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Arizona Family Law Blog

Why more millennials want prenuptial agreements

Arizona couples who are getting married may be more likely to first sign a prenuptial agreement than in earlier decades. The American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers reports an increase in the number of couples seeking prenuptial agreements, but a more recent development is a surge in millennials who want the document.

The 18-to-34 age group is getting married at later ages than their parents and grandparents did, and this means that they are more likely to have acquired a number of assets on their own. Entering the workforce during a difficult economy means that they may also be very concerned about holding onto any accumulated assets. A prenup is a way for them to protect real estate, stocks, retirement accounts and other assets from divorce.

Financial shocks can accompany divorce

Divorce can often carry with it financial consequences that can be far more significant than the emotional and practical aspects of ending a marriage. When couples in Arizona decide to divorce, it can often be a harsh financial awakening for one or both divorcing spouses. This is borne out in a study conducted in which 1,750 divorced or divorcing women discussed the financial impacts of divorce. Nearly half of all respondents said that they had experienced financial surprises during the process, with younger women even more likely than older women to face a sudden shock.

For many women who had been stay-at-home mothers and wives for many years, the return to the workforce was itself a financial shock. In some cases, they were unable to obtain the salary that they expected, while in other instances they faced career setbacks due to years outside the workforce. The cost of healthcare as a single person was also a significant financial issue for the survey participants. Many had expected alimony and spousal support payments to last longer than they did, and transitioning away from reliance on those payments was a difficult adjustment.

Money problems commonly cause divorce

Arizona couples end their marriages for many different reasons, but the majority of them likely blame money problems of some sort for their split. In fact, some experts claim money problems are the top cause of divorce in America. However, if couples know what to look out for, they may be able to avoid both financial problems and divorce court.

For example, poor communication about money is one of the most common reasons couples file for divorce. One solution to this problem is for couples to schedule occasional discussions about family finances. This helps ensure both spouses are in the financial loop and allows any money concerns to be aired out. Good communication can also help couples avoid money secrets, which is another common reason for divorce. These can involve things like one spouse hiding money from the other or a spouse running up debts without the other's knowledge. To avoid this, couples should trust each other and be honest about their financial activities.

Does adultery affect Arizona divorce?

There are many reasons why married couples decide to divorce. Although addictions and money problems commonly come into play, one of the most typical reasons that receives a lot of attention is adultery. This occurs when one married partner engaged in a physical or emotional relationship with another person outside of the marriage. 

Some states have laws stating that one spouse's infidelity could lead to the judge altering the amount of alimony the other party receives. However, Arizona has no such law. Most couples in Arizona have no-fault divorces, which means the couple does not need any reason in the court's eyes to separate. 

Being proactive about finances after divorce is a good plan

Divorce is a time of turbulence and upheaval in most people's lives with long-lasting consequences. One way Arizona residents who are going through this process can prevent a negative impact in the future is by being proactive about their financial planning.

There are some specific things to plan for when beginning divorce proceedings. The first is to evaluate the financial situation and what life will look like financially when the split is done. This means making a budget that includes expenses such as housing, utilities, food, health, transportation and debt that must be paid off. It is important to note that lenders can hold a person responsible even when his or her ex-spouse was the one who took out the loan.

Couples hurry to finalize divorces in 2018

Arizona couples who are planning to divorce may have some extra incentive provided by federal tax law to act as quickly as possible to finalize their splits before the end of 2018. As part of a package of tax reforms, changes are coming to the handling of key issues. Many divorcing spouses may wish to avoid these changes and the potential they could represent for an additional tax burden.

Because these changes will only affect divorces that are finalized on or after Jan. 1, 2019, completing a divorce in 2018 means that these changes won't have an effect on finances. The most well-known of the tax law changes that will happen after 2018 is the treatment of alimony. Under the current system, a former spouse who pays alimony can deduct those payments from his or her taxes. For people in high income and tax brackets, the effect can be significant, cutting up to 50 percent from a paying party's tax bill. At the same time, the recipient pays taxes on the alimony. As taxable income, these funds can also be put into an IRA for retirement.

Many divorcing parties might find this Supreme Court case relevant

Judicial ping-pong was certainly not envisioned by either an ex-wife or the adult children of a man from a former marriage who died leaving a life insurance policy. Both the former spouse and the kids voiced a clear-cut claim to the proceeds, expecting to win based on bedrock notions of American law.

Of course, only one side prevailed, with the outcome becoming clear only after successive rounds of litigation that weaved through every level of the federal judiciary. We summarize the case details here for our Arizona readers, given the firm precedential value in the U.S. Supreme Court's recently issued ruling.

How a parent's disability may alter child support payments

A disability may create financial struggles for parents in Arizona who pay child support as well as those who receive it. If the income of the parent who pays support is reduced due to that parent's disability, both parents may end up in a more challenging financial situation, but a court attempts to balance a parent's income with the parent's obligation to support the child.

A parent who becomes disabled and whose income is affected may return to court to ask for a modification based on changed circumstances. If the parent simply continues to pay less, the court can garnish money going to the parent including disability insurance payments. The court will consider the type of disability and the parent's income in creating a new child support order. The order may also be either a temporary or permanent modification based on whether the disability is permanent.

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