I Just Want to Ride…

Motorcycle Arlo Guthrie wrote the Motorcycle Song (The Significance of the Pickle) in 1967 as part of the counter-revolution then sweeping the country. Son of folk musician Woodie Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie’s best known work is Alice’s Restaurant Massacree. The chorus to the Motorcycle Song is as follows:

I don’t want a pickle

Just want to ride on my motorcycle

And I don’t want a tickle

‘Cause I’d rather ride on my motorcycle

And I don’t want to die

I just want to ride on my motorcy – cle.  Continue reading

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“No, It Isn’t All Yours”

Piece of of chocolate cake on the tableWe have all been faced with the following situation: there is one slice of cake left and everyone wants a piece. How can you ever hope to divide the remaining piece so that everyone who wants some is satisfied? Well, the simple answer is that you cannot without some form of compromise. Similarly, ending a marriage, dividing property, and agreeing to a parenting plan, all involve choices, and compromises. Continue reading

“Houston, we have a problem”

Spaceship In Space Most of us remember these words spoken by Tom Hanks in the movie “Apollo 13” (or if you’re old like me you remember the actual event), and for me the words represent a moment in which the astronauts realize they had a problem beyond their ability to solve. We all have these moments, but as to when we recognize such moments is different for each of us, and sometimes it can be too late.   Continue reading

Say It Isn’t So!

Black silhouette of a baseball player In 1919 “Shoeless” Joe Jackson was part of a group of Chicago White Sox players who were accused of “fixing” the 1919 World Series. During the investigative proceedings a reporter for the Chicago Daily News wrote a column for the paper titled, “Say It Isn’t So,” which expressed his hope that Joe Jackson did not participate in fixing the series. While the jury is still out on Joe, I find that parents often need to hear those things they do not want to during a divorce, child custody case or child support matter.   Continue reading

Parents Matter

Paper man chain of familyI originally was going to title this blog, “Dads Matter,” but I changed it to the present title because both parents matter in the lives of their children. The impact of a parent will be for either good or bad depending upon the choices each parent makes, but there will be an impact one way or another. In my own life I cannot overstate the influence of my parents in my life. My father told me he loved me for the first time the night before I married. I was 20 years old, but I remember him sitting on my bed and telling me. It was great to hear it, but he had told me in so many ways while I was growing up it was almost unnecessary for him to say the words. My dad is 88, and I speak to him weekly as do my siblings. We honor him for his influence in our lives.    Continue reading

Now What?

not again             I cannot believe it has actually been two months since my last blog post. At that time I wrote of my mother-in-law’s death, and I mentioned how hectic life had been as a consequence. Well, life has continued unabated and at full steam. One bit of good news is that my daughter successfully defended her thesis, and she will graduate with a Master’s Degree in Fine Arts. My daughter emphasizes her degree is in “Fine Arts” as opposed to mine which is simply in the “Arts.”  Regardless, it sounds like both my daughter and I have degrees which might enable us to live under highway underpasses for long periods of time.  Oh, and I’ve had another back surgery.

When I last posted a blog post I addressed the issue of divorce in Colorado. While I want to return to that subject, I think the first think I want to address is what not to do during your family law case. First and foremost, bad behavior is never acceptable, and more importantly, if you are going to engage in reprehensible behavior do not post evidence of it on social media! Judges are always interested in what parties to a case really think about one another, and there is frequently no better place to see what mom and dad really say to one another than on Facebook, Twitter, by text or email.

So, the first lesson everyone involved in a domestic or family law case should learn is to “just say no.” Say no to the madness, and do not give into the temptation to blast the other party in your case. This means taking the higher road, something all of us often find hard to do, but ultimately doing so will pay dividends. Do not post nudes of the other party or make threats; do not comment on their choice of a new significant other, and never ever say anything you will be embarrassed to have read aloud in Court. We all remember “Miracle Max” from the “Princess Bride,” but there is a limit to even what he could do in your case if you have engaged in a negative social media campaign. Also take note that posting nude photos is often considered “revenge porn,” and is illegal, so do not do it.  I would not be writing about this if I was not seeing it.

The second rule to remember is that the children of a relationship are not property or tools with which to hurt the other party. Judges see this all the time, and there is no better way to influence a judge against you than to engage in this type of behavior. Accordingly, do not discuss parenting issues with children; if you do you are risking the anger of the judge.

Third, remember that absent some significant reason, as parents you are going to be co-parenting the children for a long time together. In Colorado this is until the child in question has reached age 19 and has graduated from high school. So, if you have young children, understand you could be interacting with the other party for over 10 years. What better time than now to begin to parent responsibly?

It does hurt when another person has been abusive, but the key in domestic cases involving children is to show the Court at least one party or parent is an adult. This cannot happen if you are engaging in the very behavior you are arguing is reprehensible.  The key in tense situations is to establish boundaries. Often a good parenting plan, with clear limits, goes a long way to establishing rules which limit the bad behavior of the other party. A good parenting plan, when properly followed, can put the court on your side if you follow the rules. If we can help you out of your situation give contact us.

 

Don’t Panic Yet

Businessperson Hand Pressing Emergency Button

When I was teaching at West Point (US Military Academy), we used to give a pass/fail writing test which determined if a cadet moved on to his or her junior year. It was a high stress moment for the cadets, and one year a cadet burst into tears during the test over his fear that he might fail. A fellow instructor in disbelief said, “Good God, man, stop that, no one is shooting at you.”

Most of us can emphasize with that cadet; we fear the unknown, and we fear the consequences of a possible change in our lives. This is often the case with those facing divorce, particularly in those cases in which parenting time, child support and a division of marital property are contested.

We are all familiar with the stories of unjust outcomes in which one party is left with nothing or a father is left with little access to his children. These things can happen, but by and large a good guide can help someone navigate the legal system. This is why I always counsel meeting with an attorney whose practice is in this area. Doing so can alleviate the fear of the unknown.

For example, I see people who fear that after years of not working they will be left with nothing. Fortunately, in most cases this is not the case. A court can award maintenance or property to ensure a spouse is not left destitute.

Let’s take the following example. A couple purchases a home but one party’s name is not on the deed or the mortgage; to whom does the home belong? The answer is that if the home was purchased during the marriage and there is no agreement to the contrary the court is likely to find that the home is marital property. Every situation is different, but the general rule is that if there is any marital equity that equity is divisible between the parties. Marital equity is nothing more than the equity in property which was accumulated during the marriage. So, if an investment grew by a $100 during a marriage the $100 growth might represent equity that could be divided by the Court.

Similar rules apply regarding parenting time. If you have been involved with your children and there is no conduct to warrant otherwise, judges in Colorado are going to ensure you get time with your children. Again, circumstances in each case are different, but Colorado is one of the better states with regards to parenting time because the Colorado state legislature has determined that both moms and dads are important to their children. This is good news for fathers who often fear they will be shut out from the lives of their children.

Bottom line: Don’t panic; talk to us and we can give you advice based upon your circumstances.