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You can protect the equity in your home in a Colorado bankruptcy

For Colorado citizens struggling with debt and considering bankruptcy, concerns about their home may be the most significant factor holding them back from filing. There is a common misconception that anyone who filed bankruptcy must liquidate all of their assets in doing so. However, this is simply not the case.

It is possible to protect some of your assets which the state considers exempt from liquidation in bankruptcy. How much value in your home you can protect depends on the kind of bankruptcy you file. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there is no limit to the amount of equity that you can potentially exempt. For those who qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is a state limit.

Watch out for scams promising to stop home foreclosure

Those facing foreclosure may feel desperate. So, when they are presented with a loan modification opportunity, it may seem like an offer that is too good to be true. However, sometimes these offers are actually scams that homeowners need to be aware of.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that these scam artists will examine published foreclosure notices, public files and information on the Internet to find people to prey upon. They may advertise that they can immediately stop home foreclosure, or they may guarantee that they can do so. They may have a website that appears to be associated with the government, making them seem like a legitimate business when they are not. These scam artists may also require people to pay hefty fees in exchange for saving their home, but the scam artists take the money with no intent of actually fulfilling this promise.

How does divorce affect a parent's ability to relocate?

Summertime is a popular time for parents to move, as it means that their child will have time to adjust to their new home before the school year starts. However, when parents are divorced, moving is not as simple as packing up your things and taking off for your new home. If there is a child custody and parental visitation order in place, the parent that wants to move may need to seek a modification of the order first.

Under Colorado Revised Statutes §14-10-129, if a parent wishes to modify a child custody order because of a move, the court will do so if it is in the child's best interests. If the custodial parent is moving and the move will significantly alter the geographic ties between the child and the noncustodial parent, the court may consider other factors.

Federal student loan bill may interest Coloradans

While a college degree is a valuable asset, obtaining that degree is not usually cheap. Many college students need to take out loans to finance their education. Unfortunately, the costs of a college education have risen significantly in recent years and obtaining a high-paying job upon graduation is not always possible. Therefore, our nation is facing a student debt crisis in which many debtors in Colorado and across the United States are unable to pay back their student loans.

People with other types of debts, such as a mortgage, medical debt or credit card debt have sought financial relief by filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In general, it can be difficult (although not impossible) to receive a discharge of student loans through bankruptcy. However, one U.S. congressman has introduced a bill that would change bankruptcy rules in a way that could benefit those with student debt who are unable to pay it back.

How to plan a trip with your child after divorce

A divorce will change your life in many ways, including how you rear your child(ren). While co-parenting is easier said than done, once you settle into a groove with your arrangement, you'll find that you can maintain a strong relationship with your child.

If you're in the process of planning a trip with the kids, there are several key steps to take in order to avoid an argument with the other parent. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Review your child custody agreement. You shouldn't assume that you can do whatever you want when traveling with your child, as this may not be true. For example, you could discover that you are not permitted to travel outside of the country with your child — or even the state of Colorado, in some cases. Taking a trip with your child is fun, but violating your child custody agreement is anything but that.
  • Set a schedule. If you want to plan a trip without angering the other parent, set a schedule and stick to it. This will allow both of you to be on the same page regarding the trip, e.g., when you're leaving, when you're coming home and where you're staying.
  • Talk about it in advance. It's not always easy to plan a trip many months in advance, but when it comes to traveling with your child after divorce you should attempt to do so. The sooner you let the other parent in on your plans the better off you'll be. For example, if you want to take a trip over the Thanksgiving holiday, start talking about the details during the summer months.
  • Communication is essential. This is critical on many fronts. To start, you should openly communicate with the other parent about your travel plans. Also, make sure your child stays in touch with his or her other parent during the trip.

Property division in Colorado may be more complex than you think

Some people in Colorado may think that property division in a divorce is simple -- each party simply walks away with half of their shared assets. However, the reality of property division is much more complex. First of all, Colorado is an equitable division state. This means that the court will divide property based on what it deems to be fair, and this may not mean an even 50/50 split.

In addition, it is important to distinguish between marital and separate property. Separate property is property that was owned by only one party to the marriage. In contrast, property obtained during the course of the marriage is considered marital property, and, thus, is included in the divisible estate.

Prenups can be useful for couples of any age

First comes love, then comes ... the prenup? Actually, for millennial couples in Colorado and nationwide getting ready to walk down the aisle, premarital agreements (also known as prenuptial agreements) are becoming less taboo. Premarital agreements outline how the soon-to-be spouses will divide their assets if their marriage doesn't last. Premarital agreements can also address child custody issues, inheritance issues and spousal maintenance (alimony) issues.

One reason why premarital agreements are increasing in popularity among millennials is that many of them are marrying later than generations before them did. This means they have built up enough separate assets on their own that they wish to protect. For example, according to the Pew Research Center, in 1980 only 13 percent of women living with a male spouse earned 50 percent or more of the household income. As of today, that figure has grown almost threefold. The president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers reports that, in comparison to other generations, millennials treat premarital agreements with the same attitude they would a business dealing, rather than as a deeply emotional affair.

Does federal law apply to non-court foreclosure proceedings?

When a person in Colorado is facing the possibility of foreclosure, their lender may first try to collect on the debt in a variety of ways. However, debt collectors cannot try to collect on the debt by any means possible. Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors are limited in what measures they can take to try to collect on the debt. However, one question that is currently the subject of an on-going lawsuit is whether the Act protects debtors in non-court foreclosure proceedings.

The United States Supreme Court will take up a case regarding foreclosures and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The issue is whether the Act provides protections for debtors facing foreclosure outside the court system. In 2016, of the nearly 400,000 homes in the foreclosure process approximately half are done via non-court foreclosure proceedings. The borrower in this case is claiming federal law that mandates that debt collectors, even in a non-court foreclosure, must confirm that the debt is valid and provide the debtor with documentation of this.

What personal bankruptcy options are available to Coloradans?

When a debtor is contemplating bankruptcy, they will either file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, with some exceptions, the debtor's assets are liquidated, and the proceeds are used to pay of their debts. The process usually can be finished within a matter of months. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor may retain more assets, but will have to follow a court-ordered repayment plan that could last three to five years.

However, choosing between Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy often boils down to the debtor's income. If a person's income is under a certain level they may qualify for Chapter 7. If their income is above that threshold, only Chapter 13 may be available to them. The following are some differences between these two types of bankruptcies.

Colorado parenting in the summer, post-divorce

Summer is here and for children in Colorado whose parents have divorced, summer may mean that a child custody and parental visitation schedule will be followed that is different from the one followed in the school year. For example, during the school year, one parent may have custody of the child on weekdays, and the other parent may have visitation every-other weekend. However, oftentimes in the summer the noncustodial parent will have an extended period of visitation with the child, such as one month. In addition, both parents may want to take the child on a vacation that differs from their normal custody and visitation periods. It is important, then, to ensure any changes to a custody and visitation plan are lawful, in order to avoid unwanted surprises and conflicts.

If a child custody order designates when each parent will have the child in their care during the summer, parents should try to stick to this schedule. Reasonable changes may be accommodated, for example, taking the child on a week-long road trip. However, if a parent is constantly submitting motions to change the summer custody schedule, it could cause a great deal of disruption. This disruption can affect the child, who needs stability following a divorce. And, if parents make last minute demands, it could lead to emotionally and financially costly litigation.

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