March 11, 2019

Claiming children on taxes after a divorce

When spouses in Colorado decide to divorce, they may wonder how the end of the marriage will affect their income tax filings. Of course, people will begin filing again as single rather than married, but claiming dependents can be a more complicated process. In some cases, both parents want to claim a child as a dependent on their taxes. The parent who can claim the child as a dependent will access credits like the Child Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit as well as be eligible to file as the Head of Household.In many cases, parents specify who can claim the children as dependents in the divorce or custody agreement. If the parents have two or more children, they may distribute dependent status between both parents as part of the agreement. However, when families do not make this decision for themselves, the IRS has to make it for them. In this case, the tax agency will use several factors to assess the validity of the claim. First, parents have a higher priority than non-parents. Second, the parent with whom the children live the longest can claim them. If the parents have shared or equal custody, the ex with the higher income would receive the priority, assuming they have actually provided more support.The IRS does not mediate these disputes for parents. In general, the first person to file a claim will receive the credits and the second will have the return rejected. An additional step would be necessary for the IRS to decide.There are a number of factors that can complicate divorce, especially for parents. A family law attorney can help divorcing parents reach an agreement about a range of legal issues, from tax filing concerns to child custody.

February 25, 2019

Prenups and other ways to protect a business from divorce

A business can represent a significant emotional, financial and time investment for its owner, so protecting it in case of a divorce can be important. One way a business owner in Colorado can do this is with a prenuptial agreement. A prenup that specifies that the business is separate property can mean the intrusive and expensive process of valuing the business for property division purposes can be avoided entirely.A prenup might also state that the spouse is to receive a certain percentage of the company’s value. If both spouses own the business, they may want a prenup that says they will continue to be co-owners if there is a divorce, or they may want it to specify which party will buy out the other. If the couple is already married, a post-nuptial agreement can serve the same purpose.Some people prefer to use the company’s organizing documents to establish that the business cannot be transferred if there is a divorce. It is also important to keep good financial records and to be able to clearly demonstrate that business expenses were kept separate from marital expenses. Funding sources and all transactions, including cash ones, should be documented. Spouses who work for the company should be paid market rates to reduce the likelihood that the spouse can later claim to have contributed to the company’s value.While a prenuptial agreement may cover property, parents will still have to reach an agreement regarding child custody and support if they have children. However, this does not mean that ending up in family law court is inevitable. Many couples are able to successfully negotiate both property division and child custody without turning to litigation. Even if the couple is experiencing conflict, mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods may help them resolve it and come to an agreement that satisfies them.

February 19, 2019

The link between payroll and child support

In 2017, $24.4 billion in child support payments were collected through payroll deductions in Colorado and throughout the country. During that year, a total of $32.4 billion in support payments were collected from all sources. The agency collects $5.33 for every dollar it spends to operate its internet portal program, according to the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s (OCSE) office commissioner. However, the OCSE is looking for other ways to become even more efficient.There were 67,458,725 new hire reports in 2017. Employers are required to file them in a timely manner after bringing on a new employee, and they are used to determine if money needs to be withheld for child support. In addition to reporting new hires, employers can also report if lump-sum payments are made to workers or if certain individuals no longer work for the company.It is possible that the internet portal program will grow in the future. However, the OSCE is waiting to see if it would actually lead to greater efficiency. According to the OSCE’s commissioner, the child support system works best when payroll departments act as willing partners. He also said that it only works when there is a system that makes it easier to distribute money earned by a noncustodial parent.Individuals who are seeking child support payments may want to consider hiring a family law professional. Such an individual may be able to help custodial parents determine if their children’s other parents are working and where. It may also help facilitate the transfer of payments from one parent to the other. If a noncustodial parent is not making payments as ordered, it may be possible for an attorney to take steps to resolve the matter either in court or through other means.
January 30, 2019

2 key factors to consider when facing a DUI charge

If you happen to be a tourist who ends up with a DUI charge in Breckenridge, you may want to think twice before you put the situation out of mind. DUI charges are nothing to make light of, especially if you are a tourist. Though you might not be a local area resident, a DUI charge will follow you throughout your life. It goes on your criminal record where employers and other parties can see it, and it may make it harder for you to qualify for federal and public benefits and programs.Habitual DUI offenders face felony charges and up to six years behind bars. Even if this is your first time facing criminal charges, it is vital for you to consider the following pointers on mitigating them.1. Avoid self-incriminationPart of an effective DUI charge defense is to keep quiet so you do not say anything that might come back to haunt you in court. This includes any information that you supply to law enforcement and how you handle your affairs leading up to your day in court. Your statements can mean all the difference in whether you overcome the situation or spend time behind bars, pay hefty fines and restitution, install an interlock ignition on your vehicle and receive a criminal conviction on your record. A first-time DUI offense can even affect your livelihood and freedom.

2. Do not assume guilt

Contrary to common belief, sobriety testing devices that law enforcement uses in the field are not infallible. They can give false positive and abnormally high blood alcohol content readings when law enforcement does not properly administer or calibrate them. Also, your words and actions at the time of your arrest may be a part of the evidence substantiating your DUI charge. Until you have your day in court, you are innocent. You have the right to call into question the accuracy and reliability of any evidence and sobriety testing equipment as part of your defense.

DUI charges, whether drug or alcohol-related, are nothing to ignore. Everyone makes mistakes. What you do about that mistake is what will ultimately determine the outcome.

January 28, 2019

Distracted driving statistics spark concern

A new study is raising the alarm about the threat posed by distracted driving in Colorado. The research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit organization funded by insurance companies, compared distracted driving surveys conducted in 2014 and 2018. Of course, self-reported surveys are always vulnerable to errors and omissions, especially underreporting of known dangerous behavior. Still, many drivers admitted to being distracted while operating their vehicles, including using their mobile phones.The trends reflected in the study also indicate general social changes in the way that people communicate. Fewer drivers used their handheld mobile phones for voice conversations in the 2018 results, but there was a 56 percent increase in the number of people who reported texting or surfing the internet while behind the wheel. These results are troubling as texting and driving is linked to more serious car accidents. In 2017 alone, 800 people lost their lives in crashes linked to distracted drivers who were texting or surfing. The risk of a fatal crash goes up by 66 percent when drivers manipulate a phone by hand. While the general number of distracted driving reports remained the same, the types of distraction grew more severe.In addition, distracted driving is not limited to the influence of the smartphone or tablet. Drivers may have their attention shifted from the roadway by noisy children, eating or even built-in entertainment consoles.The consequences of distracted driving can be particularly serious for others on the road injured in motor vehicle accidents. Someone hurt in a crash due to another party’s negligent or distracted driving can work with a personal injurylawyer to pursue compensation for damages.
January 14, 2019

The divorce of the ultra-wealthy

Even though plenty of individuals in Colorado go through a divorce every year, the entire process can be a very different experience based on how much a couple is worth. The simplest case in point is that wealthy soon-to-be divorcees have very different concerns than what might ail the everyday individual.Of the many differences, a few stand out. The first relates to the assets being split up. A wealthy couple has a plethora of financial and real assets, including stocks, options, and art collections, all of which add to the value of the couple. This, in turn, makes the divorce proceedings all the more complicated. The second difference lies in alimony payments. Normally, this would be a point of contention between a couple going through a divorce. However, when a couple is splitting up and each party is walking away with a few million dollars, neither party needs support payments. With this in mind, despite men usually taking away more money, women tended to fare well enough that they didn’t need any alimony checks.
January 2, 2019

Joint custody a preferred option for child development

When parents in Colorado move toward divorce, they may be particularly worried about how their time with the children will be affected. Fathers could be especially concerned as beliefs have traditionally favored sole or primary custody for mothers. It has even been stated that overnight custody for fathers with infants and toddlers could be harmful to young children. However, this era of thinking is over; most states and family court judges tend to prefer joint custody or shared parenting as a default.Indeed, child psychologists affirm that joint custody is usually the best option for a child’s health and well-being. Even the youngest children benefit from a shared parenting schedule, including overnight time with both parents. In most cases, joint custody arrangements involve week-to-week switches in which the child spends a week with one parent and then switches to the other parent’s home. These schedules can be complicated due to the parents’ employment obligations, especially if they work irregular schedules. Therefore, different families can develop a parenting plan that works for their unique needs.Studies show that children raised under joint custody have improved outcomes in terms of physical and mental health as well as academic achievement. However, sole custody is often associated with an absent parent, abuse or neglect. All of these are additional factors that may complicate a child’s home life and emotional development.Divorce can be a difficult time for parents and children as it requires significant adjustments in the way people live and share space with one another. A family law attorney can help a divorcing parent reach a resolution that protects the parent-child relationship and includes a fair custody agreement.