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Phoenix Arizona Family Law Blog

Things grandparents should know about child custody

When families are torn apart, it is often the children who suffer the most. Recently, child custody has become a hot topic, as more and more studies have shown the disastrous psychological and emotional effects a divorce or separation can have on children. These days, it is not uncommon for grandparents to take over as primary caretakers. However, there are a few legal processes that grandparents in Arizona and other states may want to follow to provide the best possible care for children.

A grandparent power of attorney can allow grandparents to legally provide things such medical treatment or academic enrollment. Although this type of power of attorney can quickly be put in place, the parent must give consent. A caretaker authorization is similar to a power of attorney and is typically recommended when a parent has left the children, as parental consent is not needed. A caretaker authorization would also give grandparents authorization to interact with schools or seek medical treatment.

Celebrities are not immune to the pitfalls of divorce

Marriage is a time of love and joy and an occasion fondly celebrated by couples all over Arizona. In the beginning, feelings of happiness and excitement abound. However, people often change as they age, and differences between spouses can lead to separation. What were once positive, loving emotions may eventually turn into feelings of uncertainty, loneliness and despair. Celebrities are often looked upon differently and held to a higher standard, but they too can struggle with separation and divorce.

The divorce of a high-profile, celebrity couple has been making headlines across the country. According to reports, Jennifer Garner recently filed to have her divorce finalized from her husband Ben Affleck. Reports say that Garner requested to have a private judge assigned to her case in order to accelerate the divorce proceedings.

New tax laws may make divorce even more expensive

As if the cost of living in Arizona these days isn't high enough, new tax laws may make it more expensive for couples who are deciding to split. The least of concerns for those going through a divorce are taxes, but new tax laws that go into effect in 2019 may impact those who are ending their marriage. The changes stem from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which was signed into law in Dec. 2017.

Under the current law, the spouse paying alimony is allowed to deduct those payments, while the spouse who receives alimony is taxed according to his or her tax bracket. However, the new law makes alimony nontaxable for the recipient and not tax-deductible for the payer. This legislation reverses tax laws from 77 years ago that were designed to ease the transition from paying taxes jointly to separately.

Parenting time schedules vary greatly

One of the biggest considerations of a parenting plan is the schedule that the children will follow. It isn't always easy to decide this, so parents must be sure to think about a variety of factors before they make the decision.

In the past, the child custody schedule usually included being at the custodial parent's house except for every other weekend and two weeks during the summer. This antiquated schedule put the non-custodial parent at a big disadvantage because they didn't have that much time with their children. There are many other options that parents can choose from now. It is even possible to create your own parenting time schedule.

Parental cooperation is key for child custody

Parenting is never easy, but parenting during a separation can be especially difficult. Arizona parents only want the best for their kids, so working out a child custody arrangement is usually a top priority. Putting differences aside and working together for the benefit of children creates a stable environment which facilitates development. A lengthy and vicious custody battle between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie continues to make headlines, but now the former spouses appear to be turning over a new leaf.

The couple's tumultuous split has been widely publicized. Reports say that only a few weeks ago Jolie had accused Pitt of neglecting to pay meaningful child support and attempted to gain a court order mandating Pitt to pay. Sources close to Pitt say that he had paid over $9 million since the couple separated. However, a judge recently ordered Jolie to repair the relationship between the children and their father.

Gray divorce is becoming common across the country

Deciding to end a marriage at any age is tough and extremely stressful. These days, more and more senior adults in Arizona are experiencing divorce. According to recent statistics, divorce rates among adults ages 50 and older in the United States have nearly doubled in the last 20 years. Commonly known as gray divorce, this unique situation presents special challenges to senior adults who find themselves thrust into sudden instability.

What can be causing this trend of later-in-life divorce? One factor may be that people are living longer these days, but societal stigmas toward divorce in general have been greatly reduced. It is possible that many senior adults, when faced with the prospect of a longer life, are simply refusing to stay unhappily married. Adult children and grandchildren of gray-divorcees certainly feel the impact. Grandchildren especially may not understand why they no longer see their grandparents together.

Child custody: More parents are choosing co-parenting

When Arizona parents separate these days, a common arrangement is shared parenting. Also known as co-parenting, this is a child custody arrangement in which both parents assume equal and joint responsibility of raising children even though the parents are legally separated. Although this type of custody agreement can be difficult, especially during a divorce, it is arguably the most beneficial custody arrangement for children.

Special efforts are needed by both parents in order to make co-parenting successful. Even if both parents understand the benefits of effective co-parenting, the emotional effects of divorce can make it a challenge. Parents should consider creating a parenting agreement. This makes the arrangement more of a business agreement, which could help to take emotions out of play when making decisions that will affect children.

Child support program offers help to those behind on payments

For parents in Arizona and across the nation, the needs of children are a primary concern. When parents separate, a shock is often felt as two incomes are suddenly reduced to one. To offset this loss, child support laws were established in all states. Unfortunately, sometimes the noncustodial parent cannot make child support payments, which can eventually result in jail time. Instead of throwing offenders in jail, one state uses a program to help those behind on payments.

The program was started in 2012 to obtain payments from noncustodial parents who were delinquent by helping them find employment. According to one advocate, before the program was started, parents who couldn't make payments were given jail time over and over while the children were not getting much-needed financial support. Now, the program works with unemployed parents one-on-one to help them find work.

Tips for fathers going through divorce

It's estimated that about half of all marriages in the United States end in separation. Those going through this experience can be left emotionally and psychologically devastated. Social stereotypes often portray men as being the emotionally stronger sex, but this is not always the case. Fathers going through divorce may find themselves struggling and in need of support, but reluctant to seek help. The following advice could be helpful for fathers in Arizona going through the divorce process.

One of the most important things to do in any tense situation is to keep a level head and react rationally. Divorces are commonly high-conflict situations. Instead of engaging in battles, be flexible and learn to manage emotions. This benefits both parties and can make for a less strenuous divorce process, especially for children.

Protect your ability to retire after an Arizona divorce

Getting divorced often has a serious financial impact on both you and your spouse. There are certain steps you can take to protect your finances and many factors you need to consider to minimize the financial impact of your divorce. One of the areas that is most often significantly changed in a divorce is your retirement fund.

Generally speaking, those divorcing in Arizona can expect to split most of their retirement savings or investments as part of the divorce process. Unless you have a prenuptial agreement that protects these assets or you acquired them prior to marriage, you and your spouse will most likely both and up with part of your retirement fund.

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