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Arizona Family Law Blog

Planning for a child's college expenses during a divorce

When Arizona parents get a divorce, one concern they may have, even if their children are very young, is how to pay for their offspring's college education. Parents who hoped to send their children to an expensive private college may find that the costs associated with splitting into two households instead of maintaining one make that less likely.

However, parents can still plan for their children's college education as part of the divorce agreement. Each parent might agree to contribute a certain amount even if it is not as much as they had hoped to before the divorce. Parents and their children can also research the availability of scholarships, loans, and grants.

Survey finds lack of commitment, infidelity lead to divorce

People in Arizona who are getting a divorce may do so because of religious differences, financial issues or marriage at too young an age. These were only a few of the reasons cited by the 31 women and 21 men in a survey by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. All of the people who participated in the survey had been in a program called PREP 14 years earlier that taught conflict resolution and communication skills to couples.

The most common factor cited by people who divorced was a lack of commitment with three-quarters mentioning it. More than half said infidelity was a factor, and it was the top reason cited as the final straw that ended the marriage. Just behind infidelity was too much arguing.

Custody versus “Legal Decision-Making” for Arizona children

Following your divorce, you will no doubt give high priority to caring for your children, helping them adjust to the new circumstances and guiding them into the future. Child custody laws in Arizona have undergone a change in that the term “custody” is no longer used. There are now two parts: 1) Parenting time and 2) Legal Decision-Making Authority.

Understanding the statute

How parents can put together a parenting schedule after divorce

Parents in Arizona who get a divorce might also have to work out a parenting schedule. They should not treat this as an opportunity to get back at one another because they are angry about the divorce. The parenting schedule's purpose is for the child to be able to build a healthy relationship with both parents post-divorce.

With this in mind, parents should think about what will be convenient for the child and not for them. They should consider the logistics of where each of them lives and the distance from the child's school. They should also consider the child's activities outside of school. Older children sometimes want to have a say in the schedule. Particular considerations may need to be in place for children with special needs.

Prenups for students

It is not unusual for young people in Arizona, or just about anywhere else, to decide to get married while still pursuing an undergraduate or graduate education. Because these couples are usually quite young and don't have a lot of assets, they may decide to forgo a prenuptial agreement. This can be a mistake.

Students very often have unique financial circumstances that could affect marital finances. In addition, while nobody gets married with the anticipation of eventually getting divorced, the reality is that at least some marriages will end. Having a prenuptial agreement may help to simplify the divorce process and allow both spouses to rebuild their finances quickly.

Divorce can be difficult from a fiscal standpoint

Getting a divorce can be worthwhile for an Arizona spouse who's in a toxic or abusive relationship. It can also be a good decision for someone who's simply ready to move on with their life. However, money can play a role in determining when to actually go about ending a marriage. At a minimum, it can be difficult to make ends meet on half the money that used to be available to cover household expenses.

When a person chooses to get a divorce, it may require the help of many different types of professionals. A therapist could be necessary to deal with the emotional fallout while an accountant may be needed to handle the financial impact of the separation. In addition, an attorney is often necessary for navigating divorce-related legal issues.

Divorce filings in Arizona surge in January

Family law attorneys in Arizona and around the country generally deal with a surge of new divorce filings in January. Spouses who wish to end their marriages begin to appear at attorney's offices on the first Monday after the holiday season has concluded, and the uptick in divorce petitions usually continues for several weeks. This is an annual phenomenon so predictable that many lawyers now refer to the first post-holiday Monday as "Divorce Day".

Psychologists have several explanations for the annual spike in divorce filings, but most put the trend down to the emotional drain of the holiday season. Some spouses wait until the holidays are over so their decision to end an unhappy marriage does not ruin the festivities for their families and friends while others become swept up in the celebrations and decide to give their relationships one last chance.

Why most parents should share custody

Research suggests that parents in Arizona and throughout the country share custody of their children if possible. This is true even if the child is a toddler. Generally speaking, allowing a child to stay overnight with a mother or father is not going to harm their development. Furthermore, having both parents share custody can be good for the family as a whole. Children in such an environment had fewer mental, physical and behavioral problems.

They also tended to have better relationships with their parents and others in their lives. Finally, shared custody led to children with less stress and greater satisfaction in their lives. These conclusions were based on an analysis of 54 studies. Researchers said that children were better off in joint custody situations even when the parents experienced conflict in their own relationships. That result was based mostly on the fact that noncustodial fathers didn't see their children as often when they didn't have custody.

How will divorce impact your taxes?

Divorcing your spouse has implications on virtually every aspect of your life, including taxes. Filing your taxes is already complex enough, so you may have some concerns about how the divorce will make it even worse. Getting a divorce does not necessarily make your taxes more complicated, but it certainly changes a few things.

Ending your marriage may affect your filing status and ability to claim dependents. In addition, alimony may impact how you report or pay your taxes.

Dividing a small business during a divorce

An Arizona business owner going through a divorce may be concerned about how a split will affect their enterprise. Whether the business is owned by one spouse alone or jointly owned by both partners, it is important to have an accurate valuation of the company's worth before entering into divorce negotiations. In some cases, the business may be the largest single asset divided in the divorce. This may require looking at the current value as well as the potential for future expansion.

By ensuring that the company's valuation is accurate, divorcing spouses can help to verify that the settlement of their split will be equitable. A partner can either receive a buyout offer or make the same offer to the other spouse. This buyout amount will generally be based on the fair market value of the company. Depending on the context of the divorce, it may be important to have an accountant produce an independent appraisal. When one spouse is accusing the other of hiding assets, a forensic accountant can examine the financial records and uncover any issues.

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