Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law

Ep. 4 - Top 7 FAQs for Divorce Consultations

March 11, 2021 Ryan Kalamaya & Amy Goscha Season 1 Episode 4
Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
Ep. 4 - Top 7 FAQs for Divorce Consultations
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Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
Ep. 4 - Top 7 FAQs for Divorce Consultations
Mar 11, 2021 Season 1 Episode 4
Ryan Kalamaya & Amy Goscha

As Eric Wolff steps into the office for his initial divorce consultation, he has many questions running through his head. “Am I going to have to pay Melanie alimony for the rest of my life? Where will I live? I don’t have the funds to move out right away. When can I start dating again?”

Ryan and Amy breakdown the top 7 FAQs that they get from clients in their initial divorce consultations in Episode 4 of Divorce at Altitude. They also discuss what the State of Colorado looks usually looks at in each case when it comes to alimony, allocation of parental responsibilities, and if it really matters who files first. 

 

In This Episode

-       Does the reason for divorce matter?

-       Does it matter who files first?

-       How is custody and parenting plans decided?

-       When can I start dating?

-       How do we decide who gets to keep what for property?

-       Do I need to move out right now?

-       How much am I going to pay in alimony?

 

Make sure to follow us to continue the conversation on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. 

 

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

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DISCLAIMER: THE COMMENTARY AND OPINIONS ON THIS PODCAST IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES AND NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE. CONTACT AN ATTORNEY IN YOUR STATE OR AREA TO OBTAIN LEGAL ADVICE ON ANY OF THESE ISSUES.

Show Notes Transcript

As Eric Wolff steps into the office for his initial divorce consultation, he has many questions running through his head. “Am I going to have to pay Melanie alimony for the rest of my life? Where will I live? I don’t have the funds to move out right away. When can I start dating again?”

Ryan and Amy breakdown the top 7 FAQs that they get from clients in their initial divorce consultations in Episode 4 of Divorce at Altitude. They also discuss what the State of Colorado looks usually looks at in each case when it comes to alimony, allocation of parental responsibilities, and if it really matters who files first. 

 

In This Episode

-       Does the reason for divorce matter?

-       Does it matter who files first?

-       How is custody and parenting plans decided?

-       When can I start dating?

-       How do we decide who gets to keep what for property?

-       Do I need to move out right now?

-       How much am I going to pay in alimony?

 

Make sure to follow us to continue the conversation on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. 

 

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

************************************************************************

DISCLAIMER: THE COMMENTARY AND OPINIONS ON THIS PODCAST IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES AND NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE. CONTACT AN ATTORNEY IN YOUR STATE OR AREA TO OBTAIN LEGAL ADVICE ON ANY OF THESE ISSUES.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Hey everyone. I'm Ryan Kalamaya .

Amy Goscha:
I am Amy Goscha .

Ryan Kalamaya:
Welcome to Divorce at Altitude, a podcast on Colorado Family Law.

Amy Goscha:
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:
Whether you or someone considering divorce, or a fellow family law attorney listening for weekly tips and insight into topics related to divorce co-parenting and separation in Colorado. Welcome to another episode of Divorce at Altitude. I'm Ryan Kalamaya. I'm joined by my co-host Amy Goscha. Amy, what's new?

Amy Goscha:
Not much. Eric, he just found out that he going to get a divorce. For this podcast, we're going to be talking about him coming into the office for the first time.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Last time we spoke with Jim Bailey about attacking premarital agreements. He referenced that that first meeting is always a triage. We thought it would be helpful to go over the most frequently asked questions that we as divorce lawyers get in that initial consultation.

Ryan Kalamaya:
I'm going to be taking more of a standpoint of Eric and asking you, Amy, and then also commenting on the questions from Eric standpoint. The first question every time we have a consultation inevitably that comes out is the reason for the divorce, does it matter?

Amy Goscha:
I think that's probably every single client's question, especially Eric. The reason in Colorado where it's a no-fault state. It doesn't technically matter. However, as the attorney, I want to know why Eric is getting a divorce. I can understand like what's driving it. Also, there is a concept in Colorado called marital waste, which we'll probably talk about further down the road. In general it really does not matter.

Ryan Kalamaya:
We referenced in our first story, the story of Eric Wolff, and he says that they essentially are having a race to the bottom. We sometimes see that where he is spending a bunch going on heli trips with his boys, to what extent that is dissipation or marital waste, we can get into it. Their marriage has been dead for quite a while that is apparent.

Ryan Kalamaya:
I think it's fair to say Amy, would you agree that any time there's a perspective by both spouses, that the other person was the cause for the deterioration of their marriage and having an affair. We see that or hear that all the time and people want to have their day in court.

Ryan Kalamaya:
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 would have mattered? How would you have counseled Eric in that circumstance?

Amy Goscha:
Well, if he had had an affair, essentially, my question would be, has this person had any contact with his kids In this case, I don't think that she has, but it could definitely come into the best interest factors when looking at parenting time.

Amy Goscha:
I would probably tell him to take a cooling off period to just not make it so complicated, because when you're going through a divorce it's highly emotional. Dealing with a new relationship just can make it even more emotional. As much as I could, I would tell Eric try to lay off as much as you can on that new relationship.

Ryan Kalamaya:
If Melanie certainly, we've represented a number of Melanie's, people assuming that Eric had an affair, where they want to have their day in court, they want to blasted out to the newspapers. They want to tell the judge about the mistress. They think oftentimes if they can just tell the judge their story that they'll understand.

Ryan Kalamaya:
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 things come out in the workplace, that can be very detrimental.

Ryan Kalamaya:
It could end up harming someone like Melanie, but we frequently do see that where they feel somehow they have a negotiating advantage by virtue of what happened in their marriage. For me, it comes out and it's helpful because it drives the atmosphere, the emotional atmosphere, and climate for any settlement negotiations.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Ultimately, I always tell people, the judge does not want to hear about it. If there is dissipation, if there is marital waste, it's a challenge. That is one aspect that is probably an exception except for maybe when it involves the kids.

Amy Goscha:
Correct. That's the main concern and representing Eric I would have is that I want to make sure that he's a 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 kids.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Now, the second question and just for a reminder, Eric Wolff story, it's posted on our website. It was in featured in our first story or a first episode rather, but Eric, he goes out after the counselor's office in which Melanie says, "I've hired a divorce attorney." He goes out skiing and really releases his emotional, his pent up emotions.

Ryan Kalamaya:
He says to himself that he's really scared and he knows he's in a bad situation. Being a savvy business guy, one thing that he's going to ask is our second question, which is, does it matter who files first? Melanie hired the divorce lawyer first. It really bothers him, does that matter? And does it matter, Amy who files first?

Amy Goscha:
I mean, it only is going to matter who files first, if you're dealing with like jurisdictional issues, which we'll get in later, which means living in separate States. It really doesn't matter in Colorado who files first. I get a lot of questions.

Amy Goscha:
I'm sure Eric would ask me as well like, "Does it matter if I'm the first one to file? Should I be the petitioner who is the person that files, or if that makes a difference?" In my perspective, doesn't. What is your thoughts on that, Ryan?

Ryan Kalamaya:
Well, it's funny, you should mention that. I think an old school approach would say it does matter because the petitioner, they get the first opportunity to present the evidence and then rebuttal. I was a prosecutor back in the day and I loved rebuttal on closing arguments.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Anyone that you would say, "Oh, you get an opportunity to make your opening statement." Then you get rebuttal and the petitioner does that. 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, the way that you start the proceedings can really drive the overall trajectory of the case.

Ryan Kalamaya:
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, I could have the other party filed or served rather by a biker in leather at 2:00 in the morning that will certainly get their attention."

Ryan Kalamaya:
It's not as if we've ever done that, but it more serves for if you really want to upset someone and send a signal that you can do that, but it's not necessarily the signal that I want to be a part of, or that I want to send in cases that I'm involved with.

Amy Goscha:
I usually would probably advise Eric that if he files first, that we would give Melanie's attorney a call to see first if they want to file jointly, or if not, 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:
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. In our next episode, we'll talk about the pre-filing considerations and go over those factors that we as divorce lawyers frequently will cover.

Ryan Kalamaya:
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?" 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:
How is custody decided in Colorado and everyone uses custody that word in their consultations. How do you get a parenting plan? How has that even figured out to the extent that even someone like Eric knows what a "parenting plan" is? Amy, how is custody decided in Colorado?

Amy Goscha:
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. Part of that is parenting time, which is the physical time that he would have with his kids. Then decision-making, which is the major decisions made for his children, which would be medical school, extracurricular activities, those types of things.

Amy Goscha:
I talk about it in two separate sections. Before getting into how parenting time is determined, which is in the best interest of the children, I want to know from Eric, what his children are like, "Do they have special needs? Do they participate in expert skiing?" What are their interests?

Amy Goscha:
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, what is their schedules, if you have, for instance, if Eric is working overnight, that's a consideration when you're determining what the parenting schedule should look like.

Amy Goscha:
The short answer is in Colorado, it's based off of the best interest of the children. There's certain factors that the court looks at. 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:
What's in the best interest of the children, but that's kind of nebulous. It comes down to what are the kids' needs? What are the parents' schedules? Where are they going to be living? Those are considerations that we talk about.

Ryan Kalamaya:
In Eric's story, he references that he's concerned about the number of wine bottles that he sees in the garage when he leaves. Presumably Melanie, and we'll get into some of these issues, but Melanie might have a drinking problem, but he hasn't been per active with the children. That may have been a result because of the tension at the household.

Ryan Kalamaya:
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. 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. He come home and he'd live in Boulder and work in Denver or vice versa.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Then you'd have that commute. Right now, people are working from home and they're at home more and more. 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. I think that there has been a general trend.

Ryan Kalamaya:
It's not by law, but I think most judges would admit that their starting point, obviously, it's going to depend on the kids, but the starting point is equal parenting time, unless there's some other consideration and it's an unwritten rule amongst the bench. At least that's been my observation.

Ryan Kalamaya:
That's really hard to tell someone like Melanie, whereas Eric, we can't obviously guarantee that he's going to get equal parenting time. It's really going to depend on his interest level. What does he want to do with the kids? What does he think is best for the kids? Do you have any comments on that, Amy?

Amy Goscha:
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. I think that's something that Eric probably is going to like to hear is that, that is a starting place.

Amy Goscha:
I think that trend also has to do with also just both parents usually working. That's more of the trend now. I think that's also part of it.

Ryan Kalamaya:
The decision-making, a lot of people will talk about legal custody and that's decision-making. When you hear their story about working in a counselor's office, I think the same thing goes for the equal parenting time as a decision making in that is that the default is joint. There needs to be domestic violence or just a complete inability for people to not agree.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Even in that circumstance, there's other options such as a parenting coordinator decision maker. Essentially, we're going to go over in upcoming episodes and really take a deeper look at some of these issues, decision-making parenting coordinators. The ways that we can resolve some of these issues for someone like Eric.

Ryan Kalamaya:
We actually have a blog post it's one of the most popular blog posts that we've ever done. It was written I think, three or four years ago. The American Bar Association confirmed that Colorado was one of the most progressive for fathers when it comes to parenting responsibilities. Whereas in other places like Tennessee, it has a much more traditional standpoint amongst the bench. That's something that I would certainly share with Eric.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Let's move on to the fourth question. Eric is going to ask, he's texting his buddies or he's thinking about texting his college buddies and from college and one of his old frat brothers might just say, "When are you going to start dating? When are you going to get out there, man?" If Eric asked you Amy, when can I start dating? What's your response?

Amy Goscha:
My response is that, I don't want it to be a distraction to him during the divorce process. Especially, 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 his kids.

Amy Goscha:
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 his case, his energy, his wellbeing, and his parenting time with his children.

Ryan Kalamaya:
In this story, Eric and Melanie, it's not obvious, but frequently, I mean, we hear, "I haven't had sex with my significant other for two years or three years." 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.

Ryan Kalamaya:
At the same time, divorce is extremely stressful. You have to release your attention and do what makes you happy. That can be skiing. It can be yoga, it can be in a counseling situation. Some people can drink certainly, but if you find someone that you can share, that's going to make you happy, use your judgment and be discrete, because the amount of money that you spend,

Ryan Kalamaya:
the introduction of them to your children that can just blow the lid. 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.

Ryan Kalamaya:
I have a real conversation about, "Hey, listen, I understand that you need a distraction that you want to maybe start a new, but you've been unhappy for a really long time and you don't want to be alone, but at the same time, you need to balance that by using your judgment and common sense."

Amy Goscha:
Specifically what I would tell Eric is he likes to really ski with the boys. I would just tell him like, "Take up more skiing. Get out there, get your reset."

Ryan Kalamaya:
One of my favorite clients of all time. He set a goal of doing the bowl, Highlands bowl a hundred times. Every day he was out there and it was one of the most healthy outlets that I can think of. I've had other people that get really into yoga, but it's something that is unavoidable is that mental component.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Let's move on. In the other question that we always get is how do we decide who gets what in terms of property Eric might say, "Amy, well, the house is in my name, does that matter?" We hear that all the time. 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:
I'll give you a classic lawyer answer. It depends. It's going to depend where I start. I explained to Eric that separate property is just what was what you had prior to marriage and there's caveats. We'll get into that in further episodes. Then during the marriage it's property that was acquired during the marriage.

Amy Goscha:
Then there's an increase in separate property during the marriage can also be marital properties. I get an idea as to what the property is. The name, if the marital residence was purchased during the marriage, it's just in his name, then it's marital property. Where it really is going to make a difference is if he owned that property prior to marriage, then that does make a difference.

Amy Goscha:
I think a lot of times people think, "Well, just if it's in my own name, then that just means it's mine." That's not the case, as we know. With the business, same thing, if you started his business prior to marriage, there might be a separate property component to it. If it was just started during the marriage, then the entire business is going to be marital property.

Ryan Kalamaya:
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 talk. As Jim Bailey said, I'd share his sentiment that I love to hear myself talk. It's one of the reasons we started this podcast, but the consultation and that first consultation, I am really focused on just trying to listen and hear their concerns.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Hear Eric's story and really get to know them. 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. The process of divorce is that you have your own Melanie basket and Eric basket. Then when you put in the business into his basket, that's going to weight it down.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Then, it's not a guarantee that she's going to get the house, but there needs to be, or there should be some offset. 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:
There's an 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 and same thing with real estate. When you come in and they say, "Well, I've got 100 shares of Apple stock." Well, that we have a known amount that we can, tell you that's what the Apple stock, because it's publicly traded.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Cryptocurrency or Tesla stock, or 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. Eric's story and concerns are certainly well-founded, there's not going to be any divorce lawyer that's going to tell him exactly, who's going to get a what and how much, how it's all going to sort out.

Ryan Kalamaya:
I'm sure Amy, Eric strikes me as the guy that comes in with a spreadsheet and says, "This is what's going to happen." We've all had those clients. The flip side is, Oh, it shouldn't be that hard. We should just be able to figure this all out really easy in just an hour or so. We've all had those Eric clients.

Amy Goscha:
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 really put in the sweat equity to his business, he might think that's separate and not considered that in Colorado property is divided equitably.

Amy Goscha:
We're not a community property state. Normally, it's equal marital property division, but I do make it clear that there is some leeway there. 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:
I mean, as part of that, most clients will come in and say, "It's divided equally." It's by law that you divide it equally. As much as, we can look at equal parenting time, I think most judges, but you have to know the judge. There's certainly judges that I appear in front of that will take a very different approach or, they really will look at the contributions.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Certainly, when you're talking about millions and millions of dollars and in the case of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, I think, 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:
It really depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. Certainly, I've been involved in those cases where one party gets 60%, but it completely depends. Going back to the title, that can matter if there's a separate property and tracing component, which again, we'll address at a later episode.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Those are always the questions that we get, related to that, about who's going to get the house. Eric is always going to come in and say, "Well, should I move out? What should I do? She told me, Melanie said, I hired a divorce lawyer. Is she going to change the locks? How do we tell the kids, what should we do?" Amy walk us through what your advice would be to Eric if he was asking you about, "Should I move out?"

Amy Goscha:
Especially a dad, usually when the dad comes to me, especially if they're the worker, they're concerned that they should never leave the house, because they're concerned it's going affect their parenting time. I think there is also kind of a misnomer out there that, I need to stay in here until we figure everything out.

Amy Goscha:
It can affect, parenting time, but at the same time, nesting in Colorado is not an ideal situation for any family, even when you're going through the divorce process. I would talk to Eric about like, "What other options do we have? Do you guys have another property? Do you have another property, like a condo in town that you could go to? Does it have enough rooms for the children?"

Amy Goscha:
We look at that as an option first, second option is doing a nesting arrangement, which means both parents staying in the house. We're actually rotating into the house during their parenting time with the kids. Frankly, a lot of people don't have the money to like move out right away. There is an interim period.

Amy Goscha:
We try to figure that out. 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. Is there a finished basement? Can you at least be down there and Melanie can be upstairs?" Have some structure until we can figure out when he's able to move out.

Ryan Kalamaya:
The two biggest factors from my perspective on whether or not someone should or shouldn't 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 going to be a significant risk. If the relocating party is... If they're going to be leaving and trying to take the kids, that is something I always ask.

Ryan Kalamaya:
It's not something that clients or prospective clients or anyone in a consultation, they usually don't bring that up. If they do, then it's a big issue and we'll get into that. But aside from that, the financial aspects, if people are living paycheck to paycheck, and people that earn millions of dollars, they can be living paycheck to paycheck.

Ryan Kalamaya:
They just have a lifestyle that is attendant to that. Up here in Aspen, especially this upcoming summer, the rental rates are crazy. When you inflict a divorce on a financial situation that is tight. Eric is annoyed with his wife buying handbags. He's still going heli skiing, but there might have to cut down on that.

Ryan Kalamaya:
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 cut the cord type guy. Instead of one utility bill, you now have two and all of that adds up. It can be very difficult for people to manage that.

Ryan Kalamaya:
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. It can just be a really tense and that's not necessarily good. Quite frankly, it's inevitable. They're going to have to split whether they sell the house. Those are the factors that at least I really focus on.

Amy Goscha:
I would ask Eric, that's a really good point about does he think that there's any risk for there being an altercation where the police get called. Especially, in this circumstance where Melanie's probably really mad that he's having affairs so early, or in an affair.

Ryan Kalamaya:
If that's what's going on, but it could be just a maintaining the status quo. 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 Wolff.

Ryan Kalamaya:
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:
What I would tell Eric is that the first thing the court is going to look at is how to divide property. That's the first thing. The court is really going to try to minimize Eric paying alimony, which is a really probably a good thing for him.

Amy Goscha:
However, in Colorado, we do have an advisory formula and it's for a combined gross income of $240,000. 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.

Amy Goscha:
The court has to make certain findings first in order to award a Melanie spousal maintenance. And some of those factors will be what are her needs? If Eric came out of school and had a ton of student loans, we're going to have to look at, does he have the ability to even pay spousal maintenance?

Amy Goscha:
I'm going to look at his business and the other assets to see, can we alleviate the need for spousal maintenance? Those are the types of factors, not just slam dunk. You're not going to pay any alimony, but there are a lot of factors that go into whether or not he is going to make it, he is going to be required to pay spousal maintenance.

Ryan Kalamaya:
We've talked about some trends here on this episode. There used to be that traditional paradigm was that the wife, the mom got full custody, and that father or husband was going to be paying alimony for the rest of his natural born life. Everyone's heard those horror stories.

Ryan Kalamaya:
I think the general trend is as more fathers who've 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 come down pretty hard on parties, women that are staying at home.

Ryan Kalamaya:
They say listen, "I've gotten up and worked and I'm a judge. I'm a successful judge. You can too." Not necessarily become a judge, but that they can work." I think that those traditional paradigms have been shifting and particularly in the last probably year, because you're going to have this issue of can Eric even pay maintenance or alimony?

Ryan Kalamaya:
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 going to be a factor.

Ryan Kalamaya:
The judges are, I think, are, I've heard panels of judges talk about the way that they handle or analyze maintenance. I think that they're always were looking for ways to avoid it. There can be future modifications. They don't like the generally judges don't like that. They'd rather give a spouse more property to alleviate the need or mitigate the maintenance factor.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Those are the things that we would really have to begin. Certainly, we're going to have a whole episode on maintenance and an 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.

Ryan Kalamaya:
To wrap things up Amy, what are the takeaways in a consultation with you for Eric Wolff? What are the things that you're leaving him to walk away to, to ponder in a consultation?

Amy Goscha:
Well hopefully, I've alleviated some of his fear. When he came off that ski slope he just was really scared, not sure like what his future holds. Is he going to get time with his kids? It's super personal and it's hard. Money is super emotional. Kids are emotional.

Amy Goscha:
Hopefully, I've given him just a foundation for, "Here's what we can do moving forward." That's always my goal is to have him leave feeling a little bit better and having more direction.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Amy, 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 consultations now?

Amy Goscha:
Yeah. Absolutely, because even as a divorce attorney practicing for, I don't know, 13 years now. I hired my own divorce attorney because it's just a hard time. It's a major life change and you might not be thinking how you normally would because it's stressful. In my situation, I needed that support and that buffer and it felt very good to have someone in my corner. I want Eric to know that I'm in his corner.

Ryan Kalamaya:
One of the things that I have observed is that just that release of tension and that people feel they have a plan, even if I haven't laid it out in complete detail. The way that I explain it is that it's 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.

Ryan Kalamaya:
You get out the map and you figure out what the plan is. Then you try to execute that plan, try to get the case settled. Then if you can't, then you might have to litigate. Meanwhile, you're always trying to settle that case, but there's a information gathering stage.

Ryan Kalamaya:
When they see that there's light at the end of the tunnel where there's that mountain in front of them, and you lay out, this is the trail that you're going to go on, the relief that they feel and to allay or address their worst fears is something that is really rewarding. At least for me, From my perspective, I always try to gather what their expectations are.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Frequently what I will do is ask them what they expect from me. I'll say, "You hire med and I can't 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?" Then I get an idea of what their expectations are. I really try to drill down on the priorities because you can't always get what you want.

Ryan Kalamaya:
We heard that Rolling Stone song, he's playing the 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 top things that you want? And what is it that you need? Frequently, people will say, "I want X, Y, and Z." Then we'll obtain that in, in a settlement. Oftentimes people will say, well, I just want more.

Ryan Kalamaya:
It's because it's just part of the process. I have to remind them of what they told me in that initial consultation. That really is how I try to wrap things up, instill a sense of confidence and opportunity and positivity. It's going to be a difficult, but I'm going to be there for them.

Ryan Kalamaya:
I can't promise them anything other than I'm going to be there in their corner. They'll be able to tell me their deepest, darkest secrets. I want to know that because I don't want to go to court if we have to go to court and be surprised. 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:
I agree. Also, just to give Eric a sense of what is a reasonable expectation, you as much as possible.

Ryan Kalamaya:
Well, we're going to be covering all these issues in depth over the coming months. 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. Please, tell a friend if you enjoy this podcast. Thanks for listening to Divorce at Altitude.

Ryan Kalamaya:
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 [email protected]

Ryan Kalamaya:
Follow us on Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to in. Many of our episodes are also posted on YouTube. You can also find Amy and me at kalamaya.law or 970-315-2365. That's K-A-L-A-M-A-YA.law.