Zweig Law, PC Attorneys at Law

Breckenridge Family, Criminal And Personal Injury Law Blog

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.

2 key factors to consider when facing a DUI charge

If you happen to be a tourist who ends up with a DUI charge in Breckenridge, you may want to think twice before you put the situation out of mind. DUI charges are nothing to make light of, especially if you are a tourist. Though you might not be a local area resident, a DUI charge will follow you throughout your life. It goes on your criminal record where employers and other parties can see it, and it may make it harder for you to qualify for federal and public benefits and programs. 

Habitual DUI offenders face felony charges and up to six years behind bars. Even if this is your first time facing criminal charges, it is vital for you to consider the following pointers on mitigating them. 

Distracted driving statistics spark concern

A new study is raising the alarm about the threat posed by distracted driving in Colorado. The research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit organization funded by insurance companies, compared distracted driving surveys conducted in 2014 and 2018. Of course, self-reported surveys are always vulnerable to errors and omissions, especially underreporting of known dangerous behavior. Still, many drivers admitted to being distracted while operating their vehicles, including using their mobile phones.

The trends reflected in the study also indicate general social changes in the way that people communicate. Fewer drivers used their handheld mobile phones for voice conversations in the 2018 results, but there was a 56 percent increase in the number of people who reported texting or surfing the internet while behind the wheel. These results are troubling as texting and driving is linked to more serious car accidents. In 2017 alone, 800 people lost their lives in crashes linked to distracted drivers who were texting or surfing. The risk of a fatal crash goes up by 66 percent when drivers manipulate a phone by hand. While the general number of distracted driving reports remained the same, the types of distraction grew more severe.

The divorce of the ultra-wealthy

Even though plenty of individuals in Colorado go through a divorce every year, the entire process can be a very different experience based on how much a couple is worth. The simplest case in point is that wealthy soon-to-be divorcees have very different concerns than what might ail the everyday individual.

Of the many differences, a few stand out. The first relates to the assets being split up. A wealthy couple has a plethora of financial and real assets, including stocks, options, and art collections, all of which add to the value of the couple. This, in turn, makes the divorce proceedings all the more complicated. The second difference lies in alimony payments. Normally, this would be a point of contention between a couple going through a divorce. However, when a couple is splitting up and each party is walking away with a few million dollars, neither party needs support payments. With this in mind, despite men usually taking away more money, women tended to fare well enough that they didn't need any alimony checks.

Joint custody a preferred option for child development

When parents in Colorado move toward divorce, they may be particularly worried about how their time with the children will be affected. Fathers could be especially concerned as beliefs have traditionally favored sole or primary custody for mothers. It has even been stated that overnight custody for fathers with infants and toddlers could be harmful to young children. However, this era of thinking is over; most states and family court judges tend to prefer joint custody or shared parenting as a default.

Indeed, child psychologists affirm that joint custody is usually the best option for a child's health and well-being. Even the youngest children benefit from a shared parenting schedule, including overnight time with both parents. In most cases, joint custody arrangements involve week-to-week switches in which the child spends a week with one parent and then switches to the other parent's home. These schedules can be complicated due to the parents' employment obligations, especially if they work irregular schedules. Therefore, different families can develop a parenting plan that works for their unique needs.

Preparing for winter driving

Snow, ice and whiteout conditions can make driving during the winter very hazardous. Drivers are advised to use as much caution as possible when traveling in or through states like Colorado that experience this type of weather. Fortunately, some new technologies are helping make the roads safer during winter. One is enhanced traction control, which helps keep the vehicle gripped to the road when accelerating or braking.

Checking the weather before going out on the road is one of the best ways a driver can avoid an accident. If cold temperatures are expected, the vehicle should be warmed up a bit before leaving. When the weather service advises people to stay off certain highways or areas, drivers should always listen. In the unfortunate incident that someone gets stranded on the side of the road, they should remain in their vehicle and try to signal for help.

How to handle the holidays after a divorce in Colorado

After a divorce, holidays can be difficult for both the parents and children. Since emotions such as anger, sadness, fear and betrayal can emerge, the loss of traditions could be devastating. Despite these feelings, parents need to focus on their children during this time.

Parents may need to turn elsewhere to get emotional support. For example, friends, family members and even a therapist could be helpful. Above all, parents must allow the well-being of their children to take priority over their own situations. This means they should not try to punish the other parent by refusing to let them see the child during the holidays. After all, this ends up punishing the child too.

3 myths about car accident claims

Car accidents happen every day in Colorado. While some of these are minor fender benders, others result in serious injuries. Take one recent case where three people, including two juveniles, suffered intense injuries following a collision. 

Following an auto accident, you should consider pursuing a claim. You also need to see a doctor immediately to determine the full extent of your injuries. You do not want to leave anything to chance, so here are some common myths about these claims you do not want to believe. 

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