RPM Law

Tuscon Arizona Family Law Blog

The responsibility for student loan debt in a divorce situation

A marriage breakdown is emotionally draining, and it can be especially so when it comes to the financial picture. Arizona residents going through a divorce and who have been carrying student loan debt may be wondering if their soon-to-be former spouses may be responsible for helping them to pay those loans since the division of property includes not only assets, but debts. If the student loan was taken out before a person got married, he or she is responsible for paying it; however, if that loan was secured during the marriage, it can become complicated.

Arizona is a community property state which means assets and debts are divided equally, so any loans acquired after marriage are typically split evenly between spouses. There may be some exceptions, however, depending upon the individual situation. If there is some contention regarding a student loan, a family court judge will look at things like whether a marital agreement was in place, any increase in income that came from the education, timing of the divorce in regard to schooling and whether the couple has any significant assets.

Are you worried about property division in an Arizona divorce?

When a married couple in Arizona decides to end their relationship, it is typically understood that there will be numerous issues to resolve before a settlement can be achieved. If the couple has children together, child custody and support issues will no doubt be high priorities. Property division is also another common main concern in divorce. This state operates under community property rules, which can sometimes spark a hidden asset problem if one spouse tries to gain the upper hand in proceedings.

Hiding assets in divorce is illegal. If a spouse suspects his or her partner of such a scheme, he or she can bring the matter to the court's attention. However, mere accusations are not enough to convince the court that someone has engaged in this misconduct. A concerned spouse will need to show enough evidence to substantiate his or her claim.

The divorce season is upon us

The end of the year is a time for celebrating the past 12 months and looking ahead to the future. A lot of people in Arizona use this time to think about their goals for 2020 or which resolutions they should try out this year. Some, however, are planning something a little more significant. As New Year's Day brings in a brand new year, a significant number of people will be filing for divorce.

This is because there is another season that follows soon after the end-of-year holidays -- the divorce season. Every January, the number of divorce filings shoots up around 33%. This is likely in part because some people want to wait until after family celebrations to make such a big move, but there is also more to it than that. For couples who are already unhappy, the holidays can be the one thing that makes it impossible to avoid big issues.

What your marriage counselor may not be telling you

Like many Arizona couples who are in troubled marriages, you and your spouse may have sought the help of a marriage counselor or couples therapist. These professionals can often offer unbiased words of wisdom and guidance to spouses who may be unable to see the real problems because they are too close to the situation. However, it may not take long for a marriage counselor to discern whether your marriage will survive at all.

Unfortunately, some relationships have already suffered too much damage to benefit from counseling or therapy. While it would be unfair to say that every marriage is doomed if it encounters certain challenges, many counselors can recognize when a couple may be better off releasing each other from a painful situation.

Can you lessen the financial impact of a gray divorce?

Decades ago, when you walked down the aisle, the thought that you could end up divorcing after age 50 probably never crossed your mind. You felt as many people did back then -- that you would spend the rest of your life with your new spouse.

Now that the kids are adults and living their own lives, things may have changed. Divorce doesn't have the stigma attached to it as it used to. People live longer thanks to medical advancements, but that means you could have decades left with your spouse, and that thought scares you. For whatever reason, you no longer want to be married to your spouse, but you fear the financial implications of divorce.

Gray divorce and its long-term implications

The end of a marriage is going to bring significant changes to a person's life, especially regarding his or her finances. It can be especially damaging for a person who is older, leaving him or her fewer years to recover financially from the divorce. A divorce involving two people age 50 or older is called a gray divorce, and it is a growing trend in Arizona and across the country. 

When older people divorce, it can mean they have decades of assets and savings to divide. Perhaps they have children from previous marriages they need to protect. And in addition to these things, they also have to think about the impact their divorce will have on their retirement. It's critical for a person who is over the age of 50 to think about the long-term implications of each choice he or she may make.

Child custody: How will it be determined?

When children are involved, the decision to divorce can become even more complicated. The responsible Arizona parent wants what is best for the children; however, the individual parents may not agree on the specific details here. One important detail that must be taken into consideration during the divorce process is how child custody will be handled.

Depending upon the age and maturity level of the children, the judge may take the children's preferences into consideration. In addition, the past history regarding who performed which responsibilities related to child care will likely be taken into consideration. For example, if one parent traditionally made sure that the children attended school, doctors' appointments, religious services and even extracurricular activities, this may play a part in the court's custody decision.

Family law: Grandparents taking on the role of raising grandkids

There may be times when parents can't care for their own children, for whatever reasons. In some of these cases in Arizona, grandparents often step up to the plate to take over the duties of raising their grandchildren. Family law rules say that guardians of children must always do what is in their best interests. and this also applies to family members, other than parents, raising children.

Grandparents have already raised their own children, so when they agree to do the same for their grandchildren, it can present a number of challenges. They're no longer as young as when they raised their own kids, but this is not to say that they can't give their grandchildren a sense of security, love, self-confidence, support and happiness. These grandparents have to deal with the same things parents deals with: getting the kids to school, making meals, taking kids to leisure activities, taking care of their health and dealing with the issues of helping a child grow up. 

Family law: Some Arizona kids struggle with traumatic events

Some kids are struggling to keep their heads above water. Arizona family law rules are in existence to protect children and to do what is in their best interests, but many kids have been and are being traumatized by situations in which they should not be involved: physical, emotional and sexual abuse, substance abuse by their parents, and other egregious wrongdoings by the adults in their lives who should be looking after them. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), more than two-thirds of children in the country reported at least one traumatic event by the time they reached 16 years of age.

The numbers are even worse regarding kids in Arizona where 27% have had two or more adverse events in their lives by age 16. These incidents can also include neglect, domestic violence, mental illness, divorce or separation of their parents or parents being incarcerated. Children who have two or more traumatic experiences in their young lives are more likely to need to repeat a grade or more in school, miss more days of school and are more likely to be overweight or obese.

Same-sex couples: To marry or not

It was a hard-fought battle for same-sex couples in Arizona, so when a federal court acknowledged your right to marry just a year before the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, you may have felt is was long overdue. In fact, you may have been among the many who lived with your partner for years before obtaining federal protection for your union.

The right to marry carries other protections as well. Far from being just a piece of paper or an expensive ceremony, marriage provides you and your partner with some important legal perks that you may not have considered. However, you cannot overlook the potential disadvantages to marrying your same-sex partner.

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