How to Stay Out of Divorce Court

by admin on April 28, 2012

How To Divorce: How Do I Stay Out Of Divorce Court?
Posted: 04/25/2012 8:25 pm Updated: 04/26/2012 2:53 am

Wondering how you can stay out of divorce court? Here’s what you need to know. Family law attorney Henry Gornbein gives his advice on how to avoid a court date with your ex. Have a question of your own? Ask in the comments.

I tell my clients that court should be the last resort. You do not want a stranger in a black robe deciding some of the most intimate issues in your life. You do not want a stranger telling you where your children will live, how much time you can spend with your children and deciding all of your financial issues. Once you go to court, whether it is for a hearing or a trial, you lose control of your lives and the lives of your children if custody is an issue.

There are several ways to stay out of court. First of all, if you and your soon-to-be former spouse can sit down and work out as many issues as possible, this will help facilitate a settlement. Having a good attorney who is a problem solver, rather than someone who creates problems, is also important. You want an attorney who works with and for you, and not someone who will lead you astray or create unnecessary conflicts or battles. In addition to face-to-face negotiations, a four-way meeting involving attorneys and clients can often result in, if not a resolution of all issues, at least a resolution of as many issues as possible. I have found that through a series of meetings many cases can be resolved.

Another good approach is mediation. In Michigan where I practice, and in more and more other states, mediation is used as a means of resolving cases without the need to go to trial. A good mediator will work with the parties to settle everything with input from you as well as your attorneys. In some high conflict divorces, I am involved in situations where we will have mediators with powers to make interim rulings, and where we can have either mini-hearings, or tightly structured negotiations in an effort to keep the case from spinning out of control. This can resolve issues and avoid going to trial.

Are you considering Divorce Mediation in Denver? Contact Gary Nicholas, Divorce Mediation Denver at 303-322-0038.

As I said previously, the last thing anyone wants is to go to trial. Once you say things about your spouse in court, you will be opening up wounds that are on the public record and cannot be taken back. Think about this before you decide to go to trial.

Nicholas Family Law is a leading and experienced Child Custody Attorney in Denver. Denver Divorce Lawyer handling matters such as Alimony, Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce Mediation, Divorce Debt Settlement, Divorce Property Division, Legal Separation, Common Law Marriage in the Denver metro areas. Courts we serve include Adams County Court, Arapahoe County Court, Denver County Court, Douglas County Court, and Jefferson County Court.

Nicholas Family Law
4601 DTC Blvd. #1000
Denver, CO 80237
303-322-0038 (phone)
303-740-8408 (fax)

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Want Child Custody in Colorado?

by admin on March 10, 2012

Want Custody Of Your Kids? Get Involved With Their School!
Posted: 03/ 8/2012 12:29 pm

If you are going through divorce, there are many ways you can help your child custody case. Being involved with your children’s education is one of the more heavily weighted factors.

A recent article on outlined the profound impact testimony from teachers can have on a judge’s determination of child custody and parenting time.

Teachers are often called into court to testify regarding parental involvement in the children’s lives, particularly the educational aspect. The best thing you can do for yourself and your child is to ensure that you are not cut out of your child’s education.

When parents have separated, it often becomes the case that only one parent is contacted by the school to arrange parent-teacher conferences and participate in class activities.

More often than not, it is the mother who has the time to volunteer at school to help out. It’s Mom who usually is the one the school calls, who handles carpool, who drops off the snacks.

Teachers see moms do this every day. Fair or unfair, when a dad does these things, it sticks out because few dads do so. As I recommend in my book “The 10 Stupidest Mistakes Men Make When Facing Divorce,” make sure your kids’ teachers get used to seeing you.

Attend parent-teacher conferences. Even if there is not a parent-teacher conference scheduled, make sure your kids’ teachers see you picking them up from school and pop in to talk to teachers from time to time.

If every couple months you had lunch with your child or took a vacation day to go on a field trip, your participation in the education process as a father will stick out more in the teacher’s mind.

Continue to be involved in your child’s education by providing the teacher with your contact information and asking to be informed about volunteer opportunities with the school and your child’s progress on academic subjects.

One big obstacle many temporary non-custodial parents and their children face is completing homework during midweek parenting time. Working on homework with your child is of paramount importance, even if you are one of the many fathers relegated to seeing your kids just one school night a week.

It can be difficult to take the time to do homework instead of playing together during those overnight visits, but it is imperative that you help your kids with their homework. Many schools now have homework books that list assignments, so sign those books or initial their homework every time you do homework together.

In one case we handled at my law firm, Cordell & Cordell, the deciding factor in a custody contest was the homework book. There were dozens of homework assignments, and the mom had signed for only three. The dad had signed for the rest.

While all of these potential actions are done for the simple benefit of your child and furthering his or her education, it also provides the judge an opportunity to see that your parenting time is nothing but beneficial. This proves you are actively seeking to be involved in your child’s education and are following up with teachers to ensure that you are doing everything in your power to better your child through learning.

Being involved in your child’s education is an excellent way to spend additional bonding time and demonstrate a willingness to be involved with your child’s growth.

It also may just make the difference in your custody case.

Nicholas Family Law is a leading and experienced Child Custody Attorney in Denver. Denver Divorce Lawyer handling matters such as Alimony, Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce Mediation, Divorce Debt Settlement, Divorce Property Division, Legal Separation, Common Law Marriage in the Denver metro areas. Courts we serve include Adams County Court, Arapahoe County Court, Denver County Court, Douglas County Court, and Jefferson County Court.

Nicholas Family Law
4601 DTC Blvd. #1000
Denver, CO 80237
303-322-0038 (phone)
303-740-8408 (fax)

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Interviewing a Divorce Lawyer

by admin on March 1, 2012

Lloyd C. RosenLawyer

How To Interview A Divorce Lawyer
Posted: 03/ 1/2012 12:10 pm

Making the decision to file for divorce, or worse, being served with divorce papers by your spouse, is often an extremely emotional, frightening and confusing event in the average person’s life. The task of finding an attorney to represent you in a divorce proceeding can be utterly daunting. Some people are fortunate to enough to be provided with the name of a trusted attorney from a friend, relative or coworker, but in the absence of such a referral, many are clueless about how to find and select an attorney. The decision to be made in selecting an attorney for a divorce proceeding is an extremely personal choice involving a very private and intimate aspect of your life. This unavoidably requires that you place a significant amount of trust and confidence in the attorney you choose to hire.

The process for finding, interviewing and selecting a divorce lawyer is not an exact science, but there are a number of steps that can be taken to prepare for the process. Doing so will enable you to make an informed decision and will ultimately inspire a greater level of confidence in your final selection. Initially, you may be well advised to refine your search to attorneys who have a practice more heavily focused on matrimonial and family law matters. You need to feel comfortable with the attorney that you select and feel confident that they are skilled, knowledgeable and concerned about your best interests.

1. Start by seeking referrals: If you know anyone who has been through the divorce process, you may wish to begin by asking them to recommend an attorney involved in their divorce matter. They may give you the name of the lawyer they hired, or they may even suggest that their spouse’s attorney would be a better choice. A referral from a trusted friend, relative or coworker is always a good starting point, but you should not forgo a personal interview (or “consultation”) with the attorney, as it is important to make sure they are a good fit for you. If you have no such referral source, you can consult with various attorney referral websites on the Internet, your local Bar Association, or even the phone book.

2. Set the stage with your first call: Your initial call to a lawyer to set up a consultation may provide you with some useful information about what to expect if you later become a client. When you call, express your desire to meet with the lawyer. Were you greeted pleasantly by whoever answered the phone? Were you assisted in a prompt and courteous manner, or were you asked to leave a message or voicemail? Was an effort made to accommodate your scheduling needs, or were you offered a limited window of opportunity to meet with the lawyer? How did the overall tone of this first contact make you feel about the office? Anything that makes you uncomfortable about this initial call should be a red flag and should cause you to move on to the next name on your list.

Are you considering Divorce in Denver? Contact Gary Nicholas, Divorce Lawyer Denver at 303-322-0038.

3. Come prepared: It would be helpful for you to know in advance of your consultation what are the one or two most important issues for you in the divorce proceeding; what is most important to you — is it preserving your home? Custody or parental access with your children? Protecting your retirement assets? Make a list of questions to ask during the consultation so you don’t forget anything important to you. If you were served with court papers, or if you have any documentation particularly relevant to the divorce proceeding (a prenuptial agreement, a restraining order or a motion of any kind, for example), bring copies to the consultation. It is not necessary for you to bring all your personal financial documentation, as this is more appropriately provided to the attorney once they have been retained to represent you.

4. Be candid: For a meaningful legal consultation, it is crucial for the attorney you are interviewing to be aware of all the information relevant to the important issues. If you hide any pertinent information, you may be hindering the attorney’s ability to fully assess the situation and provide you with appropriate advice. The attorney can not give you proper legal advice with incomplete or inaccurate information. Anything you discuss with an attorney, even during the consultation, is confidential. You should therefore feel free to share all relevant information during the interview. One purpose of the initial consultation is to get an informed legal opinion and advice relevant to your situation, which would be more difficult for any attorney given a watered-down or edited version of the facts.

5. Expose yourself: When seeking legal advice in a divorce matter, you may sometimes be required to reveal intimate or embarrassing information about your spouse, your marriage, or more important, yourself. If you’ve been unfaithful, if you have a drug or alcohol addiction, if you’ve been spending large sums of money on personal indulgences without your spouse’s knowledge, you should reveal this to the attorney with whom you consult. It is necessary for the attorney to be aware of potentially damaging information. Most everyone has something to hide, so let the attorney know about anything that you think may expose you to harm in a court battle. An experienced matrimonial attorney has likely heard it all, and what you think is embarrassing or devastating to your case may be viewed by the experienced attorney as a minor issue that can easily be avoided or deemed insignificant. On the other hand, if you inform the attorney of a situation that could potentially cause you a problem, the attorney will be better able to advise you at the consultation about how they might strategically handle the issue in court.

6. Ask questions: You should expect, during your consultation with the lawyer, to get an education about the legal process and law applicable to your matter. But don’t be afraid to ask questions about the lawyer, about the law office, about their billing practices, how they maintain contact with their clients, how supporting staff may be involved in your matter, and anything else you may have questions or concerns about. The attorney you interview should be more than willing to answer your questions and make you feel comfortable in the process. If the attorney seems dismissive of your questions, no matter how elementary you may think your queries are, you may wish to consider another attorney.

7. Be wary of the sales pitch: Some attorneys will listen to your concerns and will tell you everything you want to hear in order to persuade you to hire them. If the advice you received from the attorney seems like your case is a “slam dunk” or you “can’t lose,” be cautious. No attorney can guarantee the results of their legal representation. There are far too many variables involved to be able to predict how a case might be settled, how a judge may decide an issue, or how much time or money it will take to resolve your matter. While it may be comforting to hear unwavering words of assurance from an attorney during a consultation, you may be the subject of a sales pitch filled with empty or exaggerated promises, so be aware of this.

Choosing the right lawyer to represent you in a divorce proceeding is a very important decision. By preparing yourself with a little knowledge and information in advance of a consultation, you can better equip yourself to make an informed and strategic decision. Above all, you should feel confident and comfortable with your choice. Otherwise, look elsewhere.

Nicholas Family Law is a leading and experienced Family Law Attorney in Denver. Denver Divorce Lawyer handling matters such as Alimony, Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce Mediation, Divorce Debt Settlement, Divorce Property Division, Legal Separation, Common Law Marriage in the Denver metro areas. Courts we serve include Adams County Court, Arapahoe County Court, Denver County Court, Douglas County Court, and Jefferson County Court.

Nicholas Family Law
4601 DTC Blvd. #1000
Denver, CO 80237
303-322-0038 (phone)
303-740-8408 (fax)

Email Us | Directions

Post Divorce Insurance Do’s and Don’ts

by admin on February 8, 2012

5 post-divorce insurance do’s and don’ts

Love has flown the coop, and now you have to decide how to divide up the insurance coverage on cars, home, health and life.

By MSN Money partner 21 hours ago
This post comes from Barbara Marquand at partner site

While lovebirds are nesting in honor of Valentine’s Day, the less lucky in love may be planning a hasty — or not so hasty — exit. Sadly, when good lovin’ goes bad, there’s more to the fallout than emotional baggage and bickering over who gets the dog.

Insurance plays a role, too. Here’s how in five heartbreaking scenarios:

1. You break up, and your ex is still the beneficiary on the life insurance policy.
“No matter what your will says, the life insurance policy is a contract, and that money will flow according to what the contract says,” says Darren Scrimpshire, a managing director with Sapient Financial Group in San Antonio.

If, after your divorce, you married someone else and enjoyed 50 happy years together, your ex would still get the life insurance proceeds if you never bothered to change the beneficiary.

Some divorced couples who have children together maintain their exes as the beneficiary for the sake of the kids. If you don’t trust your ex to spend the money wisely, you can set up a trust for the benefit of the children and name it as the beneficiary of the life insurance policy, Scrimpshire says.

Work with an attorney and contact your life insurance company when you’re ready to change the beneficiary. And don’t forget to make changes on all your policies, including group life insurance you have through work.

2. You divorce but have to share the house because you’re underwater on the mortgage and can’t sell it.

Homeowner insurance is tied to the property and who is listed on the mortgage lien. So if the home is still titled to both of you, the insurance generally should stay in both your names, says Mary Bonelli, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Insurance Institute.

However, you should still have a written agreement about who is responsible for the mortgage and insurance payments. If you can’t stand living under one roof, you’ll need a separate renters insurance policy when you move to an apartment to cover belongings and provide additional liability protection — even though you still are named on the home insurance policy, Bonelli says.

If you both move out and leave the home unoccupied, you’ll need a policy for a vacant home, which won’t provide as much protection as a standard policy. You’re probably better off with one of you maintaining residence in the home. Post continues below.

3. Your estranged spouse bashes in the windshield on the car you own together.

“If you and your soon-to-be-ex share an auto insurance policy, you’d likely have to pay such damages out of pocket,” Bonelli says. “Most insurers would consider this an ‘intentional act.’”

But if your enraged ex is no longer on the auto insurance policy, this could be considered vandalism and would be covered under comprehensive insurance, an optional type of car insurance coverage that covers damage caused by factors other than traffic accidents. You probably will need to file a police report before making the insurance claim.

The deductible would apply, but your insurance company could go after your ex’s insurance carrier to make it pay for the damage, including your deductible, Bonelli says.

4. You divorce, and you want to stay on your spouse’s employer-sponsored health insurance plan.

You may be able to continue the coverage by electing COBRA insurance, named for the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. The law provides a safety net for employees and their families who lose health insurance because of job losses or changes, death of the employee or divorce. The federal law applies to employers with 20 or more workers, but many states have their own mini-COBRA laws that apply to employers with smaller workforces.

If you choose COBRA, you can get coverage through your ex’s plan for up to 36 months, but you have to pay the entire monthly premium, plus an administrative fee.

COBRA might be the best option if you have a pre-existing condition that would make it difficult to qualify for coverage elsewhere, says Martin Rosen, the co-founder and executive vice president of Health Advocate, which helps clients navigate the health care system.

But if that’s not the case, get insurance quotes for individual health insurance plans, and compare them with the cost of COBRA. Think carefully about what you need from a health insurance plan — you might come out ahead by purchasing a high-deductible plan, versus paying expensive premiums for a low-deductible, low-co-pay plan.

“Do your homework in making these calculations,” Rosen says. “Buy what you need, and don’t overbuy.”

5. You’re splitting up and want your spouse off your car insurance policy.

It’s OK to stay on the same auto insurance policy until you’ve divided car ownership, as long as you agree on how to pay for the coverage. Keep in mind that if you remove your soon-to-be ex from your car insurance before the divorce is finalized, you could lose your multi-car discount or possibly a multi-policy discount if your home insurance policy is with the same carrier, Bonelli says.

When it’s time for separate policies, make sure the new ones are effective before removing yourself or an ex from the joint policy.

“What could be problematic is if there is a miscue in coordinating the policy switch-over and one person finds out too late that they are actually an uninsured driver,” Bonelli says. “In some states, it’s easier — and cheaper — to switch carriers while you’re still insured than allowing your coverage to lapse. If you are an uninsured driver, even for a short period of time, you could be pegged as a higher-risk driver than you actually are.”

Nicholas Family Law is a leading and experienced Family Law Attorney in Denver. Denver Divorce Lawyer handling matters such as Alimony, Child Custody, Child Support, Divorce Mediation, Divorce Debt Settlement, Divorce Property Division, Legal Separation, Common Law Marriage in the Denver metro areas. Courts we serve include Adams County Court, Arapahoe County Court, Denver County Court, Douglas County Court, and Jefferson County Court.

Nicholas Family Law
4601 DTC Blvd. #1000
Denver, CO 80237
303-322-0038 (phone)
303-740-8408 (fax)

Email Us | Directions

Building Credit After Divorce

by admin on January 24, 2012

Square one: how to build credit after divorce
Written by Lynnette Khalfani-Cox
Published January 24, 2012

Going through a divorce can be one of the most stressful and emotionally draining experiences of your life. Your credit score is probably the last thing on your mind, but you do need to make sure you’re working towards a healthy financial future in the midst of the separation from your spouse.

Some people are left with a very poor credit score after divorce because they find their ex didn’t pay bills on time and ruined the credit of both parties. Others simply don’t have any financial accounts under their own name. Whatever your situation, there are some effective ways to build or re-establish credit after divorce.
Here are five ideas to help you get started.

1. Pull your credit reports

First, find out where you stand. The only way to know the status of any joint credit accounts, or accounts that were formerly maintained in both of your names, is to check your most recent credit reports from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can get them once a year at no cost through
Scour your credit files for any notations of late payments or collection accounts. Those are major red flags that will jeopardize your chances of qualifying for a new credit card or obtaining credit in your own name.

As important as it is to be aware of the information in your credit files — especially after divorce — a surprising number of adults in the U.S. don’t take the time to review their credit history.
A survey from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that roughly seven out of 10 Americans don’t check their credit reports each year, as they’re entitled to do free of charge under federal law. Overlooking this right is a big mistake. But it’s one that people don’t often realize until they have relationship troubles.
“The fact of the matter is that people bring financial baggage into a relationship, and often don’t deal with it until problems arise,” says NFCC spokeswoman Gail Cunningham. “Perhaps that baggage comes in the form of a poor credit rating, significant debt, or no experience managing money.”

2. Fix mistakes on your credit reports

After you receive your credit reports, make sure all the information about you is accurate, including your credit history, employment history and other personal information. Creditors and banks can make mistakes when reporting data to the credit bureaus, and only you can step in and request corrections. Each of the three credit bureaus provides an online dispute form.
Just realize that even if your divorce agreement says that your ex is supposed to pay certain bills, if he or she doesn’t, you’re still legally liable for those debts.

Do you have debt issues in your divorce in Denver? Contact Gary Nicholas, Divorce Attorney Denver, and Divorce Debt Lawyer Denver at 303-322-0038.

3. Don’t keep joint credit obligations with your ex

Even if you have an ongoing financial relationship with a former spouse — perhaps he’s paying child support or she’s paying alimony — it’s a good idea to break ties from a credit standpoint.

It’s way too risky to keep things like joint credit cards or a mortgage in both parties’ names, says Lisa Hanson, Senior Financial Professional at Firstrust Financial Resources in Philadelphia. Hanson specializes in working with divorcees.
“It’s best to split the accounts because managing credit after you divorce can be very tricky, especially nowadays with all the credit restrictions and how difficult it is to get things like new mortgages,” says Hanson.

Case in point: one new rule affecting those applying for a credit card is that banks and credit card issuers must only consider the applicant’s individual income, not his or her overall household income. This means that if you obtained credit cards in the past thanks in part to your spouse’s income, you may now have a tougher time qualifying for credit on your own.

4. Open a secured credit card if necessary

If your income is too low, or if your credit has taken a serious nosedive after a breakup, one of the best ways to rebuild it is to get secured credit card. Secured credit cards can even help you if you have a “thin” credit file or no credit in the past.
However, secured cards do come at a price. You need to pay for the amount of your credit limit by putting money into an account. For instance, if you put up $500, your credit limit will be $500. You will also need to prove that you are responsible with managing your credit by maintaining a low balance and paying your bills on time. This process will take some time, but is a great way to kickstart your credit-building activities.

5. Pay all credit obligations on time

Finally, one of the best strategies for rebuilding credit — even if yours has suffered from divorce — is to simply pay all outstanding obligations in a timely fashion. According to FICO, the company that created the FICO credit score, 35 percent of your FICO score is based on your payment track record.
So if you do nothing else, do make a point to consistently pay your bills on time. By doing so, you should see your credit score rebound and recover over time, even if divorce initially takes a financial toll on you.

Read more:

Nicholas Family Law is a leading and experienced Family Law Attorney in Denver. Denver Divorce Lawyer handling matters such as Divorce Debt Settlement and Divorce Property Division in the Denver metro areas. Courts we serve include Adams County Court, Arapahoe County Court, Denver County Court, Douglas County Court, and Jefferson County Court.

Nicholas Family Law
4601 DTC Blvd. #1000
Denver, CO 80237
303-322-0038 (phone)
303-740-8408 (fax)

Email Us | Directions

Divorce and Debt

by admin on January 19, 2012

Divorce and Debt: What You Owe and What You Don’t
Posted 3:00PM 02/25/11 Credit, Family Money

By the time Cherie Kerr and her ex-husband finally went their separate ways, her ex had run up $89,000 in debt during the divorce proceedings alone. She knew that if she didn’t take action fast, that debt would scar her financial life forever.

In a way, Kerr knew the marriage was over before it began. Her husband, a home builder, almost immediately asked to borrow $100,000 on Kerr’s house to finance his business “and I stupidly agreed,” says Kerr, who owns a publicity firm in Santa Ana, Calif.

He said he’d pay her back in six months, but after five years, when the marriage was crumbling — in large part because Kerr says she didn’t trust her husband — he still hadn’t paid her back. He finally managed to do so a few months before the divorce papers were to be signed, and Kerr breathed a huge sigh of relief. Yet, a few weeks later, Kerr learned that her husband had taken out a $150,000 line of credit in both of names and had already spent $89,000 of it.”What are you mad about?” her husband asked when confronted with this new development. “There’s plenty of money left for you, too.”

“I’m not living on borrowed money,” protested Kerr, who knew she’d be responsible for paying back that debt. So she spoke with her attorney, who then spoke with her soon-to-be ex-husband.

Luckily for Kerr, her husband managed to pay back the money from the line of credit before they hashed everything out in court.

Kerr barely escaped a financial disaster. Before a divorce is final, the debt your partner incurs during that period is still yours.

“A spouse is and can be held liable in a divorce for the other spouse’s debts — and it doesn’t necessarily matter whose name the debt is in,” says Richard P. Terbrusch, a matrimonial attorney (nobody seems to call themselves “divorce attorneys” any more) in Danbury, Conn.

So if you’ve just ended a marriage or are considering calling it quits and wondering what’s going to happen to that debt your spouse racked up, it might be helpful to understand a few things.

There Are Two Types of Debt

When it comes to divorce and debt, there are two forms of debt that courts primarily tend to look at: living expenses and community property.

Living expenses are, as you’d imagine, the money you pay for the mortgage or rent, groceries, utilities, your cable or cell phone, and other, similar expenses. Community property is pretty much everything else.

So if you and your spouse owe, say, $3,000 on a credit card that you’ve been using to pay for groceries, gas and cable, that debt is considered living expense debt. But if the debt you’ve racked up on your credit card is for gym equipment, a new TV, a freezer-on-top refrigerator — well, that’s community property debt.

Determining the debt you owe begins to get confusing if you have both living expenses and community property expenses on the same credit card. And it gets more complicated if one person had the credit card before the marriage and racked up say, $5,000 in debt on it prior to the marriage, and then during the marriage, both parties added even more debt to it.

At that point, “what debts are separate and what aren’t, and what debts you can justifiably say aren’t yours is almost impossible,” says Bob Nachshin, a matrimonial attorney in Century City, Calif., whose clients have included Will Smith, Rod Stewart, John Ritter and Barry Bonds.

Where You Live Determines Whether You Share That Debt

In community property states, the courts see the debt that’s accrued over the course of the marriage as the responsibility of both parties. So if you and your spouse bought a boat for $25,000, and you still owe $20,000 on it, then both parties split that $20,000 debt down the middle.

But what if the husband secretly bought that boat with a credit card that was in his name only and the wife, whose name wasn’t on the card, had no clue about its existence? In a community property state, she still owes $10,000.

Likewise, says Terbrusch, “if the wife runs up a credit card in her name alone during the marriage, a portion or all of the debt could be assigned to the husband during the divorce.”

Community property states are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

If you’re living in another state, then how you split your debt is likely done through what’s called equitable distribution, in which attorneys and a judge determine who owes what. In other words, if your spouse racked up a lot of credit card debt in secret, you’re more likely to come out of your marriage not owing any of that money. But while that makes it sound like community property states belong in the Stone Age, that’s not necessarily so.

After all, by splitting everything down the middle, courts are trying to promote the idea that a marriage is an equal partnership, and that if a mom quits her job to stay home and raise the kids while the dad brings home the paychecks, she’s entitled to half the assets because she was contributing half her time and energy into keeping the family going. In this case, equitable distribution works to the benefit of both partners.

And while it’s different in every state, courts are generally going to take many factors into consideration, from how long the marriage lasted and each person’s income during the union to whether either spouse had been wed before, which is relevant if your soon-to-be-ex brought debt to the marriage that was a result of his or her former spouse’s out-of-control spending habits.

Do you have debt issues in your divorce in Denver? Contact Gary Nicholas, Divorce Attorney Denver, and Divorce Debt Lawyer Denver at 303-322-0038.

Lesson to Be Learned

Kerr’s experience left her wiser. Her advice for couples in bad marriages: “The minute you split up, or even before you split up, make sure everything is paid for. I know that if I ever got married again, I’d want everything in my name and maybe one joint account, which I’d make sure was buttoned up so we couldn’t get into too much trouble. I never want to be that vulnerable again.”

If you’re saddled with an ex-spouse’s debt that’s ruining your life, and you don’t feel you have any other recourse, there’s always the option of bankruptcy. It may be an unappealing option, but since bankruptcy discharges most of what you owe, it does make it possible to divorce a spouse’s debt.

And most experts will tell you that if you’re going to have to declare bankruptcy, it’s better to do it jointly, before you end the marriage — that’s simply because if you’re trying to make a clean break, its hard to do so if you’re burdened by a large amount of debt that you accumulated during your marriage. While we’re not recommending bankruptcy as your first option, if it’s clear that it’s going to be in the cards, you’d be wise to make it part of the divorce experience, rather than have to deal with it several months later.

And keep in mind that if your partner declares bankruptcy and you don’t, you’ll be on the hook for all the debt you two accumulated during the marriage. Credit card companies don’t care that your ex was a jerk, and that ethically you shouldn’t have to pay the $40,000 he or she spent during the years you were married. If your name was on that credit card, the company can come after you for those funds. If your departing spouse declares bankruptcy, that alone may force your hand to declare it as well.

But not all news is bad news.

“Courts are fair,” says Naschin, the attorney who has handled a lot of celebrity divorces. Overall, he says, when it comes to deciding whose debt is whose, “most courts aren’t jaded and want to do the right thing. And most courts don’t want to be reversed in an appeal.”

Geoff Williams is a frequent contributor to WalletPop. He is also the co-author of the book Living Well with Bad Credit.

See full article from DailyFinance:

Nicholas Family Law is a leading and experienced Family Law Attorney in Denver. Denver Divorce Lawyer handling matters such as Divorce Debt Settlement and Divorce Property Division in the Denver metro areas. Courts we serve include Adams County Court, Arapahoe County Court, Denver County Court, Douglas County Court, and Jefferson County Court.

Nicholas Family Law
4601 DTC Blvd. #1000
Denver, CO 80237
303-322-0038 (phone)
303-740-8408 (fax)

Email Us | Directions

Divorce or Legal Separation?

by admin on January 13, 2012

Legal Separation or Divorce: Which is Better Financially?
Jeffrey A. Landers, CDFA
1/10/2012 @ 10:42AM

We’re all familiar with couples who decide to live separately for awhile before actually getting divorced. And typically, these couples use this “trial separation” to decide whether or not they want to pursue formal legal action.

These days, however, more and more couples are deciding to remain separated, rather than divorce –even after they know their marriages are fractured beyond repair.

Why would a woman make this choice? What reasons could there possibly be to live apart from a spouse, and yet remain married?

In many cases, it boils down to money. You see, sometimes opting for legal separation rather than divorce is a good financial decision.

But, before I discuss the possible financial benefits of a legal separation, let me clarify a few basic points.

What is a legal separation agreement?

As a divorce financial strategist, I often recommend that if you are going to live apart from your husband beyond a reasonable trial period, you obtain a legal separation agreement –which is a legally binding agreement between you and your husband to resolve issues such as the division of assets and debt, alimony/spousal support, child support and visitation.

As Marilyn Chinitz, Partner at Blank Rome, explains, a legal separation agreement can help you mitigate some financial risk.

“Although separating certainly can have benefits, living apart from your spouse without a formal written separation agreement can put you at risk. If you separate, you still remain liable for your spouse’s debts and legal issues in which they are involved notwithstanding the fact that you are not living together,” she says. “A written separation agreement would appropriately address those issues providing for indemnification for example, or limiting your liability for debts incurred by your spouse during the separation. If your spouse fails to pay certain marital debt, because you are still married although not living together, the creditor can seek remedies against you for the joint debts. Informal separations without a document detailing the terms of your separation, that is , how you will share the marital assets, what do you do about joint credit cards, who pays maintenance and how you will distribute assets acquired during the separation, can cause difficulties down the road leading to litigation.”

What’s more, some people remain separated for months or even years, so it’s essential that you protect yourself upfront and have all the necessary issues settled and agreed to in writing. In order to move forward, you need to know who gets which assets, who is responsible for debts, how much alimony is to be paid and for how long, etc. The legal separation agreement helps settle these issues, and if you ultimately decide to divorce, it can easily become your divorce settlement agreement.

“Indeed, as time goes on, communication and cooperation with your estranged spouse may no longer exist. Your agreement should give you ready access to liquid assets- you may need these assets to pay bills,” Marilyn explains. “Most importantly, if you separate without an agreement, you may not receive your share of the marital assets acquired which may be depleted or lost because you were unaware of how your estranged spouse was managing the funds or marital business.”

Are you trying to decide between Divorce or Legal Separation in Denver? Contact Gary Nicholas, Divorce Attorney Denver, and Legal Separation Lawyer Denver at 303-322-0038.

Does my state recognize legal separation agreements?

Divorce laws vary from state to state, and so it’s no surprise that regulations governing legal separation vary from state to state, too. In general terms, each state falls into one of three broad categories:

  • Some states require a legal separation before you can file for a divorce.
  • Other states recognize a legal separation, but do not require it.
  • A few states neither require nor recognize legal separation.

Obviously, it’s important to get the advice of a divorce attorney in your state to determine if a legal separation agreement is a viable option for you.

When might a legal separation be a better financial choice than divorce?

Legal separation may be a good financial option for you if you need to:

  • Meet the 10-year requirement for social security benefits. If a marriage has lasted at least 10 years, a divorced spouse who has not remarried is entitled at age 62 (with various other requirements) to social security benefits equal to the greater of: 1) those based on her (assuming she is the lesser earning person) own work record or 2) 50 percent of what her ex-husband is entitled to based upon his work record. Because of this law, many people who have been married for seven or eight years will separate until they cross the 10-year threshold – then, they get divorced. (Please note: The amount of your social security benefits will be reduced if you opt to take them prior to your normal retirement date. So, although you may be eligible to start receiving benefits at age 62, depending on your circumstances, you may want to delay doing so until your normal retirement age or beyond. You can actually receive more for each year you delay post retirement age up until age 70.)
  • Continue receiving health insurance benefits under your husband’s plan. Naturally, once a couple is divorced, most employer health plans will no longer cover the employee’s ex-spouse. Separating, but not divorcing, may solve that problem –although you’ll have to carefully check the fine print in your husband’s employment benefit package to know for sure. Some employers view a legal separation the same as a divorce and will deny benefits accordingly.
  • Take advantage of potential tax benefits from filing jointly. Many couples assume they will save money by filing joint tax returns, so they separate, but do not divorce, in order to preserve that right. In addition, there also may be estate-planning implications, such as preserving the marital deduction. However, please don’t let assumptions like these lead you into trouble. Federal tax law in this area is quite complex, and then it becomes even more so because the IRS usually follows state law for determining marital status. In other words, whether or not you are considered married or unmarried will depend upon complicated laws at both the state and federal level. For example, according to tax law, an individual legally separated from his/her spouse under a decree of divorce or a decree of separate maintenance shall not be considered as married. But, not every state allows for a decree of separate maintenance; if you live in one of those states, you are still considered married until your divorce is final. You need to ask your attorney and/or tax advisor whether your current legal status meets the definition of a decree of separate maintenance.
  • Retain certain military benefits.
  • Pool certain resources. For some couples, maintaining two separate households is simply too expensive. Some decide to divide their home into “his” and “her” areas, so they can maintain a certain lifestyle (albeit one that’s now separate). However, a decision to pool certain resources is not necessarily straightforward. In the case of alimony, for example, the IRS maintains that: “Spouses cannot be members of the same household. Payments to your spouse while you are members of the same household are not alimony if you are legally separated under a decree of divorce or separate maintenance. A home you formerly shared is considered one household, even if you physically separate yourselves in the home. You are not treated as members of the same household if one of you is preparing to leave the household and does leave no later than 1 month after the date of the payment.” In other words, alimony would not be tax deductible by the payor, if they are living in the same household.

Are there other reasons to remain separated rather than divorce?

Yes, of course. Not everyone opts for a legal separation based solely on financial reasons. In some cases, other considerations come into play. For example, some couples remain separated for religious reasons. One spouse, or both, may come from a religious background that frowns upon divorce. Separating, but not divorcing, may be the “ideal” solution for them. Other couples may find that they still love each other, but just can’t live together. Separation may be the optimal choice for them, too.

As you can see, the decision to legally separate rather than divorce can be quite complex. Weigh your options carefully and consult with qualified divorce professionals so you can make smart choices that will help keep you financially secure both short- and long-term. Or, put another way:

“If it’s Splitsville, do it wisely and make certain you safeguard your assets and property protecting yourself for the future,” Marilyn concludes.


Jeffrey A. Landers, CDFA™ is a Divorce Financial Strategist™ and the founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors, LLC, a divorce financial strategy firm that exclusively works with women, who are going through, or might be going through, a financially complicated divorce.

He also advises happily married women who have seen their friends blindsided by a divorce initiated by their husbands and wonder (wisely) how financially vulnerable they’d be in that situation. Jeff developed the nation’s first Just in Case(TM): Secure Your Financial Future, a one-hour program, which quickly shows married women how to be prepared in the event of a future divorce with immediate, practical steps. He can be reached at

Nicholas Family Law is a leading and experienced Family Law Attorney in Denver. Denver Divorce Lawyer handling matters such as divorce, mediation, child custody, child support, alimony, legal separation, property division, common law marriage, debt division-settlement in the Denver metro areas. Courts we serve include Adams County Court, Arapahoe County Court, Denver County Court, Douglas County Court, and Jefferson County Court.

Nicholas Family Law
4601 DTC Blvd. #1000
Denver, CO 80237
303-322-0038 (phone)
303-740-8408 (fax)

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Annulment vs. Divorce in Denver

by admin on January 10, 2012

Annulment vs. divorce: How it impacts finances
By Tamara E. Holmes

The Kim Kardashian-Kris Humphries marriage split has been called everything from a distraction to entertainment, but if the couple’s union is annulled — as Humphries is reportedly trying to do — it may actually prove to be a lesson in how some couples can avoid some of the financial disputes that come with divorce.

Unlike divorce, which recognizes that a marriage has an official beginning and end, an annulment retroactively declares the marriage to be null and void. “When a couple gets an annulment, it’s as if the marriage never existed to begin with,” says Kristin D. Hofheimer, a divorce attorney in Virginia Beach, Va.

What that means for your finances is this: In an annulment, the courts do their best to restore the individuals to their original financial state. So, what money and property you brought into the marriage is what you should walk away with, including any debt you brought into the marriage. Joint assets and debt accumulated together during the marriage are typically divided equitably.

But qualifying for an annulment isn’t a walk in the park, as certain grounds must be met in order for it to be granted.

Here are some of the more common reasons an annulment may be allowed:

  • If fraud or concealment is involved, such as one party keeping important information from the other, such as a drug addiction or a felony.
  • The refusal or inability of one party to consummate the marriage.
  • The determination that the two parties are close relatives and are in an incestuous marriage.
  • The determination that one or both parties were unable to consent to marriage because of a lack of understanding, such as the case of someone who is mentally ill.

While marriages of any length can be annulled, many states have time limits for filing based on when the grounds for annulment took place. For example, in Illinois, if you want to get an annulment because of fraud, you have 90 days to make the claim after you learn about the fraudulent event. In Minnesota, if you want an annulment because one party is unable to consummate the marriage, you must file the motion within one year.

Do you need to get an annulment? Contact Gary Nicholas, Annulment Attorney Denver at 303-322-0038.

The financial consequences

Since an annulment negates the marriage’s existence, the way it impacts a couple’s debts and assets are such:

Both parties are restored to their original financial state, meaning the debt and assets they each entered the marriage with is what they leave with.

If the couple has amassed debt jointly while in the marriage, “it would be just as though you and your cousin went and got a credit card together,” says Hofheimer. In the creditor’s eyes, both parties are 100 percent responsible for the debt and, therefore, the creditor could come after either one of them, or both.

Couples who are in the process of getting an annulment and want to be proactive about their finances can typically approach joint debt in one of two ways:

  • They can split the amount owed and each pay their share to take care of the debt.
  • One party can pay the entire debt and then sue the other party for half. If you’re trying to protect your credit, you may want to take care of the debt and let your ex reimburse you so you know an unpaid bill won’t end up bringing down your credit score, Hofheimer says.

Financial headaches averted

If a couple can get an annulment granted, they can sidestep some of the drawn-out financial disputes that can result from a divorce. In divorce proceedings in many states, the court can determine that debt amassed in the marriage is marital debt, regardless of whose name might be on a credit card, Hofheimer says.

Some states follow community property laws, which dictate that all income, debts and assets acquired during the marriage are split 50-50 between the couple. However, in non-community property states, the court must determine a fair and equitable way to divide bills and assets. In those situations, one spouse must prove that he or she should not be responsible for debts incurred by the other.

This is what happened when Chevella Wilson of Winston-Salem, N.C., divorced her husband in 2008. She was faced with the possibility of being left holding the bag for some of the debt that her husband had racked up. To protect herself, she had her divorce attorney draw up a document that stated what debts she had incurred as his wife and what she would pay. Her husband at the time then had to acknowledge that that was true.

While Wilson’s husband did acknowledge that the debts were his, some cases may be harder to prove. For example, in a contentious split, the parties might want to make things more difficult for one another and refuse to tell the truth. In other cases, couples might simply not agree about who should be responsible for what.

Dana S. Branham, a Lexington, Ky.-based financial planner with Edward Jones, says many couples she works with have different understandings about who is financially responsible for what. In other cases, one partner is not aware of the amount of debt that has been incurred by the other because the other person controls all of the finances. In that case, does the court hold one party more responsible for the debt just because he or she was the one who managed the couple’s money? “I’ve run into people with no idea about the marital finances,” says Branham. “And unfortunately the other person sometimes takes advantage of that.”

If a couple sees that they’re headed for a split, regardless of whether they end up in divorce court or seeking an annulment, both parties should have an understanding of their entire financial picture and come to an agreement on a plan for taking care of what is owed. It’s also a good time for each to reach out to a financial planner to figure out how the split will impact their futures. When you’re starting over, you may have less money slotted for retirement than you planned, or, in the case of divorce, more debt than you realized. Couples also often have to go from sharing expenses to paying all of the household bills on their own. “All of that can be a pretty significant financial adjustment,” says Branham.

While Kris Humphries’ quest for an annulment doesn’t seem to be about assets or debt — rather, he reportedly wants to be released from the prenuptial agreement that currently prevents him from talking about his relationship with Kim Kardashian — the motion, if granted, would erase the 72-day marriage from existence. Now that’s something we could all probably benefit from.

Nicholas Family Law is a leading and experienced Family Law Attorney in Denver. Denver Divorce Lawyer handling matters such as divorce, mediation, child custody, child support, alimony, legal separation, property division, common law marriage, debt division-settlement in the Denver metro areas. Courts we serve include Adams County Court, Arapahoe County Court, Denver County Court, Douglas County Court, and Jefferson County Court.

Nicholas Family Law
4601 DTC Blvd. #1000
Denver, CO 80237
303-322-0038 (phone)
303-740-8408 (fax)

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January Busy Time for Divorce Lawyers

by admin on January 4, 2012

January is busiest time of year for divorce attorneys

Posted: Jan 03, 2012 4:19 PM MST

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – We’ve talked about the busiest shopping days and the busiest return days of the year, but did you know January is the busiest month for divorce attorneys?

After the presents are unwrapped and the decorations are put away, some couples get started on their New Year’s plans.

“As the New Year starts I think it’s pretty much the same impulse that people to want to make New Year’s resolutions. They want to get their lives straightened out and get on a new track,” said attorney Maxine Burns Hardy.

She says they won’t be carrying out those resolutions together, “All lawyers who do this kind of work and focus on family law and divorce law, they expect to see a surge in business at the first of the year that really carries on for a few months.”

Some couples have a very speedy divorce, like Shannon Pinkly, “It just really depends on who you go with. I was able to get an appointment that day.”

Experienced Divorce Lawyer Denver – Nicholas Family Law.

While others know the process will take time, so they plan ahead.

“Lawyers are a lot less available at the end of the year and around the holidays and when the new year picks up, we all hit the offices ready to roll,” explained Hardy.

Attorneys say couples also wait to carry out a divorce until the New Year rolls around for the sake of other family members, “Parents primarily want to wait until the holidays are over so they don’t dispute that season for their children.”

Pinkly added, “I think the holidays are stressful enough and when you’re trying to make an emotional decision and moving forward, it’s something that people just want to wait on and get through the holiday season. If you have children you don’t want to put that burden and stress on them, so wait and get through the holiday and put on that happy face.”

Divorce attorneys also say they see another big pop in divorces right after couples file their income taxes because they have their finances in order and finish up that business before parting ways.

Copyright 2012 WTVM. All rights reserved.

Nicholas Family Law is a leading and experienced Family Law Attorney in Denver. Denver Divorce Lawyer handling matters such as divorce, mediation, child custody, child support, alimony, legal separation, property division, common law marriage, debt division-settlement in the Denver metro areas. Courts we serve include Adams County Court, Arapahoe County Court, Denver County Court, Douglas County Court, and Jefferson County Court.

Nicholas Family Law
4601 DTC Blvd. #1000
Denver, CO 80237
303-322-0038 (phone)
303-740-8408 (fax)

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Facebook and Divorce

by admin on January 3, 2012

Growing number of legal documents citing Facebook as a cause for relationship trouble.

According to, a third of all divorce petitions filed in United Kingdom last year that cited unreasonable behavior, also mentioned Facebook. In 2009 only 1 in 9 cited Facebook.

“Social networking has become the primary tool for communication and is taking over from text and email in my opinion. If someone wants to have an affair or flirt with the opposite sex then that’s the easiest place to do it.” – Mark Keenan

Nicholas Family Law is a leading and experienced Family Law Attorney in Denver. Denver Divorce Lawyer handling matters such as divorce, mediation, child custody, child support, alimony, legal separation, property division, common law marriage, debt division-settlement in the Denver metro areas. Courts we serve include Adams County Court, Arapahoe County Court, Denver County Court, Douglas County Court, and Jefferson County Court.

Nicholas Family Law
4601 DTC Blvd. #1000
Denver, CO 80237
303-322-0038 (phone)
303-740-8408 (fax)

Email Us | Directions