Five Things to Include in a Lakewood, CO Parenting Plan

Under Colorado law, divorcing parents are required to submit a written parenting plan regarding the key issues involved with raising their minor children. Though the terms custody and visitation have been replaced by “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities” and “Parenting Time,” many of the same traditional concepts apply. Therefore, your parenting plan must include provisions on decision-making regarding important aspects of the child’s life, as well as the time each parent spends with him or her.

However, the standard form used in Jefferson County doesn’t cover every possible parenting plan issue that may come up. Parents often overlook certain key issues, and a Lakewood, CO child custody lawyer can help you identify what they are for your situation. However, you may want to consider addressing:

Computer Time

Laptops, tablets, phones, and other devices are useful tools for education and entertainment. However, too much computer time can be detrimental to the child’s development ”“ not to mention the fact that it interferes with the whole point of parenting time: Enhancing the parent-child relationship. In your parenting plan, set reasonable parameters on computer use for certain purposes.

Holidays and School Breaks

Many parents know to include provisions on splitting time over the week, but don’t forget to address holidays and time off school. Even if you don’t designate exact dates in your parenting plan, consider a formula that will establish which parent gets to spend time with the child and when.

Right of First Refusal

You may find yourself in a situation where one parent is scheduled for parenting time but has an unforeseeable conflict. In such a situation, it would be necessary to arrange childcare. In your parenting plan, you may want to include a provision that allows for right of first refusal: If you cannot handle child care during your own parenting time, you should give the other parent the opportunity rather than a third party.

Non-Child Support Spending

You may agree to general child support rules in your parenting plan, but you may also want to address certain expenditures that fall outside these provisions. One solution is to keep receipts or notes, then split the amount equally between both parents. Of course, you can also set a maximum per month for non-child support spending.

Stealing Parenting Time

Bitterness and resentment can linger long after your divorce is finalized, and one parent may resort to misconduct out of spite. That person may purposefully schedule certain events or appointments during the other parent’s parenting time, essentially stealing time away. You can include provisions to address this tactic, such as by requiring both parents to consent in writing when signing the child up for activities. If bitterness prevents you from agreement on these issues, you could spend a lot of time in court.

An Experienced Fort Collins, CO Attorney Can Help with Parenting Plans

For more information on how to create a parenting plan that works for your circumstances, please contact Divorce Matters. Our knowledgeable lawyers can assist with negotiations, drafting the essential documents, and enforcing the provisions as necessary to protect your interests.

How Divorce Will Affect Your Lakewood Taxes

A divorce is probably the biggest headache a married couple in Lakewood could potentially face. A divorce splits apart a family, as well as the assets. One home becomes two. A divorce has financial implications for all involved.

You may have just finalized your divorce and now you have another concern: taxes. This year, tax day is on April 17, so you have just a couple more months to get your return filed with the IRS.

If you think your taxes were difficult in the past, they’ll be even more challenging now that you’re divorced. The date your divorce was finalized, as well as child support, child custody and alimony, will all affect your taxes

While programs such as TurboTax will be able to walk you through the process of filing your taxes after a divorce, you may want to invest in the help of a Lakewood accountant or other financial professional, especially if you are newly divorced. Here are some things to keep in mind throughout the process.

Choose the Right Filing Status

Your marital status on December 31 controls how you file your taxes. If you were not officially divorced by December 31, you have the option to file a joint return or file separately. If you were divorced by that date, you will need to file separately. You can file head of household if you had custody of a child for more than half of the year.

Child Support and Alimony Comes With Taxes

Tax laws regarding child support and alimony can be confusing. Child support is not reported as income and is not deductible to the payer. Conversely, alimony is tax deductible for the payer and is counted as income.

Claiming Children as Exemptions

The exemption for children goes to the custodial parent, unless the divorce decree says otherwise. If you share joint custody, the exemption goes to the parent who had the children for the greater number of days in the year.

Consider Changing Your Tax Withheld

If you are employed, a change in marital status may require you to change your exemptions on the W-4 form. Now that you are single, you may not be having enough money taken out of your paycheck for taxes. This is especially true if you are now receiving alimony or have other tax liabilities. If you owe money this tax season, make some changes to your W-4 so you’re not having to write a huge check to the IRS next April.

Do You Have Questions About Taxes and Divorce? Seek Advice from an Experienced Lakewood Divorce Attorney

A divorce can impact many areas of your life, including finances and taxes. The Lakewood divorce lawyers at Divorce Matters can help you understand what to expect when tax season rolls around, and advise you on other matters involving family law in Colorado. To learn more about what you can expect in your new life after divorce, contact us at (720) 408-7469.