I received an IRS Collection Notice. Now what?

I received an IRS Collection Notice. Now what?

If you have an unpaid tax debt with the IRS, one of the first steps they take is sending a series of letters and notices demanding payment. Understanding these notices and taking prompt action is crucial to resolving your tax issues as favorably as possible. Let’s decode some of the most common IRS collection notices:…

How does IRS Collection Work?

How does IRS Collection Work?

If you owe back taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you may be dealing with the agency’s collections process. IRS Collections refers to the actions the IRS takes to recover unpaid tax debts from individuals and businesses. The Collections Process The collections process typically begins when you fail to pay your taxes in full…

Will I need probate when I die in Colorado?

Will I need probate when I die in Colorado?

Probate can get a bad rap; and that’s because, in some states, it’s a lengthily, costly, and complex process. For those who live in those states where probate is a nightmare, it’s understandable that they often use estate planning tools that try to avoid probate. Luckily, for us in Colorado, the probate process has been…

What is the difference between an heir and a beneficiary?

What is the difference between an heir and a beneficiary?

When someone dies, their stuff will go to certain people. Who those people are will depend on whether the person who died left a will or trust. If the person who died did not leave a will, the people who will get the deceased person’s assets are determined by law based on the relationship to…

What is a Personal Representative?

What is a Personal Representative?

Have you been named as a Personal Representative for someone? Or are you working on your will and need to nominate a Personal Representative? Wondering what the heck a Personal Representative is and why you need one? I totally understand! A Personal Representative is someone who has been nominated by someone to act as a…

What is formal vs. informal probate?

What is formal vs. informal probate?

When someone dies and probate is opened in Colorado, the first decision you need to make is if the probate process will be formal or informal. During a formal probate process, the probate court pays closer attention to the case and takes a more hands-on approach. Usually, formal probate is used when there’s a suspicion…

What is an estate and do I have one?

What is an estate and do I have one?

“Estate” sounds very fancy and like it only applies to those with substantial wealth, but all of us actually have an estate. What’s in our estate and what it’s valued at will certainly differ, but we all have an estate – even if they are humble! An “estate” is everything a person owns at the…

What is Probate in Colorado?

What is Probate in Colorado?

Like many things in the law, “probate” is something that sounds more complicated than the concept really is. Simply, “probate” is the legal process by which the assets of someone who has died are transferred to the appropriate heirs or beneficiaries. The process also allows any creditors whom the deceased person may have owed to…

How to prepare for your divorce or custody hearing in Colorado

How to prepare for your divorce or custody hearing in Colorado

During the latest Family Law Hour webinar, I covered what to expect during a contested hearing in your divorce or custody case. During this live stream, I discuss: Watch the replay below! For legal help with your divorce or custody case at an affordable flat rate in Colorado, schedule your consultation today.

How custody is determined in Colorado?

How custody is determined in Colorado?

During the latest Family Law Hour webinar, I covered how custody or parenting time is determined in Colorado if the parents can’t agree on a schedule. During this live stream, I discuss: Plus, I share the secret for how to get divorced or complete a custody case for less than $500! Watch the replay below!…

How are assets and debts divided in a divorce?

How are assets and debts divided in a divorce?

During the latest Family Law Hour webinar, I covered how assets and debts are divided in a divorce. During this live stream, I covered the following questions: Plus, I share the secret for how to get divorced or complete a custody case for less than $500! Watch the replay below! For legal help with your…

The Financial Information You Must Disclose

The Financial Information You Must Disclose

During the latest Family Law Hour webinar, I covered the financial information and documents required during a divorce or custody case. During this half-hour live stream, I talked about the following: Plus, I share the secret for how to get divorced or complete a custody case for less than $500! Watch the replay below! For…

The 3 Documents You Need to File for Divorce or Custody in Colorado

The 3 Documents You Need to File for Divorce or Custody in Colorado

During the latest Family Law Hour webinar, I covered how to file for divorce or custody in Colorado. During this half-hour live stream, I talked about the following: Plus, I share the secret for how to get divorced or complete a custody case for less than $500! Watch the replay below! For legal help with…

Family Law Hour

Family Law Hour

In the middle of a breakup and feeling overwhelmed about having to now navigate a complex legal system on your own? Worried getting help will cost you tens of thousands of dollars that you just don’t have (or want to spend) to pay lawyers? I feel you. Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone…

Everything you need to know about child support in Colorado

Everything you need to know about child support in Colorado

In any divorce case with children or custody case in Colorado, child support is going to be calculated and considered. Colorado law recognizes that parents owe their children a duty of financial support for basic needs such as education, clothing, housing, childcare, healthcare, and food. One of the biggest misconceptions regarding child support is that…

What is maintenance in a Colorado divorce?

What is maintenance in a Colorado divorce?

In most Colorado divorce cases, courts will determine whether to award “maintenance” (commonly referred to as “alimony”) to assist a spouse financially. Generally, maintenance is intended to help a spouse who — as a result of divorce — is now unable to financially support him or herself. When will courts award maintenance?  What factors will courts…

What do I do if my coparent won’t follow the parenting plan?

What do I do if my coparent won’t follow the parenting plan?

Parenting time is one of the most important issues involved in Colorado divorce and child custody disputes.  All cases involving a child will include determining: (1) who the child will live with and for how long; and (2) the parenting time / visitation rights of both parents.  Sometimes, both parents can reach an agreement regarding…

How to Change Parenting Time in Colorado Custody Cases

How to Change Parenting Time in Colorado Custody Cases

While most Colorado parenting plans are considered “final decrees,” it may be possible for you to ask the court for a modification. There are several reasons why someone might want a modification: The existing plan may have been written years ago and now life has changed; one parent might be relocating to a different state;…

How does a court decide parenting time?

How does a court decide parenting time?

Most Colorado divorces with children or child custody cases revolve around two main issues with regards to the children: (1) parenting time and (2) major decision-making.  There are two ways you can resolve either of these issues: (1) you can reach an agreement with the party; or (2) you can have the court make the…

What is unbundled legal help?

What is unbundled legal help?

“Unbundled” legal help is a method of providing clients with just the amount of legal services they desire for a fixed, transparent price.  Unbundled legal services are also known as “limited-scope services,” “a la carte legal services,” and “disaggregated legal services.” In Colorado, unbundling has developed as a common-sense alternative fee arrangement that benefits both…

What is mediation?

What is mediation?

Mediation is one of the most common forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in Colorado.  Because divorce or custody cases can take a long time and cost a lot of money, mediation has evolved as a viable option for parties who want to avoid court and reach an agreement with the other party. But what…

Do I have to pay the filing fees to get divorced?

Do I have to pay the filing fees to get divorced?

It’s no secret that legal disputes can be very costly.  When litigating family law matters in court, there are filing fees you must pay.  Under the statute, a person seeking a divorce must pay a $230 fee just to have the case filed.  But you may not have to pay the filing fee in every…

What is a gift tax and when do I need to worry about it?

What is a gift tax and when do I need to worry about it?

Because Colorado has no state gift tax, residents are free to give third parties just about anything.  But even though you are free to make gifts, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay taxes on the back end – because, depending on the amount, the federal gift tax may apply. The IRS defines the…

Do I really need to file the IRS form for the child tax exemption?

Do I really need to file the IRS form for the child tax exemption?

As tax season approaches, many single or divorced parents have questions about claiming the child tax exemption. Often times, a Court-ordered parenting plan will state that the parents will alternate the years in which each claims a child under the exemption. Sometimes the parents alternate every year, and sometimes they alternate every couple of years.…

Everything that should be in your Separation Agreement in your divorce

Everything that should be in your Separation Agreement in your divorce

When going through a divorce, you and your spouse may create a separation agreement. A separation agreement details how the assets and debts accumulated during the marriage will be divided upon the divorce. Separation agreements include all assets and debts acquired during the marriage, regardless of how the asset or debt is titled. While a basic separation…

Everything you need to create a Parenting Plan for your custody case

Everything you need to create a Parenting Plan for your custody case

When going through a divorce with children or through a custody case, you will ultimately end up with a parenting plan. A parenting plan is like an instruction manual, providing guidance on things like which parent the children will be with and when, how major decisions will be made, and how financial expenses should be divided.…

Hiring a Lawyer: A Practical Guide

Hiring a Lawyer: A Practical Guide

Need to hire a lawyer but have no idea where to start or how to find the right one? The Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel has put together a comprehensive resource to help you find and work with the right lawyer. Hiring and Working with an Attorney covers such topics as: Why you should…

Why is divorce so expensive? (Pt. 2) Blame the Lawyers

Why is divorce so expensive? (Pt. 2) Blame the Lawyers

Last year, I wrote about why divorce is so expensive and explained how, in many cases, it’s the spouses who drive up the price. This time around, I wanted to look at how sometimes it’s the lawyers who add to the expense. Divorce lawyers who have a traditional practice generally charge a retainer up front and…

How to get divorced without hiring a lawyer

How to get divorced without hiring a lawyer

Have you wondered whether you can – or should – get divorced without hiring a lawyer? Maybe you and your spouse are pretty agreeable right now and you’re worried that hiring lawyers will only turn things ugly. Or maybe you know the average cost of a divorce in Colorado when no children or maintenance is…

How to get divorced and not pay $25,000+ to a lawyer

How to get divorced and not pay $25,000+ to a lawyer

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how to save money on a divorce when children were involved. The same can be said about a divorce without children. While you can get divorced in Colorado without the help of an attorney, it’s generally not recommended. Attorneys help ensure your rights are being protected throughout the…

How Getting Married Affects Your Will

How Getting Married Affects Your Will

A few weeks ago, I posted about how getting divorced affects your will, but it’s not just divorce that can affect your will. Getting married can also have an effect. In Colorado, surviving spouses have certain rights when it comes to their spouses’ estate, despite what the deceased spouse’s will may say. The two most…

Why Getting Married is Really a Business Decision

Why Getting Married is Really a Business Decision

Although business isn’t the most romantic topic to discuss on Valentine’s Day, it is important to understand that in many ways the decision to get married is a business one. Having a piece of paper that legally binds you to your significant other won’t change your personal connection or devotion to each other. Couples can…

How Get Divorced in Colorado without Paying Thousands of Dollars

How Get Divorced in Colorado without Paying Thousands of Dollars

While you can get divorced in Colorado without an attorney, it’s generally not recommended. Attorneys help ensure your rights are being protected throughout the process. Attorneys can be expensive, though, and many require a large retainer and charge by the hour. So while you may think you can’t afford an attorney, think again. There are…

How Getting Divorced Affects Your Will

How Getting Divorced Affects Your Will

Getting divorced doesn’t just end your marriage; it can also void your will. If you drafted a will while you were married and made dispositions or gifts to your then-spouse or relatives of your spouse (except for your shared children), under Colorado law those dispositions are automatically revoked upon the dissolution of the marriage. The…

Legal Checkup: Don’t Start a New Year Without One

Legal Checkup: Don’t Start a New Year Without One

As you jump into the new year, it’s prudent to reflect on the year that was and the changes you may have experienced. While at the time, life events can be joyous or somber, many can also have long-term effects that you may not realize. Take a moment to consider whether you experienced any of…

Getting Married by Common Law in Colorado

Getting Married by Common Law in Colorado

In Colorado, it is possible to get married without ever going to a Courthouse or having a formal ceremony. Unlike some other states, Colorado allows for common law marriage. To get married by common law in Colorado, the couple must meet all of the following requirements: Mutually agree to be married Hold each other out…

Changing Parenting Time in Colorado

Changing Parenting Time in Colorado

When a parenting time schedule is issued as part of a Court order, the parents are bound to follow it. A parenting time schedule put in place when a child is young, however, may not be workable once the child is older. As the child grows and his or her needs and interests become more…

Colorado wrote your will. Do you know what it says?

Colorado wrote your will. Do you know what it says?

Don’t think you have will? Think again. If you haven’t written a will for yourself, the state of Colorado has one already written for you. What does the will Colorado wrote for you say? For the answer, you’ll need to look at the state’s intestacy laws. Intestacy is the event when someone dies without a will…

Separate v. Marital Property: Why it Matters in your Divorce

Separate v. Marital Property: Why it Matters in your Divorce

Every divorce in Colorado deals with dividing the marital estate between the spouses. This division is at the heart of what a divorce truly is: the breakup of an entity. While married, spouses are a single entity in the eyes of the law. The dissolution of that marriage requires an allocation of the property and debts acquired during…

Everything you need to complete your divorce without children

Everything you need to complete your divorce without children

Below is a roadmap for getting divorced in Colorado when there are no children involved. (If you have children, click here.) If a specific document must be completed and filed with the court, the name of the document is listed under its associated step along with a link to where you can download the version…

Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

Tips for Successful Co-Parenting

When you have a child with someone, you are forever linked to them. While your relationship may not have worked out, for the child’s sake, it’s important to learn how to successfully co-parent together. Below are some tips for how to co-parent for the sake of the person most important: the child. DOs Be open…

Will or Trust: Which One is Right for You?

Will or Trust: Which One is Right for You?

Often the first question I get regarding estate planning is whether someone should have a will or a trust. Unfortunately, there isn’t a bright-line answer. Wills and trusts are simply different tools available to create an estate plan. One is not necessarily better than the other; they are used for different purposes depending on what…

All the Steps to Complete Your Divorce with Children

All the Steps to Complete Your Divorce with Children

Below is a roadmap for getting divorced in Colorado when there are children involved. If a specific document must be completed and filed with the court, the name of the document is listed under its associated step along with a link to where you can download the version provided by the Courts. Try to help…

Save on Legal Costs with Unbundled Legal Services

Save on Legal Costs with Unbundled Legal Services

Unbundled legal services are becoming increasingly popular, but by the name, it may not be clear exactly what those are. “Unbundling”, also called limited scope representation, means the attorney’s involvement in your case is limited to certain predefined tasks. It is your responsibility to complete the other required tasks throughout your case. In other words,…

What all those legal terms mean in family court

What all those legal terms mean in family court

While going through a divorce or allocation of parenting responsibilities (APR), your attorney and the court may use several terms you’ve never heard. Here is a list of the most commonly used terms from both types of cases and what they mean. If there are other terms you are unsure of, be sure to ask…

Power of Attorney 101

Power of Attorney 101

Many people have heard of a Power of Attorney, but may not be sure exactly what it means. Unlike the name implies, it has nothing to do with being a lawyer. A Power of Attorney, instead, is a document used by one person (the “principal”) to grant authority to another person (the “agent” or “attorney-in-fact”)…

Answer These Questions Before Moving in Together

Answer These Questions Before Moving in Together

You may have seen my post last month about the 25 questions to discuss with your partner before getting married, but maybe you aren’t near the marriage station. Maybe you’re just thinking about moving in together (or already did). Although moving in doesn’t hold the same life-long commitment as marriage, there are still some questions you…

What the heck is an Advance Directive?

What the heck is an Advance Directive?

You may have heard the term advance directive, but have no idea what it means. Maybe you know it has something to do with dying. Maybe you think it sounds like a traffic problem – or a medical one. Unfortunately, the term itself doesn’t provide any good clues. Thankfully, an advance directive is actually quite simple.…

What It Means to be a Dad

What It Means to be a Dad

I came across this video the other week, and I found it very powerful. What I loved most about it was that it helps demonstrate is that there is no one answer to “What does it mean to be a dad?” Every father is different, and that’s ok. That’s great, actually. Because there is no…

Why is Divorce So Expensive?

Why is Divorce So Expensive?

Getting married is cheap. Really. Although most people have a costly ceremony and reception with family and friends, in reality, it costs $35 to get married in Denver. All you really need to pay for is the marriage license itself. Getting divorced on the other hand – not so cheap. Why is divorce so expensive?…

Don’t Get Married Without Answering These Questions

Don’t Get Married Without Answering These Questions

Getting married is one of the biggest decisions you can make in life. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s easy, however, to get caught up in the excitement and romance and push the difficult conversations under the rug. Although it may not be easy, going through the following questions with your soon-to-be spouse is critical before tying…

A Year to Review

A Year to Review

As the year draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the year that was. Hopefully, you experienced many positive moments this year and easily overcame those not-so-positive ones. During this time of reflection, it’s a good idea to consider what changes occurred in the past year that may affect your existing…

The Relationship Status of Divorce and Bankruptcy: It’s Complicated

The Relationship Status of Divorce and Bankruptcy: It’s Complicated

As with many things in life, timing can be everything. In family law, timing is especially important when it comes to getting divorced and filing for bankruptcy. It’s important to understand how each of these proceedings affects the other. In Colorado, the District Courts have jurisdiction over dissolution matters while U.S. bankruptcy courts have jurisdiction…

Planning for Your Pets When You Die

Planning for Your Pets When You Die

Many of us who have pets consider them family. My husband and I love our two dogs, Jake and Grace (pictured above). Should anything happen to both of us, we want to make sure our dogs are taken care of. There are a few ways you can care for your pets after you pass away. One…

We Want Prenup!

We Want Prenup!

Prenups have gotten a bad rap. Most people think they’re only for the wealthy – or for avoiding gold diggers (thanks, Kanye). But truthfully, I think every couple looking to get married should have one. Seriously. Everyone. Not surprisingly, a recent study found that largely the number one predictor of divorce is having different values about money,…

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t D.I.Y. Your Will

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t D.I.Y. Your Will

Generally, I’m all about DIY. Not only do I enjoy creating something, but it usually saves me money. However, as much as I love it, there are certain things where DIY isn’t always best. Today, there are several do-it-yourself legal service providers out there, including the most well-known, LegalZoom. While the concept is noble, there’s a reason lawyers…

Living Together? You may want to consider this.

Living Together? You may want to consider this.

More and more couples today are moving in before – or without the intention of – getting married. (My husband and I lived together for 6 years before tying the knot.) While this decision is an important and exciting one, it leaves each party without any protection. Despite what some may believe, couples living together do not enjoy…

Are you legally the father?

Are you legally the father?

In the eyes of the Court, biological paternity and legal paternity are two separate distinctions. And unfortunately for unmarried fathers, being the child’s biological father does not automatically establish legal paternity. While each state’s laws are different, many states do not automatically assign legal paternity to an unwed father. Why is legal paternity important? Without…

Who makes medical decisions when you can’t?

Who makes medical decisions when you can’t?

The wake of the recent unfortunate events involving Lamar Odom, while stirring a gossip frenzy, does bring to light an important reminder. Whether unconscious, incompetent or otherwise just unable to communicate, anyone of us could be in a situation where we are unable to make our own medical decisions. Although each state recognizes an individual’s…

Talking to Kids about Divorce

Talking to Kids about Divorce

Psychology Today recently posted an article about how to talk to your child about divorce. While every child and every family is different, the article provides some practical advice and, most importantly, a starting point. Because discussing divorce with children can be difficult, it’s helpful to have some guidelines about how to approach the topic.…