Zweig Law, PC Attorneys at Law

Breckenridge Family, Criminal And Personal Injury Law Blog

Many drivers don't understand advanced safety technology

Drivers in Colorado and elsewhere may not understand the advanced safety technology that automakers are increasingly placing in new vehicles. As a result, they may not be using or responding to the systems properly.

Currently, around half of all new vehicles manufactured in the U.S. are semi-automated, including those with relatively low price tags. In addition, automakers have pledged to make automatic emergency braking systems standard on all new cars sold in the U.S. by 2020. However, many drivers don't understand how this technology works, which sometimes leads to fatalities. For example, a survey found that 11% of drivers misunderstand how semi-autonomous vehicles work, thinking that they can use their phone or read while the car drives itself. In fact, several drivers who have let their semi-automated vehicles drive themselves ended up dying in horrific crashes. While fully automated cars are being tested across the country, none of them have yet reached the market.

Changes in tax law forces changes in divorce settlements

When the government changed the tax code, divorce filings increased in 2018 due to the implications of the changes. Lawmakers changed the code to remove the tax incentive for those paying alimony.

How does one change in the tax law have such an impact on divorce settlements? To get an idea of what it may mean for you, take a look at what the law was like before Jan. 1, 2019 and how it exists now. Comparing the two may help you understand how divorce negotiations may differ drastically from what they were just a year ago.

Disparate incomes linked to divorce

When people in Colorado decide to divorce, financial conflicts are often some of the primary issues that lead to the end of a marriage. These issues can derive from a range of disputes, and some are more common when one partner earns significantly more than the other. While this can cause problems in a relationship of any kind, one survey found that couples were particularly likely to divorce when the wife made more than the husband. There are several social reasons why this may be the case, but it is also important to note that the problem is far from universal.

In some cases, disputes may be caused by the higher-earning partner's dominance in financial decision-making. The lower-earning partner may not feel as if he has a voice. Men who were socialized to be dominant in their relationships may find this grating. However, the higher divorce rate is not confined to couples struggling with unfair or inequitable decision-making. Some men may be subject to social pressures or stereotypes that lead them to doubt their masculinity as the lower earner. In some cases, these husbands may become controlling or resentful, sparking the issues that lead to the dissolution of the relationship.

Distracted driving study reveals growing road safety issue

The results of a recent study suggest that drivers in Colorado and around the country spend an average of 13 minutes each day looking at their cellphone screens while behind the wheel. Root Insurance, which offers motorists discounts for not engaging in this potentially deadly behavior, commissioned a Virginia-based research firm to conduct the online poll.

Previous research into distracted driving has revealed that most motorists have an inflated view of their own behind-the-wheel skills and criticize others for behavior that they are often guilty of themselves. The Root Insurance study is no different. Almost 40% of the drivers polled admitted that even seeing a police car in their rear-view mirrors was not enough to convince them to put their phones down, but 90% considered themselves to be more skilled than Uber or Lyft drivers.

Changes in divorce and custody over the decades

If parents in Colorado who are getting a divorce must go to court to reach an agreement on child custody and visitation, it is likely that the judge will be amenable to both shared legal custody and an arrangement that allows the father far more time with the child than he might have had in the past. This is part of a shift over the past several decades toward fathers spending more time with their children after a divorce or separation.

Fathers who were never married and who have lower incomes are less likely to seek custody than higher-income fathers who were married. However, when the former group does seek access to their children, they are more likely to be granted it than they were in previous years. Another significant shift in how divorce plays out today compared to earlier decades is that parents are more likely to reach an amicable agreement through mediation instead of going to litigation.

How a DUI conviction negatively impacts your employment

Should you find yourself facing DUI charges while in Colorado on spring break or at any other time, you will definitely want to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to aggressively defend you in court. The last thing you need is a DUI conviction on your record that will follow you for years as you attempt to establish your career and move ever upward through the employment world.

Unfortunately, a DUI conviction could end your employment dreams before you even begin to fulfill them. Should your ambition entail practicing medicine, law or any of the other professions, the state licensing board could refuse to grant you the professional license you need to practice in your chosen profession if it discovers that your record contains a criminal conviction. In addition, should the job you apply for requires a Commercial Driver’s License, you likely will find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to obtain one once you receive a DUI conviction.

Diagnostic mistakes commonly linked to medical malpractice

When Colorado residents go to the doctor, they may be at risk for a misdiagnosis that could put their health or even their lives at further risk. According to one study carried out by an insurance company, 46 percent of closed medical malpractice claims were related to an incorrect diagnosis or the failure to diagnose a serious, progressive illness. Even more significantly, 68 percent of paid malpractice claims were related to the diagnostic process, and 45 percent of these cases involved the death of the patient.

A misdiagnosis can be particularly dangerous when a condition like cancer is involved. Early detection and treatment can be critical to survival. Therefore, the failure to diagnose cancer can introduce damaging delays that make it impossible to properly treat the condition. In other cases, patients may undergo treatments that are unnecessary and harmful, given that they did not have the condition for which they were treated.

Claiming children on taxes after a divorce

When spouses in Colorado decide to divorce, they may wonder how the end of the marriage will affect their income tax filings. Of course, people will begin filing again as single rather than married, but claiming dependents can be a more complicated process. In some cases, both parents want to claim a child as a dependent on their taxes. The parent who can claim the child as a dependent will access credits like the Child Tax Credit, the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit as well as be eligible to file as the Head of Household.

In many cases, parents specify who can claim the children as dependents in the divorce or custody agreement. If the parents have two or more children, they may distribute dependent status between both parents as part of the agreement. However, when families do not make this decision for themselves, the IRS has to make it for them. In this case, the tax agency will use several factors to assess the validity of the claim. First, parents have a higher priority than non-parents. Second, the parent with whom the children live the longest can claim them. If the parents have shared or equal custody, the ex with the higher income would receive the priority, assuming they have actually provided more support.

Prenups and other ways to protect a business from divorce

A business can represent a significant emotional, financial and time investment for its owner, so protecting it in case of a divorce can be important. One way a business owner in Colorado can do this is with a prenuptial agreement. A prenup that specifies that the business is separate property can mean the intrusive and expensive process of valuing the business for property division purposes can be avoided entirely.

A prenup might also state that the spouse is to receive a certain percentage of the company's value. If both spouses own the business, they may want a prenup that says they will continue to be co-owners if there is a divorce, or they may want it to specify which party will buy out the other. If the couple is already married, a post-nuptial agreement can serve the same purpose.

The link between payroll and child support

In 2017, $24.4 billion in child support payments were collected through payroll deductions in Colorado and throughout the country. During that year, a total of $32.4 billion in support payments were collected from all sources. The agency collects $5.33 for every dollar it spends to operate its internet portal program, according to the Office of Child Support Enforcement's (OCSE) office commissioner. However, the OCSE is looking for other ways to become even more efficient.

There were 67,458,725 new hire reports in 2017. Employers are required to file them in a timely manner after bringing on a new employee, and they are used to determine if money needs to be withheld for child support. In addition to reporting new hires, employers can also report if lump-sum payments are made to workers or if certain individuals no longer work for the company.

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