Strategically helping Colorado clients through divorce & custody cases
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512154742-300x200By: Janette Jordan

In the State of Colorado, when you have a pending family law case before the court, such as a divorce filing, allocation of parental responsibilities filing, post-decree modifications, etc., courts typically require that the parties attempt alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In fact, C.R.S. 13-22-301, et seq. states that courts can require the parties of a contested issue or dispute to engage in some form of alternate dispute resolution.   The mediation is the most common form of alternate dispute resolution utilized by family law litigants, there are methods by which parties may elect to resolve their issues. Continue reading

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tape-recorder-1479279By: Curtis Wiberg

With the ease of technology making the prospect of recording phone and in-person conversations with a soon to be ex-spouse so much easier, more and more clients are presenting me with recorded conversations (whether audio or video) with their spouse for potential use as evidence in their divorce cases. A whole host of issues arise whenever this occurs.

The foremost consideration is ensuring that the recording was made legally. Colorado is one of the many states that allows for “one party consent” as an exception wiretapping criminal laws. C.R.S. § 18-9-303. What this means is that if there is one party to a conversation that consents to the recording of the conversation, then that is generally legal in Colorado. So, if you, as a party to a conversation, consent to the recording of the conversation, even if the other party is unaware that the conversation is being recorded, that is not illegal in Colorado. Continue reading

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sad-boy-1564119By: Stephen J. Plog

While attending an early morning elementary school band practice with one of my children, I saw something sad and troubling. Though I have had countless occasions in which to hear parents talk about child custody or divorce cases and how they impact their children, I have rarely, if ever, seen, firsthand, how children react when dealing with divorce. The interlude I saw between child and teacher was troubling enough to me that I feel compelled to write this post. My ultimate hope in doing so is to reach parents and to educate them on how a simple, brief conversation might prevent upset to their child down the road.

The specific incident I saw bright and early Monday morning involved an elementary school band teacher, a very nice person by all accounts, and a little boy, roughly 9 years old. While the collective group was working on perfecting one song or another which youngsters might learn in band, the teacher stopped the class to reprimand, appropriately, a few of the boys who had clearly spent little or no time practicing their songs or instruments. She addressed the first couple individually, who essentially responded the they hadn’t had time. The third boy, striving for honesty as little kids generally do when being put on the spot, tried to explain that he couldn’t practice at his mom’s apartment, only his father’s house. The teacher, obtuse to the fact that the little boy seemed nervous or apprehensive to talk, continued to press. The little boy explained that his mother lived in an apartment and that she was concerned that the neighbors would complain about loud music (or attempts at music). At this point, the little boy’s eyes were starting to well up with tears. He did not seem to be upset at the fact that he was being interrogated over his practice habits, but rather that he was having to discuss the fact that his parents were not together. I want to say I recall him saying the word, “divorce,” but cannot swear to such with 100% certainty. The teacher ultimately stopped. Continue reading

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tax-1501475-300x226By: Jessica A. Bryant

A bill was recently passed that makes several changes to the current U.S. tax law. One such change affects the way spousal support (maintenance/alimony) is treated. Under current tax code related to divorce, the spouse paying maintenance is given a deduction on his/her taxes and the spouse receiving maintenance had to declare the maintenance received as income on his/her taxes. The new tax bill eliminates the deduction for the alimony paying spouse as well as the requirement that it be declared as income by the receiving spouse. However, this change does not go into effect until 2019. Specifically, anyone currently under an order to pay maintenance will continue to receive the deduction, even after 2019, and anyone divorced before 2019 will receive the maintenance deduction as well. For Separation Agreements and initial maintenance awards entered on or after January 1, 2019, though the paying spouse will not receive any tax deduction. Continue reading

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157635691-300x202By:  Sarah McCain

In December 2017, an article was posted on the firm blog reviewing some important tips to keep in mind prior to becoming involved in a custody matter. That posting reviewed only a few examples of what can take place in those types of domestic relations cases.  Though that posting only related to child custody issues, it could be relevant as relates to a divorce with children.  Of course, there are more preparatory issues to think about in a divorce.  When you’re looking at a dissolution of your marriage, there are additional items to make sure you have in line before you file or when a divorce is initiated by the other party.

First, if you are thinking of filing for divorce, it is not the time to make extravagant purchases for yourself. It is also not the time to begin transferring funds from any type of financial account. This falls under a term called “dissipation of martial assets.” The court will look at these expenditures or transfers to determine whether that financial exchange was done in an effort to keep the funds from the other person or done in anticipation of filing for divorce. For example, if you transfer $50,000 from a savings account just prior to filing for divorce, with the intention of keeping that money from your spouse, it is likely that the court will order you to reimburse the other party their share of the funds. Depending on the circumstances, it is even possible that the court could order that more than 50% be reimbursed to the other party, thereby giving them a greater share. Essentially, the idea of trying to hide money from your spouse could completely backfire and result in your receiving less than an equal share of the marital estate.  Additionally,  once you have filed for divorce, or have been served, hiding assets would be a violation of the C.R.S. 14-10-107 (4)(b)(I) divorce injunction. Continue reading

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By:  Curtis Wiberg

A divorce is a giant upheaval, and the challenges of maintaining your career while going through a divorce and adjusting to a new personal life and routine can be one of the biggest challenges.

There is of course the emotional upheaval associated with a divorce. Divorce stress can greatly affect motivation, concentration, sleep and appetite.

There is also the related embarrassment of a personal issue becoming common knowledge among your employers and colleagues.

Some of the questions you should ask yourself as you are going through a divorce include whether to even let your bosses know about the divorce. Your specific situation probably dictates whether and how to approach your employer with the news that you are going through a divorce.  I have seen many clients who’ve been able to rely on their employers as a major asset in the process. For instance, in cases involving custody issues, sitting down with your boss to discuss flexible scheduling and working remotely for the purpose of dropping off or picking up kids from school can help you present to the court as being fully able to assume primary or equal parenting time. Continue reading

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New-Year-300x200By: Janette Jordan

New Years 2018 is upon us.  It’s that time of year again for reflection and new beginnings. We all have room to grow and improve, especially when you’re attempting to co-parent through a divorce, or even after. The holidays can be an especially difficult time and every person’s situation is different.  Poor and negative communication can only make the situation work.   Today, there are many ways of communicating, whether via phone, email, text, or a third party parental communication site.   Regardless of the media, how things are stated still matters, and venom can also come through in written words.  When it comes to communicating with your ex about the kids, here are some things to consider.

Tone & Language:  I tell every client that comes through my door, “communicate with the other party as if a judge is looking over your shoulder,” because typically, that’s what will end up happening when you have a dispute that the courts need to resolve. No matter how frustrated you may get, you should avoid using derogatory language, even if the other side “started it first”. Poor parenting behavior is often the first accusation made in contested child custody cases and you want to make sure your communications do not support that. Only you can control how you respond. Continue reading

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price-tag-1240865-300x180By:  Jessica A. Bryant

I’ve yet to meet a single person who jumps for joy at the notion of going through a divorce and incurring costs as a result. Oftentimes, people ask what their case is going to cost them. Given so many unknowns and independent variables, I am generally left giving a range of potentials. Though I wish there was always clarity in the projected financial cost for a divorce and will always be upfront with clients about such matters, the reality is that it’s just not possible to give an accurate, exact figure for what their final charges might be. However, while reading news stories on the internet a couple of weeks ago, I came across a story which was, at least, insightful and may give me a little more ability to be more specific.  That story related to a recent divorce study showed that Colorado is the 9th most expensive state for a divorce. According to this study, the average divorce Colorado divorce costs $14,500 and the average attorney’s fees are $11,400 (which is the 10th highest in the country). In comparison, according to the same study, the cheapest state in which to get a divorce is Montana, with the average divorce there costing $8,400 and the average attorney’s fees being $6,600. The most expensive state in which to get a divorce is California, with the average divorce costing $17,500 and the average attorney’s fees being $13,800. Continue reading

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kids-1575435By:  Curtis Wiberg

One provision many parents use when formulating a parenting plan is what is commonly known as a “Right of First Refusal.” Essentially what this provision requires of each parent is that when one parent is unable to exercise the parenting time that they have been awarded, that parent must contact the other parent to give the other parent the option of spending that time with the kids before the parent that is unable to exercise his or her parenting time can be allowed to make other arrangements for the care of the children (e.g.: relatives, babysitters, etc.).

Typically, the parties agree to have the provision apply for overnight parenting time. So, as an example, Mom gets called away on a business trip at the last minute that will keep her from watching her kids on the Monday and Tuesday overnight that week. With a right of first refusal provision, Mom would be required to contact Dad and ask him if he wanted those overnights. Only if Dad declines can Mom then contact a different caregiver to watch the children while she is away.  Though right of first refusal provisions are certainly still enforceable, subsequent to a 2007 Court of Appeals decision, it became much less common place for a court to order them absent an agreement between the parents. Continue reading

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Ready-300x210By:  Sarah McCain

When an initial allocation of parental responsibilities, or more commonly known as a “custody” case, is filed involving your child or children, it is possible that you are caught off guard. However, in most cases, disagreements between parents or a natural unraveling of a relationship will give you a good heads up that a case is on the horizon. It may also be a modification of the current situation wherein you are filing the request to the court to make a change. In these circumstances, it is important to make sure that you are one hundred percent ready to proceed in what will likely be a difficult case. This includes being ready both with your arguments and for the emotional strain that can take place not only on you, but on your kids as well.  Preparing for a Colorado child custody case entails so much more than just filling out forms and filing them with the court.  Are you ready?

Initially, it is probably best to sit down with a family law attorney to discuss your specific situation. An experienced attorney may be able to direct you as to what documentation or evidence you should be compiling and what individuals you should start including in your life to ensure that you are able to make a solid argument. For example, if you are making an argument that the children are suffering emotionally due to the parenting time of the other parent, it is important to note that proving emotional harm can be difficult. Having a therapist on board seeing your child or children before the motion is filed may be beneficial for you. A therapist is then prepared to support you in court through testimony, written reports, or interaction with a child custody expert.  Child custody cases can involve a great amount of thought, detail, evidence, and preparation.   Making sure you are prepared is a step in the right direction. Continue reading