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Tuscon Arizona Family Law Blog

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.

Avoiding the financial pitfalls of a grey divorce

Some couples who are unhappy are deciding to end their marriages even if they have been married for many years. Divorce over the age of 50 -- or grey divorce as it is known -- is becoming more common today. In fact, overall divorce rates are declining in the country except for couples in this age range. Arizona spouses in this situation may wish to sidestep the possible financial ramifications of divorce later in life by avoiding certain mistakes.

When a couple that is close to retirement age divorces, there can be added financial pitfalls which could include retirement plans. One piece of advice experts agree on is selling the family home to offset any financial injury; holding onto a home may make the situation even more tenuous. Couples also need to know where they stand in terms of their assets and their debts so each person can make plans regarding their financial situation. Not looking at that picture can also create an added financial burden.

Child custody results are changing

Arizona recently received some positive publicity, and residents will be pleased to know the news may make family situations easier. Going to court to dispute child custody can be a trying experience for all involved, but the state has recently taken measures to improve the process. Over a third of U.S. states did not fare well in the research that determined the results, but Arizona ranked near the top. 

Arizona has taken measures to assure that, when possible and appropriate, equal access to children is given to both parents. Experts say this greatly reduces the stress that can accompany child custody proceedings. The state feels a parent that has not been deemed a threat or unstable should not have to fight to see his or her child. 

The most important part of custody matters to the military

Serving in the U.S. Armed Forces is noble and often considered a calling. It comes with numerous sacrifices. The service member isn't the only one who makes them, however. Being part of a military family can result in a unique type of stress that civilian families may not have to endure.

Long days, deployments and training could keep the service member away from home. This could put a strain on the marital relationship to the point at which it results in divorce. As part of the proceedings, you will need to work out your child custody issues, but as a member of the military, you will have one more task to complete -- your family care plan.

Divorce and the age of social media

Social media has become a ubiquitous part of modern society. Certainly, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other popular online communities can make communication with friends and family easy and fun, but for persons going through a stressful situation, such as divorce, social media may create stress and feelings of failure. If an Arizona resident is considering divorce, he or she may want to think about how to handle social media during the process. 

Things people post on social media are often saved and shared, and once something is posted, there might not be anything that can be done to erase it forever. Many users have had social media accounts for many years, and since weddings are generally happy events to celebrate, it is not uncommon for people to have albums full of pictures or posts featuring a spouse or special song or memory. When a couple decides to end a marriage, announcing the split on social media may feel like admitting some sort of failure. 

Single parents and child custody

Being a parent is a difficult job, and single parents may struggle more than parents who have the help of a spouse, domestic partner or other family members around to help. For a single parent, maintaining employment may be a necessity to provide for one's children. Unfortunately, choosing work over the safety of a child can result in loss of child custody

Recently, an Arizona mother with two young twin boys was arrested. The trouble began when a neighbor reported that the boys, age 3, seemed unattended as they reached through a broken window to toss toys into the yard. When police arrived, they found that the children were indeed alone and wearing dirty diapers. 

Adopting a child through the foster care system

If you have always seen your future with children in it, you are likely someone with a generous heart. Raising a child is a challenge, but it also comes with immeasurable rewards. Whether you already have children of your own or you are ready for your first child, if you are open to adoption, you should know how many options you have. The sad fact is that many children do not have homes and are eager to be part of a family like yours.

One way in which children find their forever homes is through the Arizona Department of Child Safety. Through this agency, children find foster homes, but many are also eligible for adoption. You may discover that adopting through DCS can fulfill your dreams and provide hope and joy for a child.

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