Authored by W. Benjamin King, Esq.
It is no secret that Coloradans love their pets. According to a 2011 report by the American Veterinary Medical Academy, 63.2% of pet owners considered their pets to be family members. Not surprisingly, Colorado even has a statute solely dedicated to trusts for pets! See, C.R.S. § 15-11-901. However, Colorado domestic courts have not taken the approach that pets are integral members of our family; rather, pets in Colorado are deemed to be either marital or separate property depending on when the animal was purchased.
This does not sound right does it? A pet is viewed as being synonymous with a car, couch, or recliner chair—how can that be? Animals for much of history were viewed as having more utility value and as being income producers rather than being companions and the law treated them as such. Thus, there is no such thing as custody or pet visitation in Colorado. In a divorce, one party will be awarded the animal unless the parties can agree as to a scheduled exchange of the animal. Thus, it is important to have an attorney that can discuss your options and litigation strategy concerning your pet if that is of paramount concern to you. It is best in a dissolution proceeding to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can assist you with navigating the issues of your case and provide alternative solutions such as stipulated agreements regarding custody and visitation of your pets.
As an exception to the rule above, if you are worried about a spouse or significant other harming an animal during the divorce proceedings, you can petition the Court for a civil protection order to protect: “An animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by either of the parties or by a minor child of either of the parties.” C.R.S. § 13-14-101(2)(b).
Contact one of our experienced family law attorneys today at McConaughy & Sarkissian, P.C. to further discuss this issue.
Economic Misconduct in Divorce
Family Law with Professor Jennifer Hendricks
October 5, 2017, at University of Colorado School of Law
Upon invitation from Professor Jennifer Hendricks, firm attorneys W. Benjamin King and Kama McConaughy Sarkissian had the honor and privilege of lecturing at the University of Colorado’s School of Law. Ben and Kama taught a family law class concerning the issue of economic misconduct in divorce. Ms. Sarkissian was counsel for the leading appellate case in Colorado concerning marital waste: In re Marriage of Jorgensen, 143 P.3d 1169 (Colo. App. 2006) and is one of the preeminent authorities on the doctrine. Our lawyers greatly enjoyed giving back to their alma mater and look forward to continuing our firm’s dedication to service and philanthropy.
WealthCounsel Colorado Forum
September 15, 2016, at the law offices of Dymond Reagor Colville, PLLC
Greenwood Village, Colorado
Upon invitation from Carla Little of the Little Law Offices and Michael W. Reagor shareholder at Dymond Reagor, P.L.L.C., and in conjunction with the Colorado Bar Association’s Continuing Legal Education program, McConaughy and Sarkissian, P.C. attorneys Kama McConaughy Sarkissian and W. Benjamin King had the honor of lecturing on financial trust issues, which arise during the pendency of a divorce. Mr. King also lectured on the benefits a prenuptial agreement and marital agreement may have in protecting client’s interests in trust assets from their divorcing spouse and why settlors of trusts should be aware of that protective mechanism.
Benjamin King joins McConaughy & Sarkissian, P.C. as an Associate Attorney. Effective August 1, 2016, Mr. King has joined our firm and his litigation practice will focus on construction related matters, insurance defense and domestic relations. Welcome Ben!
We are delighted to officially announce the launch of our new website! You can now find us at www.Colorado-Divorce-Attorneys.com.
Our goal with this new website is to provide our visitors with a basic understanding of family law issues, including divorce, maintenance, child custody and property division, and help them determine whether hiring an experienced family law attorney is the right decision for them. We welcome questions from our visitors and encourage them to set up a free initial consultation if they are in need of legal advice. Our current and prospective clients will find useful information about our practice and the types of representation we are able to provide.
We will be routinely updating our content with helpful information, articles, blogs, newsletters, and client reviews in the testimonials section.
We hope you find the new website informative. We are working hard to make sure it contains valuable legal resources for our visitors.
For any questions, suggestions, feedback or comments, please E-mail us.
Kama McConaughy Sarkissian, Esq.
Authored by Kama McConaughy Sarkissian, Esq.
Maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony, is an allowance awarded by the court in some circumstances to be paid (usually monthly) to a spouse or former spouse for maintenance following a divorce or legal separation, or while such action is pending. Maintenance is awarded when the court finds that a spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs and is unable to support him or herself through appropriate employment.
As of January 1, 2014, Colorado law provides courts with discretionary guidelines for determining the amount and term of maintenance payments based on the incomes of the spouses and the length of the marriage. The guidelines are only applied in cases where the parties' combined annual income is less than $300,000 per year and the length of the marriage is greater than 3 years but less than 20 years. Under the guidelines, the amount of maintenance is equal to forty percent of the higher income party’s adjusted monthly gross income less fifty percent of the lower income party’s adjusted gross income. After this calculation, the recipient's total monthly income, including maintenance, cannot exceed 40% of the total combined monthly adjusted gross income of both parties.
Example: Victor earns $5,000 per month, and Sally earns $1,800 per month. Victor’s maintenance payment will be $1,100 ($2000-$900) per month.
In determining maintenance, the court will also consider other factors such as the property awarded to each party, the standard of living during the marriage, and the financial resources of each party. Ultimately, the court has the discretion to award maintenance in an amount that is fair and equitable to both parties.
Unlike child support, maintenance is tax deductible by the paying spouse and is taxable income to the receiving spouse.
As skillful negotiators, we are able to negotiate appropriate maintenance terms, whether you are the recipient or the payor of the award. We investigate and determine what each spouse’s income from all sources is, or should be, to ensure maintenance payments are fairly calculated and negotiated. We are experienced litigators who can represent you in all issues regarding maintenance.
Authored by Kama McConaughy Sarkissian, Esq.
If you are contemplating a divorce but are unsure whether there can be reconciliation, a legal separation may be an appropriate course of action to take. During an action for legal separation, marital property and debt are allocated between each spouse, as are parental responsibilities and maintenance and child support are determined. When a decree of legal separation is entered, you remain legally married to your spouse, but you are afforded the same financial protection and a resolution of parenting issues as in a divorce. After six months, either party may convert the decree of legal separation into a decree of dissolution of marriage by filing a motion with the court.
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