Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law

Dividing Qualified Retirement Plans in a Divorce | Episode 73

December 06, 2021 Ryan Kalamaya & Amy Goscha Season 1 Episode 73
Divorce at Altitude: A Podcast on Colorado Family Law
Dividing Qualified Retirement Plans in a Divorce | Episode 73
Show Notes Transcript

Ryan Kalamaya discusses dividing qualified retirement plans in a Colorado divorce.

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 [email protected].

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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

Ryan Kalamaya (4s):
I'm Ryan Kalamaya

Amy Goscha (6s):
And Amy, Goscha

Ryan Kalamaya (8s):
Welcome to Divorce at Altitude. A podcast on Colorado family law

Amy Goscha (13s):
Divorce is not easy. It really sucks. Trust me. I know, besides being an experienced divorce attorney, I'm also a divorce.

Ryan Kalamaya (21s):
Whether you are someone considering divorce or a fellow family law attorney listening for weekly tips and insight into topics related to divorce, parenting and separation in Colorado. Welcome back to another episode of Divorce at Altitude. I am Ryan Kalamaya this week. We are talking about fault, which as most listeners know, Colorado is a no fault state. We are joined by a guest, Joe Mar, and we are going to talk about fault because he came from Maryland in fall, frequently, comes up implicitly in a Colorado divorce. And we'll talk about that.

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 1s):
So let me first get into who Joe is. I've worked with Joe on another case, and so we've gotten to know each other and we thought it would be an interesting topic for our listeners, but Joe is a senior associate at the Griffiths law firm down in lone tree. He moves in golden. He came to us and we're going to hear about his story from coming to Maryland, but he handles all domestic relations type matters in Colorado. He did a judicial clerkship at the trial level and worked for eight years in private practice in Maryland, before moving here and before even going to law school, he worked with at-risk teenage youth in Chicago to develop their civic knowledge and awareness with the Americorp as a volunteer.

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 46s):
And then he went to the university of Baltimore law school. And before we go any further, Joe, welcome to the show. Thanks

Joe Maher (1m 53s):
For having me appreciate it. So

Ryan Kalamaya (1m 55s):
How did you end up moving to Colorado? And can you tell us a little bit about your backstory?

Joe Maher (2m 1s):
So my family and I, we moved out in 2018. The real reason was my wife's a physician and it was the best options for her. And we thought it would be a great opportunity to bring the family out and kind of get away from humidity and enjoy the, the wonders of a little bit of altitude rather than level. So we've been here since 2018 and we enjoy it.

Ryan Kalamaya (2m 26s):
I've talked a little bit, cause I went to college in Virginia and spent a fair amount of time in Maryland. I played for a summer there and you and I have talked about the differences between Maryland and Colorado in developing this show. We thought you've made the observation that fall is something that you have. There's a big difference. So what is the difference in, can you first kind of define fall versus no fall specifically with, you know, Maryland?

Joe Maher (2m 54s):
I spent the first eight years of my career in Maryland, where it was a fault state. So you could either file a case under grounds for divorce under fault or no fault. And what got you before the court really immediately was fault based divorce. So that would be if there was adultery or, you know, a spouse was having an affair, cruel and vicious conduct insanity or some issues surrounding your partner was in jail for three years at a time. And there, there was all these other things that would come up through that, but that would allow you to proceed because at the time when I started practicing Maryland's a Catholic states or has made it a little bit more difficult for divorces and for an uncontested divorce, you had to live separate and apart outside of each other's houses, not under the same roof for two years, and that was a no fault bait.

Joe Maher (3m 40s):
So it kind of changed a lot of how you proceed in what the real goals were. And it's very different from out here of, you know, you don't need all of that. You just, people decide that it's not working and you have these differences that aren't going to work, you can move forward. So, but I think some of those issues that fall into why people are getting divorced, muddy waters, when there isn't a fault ground to kind of be heard on that issue and they want to be heard somewhere else. And that's kind of where I think it's still

Ryan Kalamaya (4m 13s):
He's in the mix landing, you know, Amy and I have had, you know, various podcast episodes and you know, one of them is the seven most common questions that we get in initial consultations. And I'm sure you'll agree, everyone, even though they look on the internet and they see Colorado is a no fault state, they want to tell you that story. And that is just a universal human element that divorce attorneys across the country have to deal with. So how do you deal with that in Colorado, especially with the background that you had coming from Maryland?

Joe Maher (4m 47s):
The thing that coming from Maryland, where someone could be able to say, oh, there was an affair. And that was the reason for the breakdown of the marriage. And that was something that would be presented. You could kinda pull that away from the other issues and really allow people to move forward productively. And I think what needs to happen, or what I find out here is you need to be able to pull that out of the issues when it's surrounding kids surrounding money and really be able to say, okay, we hear ya. We're gonna make that a point. But at the same time, it's not really going to be appointed.

Ryan Kalamaya (5m 22s):
So would you in Maryland, would you guys have like a private investigator to prove fault and go through that? I, you know, I've heard various war stories, you know, divorce lawyers, lawyers, just in general, just love to kind of tell war stories. And I'm sure that, you know, that would be something that you guys would do. I heard that, that, you know, back in the day, that's what people used to do in Colorado, but is that the kind of thing that you would engage in?

Joe Maher (5m 47s):
Yeah. You would have sometimes you'd have privatized. Sometimes it would just be, you didn't need to prove that there was a in fact, some sort of adulterous relationship, you needed two elements, you needed a public display affection, which was not necessarily like a hug. It was like a kiss. You had to show that there was something in public. And then you had to show there was an opportunity. So people would go into a room, no one else was in the room and come out of the room. And those are the elements that you would need to show. You didn't need to have to like specifically catch people doing certain things. And that was the other issue. Is it still comes out. There is if you can even prove it where unless someone wanted to really deal with it, cause it was still a crime. So that was another issue.

Joe Maher (6m 27s):
And no one really prosecuted, it was a misdemeanor and you could be fine for it, but that was one of the issues that people didn't want to have to deal with. And, you know, and there's some other states where even if you're found to have committed adultery, that could borrow your claim for me,

Ryan Kalamaya (6m 41s):
I think North Carolina, there's maybe Connecticut, there's various states where, you know, they will impact. And I, I know at least I've heard other states that, and this, you know, like on a, on a humanistic, like moral level, does philosophically make sense to me at least is, you know, domestic violence that, that can somehow matter for property division. That that could be a factor of a property division that the court could take that into consideration when dividing property. Right.

Joe Maher (7m 10s):
And I, you know, that was one of the other grounds is, you know, extremely vicious conduct in that kind of allowed those marriages that were clearly tumultuous, not healthy and not really going to be in any way beneficial if there's children involved to allow them to be ended. And I think that it's still implicit here in Colorado because you still have those factors when it relates to the children and how you're going to, you know, determine decision-making determined parenting time. Do you know what are the dynamics between individuals? So I do think that is still that fault issue has migrated into what we have in our statutes here in Colorado. And it's just kind of how do these other aspects where they used to be so common for these fault based divorces?

Joe Maher (7m 57s):
How do they interplay with what the current statutes?

Ryan Kalamaya (8m 1s):
All right. So in Colorado, if we're dealing with belts in people, just, they always want to talk about that and it matters. And I'm sure, you know, you would agree with this Joe, that it matters for emotional and like the climate for settlement and the kind of the grieving process. And because people can be in different stages of the grieving for the loss of their marriage and they can, you know, the anger and the resentment and those sorts of things are magnified and can last longer when you have an affair for example, or other issues. But it does matter when it comes to in particular the children. So walk me through what you see as the fault issues, whether it be domestic violence versus cheating, for example, when it comes to a cholera, a divorce and how that matters in particular with children.

Ryan Kalamaya (8m 53s):
So let's just

Joe Maher (8m 54s):
Take cheating for the first thing back east. You can have that kind of concept that there's going to be an acknowledgement. They're going to have that, you know, someone say, yes, this happened, yes, there's some sort of, not necessarily a ramification, but it's an acknowledgement when I was called at olive branch branches there to say, Hey, you know what, I'm not crazy. I'm not alluded to it. This is something that really happened and you can move on. So I think that's something that you don't really

Ryan Kalamaya (9m 23s):
Have here. And that is what I think can cause a lot more anger and trouble when it comes to reaching those settlements, reaching those agreements and, you know, specifically with kids, because there's the bitterness about everything. And I think one of the things that really can knock that out is that all a branch and that acknowledgement of, okay, it happened, let's move on. Let's kind of, you know, put the water under the, under the bridge per se, no, a hundred percent. And you know, at least from my perspective, when you deal with cheating and children, there's a big difference. If the paramour has been introduced to the children and also how much money or if there has been a substantial amount of money and we'll talk about dissipation and economic fall, but that, I think people want to believe that the affair matters a lot more for children because it implies this moral failing and at their dishonest in that I understand that, but here in Colorado, and I've looked into this, where is you can have evidence of dishonesty.

Ryan Kalamaya (10m 31s):
So for example, there's people visa, Govia, it's a case that, you know, stealing, for example, that can not be used as evidence that someone's credibility is that there's an issue with their credibility because they've stolen. And, you know, you take that a step further is someone dishonest and can their credibility be questioned because they're having an affair and in Colorado generally, no, you can't, you can't get into,

Joe Maher (10m 59s):
You hit it on the markets. You know, what are the circumstances surrounding that it was the paramour, the new partner involved introduced to the children? Was it in a thoughtful process? Was it done in a way that was really child focused? Is there other implications that as a result of actions, does that need to be investigated a little bit more? Does that need to be addressed? And I think if people are doing it in a healthy, thoughtful way, it's still frustrating to the other side. And I don't think there's ever going to be a way to get around that and that's that, you know, all branch, but it's at least something to go forward. But I think if it's done in an inappropriate way, the manner in which it is kind of handled can be very telling, and that is still relevant in terms of the other issues, when it comes to children

Ryan Kalamaya (11m 46s):
In your experience here in Colorado, what's your take on the judges tolerance for hearing about cheating and an affair and a paramour, even when it relates to children,

Joe Maher (11m 58s):
You're interested in it, to be honest, I, I, a hundred percent do not believe they're interested in it unless you are specifically rated to relate it, to actions that impacted the children in a certain way. And that is really, unfortunately that's if, for someone who wants to be heard on those issues, it's not

Ryan Kalamaya (12m 18s):
Absolutely. And at least in my experience, I, it's hard because, you know, I empathize in, you know, really feel bad. I mean, I think it's fair to say that, you know, affairs generally don't happen in a vacuum. It's hard for someone to admit that if they're the victim, you know, and there can be this like martyr ism that, that happens in, in these situations. But I generally will advise them, listen, like judge does not want to hear this in furthermore, if it's like an inner office affair, you know, they go down to the office and try to blow the whole thing up that can really impact them negatively in they're cutting their nose to spite themselves. And so that is something that definitely we have to do with in, in these divorces.

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 3s):
I'm sure you've seen that and it can be detrimental even,

Joe Maher (13m 7s):
And some employments there's morality clauses. And if that is brought up and someone loses their job, it affects the whole family. And so there has to be real thought into how it's approached and what what's the real end goal and looking at the forest, not just the trees and I get, there's going to be some trees that are a little shaky or not really thriving, but you got to look at the forest and what's going to allow the family to be able to be together, say the kids' weddings in the future or the graduations. And that's what I find to be one of a difficult part of not allowing that just simple component of this is the ground.

Joe Maher (13m 48s):
This is the reason let it hurt, let it be done. It gives people some solace. Then

Ryan Kalamaya (13m 54s):
This episode is brought to you by our law firm. Kalamaya Gosha Amy. And I describe our law firm as an innovative and ambitious trial team that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado. We currently have offices in Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Edwards, Denver, and Boulder. If you want to find out more, visit our website, Kalamaya dot law now back to the show. Right? Okay. So let's talk about domestic violence. That is a fault based, you know, element in Maryland in Colorado, you can get into domestic violence. So talk to me about how you see domestic violence mattering when it comes to a divorce.

Joe Maher (14m 38s):
Well, I think the first things, it really impacts what's the dynamic of the relationship, right? And how were things controlled? What was the lifestyle? Was that really what the lifestyle was meant to be any kind of looking at it as you can do it in terms of property and you can do it in terms of children. So we'll kind of talk about, I think the first thing these are, since we've been talking about kids and families, let's stick with that. You know, the statutes here provide that one of the issues specifically with decision-making because it's that relationship and how the dynamic between the parties exists is a factor in determining how decisions are made. Is it going to be a joint decision, is one parent going to have the authority over the other?

Joe Maher (15m 21s):
And what's the interplay to that. And that is where it does actually matter. And I think the other part of it is What is, how has the family experienced this type of, you know, violence? Is it physical? Is it emotional? Is it, you know, financial and that also gets played into what are the children aware of? Have they seen things, have they been exposed to things? Have they had these type of experiences that really can be detrimental to their best interests? So that factors in there, and then when you get into finances, you're looking at, you know, what was the standard of during the course of the marriage?

Joe Maher (16m 3s):
And was that something that was really a choice or,

Ryan Kalamaya (16m 7s):
Yeah, cause I think the there's a couple elements there that, so for children and, you know, we have a couple how to episodes with, you know, within our podcast about the impact of domestic violence. And I mean, you've got criminal components. If there's been a criminal case, then you know, you've got some financial components because a, you know, there might be a criminal defense attorney and, you know, I mean our firm does criminal defense and, you know, there's financial issues where the person's having to pay for a criminal defense attorney, they're restricted from the house. They might be restricted from going to their, their job, the restraining order or something like that could impact their ability to earn income. But specifically for you, what you referenced is the decision-making and that the legislature in Colorado has set out that if there's an abusive relationship, does it make sense to have those two people making joint decisions and, and how they are able to communicate and exchange the children?

Ryan Kalamaya (17m 4s):
For example, you know, the courts are going to take that to consideration at used to, in my observation, even though it's, we see domestic violence, unfortunately, all too often, and it's in the news, at least in my experience, I think that that is an overlooked analysis that a lot of judges just come in and say, it's joint decision-making and that's kind of their real starting point. And it was situational. They're going to be able to get along fine. And it's not something that I, at least my experience, the judges really go through in detail, even though the, the law requires it.

Joe Maher (17m 39s):
And I agree with you, and I think it comes down to also the, the level of it, because some people will say they're victims and, and there's no way to say that they're not. And, but there are also things where it raises to a very different level with what type of violence they're really experiencing. And there's no way it's no way to diminish what is what people experience. But I think that is part of the other issue is that the court is hearing so many different things every day. And it's only when I see it when it rises to a certain level, when they're like, oh, Hey, wait a minute. This is kind of a, this is a big deal. But what I do think is really important is looking at, you know, I honestly believe that like the financial abuse of domestic violence can be also very, very important in how the dynamic and everything else, you know, plays out.

Joe Maher (18m 35s):
But I do think that can be very much overlooked by the court.

Ryan Kalamaya (18m 38s):
But when you say the financial aspects and we'll talk about dissipation, are you referring to the isolation that frequently happens where the, you know, in the traditional, like the husband says, I don't want you to work to the wife and really isolates her. And then he is the one that controls all the money. And is that what you are referring to in, in the aspect of the finances? Yeah.

Joe Maher (19m 2s):
I'm thinking of it. It's really this control aspect. You know, whether they're one parent or one partner stays home, or whether who controls all the finances, where does the money go in? How much money is allotted? Are you allowed to buy something? Are you not allowed to buy something? What happens if you don't do something? What happens if you know, you splurge on the children, you do something out of the ordinary with no it's knowledge and it's control. So what do individuals know? What do they have control over? And how does that really, you know, what's going to be the most effective way to relay that to the court that it does get to the point where the court says, oh, Hey, this is a, this is a bigger deal.

Ryan Kalamaya (19m 38s):
I think, you know, there, there's also the kind of character traits, someone that is an abuser tends to be that seam burked or tree is the person that they are embezzling money or they're hiding money, or they are trying to do something. I mean, we had a podcast with Yvonne Zuber with, as a joint valuation expert. And she says, one of the things I like to look at is to see who filed. And if it's the business owner that filed, then that there might be some pre-planning that was going on. And that relates, I think they are interrelated in their character traits, right. Going back to kind of our earlier discussion. I think judges are so reluctant, generally speaking to deal with fault.

Ryan Kalamaya (20m 20s):
And you know, you didn't have to deal with this in Maryland, that whenever they hear it, they're like you're getting into why they're getting divorced. I don't want to hear anything about it. And really, I think have to have a patient judge that says, listen, this is it's part of a larger, it's a control issue. And it's also maybe why we need more information or why we need, you know, more and it can come up in attorney's fees. It can come up in the experts, in those issues that traditionally, I don't think people really think about when they hear that Colorado is a no fault state.

Joe Maher (20m 50s):
And that's really, it's an important aspect. When you said attorney's fees are just fees for experts or anything like that. If someone doesn't have the resources, cause they're not in control of anything, it really can put them at a huge disadvantage, especially depending on the jurisdiction you're in and the movement and how the court wants to have things handled and having that ability to have appropriate representation or obtaining appropriate expert evaluations or the other part is just general therapy, how to move forward. So I think it's all encompassing and I think it is frustrating when the court may not want to hear it. And at the same time, trying to put it in a way that it can be addressed in the way that what the court will hear, yes.

Ryan Kalamaya (21m 37s):
How you deal with clients who come in, they tell you that story in the, you know, the initial consultation about the affair and they're just devastated. And what's that team from your end? What does that look like? Or what are the resources that you encourage those clients to surround themselves or avail themselves to?

Joe Maher (21m 57s):
I think the first thing is they need to talk to someone who is qualified to really help them individually be able to move on from those issues where in a fault world, you can have that closure of that one piece that acknowledgement. But at some point they may not have been the person that wanted to move on. They weren't ready to move on. They weren't ready to have that closure to see what's going to happen, or how's it going to impact their ability to have relationships in the future. How's that going to impact the way that they communicate with, you know, their ex partner when it comes to kids and it's really, they need to be able to have someone who that they can continually in a longterm, be able to have communications to really develop those skills to get past.

Joe Maher (22m 40s):
I mean, and that's the, the most important thing and really setting them up for the best possible future. That's the first thing that I definitely make sure that they have that. And then the other part is looking at the, what exactly happened in to determine whether or not that is going to be something that will play into their individual case and whether it's relevant and in what way, and we kind of talked about the dissipation issue right

Ryan Kalamaya (23m 11s):
To that next, but at least for me, I mean, one common thing that I tell clients is, listen, I'm a counselor, I'm a counselor at law. I'm a really expensive counselor and I'm not trained in the mental health. I deal with it, I hear it. And it's something I try to help my clients navigate, but I always tell someone, listen, check your health insurance checked. Are you seeing a counselor? Do you have a therapist or a counselor that you can go and tell these things to and process not just even regardless of fault, but just the process of divorce. And so that is something certainly I go through. But what you also mentioned is that, so if there's children involved, then in, especially if there's domestic violence, then you are dealing with either a parental responsibilities, evaluator, or a CFI, more likely that is going to get into those issues.

Ryan Kalamaya (24m 2s):
And depending, obviously on the financial circumstances, you know, in the level of abuse, it's more likely that you're addressing that in a Pirie or someone at least, you know, a parenting evaluator. That's going to have that background to kind of figure out how much did the children see. Cause you know, like, yeah, you can bring in the kids to have a in camera review or in camera interview with the judge. But I mean the better option, at least from my perspective is to have, you know, an expert in the form of a pre really analyze those issues.

Joe Maher (24m 34s):
And so part of that is also, you want to keep things as least intrusive for the children as possible. You want to keep them out of it, everything that you and I kind of deal with on a regular basis. And so one of those things is setting the family up as well. So there's going to be, if our clients are the ones who need to talk to somebody that also allows that person to convey information that can then be relayed to these evaluators, that in a very productive, useful manner that inevitably I think saves everybody a ton of money, but it also allows them to say, okay, well maybe it's time to put the kids into, have them be able to talk to somebody. So that way it's not involving the children, it's giving the children a safe space that it's not a mom versus dad thing or whatever the family dynamic may be.

Joe Maher (25m 21s):
And I think that's very important.

Ryan Kalamaya (25m 24s):
Let's switch gears. We've alluded to a dissipation economic fall, marital waste. Talk to me about what Colorado law is with respected those issues, dissipation

Joe Maher (25m 35s):
The thing where you get that word fault. And it it's still what I always have seen in Colorado. If there's the dissipation or removal of funds for the purpose of excluding it from the marital estate, that's something that the court can take into consideration and put back in as though it were there. And that's one of those things that you want to have that conversation with with the client. If they come in and saying there's partner had a relationship, and now all of a sudden all the money's gone or our savings are depleted and the paramour is driving around in a nice Mercedes or they're living in an apartment that from their job, they definitely shouldn't be, or can't afford. And where did that money go and what was the purpose of it?

Joe Maher (26m 17s):
And that all is where things can kind of trickle in and that's what's economic fault. And that's where the court can take those factors into consideration. But, and I think that's where that same concept that we were talking about Ryan is that courts are not interested in the fact that mom or dad had an affair and have a relationship. It's what were the decisions with the money and was that done either in anticipation of the divorce or was it for pure dissipation aspects of, you know,

Ryan Kalamaya (26m 49s):
Right. And as longtime listeners of our podcast, know we have these hypothetical divorce clients, Eric and Melanie Wolfe. And, you know, the, the situation that you're alluding to is that, you know, he, he goes into a counselor's office for marriage counseling and melody says, listen, I I've hired a divorce lawyer if he flies to Vegas and blows, you know, a million dollars because, you know, I mean, you and I have seen there's a race to the bottom, sometimes in these divorces where they're like, oh, I'm going to buy a new car because they're splitting it with me and they're, I'm doing this and I'm doing that. And I mean, I had a case that was pretty similar to this, where, you know, the other side, they went to Vegas and they lost a million dollars in one night. And the judge said, listen, like there was $2 million.

Ryan Kalamaya (27m 32s):
Now there's a million dollars and Ryan's client gets the million dollars. You already spent your million dollars. And so if Eric goes and loses, you know, a million dollars, you know, they, the judge and the court can take that into consideration and say, you know, listen, sorry, you already took out money that you had. And I'm sure you've seen it where the Eric situation where he'll go and just withdraw a hundred thousand dollars from, you know, the savings account. And, and he thinks that he's going to, because it's in his name that that somehow matters because Melanie, it's not in her name anymore.

Joe Maher (28m 5s):
I I've seen it. And I think that is what I think is really good about Colorado law is the injunction that is in, it's put in place at the time of filing and service of the petition for divorce, because that doesn't, didn't always exist. It doesn't exist in Maryland. And that allows at least that concept of what is in the usual course of life and what, and it kind of prevents that excess spending and it prevents those kinds of concerns from happening. It doesn't mean that it doesn't mean that it sticks.

Ryan Kalamaya (28m 39s):
And the other issue in terms of fault and dissipation is the, if Eric, you know, it's one thing, if he goes and withdraws money from that joint account, or he goes out and just blows money, but if he's buying his new girlfriend, you know, a diamond ring or he's going out to expensive dinners, that concept also can play a role. So at least for me, I always tell clients, listen, if the kids don't meet your significant other and your new, significant other, and you're not spending, you know, a material amount of money, it's probably not going to matter, but it's going to piss them off. And, you know, the, in terms of the climate for settlement, but that aspect, it really looks bad if someone is draining money.

Ryan Kalamaya (29m 21s):
But, you know, I know on your website on Griffis law, like you guys have a color of divorce guide and economic fault. And one of the things on there is it's really hard to prove if it is easy to prove, oftentimes the economics, it's not enough to justify litigating over it because it would, you know, some money, but are you going to go to trial over $5,000 that was spent on a hotel and the weekend away? I that's just the reality and people really struggled to hear that.

Joe Maher (29m 55s):
Yeah. And you know, that doesn't mean that there are some cases where entire life savings have been blown on other partners and I've, I've had that case. I've litigated that case, but it's absolutely true. You have to look at the forest, not just the trees and, you know, it can be very difficult for people to hear that. And it's a matter of how do you kind of move forward and what's going to be the best route for each individual.

Ryan Kalamaya (30m 19s):
What was your, or what is your thought on, you know, I'm sure you've heard judges say I can't make money out of nothing. So if all of it is gone now, what do you do? Because if all that money has been dissipated and there's nothing left, it's one thing. If you've got $2 million and Eric goes to Vegas and spends a million dollars, you still have a million dollars, but what happens if he spends $2 million and now was it it,

Joe Maher (30m 46s):
And that's kind of the, where you kind of see what the market's, you know, in 20 10, 20 12, everyone had a ton of debt and it was, you were, everyone was fighting about who's taking what debt and in what way, and it's kind of that same thing of what is going to be your avenue, depending on the entire circumstances of making people whole, is it a request for some sort of maintenance in, in a different way that maybe you wouldn't have done it in a different way? You know, that's the unfortunate part is they can't make money out of nothing. And the reality is if there's a lot of debt, you can ask the court to make that person solely responsible for.

Ryan Kalamaya (31m 23s):
Right. And you know, I've certainly seen this dissipation argument over extended. So someone says you should have invested in the S and P 500, and instead you sat in bonds and we missed out on, you know, $200,000 of appreciation and that's disappeared. And, you know, I mean, not certainly people get creative with that, but it's just, it's, it's a tricky issue, but I mean, Colorado does provide for dissipation. And I mean, I'm sure you've seen it where someone gives a gift to a child or a family member. I mean, we're recording this and it's coming up on Christmas and you know, those gifts are pretty, you know, usual and then standard course of giving.

Ryan Kalamaya (32m 6s):
If it's like three acts in 2021, when we're recording it, because we're looking at a divorce, there is, you know, there is authority for the court to say, listen, like that was very generous of you to the ch and it's the tricky thing is when it involves children, you know, adult children, where they're like, what was the other parent can do? I mean, it should have been in the marital state, but are they really going to go after their children and say, give me that money back. But that's the tricky thing. Right?

Joe Maher (32m 35s):
And I, and I think, you know, looking at it from having practices in more than just Colorado it's whether what the court has the authority to do and what, you know, out here, the court has the ability to transfer deal with debt in Maryland. It didn't, you know, and so that was part of those other people would pay down all their money to have no debt. So that was a different way of looking at it, you know? And so it's a very interesting way of you and I'm going to keep coming back to it. You have to look at the forest, you have to look at everything that's out there and what's going to be best to get people to the new.

Ryan Kalamaya (33m 8s):
Oh, for sure. I mean, I, you know, it's one of those things where if someone did give their kid $500 more than they did last year, is that arguably dissipation? Yes. But is that something that is worth fighting over in the grand scheme of things? No. And in part of our job is to help people see the cost benefit analysis, and it can be cold and we're not immune to the emotional issues. And that's something that comes with the territory, but really helping people move on in a productive manner. Right?

Joe Maher (33m 40s):
I think any one who comes into either our office, that's the point of it. You want to be able to help them get from point a to point Z and be able to have that productive life. So,

Ryan Kalamaya (33m 52s):
So Joel, I mentioned you're a cliff saw if people are interested, whether it's fault, no fault divorce, you know, parenting issues. Can you tell us where can they find you?

Joe Maher (34m 1s):
You can find us on, on the website, it's Griffis law, pc.com. Feel free to give us a call at three oh three five eight eight zero nine zero. And feel free to reach out by email all the emails for me and my coworkers are all on our website and we're always happy and opened and, you know, help help families out.

Ryan Kalamaya (34m 21s):
Joe, it's a pleasure in this circumstance. It's not always a pleasure to talk with you, given that your patience. I hope we don't have to have a conversation about dissipation, but I do enjoy working with you mostly, but thanks for the time and check out Joe. Great. And thanks again, Jeff, for joining us on Divorce at Altitude. Appreciate you for

Joe Maher (34m 43s):
Having me. So thanks a lot, indeed.

Ryan Kalamaya (34m 45s):
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] Follow us on apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen in. Many of our episodes are also posted on YouTube. You can also find me at Kalamaya dot law or 9 7 3 1 5 2 3 6 5 that's K a L a M a Y a.law.