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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“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

Who’s On First?

USA Abbott and Costello postage stamp  If you are my age you remember this comedy routine performed by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello as it made its way to late night television and TBS a number of times during the 1970’s. Additionally, a board game with the same name was also released around this time. First performed in 1938 this routine was based on a fictional baseball team in which the players were named Who, What, I don’t Know, Why, Because, Tomorrow, Today and I don’t Care. If you can and could follow the relationship of the players to one another throughout the skit you are better than me.  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

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.

Military Divorce and Pensions

 

 

Military uniform with faded boards painted in American USA flag

I am going to pick up the blogs on Elder Law issues again eventually, but for the moment I want to touch on a few family law issues. Before I do so I am happy to note that my youngest child got married over the weekend. She was married in South Carolina, and this next Saturday we are having a reception in Colorado. I am so happy for her. Yay!

An issue I am asked about time and again is how military pensions are divided in a divorce. This is an important subject because military pensions are incredibly valuable. So, if you are a military member, or the spouse of a military member, you need to get legal advice if there is a question concerning who gets what. Do not be like the woman who came to me after she waived her rights to a portion of her then husband’s military retirement; she lost thousands of dollars because she did not know her rights.

In Colorado courts use what is called the Hunt/Gallo formula to divide military pensions, retirement accounts and other types of pensions. In the case of military pension benefits the court takes the months of marriage during which the parties were married while one of them was in the military. The court then takes this number and divides it by the total months of military service at the time of retirement. For example: If a couple were married for 15 years during which one of them was in the military the numerator equals the number of years of marriage x 12 which in this case = 180 months. If at retirement the military member had served 20 years the denominator would = 240 months. Consequently, the marital share (the part divisible by the court) would equal 180/240 = .75. The court then divides this number by two and the result equals what the non-military spouse is tentatively entitled to; in this case it would be 37.5% of the military member’s retirement pay. There are other factors which come into play, but the above outlines the basic starting point.

We do a lot of work for military members, and as I am retired Army I understand the nuances of the military and how it affects your legal goals.  If you have an issue involving a pension contact us; we would be glad to help.