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5 ways to take custody of your pet during a divorce

Your pet is a member of your family — but not in the eyes of Colorado law. Here, pets are legally considered property, meaning they are subject to the property division statute in the event of a divorce.

If you know you need a divorce, but are scared to lose Fido to your ex-spouse, read these questions to learn which arguments could potentially win over your pet in a divorce.

Emergency room visits can create serious medical debt

Medical debt is the leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the U.S. The number of uninsured Americans has dropped significantly since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, even with health insurance, a serious illness or injury can wipe out a family's savings and put them in serious debt.

Emergency room (ER) visits can be particularly hard on the bank account. They've never been cheap, but they're becoming even more pricey. The average cost of an ER visit rose by over 30 percent between 2012 and 2016 -- to $1,917. That was the finding of the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI), which studied health care spending by almost 40 million people who had health insurance through their employers.

Protect your assets with a prenuptial agreement

If you've waited to marry until you've firmly established your career and bought a home, you aren't alone. Many couples aren't tying the knot until they've had independence and success. Also, for many same-sex couples, marriage wasn't a possibility until the past few years.

Couples use prenuptial agreements to protect the assets that they bring into the marriage in case it doesn't last. Prenups are increasingly considered a necessary part of wedding planning, particularly for couples who have equity in a home and a fair amount of financial assets.

Gambling debts may be dischargeable through bankruptcy

Gambling debt can impact every part of a person's life. It's not unusual for people with a gambling problem to have considerable credit card debt and to take out home equity and other loans to support their gambling addiction. Some people gamble themselves and their families into dire financial straits.

The first steps in dealing with overwhelming gambling debt are to admit that you have a problem and to seek help. Gamblers Anonymous (GA), like Alcoholics Anonymous, has support groups across Colorado and the rest of the country. Some gambling addiction treatment providers may even accept your health insurance.

Congressional move could make adoption discrimination easier

Same-sex couples who want to adopt or foster children know that some private adoption agencies will turn them away. These organizations may have other restrictions as well. Some don't allow unmarried couples of any sexual orientation or anyone who's been divorced to adopt or foster a child. Some require that parents be Christian.

Amid calls that these agencies not be allowed to receive government funds, some states have enacted legislation prohibiting "discrimination" against them by the state in funding. Such proposed legislation failed here in Colorado.

The consequences of inaccurate bankruptcy filing

Filing for bankruptcy significantly impacts your life and finances, often providing a solution to a debt problem. Because of the potential impact, it’s important to approach your application delicately.

To successfully file, you have to make sure everything is in order. You are filing under penalty of perjury when you do this, which means that any inaccuracies or mistakes they find in your documents can result in harsh punishments that can make your difficult financial situation even worse.

Why does Aspen's divorce rate exceed any other city in Colorado?

Colorado boasts some of the most beautiful areas in the country, and Aspen is certainly one of them. Therefore, it may come as a surprise that it has the highest divorce rate of any city in Colorado. In fact, its rate is nearly double the state's average rate.

According to a recently-published report by 24/7 Wall St., based on data from the U.S. Census, over 23 percent of Aspen residents are divorced, compared with 12 percent of Coloradans overall. The report identified the city within each state with the highest percentage of divorced couples, Aspen has the sixth-highest percentage of divorces of any city in the U.S.

Secured products can help you rebuild your credit post-bankruptcy

One of the reasons that many people hesitate to file for bankruptcy is that they assume they won't be able to get credit again for a very long time. A bankruptcy will stay on your credit reports for a decade. This will impact your ability to qualify for credit cards, loans and other credit products. However, you can still begin to rebuild your credit immediately.

Lenders want to see that applicants can handle their credit obligations. Two credit products that are designed for people working to re-establish good credit after bankruptcy are secured credit cards and secured loans.

Developing an abundance mindset after bankruptcy

Undoubtedly, filing for bankruptcy can cause serious mental and emotional damage to your self-worth. It is not easy to admit that you need legal and professional help in managing the crushing weight of debts you carry. The walls of your life may feel as though they are closing in all around you.

By admitting your need for help, you are silencing your ego, whose only interest is keeping up appearances. The ego will drown you in denial and ultimately keep you locked away from freedom. Conversely, speaking the truth sets you free from ego’s trap and allows you the ability to begin rebuilding your finances.

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Lakewood, CO 80228

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