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Brenda Storey

Brenda Storey’s Answers

48 total


  • States adopting in "shared parenting time"

    Is Colorado going to consider this anytime soon, and how will it affect existing parents with ordered parenting plans?

    Brenda’s Answer

    “Shared parenting time” in a legal context means each parent having some parenting time. In Colorado dissolution cases, or cases involving adjudication of parental rights, by statute the child’s best interests are to be the focus in fashioning the resulting parenting time. Absent extreme facts, the results are usually some parenting time with each parent, meaning shared parenting time (versus sole with just one parent). In the research context, “shared parenting time” is defined as a child having at least 25-30% time with each parent. Such research shows that children who have that much time with each parent fare better than children who have no parenting time at all with one parent (absentee parent for example). There is no research that establishes that one specific parenting schedule is best, or even better, for all children.

    There is a misunderstanding, or misstatement as the case might be, that “shared parenting time” in the legal and/or research context is one particular parenting schedule or means “equal” or 50/50 parenting time. That is simply not accurate nor true. Further, each child, and each family, differ; therefore parenting time schedules need to be tailored to that child’s specific best interests and needs within their specific family’s facts, history and circumstances.

    Just last legislative session, a draft bill was presented to the Colorado Legislature that would have required substantially equal parenting time be considered in every case. The legislature had the wisdom, and care for Colorado’s kids, to reject “one-size-fits-all.” So, no change for the children of Colorado, including those with parenting plans already in place – their specific best interests continue to be the only focus.

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  • Can I legally keep my ex's mother from seeing my son?

    My ex's estranged mother is a terrible influence on my son. She repeatedly goes against my wishes when it comes to health issues i.e. asthma, and allergies, causing unneeded health risk. She has cats, he's allergic to cats. He has sugar intoleranc...

    Brenda’s Answer

    I am so sorry about these circumstances. What you do on your parenting time is, generally, your business. As such, you can refuse to allow her to contact your son on your parenting time. You can convey to your son your rules, similar to your rules for bedtime, screen time allowance, etc. However, if she is seeing your son on the other parent’s parenting time, you need to express your concerns to that parent first. If there is not agreement as to the concerns you raise, as relates to her statements, actions, and contact on the other parent’s parenting time, you can seek relief from the court. The burden will be on you to show why the other parent’s decision to allow contact is not in the child’s best interests. What you state are good facts to support your position. In the meantime, make sure your son has an outlet to talk about and work through his feelings, as it is tough for him to hear those negatives about a parent. Good luck to you!

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  • Married filed separately, am I liable in the eyes of the IRS and the court for my soon to be ex-husband's personal taxes?

    I am in the middle of a divorce. My soon to be ex and I filed married filing separately on our taxes. I have paid for what I feel I am liable for, both the personal and the business taxes, and now he is asking that I agree to pay his personal taxe...

    Brenda’s Answer

    I am so sorry about these circumstances. In the divorce context, any debt acquired during the marriage, regardless of whether in joint names or just one spouse’s name, is marital and subject to equitable distribution by the court. Even the debts that you held in just your name which you referenced discharging in bankruptcy were marital to the extent acquired after the date of your marriage. So, with this statutory definition, taxes owed in one spouse’s name while married are marital for the divorce court to address.

    In Colorado, marital property and debt is to be divided equitably, which requires consideration of all relevant factors, and a few specific ones. Of relevance, and not included in your fact pattern, are the length of marriage, what marital assets exist, what marital debts remain, what are the respective incomes and abilities to pay obligations. Depending on those answers, the divorce court might order you to share in a portion of outstanding taxes owed. I just cannot better answer without more facts. Best of luck to you!

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  • Do it yourself divorce completing a Financial Disclosure, seeking Maintenance and spouse's pension/401k/retirememt

    First Conferance Hearing July 15th, 2015. How does a judge determine amount of Maintenance. "P" is unemployed. Married 20+ years. "R" annual income of $100,000. Lived in the same home for 19 years. All assets in "R" name. After being pushed away f...

    Brenda’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I am so sorry you find yourself in this position. You have many arguments that can be made to support what seem like very reasonable positions. The key is knowing what proof you need, and how that proof supports your arguments legally.

    At the initial status conference, the courts do not usually enter any orders. However, in your case they might given that you have been kicked out of your home with what sounds like no support whatsoever. You need to push for interim orders, seeking access to funds for your basic support (housing, groceries, medical care, etc.) If the court will not enter interim orders that day, push for a temporary orders hearing to be set as soon as possible. At that hearing, the court is to issue orders that will be in place while the case is pending – who lives where, who pays for what.

    Title, alone, does not dictate whether assets are marital. Generally, our statute defines marital assets as any asset acquired from the date of marriage to the date of divorce decree, other than gifts/inheritance. I have to assume that many assets were acquired during your 20+ year marriage, including the house, retirement, furniture and furnishings, automobiles. With a $100,000 income, your husband also has the ability to pay maintenance, the amount of which is determined on specific facts. Additionally, with that kind of income, you have a good shot at being awarded temporary attorneys’ fees and costs, while the case is pending, to assist you in retaining a lawyer and being on “equal footing” with your husband from a litigation standpoint.

    Hidden assets, having to sell assets, contributions to the marriage, are all relevant in property division. I realize that the cost of a lawyer can be intimidating. At a minimum, though, you should work with a lawyer who provides unbundled legal services. This is a relatively new concept in Colorado. You choose how often and for what you use them. You can meet and discuss the case overall and get guidance of what specifically you should pursue, and what facts you need to prove in order to do such. You could use them just to prepare for a hearing, or to handle your hearing. This allows you to receive legal advice, but on a budget, making it an attractive option. Though, again I think that the facts you have warrant an award to you of a fees and costs advance for you to be able to have full representation.

    Good luck to you!

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  • What is the best way if the other forcefully try to change the parenting schedule which doesn't work and I cannot agree?

    The other party asked me to switch his parenting to the specific date that doesn't work for me and I cannot agree. He has sent me many messages to make me to compromise. I would like to know if it's ok not go to the exchange that he suggested as I...

    Brenda’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    I am so sorry that you are experiencing this. If you two have no parenting plan in place, then there are no rules and you do not have to give into his pressure. If the schedule you reference is part of a parenting plan, the plan’s terms control. As such, if you do not agree to the requested change, you do not agree. A very effective part of communication is knowing when to stop engaging. If you do not agree to the requested change, and have advised of that, then the conversation need only stop. He may keep sending you demands, but you do not have to read them, engage, or show up at the requested modified exchange.

    Good luck to you!

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  • My husband drained my bank account, took the car and left. Can I get maintenance from him? what is the average cost of a lawyer?

    I have been married for two years and my husband left me after we both had an affair. He drained all of my money from our account and packed up everything in our car and left to go back to New York. I had been following him around with his hockey ...

    Brenda’s Answer

    I am so sorry to hear of your circumstances. For there to be maintenance, the Colorado Court first must have jurisdiction over your husband. With him being out of state, there are some very fact specific answers needed to determine if Colorado will have personal jurisdiction. If Colorado does have personal jurisdiction over him, then maintenance claims are based upon many factors, including your ability to support yourself.

    The money in the bank and the automobile are marital property if acquired after the date of your marriage, and not gifted from a third party to one of you. The court can equitably divide those, and all, marital assets, between you and your husband. Don’t write those off just because he took them.

    Fees and costs are awarded in dissolution cases based upon relative financial resources, not based upon prevailing party. Usually, you have to advance the fees and costs and seek reimbursement at temporary orders and/or permanent orders. Most firms takes credit cards, and you know the interest rate on your own credit card. This allows you to set up your own payment pan, paying anywhere from the minimum monthly payment up per month.

    Good luck to you!

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  • What visitation rights do grand parents have to see their grandchildren in the state of Colorado?

    I'm estranged from my daughter who is trying to keep me away from my grand son

    Brenda’s Answer

    I am sorry about your circumstances. Colorado has a specific statute for grandparent visitation, but it can only be utilized if there is or has been a legal proceeding relating to your grandchild (such as a divorce, or adjudication of parental rights, or even the death of one of the parents). If one of those facts exist, you petition to intervene and file a motion for grandparent visitation. I will caution you that it is not easy to gain visitation over the objection of a parent. There has been recent case law recognizing the fundamental rights of parents as to the care, custody and control of their children. Their decisions are assumed to be in their child’s best interests, provided they are a fit parent. The burden shifts to you to prove otherwise. I wish you the best of luck!

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  • How likely is it that I could get sole custody of my 2 children in a divorce?

    I am a homemaker with two children ages 3 and 5. I found out that when he was younger, my husband molested his two younger sisters. I do not know details. He admitted this to me because one of the sisters had told her therapist who informed her s...

    Brenda’s Answer

    I can understand why you would feel the need to stay in the relationship to protect your children. When you file for divorce, you can file a Motion for the Court to restrict his parenting time, only allowing supervised, based upon the history of molestation you reference, together with the alcohol and anger management problems. The mere filing automatically restricts his parenting time to supervised only. The Court must have a hearing within 14 days, at which you can present evidence from his sister, the therapist, the authorities that were informed, as well as what your husband has admitted to you.
    Then, the key to your children’s safety is to have a Parental Responsibilities Evaluator who specializes in risk assessment be appointed by the divorce court. The expert will interview you as well as your collateral witnesses, do some specific testing, and be able to express to the court an expert opinion as to the risks your husband could present to the children. This enables the court to enter orders that best assist your children and their safety.
    All of this may sound daunting, and expensive, but it would seem that the children are at potential risk every day that they remain in a home with this man.
    Best of luck to you.

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  • My ex have my kid but i have custody of her and he keeps telling me to call D&N I keep trying to contact them but I get no answe

    Its been 2 weeks now since this happens they answer me ones but that was all what can I do. Shud I just go get her

    Brenda’s Answer

    I am so sorry for these circumstances. You sure can try to go get her, and go armed with your court orders reflecting that you have custody of your daughter. If you are not successful, you can call the police to assist. They are not always willing to get involved though, and sometimes state it is a civil matter. Whether they are correct or not, be prepared for that answer.
    Colorado does have a law that allows you to seek enforcement in the civil court that ordered you to have custody. Section 14-10-129.5 requires that the Court rule on the motion within 30 days, and if the court finds on the filings alone that there has been or is likely to be substantial or continuing non-compliance with the parenting time order or schedule, the court can order certain relief. The possible relief includes your ex having to complete parental education programs, an order requiring your ex to post a bond or security to insure this does not happen again, an order requiring make up parenting time to you for the time you lost, and imposing a fine not to exceed $100 per incident of denied parenting time. I suggest you file such a Verified Motion even if you are successful in getting your daughter back through other means. You want to do your best to make sure this never happens again. If you prevail, the court MUST award you your attorney’s fees, court costs, and expenses that are associated with the action you brought under that statutory provision. Best of luck to you!

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  • I am divorcing my husband after 17 years an he is working under the table but he took out his 401k I think he might have stocks

    an bond's an how could I find out he has also bought a boat an two cars do I have right to them

    Brenda’s Answer

    I am so sorry to hear of these concerns. Our courts require each party to make a full disclosure as to all assets and debts, as well as income. As such, the burden is on your husband to make such a disclosure. If there is concern that he is not complying, formal discovery is allowed. For example, request can be made for proof of all retirement accounts he has had in the last 3 years, and whether he has cashed out or sold any assets in the last 3 years. When you combine these requests with bank and credit card statements, his credibility or lack thereof can be tracked. Proof can also be subpoenaed directly from third parties, such as from the 401(k) company and investment company. If all of that still does not bring to surface all of his assets, the court retains jurisdiction for up to 5 years should additional assets be found.

    Per Colorado’s statutes, marital property is defined as any asset that is acquired during the marriage, from date of marriage to date of divorce decree. Do the boat and cars you reference fall within that definition? There are limited, fact-specific exceptions, such as inheritance to one spouse. However, the burden is on your husband to prove such separate property claims. Him buying them in just his name is not sufficient to prove a separate property claim.

    After the court determines what is marital, per the definition I have provided in the preceding paragraph, the court must equitably divide the marital estate. This does not necessarily mean each party gets a share of each and every marital asset—the court does not cut each asset in pieces. But, each spouse does have a right to the division of the entire marital estate. Usually the court awards certain assets to each spouse, offsetting those values against each other. For example, one spouse may get the equity in the marital home, in exchange for the other getting a comparable amount in the retirement accounts. Sometimes that means an equal division, sometimes it does not. The key is an equitable division.

    If you are concerned that your husband cashed out his 401(k), that can be addressed by the court as a marital waste argument. You also need to consider the potential tax ramifications of that. Even if he did it, the tax liabilities is marital. So, you would need some specific orders to addressed responsibility for those tax obligations.

    Best of luck to you!

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