In this blog post, I will share 35 years of experience, specific suggestions, and factual knowledge to make the mortgage process for a home purchase or refinance transaction far more accurate, less intricate, and as hassle-free as possible, whether you're considering a divorce, in the middle of a divorce, or post-divorce.Read More
One of the biggest concerns for clients is often how they will pay for an attorney. This is an especially important factor for a lesser-earning spouse, who may feel trapped financially.
Colorado law allows a trial court to order one party to pay the other spouse’s attorneys’ fees and court costs as part of a dissolution of marriage. The purpose of the statute is to prevent a higher-earning spouse from gaining an advantage over the other spouse, or preventing that spouse from filing for dissolution or legal separation.
The court must consider the financial resources of both parties before making such an order. Additionally, the attorneys’ fees incurred must be reasonable.
Typically, an award of attorneys’ fees is made at the permanent orders hearing. The party seeking payment of their fees is required to submit a bill of costs, listing all fees and costs incurred during the action. If the other side objects to the amount of the fees, a hearing will be held.
However, there are times when a spouse does not have access to any funds during the course of the divorce. In 2006, the Colorado Court of Appeals addressed this very issue. A court can now award attorneys’ fees in advance of permanent orders. The initial award of attorneys’ fees may be reapportioned at permanent orders.
If your spouse cannot afford to pay your attorneys' fees, you should also consider "unbundled" legal services.
The attorneys’ fees statute is a great tool for ensuring that both spouses have access to representation during a divorce. Call Katelyn today if you have questions about attorneys’ fees.
Many people are unaware that options exist for the payment of child support and maintenance. This article discusses each method of payment, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
When most people think of paying child support, they assume that it will be paid directly from one parent to the other. The parent paying child support (also known as the obligor) can set up an automatic bill pay each month, or can transfer the funds directly to the other parent’s bank account. The obligor can also make the payment via check or money order. Paying with cash is not advised, because no record of the payment exists.
The advantage to this method is that the funds are immediately available to the parent receiving child support.
The disadvantage to making or receiving payments directly is the difficulty in tracking payments as they are received. If there is ever a dispute over the amount of child support that has been paid, discovery of bank statements and cancelled check stubs is required. Additionally, if the obligor is forgetful or avoiding child support, payments may be received late or not at all.
Family Support Registry
Rather than paying child support directly to the other parent, the obligor can make payments through the Family Support Registry (FSR). FSR is a division of Colorado’s Division of Child Support Services. The obligor makes the payment to the registry, which is then forwarded to the parent receiving support.
The advantage of making payments through FSR is that the registry keeps track of all payments received, including the date that they are received.
The disadvantage to using FSR is that it takes several days for the payment to be processed and posted to the account. For example, a payment made on May 10th may not appear in the system until May 12th, which can lead some individuals to believe the payment has not been made. It also takes a couple of days for the funds to be available to the parent receiving support.
When entering a child support order, the Court can order that the payment be made via income assignment. An Income Withholding Order is filed with the Court and served on the obligor’s employer. The employer is then required by law to withhold child support amounts from the obligor’s pay check.
The advantage of an income assignment is the ease for all involved. As long as the obligor does not change jobs, the payments will be made automatically each month.
The one disadvantage of an income assignment is the way the payments are calculated. Generally, child support and maintenance orders are a monthly amount. However, if the obligor is paid biweekly, the parent receiving support will receive a prorated amount. For example, assume that Bill must pay Sally $600 per month in child support. Bill is paid biweekly. To calculate each payment, the employer will calculate the yearly amount of child support ($600 x 12 months = $7,200). This amount will then be divided by 26, the total number of pay periods in a year). This results in a biweekly payment of $276.92. In some months, only two payments will be received, resulting in a perceived shortfall to the parent receiving support. Although this will average out over the course of the year, many parents who are short on funds need the full amount of support each month.
Do you have questions about the payment or receipt of child support? Contact Katelyn to discuss the specifics of your case.
Child support can be modified any time there is a change of circumstances that is “substantial and continuing.”
Before January 1, 2017, Colorado law provided that the court could order, or the parties could agree, to exchange financial information yearly. Effective January 1, 2017, all parties are required to exchange financial information at least yearly. The purpose of this exchange is to update and modify child support without a court hearing.
A “substantial and continuing” change means at least a 10% change in the amount of child support that is due each month. For example, if the current child support obligation is $600 per month, the new amount must be less than $540, or more than $660, per month for the court to order a modification.
The modification is only effective for child support obligations that arise after a motion to modify is filed. Therefore, it is important that you file the motion as quickly as possible after learning of the circumstances that will change the child support amount. The only exception to this rule is if there is a change in physical care for the child. For example, assume the parties share parenting time equally, but Dad gets a new job in another state. As of March 1st, the parties agree to change parenting time so that the child will stay in Colorado with Mom, but will spend vacations and school breaks with Dad. If Mom does not file a motion to modify child support until June 1st, the court can still retroactively change child support to March 1st.
If you think that your child support amount should be modified, it is important that you act quickly and without delay. Call Katelyn to discuss your needs today.
Because of the special relationship between spouses, Colorado law requires “full and honest disclosure” of all material facts that effect both spouses and their children. Part of this requirement includes mandatory disclosure of financial documentation (“mandatory financial disclosures”).Read More