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Highlands Ranch Family Law Blog

Child custody is a challenge for disabled parents

When a Colorado court is faced with a custody challenge, the central focus is supposed to be the best interests of the child. That standard sometimes comes into direct conflict with parental rights, especially in cases where there are issues that are not exactly black or white. An example is found in child custody cases where disabled parents are accused of being unable to meet the needs of their children. 

One woman faced serious custody challenges by the state based on the fact that she is wheelchair bound. Despite the fact that she was able to earn a law degree and practice law, there were many times when she had to fight to retain her parental rights. Her children were all adopted out of foster care, and all have disabilities. She has been reported to child protective services multiple times, once for insisting that her teenage daughter make her own way home from the bus stop in her wheelchair. 

Technology can be used to spy on spouses during divorce

It's no secret that divorcing spouses will often go to great lengths to get the upper hand in the process of ending their marriage. In the digital age, there are a multitude of gadgets and devices that can assist spouses who are trying to track the comings and goings of their partner. Understanding the legality of this approach is important and can help Colorado spouses avoid an unfavorable outcome in divorce court. 

Some people install GPS trackers on their spouse's vehicle to find out where they go. Others place spyware on their computers to track their online activities. It's even possible to use tracking software on a cell phone to find out exactly what someone has been up to. 

New tax bill will impact many divorce cases

Very few Colorado residents are unaware that a new tax bill recently passed and was signed into law. The bill contains numerous changes to the current tax code -- one of which is of great interest to couples planning a divorce. Spouses tasked with paying alimony will soon lose the chance to claim those payments as a tax deduction. 

As it stands, alimony payments are a dollar-for-dollar tax deduction for the paying spouse, while the recipient must claim the value of the payments as taxable income. That means that the paying spouse has a tax benefit, while the recipient has a higher tax bill. Critics of the change argue that, once the tax deduction is removed, paying spouses will have a significantly higher annual tax obligation. That could prompt more aggressive alimony negotiations to reduce those payments. 

Tips on how to divorce a narcissistic spouse

Many Colorado spouses show the very worst sides of their personality when faced with the end of a marriage. In some cases, however, a spouse is truly aberrant in a clinical manner. Living with a narcissist is difficult; going through a divorce with one is downright unbearable. Here are some tips for moving through a divorce with a manipulative and deeply self-centered spouse.

One of the most important things to remember is the fact that divorce is no place for emotion. That is especially true if the matter ends up before a judge to determine child custody. A narcissist will go to great lengths to elicit an emotional response from his or her partner. Once that emotion is displayed, the narcissist will try to question the other parent's mental stability or grasp on reason. 

Paternity fraud can impact child custody, support cases

It is estimated that as many as 30% of men who identify as fathers are unaware that they share no biological link to the children they believe are theirs. That is a frightening statistic, and indicates the presence of widespread paternity fraud in Colorado and across the nation. One group is trying to raise awareness of the issue, in the hopes of helping men avoid child custody and support cases based on fraud. 

One way that paternity fraud is revealed is when a couple separates and the mother seeks financial assistance from the state. In such cases, mothers are often required to name the father of their child, and paternity testing is ordered. When the results come back, they often reveal that the person named as father is not actually the father. 

How to plan for the financial ramifications of late-life divorce

Statistics show that more and more older Americans are choosing to walk away from untenable marriages. Even so, many other spouses remain in unhappy marriages for many years due to simple fear of the unknown. Understanding how divorce will impact one's financial future is an important consideration for Colorado spouses nearing or beyond retirement age.

For those who are still in the workforce, or are planning to re-enter the job market, understanding local hiring trends and career prospects is important. Very often, older spouses have a marketable skill and simply need to polish up their resume, or secure training in technological advancements to be a viable candidate in their field. Some simple research may be all that's needed to determine one's job prospects.

Refinancing the house after a Colorado divorce

Deciding what to do with the family home is a top priority for many Colorado couples who are ending their marriage. For most, their house is their most valuable asset, and not something to be taken lightly. Determining how to handle the division of this important asset can be a challenging part of the greater divorce process.

Many spouses are best served by refinancing their home after a divorce. This is especially true if both parties remain listed on the mortgage. Regardless of the terms of a divorce settlement, a lender can pursue payment from all parties listed on the mortgage. If the spouse who retains the home falls behind on monthly payments, that can negatively impact the credit score of the departing spouse.

Don't set aside financial goal setting during divorce

Moving through the end of a marriage is a busy time, but it is important for spouses to remain focused on their financial goals. The decisions made during a Colorado divorce will shape the financial futures of both spouses for many years to come. Setting solid goals during the divorce process is important. 

Financial security is usually a top priority for divorcing spouses. One thing to consider is disability insurance for the spouse tasked with making child support or alimony payments. Without that type of coverage, would those payments still be met if an accident or illness occurred? Very often, adding a life insurance or disability coverage is a good way to protect against a negative outcome. 

Tax bill could change post-divorce financial landscape for many

Colorado residents have likely heard discussions on the currently proposed Republican tax plan. The bill is being sold as a means of cutting taxes and improving the lives of middle-class Americans. In reality, however, there are numerous provisions laid out in the proposal that could create financial turmoil. An example is found in the proposed elimination of the alimony tax deduction, an issue that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans who have gone through a divorce.

If the bill should pass in its current form, spouses who make alimony payments would no longer receive a dollar for dollar tax deduction for those expenses. That could drastically change the tax obligations for those individuals. On the other hand, spouses who receive alimony payments would no longer be expected to pay taxes on that income.

What role does a divorce coach play for Colorado families?

For Colorado parents who are planning to end their marriage, maintaining or establishing good communications with their partner is important. When a couple shares one or more children, they remain closely connected, whether they like it or not. Those who are able to work together to place the interests of their children above their own emotional needs should consider working on their communication skills. That's where a divorce coach comes into play.

A divorce coach acts as a sort of "translator" throughout the divorce process. These professionals are highly trained, and help guide spouses through negotiations and collaborative problem-solving. If the discussion begins to veer off topic, the divorce coach can gently yet firmly get things back on track. They can also point out communication patterns the couple has established and suggest more beneficial approaches.

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