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Phoenix Arizona Family Law Blog

Protecting children during divorce

When couples decide to end a marriage, things can get messy in a hurry. Just hearing the word divorce can be cringeworthy and may bring about a myriad of emotions for couples in Arizona and across the country. Any divorce is traumatic enough, but when children are caught in the middle of a split, the experience can be life-altering and extremely stressful for both parents and children. Fortunately, there are certain steps that parents can take that may help children through this difficult time.

First and foremost, parents should let children know that they are loved and will not be abandoned. Providing a sense of security will not only allow children to grow through a divorce, but in all stages of life. It is also important for children to know that it is OK to enjoy time with both parents. Children should know that spending some time with one parent will not be held against them.

Cultural acceptance of divorce

Statistics will never tell the whole story, but looking at divorce trends as a whole, it shows that divorce is a constant element in modern life—one that’s gaining more acceptance by the year. Divorce rates famously grew during the 1980s and 1990s, but have dropped in recent years. In 2015, the rate was its lowest in almost 40 years. Figures have remained relatively stable in recent years.

As divorce rates hover near 50 percent, one cultural change is acceptance of the act. In a review of Gallup data that looks back to 1954, acceptance is on a clear incline. In 1954, 43 percent of Americans did not “believe” in divorce. In 2001, Gallup data began directly addressing the morality of divorce. That year, 59 percent of those polled found divorce morally okay. In 2015, the number topped 70 percent, including among those who are married themselves—a group traditionally more opposed to divorce.

Financial goals, accounts require attention during divorce

The process of getting divorced in Arizona can be just as much of a financial roller coaster as it is an emotional one. This is true whether a couple has been married for a short time or for decades. In either situation, two spouses who are going through divorce have to figure out how to untangle their intertwined lives, and this is never an easy process.

An important first step to take when navigating divorce is coming up with brand-new financial goals. The financial goals that a couple had before the divorce will simply no longer work. Developing these new financial goals may include taking a close look at how the children will be cared for, if children are involved. For instance, questions that are important to ask are who will send the child support checks, and how will the children's college education be paid for.

Prenup can help business owners in event of divorce

Business ownership is considered a personal property right. Naturally, when business owners in Arizona get married, they may opt to share their personal property with their new spouses. Unfortunately, this can pose problems if divorce ends up happening. For this reason, signing a prenuptial agreement before the big day can be beneficial.

In many cases, business owners who started their companies before getting married end up working with their spouses after they walk down the aisle. At the very least, they may ask their spouses for assistance during their companies' early phases. This help is necessary to provide a business with the boost it requires, but if a business owner and his or her spouse get divorced, the spouse might end up more entitled to the business owner's assets than the business owner had intended.

Divorce may affect golden year plans

Dissolving a marriage in Arizona generally has a huge impact on the majority of couples' retirement planning. In fact, the closer a couple is to retirement, the more drastically their plans may end up veering off course. A couple of tips may help those navigating divorce close to their golden years.

First, creating a new household budget right away following divorce is important. After all, one's household income may significantly drop following a marital split-up. In light of this, doing extra things financially -- such as dedicating funds to an existing 401(k) plan -- may end up not being possible anymore. The most important thing is to ensure that one is able to meet all living expenses.

How does Arizona divorce court view pet custody?

Everyone has heard the stories about a divorcing couple who can’t decide who gets the car, a piece of furniture or a favorite painting. In the divorce process, it’s common to divide assets. Arizona follows the concept of community property, which means anything you’ve acquired during marriage is owned equally by both partners. In divorce, those assets are divided to give equal value to each side.

According to Arizona state law, your family pets are property. That means you both own the dog or cat. Of course, you can’t split the value of a living animal, which often leads to heated debate. Pets, especially in the current era, are members of the family. A judge may be able to award the pet to a single owner in your divorce, leaving you without an important member of your current household

Credit accounts important to consider during divorce

Getting divorced in Arizona can be messy because this legal process involves untangling not just hearts but also finances. One of the biggest causes of conflict during divorce is property division. However, dealing with credit is also an important consideration during this type of family law proceeding.

In many marriages, couples decide to open joint accounts as well as individual accounts. With joint accounts, they can use their financial resources together to get a loan or a credit card. With an individual account, just one spouse can use his or her income, credit history and assets to obtain a credit card or loan.

Family home may be major source of conflict during divorce

Navigating the dissolution of a marriage in Arizona is one of the most difficult experiences anyone can go through, both emotionally and financially. In many divorce situations, the biggest area of concern and contention is the family home, especially if the two divorcing spouses have children together. After all, in many families, the marital home is the largest asset.

Some spouses who are going through divorce prefer to keep the marital home. Meanwhile, others desire to buy new homes with their particular shares of equitable distribution once their divorces have been finalized. Making a decision about the home based on logic rather than merely on emotion is critical to avoid making an unwise financial decision.

Exchanging information necessary during divorce proceeding

Divorce sometimes cannot be avoided if the two spouses simply cannot reconcile their differences. However, figuring out how to navigate this type of legal proceeding in Arizona can be overwhelming. An important first step to remember when starting out is to file the necessary initial court papers. Typically, one spouse files a petition for divorce, and the other one files a formal answer.

The next step, called the discovery process, is just as important. It involves exchanging important information between the two spouses. The documents that need to be exchanged include a host of topics, including how much income each earns, how much debt there is and what property is owned.

Questions to ask before keeping the home after divorce

Whether or not to keep the family home after a divorce is a huge decision that you should not rush. It is understandable to want to hold onto such an important piece of your life and assets, but this is not necessarily the best decision for your family. Assess your situation and your finances first, asking yourself these questions:

Reppucci & Roeder Attorneys at Law | 5727 N. 7th Street, Ste. 205, Phoenix, Arizona 85014 Phone: (480) 900-5538 Map & Directions
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