Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law

Top Divorce Consultation Questions | Episode 125

October 13, 2022 Ryan Kalamaya & Amy Goscha
Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
Top Divorce Consultation Questions | Episode 125
Show Notes Transcript

Today we are re-broadcasting an episode that has aired before; we’re talking about the top seven frequently asked questions that come up in a consultation, what they are, and what our responses usually sound like. Using the example of Melanie and Eric Wolff, we ask and answer some pertinent questions common to the divorce process. You’ll hear all about the relevance of the reason for divorce in the courtroom, including what it means to be a non-fault state, dissipation, and marital waste. 

Next, we dive into the specific scenario of a divorce initiated because of infidelity, whether it matters who is first to file, and what determines the details of a parental plan in Colorado. We’ll also be discussing the way Colorado favors fathers more than other states, whether or not it matters if your name is on the deed for the property you share, and when the right time is to start dating. Tune in for an in-depth discussion about today’s deviation from traditional trends in alimony and maintenance, having confidence in your lawyer, and more!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • We discuss whether or not the reason for divorce is relevant to the legal proceedings.
  • What it means to be a non-fault state, like Colorado. 
  • The relevance of dissipation and marital waste.
  • What Amy would recommend to a couple getting divorced because of an infidelity.
  • Amy and Ryan’s perspectives on whether or not it matters who is first to file.
  • How custody is decided in Colorado and what parenting plans look like. 
  • What Amy would want to know from Eric about his children before determining the parenting plan.
  • Why Amy will usually highlight putting the needs of the children before those of the parent. 
  • Why Colorado’s law favors fathers far more than any other state. 
  • Amy’s response to the question of when the appropriate time is to start dating.
  • The importance of finding a healthy outlet during the divorce process.
  • Whether or not it matters if your name is on the deed for the property you share. 
  • Why Ryan’s primary focus during the first consultation is to listen.
  • Navigating living arrangements during the divorce process.
  • The two biggest factors: risk of parental relocation, and the cost implication.
  • Addressing the question of alimony. 

What is Divorce at Altitude? 

Ryan Kalamaya a

What is Divorce at Altitude?

Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha provide tips and recommendations on issues related to divorce, separation, and co-parenting in Colorado. Ryan and Amy are the founding partners of an innovative and ambitious law firm, Kalamaya | Goscha, that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado.

To subscribe to Divorce at Altitude, click here and select your favorite podcast player. To subscribe to Kalamaya | Goscha's YouTube channel where many of the episodes will be posted as videos, click here. If you have additional questions or would like to speak to one of our attorneys, give us a call at 970-429-5784 or email us at info@kalamaya.law.



Ryan Kalamaya (3s):
Hey everyone. I'm Ryan Kalamaya.

Amy Goscha (6s):
And I'm Amy Gosha.

Ryan Kalamaya (8s):
Welcome to the Divorce at Altitude A Podcast on Colorado Family Law.

Amy Goscha (12s):
Divorce is not easy. It really sucks. Trust me I. Know. Besides being an experienced divorce attorney, I'm also a Divorce client.

Ryan Kalamaya (20s):
Whether, you are someone considering divorce or a fellow family law attorney. Listen in for weekly tips and insight into topics related to Divorce Co-Parenting and Separation in Colorado Welcome. Back to another episode of Divorce at Altitude. This is Ryan Kalamaya This Week. We are going to re-broadcast a previous episode. It's episode four that many of you may not have heard before. It's the top seven frequently asked questions that come up in initial Consultation Amy And I are going to discuss those questions in our typical responses.

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 1s):
We do so through the prism of Eric Wolf coming into our office or having a Zoom meeting with Eric and going through the top seven frequently asked questions that he will have for us. The first one that Amy is going to address is whether or not the reason for the Divorce matters in Colorado. So we hope you enjoy the re-broadcast of this episode in Amy. I'll let you take it away on whether or not the reason for the Divorce matters for Eric Melanie Wolf. Welcome to another episode of Divorce at Altitude. I'm Ryan KK.

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 42s):
I'm joined by my cohost Amy Goscha. Amy, what's what's new?

Amy Goscha (1m 46s):
Not much. Just, you know, like Eric, you know, he just found out that he going to get a Divorce and so this podcast we're gonna be talking about kind of him coming into the office for the first time.

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 59s):
Yeah, last time we spoke with Jim Bailey and Denver about attacking premarital agreements and he referenced that that first meeting is always a triage. So we thought it would be helpful to go over the most frequently asked questions that we as Divorce lawyers get in that initial Consultation. So I'm gonna be taking more of a standpoint of Eric and asking Amy you and then also commenting on the questions from Eric's standpoint. So the first question that every time we have a Consultation inevitably comes out is, does the reason for the Divorce, does it matter?

Amy Goscha (2m 33s):
Right. And so I think that's probably every single client's question, especially, you know, Eric, the reason in Colorado where it's a no fault state, so it doesn't technically matter. However, you know, as the attorney, I wanna know why Eric is getting a Divorce so I can understand like what you know, driving it. Also, you know, there is a concept in Colorado called marital waste, you know, which we'll probably talk about further down the road, but in general it really does not matter,

Ryan Kalamaya (3m 1s):
Right? And, we kind of referenced in our first story that Eric the, the story of Eric Wolf. And he says that they essentially are having a race to the bottom And. We sometimes see that where he is spending a bunch going on, he trips with his boys. To what extent that is dissipation or marital waste, we can get into it. But you know, their marriage has been dead for quite a while. That is apparent. But I think it's fair to say Amy. Amy, would you agree that any time there's a perspective by both spouses that the other person was cause for the deterioration of their marriage and having an affair?

Ryan Kalamaya (3m 41s):
We see that or hear that all the time and people wanna have their day in court. What if Eric, he says, I was sleeping on the couch and that Melanie would go to bed and there was just clearly no love there. If he had been having an affair, how do you think that that would've mattered? Or how would you have counseled Eric in that circumstance?

Amy Goscha (4m 2s):
Well, if he had had an affair, I mean essentially, you know, my question would be, has this person had any contact with his kids? And you know, in this case, I don't think that he, that she has, but it could definitely come into, you know, the best interest factors when looking at, you know, parenting time. I would probably tell 'em to kinda like cool off like take a cooling off period to just not make it so complicated. Because when you're going through a Divorce, it's highly emotional, you know, dealing with a new relationship just can make it even more emotional. So as much as I could, I would tell Eric, you know, try to lay off as much as you can on that new relationship.

Ryan Kalamaya (4m 42s):
Yeah. And if Melanie, certainly we've represented a number of Melanie people, assuming that Eric had had an affair where they wanna have their day in court, they wanna blast it out to the newspapers, they wanna tell the judge about the mistress. And they think oftentimes if they can just tell the judge their story that they'll understand. And one thing that I will tell them is you need to be careful of biting the hand that feeds you. If that affair comes out in a courtroom, the court record, it can be a public document and going to coworkers, sometimes affairs or those sorts of things come out in the workplace, that can be very detrimental and it could end up harming someone like Melanie.

Ryan Kalamaya (5m 32s):
But we frequently do see that, where they feel somehow they have a negotiating advantage by virtue of what happened in their marriage. So for me it comes out and it's helpful because it drives the atmosphere, the emotional atmosphere and climate for any sort of settlement negotiations. But ultimately I always tell people the judge does not want to hear about it. And if there is dissipation, if there is marital waste, it's a challenge. But it, that is one aspect that is probably an exception except for maybe when it involves the kids, right?

Amy Goscha (6m 7s):
Correct. Yeah, I mean that's the main concern and representing Eric I would have is that I wanna make sure that he's, you know, stable parent, he's providing what he needs for his kids and not just focusing on his relationship or putting that his new relationship and putting that first before the

Ryan Kalamaya (6m 24s):
Kids. Now the second question, and just for a reminder, Eric Wolf's story, it's posted on our website, it was in featured in our first story or first episode rather, but Eric, he goes out after the counselor's office in which Melanie says, I've hired a Divorce attorney. And he goes out skiing and really kind of releases his kind of emotional, is pent up emotions. And he says to himself that he's really scared and he knows he's in a bad situation. So being a savvy business guy, one thing that he's gonna ask is our second question, which is, does it matter who files first? Melanie hired the Divorce lawyer first. It really bothers him.

Ryan Kalamaya (7m 4s):
Does that matter? And does it matter Amy who files first?

Amy Goscha (7m 7s):
I mean, it only is gonna matter who files first if you're dealing with like jurisdictional issues, which will get in later, which means, you know, living in separate states. So it really doesn't matter, you know, in Colorado who files first, I get a lot of questions I'm sure Eric would ask me as well, like, doesn't matter if I'm the first one to file, you know, like should I be the petitioner who is the person that files or if that makes a difference And in my perspective doesn't, What is your thoughts on that Ryan?

Ryan Kalamaya (7m 36s):
Well I had a, it's funny you should mention that. I had, I think an old school approach would say it does matter because you know, the petitioner, they get the kind of first opportunity to present the evidence and then rebuttal. I was a prosecutor back in the day, And I loved rebuttal on closing arguments. So anyone that you would say, Oh, you get an opportunity to make your opening statement and then you get rebuttal and the petitioner does that and I know that there was one Divorce lawyer that I used to work with, but he has since retired. He felt very strongly about filing first. I think that what you're touching on is that the benefit of filing first, it can, the way that you start the proceedings can really drive the overall trajectory of the case.

Ryan Kalamaya (8m 24s):
If one person strategically files that there's this gamesmanship. Whereas if people file jointly, it starts off the case on the right foot. I always say to people, Listen, you know, I could have the other party filed or served rather by a biker in leather at two in the morning. That will certainly get their attention. And it's not as if we've ever done that, but it more serves for that. If you really wanna upset someone and send a signal, you can do that. But it's not necessarily the signal that I wanna be a part of or that I wanna send in cases that I'm involved with.

Amy Goscha (9m 1s):
Yeah, usually I would probably advise Eric that if he files first, that we would give Melanie's attorney, you know, a call to see first if they wanna file jointly or if not, you know, if he will sign what's, or she will sign what's called a waiver of service. It just creates more of an amicable collaborative approach than not.

Ryan Kalamaya (9m 22s):
Right. And they, they're in the counselor's office, she says she's hired a Divorce lawyer. One would hope that they could figure out a way to file jointly or cooperatively. And in our next episode we'll talk about the pre-filing considerations and go over those sorts of factors that we as Divorce lawyers frequently will cover. But the third question that we always get is, whenever there's kids involved and you hear Eric is worried about his kids, how is this going to impact the kids? And as a dad we frequently get questions about, we had this certain paradigm where I went to work and the mom took care of the kids and things are changing now.

Ryan Kalamaya (10m 3s):
So how is Custody decided in Colorado? And everyone uses Custody that word in their consultations and what is, how do you get a parenting plan? How is that even figured out to the extent that even someone like Eric knows what a parenting plan is? So Amy, how is Custody decided in Colorado?

Amy Goscha (10m 23s):
So what I first would talk to Eric about is that in Colorado we don't really use the term Custody, we use allocation of parental responsibilities. And part of that is parenting time, which is like the physical time that he would have with his kids. And then decision making, which is the major decisions made for his children, which would be medical school, extracurricular activities, those types of things. So, you know, I talk about it in, you know, two separate sections and you know, before kind of getting into how parenting time is determined, which is in the best interest of the children, I really, you know, I wanna know from Eric what his children are like. You know, do they have special needs?

Amy Goscha (11m 3s):
You know, like do they, you know, participate, you know, expert skiing, you know, like what are their interests? You know, I, I'll talk to Eric about what is his work schedule because a lot of times the parenting plan will be determined on just what are people, you know, what is their schedules? If you have, for instance, if Eric is, you know, working overnight, you know, that's a consideration when you're determining what the parenting schedule should look like. The short answer is in Colorado it's based off of the best interest of the children. And there's certain factors that the court looks at And I usually will highlight putting the needs of the children before the parent and then effectuating the relationship of the children with the other parent as being really, really big factors that the court really looks at.

Amy Goscha (11m 51s):
You know, so it's what's in the, the best interest of the children. But you know, that's kind of nebulous, you know, like it comes down to what are the kids' needs, you know, what are the parents' schedules, where are they gonna be living, you know, so those are considerations that we talk about.

Ryan Kalamaya (12m 8s):
Right. In Eric story, he references that he's concerned about the number of wine bottles that he sees in the garage when he leaves. And presumably Melanie will get into some of these issues, but Melanie might have a drinking problem, but he hasn't been p active with the children. And that may have been a result because of the tension at the household and there could be a number of other factors, but I think at least in my observation in the last 10 years, there's certainly been a trend more towards equal parenting time by judges. There's And, I think that the pandemic has even magnified that effect because it used to be that the father would go to work if in a traditional standpoint relationship the dad would go to work, you know, he'd come home and you know, he'd live in Boulder and then work in Denver, vice versa.

Ryan Kalamaya (12m 58s):
And then you'd have that commute. Right now people are working from home and they're at home more and more and, and certainly I have seen that in the cases that I've handled where even just recently in Aspen where the judge noted that the father was essentially working at home, And, I think that there has been a general trend, it's not by law, but I think most judges would admit that their kind of starting point. Obviously it's gonna depend on the kids, but the starting point is equal parenting time unless there's some other consideration and it's kind of an unwritten rule amongst the bench at least that's been my observation and that's really hard to tell someone like Melanie.

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 38s):
Whereas Eric, we can't obviously guarantee that he's gonna get equal parenting time. It's really gonna depend on his interest level, what does he want to do with the kids and what does he think is best for the the kids. But do you have any comments on that Amy?

Amy Goscha (13m 53s):
Yeah, I definitely agree with you that the trend in Colorado and it's very different than some other states that it's definitely more of a 50 50 starting place. And I think that that's, you know, something that Eric probably is going to like to hear is that, you know, that is a starting place. And I think that trend also has to do with also just both parents usually working, you know, that's kind of more of the trend now. So I think that's also part of it.

Ryan Kalamaya (14m 19s):
And going back to the decision making, you know, a lot of people will talk about legal Custody and, and that's decision making. And when you hear their story about working in a counselor's office, I think the same thing goes for the equal parenting time as decision making. And that is that the default is joint. There needs to be domestic violence or just a complete inability for people to not agree. And even in that circumstance, there's other options such as a parenting coordinator decision maker. And essentially we're gonna go over at, in upcoming episodes and really take a deeper look at some of these issues, decision making, parenting coordinators and the ways that we can resolve some of these issues for someone like Eric.

Ryan Kalamaya (15m 6s):
But we actually have a blog post, it's one of the most popular blog posts that we've ever done. And it was written, I think three or four years ago and the American Bar Association confirmed that Colorado is one of the most progressive for fathers when it comes to parenting responsibilities. Whereas another place like Tennessee, it has a much more traditional standpoint amongst the bench So. That's something that I would certainly share with Eric. Let's move on to the fourth question. Eric is going to ask, you know, he's texting his buddies or he is thinking about texting his college buddies and you know, from college and you know, one of his old frat brothers might just say, When are you gonna start dating?

Ryan Kalamaya (15m 46s):
When are you gonna get out there, man? So if Eric asked you, Amy, when can I start dating? What's your response?

Amy Goscha (15m 53s):
My response is that, you know, I don't want it to be a distraction to him during the Divorce process, especially, you know, if it can affect the children. So if he, you know, introduces any people that he's dating or if he is out and about and drinking, you know, staying out late, that can affect ultimately his time with, with his kids. So not that dating is something that you're prohibited from doing, but I would just advise him to really think hard about that and how it would affect, you know, his case, his, you know, his energy, his wellbeing, and his parenting time with his children.

Ryan Kalamaya (16m 29s):
Yeah, in the story Eric and Melanie, I mean it's not obvious, but frequently Amy we hear, I haven't had sex with my significant other for two years or three years. And, I always tell people, especially someone like Eric, you can date, there's nothing legally prohibited. You're not legally prohibited from doing it, but it goes back to why you're getting a Divorce and it can really emotionally cause some issues. But at the same time, Divorce is extremely stressful and you know, you have to get, you have to release your detention and and do what makes you happy. And that can be skiing, it can be yoga, it can be in a counseling situation, some people can drink, you know, certainly.

Ryan Kalamaya (17m 15s):
But if you find someone that you can share that's gonna make you happy, use your judgment and be discreet because the amount of money that you spend, the introduction of them to your children that can just blow the lid. You know, I had a case once where the husband went out to the favorite restaurant and brought his new girlfriend there and it caused so many problems that it just was not worth it. So I have a real conversation about, hey listen, I understand that you need a distraction, that you want to maybe start a new, that you've been unhappy for a really long time and you don't wanna be alone.

Ryan Kalamaya (17m 55s):
But at the same time you need to balance that by getting, you know, by using your judgment and common sense.

Amy Goscha (18m 2s):
Yeah, so specifically what I would tell Eric is, you know, he likes to really ski with the boys. Like, you know, I would just tell him like, take up more ski, you know, get out there, like get your reset.

Ryan Kalamaya (18m 14s):
One of my favorite clients of all time, he set a goal of doing the bowl, Highlands Bowl a hundred times. And so every day he was out there and it was one of the most healthy outlets that I can think of. I've, I've had other people that get really into yoga, but it, it's something that, it just is unavoidable is that mental component. Let's move on. And, and the other question that we always get is how do we decide who gets what in terms of property? And Eric might say Amy, well the house is in my name, does that matter? We hear that all the time. So what, what's your response to the house being only in his name and how do we decide who gets what he owns a business, so what happens?

Amy Goscha (18m 58s):
Yeah, so I'll give you, you know, like a classic lawyer answer. It depends. So it's gonna depend where I start is, you know, is it, I explained to Eric, you know, that separate property is, you know, what was what you had prior to marriage and there's caveats and we'll get into that in further episodes. And then during the marriage, it's property that was acquired during the marriage and then there's an increase in separate property during the marriage can also be marital property. So I get an idea as to what the property is. And so the name, if the marital residence was purchased during the marriage, it's just during in his name, then it's not, I mean it's marital property.

Amy Goscha (19m 39s):
Where it really is gonna make a difference is if he owned that property prior to marriage then you know, that does make a difference. So I think a lot of times people think, well just if it's in my own name, then that just means it's mine. And that's not the case as we know. So with the business, same thing. If he started his business prior to marriage, there might be a separate property component to it, but if you know, like a bunch of, if it acquire, if it was just started during the marriage, then they, the entire business is going to be marital property,

Ryan Kalamaya (20m 12s):
Right? The way that I describe it, oftentimes in that Consultation, that first Consultation when I am talking and no one has ever accused me of not wanting to, to talk and, and as Jim Bailey said, I'd share, you know, his sentiment that I'd love to hear myself talk. It's one of the reasons we started this podcaster, but the Consultation, that first Consultation, I am really focused on just trying to listen and hear their concerns, hear Eric's story and really get to know them. But when it is time for me to explain the process as we're doing here in part is I explain it that there's the Eric and Melanie basket and you have all your property and in that basket and the process of Divorce is that you have your own Melanie basket and Eric basket and then when you put in the business into his basket, that's gonna weigh it down and then, you know, it's not a guarantee that she's gonna get the house, but there needs to be, or there should be some sort of offset So that it's really hard if you have two assets, the main two assets in the marriage and it's the business and the house, it's really hard to conceptualize that for Eric getting both the house and the business.

Ryan Kalamaya (21m 27s):
And so there's a allocation and that's one of the roles that we play, but we don't know the value of the business. Oftentimes we have to figure out what that is. Same thing with real estate. And when you come in and they say, Well I've got a hundred shares of Apple stock, well that we have a known amount that we can tell you that's what the Apple stock cuz it's publicly traded cryptocurrency or Tesla stock or you know, certainly a partnership or some sort of business interest. That's when it's, we can't tell you at the very beginning what it's worth. And Eric's story and concerns are certainly well founded.

Ryan Kalamaya (22m 6s):
There's not gonna be any Divorce lawyer that's gonna tell him exactly who's gonna get what and how much, how it's all gonna sort out. And you know, I'm sure Amy Eric kind of strikes me as the guy that comes in with like a spreadsheet and says this is what's gonna happen. We've all had those clients. Or you know, the flip side is, oh it's kind of, it shouldn't be that hard. We should just be able to figure this all out really easy in like just an hour or so. Right? We, we've all had those Eric clients.

Amy Goscha (22m 33s):
Yeah, also what I would explain to Eric is that I think a lot of people think that everything is just divided equally or maybe in his mind if he's, you know, like really put in the sweat equity to his business, he might think that that's separate and not considered that in Colorado property is divided equitably. We're not a community property state, normally it's equal marital property division, you know, but I do make it clear that there is some leeway there and so it's not just like you said, straightforward and something that you can figure out in an hour when you have a business.

Ryan Kalamaya (23m 6s):
Right. I mean, kind of as part of that, most clients will come in and say it's divided equally, right? Like it's by law that you divide it equally and as much as you know, we can look at equal parenting time. Yeah, I think most judges, but you have to know the judge. I mean there's certainly judges that I appear in front of that will take a very different approach or, or they really will look at the contributions and certainly when you're talking about millions and millions of dollars. And in the case of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, I think, you know, he, his wife got several billion dollars reportedly, but then he ended up with many, many, many billions of dollars and that was a disproportionate allocation.

Ryan Kalamaya (23m 47s):
So it really depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. And you know, certainly I've been involved in those cases where, you know, one party gets 60% it, but it completely depends. And going back to the title, that can matter if there's a separate property in tracing component, which again will address at a later episode. But those are always the questions that we get. So related to that, and you know about who's gonna get the house, Eric is always gonna come in and say, well should I move out? What, what should I do? Should we, you know, she told me Melanie said I hired a Divorce lawyer, Is she gonna change the locks? Well, how do we tell the kids what should we do?

Ryan Kalamaya (24m 27s):
So Amy, walk us through what your advice would be to Eric if he was asking you about should I move out?

Amy Goscha (24m 34s):
Yeah, so when, and especially like a dad, usually when the dad comes to me, they are, especially if they're the worker, like they're concerned that they should never leave the house because they're concerned it's going to affect their parenting time. So I think there is also kind of a misnomer out there that, you know it, you know, I need to stay in here until we figure everything out. And so it can affect, you know, parenting time, but at the same time, you know, like nesting and Colorado is not an ideal situation for any family even when you're going through the Divorce process. So I would talk to Eric about like what other options do we have? Like do you guys have another property?

Amy Goscha (25m 15s):
You know, like do you have another property that's, I don't know, like a condo in town that you could go to? You know, does it have enough rooms for the children? You know, so we look at that an option first. Second option is doing kind of a nesting arrangement, which means both parents staying in the house, were actually rotating into the house during their parenting time with the kids. But frankly a lot of people don't have the money to like move out right away. So there is kind of that interim period and so we try to figure out, you know, okay, I'm like, Eric, you've been sleeping on the couch for a long time, I don't want you having to sleep on the couch, but you know, can you, is is there a finished basement?

Amy Goscha (25m 56s):
You know, can you at least be down there and Melanie can be upstairs So that have some kind of structure until we can figure out when he's able, you know, to move out.

Ryan Kalamaya (26m 7s):
Yeah, The two biggest factors from my perspective on whether or not someone should or should move out is one is if, is there a risk of parental relocation that in my mind can really drive whether someone should or shouldn't move out? If there's gonna be a significant risk, if the relocating party is, if they're gonna be leaving and trying to take the the kids, that is something I always ask. It's not something that clients or perspective clients or anyone in a consultation, they usually don't bring that up. And if they do then it's a big issue. And, we will get into that. But aside from that, the financial aspects, if people are living paycheck to paycheck and you know, people that earn millions of dollars, they can be living paycheck to paycheck.

Ryan Kalamaya (26m 52s):
They just have a, a lifestyle that is kind of attending to that. You know, up here in Aspen, especially this upcoming summer, the rental rates are crazy. And so when you inflict a Divorce on a financial situation that is tight, Eric is annoyed with his wife buying handbags, he's still going hell skiing. But there might have to cut down on that. The reality is that Divorce, there's transaction costs and you go from one household and one cable bill. If they haven't cut their cord, Eric strikes me as a kind of a, a cut the cord type guy, but you have, you know, instead of one utility bill, you now have two and all of that adds up and it can be very difficult for, for people to manage that.

Ryan Kalamaya (27m 39s):
And when you have those living costs, that can really be a factor. But when people are in the same household, there's a risk of incident with domestic violence or the police getting called and it can just be really tense. And that's not necessarily good and quite frankly it's inevitable. Like they're going to have to split whether they sell the house. Those are kind of the factors that at least I really focus on.

Amy Goscha (28m 4s):
Yeah, I would ask Eric, that's a really good point about, you know, does he think that there's any risk, you know, for there being an altercation where the police get called, you know, especially in this circumstance where Melanie is probably really mad that he's having affairs so, or in an affair,

Ryan Kalamaya (28m 23s):
Right? If that's, if that's what's going on. But it could be just a maintaining the SAS world he's been living out on the couch, they might be able to just make that happen and transition. It really depends on the facts and circumstances. Amy, that brings us to our last question with Eric Wolf. He is always going to ask at the end how much, and for how long am I going to have to pay alimony to Melanie? I do not want to write a check for her. Tell me the situation is on alimony.

Amy Goscha (28m 53s):
So what I would tell Eric is that the first thing the court is gonna look at is how to divide property. So, you know, that's the first thing the court is really going to try to minimize Eric pay alimony, which is a really, you know, probably good thing for him. However, in Colorado we do have an advisory formula and it's for combined gross income of 240,000. And if you make over 240,000, which I assume Eric does, I haven't seen his tax return, but knowing that he's a successful business owner, then this advisory guideline doesn't apply in Colorado and the court has to make certain findings first in order to Award Melanie special maintenance.

Amy Goscha (29m 36s):
And some of those factors will be, you know, what, what are her needs? If Eric came outta school and had a ton of student loans, we're gonna have to look at can he even have, does he have the ability to even pay spousal maintenance? I'm gonna look at, you know, like his business and the other, you know, assets to see can we alleviate the need for SP maintenance, You know, so those are the types of factors, not just, you know, slam dunk, you're not gonna pay any alimony, but there are a lot of factors that go into whether or not he is gonna, he is going to be required to pay SP maintenance.

Ryan Kalamaya (30m 14s):
Yeah, we've talked about some trends here on this episode. There used to be that a traditional paradigm was that the wife, the mom got full Custody and that father or husband was gonna be paying alimony for the rest of his natural born life. And everyone's heard those horror stories. I think the general trend is as more fathers have been given or presumed to have more responsibility, there's been more responsibility that women have had if they're traditionally the recipient of alimony. But that both people are expected to work. I've seen judges in particular female judges, it come down pretty hard on parties. Women that are staying at home and they say, you know, listen, I've gotten up and worked And, I'm a judge, I'm a successful judge and you can too, not necessarily become a judge, but that they can work.

Ryan Kalamaya (31m 5s):
So I think that those traditional paradigms have been shifting and particular in the last probably year, cuz you're gonna have this issue of can Eric even pay maintenance or alimony. But obviously it depends on what amount of money Melanie would get in any Divorce. If they have 20 million and there's rental properties or there's a municipal bond or equities, stocks and bonds that is transferred to her after the Divorce and she can generate, she can go and invest that money and earn income, that's gonna be a factor. And the judges, I think are, I've heard panels of judges talk about the way that they handle or analyze maintenance.

Ryan Kalamaya (31m 48s):
And, I think that they're always for looking for ways to avoid it. There can be future modifications they don't like, generally judges don't like that, so they'd rather give a spouse more property to alleviate the need or mitigate the maintenance factor. And so those are the sorts of things that we would really have to dig in. And certainly we're gonna have a whole episode on maintenance and, and alimony into taking into consideration all those different things. It's not something that you can really get into in depth in just an initial Consultation. So to wrap things up, Amy, what are the, the kind of takeaways in a consultation with you for Eric Wolf? What are the things that you're kind of leaving him to walk away to, to ponder in a consultation?

Amy Goscha (32m 33s):
Well, hopefully I've alleviated some of his fear. You know, he, when he came off that ski slope, you know, he, he just was really scared, not sure like what his future holds, you know, like, is he gonna get time with his kids? I mean, it's super personal and it's hard, you know, money is super emotional, kids are emotional and so hopefully I've given him just a foundation for Pires what we can do moving forward. So that's always my goal is to have him leave feeling a little bit better and having more direction.

Ryan Kalamaya (33m 9s):
Yeah. Amy, I mean, you, you had a Consultation on your Divorce, so do you think that that helps you and is that something that you think about when you go through these Consultation now?

Amy Goscha (33m 19s):
Yeah, absolutely. Because even as a Divorce attorney, you know, practicing for, I don't know, 13 years now, you know, I hired my own Divorce attorney because it's just a hard time, you know, it's a major life change and you might not be thinking, you know, like how you normally would because it's stressful. So you really, you know, in my situation, I, I needed that support and that buffer and it was, it felt very good to have someone in my corner. So I want Eric to know that I'm in his corner.

Ryan Kalamaya (33m 50s):
One of the things that I have observed is that just that release of tension and that people feel like they have a plan, even if I haven't laid it out in complete detail in the way that I explain it, is that it's kind of like climbing a mountain. We come up with a game plan, we gather up information, we sit down at the table. When you can do that, when it's safe to do that, you get out the map and you figure out what the plan is and then you try to execute that plan, try to get the case settled, and then if you can't, then you might have to litigate and you're, meanwhile you're always trying to settle that case, but there's a information gathering stage.

Ryan Kalamaya (34m 32s):
And when they see that, you know that there's light at the end of the tunnel or there's, you know, that mountain in front of 'em and you lay out this is the trail that you're gonna go on, the relief that they feel and, you know, to kind of allay or address their worst fears is something that is, is really rewarding, at least for me. And from my perspective, I always try to gather what their expectations are and frequently what I will do is ask them what I, what they expect from me. And I'll say, if you hire me And, I could wave a magic wand. I can't go back and repair your marriage Eric, I can't make go all away, but what is it that you want?

Ryan Kalamaya (35m 15s):
And then I get an idea of what their expectations are. And, I really try to drill down on the priorities because you can't always get what you want. I mean, we heard that Rolling Stone song, you know, he's playing the air guitar, but it really is, you can't always get what you want in a Divorce. We try to figure out what is it, what are the, the top things that you want and what is it that you need? But frequently people will say, I want X, Y, and Z and then we will OBTAIN that in in a settlement. But oftentimes people will say, Well I just want more. And it's because it's just part of the process. And I have to remind them of what they told me in that initial Consultation.

Ryan Kalamaya (35m 56s):
And that really is how I try to kind of wrap things up and still a sense of confidence and opportunity and positivity. It's gonna be difficult, but I'm gonna be there for them. And I can't promise them anything other than I'm gonna be there in their corner and they'll be able to tell me their kind of deepest and darkest secrets. And, I, wanna know them because I don't wanna go to court if we have to go to court and be surprised and So, that is usually what I end with, is that sense of purpose and sense of transition in their lives and that I'm there to help them through that.

Amy Goscha (36m 32s):
Agreed. And also just to give Erica a sense of a re, what is a reasonable expectation, You know, as much as

Ryan Kalamaya (36m 40s):
Possible, well, we're gonna be covering all these issues in depth over the coming months, And, we appreciate everyone listening. If you haven't, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, leave a review. We've already received some great reviews, we'll read some of those on our next episode. But please tell a friend if you enjoy this podcast and thanks for listening to Divorce Altitude Hey, everyone, this is Ryan again. Thank you for joining us on Divorce at Altitude. If you found our tips, insight, or discussion helpful, please tell a friend about this podcast. For show notes, additional resources or links mentioned on today's episode, visit Divorce at Altitude dot com.

Ryan Kalamaya (37m 20s):
Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen in. Many of our episodes are also posted on YouTube. You can also find Amy and me at kalamaya.law or 970-315-2365.