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Parker Law Blog

Help your children cope with the divorce

Going through a divorce means having to adjust various aspects of life. This is difficult for adults but it is also very tough on children. When their parents go through a divorce, they are forced to make major changes to the only way of life they've ever known. They can't change the situation despite the wishes that they could.

Your child's age and their mental development will directly impact how they are able to handle the situation. Your attitude and ability to help them will play a part in this. Here are some tips as you embark on the divorce journey with your children:

Can homeowners work with their lenders to stop home foreclosure?

Owning a home is, for many in Colorado, the "American Dream." People will spend years saving for a down payment so that they can take out a loan to purchase the home they hope to live in for years to come. Yet, they need to understand that taking out a mortgage entails certain obligations.

When taking out a mortgage, the homeowner agrees that they will pay back what they owe to the bank, with a certain amount due each month. It is, essentially, a contract. So, if a homeowner fails to pay the mortgage, they have broken that contract. The bank then has the ability repossess the house so that it can recover its investment. The repossession process is called "foreclosure" and it can be a frightening experience for homeowners who have simply fallen on hard times and cannot pay their mortgage.

Seeking solutions to child custody issues in Colorado

When a child's parents divorce, the child's best interests should be met above all else. Divorce is not an easy time for a child. They will have to become accustomed to living in two homes, and they may experience a range of emotions, from confusion to sadness to fear. Parents should do all they can to comfort their child throughout the divorce process, despite any animosity they may have for one another.

For example, when it comes to child custody issues, parents may be able to negotiate a settlement that works for both of them and gives the child the support the child needs to process the divorce. Physical custody -- referred to as parenting time in Colorado -- encompasses where the child will live. Traditionally, each parent will have their own home, and the child will reside with one parent, with the other parent having visitation rights. However, some parents are turning to "nesting," in which the child remains in one home and it is the parents who go back and forth between their own home and the child's home, so they can each care for the child in the environment the child is comfortable with.

Tax law changes intersect with various divorce legal issues

It may not be time to file your 2018 taxes yet, but people in Colorado should be aware of some significant changes to current tax laws that also affect family law issues they may face, especially if they have decided to end their marriage. Understanding how these changes will affect a divorce is critical to making decisions that are appropriate.

Under current law, those who pay spousal support are able to deduct these payments on their federal income taxes, and those who receive spousal support must report it as taxable income. However, under a federal tax bill passed in 2017, starting in January 2019 spousal support payments are no longer tax deductible to the paying spouse, and the receiving spouse need not report them as taxable income. Therefore, some couples may want to finalize their divorce before 2019, so they can stay grandfathered under current tax laws.

Can you discharge student loan debt through bankruptcy?

As many of our readers in Colorado may know, many people in our nation are struggling under an insurmountable amount of student loan debt. Many factors, including the economy, job markets and skyrocketing tuition prices, have led many people to take out student loans that they are ultimately unable to pay back. Unlike other types of loans, generally, student loan debt cannot be discharged through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, there are always exceptions to the rules, and in very limited circumstances a person may be able to discharge their student loan debt through bankruptcy.

In order to have your student loans discharged through bankruptcy, you must be able to prove that paying back the debt would inflict an "undue hardship" on you and your dependents. Undue hardship is often determined using the "Brunner test." There are three prongs to this test.

Addressing property division issues in a prenuptial agreement

While some couples in Colorado marry young without much by way of assets to their names, it is not unusual for couples to marry at older ages these days, or even to divorce and re-marry a second time. This also means that it is not unusual for couples to enter into a marriage with significant assets of their own. Some of these assets may be investments, retirement accounts, bank accounts or even a house.

It may seem reasonable that whatever you entered the relationship with, should you divorce, you should be able to walk away with. However, property division in a divorce is much more complicated than that. Property in a divorce will be classified as either "marital" or "separate." Marital property is generally that which a couple obtains over the course of their marriage and is divided equitably between the spouses. Separate property is that which a party owns prior to getting married. However, if separate property is combined or "commingled" with marital property, it loses its status as separate property. It becomes marital property, and thus is included in the divisible estate.

Medical bills, even for the insured, can spell financial disaster

When most people think about having to file for bankruptcy, they think of people who have amassed massive credit card debt. What most individuals don't consider is that many people who are contemplating bankruptcy are in this position because of a medical condition or emergency.

Mounting medical bills are common when a person has a sudden illness or injury. Even people who have better health care insurance might be shocked by what's not covered and what has to be paid out of pocket.

Can a short-sale stop home foreclosure?

When a person in Colorado is facing foreclosure, it can be incredibly stressful. After all, that person may have tried selling the home at a price that would allow them to pay off their mortgage, but could not find a willing buyer, especially if the value of the home is less than what is owed on it. And, losing one's home to foreclosure can be a terrible blow that only exacerbates a person's financial troubles. If a person finds themselves facing foreclosure, they may have some options for stopping the foreclosure process. One of these options is a short-sale.

In a short-sale, the lender is willing to release the homeowner from some or all of their mortgage obligations even if the homeowner sells the home for less than it is worth. This could put a stop to foreclosure. In addition, a homeowner who sells their home through a short-sale will not take the same credit hit they would experience if their home was foreclosed upon.

Parents in Colorado can plan for the school year post-divorce

Summer has come and gone, and children across Colorado are going back to school. While this can be an exciting time of year for some children, for children whose parents are divorced going back to school can be stressful. It is important for divorced parents to work together to set their child up for success in school.

First, parents should try to be on the same page with regards to the child's responsibilities at each house. Having the same expectations for homework, bedtime and other daily aspects of a child's life can bring stability to the child, allowing the child to focus on school. Reviewing child custody and parental visitation orders can help parents note when each of them will have the child in their care during the school year, as well as help parents identify if any modifications to their child custody and visitation orders must be made to accommodate the child's educational needs.

Choosing between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy

The world of bankruptcy law can be confusing, especially if you are already under a great deal of stress due to your precarious financial situation. In the end, most people in Colorado who decide to file for bankruptcy will choose between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, there are some differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy that are worth noting, so you can make an educated decision about which option, if any, is right for you.

If you want to resolve your bankruptcy matters quickly and are worried about how much it may cost you, you may want to consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In general, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is more efficient and less expensive than Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is known as a "liquidation" bankruptcy and can usually be settled in a matter of months. Through Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, the debtor will enter into a repayment plan that lasts anywhere from three to five years.

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