Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our firm has remained open (law firms are considered ‘essential business” in Colorado). With one secretary answering the telephone, processing mail, filing etc. and the rest of us working from home to continue servicing client needs in the areas of construction law, general liability, personal injury and family law matters.. Effective Thursday, May 18, we will resume working from our office location. The office has been thoroughly cleaned, social distancing will be maintained, and masks and gloves available for staff and visitors. Please call us with any questions regarding Colorado and Wyoming construction and for Colorado family and divorce law. Please stay safe and wash your hands often.
Are you considering getting a divorce or legal separation? Are you unsure as to where you should even start? Whether the thought of getting a divorce only recently crossed your mind for the first time, or whether you have been considering ending your marriage for years, this workshop is for you.
At this workshop, which will be conducted virtually via Zoom, you will hear from numerous professionals about the divorce process. Family Law attorney Kama McConaughy Sarkissian, Esq. will be presenting along with another family attorney about the legal steps you need to take to end your marriage, including Colorado law regarding the division of property and debts, the allocation of parental responsibilities, spousal and child support, and attorney’s fees. The divorce process during the Covid-19 crisis will also be addressed during this workshop.
A mortgage lender and real estate expert will be presenting about options available to you whether you wish to stay in your marital residence or move on to another home. There will also be a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst to discuss the potential financial pitfalls of divorce and the actions you can take now and in the future to protect yourself and your family. You will have the opportunity to ask questions and you will be provided with resources to help you make decisions that are in you and your family’s best legal and financial interests. It is extremely important that before you decide to end your marriage you educate yourself about the dissolution of marriage process and all that it entails, both legally and financially. This workshop is a great first step.
If you are self-employed or a small business owner, you may be facing a loss of revenue due to stay-at-home orders and mass closures throughout the State of Colorado. As a result, meeting you family support obligations, paying your mortgage and car loans, while still supporting yourself, may be difficult, if not impossible. The federal government has recently passed legislation to help small business owners, including sole proprietors. There are a few different programs that may be available to provide economic assistance to your business during these difficult times.
The first is the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) which provides forgivable loans of up to $10 million for certain business costs. There are certain eligibility requirements and you will need to apply through a authorized bank or lender. Some of the loan amount may be forgiven. As the funds available are limited, you should contact your bank right away for more information about how to apply for the PPP.
The SBA has also set up an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Loan Advance (EIDL) program, which provides small businesses, including non-profits, with low interest loans of up to $2 million. You can access up to a $10,000 loan advance within three days of your application to pay for certain business expenses. You apply for the EIDL program directly through the SBA portal.
There are other programs available to help you get through these difficult times. The Colorado Office of Economic Development has created a resource page which includes numerous resources available for small businesses, including sole proprietors, and independent contractors. You can obtain more information at choosecolorado.com/covid19/.
The information herein is by no means exhaustive as the options available to small businesses and sole proprietors but it is a starting point. We encourage you to contact your bank, CPA, and the SBA for further information.
Co-Parenting with your former spouse or partner can be difficult even during the best of times. Co-Parenting during a world-wide pandemic can create a whole series of new issues for parents to have to address. Some of the issues include whether a parent or child faces health issues making them at-risk for COVID-19; whether one or both of the parents work in a field that puts them potentially in contact with COVID-19, such as medical care providers, grocery store employees, and first responders; and whether the stay-at-home order makes transporting a child to and from parenting time difficult or impossible.
Very few judicial districts have provided directives as to parenting time during this pandemic. One judicial district (not in the metro Denver area) issued an order that parents are to continue to exchange children per current parenting time orders UNLESS they would have to travel 50 miles or more for the exchange. In these situations, the order provides any missed parenting time must be made up within 35 days. It also provides that supervised parenting time must continue so long as the supervising center is open and a
While one judicial district’s order is not binding upon any other district court order, it provides some guidance that parenting time should continue unless the child would be required to travel a significant distance. However, a more practical and common concern is the health of a parent or child, especially if either is at-risk if they get sick from COVID-19 or a parent works in a job that puts them at risk for obtaining COVID -19. There is not an easy answer as to whether parenting time should be temporarily modified to protect everyone’s health.
Parents are required to follow the court’s parenting time orders unless doing so would place child in imminent physical or emotional danger. If a parent believes a child will be endangered, they are required to file a motion to restrict the other parent’s parenting time. Otherwise, the parent withholding parenting time could be sanctioned by the court for violating parenting time orders.
The best advice is if you are legitimately concerned about your health, your child’s health or that of another household member due to the current pandemic or stay-at-home orders, you should reach out to the other parent. There are creative ways to continue parenting time, including Zoom and Facetime, and make-up parenting time once this crisis is over. However, if you, the other parent, your child, or a household member contracts Covid-19, it is critical you seek the advice of your medical provider as to how you should proceed with parenting time and make the other parent aware of the provider’s recommendations to prevent the further spread of the disease.
Please feel free to contact us if you should have any questions about parenting time or any other family law matter.
In light of the current global COVID-19 pandemic, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court suspended many legal proceedings. Additionally, the district courts have issued further directives which may differ from one county or judicial district from another. However, as a basic matter, the courts are still holding hearings for the following family law related matters:
- Petitions for temporary civil protection orders and permanent protection order hearings;
- Petitions for temporary emergency risk protection orders and hearings on emergency risk protection orders;
- Shelter hearings in dependency and neglect cases or other juvenile proceedings;
- Petitions for appointment of an emergency guardian and/or special conservator;
- Hearings on motions to restrict parenting time and parental abduction prevention; and
- Emergency mental health proceedings
In addition, many of the district courts continue to hold status conferences by telephone and in some judicial districts, judges are holding certain hearings by video conferencing and/or telephone. All of the metro Denver district courts are still accepting filings for new and on-going family law matters, including petitions for dissolution of marriage, motions for allocation of parental responsibilities, and motions to modify prior orders, and most importantly. Most importantly, the courts continue to hold hearings on temporary and permanent protection orders and motions to restrict parenting time, if a child is endangered. If you need legal help during these uncertain times, we are available to you. We at McConaughy & Sarkissian, P.C. remain committed to helping you and your family navigate any family law matters you may be facing. We are available for video and telephone conferences and we are accepting new clients. Please let us know if you have questions or we can be of help to you.
McConaughy & Sarkissian, P.C. wishes to express our most sincere thanks and gratitude to the first responders and health care workers who are working in some cases around the clock to protect and take care of us during this pandemic.
Today is National Doctors Day so an extra thank you to all the doctors including the many who have come out of retirement to help during these trying times. We also wish to express our gratitude to law enforcement, carryout restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies and others who remain available for service. Thank you!
We at McConaughy & Sarkissian, P.C. Recognize during these difficult and unprecedented times families going through a divorce or family separation may be facing uncertainty about their family, their finances and their futures. We are committed to helping you through these difficult and stressful times. We will continue to remain open and are equipped to meet via telephone, email, FaceTime and video conferencing.
We are still meeting with new clients and accepting new cases. We are able to commence new actions, including actions for dissolution of marriage and for allocation of parental responsibilities, in every county in the metro Denver area, including Arapahoe, Douglas, Denver, Adams, Jefferson and Broomfield. We are also still able to file motions to modify pre-existing orders. If needed, we are able to schedule virtual and telephonic mediations.
In our current and ever changing environment, you may have questions or concerns about your unique family situation. Please rest assured that we are ready to assist you in any way we can.
Please contact us if you have questions or need our help.
Kama McConaughy Sarkissian’s Email: KMS@mslawpc.com
Andrea Koelzer’s Email: AKoelzer@mslawpc.com
McConaughy & Sarkissian, P.C. is pleased to welcome Atilla Z. Baksay, Esq. to our Civil Litigation Team. Mr. Baksay graduated with his Juris Doctor. And Master of Arts (International Affairs) from American University, Washington College of Law, in 2018. Mr. Baksay has experience preparing appellate briefs and conducted legal research for the World Trade Organization litigation during his time at the Office of the United States Trade Representative, before moving to Colorado.
Family Law Attorney Kama McConaughy Sarkissian presented a nationwide continuing legal education webinar in conjunction with Wealthcounsel, LLC titled: “The Intersection of Estate Planning and Divorce: An Introduction to Trust Issues in Divorce.”
The webinar focused on the process domestic relations courts frequently implement when making a determination as to what trust assets constitute a marital property interest subjection to division during a divorce. The course also explored issues associated with divorce and how a couple’s typical estate plan could be problematic in the event the spouses separate subsequent to finalizing their estate planning. The webinar discussed practical issues as well as the potential tax concerns associated with divorcing couples. The CLE concluded with ideas on how to protect trust and estate client’s beneficiary interests in the event they later divorced by implementing pre-marital and marital agreements containing provisos related to the client’s irrevocable trust interests. Call our family law attorneys today if you have questions about how your trust assets may be subject to division in a future divorce action.
Parties to a dissolution of marriage action with children, or an allocation of parental responsibilities (custody case) will need to calculate a child support amount to be paid by the obligor consistent with Colorado’s statute: C.R.S. § 14-10-115.
How is Child Support Calculated in Colorado?
One of the most common questions clients ask is: How will child support be calculated by the Court? Child support in Colorado is governed by statutory guidelines contained in C.R.S. 14-10-115. However, this statute is constantly being revised and adjusted for things like inflation and parties are well-advised to ensure they have the most current version of the statute. The child support guidelines in Colorado are presumptive, opposed to Colorado’s spousal maintenance guidelines, which are merely advisory. The child support guidelines calculate child support based upon the parents’ combined adjusted gross income estimated to have been allocated to the child if the parents and children were living in an intact household. Additionally, the child support guidelines adjust the child support based upon the needs of the children for extraordinary medical expenses and work-related child care costs, and allocate the amount of child support to be paid by each parent based upon physical care arrangements. The child support worksheets also consider the total number of overnights each parent has with the child(ren). The number of children involved also affects the child support obligation.
How to Determine the Parents’ Incomes for a Child Support Calculation.
Courts will use each parent’s “gross income” to calculate the child support amount. “Gross income,” as it is defined by the statute, and includes, but is not limited to:
- Income from salaries;
- Wages, including tips declared by the individual for purposes of reporting to the federal internal revenue service or tips imputed to bring the employee’s gross earnings to the minimum wage for the number of hours worked, whichever is greater;
- Payments received as an independent contractor for labor or services, which payments must be considered income from self-employment;
- Severance pay;
- Pensions and retirement benefits;
- Trust income;
- Capital gains;
- Any moneys drawn by a self-employed individual for personal use that are deducted as a business expense, which moneys must be considered income from self-employment;
- Social security benefits, including social security benefits actually received by a parent as a result of the disability of that parent or as the result of the death of the minor child’s stepparent but not including social security benefits received by a minor child or on behalf of a minor child as a result of the death or disability of a stepparent of the child;
- Workers’ compensation benefits;
- Unemployment insurance benefits;
- Disability insurance benefits;
- Funds held in or payable from any health, accident, disability, or casualty insurance to the extent that such insurance replaces wages or provides income in lieu of wages;
- Monetary gifts;
- Monetary prizes, excluding lottery winnings not required by the rules of the Colorado lottery commission to be paid only at the lottery office;
- Income from general partnerships, limited partnerships, closely held corporations, or limited liability companies. However, if a parent is a passive investor, has a minority interest in the company, and does not have any managerial duties or input, then the income to be recognized may be limited to actual cash distributions received;
- Expense reimbursements or in-kind payments received by a parent in the course of employment, self-employment, or operation of a business if they are significant and reduce personal living expenses;
- Alimony or maintenance received; and
pay, only if the overtime is required by the employer as a condition of employment.
There are many forms of income, which are exceptions to the “gross income” definition under the statute. Parties to a divorce proceeding or APR action should meet with a licensed Colorado family law attorney to discuss the specifics of their case, and obtain legal advice in order to make an informed decision on this issue.