Tuscon Arizona Family Law Blog

A mediated divorce can benefit the entire family

Divorce is thought to be on the decline in Arizona and the rest of the country. There is something fairly new in the divorce landscape that is catching on especially when there are children involved. Mediated divorce is thought to be a less contentious approach and can be particularly helpful to setting up joint parenting arrangements.

Mediation is a process whereby a couple meets with a third party, an impartial mediator, who helps the couple reach an agreement on their various issues. Mediation allows the parties to explore options, goals and concerns regarding shared parenting following a divorce. For mediation to be effective, both parties have to be willing to communicate and negotiate in good faith.

Child custody and what is best for the children

What is best for the children is often a primary concern when an Arizona couple decides to divorce. Each parent has his or her own idea of what is best for the children. Additionally, if the children are old enough, they likely have their own ideas as well. In the best case scenario, all of these ideas are taken into consideration in deciding child custody issues regarding the couple's children.

The type of legal custody granted by the court determines who has the authority of make decisions for the children. These decisions typically include education, medical, religious and other life decisions. Under a sole legal custody arrangement, one parent is responsible for these decisions. However, under a joint legal custody arrangement, both parents share responsibility.

Divorce and its impact on the individual's business

After years spent working and building a business, the Arizona entrepreneur typically wants to do everything possible to make the business thrive. Countless hours and money are often involved in such an endeavor. Yet, all of this hard work can be in vain if the business becomes part of the entrepreneur's divorce battleground.

Typically, income earned and growth of the business throughout the marriage is considered community property. However, in some cases, one of both individuals may desire to keep the business separate. There are various ways that this can be accomplished.

What happens to the other military benefits in a divorce?

Without a doubt, military families face challenges that civilian families never will. In some cases, this makes them stronger, but in others, it can cause a breakdown in the marriage that leads to divorce.

When a military couple divorces, they must resolve all of the same issues civilian couples do, but perhaps not in the same way. The issue of retirement follows federal law, and the state can only do so much. Custody issues take on an added dimension due to possible deployments and relocation. When addressing such large and important issues, it can be easy to forget to address smaller, but possibly just as important, issues.

Family law concerns and the prenuptial agreement

Marriages do not last forever. Prior to walking down the aisle, the Arizona couple typically dreams of living happily ever after. Unfortunately, this dream will one day end – either with death or divorce.  In preparation for this inevitable end, a prenuptial agreement can be a useful tool in planning ahead to be certain that specific assets are appropriately distributed. Family law attorneys can assist in this matter.

In today's society, many couples who enter marriage already have children from a previous relationship. The parent may want to make sure that these children receive certain assets upon the death of the parent. For example, money may be set aside in an account for the children or a piece of property may have been in the family for generations. In these cases, these wishes can be spelled out in a prenuptial agreement.

Arizona military parents facing divorce: Know your rights

The last thing you wanted in the weeks leading up to your deployment was for your spouse to file divorce papers. It happened, and now you are doing your best to come to terms with the situation. It may not have come as a great surprise because you knew your marriage was heading downhill; however, you'd hoped to talk more about it after you came back to Arizona.

Now it's done, and you feel stressed because, instead of preparing to deploy, you're busy worrying about child custody and other divorce-related issues. The Servicemember's Civil Relief Act may help you alleviate stress. The more you learn about this law before you deploy, the better.

Military divorce presents its own type of challenges

Military families face a number of challenges that other Arizona couples may not have to face. Over time, each spouse makes adjustments and learns how to handle these challenges. The same is true when the couple decides to divorce and challenges related to a military divorce need to be addressed.

One challenge is determining if and how retirement payments will be made to the nonmilitary spouse. If the spouse is entitled to receipt of a portion of the military member's retirement pay based upon the divorce decree, then it is possible for the Department of Defense to make direct retirement payments to the spouse under certain conditions. This option is only available if the couple has been married for a minimum of 10 years and at least one of the individuals was an active member of the military for at least 10 years of the marriage. Additionally, the military member is required to address the option of survivor's benefits upon retirement. This is a separate issue and should be addressed in the divorce negotiation process.

Divorce and retirement accounts

Financial concerns are often top of mind when an Arizona couple decides to end their marriage. How will property be divided, who will receive what financial assets and who will be responsible for which bills are important factors. The answer to these questions can have a significant impact upon the individual for years to come following the divorce.

Retirement accounts are often a significant financial asset to be considered. These accounts typically hold a large percentage of the couple's investment portfolio. Due to the nature of these accounts, they cannot simply be cashed out and the proceeds divided between the two parties. Depending upon each individual's age, there may be tax penalties associated with cashing out. However, this does not mean that part of them cannot be transferred to the other individual.

Divorce, college expenses and child custody concerns

In addition to the emotional aspects of divorce, there are a number of financial aspects that need to be considered. These aspects often include the division of assets, child support and even child custody concerns. The Arizona couple will want to address these concerns as a part of the divorce negotiations.

The everyday expenses involved with raising children are what generally come to mind as a part of this process. In addition to these expenses, the parents will also want to address their children's educational future. Specifically, they will want to address what role each parent will play in the financial aspects of their college education. How much will each parent contribute, how to handle possible changes in the parent's financial situation, what if the child decides to take time off before attending college and other important details are often better addressed as a part of the original divorce process.

Can you still use TRICARE after a military divorce?

Health insurance is a big deal for many people these days, especially as they age. With a large number of older couples divorcing, retaining health insurance becomes a priority during the proceedings.

If you were a military spouse who used TRICARE for your medical insurance, you may be able to keep it. If you qualify under the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, more commonly known as DEERS, you may sponsor yourself under your own Social Security number if your former sponsor (your former spouse) served at least 20 years that count toward retirement.


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