Understanding the Importance of Facts by Dennis Babiniec

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I have over 30 years of experience handling divorce cases.  I have observed that in some cases, people approach their case in ways that make the case harder to resolve and more expensive.  I believe that starting the case with conflict and accusations makes the case harder to settle and more likely to go to trial.  In some ways it is initially easier to make accusations and withhold cooperation, but in the long run, the further apart that parties start, the more ground there is to cover in order to try to settle the case.

An approach that is factually based is likely to give a more constructive start to resolving the case.  This approach involves getting information and documentation that establishes the facts that apply to the case.  The facts could be the value of certain property, amount of debt, income records, etc.  Once the facts are established with proof, it gives credibility in settlement negotiations and shows the opposing party that you are ready to prove the necessary facts if it is necessary to go to trial.  If the early efforts are to identify and obtain the information important to the case, the case can more accurately be analyzed and a strategy developed to efficiently resolve the divorce case.

Dennis Babiniec
Divorce attorney
10701 Meldoy Dr., Ste. 350
Northglenn, CO 80234
303-451-9110 posted: January 23, 2017

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Mediation- An Opportunity to Save Money by Dennis Babiniec

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Mediation is a required procedure in most districts in the Denver metro area for a divorce case where there is not a full agreement submitted at the beginning of the case.  Mediation usually involves additional cost of retaining a mediator and of counsel preparing and attending the mediation.  Many persons going through a divorce case view the mediation requirement as an inconvenience and extra cost.  This however is a short-sighted view, as much more money can usually be saved by settling the case sooner rather than going through prolonged negotiation and case preparation procedures.

    In order to maximize the chances to obtain a resolution through mediation, it is important to focus on the mediation as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience.  Starting with selecting a mediator who not only is skilled and experienced, but also dogmatic in their approach to encourage the realistic assessment of the issues of the case by both parties.  Also, preparing for the mediation so that the attorney informs the client of a range of possible results and has the disputed issues identified and organized to save time to be able to use more productively to achieve the settlement of the case.  Having both parties and their attorneys together with the assistance of the mediator to keep the focus of all involved on resolutions of the issues, is a unique opportunity to accomplish a settlement of the case and save significant costs of litigation.

Dennis Babiniec
Divorce attorney
10701 Melody Dr., Ste. 350
Northglenn, CO 80234
(303) 451-9110 posted: November 11, 2016

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Getting The Most Out of Attorney Fees Paid in a Divorce Case by Dennis H. Babiniec

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A significant challenge to many people going through a divorce case is being able to pay their divorce attorney.  Having been in practice for over 30 years, I have an understanding of why it can be expensive to hire an attorney for a divorce case.  I also know how you can save significant costs in legal fees by understanding the process, knowing your budget and adjusting your approach to meet the parameters of your case.

First of all, generally it is much less expensive for an attorney to complete forms and paperwork than appear in court.  Developing an analysis of your case and understanding the possible range of outcomes and approaches can help develop a strategy to the divorce case best suited to the amount of money in dispute and the available budget for attorney fees.

For example, spending $10,000.00 in attorney fees to argue over $5,000. in assets is never cost effective, but spending $10,000. when there may be over $100,000. difference in outcome can be a good return on your investment.  The largest cost of the divorce process is for the procedures and preparation and appearance for evidentiary court hearings where there will be witnesses and evidence presented in order for the court to decide a disputed issue.  The requirements of the court rules of civil procedure and evidence do not change based on the amount in dispute, so that is why if a person does not make a careful analysis of the cost to go to trial versus the expected range of outcomes, they could spend their money for a divorce attorney inefficiently.

I recommend getting an evaluation from the divorce attorney regarding the possible outcomes and costs to litigate the case early in the case, so that you can set your budget for attorney fees and establish your strategy for your divorce case accordingly.  An inexperienced attorney may not have the ability to anticipate the range of outcomes and suggest the strategy that makes the best use of your attorney fee budget.  That is where an experienced divorce lawyer will likely be more effective to make such an analysis.   

Dennis H. Babiniec
attorney at law
10701 Meldoy Dr., Ste. 350
Northglenn, CO 80234
(303) 451-9110    posted: June 30, 2016

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Real Estate Cycle in Denver by Dennis H. Babiniec

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Real estate is an asset whose value tends to go in cycles rather than always in one direction up or down.  From property tax valuations and websites such as zillow.com and trulia.com there is strong evidence that we are in an up cycle as far as real estate values in the Denver metro area.

The practical impact that higher real estate values have in divorce cases is that rising values make it more expensive for one party to keep real estate.  On the other hand, rising values also can make refinancing the property in order to fund a buy out of the other party's marital equity more feasible due to the better loan to value ratio.  

It is important to determine an accurate value for the real estate in developing a logical strategy.  Especially when there has been a rapid market trend, it becomes advantageous in considering your options to obtain the most current information.  Getting appraisals of real estate instead of relying on property tax valuations or estimates of value can be a wise investment when you consider what is at stake.  The cost of the appraisal can in many cases be agreed to be split by the parties as it is useful to both parties to know what their home is worth.  Once you have a handle on the value of your marital residence, then the next consideration is to determine whether you wish to keep it or sell it.  

As a divorce attorney with over 30 years of experience in the Denver metro area, I believe that ultimately it is the client's decision of whether to try to keep the marital home or sell it.  I believe however that in representing a party that I can give counsel in analyzing the extent of marital property to review how keeping or selling the marital residence affects the marital property distribution.  People may have their own reasons for wanting to keep or sell their marital residence, but they should at least consider the financial impact. Analyzing what portion of the marital assets being divided are concentrated into the value of the marital residence gives some perspective of whether the client could end up in a cash flow problem if the monthly mortgage payment increases in order to come up with the money to buy out the other party.  Also, if the client does not have a sufficient mix of liquid assets in addition to the real estate asset, they could find themselves in a bind if there is an unexpected financial need.  Typically if a party is retaining the marital residence, the full value of the residence is considered when determining an equitable division of the asset.  If however, later on the party finds themselves having to sell the property because they can not afford it or they need to come up with a sum of money to address a financial need, they will incur the costs to sell the residence which will reduce the net amount of value they receive from the real estate asset.  So a reasoned financial analysis of how the division of the marital residence impacts the monthly cash flow, asset liquidity and long term objectives of the client is an important step to making the decision of what to do with the marital residence in a divorce case.

Dennis H. Babiniec
attorney at law
10701 Melody Dr., Ste. 350
Northglenn, CO 80234
(303) 451-9110  posted: May 5, 2015

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New Maintenance Law- Don't Forget the Limiting Factor by Dennis H. Babiniec

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The new Colorado spousal maintenance statute C.R.S. 14-10-114 went into effect for cases filed for the initial establishment of spousal maintenance on or after January 1, 2014.  For cases where the presumptive maintenance formula applies (see C.R.S. 14-10-114 (3)(b)), there is a limitation provision to the formula contained in C.R.S. 14-10-114 (3)(b)(I).  It reads: "The amount of maintenance under the guidelines is equal to forty percent of the higher income party's adjusted gross income less fifty percent of the lower income party's monthly adjusted gross income; except that, when added to the gross income of the recipient, shall not result in the recipient receiving in excess of forty percent of the parties' combined monthly adjusted gross income."  

The practical effect of the language "except that, when added to the gross income of the recipient, shall not result in the recipient receiving in excess of forty percent of the parties' combined monthly adjusted gross income" is to mathematically avoid maintenance when the gap between the parties' income is less.  This is not readily apparent in the wording, but I have seen the effect from actual case experience.  So whether you are seeking spousal maintenance or are faced with a request for spousal maintenance, do not overlook the limiting factor.  

The topic of the new maintenance statute is very complex and this article is not intended to give advice for any specific situation.  If you are interested in finding out how the maintenance statute impacts your situation, please call me at (303) 451-9110 for a free intial consultation.

Dennis Babiniec
attorney at law
10701 Melody Dr., Ste. 350
Northglenn, CO 80234
(303) 451-9110
posted: November 14, 2014

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Important Considerations When Moving With Children by Dennis Babiniec

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Moving with Children either at the time of a divorce or after the permanent orders involves a complex analysis of factors.  Under Colorado law, different standards are used depending on whether the proposed move is before the divorce decree is entered or after.  It is important for the parent considering moving with a minor child or children to understand how their desire to move will affect the proceedings.  It is also important for the non-moving parent to understand their options if they do not agree to the move and wish to oppose it.

If a party is seeking to relocate with a minor child at the time of the divorce before any permanent orders have been entered, the case of Spahmer v. Gulette, 113 P.3d 158 (Colo. 2005) is authority for the principle that in Colorado, the trial court can not order a parent to live in a particular location, but must accept the intended location of the parent when determining the best interests of the child in allocating parental responsibility and parenting time.  The trial court however would consider the best interests of the child with respect to the benefits and drawbacks to the child of the parents living in different locations.  Therefore a scenario is possible where the negative effects of the child living with the parent that wishes to relocate would outweigh the benefits of the child living with the relocating parent, where perhaps if not for the intended move, the analysis would be different.

When a parent wishes to relocate after the divorce decree and permenent orders have been entered in Colorado, the parent should be aware of C.R.S. 14-10-129 (1) (a) (II) requirements of providing written notice as soon as practicable of thir intent to relocate, the location where the party intends to reside, the reason for the relocation and a proposed revised parenting time plan.  If the other parent does not agree to the move and a modified parenting plan, a motion would need to be filed with the court.  The statute states that such a motion shall be given priority on the court's docket.

The case of In Re the Marriage of Ciesluk, 113 P.3d 135 (Colo. 2005) is authority in Colorado for the principle that both parents share equally in the burden of establishing what is in the best interests of the child.  Therefore, there is no built in advantage in favor of the moving party who already has the majority of parenting time as far as the burden of proof.  But on the other hand there is no built in presumption against the moving party either.  So in other words, the issue of relocating the minor child reopens the consideration of the best interests of the child under C.R.S. 14-10-124 in additional to the specific factors enumerated in C.R.S. 14-10-129 (c) (I)-(IX).  Therefore, a motion to modify the parenting time because a parent wishes to relocate can reopen the issue of the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time.  The moving parent should consider whether they wish to take such a risk if the non-moving parent will oppose the motion to relocate and if so, make sure the reasons for the move and affect of the move on the minor child can be demonstrated to show a benefit to the child.  On the other hand, the non-moving party who objects to the relocation, can get a second chance to have the court revisit the issues of parental responsibility and parenting time due to the motion to relocate.

Therefore, a party seeking to move should understand the factors under the Colorado statutes and consider the risks of how the request to relocate could affect the factors considered by the court regarding the best interests of the child.  A party that objects to a request to relocate, should be prepared to set forth the factors regarding the best interests of the children if the court were to grant them primary parenting time.

I consider the relocation issue an important one for someone on either side of the request to move, to obtain legal advice and become informed of the statutes and law in Colorado before they make any decision, in order to understand the potential benefits and risks of the move or opposing the move.

If you have a case where relocation is involved, I would like to help.  For a free initial consultation Call: 303-451-9110 or go to the contact page of my website: http://www.divorcelawyerdenver.net

by Dennis H. Babiniec
Attorney at law
10701 Melody Dr., Ste. 350
Northglenn, CO 80234
303-451-9110


  posted: January 21, 2014

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Don't Forget to Transfer Titles After Decree by Dennis H. Babiniec

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Once the Decree for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation is entered, do not forget to complete the transfer of deeds and titles according to the Orders.  As an attorney who has practiced for over 30 years in the field of divorce and family law, I am aware of the importance of completing the title transfers promptly upon the entry of the decree.

It is too easy to put off the task of locating the proper forms and completing them, circulating them for signature and then filing them with the correct governmental offices.  Putting it off to another day could turn into much more work and delay later, especially when people move as leases expire or if the house is sold as part of the divorce or legal separation Orders.  Even though there is a procedure to have titles signed by the Clerk of the District Court under Rule 70 of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure, there is additional cost and delay in getting the Court to Order the Rule 70 process. Also, the Court must be convinced that all reasonable efforts to have the document signed by the transferring party had been attempted and were not successful or else they may not grant the motion under Rule 70.

I believe in finishing the job for my client if they request me to prepare the title transfer documents.  I consider the transfer of the title to the property as important as obtaining the Order to award them the property to begin with.  

Dennis H. Babiniec
Attorney at law
10701 Melody Dr., Ste. 350
Northglenn, CO 80234
Call: 303-451-9110 posted: September 20, 2013

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New Spousal Maintenance Law by Dennis H. Babiniec, P.C.

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The Colorado legislature has passed new legislation to address the issue of spousal maintenance.  The new legislation amends C.R.S. 14-10-114 effective as to any new case for the initial establishment of spousal maintenance filed on or after January 1, 2014.  The new statute establishes "advisory guidelines to be considered as a starting point for the determination of fair and equitable maintenance awards".

The statute is designed to make the award of spousal maintenace more uniform by using a formula for the amount and length of maintenance awards.  As an attorney practicing divorce and family law in the Denver metro area for over 30 years, I view this as a substantial development in this area of law in Colorado.  

It will be interesting to see how judges apply the "advisory guidelines" as a starting point to consider the amount and length of spousal maintenance.  Will the starting point end up being the ending point for most cases, similar to the child support guidelines?  Or will the judges adopt the full framework of the statute and fine tune the guidelines based on the individual circumstances of each case?  

The full framework of the statute consists of a threshold, findings and factors, in addition to the advisory guidelines. It requires the court to first, make a threshold finding that "the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to him or her, to provide for his or her reasonable needs and is unable to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it inappropriate for the spouse to be required to seek employment outside the home."  If the court makes the threshold finding that the party asking for spousal maintenance is unable to provide for their reasonable needs, the statute then instructs the court to make four additional findings as to the income, resources and needs of the parties and then to consider twelve additional factors in determining the amount and length of time for maintenance.  

The new statute allows the judge to consider even more factors in the award of maintenance than the current statute.  There is a likelihood especially in the beginning stages of the application of the new statute, for very complex rulings by the court in trying to apply the new statute to make maintenance awards more uniform, yet tailor them to the specific circumstances of each case.  

If you have a case where the issue of spousal maintenance is involved, I would like to help.  Just Call 303-451-9110 for a free intial consultaton.

Dennis Babiniec
Attorney at law
10701 Meldoy Dr., Ste 350
Northglenn, CO 80234
303-451-9110    posted: July 23, 2013

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Parenting Time Resource Available

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There is a book available at the Colorado Courts state website that discusses many aspects of parenting time.  The link to the resource is:

http://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Self_Help/CO_Parenting_Time_Book2004.pdf

It is important to note that parenting time is a legal issue and involves legal advice that should be obtained from an attorney.  There is not a simple universal answer to every parenting time situation.  However as an attorney who practices in divorce law, I do find that the more knowledgeable a person is to the issues involved in their case and the options available to them, the better informed they are in making decisions.

If you have an issue involving parenting time in your divorce or post divorce situation, I would like to help.  Just Call 303-451-9110 for a free intial consultaton.

Dennis Babiniec
Attorney at law
10701 Meldoy Dr., Ste 350
Northglenn, CO 80234
303-451-9110  posted: May 14, 2013

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It Is Never Too Early To Start Assembling the Facts in A Divorce Case

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     In over 30 years of practice as a divorce attorney in the Denver metro area (office located in Northglenn & Thornton area) I have come to appreciate the importance of obtaining accurate facts and proof of facts as early as possible in a divorce case.  There are times where people will argue over a point and incur attorney fees and expenses to their lawyers arguing over a point that could be resolved with proof of the facts.  For instance the value of an item, how it is titled, when it was acquired can generally be proven by documentation.  
     By assembling the facts and documentation early in the divorce process, an experienced divorce attorney can establish a framework for the effective negotiation or preparation of the case.  If the facts are established, the only thing left for the divorce court to do is to apply the Dissolution of Marriage Act (for the Denver metro area and Colorado) or other applicable statute to the facts involved in the divorce or legal separation case in order to come out with the result.

I would like to help you with effective representation in your divorce or legal separation case.  BBB Accredited, A+ rated.
Call Today at 303-451-9110

Dennis H. Babiniec
Attorney at law- Divorce & Family Law
10701 Melody Dr., Ste. 350
Northglenn, CO 80234
303-451-9110 posted: September 26, 2012

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