Why do I need a lawyer when so many forms and so much legal research is available online?

Often websites are out of date. The law changes is constantly changing both year by year as the Colorado state legislature passes new laws as well as month by month as the Colorado Courts of Appeals and the Colorado Supreme Court issue new opinions interpreting the law.

While the forms on the Colorado court website are very helpful and informative, they may also be quite limited. They do not address every issue that can be presented to a court and they give very limited options to parents who are looking for a detailed parenting plan or separation agreement. They also do not explain legal consequences of how the forms are filled out. State forms do not explain the differences between taxable and non-taxable maintenance, modifiable or non-modifiable maintenance, etc. It is not unusual for people to be completely unaware of legal consequences of the forms they have filled out, to their later dismay.

Perhaps more importantly, once the details of the law are clear, lawyers are able to help determine how a judge is likely to apply the law. For example, I am often asked whether there is some certain age that children get to determine which parent they live with. Not only is there no such age, every judge has his or her own opinion as to how much a teenager is entitled to be a part of this decision. Thus, a working knowledge of how judges make their decisions in real life situations is important in predicting the outcome any person’s real individual circumstance. Experience is indispensable to the ability to predict the outcome of a case. Lawyers have awareness of questions to ask which may never have occurred to many clients, and fully explain the consequences which may flow from which boxes are checked, etc.

Ultimately, information on the Internet is based on average circumstances; however, few people’s lives are truly average.

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