Parent Education Classes

If you have a domestic relations case involving children under 18 years old, whether the case is for dissolution of marriage or allocation of parental responsibilities, in El Paso or Teller Counties, then you and the other parent will be required to attend a two-hour Parent Education Class to learn about the divorce process, how best to parent your children through a divorce, and the effects of divorce on your children. These classes are formally called the CFIT Seminar, for Children and Families in Transition. If you do not live within a reasonable distance of Colorado Springs, yet your case is pending in Colorado Springs, you may be able to take a different course elsewhere, so long as the class is approved by the Court. Also, if your cases is filed in another Colorado county, chances are that you will have to take a parent education class approved by your jurisdiction. Check with the court clerk in your county for more information.

Classes for both El Paso and Teller Counties are held in Colorado Springs, in the jury assembly room, Room W113, of the El Paso County Courthouse, 270 South Tejon. The courses are held three times per month, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month, and from noon to 2:00 p.m. on the third Friday of each month. Reservations are not required, but you should arrive early enough to find parking, go through building security, and locate the classroom in time to register. If you arrive more than 10 minutes late, you will not receive credit. Bring your case number to make sure you get proper credit. Continue reading

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Also Licensed in Texas!

Kirk Garner is licensed in Colorado and Texas.

Kirk Garner is a licensed attorney in both Colorado and Texas. He has been licensed by the Supreme Court of the State of Texas since 1995, the year he graduated from Baylor Law School.

Kirk Garner practiced law in Texas for nearly 15 years. He had a general, small town practice, handling family law, probate, civil litigation, and personal injury cases.

If you need advice on a pending Texas case, give the Law Office of Kirk Garner a call today. Likewise, if you have a case that is being transferred from Texas to Colorado–or vice versa–Kirk Garner can help you interpret the orders, decrees, and pleadings from one state to the other. If you are served with papers from a Texas lawsuit, make sure you get legal advice. Texas may not have jurisdiction over you or your case. If you appear in a Texas court or fail to file a special appearance, you may give Texas jurisdiction. Don’t accidentally waive your right to be sued in your home state: call Kirk Garner to discuss your case today.

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Teller County Courthouse

Courthouse at evening

Teller County Courthouse in Cripple Creek

This is the Teller County Courthouse, in Cripple Creek, Colorado.

I love old, historic courthouses. Give me a courtroom in an old courthouse any day. Tall ceilings, wood floors, big windows and creaky doors. I love it! If only the walls could speak, just think of the stories they could tell: about disputes resolved, sentences handed down, and justice served throughout the years.

Teller County Courthouse Hallway

The old courthouses were built when it was important to have natural lighting. It was a practical design, due to the poor illumination provided by early electric lights or gas lights. Not so with most modern-day courtrooms. Most have removed all windows, so as not to distract jurors, witnesses, or the lawyers. Most newer courtrooms are lit with florescent bulbs. If you didn’t look at the clock on the wall, you would have no idea what time it is. 9:01 a.m. looks just the same as 4:45 p.m. I tell you it is depressing! The body needs light. Your internal clock needs the light to be able to adjust its circadian rhythms throughout the day. The absence of natural light leads to depression and, I think, may make judges and lawyers irritable and impatient. Thank goodness for the the good old courthouses like we have in Teller County.

Lighting may be abundant, but oxygen is not. The Teller County seat is 9,500 feet above sea level; nearly two miles above the ocean! The air is thin and dry, and we love it! There are chairs in the courthouse hallways so the lawyers from out-of-town can sit and catch their breath.

If you need a lawyer in Teller County, call an attorney with an office in Teller County: call Kirk Garner today.

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Calculating Child Support

How much child support will I have to pay? How much child support will my ex-spouse have to pay? These are common questions that need to be answered so that you can prepare for the future after divorce or separation. The calculation of child support is complicated. The Colorado State Judicial Branch has provided lawyers and parents with a worksheet to help calculate support (which is linked below), however, every case is different. The application of your circumstances to the child support guidelines must be considered carefully to make sure that all rules and exceptions are applied. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you consult an attorney to make sure that you do not shortchange yourself. Continue reading

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Now Serving Teller County!

The Law Office of Kirk Garner is pleased to announce that we have opened an office in Woodland Park, to better serve clients in Teller County. The office is located on the second floor of the Pikes Peak Credit Union, 720 W. Midland Avenue, Woodland Park, at the intersection of Highway 67 and West Midland Avenue. We have an absolutely magnificent view of Pikes Peak and Woodland Park. There are only a few attorneys who practice family law from Teller County. If you live in Teller County and need an attorney for dissolution of marriage, child support, spousal maintenance, grandparent rights, or a Department of Human Services matter, call us today.

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How Alimony Works in Colorado, Part Two

How much temporary maintenance should be paid?

Calculating temporary alimony can be a contentious process.

In Part I of my series about alimony in Colorado (which you can read here), I discussed how alimony (officially called “maintenance”) is awarded as part of temporary orders while a divorce is pending.  Specifically, that post dealt with the formula that is presumptively applied when the parties earn a combined annual income of $75,000 or less.  In this post, I will continue with the discussion of temporary maintenance (that is, maintenance awarded before the divorce is final) for situations in which the spouses together earn more than $75,000 per year.

When the husband and wife’s combined annual income is greater than $75,000 per year, there is no presumptive formula or guideline for the court to apply.  As such, the amount to be awarded is determined on a case-by-case basis.  Each case is different, and different judges will calculate temporary alimony differently.  Continue reading

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July’s Post of the Month: Testifying in Court

The judge weighs the witness's credibility.

[The following article was originally published on July 22, 2011, and was the most viewed post that month.]

It can be a scary and intimidating experience to testify in court. Most people don’t have to testify in court very often. It is okay to be nervous. Most people are nervous when they testify.

To some extent, testifying in court is uncomfortable because it is unnatural: Witnesses can’t just come into the courtroom, talk directly to the judge or jury, and say whatever they want. Rather, they have to answer questions posed by a lawyer, while the judge and jury listen to the exchange.

If you are being called as a witness it is either because you are a party in the case or one of the attorneys believes you have important information that the judge or jury needs to consider in making a decision. Whenever I am preparing a witness to testify, I give them the following instructions: Continue reading

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Uncontested Divorce vs. Contested Divorce

Couple in Conflice

It is more likely for your divorce to be uncontested when you know your rights.

When a prospective client calls to discuss a divorce, one of the first questions I ask is whether the case is contested or uncontested.  This is especially true when people want to know how much I charge for divorce.  Uncontested divorces are much cheaper because there are no issues to be decided by a judge or mediator.  Most people hope their divorce will be uncontested, but in reality there are very few truly uncontested divorces.

The Uncontested Divorce. An uncontested divorce is one in which Continue reading

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How Alimony Works in Colorado, Part 1.

temporary spousal maintenance

Temporary spousal maintenance is designed to equalize the finances until the divorce is final.

Alimony is a payment of money from one spouse to another for the purpose of financial support or equalization of incomes. In Colorado, alimony is technically called “spousal maintenance.” There are two kinds of spousal maintenance: temporary and permanent. Temporary maintenance is the payment of money from one spouse to the other before the marriage has been dissolved (i.e., before the divorce is final). Permanent maintenance–what most people think of when they hear the term “alimony”–is the payment of money from one former spouse to the other after divorce.

In this article, I will discuss temporary maintenance when the spouses earn a combined annual income of $75,000 or less. In future articles, I will discuss 1) temporary maintenance when combined annual income exceeds $75,000; 2) permanent maintenance; and 3) other aspect of alimony, including modification, termination, and tax treatment. Continue reading

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Develop a Divorce Plan to Keep the Goal in Mind

Divorce is a journey.

Divorce is a difficult journey. Have a plan for life after divorce.

Divorce is a difficult journey–don’t let anyone tell you differently.  It doesn’t matter whether the divorce is “uncontested” or “simple;”  it doesn’t matter how good your lawyer is; it doesn’t matter how free from blame from the breakup of the marriage you perceive yourself to be–divorce is always going to be difficult.  Whether you were the spouse who sought the divorce or not.

Sometimes along the journey of divorce, we get caught up in various battles of the day and we lose focus on the ultimate goal. Sometimes it seems the most important thing is the process of ending the marriage:  filing for divorce, gathering documents, mediation, preparing for hearings and trial, and getting it over with!  At other times, the most important thing is getting out of the painful relationship and away from your spouse as quickly as possible.  Others may seek revenge by using the system to punish their spouse for hurtful or abusive behaviors.  The most important thing to focus on, however, is the ultimate goal, the finish line:  Continue reading

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