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Arizona Family Law Blog

Creating a financial strategy during a gray divorce

In Arizona and across the United States, "gray divorces" among couples over 50 are becoming more common. Gray divorces have doubled during the past 20 years. While understanding the reasons for a gray divorce may present unique challenges, one thing is certain - women who get gray divorces suffer more than men. For many older women, a gray divorce signals the end of a marriage in which their husbands were the primary breadwinners.

From raising children to washing laundry, preparing meals and cleaning the house, women do not always have time to work outside of the home. Accordingly, a gray divorce can cause an older woman to feel devastated because her husband is no longer part of the financial picture. Plus, many women do not have any retirement savings, including 401(k) plans or even personal individual retirement accounts (IRAs).

Divorcés must deal with expenses as single individuals

In Arizona and across the United States, the end of a marriage is often a negative psychological experience surpassing most emotional upheavals. After a divorce is finalized, legal issues can harm a spouse's financial state of affairs. A person who does not view the settlement with a focused mind may discover that it is impossible to live alone. Couples who divorce after being involved in lengthy marriages may face even more devastating financial circumstances.

Living as a single person is expensive. Many divorced individuals find that living by themselves costs more money than when they lived with their spouses. Consequently, it is important to have a good comprehension of all monthly expenses, including the mortgage, utility bills, medical bills, household repairs and entertainment. In cases where one spouse was the person paying for all the expenses, the other partner may find it difficult to make ends meets. Financial experts advise divorced individuals to look at their immediate needs.

Common reasons why people divorce

When people in Arizona decide to divorce, there are a number of factors that can lead up to that decision. Research has found some common factors motivate people to decide to end their marriages. In general, most people get divorced because of a lack of emotional fulfillment and associated circumstances, according to one study of 2,371 recently divorced people. In 44% of the cases, the respondents initiated divorce proceedings themselves while 40% said the divorce was initiated by a spouse. For the remaining 16%, the divorce was a mutual decision.

Many people divorce without a great deal of conflict, which can be positive in helping people move forward. It can be also important if children are involved although the higher stakes in those cases can also be accompanied by an escalation of tensions. Approximately 40% of the participants said their divorces were amicable while 29% said that they had a lot of conflict during the end of their marriage. The most frequently cited reason for divorce was a lack of love or intimacy with 47% of survey participants saying that the feelings were gone from their relationships.

How to prove you deserve alimony

As a stay-at-home spouse, you face unique concerns when ending your marriage. One of your main worries may be whether you are able to be financially stable after the divorce. You may have confusion about how to receive spousal maintenance. 

Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, is common for nonworking spouses to get. Sometimes, spousal support is short-term, while in other cases it can last for years. Here are some things you can do to improve your chances of receiving financial support from your ex. 

Entrepreneurs should consider a prenuptial agreement

Prenuptial agreements have become increasingly popular in recent years for a number of reasons, and they can be especially beneficial to small business owners in states with community property laws. In states like Arizona, marital property must be divided equally in a divorce even if the marriage involved was a short one. By drafting a prenuptial agreement, couples can decide for themselves how their property will be distributed should they choose to end their marriage.

Prenuptial agreements can include language that puts a value on a business prior to a marriage. This figure would then be considered separate property and not subject to division during divorce negotiations. These documents could also describe how the business will be run and how any profits will be distributed or used. However, prenuptial agreements that are harsh or unfair may be difficult to enforce. Judges could rule that a spouse who stayed home to raise children contributed to a business by freeing the other spouse of these responsibilities and allowing them to concentrate on commercial matters.

Important documents for child custody

Parents in Arizona who try to gain custody of their children should be aware of the important documents they need to bring to their custody hearings. Having the relevant paperwork may help boost their case in front of the judge.

A record of pertinent phone calls between the non-custodial parent and the child is one type of document that should be taken to child custody hearings. The record should detail the number of calls that were made, when they occurred and how long they lasted. This information can be submitted to the family court as proof of constant contact or a lack of contact. However, parents should exercise caution as the non-custodial parent may assert that there wasn't frequent contact because of the actions of the custodial parent, something the family court tends to frown upon.

Protecting financial interests when couples remarry

As some Arizona couples have discovered, remarriage often leads to concerns over finances. About 40% of recent marriages involve a spouse who has been married before. For older adults, the number is higher since two-thirds of Americans ages 55 to 64 have been previously married. Regardless of age, a previously married spouse can bring a lot of financial assets and baggage.

The main issue with finances and subsequent marriages is how to deal with each partner's assets, particularly when they have children they might want to provide for. While a previously married spouse might care very much for their new partner and wish to take care of them as well, their loyalties could be split. To deal with this, analysts recommend couples sign prenuptial agreements that clearly outline what they want to do with their money, what assets they might want to keep separate and even how they want their assets divided after they die.

Even in an acrimonious divorce, the kids are the top priority

Some Arizona couples who have decided it best to end their marriage and part ways seem to be able to maintain a cordial relationship and communicate effectively. For others, communication was a significant issue when they were together, and the divorce serves only to exacerbate the problem to the point where each interaction seems to result in a confrontation. For those exes with children, the failure to be able to act maturely and rationally can have a devastating impact on the kids.

Family relationship professionals report that children of divorce are already at a disadvantage in many critical areas of adult life simply because their parents split up. Certainly, there is ample time and opportunity for kids of divorce to right the ship, but it makes things far easier if their parents display effective communication skills as they work out their issues with each other. There are certain skills and habits exes can develop if they stop and consider the importance of co-parenting as the family transitions from one household to two.

Divorce may be more likely in the summer

August is one of the peak months for Arizona residents and others to get divorced. This was one of the main takeaways from a study conducted by researchers from the University of Washington. March, September and January are also months when divorce rates tend to increase. Those who think that their marriages are on shaky ground may want to start preparing for a divorce as soon as possible.

Ideally, an individual will take stock of assets such as the value of a bank or brokerage account. It can also be a good idea to start thinking about who would be part of the divorce team that provides support and advice during the process. Speaking with a lawyer may be a good idea even if an individual isn't ready to end a marriage just yet.

3 reasons income inequality may lead to divorce

Money is a stressful topic for many married couples. In fact, it is one of the top marital woes that contribute to divorce.

One facet of this financial tug of war is a disparity in income. When one partner makes substantially more than the other, no matter the reason, it can place additional stress on the relationship. Take a look at three of the reasons behind this trend.

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