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Woodland Park Family Law And Estate Planning Law Blog

Maintenance payments will no longer be tax deductible

Earlier this year, this Colorado-based family law blog discussed how maintenance may be addressed during a divorce. Maintenance is the payment of support from one former partner to their ex, and maintenance may last for a varying amount of time. Whether maintenance will be awarded in a particular divorce will depend on many factors that are unique to the divorcing couple.

However, readers who are in the process of settling their divorces and working out maintenance agreements should know that a big change is on the horizon for how maintenance is viewed under the tax laws. As of now, a person who pays maintenance to their ex may deduct the amount they pay from their taxable income and lower their tax basis. After December 31, they will no longer be able to do that.

How does legal custody differ from physical custody?

Working out how two Colorado parents will continue to effectively co-parent their kids after a divorce can be one of the most challenging aspects of settling the end of a marriage. While the parents may both want their kids to live permanently with them, they must make concessions and recognize how their children's interests may be best served through the planning and implementation of a schedule for their physical care. Physical custody is the type of custody that deals with where children will live when their parents are no longer together. Legal custody is a different set of rights that parents may fight for when they must share their kids with their exes.

Unlike physical custody legal custody does not have to do with the physical location of a child. Rather, legal custody concerns itself with how a child is raised and how decisions about their care are made. A parent with physical custody can make day-to-day decisions about a child's care, such as whether the child can go to a friend's house after school or if the child can watch tv before finishing their homework. Legal custody has to do with big decisions that can have long-term effects on the child.

What are the benefits of making a trust?

Even though you can create an estate plan at any time, not many people want to think about what might happen after they pass away. That is understandable--the last thing anyone wants to think about is dying. However, it is crucial to set up an estate plan to protect the people and assets in your life after you leave it.

One way to do this is through a trust. Trusts allow you to assign specific assets or responsibilities to the individuals in your life, often called beneficiaries in these matters.

The role of advance directives in long-term care planning

Most people enjoy the autonomy of making decisions for themselves. They may take pleasure in choosing their own homes, associating with the people they enjoy, and working in careers where they feel successful and valued. The right to live one's life as they see fit is enjoyed by Colorado residents and many others throughout the nation.

However, it is a sad fact that as people age, it can be harder and harder for them to manage the important decisions that go along with living independently. Particularly when an illness or injury prevents them from maintaining their physical and mental abilities, many older individuals find themselves dependent on the assistance and care of other people. When life becomes more difficult for a person to manage, they may need to take legal steps to protect their rights and choices about the future.

A review of the probate process

Probate is a legal process that everyone has heard of but few people actually understand. Colorado residents may know that it has something to do with a person's death and how that person's money and property are distributed among the person's heirs. These basic facts are generally true, but there is a lot more to probate that people should know, so they can make good choices about how to prepare their estate to avoid it.

When a person owns property, they can do so on their own or they may share that property with others. For example, spouses may both have their names on the titles to their cars or two people may jointly own a bank account out of which either may draw funds. When property is owned by two or more people, it generally remains the property of the survivors when one of those individuals dies. Property that automatically transfers to another person upon a person's death does not have to go through probate.

How does a court decide where a child will live?

One of the biggest questions that parents may have when they choose to end their marriages is where their children will live once the parents' divorces are finalized. In Colorado, parents may share custody of their kids or courts may grant sole custody to just one of the parents of a divorcing couple. The decision to permit shared child custody or to order sole custody will depend upon many factors specific to the families in question.

It is easier to split legal custody of a child because ultimately a child does not have to be present for parents to make important decisions about their upbringing. However, splitting physical custody, or the form of custody that concerns where a child will live, is much harder. Moving a child from house to house can be disruptive to their life and may cause them to suffer stress.

Can Colorado courts award alimony during divorces?

In Colorado, alimony is called maintenance and it is money paid from one party to another after a divorce. Maintenance is permissible in the state but certain factors will dictate if a court will award it. Some of the factors relevant to the court's decision-making process will be considered in this post, but readers should talk to their family law attorneys about their maintenance questions.

One of the most important factors that a court will look at when the parties to a marriage begin their divorce and one requests maintenance is the length of the couple's marriage. If a couple was married for only a short amount of time, a court may be less likely to award maintenance as the requesting party presumably was able to support themselves before they walked down the aisle. If a couple was married for decades, it may be more difficult for the requesting spouse to find a job and therefore they may truly be in need of financial help.

Eulogy for My Mother

Madelyn Headshot.jpgMy mother died on Sunday, the 9th of September. She was almost 88 years old. She and my father had been married for nearly 67 years at the time of her death. She was the last of her immediate family to die, and she was proceeded in death by her parents and her two sisters. Her passing was not unexpected, but it was still like being punched in the stomach.

A living will may be part of a Colorado resident's aging plan

Wills are testamentary documents that do not become relevant until the individuals who created them pass away. In a will a person may describe how they want their heirs to benefit from the decedent's end-of-life wealth and how their property should be disposed of. However, there is another type of will that Colorado residents can benefit from having in place, and this form of will is relevant during the creators' lives.

Living wills are legally binding documents that outline who may make important health care decisions for individuals if those individuals are unable to do so on their own. For example, an aging individual may name their child or other trusted loved one with the task of managing their health care needs if the individual becomes infirm or otherwise loses their capacity to make informed decisions about their own health care needs.

The Best Thing to Come Out of Colorado

Headless Chicken.jpgNo, it's not what you think...the best thing to come out of Colorado has nothing to do with Coors beer, marijuana, or the Rocky Mountains. For those of you in the know, the best thing to come out of Colorado is clearly "Mike the Headless Chicken," also known as "Miracle Mike," a chicken forever immortalized in the song, "Headless Mike."

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