What is Title Insurance and why is it valuable when buying or selling real estate?
November 27, 2016
Title Insurance is well worth the money--it protects the interest of property owners against legitimate and false title claims by previous owners or lien holders. It insures an owner’s investment—it guarantees ownership interest in real estate.
Title Insurance is an agreement between you and your insurer that if a problem arises regarding your property, your insurer may fix the problem, ma y defend you against it, or may compensate you for any losses caused by the problem.
Title Insurance differs significantly from most other forms of insurance that readily come to mind (like health, hazard, life and even automobile insurance), in that title insurance eliminates risk while the other types assume risk.
The function of most other forms of insurance is simply assuming your risk. Those insurance companies provide financial protection to their policy holders by preventing loss arising out of unforeseen future events. In order to keep the insurance in place, ongoing payments or premiums are necessary.
The primary purpose of Title Insurance is to eliminate risk and prevent losses caused by defects in title arising out of events that have happened in the past. Title insurance guarantees that there have not been any title problems prior to the time a policyholder takes title. A homeowner’s title insurance policy protects him or her for as long as they own the property—and the premium is paid only once, at closing.
An Interesting Fact: In approximately one-third of all residential transactions, title problems are discovered when the history of the property is searched—and these problems or defects must be resolved prior to closing.
Examples of problems often discovered are mechanic liens, IRS tax liens, mortgages not released and recording errors of names and or legal descriptions.
For another simple and brief explanation of what title insurance is all about, please click on this link:
The Closing and Settlement Process
Title companies also handle the Closing and Settlement part of the transaction, where in Colorado, sellers and buyers get together and sign the documents that will transfer the property from one party to the other. The title company will prepare all of the documents to be signed, typically provide the office for the closing to take place in, make sure all of the money is handled appropriately and record all pertinent documents. Once that has all taken place, the title company issues the Title Policy.
During the transaction, the title company’s staff will help you with every step along the way to ensure you have a smooth and efficient closing—and that your interests are protected.
For more information contact Jim Cimino, Fidelity National Title at 303-908-2276 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Understanding the Maintenance Process During a Divorce
November 13, 2016
In the State of Colorado, the court will examine the circumstances of each party to determine if either party qualifies for maintenance (formerly known as alimony).
Before the court decides if a spouse is entitle to receive maintenance payments, the court will review the maintenance statute (C.R.S. 14-10-114).
The formula for temporary maintenance in which parties have a combined adjusted gross income of less than $75,000 per year is 40% of the higher earner’s monthly income minus 50% of the lower earner’s monthly income.
As of January 1, 2014, a formula was instituted in order to determine the fair amount of monthly spousal support. The formula calculates support by taking 40% of the higher earner’s monthly income and subtracting 50%of the lower earner’s monthly income. The duration of the maintenance award ranges from one-third to one-half of the length of the marriage, dependent upon the length of the marriage. Maintenance is usually not awarded for marriages of three years in length or shorter.
Factors Reviewed in Determining an Award of Maintenance
Before the court awards a maintenance award, the court considers the following:
(I)(A) The amount of each party's gross income;
(B) The marital property apportioned to each party;
(C) The financial resources of each party, including but not limited to the actual or potential income from separate or marital property; and
(D) Reasonable financial need as established during the marriage.
(II) After making the initial findings described in subparagraph (I) above, the court shall determine the amount and term of the maintenance award, if any, that is fair and equitable to both parties after considering the statutory guideline amount and term of maintenance based on the duration of the marriage and the combined gross income of the parties; factors relating to the amount and term of maintenance and whether the party seeking maintenance has met the requirement for a maintenance award pursuant to the maintenance statute.
Finally, an award of maintenance shall be in an amount and for a term that is fair and equitable to both parties and shall be made without regard to marital misconduct.
To summarize, the court will review each case based on the individual facts of the parties. The parties distribution of assets in the divorce, each parties gross monthly income, the length of the marriage and additional factors assist the court in deciding if a maintenance award will be ordered by the court.
Virginia L. Robbins, Esq., Family Law Attorney and Mediator - Robbins Law Firm LLC, Phone: 303-953-0429
How to Negotiate for Your Children’s College Costs During a Divorce
September 26, 2016
Even if your children are young at the time of your divorce, you still need to keep college in mind. Your children’s college tuition is likely to be one of the greatest future expenses you face, and even if you get full custody of your children, you should not have to shoulder that burden alone. Rather than waiting until the acceptance letters start coming to discuss who is going to cover what costs, you need to address this topic during your divorce negotiations.
Don’t Be Left High and Dry When It’s Time to Pay For College
According to the College Board, the full cost of an average state college for the 2015 – 2016 academic year was $24,061 a year. For private colleges, that cost shoots up to $47,831 a year. Keep in mind that many students these days take more than four years to graduate and that college costs have been rising precipitously each year.
These are big costs that you and your ex-spouse are going to have to find a way to cover!
Child support lasts only until your children reach the age of maturity, which is between 18 and 21, depending on your state of residence. If you don’t bring up college costs during your divorce settlement, you may have to take your spouse back to court to try and legally force them to contribute, which can be expensive, frustrating, and emotionally fraught for your family.
It is far better to negotiate college costs during your divorce settlement so that everything is taken care of when you and your spouse officially go your separate ways. Here are five important tips for these negotiations:
Get it all down in writing
It’s not enough for one spouse to verbally agree to contribute to a child’s college fund or to assume that you both will work it out when the time comes. What if your husband re-marries and has several additional children that he has to support? What if he loses his job or insists that he will only pay for community college? This is why you must include specific language in your divorce settlement that lays out everything in clear terms.
Identify who will pay for what
The divorce settlement should clearly indicate which parent will be responsible for which costs. For example, you may simply agree to split all costs 50/50, or perhaps your ex-husband will cover tuition, and you will cover room and board. Don’t forget to include the cost of books, travel, and possibly a small stipend.
Clarify the logistics
How will the money be paid? You may decide to open an escrow account and require each parent to contribute a certain amount per month. Another option is for one parent to provide a lump sum payment that can be invested during the child’s youth. Whatever you agree upon, get it down in writing.
Consider instituting payment and time caps
College isn’t getting any cheaper, and it may not be reasonable to expect one or both parents to cover the entire cost of college between them, especially if a child attends an expensive private school or takes five or six years to graduate. It may be advisable to institute payment caps, laying out the maximum amount each parent will pay per semester or year of school. Additionally, some parents also desire to implement a cap on the amount of years they will provide funds per child so as not to indefinitely support a child’s long college experience.
Require life insurance and disability insurance
It won’t matter what your divorce settlement says if your ex-husband dies or loses his lucrative job before your children are ready to attend college. A smart move is to require both parents to invest in life insurance and disability insurance that will cover their college payment obligations. This way, if anything happens to your ex-spouse, your children’s college dreams won’t be destroyed.
As always, it is a good idea to work with an experienced divorce attorney when negotiating your divorce settlement. Your divorce attorney can help you devise the correct wordage and advise you on what is reasonable to request from your spouse. It may take a little work to hammer out the agreement, but at the end, you’ll know that you’ve preserved your children’s access to a valuable higher education.
Nadia Shokohi, MD, PhD, CDFA - Founder of the Front Range Divorce Center, Phone: 303.210.2607
It must be my fault?
August 26, 2016
When parents get divorced many children, teen children, and even adult children go though running thoughts of what they did wrong. “If only I ate all of my vegetables, If only I went to bed on time, If only I was home on time, if only I did not have a smart mouth, if I only made the varsity team, if I only had better grades, if only my kids saw their grandparents more, my parents wouldn’t fight so much and get a divorce.” Other thoughts that come into kids mind are, “do they love me, will they love me the same, and do I have to love one parent more than the other, what if I do love one parent more than the other?” Along with these thoughts comes feelings and behaviors. Feelings of worry, anxiety, depression, anger, bitterness, grieving, and many more. Some children (again of all ages) may experience behavior changes, they may shut down, isolate themselves, engage in self-harming behaviors, and internalize their thoughts and feelings. Others, may have outward behaviors, such as, becoming very angry and aggressive, ditching school, using drugs or alcohol, getting into legal trouble.
I know this may all seem overwhelming and scary and parents may not know what to do or who to turn to. I can tell you that there is support out there for you and your children, including individual, family, and group support. Support from how to tell your kids (no matter how old or young they are), how to help them process through their thoughts and feelings to hopefully help them chose better coping skills, signs to look for that they are not doing ok, and how to support your kids and grandkids. Second Saturday’s Front Range Divorce Center is a great support and resource for individuals, both men and women, and their children. You can pick and choose what time and location works best for you.
So, how do you tell your kids, “It’s not your fault we are getting a divorce?” There are many great books for all ages to help you though this process, however, I would recommend talking to someone face to face to help support you and your family at this difficult time. We are here to help you and provide guidance, hope and assistance.
Katie Bisbee-Peek, MA, NCC, LPC. www.katiebisbeepeek.com
Your Roadmap Through Divorce
August 12, 2016
Imagine driving down a highway and suddenly you find yourself taking an unexpected detour. The road takes you somewhere completely unfamiliar and you are without a map showing you how to navigate to your destination. You may not even know the exact destination; you just know you are going to a place different from where you began. Without that roadmap guiding you through your journey, anxiety, frustration and confusion can set in. You may even stop along the side of the road simply paralyzed because you don’t know your next move. If only you had that roadmap, you could take comfort in knowing how to navigate through the journey including all of the twists and turns along the way.
The same concept holds true for divorce. You are now taking a journey down an unfamiliar road. Without a roadmap guiding you through this unfamiliar territory, you will likely find yourself frustrated, scared, confused, stuck or absolutely paralyzed. One of the most common questions I hear from people at the beginning of the divorce process is…
“Where do I start?”
Many people jump to finding a lawyer as quickly as possible to start moving forward. I happen to think a good family law attorney is worth his or her weight in gold, but it’s not the best first step. Divorce isn’t just about the legal paperwork. You’ll be going through financial and emotional divorces as well. The most important things to you are on the line – your children, your home, your money. And, you need to figure all of this out while enduring one of the most stressful and emotionally painful life events.
It’s definitely not an easy journey!
The best first step begins with you taking an empowered step to gain basic knowledge about divorce, ground yourself in your goals, and develop your own roadmap for navigating through the process. That may sound a little daunting, especially if you are in an emotional state. But, I can promise that you’ll feel so much stronger and have a much better outcome when you take an active role in your divorce.
Fortunately, amazing resources exist to help you get started and guide you through this chapter of your life. Second Saturday workshops are a great way to get a crash course in legal, financial and emotional aspects related to divorce. Knowledgeable and helpful professionals provide you the most important information you need to know in the early phases of divorce, and also answer your questions. If you haven’t attended one, I strongly encourage you do so! It can be tough, but you’ll feel so much better to see the resources available to support you.
Julie Gannon, Co-Founder and Divorce Advocate - Untangle The Knot, Phone: 720.724.8078, ext. 700
August 1, 2016
Taking the cannon ball hit to the gut, only to survive and thrive.
I had 2 choices; take a cannon ball hit or a daily drive by bullet - all metaphors of course. But that accurately describes how I felt.
I chose the cannonball because I knew I would eventually heal. The daily drive-by shooting would leave me a shell of myself. That wasn't really living in my books. So I took the plunge and filed for divorce not knowing anything. That was the mistake.
Getting information on what to expect would have been so much wiser. A road map would have been a better gateway to this new life I have now. This is what Second Saturday workshops give people, which helps immensely when dealing with the painful feelings of anger, betrayal, sadness, being overwhelmed and just plain lack of inertia. At least you have an idea of where the road is going AND believe me, the life I have now far and away outweighs the life I had then. Grab that brass ring when it comes around to you!
Rebekah Brock, Realtor - R&R Team of Re/Max Professionals, Phone: 303.831.1160
Walk a Mile in My Shoes
July 17, 2016
Hearing stories about divorce from friends and clients cannot prepare one for the journey through the process of divorce. It is much like having children in that you can explain it to others, but you cannot imagine the highs and lows of parenthood until you hold your baby for the first time or your colicky baby brings you to tears yourself. Divorce is similar because your whole life changes and you may find yourself apologizing to a friend who went through a divorce when you were married because you simply did not understand the rollercoaster of emotions you were about to embark upon.
Divorce is a rollercoaster because it is a grieving process. It involves the death of the life you had, or the death of the idea of the life and love you always wanted. This is a process that may include days where you are angry, lonely, isolated, and ashamed, and days where you are excited about all the possibilities of your new life. You may also have moments where you are excited about reinventing yourself, your job, your home, your family, and your surroundings.
But no matter where you find yourself on the rollercoaster, it is a much better ride to take with a friend or supportive group of people. Divorced and separated persons often find themselves out of synchronization with their peers, who are mainly composed of married individuals (Ahrons & Rodgers, 1987). Oftentimes, support groups can be found at churches or community agencies and can be very beneficial in helping newly divorced people feel less isolated. The downfall may be that group leaders are not equipped to deal constructively with the anger that will inevitably come up with group members. Since anger is a stage of the grieving process, even for those who initiated the separation or divorce, it is important to have a group leader that is adept in navigating group dynamics (Rae, Jasper-Jacobsen and Blatter, 1991).
Therapy groups run by a professional counselor can be another good option for navigating emotions, understanding the grieving process, and providing support. So whether you reach out to a married friend, hire an individual counselor, join a support group, or find a group of friends who have walked the same journey, it is important for your mental health and healing to have support. There are people who have walked a mile in your shoes who are willing to hold on tight with you through the highs, lows, dips and curves. You owe it to yourself to find them and not to ride the rollercoaster alone.
- Ahrons, C.R., & Rodgers, R.H. (1987). Divorced families: A multi-disciplinary developmental view. New York: Norton.
- Rae, J., Jasper-Jacobson, J., & Blatter, C.J. (1991). Support groups for persons experiencing divorce in later life. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 9, 477-486.
Lisa Leahey, M.A., Registered Psychotherapist - Truth Counseling, Phone: 720.541.8165
3 Tips on How to Handle Real Estate and Divorce
July 6, 2016
No one gets married expecting divorce – yet it happens to many people all the same. The relationship between you and your spouse has ended and you need to move on. Buying and selling real estate is said to be a largely emotional decision. So when the emotions of a divorce are added to what can already be a trying exercise, moving real estate can be a challenge for everyone involved.
Remember these three tips for navigating the potentially turbulent waters...
1. Always remember that emotions are involved: It’s important for you to remain calm and reasonable, especially if the divorce is particularly turbulent. Use a professional that will be a neutral 3rd party and will equally guide all parties thru the transaction.
2. Embrace a helper: Get a Realtor that understands Divorce: Not every real estate agent is well equipped to handle your divorce related home sale. Some are just not good at selling houses, while others don’t quite grasp the severity of your situation - ask the right questions!
3. Buyers of a divorce home are at an advantage: Divorcing couples are often anxious to put the house behind them, and are thus willing to accept a lower asking price. Considering the stress you are already under, the last thing you need is an agent that fails to meet your criteria. When selling your house you need someone that can work with you now, guiding you through the best way to stage your home and get you the most for your house.
Kim (Painter) Gurnee, Realtor - RE/Max Southeast Inc., Phone: 303-638-1440