Family Law Group

Whitney A. Hey, Esq.

What is Income in Child Support Cases in Colorado?

Author:  Whitney A. Hey, Esq. Family Law Attorney about whitney Child Custody, Divorce October 5, 2022 What is Income in Child Support Cases in Colorado? Colorado child support guidelines factor in the “income” of both parents.  People are often surprised to learn that the “income” that Colorado law is talking about is different than what people have on their tax returns.  The IRS has a variety of rules that reduce a person’s gross income.  Colorado has its own set of rules for what counts as income for purposes of child support.  Colorado’s definition starts off with a broad statement of “gross income”: “Gross income” includes income from any source, except as otherwise provided in subsection (5)(a)(II) of this section, and includes, but is not limited to . . . The Colorado law then goes on to list no less than 26 categories, literally (A) to (Z).  These categories include some things you might expect such as: Salaries Wages These categories also include some other things that might surprise you: Commissions Payments to you as an independent contractor Pensions and Retirement Benefits Bonuses Dividends Rents Capital Gains certain Social Security Benefits Monetary Gifts Alimony or Spousal Maintenance received and potentially adjusted Overtime pay, if required by the employer as a condition of employment and more Colorado child support law does exclude some financial payments from “gross income”.  These are: Child Support payments received Benefits from means-tested public assistance programs (think SSI or food stamps) Income from additional jobs beyond forty hours per week or full-time employment Certain earnings on retirement accounts   The attorneys at Family Law Group can help you determine your income and that of the other party to the case under Colorado law.  We can help you with your child support case.  Give us a call at (719) 687-2328 or email us at   Contact Us

A Brief Look at What is Probate in Colorado

Author:  Whitney A. Hey, Esq. Family Law Attorney about whitney Probate October 5, 2022 What is Probate in Colorado? One of the most common statements I hear during estate planning consults is, “I don’t want my family to have to go through probate when I die.”  People are afraid that probate means the government is going to take some or all of their estate away from their family, or they worry about how long the process will take and how much work their family will have to do. While there are several different options to assist someone with avoiding probate if that truly is what they want to do, (speak to our experienced Estate Planning attorneys about your options) the reality is that Probate generally is not that bad in Colorado. Colorado actually has a fairly easy and reasonable probate process. The average probate process takes about a year which is longer than people want it to be, but mainly that is to make sure no one can come back and claim they are owed money from the probate. There is a good period of time that is just spent waiting until the year mark is up. To dispel some common myths: The government will take some or all of my estate if we go through probate. Answer: The government does not necessarily take any of your assets just because your estate goes through probate. Depending on the size of the estate there may be federal estate taxes, the estate may owe back taxes, or there may be Medicaid recovery claims or other creditors to deal with. Other than that, the government doesn’t just take money from the estate. If no one probates the estate and direct relatives cannot be found, any assets may be placed in unclaimed property with the Treasurer’s office, but this can usually be collected by family and doesn’t cede to the state until after twenty one years have passed. You have to file for probate within 10 days of death or you can’t file for probate. Answer: This is a misunderstanding of C.R.S. §15-11-516 which states that “Within ten days after a testator’s death or as soon thereafter as the death becomes known to the custodian of an instrument purporting to be the testator’s will, the custodian shall deliver the will to the court having probate jurisdiction in the Colorado county where the decedent resided or was domiciled at death for lodging in the records of such court.” You can still file for probate even after that 10-day period is over, and it is very common for a Personal Representative to file the will with the Petition for Probate. Some courts won’t let you file until after 10 days past death. Probate takes several years. Answer: While there are cases that may go over a year, the majority of probates can be finalized within one year. It depends on how contested the probate is, how active and responsive the Personal Representative is, and what the assets of the estate are. WHEN SHOULD YOU CONSIDER PROBATE IN COLORADO? In cases where the decedent left real property that was not owned by someone else as a joint tenant, and/or assets are worth more than fair market value (which amount is adjusted for cost of living, or $74,000 for 2002) probate is required in Colorado. Another reason to consider probate is when you are dealing with a lot of creditor claims. Probate allows you to deal with those creditor claims and gives creditors a time frame to make those claims. If they do not make their claims within the prescribed time limit, their claims may be barred against the estate. If they do make their claims, this allows you to negotiate payoffs within the limits of the estate. Having an attorney assist you with your probate can help alleviate the fears that other family members or heirs may have about the probate process. Knowing that someone is guiding you through your deadlines and distributions helps to keep conflict down when there is uncertainty. Whatever your concerns are about going through probate, an experienced probate attorney can help allay your fears, and can assist you in making the process as simple as possible. Contact us to set up a consult with an experienced probate attorney at (719) 687-2328 or email us at Contact Us

The Basics of Financials in Family Law

Author:  Whitney A. Hey, Esq. Family Law Attorney About Whitney Child Custody, Divorce October 5, 2022 The Basics of Financials in Family Law When dealing with your family law matter, whether it is a divorce, child support, or even a paternity case, there is one constant between them all. Financials. Financials are the documents proving your income, your assets, and your debts. These can include but aren’t limited to your paycheck stubs, and tax statements, your utility bills, mortgage or rent statements, and bank accounts. The Court provides a form which outlines the type and amount of documents you are required to provide, but trying to make sure you get all of the documents to the right parties can be time consuming and daunting. Some cases may require appraisals, or a financial consultant to review the party’s finances, or even a business valuator top figure out the marital share value of a business. Both parties are required to provide their financials by certain deadlines, and both are required to update them as your case continues. Sometimes people don’t want to provide certain financial documents, or try to hide assets from the other party.  Failure to provide required documents or attempting to hid assets can lead to the Court holding a negative inference against you, or even applying sanctions against you, such as required you to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees. In Colorado, there are two components to the mandatory financial disclosures: The Sworn Financial Statement which provides an itemization of the person’s income, expenses, assets & debts. The underlying financial documents to corroborate the financial statement, such as pay stubs, tax returns, bank & credit card statements, etc. For a complete list of required disclosures, see Form 35.1 to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure. An experienced Family Law Attorney can assist you in making sure you provide what you are required to provide, and can help you go through the other party’s financials to ensure that everything is properly disclosed. Contact our office to set up a consult with one of our experienced Family Law Attorneys and see how they can help you with your case and ensure you are handling your financials correctly and in your best interest.  Give us a call at (719) 687-2328 or email us at   Contact Us

Prenuptials – What They Can and Cannot Do

Author:  Whitney A. Hey, Esq. Family Law Group About Whitney Prenuptials August 2, 2022 Colorado law includes the ability for people contemplating marriage to conclude prenuptial agreements.  Prenuptial agreements are also known as premarital agreements.  People often have questions about what can be done with a prenuptial agreement and what cannot be done with one. What you can do with a prenuptial agreement You can decide in advance what would happen at the time of a legal separation, divorce, or death on multiple issues: How the property and debts would be divided  Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support. How any attorney’s fees would be divided What you cannot do with a prenuptial agreement Adversely limit child support Control what would happen in the future on child custody Limit the grounds for legal separation or divorce Limit a remedy available to a victim of domestic violence Punish a party for starting a court case leading to a legal separation or divorce At Family Law Group, we can help you understand prenuptial agreements.  Our knowledgeable attorneys can help you go through the process of creating a prenuptial agreement.  We are here to help.  Give us a call at (719) 684-2328 or email us at  Contact Us

Do I Really Need to Hire a Divorce Attorney?

Author:  Whitney A. Hey, Esq. Family Law Attorney About Whitney Divorce July 19, 2022 Do I Really Need to Hire a Divorce Attorney? Divorce is expensive.  You may be looking at how you can save money and avoid hiring an attorney.  If the divorce is amicable, do you really need a divorce attorney? You may feel like you have a good handle on how divorce proceedings work, or have a good idea of what is fair for custody, child support and dividing assets, but is that all there is to it? How do you know if your situation is simple enough to attempt a D.I.Y. divorce?  When should you consult an attorney for your case? The truth is, getting divorced is a complex process.  Navigating the intricacies of Colorado divorce law is not easy, and most people should hire an experienced divorce attorney.  It is easy to miss a step, form, or deadline. It is also easy to make mistakes because you don’t have the right information. What we do not know or understand can negatively affect the final outcome and have long-term consequences that you may more may not be able to fix through future modifications. When it comes to the law and a complex matter like divorce, what you don’t know can hurt you. First, while the divorce may start out “nicely,” but things can quickly become difficult and even hostile.  The decisions surrounding children and money are naturally tied to a lot of emotion, but they are of enormous importance.  An experienced attorney can help keep these discussions within the framework of the likely results within the law, reducing a lot of the conflict and negative emotions that go with it. In some circumstances, your case may be difficult to resolve and need to go to court. If you have an experienced lawyer working on your case, you will likely be prepared for the possibility of trial from the very beginning, and you will not need to adjust your strategy or scramble to create one if going to court becomes necessary. Second, it can be dangerous to engage in negotiations when you don’t have a full understanding of how the law is actually applied.  It can create unrealistic expectations which can lead to inflexible positions and difficult negotiations which also increase time and costs. There also may be factors that could significantly affect agreed results, but do you know enough to ask the right questions? Third, you can also get yourself into trouble by being “too nice.” Divorce only has to be initiated by one party; being nice and giving away everything will not bring them back. You can give away too much, more than you are legally obligated to, and potentially put yourself in a difficult situation in the future. You can also make agreements early on, in an effort to keep things “nice,” that you may be held to, when negotiations deteriorate. Being “too nice” can also leave you vulnerable to bad credit and debt collection. Fourth, you may have used online child support calculators to come to an arrangement. Unfortunately, these calculators as are simple tool that do not always factor in all the elements of your unique family situation. Judges are given broad discretion to deviate from the basic guidelines, when properly brought to their attention by an attorney. Lastly, you can avoid bigger problems later. While some of these decisions could be modified later (custody, child support, spousal maintenance), others are not easily modified, like property distribution.  Certain property divisions are permanent. It usually costs less to do things correctly, from the beginning, than to fix problems in the future. Once your divorce is finalized, you will have to live with the agreements. If a mistake is made, or you overlook something important, there are also significant additional expenses incurred (time, money, emotionally energy) each time you need to return to court. We all know someone who has gone through a family law dispute. Some of them may have handled their case without an attorney, and had no problems. They may offer you advice about what you can do with your case; but, you need to remember that each family’s situation has differences, even when they seem very similar. Every single family law case has at least one unique issue that needs careful examination. You should consult an experienced family attorney who can ask you the right questions, help you figure out and work towards your priorities, and minimize the damage. At several points in your case, you are going to have to make decisions that have significant, real-life implications. You need good advice, securely based in the law, that you can use to make tough decisions. Some decisions could mean less time with your kids or having to move out of your home. You need to know exactly what your options are when you have to make a choice that has such a wide-spread impact upon what ends up happening to you and your children. An experienced attorney will help you understand the question you are facing, and what options you have at that time. You can discuss the pros and cons of each approach, and then decide what you feel is best for you. An experienced divorce attorney can help you see what is going to happen, and what you need to do to avoid possible complications. Contact Family Law Group to get help with your divorce.  Our experienced attorneys will support you throughout the entire process.  Give us a call at (719) 687-2328 or email us at   Contact Us