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Tuscon Arizona Family Law Blog

Financial control needed when divorce is looming

The writing is on the wall and it is only a matter of time before action must be taken. Once things get to this point, the Arizona spouse needs to begin prioritizing things and take stock of the current financial situation. Of course, it would be prudent if such action had already occurred; however, this is not always the case when a divorce is looming.

Financial concerns are often at the center of the divorce decision. In some cases, one begins to suspect that one's spouse is not being financially honest. Perhaps this spouse is attempting to hide money in a secret bank account, or he/she may be attempting to hide debt that the other is unaware of. In either case, the individual will want to begin looking for evidence that such accounts exist. During the divorce process, each individual will be required to disclose all accounts; however, by knowing what there is ahead of time, there is less room for deception and surprise.

Making child custody easier when choosing to co-parent

Arizona parents who divorce may choose to work together and co-parent their children. This arrangement is often beneficial for the children because it allows them to maintain strong relationships with both parents and be with both of them for substantial amounts of time. Even when agreeing to work together, co-parenting can be a complicated and difficult child custody arrangement.

If co-parenting is the right choice for a family, one of the primary goals should be to keep the best interests of the children as the main priority above all else. Putting the kids in the center and the focus on them will remove some of the attention the parents may be giving to their own temporary hard feelings toward each other. They will have to set these feelings aside as they work together to make decisions that are best for the kids. 

Military divorce is hard -- alimony makes it easier

There are a lot of challenges military spouses face, especially when it comes to having a career. Arizona employers are sometimes hesitant to take a chance on employees who might not be around for long. Maybe you have even experienced this yourself. If so, and you are now going through a divorce, you know how important alimony is.

But you have more to think about than just family law. Unlike civilian divorces, both Arizona state law and the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act -- the USFSPA-- apply to military divorces. Understanding how both laws affect divorce is important.

Helpful tips for those going through a divorce

The process of ending a marriage is difficult, emotionally challenging and complicated for every member of an Arizona family. Divorce is rarely easy, but there are some simple ways to make this process a little easier. In turn, this can lead to a more reasonable divorce settlement and an easier transition into post-divorce life, especially for parents who will have to share custody of children going forward.

One thing that can be helpful is to allow children to maintain strong relationships with the other parent. Kids benefit when they have both parents involved in their lives, and allowing regular access and perhaps even sharing custody can be what's best for them in the future. Parents may also want to remember to show mutual respect when communicating with each other, as it can be harmful for kids to hear parents talking negatively about and to each other.

Are millennials the reason for the divorce rate drop?

The trend with millennials has been to stay married once they do decide to marry. Divorce rates climbed in the country during the 1970s and 80s, and peaked in the mid-70s with 5.3 divorces for every 1,000 Americans. That number has dropped significantly, and it was it was 2.9 for every 1,000 Americans in 2017. That decline, some experts suggest, has to do with more millennials staying married and Arizona residents are among them.

In fact, research shows that there was an 18% drop in the overall divorce rate from 2008 to 2016. Even as millennials approach mid-age, it is expected that those married couples will stay that way. If their marriages are still going strong when they reach their 40s, it is likely they will remain married. Of course, millennials do get divorced, but these divorces actually take on their own dynamic. For instance, many spouses remain friends after their divorces. 

Common complications in a military divorce

A military divorce is what it's called, but to you and your spouse, your breakup may have little to do with the military. It is likely a struggle that is much more personal and a battle your military training can't help you fight. Nevertheless, because of your military status, you have many things to consider and deal with during your divorce that civilians do not. Ignoring them may have negative ramifications for years to come.

Because of the complex nature of the issues involved in a military divorce, you may think you should seek representation from a military legal advisor, or JAG officer. However, these advisors may have limited knowledge of Arizona family law or experience with the delicate matters involved in a divorce. Instead, you may benefit from the representation of a civilian attorney with a military background and experience handling the kinds of divorce issues that service members face.

Frozen embryos spark child custody dispute

Recently, Arizona residents may have seen news headlines regarding a situation faced by former spouses. In the event of a divorce, child custody can be a contentious matter. Not all custody situations can be resolved quickly, and in certain cases, the law may not even provide an immediately clear answer. 

Years ago, an Arizona woman was diagnosed with cancer. Wanting to ensure the possibility of children in the future, the woman and her husband decided to freeze embryos that could be later fertilized using IVF. At the time the decision was made, the woman and her husband signed an agreement stating that the embryos would be discarded in the event of a divorce. It is unclear if the woman sought legal advice before signing the document. 

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.

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