener on the other side, but it is usually a lot browner than it is on the marriage side.  If you are contemplating divorce, it would be wise to follow the steps below before making a decision:

  • Seek Help and Wisdom from God.  God created us; He knows our needs; He is available to help us in our time of need. 
  • Get Help from Others.  God created us as social beings who need others.  From the time of conception and birth and throughout our lives to the very end—we need others.  Wisdom is found in the counsel of many, and not in our own heads, especially when we are facing overwhelming circumstances where we do not see things clearly.  Others who are not directly involved oftentimes have a better perspective on the situation and can give us better advice and wisdom than we give ourselves.  That being said, it is easy for us to choose as our counselors “yes men” or people we know who will stand on our side rather than giving objective assessment and advice.  Try to get advice from people who have successfully worked through difficult marriage problems and stayed married. 
  • Assess the situation and diagnose the problems.  What are the problems?  What is at the heart of the problems?  How do I contribute to the problems?  Are there reasonable solutions to the problems? 
  • Consider and Discuss Alternatives and Options.  Many people run to divorce as the first and only option.  However, there are many other options available to people with marital problems, including restorative counseling and therapy, hard work. 
  • Be Patient.  We don’t get into problems overnight, and we won’t get out of them overnight.  Don’t make any rash decisions.

Regardless of your faith, these principles have eternal wisdom.  Let the truth speak for itself. 

Common Effects of Divorce:

  • Parties to a divorce suffer financially.  They will experience a decline in the standard of living they experienced while they were married.  They go from one household with related expenses to two households with related expenses. 
  • Decreased life expectancies.
  • Unhappiness.
  • Emotional and physical health consequences.
  • Suffer in relationships with children. 
  • Children suffer as a result of divorced parents.  One of my greatest fears growing up was that my parents would ever get a divorce.  Fortunately they have had a strong marriage for over 50 years, and our family is blessed as a result of the same. 
  • Divorce shatters the expectations and hopes of children that their parents will be together until death parts them. 
  • Because of weaker relationships with parents, many children of divorce are more vulnerable to influences outside of the family. 
  • Children from divorced households face increased risks of: (a) emotional and physical health problems; (b) academic problems; (c) criminal and legal problems; (d) financial struggles as related to parents’ financial struggles; (e) drug and alcohol use and immoral sexual activity. 
  • Divorce affects children’s views of the world and relationships. 
  • Children from divorced family situations often struggle when they begin to form their own romantic relationships. 
  • Remarriage of one or more of the parents can complicate the healing process of the children related to their parents’ divorce. 
  • Risks of divorce in remarriage situations is even higher than in a first marriage. 

Call us at 303-429-0419 to talk with an attorney or schedule an appointment!