Friendly Divorce ?

Filed Under (Bradford Publishing News & Updates, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce and Legal Separation, Domestic Partnership) on 22-09-2015

We are excited and proud to announce the publication of the ninth edition of Friendly Divorce Guidebook for Colorado, How to Plan, Negotiate and File Your Divorce. Author Arden Hauer takes a thoughtful and detailed look at the divorce process, providing a wealth of information as well as ideas and suggestions on how to reach decisions and complete the required forms and paperwork.
“It has both practical advice and real life examples. In addition the Guidebook draws attention to complex financial issues, as well a legal red flags. The book is a reference for mediators, attorneys and pro se parties. It also has information on the emotional aspects of divorce and offers aids to therapists working in this area. As a mediator, therapist and educator this book has been part of my resources for years and I regularly recommend it to my clients”.
–Jane Irvine MA, LPC, NCC

The ninth edition . . .

  • Provides detailed information about the new Colorado Maintenance Guidelines and includes a Maintenance Calculation form.
  • Shows current Colorado court forms with line-by-line instructions.
  • Explains Colorado Case management procedure, simplified and easy to understand.
  • Includes current IRS tax information every divorcing couple should know.

Arden Hauer has been an attorney-mediator for over twenty-five years, and offers mediation services for divorce, legal separation, and post-divorce matters at the Center for Non-Adversarial Divorce in Denver West and Evergreen, Colorado. She also offers options for the marriage in difficult mediations to help couples decide together what they are going to do, developing their own solutions, including marital agreements and other legal alternatives. For more information visit www.friendlydivorce.com.

Developing Your Colorado Parenting Time Schedule

Filed Under (Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce and Legal Separation, Domestic Partnership) on 08-01-2015

Parenting time (where your children live and when they will live there) can feel like the most important part of your divorce agreement. If you find yourselves getting stuck and overwhelmed about this issue, remember that children change as they grow. The agreement you agonize over today may not work a year from now. Depending on the age and needs of the child, the plan can change. For example, the needs of children in early infancy are much different than those of school-age children. The “Friendly Divorce Guidebook” has possible parenting time plans for each age group.

Don’t expect to know right away what arrangements are going to be best for your children in the long term. Your first Parenting Plan may not be your final agreement.

Most parents begin a discussion of basic schedules by talking about whether it is in their children’s best interest, at the present, to have one home or two. The two-home concept requires a plan for those times when you will transfer the children between you. Following are some of the questions you will need to consider and discuss. Remember, you may have different responses for each of your children.
•    Is it important for your children to be in the same house on all school nights?

•    How important is it that your children settle in on Sunday night before school?

•    Is it important for your children to go to the same church with the same parent every week?

•    Can either parent take your child to any given recurring activity (soccer practice, Scouts, doctor’s appointment)?

•    Can your children go to the same school from either home or return home from their school to either home?

•    Is there a maximum amount of time that any of your children can tolerate being away from either of you?

•    How frequently do any of your children need to see each of you?

•    Do you live so far apart geographically that your children will probably stay with one parent during the school sessions and with the other during non-school time?

•    Is this the time to change the day care schedule or provider for one or more of the children?

•    Is it important to keep your children’s day care schedule the same for the time being, in the face of other changes in their lives right now?

These are just some questions to ask yourself when thinking about splitting time. The “Friendly Divorce Guidebook” by Arden Hauer MA, JD goes over many possible scenarios and offers great suggestions and tools to help make these difficult decisions.

Colorado Divorce: Mutual-Decision Making for the Children

Filed Under (Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce and Legal Separation) on 12-06-2014

For most parents, the issue is not whether you should make mutual decisions about your children after your divorce; the issue is whether you can. What the court concerns itself with are the so-called major decisions affecting the children. The law simply refers to “each issue affecting the child”. You or the court may list the important decisions you anticipate making about your children and then decide if you will make these decisions together (the law uses the term “mutual”), or if one or the other of you will make them (the law uses the term “individual”). You can mix and match. You may agree to make some decisions together, and turn some decisions over to one or the other of you.

Who is not (Quite) Ready for Mutual Decision-Making?

Parents who have great difficulty making decisions together have many of these characteristics:

•    They maintain intense, continuing conflict and hostility which they are unable to divert from the children.

•    They exhibit overwhelming anger and the continuing need to punish the former spouse.

•    There is a history of physical abuse.

•    There is a history of substance abuse.

•    One or both maintain a fixed belief that the other is a bad parent.

•    One or both is unable to separate his or her own feelings and needs from those of the children.

If any of these applies to you or your spouse, mutual decision-making may still be a possibility if your determination is great enough, but you will probably require some professional help. There are therapists who specialize in teaching parenting skills. See “Divorce Services and Consultants” in Chapter 2 of the Friendly Divorce Guidebook.

You can find a Parental Decision-Making Questionnaire and many other helpful tools in the “Friendly Divorce Guidebook: How to Do Your Own Divorce in Colorado” by M. Arden Hauer MA, JD.

Colorado Divorce: IRS Maintenance Rules

Filed Under (Divorce and Legal Separation) on 05-12-2013

If you are doing your own divorce or legal separation agreement and you are planning for maintenance payments to one spouse, make sure that your agreement meets IRS requirements so that the payments will be deductible by the payor. The rules about what is, and what is not permanent maintenance (alimony in IRS language) have been simplified over the years. In order to qualify as maintenance that is deductible by the payor and taxable to the payee, a payment must meet the following requirements:

1.    It must be in cash or cash equivalent, like a check, not property (i.e., not in-kind, like a car or horse).

2.    It must be received by a spouse or former spouse of the payor, or by a third party on behalf of a spouse or former spouse. Continue reading “Colorado Divorce: IRS Maintenance Rules” »

Bradford Publishing Launches Colorado-Only Attorney Directory

Filed Under (Bradford Publishing News & Updates, Business, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Colorado Deeds, Divorce and Legal Separation, Domestic Partnership, Employment Law, Eviction, Leases and Landlord Tenant, Mechanics Liens, Medical Marijuana, Probate, Real Estate, Wills and Estates) on 08-11-2013

We’re excited to announce our new Colorado Attorney Directory! On November 1st we launched an online directory to link Colorado consumers with Colorado attorneys. Bradford has offered information, products and services for Colorado attorneys, businesses and consumers for more than 100 years.  With changing technology, most of our products and services have moved online to our website.  Now, more than 12,000 people visit our website each month in search of legal resources.

Bradford provides lots of self-help solutions for you to complete a legal procedure on your own, but sometimes it’s not enough and contacting a legal expert is necessary. Now we can connect you to attorneys practicing in your local Colorado community. Deciding whether to hire an attorney is a big decision.  The bottom line is knowing if you’re capable and willing to take on a particular legal task yourself. Sometimes you don’t realize immediately that the task is beyond your capabilities.

The new Colorado-only Attorney Directory can help you find the right attorney. Laws vary by state so it’s important to follow Colorado law. We make sure the attorneys listed are lawyers in good standing with the Colorado Supreme Court. They also have completed profiles on the site, so their expertise and experience is clear and allows you to know as much as possible about the lawyer’s practice before picking up the phone. Our goal is to provide easy access to Colorado attorneys who can help you find legal solutions.

Check out our new Colorado Attorney Directory and let us know what you think!

www.bradfordpublishing.com/Attorney-Directory-Home

Determining Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) in Colorado

Filed Under (Divorce and Legal Separation) on 03-07-2013

Up until now the Colorado Statutes provided little guidance to the Court concerning maintenance awards. There has been inconsistency in the amount and term of maintenance awarded in different judicial districts across the State. A new bill (HB 1058 ) was signed this past legislative session creating a process for determining an award for spousal maintenance in proceedings for dissolution of marriage and legal separation. Judges will now have a statutory framework with guidelines to be considered as a starting point for determining a fair maintenance award.

The new spousal maintenance statute, C.R.S. § 14-10-114 addresses spousal maintenance on a formula basis using two factors:

1.    The relative incomes of the parties, which is used to calculate the amount of maintenance, and

2.    The length of the marriage, which is used to determine the duration of the maintenance in months.

Under the new guidelines the amount of maintenance is equal to 40 percent of the higher income party’s monthly adjusted gross income less 50 percent of the lower income party’s monthly adjusted gross income. For example, an award of maintenance in a ten-year marriage where the wife’s adjusted gross income is $10,000 per month and the husband earned $4,000 per month would result in a maintenance award of $2,000 per month payable by wife to husband for fifty-four months.

There is no presumption of husband or wife as the payor or payee, only who has the larger income. The statute requires that spousal maintenance first be requested, and then, before an award is made, the Court must review the financial resources of each party, reasonable financial need, fairness and equity. The formula does not create a presumption, and the Court has discretion to determine an award that is fair and equitable. However, the court must make written or oral findings in support of an award that deviates from the guidelines or a denial of maintenance.

The Court may award additional marital property to the recipient spouse or otherwise adjust the distribution of marital property or debt to alleviate the need for maintenance or reduce the amount or term of the award.  The statute goes into effect for dissolutions of marriage beginning January 1, 2014, but attorneys are finding that judges are already considering the formula for current final orders, and counsel are negotiating settlements using the formula.

Colorado Divorce: What is Spousal Maintenance?

Filed Under (Divorce and Legal Separation) on 06-06-2013

Spousal Maintenance is a series of payments (or a lump sum payment) made by one separated spouse to the other, or to some third party (such as the Credit Union for a car loan) on behalf of the  receiving spouse. It is also known as “alimony” or “spousal support”. There are two kinds of Maintenance that may work for your unique circumstances.

Open-ended maintenance is of unlimited or undetermined duration and presumed to be modifiable as circumstances change. It may be used for a variety of purposes including the following:

•    To balance income between spouses in two households;

•    To provided long term full or supplemental income for a spouse, based on need;

•    To meet on-going expenses with tax-deductible dollars;

•    To pay spousal support with business income.

Fixed term maintenance is paid for a designated period of time or until a certain amount of money is paid. It is generally for a specific purpose and is often referred to as contractual or in gross. It may be used for different purposes including the following:

•    To pay specific marital debts;

•    To pay specific expenses for children or spouse;

•    To pay for training, education, or therapy of a spouse;

•    To balance property division

So now you may be wondering how the amount of maintenance is determined in Colorado. Up until recently judges had no formula for determining permanent spousal maintenance. Colorado House Bill 1058 was signed this past legislative session creating a process for determining an award for spousal maintenance at temporary or permanent orders in proceedings for dissolution of marriage and legal separation, including guidelines as to amount and term. The new law is effective on January 1, 2014 and will give judges a very detailed guide to appropriate payments, based largely on the length of the marriage. Stay tuned for a post that will discuss this new Bill.

For more detailed information on spousal maintenance, check out the Friendly Divorce Guidebook for Colorado: How to Plan, Negotiate and File Your Divorce, 8th Edition  by M. Arden Hauer, MA, JD

Should I Hire an Attorney for My Legal Issue?

Filed Under (Business, Colorado Deeds, Divorce and Legal Separation, Eviction, Leases and Landlord Tenant, Mechanics Liens, Power of Attorney, Probate, Real Estate, Small Claims, Starting a Business, Wills and Estates) on 23-05-2013

The decision to hire an attorney depends upon assessing the situation — and then being honest with yourself about your ability to handle the matter on your own.

First, always consult an attorney for:

•    Criminal charges
•    If you are sued
•    Bankruptcy
•    Employment issues (whether you are a business or an employee)
•    Personal injuries
•    Entering a franchise agreement
•    Selling a business, or bringing new owners into a business.

Individuals may effectively handle family law matters, business transactions, estate planning, and tax issues. However, one has to consider the costs of time and expertise when deciding to act without an attorney.

Advantages of handling a legal issue yourself:
•    There are Court-approved forms and books to help you.
•    You can move quickly, not waiting for an attorney to get to your matter.
•    You save money by not hiring an attorney.

Disadvantages of handling a legal issue yourself: Continue reading “Should I Hire an Attorney for My Legal Issue?” »

Colorado Legislative Update

Filed Under (Bradford Publishing News & Updates, Child Support, Custody and Visitation, Divorce and Legal Separation, Real Estate) on 09-05-2013

It’s over! The 2013 Colorado Legislative Session ended May 8th. Here are a few of the bills we’ve been tracking . . .

1.    Civil Unions are now legal in Colorado. Watch for changes to the family law, probate and other forms.

2.    Probate

•    SB13-077 , the Probate Omnibus Bill, sponsored by the Colorado Bar Association’s Legislative Committee, updates and clarifies provisions of the Colorado Probate Code.

3.    Family Law

•    HB13-1058  creates a process, including guidelines as to the amount and term, for determining spousal maintenance in proceedings for divorce, legal separation or declaration of invalidity filed on or after January 1, 2014.

•    HB13-1204  enacts the “Uniform Premarital and Marital Agreements Act” (Act). The bill describes the formation of premarital and marital agreements, when such agreements are effective, provisions that are unenforceable in premarital or marital agreements, and when an agreement is enforceable. Applies to agreements signed on or after July 1, 2014.

•    HB13-1209  makes several changes to portions of the Uniform Dissolution of Marriage Act relating to child support obligations and how it is calculated, effective January 1, 2014.

4.    HOA bills:

•    SB13-126 prohibits a landlord or the unit owners’ association of a common interest community from preventing a tenant or unit owner from installing an electric vehicle charging system on property owned or exclusively controlled by the tenant or unit owner, at the tenant’s or unit owner’s expense.

It also allows grants to be made from the electric vehicle grant fund to landlords of multi-family apartment buildings and the unit owners’ associations of common interest communities to install recharging stations for electric vehicles.

•    In addition to amending the annual registration provisions, HB13-1134 empowers the HOA Information and Resource Center that was created in 2010 to compile a database of registered unit owners’ associations, assist in preparation of educational and reference materials, and to provide information on the Division of Real Estate’s website.

•   HB13-1276  requires the unit owners’ association of a common interest community (HOA) or a holder or assignee of the HOA’s debt to adopt, and comply with, a policy regarding the collection of delinquent assessments and other past-due amounts from unit owners. The unit owner must be offered a one-time opportunity to enter into a 6-month payment plan. The HOA or a holder or assignee of the HOA’s lien is prohibited from foreclosing its lien for past-due assessments unless the total amount is at least equal to 6 months of regular assessments. Section 3 of the bill specifies the terms and conditions of the repayment plan that must be offered.

•    HB13-1277  requires any person who manages the affairs of a common interest community on behalf of an HOA for compensation, on or after July 1, 2015, to meet minimum qualifications and obtain a license from the director of the division of real estate in the department of regulatory agencies. Licensees are identified as “community association managers”.

Colorado Civil Union Act Now in Effect

Filed Under (Bradford Publishing News & Updates, Divorce and Legal Separation, Domestic Partnership) on 02-05-2013

Beginning Wednesday, May 1, couples, regardless of gender, can enter into Civil Unions in Colorado. This means big changes for same sex couples. Denver attorney and author, Kim Willoughby, in an interview on CRP.org discussed some of the changes and benefits of the new law.

Change: Break up Rules

Ironically, one of the biggest benefits of the new Civil Unions law is that it establishes the legal framework for terminating the relationship.

Breakups are often messy and difficult, but for same sex couples in Colorado it has been especially difficult.  Prior to the Civil Unions law, Colorado did not recognize same sex relationships and therefore there was no way for same sex couples to use the courts to legally terminate their relationship.  Kim talked about clients who have come to her for help terminating their civil union or same sex marriage from another State.  Some couples had children, property, and debts together and needed a way to separate everything. Unfortunately, up until now there wasn’t much an attorney could do for these couples.  Since the Colorado Constitution does not recognize these relationships, no judge could issue a piece of paper saying the relationship was legally terminated. Kim advised that it was actually best to stay out of court, which made the decision to end a relationship more uncertain and very expensive.

Now, Colorado couples in a civil union will follow the same rules as married couples if they choose to end their relationship, whether by divorce or legal separation.

Benefit: Protection of Children

Same sex couples have had a difficult time protecting their individual rights as parents and their children’s rights.  In the past when same sex couples had children together they needed to get a second-parent adoption to fully establish both parent’s rights. This is an expensive and time consuming process and sometimes courts wouldn’t grant the adoption.  Kim informs us in her interview that now babies born to couples in a civil union are automatically presumed to be the child of both parents.

Kim Willoughby also discusses insurance benefits and the difference between civil unions and marriage. Go to CPR.org, Colorado Matters to listen to this interview. “Same-Sex Couples Can Expect Fewer Legal Tangles Under Civil Unions

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