“Ride Away, Ride Away”

Cowboy silhouette (see others in my portfolio/lghtbox)  I cannot resist another classic film reference, and if you have not seen “The Searchers,” you need to. John Wayne stars in this 1956 John Ford classic which also features a cast of John Ford regulars. Better yet, the movie has a great theme song sung by the “Sons of the Pioneers:”

 

What makes a man to wander

What makes a man to roam?

What makes a man leave bed and board

And turn his back on home?

Ride away (Ride away), ride away (ride away), ride away   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

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.

Pay Now or Pay Later

Image of 100 bill burningToday will be a bit of a rant. Often as I review a divorce settlement I find the separation agreement is unfair to one of the spouses. In a recent case we determined one spouse received 75% of the marital property, while the other spouse received only 25%. Additionally, the spouse who got the bulk of the property also included a clause in the separation agreement that allowed them to terminate their maintenance obligation pretty much at will.  Continue reading

If It Isn’t Working, Fix It!

BrowniesSo we are two weeks into the New Year and my resolution to change my eating habits has already been defeated in part by a pan of home-made brownies. These are genuine, from scratch, brownies made with nuts and chocolate chips. My wife made them for a gathering at our home, and their mere presence weakened me. When they sent me a subliminal message, like Adam, I did partake. I would like to say I immediately repented, but I haven’t. I have a trick I use to fool myself; I will cut off a one inch square so as to control how much I am eating, but I then go back and cut another 5-7 squares.  Anyone out there relate? Continue reading