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|Dale E. Johnson Blog Interest in a Dispensary - by Dale E. JohnsonIn a divorce context, does the valuation of an interest in a marijuana dispensary or grow business differ from the valuation of other businesses? Because marijuana businesses are legal in Colorado but not legal under federal law, the taxation of profits and expensing of costs differs dramatically from other businesses. How does this difference impact the valuation process? A typical method for valuing a spouse’s interest in a business entity is based upon earnings, both historical and future. But if the gross revenues for a marijuana business are subject to different tax and expense rules, what adjustments have to be made by the valuation expert? Is it certain that the federal government will continue to have a “hands off” policy towards marijuana businesses? Does the uncertainty over the federal government’s policy increase the risk factors associated with an interest in a marijuana business? If so, does that also increase the discounts that should apply to a fair market value? Are there other risk factors that should be applied to a marijuana business?Colorado was one of the first states to legalize marijuana but, as of yet, we have no reported decisions from our appellate Courts regarding the rules for valuing interests in a marijuana business as part of a property division in a divorce. These businesses generate significant revenue. The next few years should see these cases make their way through the Colorado Appellate Courts.Dale E. Johnson Blog|
|Dale E. Johnson Blog Relief for Support - by Dale E. JohnsonThe Colorado Court of Appeals has recently opened the door for equitable relief for obligors who owe years of unpaid court ordered child support or maintenance who believed they did not have to pay due to conduct of the obligee. While the new defenses are not easy to prove, they at least are now available. Before now, they were not available at all in Colorado. If you have a child support or maintenance obligation, it is important that you comply. It is best not to rely on oral promises that you do not have to pay or that the payments will be forgiven. Seek legal advice about the obligation and whether it can be modified. But, if you did not pay because the other party led you to believe you didn’t have to, you now may have a defense. It all depends on the facts.Dale E. Johnson Blog|
|Dale E. Johnson Blog Frozen Embryos - by Dale E. JohnsonAs a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, I am always pleased when the Colorado Supreme Court asks us to file an Amicus Brief on a pending case. We have been asked to file a Brief in the pending In Re Marriage of Rooks case, which deals with the Court's authority to determine the disposition of frozen embryos. In Rooks, the contract signed by the parties with the reproduction center, did not include agreement as to what would happen to the embryos if the parties divorced. As part of the divorce, mother wanted the embryos awarded to here, whereas father wanted them destroyed. The trial court weighed various facts and ordered them destroyed. Should a court ever have authority to order otherwise where the contract is silent on the issue? Should Colorado reproductive centers be required to include provisions regarding what would happen to frozen embryos if the parties divorced? The Supreme Court's decision should come later this year.Dale E. Johnson Blog|
|Dale E. Johnson Blog GUARDIAN AD LITEM - by Dale E. JohnsonThere is a bill circulating in the Colorado Legislature which would set statutory standards for appointing a Guardian ad Litem ("GAL") for an adult. The standards the courts current use have been created via judicial decisions, including IRM Sorensen (2007 Colorado Court of Appeals). The current draft of the proposed bill would expand the authority of the court to "sua sponte" appoint a Guardian ad Litem for a party. This means the court could appoint a Guardian ad Litem without waiting for a party to file a motion. The bill provides five different grounds for appointing a Guardian ad Litem. One of these is that the litigant is "incapable, because of a mental impairment, of weighing the advice of counsel or directing counsel on the particular course to pursue in his or her own "interest." This is a highly subjective assessment of a litigant's level of functioning for a court to make on its own without an attorney for a party bringing the matter before the court.The Colorado Legislative session is nearing a close. It will be interesting to see if this bill is passed into law.Dale E. Johnson Blog|
|Dale E. Johnson Blog Transgender Birth Certificate Bill Does not Pass Colorado State Senate - by Evan BraniganFor the third consecutive year, a bill to allow transgender individuals to change their birth certificate to reflect their current gender identity failed in the Colorado State Senate. The bill was killed in the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee on a 3-2 party-line vote with all three Republicans opposing. The Colorado legislature recently simplified the process to restore a prior name after a decree of dissolution or legal separation has been entered when Governor Hickenlooper signed House Bill 16-1085 on March 31, 2016. This law clarifies that a party need not conduct a fingerprint-based background check and publication of their name when restoring a prior name before marriage. If you have any questions about restoring your name, please call Dale E. Johnson, P.C. to set up an appointment with either Evan or Dale.Dale E. Johnson Blog|
|Dale E. Johnson Blog Family Law Arbitration - by Dale E. JohnsonThis is the time of year when new family law legislation gets introduced into the Colorado legislature. A proposed bill to provide a simplified family law court system for cases where the total assets do not exceed a certain level appears to be gaining support. Cases diverted to this system could not have children's issues but with limited assets and income, a simplified court system would be a benefit to a large number of Coloradoans. A version of the Uniform Family Law Arbitration Act might also be introduced this year. Family law arbitration typically relies on simplified procedures to save costs and expedite getting decisions. This bill would formalize what has, up to now, been a somewhat loose procedure. And apparently a Boulder legislator is expected to introduce a bill prohibiting CFI's or PRE's from making parental responsibilities recommendations. Such a bill would be highly controversial since one of the chief reasons for CFI's and PRE's is to help the court fashion parenting time orders. Without such recommendations, courts might have to spend significantly more time on these issues with each case or else fall back on "one size fits all" formulas that might not be best for individual cases.Dale E. Johnson Blog|
|Dale E. Johnson Blog Simplified Family Courtby Dale E. JohnsonEnd of summer is always an active time of year for new family law proposals being floated or introduced in the Colorado Legislature. As a former Chair of the Family Law Section of the Colorado Bar Association, I follow these proposed bills. One bill that bears watching comes from Representative Beth McCann, who was the moving force behind the recent maintenance "formula" statute. Representative McCann's new bill would create a Simplified Family Court to handle "small marital estates". "Small" is defined as estates where the combined gross income of the parties is less than $80,000 per year, the net marital estate is less than $100,000 and there are no children. This proposal attempts to address the pro se family law litigation explosion that has buried the District Courts. It could be one of the most important pieces of family law legislation to be introduced in many years. Dale E. Johnson Blog|
|Dale E. Johnson Blog Emotional Separation and Boundaries By: Dale E. Johnson The period of separation and divorce is one of the most stressful times that any individual can experience. Unfortunately, that stress often results in individuals treating the other person in rude, aggressive, and controlling ways. The process of divorcing is a process of separating a married couple physically, emotionally, and financially. The process of accepting the reality of the emotional separation is often lost on one or even both of the parties. When children are involved, the problems of emotional separation can impart negative consequences. Anyone going through separation and divorce should expect to experience stress. How an individual handles that stress depends upon his or her willingness to accept the reality of what is occurring and the right of the other party to proceed. Where children are involved, the divorcing couple should try to create new balance where there is physical, financial, and some emotional separation but also a reconstructed co-parenting relationship with different boundaries than the couple previously had. Creating this new relationship with these new boundaries is not always easy but the sooner it can be accomplished, the better the children will be likely to fare. Counseling and therapy can be important and even necessary tool to help out clients get through this difficult time. We can help refer clients to professionals suited to the particular personalities and issues involved. PermalinkDale E. Johnson Blog|
|Dale E. Johnson Blog Reasonable ExpectationsBy: Dale E. Johnson We recently received a telephone call from someone who wanted a post-nuptial agreement that would "hold up in court," but where there were no financial disclosures to the attorney. The caller was unhappy when we explained that he had to provide financial disclosures. In Colorado, by case law and statute, marital agreements will not "hold up in court" if the person seeking to enforce them has not made full and fair financial disclosures to the other party. It is important that clients understand that lawyers do not have magic wands that allow their clients to accomplish whatever goals they have irrespective of the legal requirements. The smart client consults with lawyers early on to discuss their goals, whether those goals can reasonably be accomplished and the steps necessary to do so. Having reasonable expectations of what the lawyer can accomplish and making plans in accordance with those expectations, is the key to making the system work for you. Dale E. Johnson Blog|
|Dale E. Johnson Blog Looking Before You LeapBy: Dale E. Johnson Many people who are moving to a dissolution of marriage become fixated on "getting it over with" as the first priority. This is almost always a mistake. Impulsivity can lead to serious errors being made. If a lawyer is consulted too late in the process, actions may have been taken or binding arrangements made on parts of the issues that then prejudice an equitable resolution of the other issues. The fairness of a financial statement must be viewed as a whole. If you are heading towards a dissolution of marriage, spending an hour early on with competent legal counsel can provide you with information and insight that will be invaluable. This office charges a reduced rate for the initial one-hour consultation. Whether you proceed with full legal representation or not, that hour may save you a great deal of time and money. However, the earlier you see an attorney, the sooner you'll have the information you need to protect yourself.Dale E. Johnson Blog|
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