April 16, 2021

Types of divorce cases

Two Types Of Divorce Cases.

Types of divorce casesWhat Is Divorce?

Typically speaking, there are two kinds of divorce. One is called “divorce from bed and board,” which is readily available in some states. At its core, this enables couples to legally different, and is typically used by partners who wish to live their own lives but, for whatever reason, do not want to officially end their marital relationship. Divorce from bed and board is infrequently seen nowadays.

The more typical kind of divorce is an “outright divorce” which dissolves the marriage. A legal tidy break, so to speak. It’s this principle that this short article will focus on.

There are numerous approaches available to reach the objective of having a judge problem a judgment of absolute divorce. For the sake of benefit, it’s become standard practice in the law to identify each of these techniques as a separate kind of divorce, which is how we’ll explain them listed below.

Summary Divorce.

In lots of states, an expedited divorce treatment is readily available to couples who have not been married for very long (generally 5 years or less), don’t own much property, don’t have children, and do not have substantial joint financial obligations. Both partners need to agree to the divorce, and need to file court papers jointly.

A summary (sometimes called “streamlined”) divorce includes a lot less documents than other types of divorce– a couple of forms are typically all it takes. For this reason, summary divorces are easy to do without the help of a legal representative. You can normally get the types you need from your state court’s main website, or from the regional family court clerk’s office.

Uncontested Divorce.

In regards to handling the court procedure, the path that typically produces the least quantity of tension is an uncontested divorce. That’s one in which you and your spouse settle up-front all your differences on issues such as custody and visitation (parenting time), kid assistance, spousal support, and department of property. You’ll then integrate the terms of your settlement in a written “home settlement agreement” (often called a “separation agreement”).

Once your case is settled, you can declare divorce with the court. Courts almost invariably fast-track these types of cases, so you can get divorced in a fairly brief period of time. In some states, you do not even need to make a court appearance, however rather can submit an affidavit (sworn statement) with the notary.

There are several different aspects to this type of law, as a divorce lawyer like the ones at the law offices of Patterson Bray, can explain.


April 12, 2021

Does the Reason for the Divorce Matter in Court?

When problems arise in a marriage it can lead to separation or divorce if the couple isn’t able to work through it. But for some, separation and divorce may come out of the blue, or at least it may feel like it.

When a marriage ends, does the reason matter? Is it enough to tell the court that it wasn’t working anymore? In some instances, the reasons behind the breakup may impact how the proceedings go. Find out more about when the why behind a failed marriage may make a difference in a divorce.

What Is a No-Fault Divorce State?

Some state laws are written so that the reason for a breakup is not required. This is considered a no-fault law because the court does not care who caused what. Most states fall into this category. It means when a person files a divorce petition, the reason for the action may be vague, such as that the union is irretrievably broken. This tells the court that the two parties share in the demise and end of the relationship.

What Are Grounds for Divorce?

There is an alternative route to divorce in some no-fault divorce states that includes citing the reasons behind the breakup. This allows a spouse filing for divorce to either say the marriage is broken or give another ground for the divorce. Some of the most common grounds for divorce include:

  • Adultery
  • Psychiatric instability
  • Verifiable domestic abuse
  • Absence or abandonment
  • Incarceration

Is It Beneficial to Give a Reason for the Divorce?

Is there a reason to give the grounds for divorce? In most cases, doing this provides no benefit except dragging the process on. However, there are some situations when a spouse may want to use a reason to gain the upper hand. Adultery is one of the most common reasons why marriages end. If a spouse alleges the other cheated, they need to have verifiable and irrefutable proof of the affair for the court to consider it. If they do, some courts will look at this and decide to award higher spousal support or property.

The divorce process may prove tricky to get through unless one is familiar with how the legal system in the state works. For this reason, a divorce lawyer is a valuable asset when it comes to the divorce process. This legal practitioner can move throughout family court with relative ease and give people a fair shot at coming out of a breakup on steady ground. Call a local divorce lawyer today for more help.

February 24, 2021

You Got a “Subrogation Notice.” Do You Need a Lawyer?

Personal injury lawyerSo, you got a letter or notice in the mail. It mentions “subrogation,” and you are left scratching your head, wondering what’s this all about? Am I in trouble? Do I need a lawyer? 

Maybe. But it would help if you understood subrogation and considered how it applies in your particular circumstances. 

First, let’s look at the word itself. It is defined as follows: 

Subrogation (səb-rə-gay-shən) n. (15c) 1. The substitution of one party for another whose debt the party pays, entitling the paying party to rights, remedies, or securities that would otherwise belong to the debtor…. Subrogation most commonly arises in relation to insurance policies. 2. The equitable remedy by which such a substitution takes place. 3. The principle under which an insurer that has paid a loss under an insurance policy is entitled to all the rights and remedies belonging to the insured against a third party with respect to any loss covered by the policy. 

SUBROGATION, Black’s Law Dictionary (11th ed. 2019).

This definition is too technical for most people, but the idea is this: If someone else, usually an insurance company, has paid a debt that you owe, that company usually has a right to get back what it paid on your behalf if someone else is legally obligated to compensate you. 

Still confused? I don’t blame you. Let me use a couple of examples to explain. 

Suppose you were in an auto accident and you were injured. Your health insurance company has paid your medical bills. The health insurer may be writing to you in order to find out about the circumstances of your accident. 

Why does it care? Because, if the other driver is legally responsible for your injuries, your health insurer has a legal right to collect what it paid for you from that driver (or the driver’s liability insurance company). 

How are you involved? First, the insurance company needs to understand the facts to evaluate the claim. Second, if it has a claim, that claim arises from your legal right to recover your damages from that other driver. So the health insurer may be trying to find out whether you intend to pursue your claim yourself. If you do, your health insurer will likely wait for you to do that and then demand that you pay back what it paid on your behalf, less a share of your costs of recovery. 

If you don’t plan to take steps to recover your damages from the other driver, your health insurer may choose to sue in your name! 

Should you talk to a lawyer about such a notice? Probably. If your health insurer thinks you have a right to recover your damages, maybe you should pursue them on your own. You may have broader damages – such as for pain and suffering — than your health insurer would. You might want to think about pursuing the claim yourself. 

There are other, similar situations where an insurance company might have a right to pursue a claim based on what it has paid for your benefit, such as for damage to your car. It works the same way. 

If you were injured, you can probably find a lawyer who will meet with you to discuss the situation without charging you a fee. Most personal injury lawyers don’t charge for initial consultations. 

Another common situation in which you might hear the term “subrogation,” is if the shoe is on the other foot. That is to say, if it is alleged that you caused damage. The other party’s insurance company may be threatening to sue you to recover for benefits because of that damage. Or it may actually be suing you for such damages. 

In that situation, if you have liability insurance, you should notify your insurance carrier right away. If you don’t have insurance, you’ll almost certainly have to hire a lawyer, unless you are prepared to pay the claim. If you get sued and a judgment is awarded against you, it will harm your credit rating, your wages may be garnished, and in some states, your driver’s license may be suspended until you pay the judgement off.

Of course, there are other situations where subrogation comes into play. But hopefully, thanks to Rich Cassidy Law, you now understand the basics. 


July 17, 2020

Contested Divorce and Custody Issues

Child Custody LawyerIn many contested divorces the contest involves issues of custody of children. Frequently these battles involve two parents who are both capable and competent care givers.  Typically both parents love their children.  Unfortunately, parents who are getting divorced have to learn how to share their children.  In most cases, if the parents were good at sharing and cooperating together they probably would not be getting divorced.

Each person has their own reason for fighting for custody.  For some people it is ego.  For some, it is a desire to hurt their spouse.  For others it is money.  Some people have a genuine belief that the children are better with them than with the spouse.

Some people fight over custody because child support is tied to the issue of custody.  If a parent doesn’t want to pay child support then he or she needs to obtain primary custody of the child.  If primary custody is not available then shared custody with each parent having parenting time for one half of the time available is a goal.  Even 50 / 50 custody can result in lower child support payments.  Of course, the parent with the lower income may fight for custody only to get child support payments or higher child support payments. 

Courts approach custody from the point of view of what is best for the child.  The name for this concept is “the best interests of the child standard.”  This simple statement gives a judge broad discretion in making a custody judgment. 

1.)  What was the custody arrangement when the couple was together?  Custody trials tend to have a lot of contradictory evidence.  Each spouse tends to exaggerate the other spouses flaws and minimize their own.   Start with the question of who was the primary custodial parent when the couple were together.  Most couples have an allocation of responsibilities within the marriage.  One spouse tends to be the primary wage earner and the other tends to be the primary housekeeper and child custodian.  When the wage earner testifies how dangerous the other spouse is and how that spouse poses a threat to the child, ask “How did you go to work each day leaving the children in the care of this person you claim is a threat?”  When day after day a parent is left alone with the children it is hard to believe that they are a danger to the children.

2) Which parent has the strongest bonds with the child?  While children may love both of their parents, they usually choose one parent over another for comfort and security.  When a child is injured, which parent do they seek for comfort and protection?  As children get older, which parent do they feel more comfortable talking to?  Children may indicate that they can’t imagine living separate from one parent but can easily imagine living separate from the other.

3) Each parent’s plan for taking care of the children.  In order to argue for custody, a parent must provide care for a child 24 hours a day, every day that the child is with the parent.  This means that the parent must have an appropriate physical setting.  Do both parents have separate bedrooms or is a parent proposing to share a bed with the child?  Where will the child be going to school?  How will the child get to school?  If a parent proposes 50 / 50 custody but lives an hour away from the other parent then the child will be subjected to unreasonable commuting to get to and from school.  How will the parent provide care to the child when working?  How will a parent care for a sick child that can’t go to school?  Will the child live in the same home as prior to the divorce and be able to continue to play with the same friends?  Judges may call this evidence “stability and continuity in the child’s life” but once can tend to think of it as having a better parenting plan.

4) For many judges, the ultimate measure of the best interests of the child is the success the child achieves in school.  This means that each parenting plan should be considered in terms of how it encourages success in school.  A judge should consider how each parent deals with the child’s homework and school preparation.   Are the parents consistent on bedtimes on school nights?  How have the parents interacted with teachers in the past?

5)  A court will also consider living arrangements and lifestyles of each parent andhow such circumstances may affect the child.  The mere fact that a parent intends to live with a new romantic partner should not determine child custody.  While some states consider such a living arrangement to be morally harmful to the child, most states don’t consider such moral evidence.  Instead, courts should consider how the new love interest treats the children.  Any live in partners will have to be involved in care giving for the children.  A Court should view cohabitation from the viewpoint of benefits and disadvantages to the way the children are treated.

6) Increasingly courts are considering the manner in which each parent interacts with the children about the other parent.  Parents should protect the child’s relationship with both parents.  No derogatory comments about the other parent.  No excessive questioning the child about activities with the other parent.   No blaming the spouse for the termination of the marriage.  Potential or actual parental alienation should be considered by a judge in a custody decision.   Most experts advocate that children need quality time with both parents.  There is a current trend to give both parents significant time with the child. 

Contested child custody cases can be very difficult.  If you can’t agree with your spouse about custody of your children you should consult a child custody lawyer for advice and assistance.


June 1, 2020

Divorce During COVID-19: What to Know

divorce lawyerThe COVID-19 Pandemic is clearly unprecedented in the course of human history, impacting daily life like no event ever before. If you are divorced or contemplating a divorce, here are some important things to know about how COVID-19 will affect your life:

  1. Courts Are Open – While many non-essential businesses are closed, courts technically remain open. Even a pandemic does not prevent the public’s right to access the justice system. It is supremely important to parties of divorce and custody cases for courts to continue to function because of the ever-evolving nature of family law disputes. Many divorce courts are using tele-video conference (e.g., Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams) to conduct status conferences, hearings on contested motions, and even trials. There is no reason to wait until the pandemic is over or for the country to “reopen”; the courts are functioning.
  2. Child Support Modification – Most child support laws allow a modification if there is a substantial change in circumstances, which can include the significant increase or decrease in income by one of the parents. The Coronavirus Pandemic has caused an economic calamity, with unemployment at historic levels. Once the Paycheck Protection Program runs out, and people stop receiving full unemployment benefits, income levels will drop. If you lost your job, or your business has experienced a downturn, this would be a substantial change in circumstances that you can use as a basis for modifying your child support obligation. You have to act fast, however, as a child support obligation is extremely difficult if not impossible to get out of without paying, and you can be subject to interest and penalties.
  3. Spousal Support Abatement – Much like child support, spousal support (known as “alimony” or “maintenance”) can also be modifiable depending on the circumstances. The economic downturn of the COVD-19 pandemic is cause to seek a modification of support, or even an abatement. An “abatement” is a legal term meaning to stay or pause the support obligation. If you are paying spousal support, you may be able to abate your payments until you recover economically.
  4. Parenting Time – The pandemic is not a reason to interfere with the other parent’s visitation time with their child. Despite being a health disaster, many family law Courts have issued orders and guidelines stating that parenting time and visitation must continue as agreed or ordered in the era of social distancing. Many parents are expressing serious concern that the other parent is not adhering to social distancing guidelines. While a judge might ultimately agree that a parent is not doing enough to protect themselves, it should be brought to the court’s attention instead of simply refusing to exchange the children. 


August 26, 2019

Subaru Crosstreks sees most crashes despite high safety rating

Auto accidents in Colorado and across the U.S. affect 25.81% of all the Subaru Crosstreks on the road today. The Crosstrek is involved in more at-fault crashes than any other newer vehicle according to Insurify. The auto insurance comparison site has even compiled a list of 10 cars that are involved in the most crashes; altogether, car crashes affect 13.64% of these vehicles.It may seem strange that the Crosstrek would be at the top of the list when the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety gave the 2019 Crosstrek the highest possible safety rating. This rating covers both crashworthiness and crash avoidance. It is true that many crashes lead only to minor injuries for the drivers of and passengers in Subaru Crosstreks. Crosstreks are also affordable and have great fuel economy, adding to their value.The other vehicles on the list are as follows: the Honda HR-V, Hyundai Elantra GT, Infiniti Q50, Subaru WRX, Mazda3, Acura ILX, Lexus CT, Chevrolet Trax and Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Subaru’s second vehicle on the list, the WRX, is known as the car that gets pulled over the most for speeding offenses. The Chevrolet Trax is the only American car on the list. Of the imports, seven hail from Japan, and two are from Korea.Whatever a car’s make or model, it is, to a large extent, safe only insofar as the driver is safe. If negligent driving is to blame for a car crash, those who were injured without playing a part in the crash may consider a case under personal injury law. In Colorado, one can recover damages even when partially at fault although the final amount will be lessened in proportion to that degree of fault. Victims may want legal assistance.

August 14, 2019

Study of divorce reasons offers insights about marriage

When people in Colorado begin considering divorce, it might be because they feel their marriage is emotionally unfulfilling. A study that was published in the Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy reported that the reasons people give for divorce tend to be emotional and psychological and not reasons related to behavior.The study surveyed 2,371 people who had recently divorced and who were 45 years old on average. It found that 47% said they got a divorce because they no longer loved their partner or vice versa, and 44% said communication issues were one of the main reasons that led to the end of their marriage. Problems with communication has long been understand as a major reason for divorce. The third most commonly cited reason for divorce was a betrayal of trust or a lack of respect for one another. In fourth place, people said they had grown apart from their spouse. Researchers said that the responses suggested a change in how marriage is viewed. Increasingly, it is considered something that fundamentally should provide both spouses with emotional support.Among respondents, 44% said they had put the divorce in motion while 40% said their spouse had. Only 16% said the decision to divorce was mutual.Whether or not initiating the divorce is mutual, people have a choice to either negotiate a settlement out of court or go to litigation. The former can be cheaper and less stressful, and it also puts the couple in control of the outcome. However, the latter is sometimes necessary because one person is uncooperative or there are other issues. For example, if the relationship is abusive or one parent is concerned about the child’s safety with the other parent, it may be necessary to go to court. An attorney may be able to help with either process.

July 31, 2019

Smart social media use during divorce

For some ex-spouses in Colorado, posting on social media about a divorce might seem like a good way to vent. However, this can also backfire. Anything people post online might be used against them during a divorce. It is better to keep conversations about a divorce offline and avoid mentioning a marriage breakup on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms.Couples who are divorcing amicably could make an agreement about announcing the split online. Spouses should keep in mind that using social media irresponsibly can change an amicable divorce into a contentious battle. If there are kids involved, parents should be aware of each other’s preferences regarding posting about the children online. They may want to include a provision in the divorce agreement that outlines whether photos and other information about their children will be shared on social media.In general, people should be mindful of their privacy online during a divorce and not post negative updates about an ex-spouse. Some people do remain friends on social media after a divorce, and others may continue to inhabit the same social and professional circles. Information shared online could still be used against one parent by the other to make a change in child support or custody arrangements.Parents who cannot reach an agreement regarding custody and support may need to go to family law court, but they should be aware that a judge might look negatively on a parent who does not appear to be cooperating. Genuinely important information indicating that a child is unsafe or that a parent is lying about income may be shared in a custody dispute. Legal counsel could help a parent gather and present evidence.

July 17, 2019

Is a drug recognition expert involved in your DUI case?

In Colorado, an officer may pull a driver over for a traffic infraction such as speeding and then gain probable cause to test the person for impairment. While this is true of any officer in any state, there are officers in Colorado trained specifically to be drug recognition experts. They attend an extensive and in-depth program with international standards developed by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.Here are the methods a DRE may use to identify a drugged driver.Conducting a blood alcohol concentration test on the driverColorado has an expressed consent law. Every driver on the road has legally provided consent to undergo a chemical test such as a breath, blood, urine or saliva test simply by being on the road. A DRE will conduct this type of test.

Interviewing the officer who arrested the driver and the driver

The DRE may become involved after an arrest, in which case he or she will gather all the facts of the arrest from the officer involved. The DRE will also talk to or further interrogate the driver.

Examining the driver’s physical condition

There are several physical signs that indicate impairment that should be obvious to someone with the DRE training. The DRE will examine the driver’s eyes, vital signs (blood pressure, pulse and body temperature), pupil size, muscle tone and nasal and oral cavities. The DRE will also check for signs of drug injection.

Testing for divided attention

Two of the standard field sobriety tests include a mental component designed to reveal impairment: the one-leg-stand and the walk-and-turn. The driver must complete a simple physical task while remembering and successfully following the instructions the officer provided.

Submitting chemical sample for analysis

If the initial BAC testing was a breath test, then the driver will also undergo a blood or urine test, possibly both. These results will be analyzed for drugs and alcohol.

July 15, 2019

Wedding debt may be linked to unhappy couples

When people in Colorado go into debt to finance their weddings, it could be a sign of further trouble down the road. Because finances and debt can be such a powerful source of marital strife, it is essential to consider the future effects of the debt when deciding to splurge on a venue, catering or an open bar for a large, elegant wedding. According to one study conducted by loan company LendingTree, 45% of newly married couples between 18 and 53 took on debt in order to finance their wedding ceremonies. Many people expect to be able to host elaborate ceremonies for their weddings even if they are just starting out and struggling financially.The survey found that, of the couples who went into debt for their weddings, almost half had considered divorce since their marriage because of financial stress, particularly wedding-linked debt. On the other hand, only 9% of the couples without wedding debt said the same. The couples who went into debt also seemed to have more differences about how to fund their ceremonies. Three-quarters reported having arguments about the expenses that went into the wedding, while only 20% of the couples without wedding debt said the same.Of course, there are a number of factors that can help to produce these results. The couples with wedding debt may still have enjoyed large weddings, but they may be wealthier and better able to deal with financial stresses. The couples with more debt may also be facing difficult financial circumstances in other aspects of their lives.Marriage and divorce are financial and practical transactions as well as reflections of a romantic relationship. A family law attorney might be able to provide advice and guidance on how assets and debt can affect the end of a marriage, including property division and spousal support.