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Arizona Family Law Blog

How visitation schedules are created

If a parent in Arizona is not granted custody of a child, that person is likely to be granted visitation rights. However, a visitation schedule may not look the same for all households. In some cases, a parent may be allowed to see a child on weekends or on alternating weeks. It is also possible that a parent will get to his or her child during school vacations or during the holidays.

The exact arrangement depends on the needs of the children as well as where the parents are located. A younger child may need to have a set routine, which means spending the week with the custodial parent and the weekend with the noncustodial parent may be best. Older children with parents who live close to each other may benefit from spending one week with a parent before spending the next week with the other parent.

What happens in the case of interstate child support?

Once your divorce decree is official, you can finally move on with your life. The prospects are exciting but daunting. When enough time has gone by for you to settle into your new reality, your ex-spouse moves to a new state.

Suddenly, all the formal and informal agreements you both made during the divorce no longer feel solid. If you are the parent who remains behind with the children, one of your first concerns is likely to be child support.

Making divorce easier for children during the holidays

Parents and children in Arizona normally enjoy a healthy mix of enjoyment and anxiety during the holidays due to the bustle of activity characteristic of this time of the year. However, families dealing with the added dynamics of divorce and the logistics of two households often face added dilemmas. Tension between exes can further complicate matters, which is why the recommendations discussed below are often made to help parents still experience the joy of spending the holidays with their children without added stress.

Keeping the focus on children requires an effort by both parents to put aside feelings of anger and resentment. If this proves to be a difficult task, counseling or support from friends may be helpful. Putting children's well-being first means that parents are advised to avoid purposely preventing the other one from seeing kids during scheduled visitations. Coordination and clarity are equally important. Developing a mutually acceptable plan during the holidays, for instance, can involve predetermining how, when, and where picking up and dropping off will occur.

How to help your teen cope with your divorce

Divorcing with children of any age comes with unique challenges, but there are specific issues you must address when you have a teenager. Teenagers are old enough to understand divorce more than young children, which can make it an even more damaging process for them. 

If you have an adolescent child, it is crucial to be supportive of him or her before, during and after your divorce. Here are a few ways you can guide your teenager through the breakup of your marriage.

Parallel parenting to reduce conflict after divorce

Arizona parents who are unable to co-parent effectively because there is too much conflict between them might consider an approach known as parallel parenting. These parents usually agree on major issues such as religion but are unable to be in regular communication. Children suffer most during and after a divorce by witnessing conflict between their parents, so the best approach for parents who cannot resolve this may be avoiding contact as much as possible while still maintaining a relationship with their children.

Parallel parenting requires a more detailed plan than co-parenting because of the parents' need to avoid this communication. They might agree to share calendars or communicate using email or in other limited ways as necessary regarding the children, but a good plan will help them keep this to a minimum. Parallel parents may want to have no direct communication at all. While co-parenting requires that each parent respects the other, parallel parenting means parents must give up efforts to control one another.

Parents look for innovative shared custody solutions

Parents in Arizona who are considering divorce may be particularly concerned about how post-marriage life will affect their children. Even if a divorce is amicable, kids can face a difficult transition when leaving the family home. An increasing number of families -- and family court judges -- prefer joint or shared custody, which keeps both parents active in the child's life on a roughly equal basis. However, this can still be disruptive as children move back and forth between their parents' homes on a weekly basis.

Therefore, some divorcing couples are looking for a way to provide a gentler transition for their children. For some, "birdnesting" is such a solution. In this child custody arrangement, the children stay in the family home. Meanwhile, the parents also rent another apartment, and they each cycle through the apartment and the home to spend their custody time with their children. This system helps to keep expenses down in the immediate post-divorce stage. It can be useful when children are completing their school year or adjusting emotionally.

Handling the marital home during divorce

When people in Arizona decide to divorce, one of the most fraught issues can be how the marital home is dealt with. In some cases, both parties want to keep the home; in other cases, finances mean that it must be sold. There are a number of issues for people to consider when they decide how to handle the family home during a divorce. One of the first things to understand about the home is whether the couple has a large amount of equity already or only a small amount because it can help both parties determine their potential future legal and financial obligations.

In all cases, it's important to keep in mind that the documents setting out ownership and obligation for the mortgage loan are often separate, so it is critical to deal with both during the divorce. When the house is jointly owned by both spouses, ownership can be transferred by one spouse signing a quit claim deed to the other. However, this will not affect the underlying mortgage; both parties will still be responsible.

Avoid these financial mistakes after divorce

Divorce is clearly a life-changing event for all concerned, but people have different ways to cope with the stress. Unfortunately, too many newly single Arizonans make impulsive or poorly thought-out decisions that can have negative consequences for years to come. Many of these ill-advised choices come in dealing with finances, an area that is particularly vulnerable due to the fact that two households must now be established where one stood previously.

Personal finance experts warn primarily against acting as if one is entitled to something because of the divorce. There is no entitlement to spend a lot of money to celebrate newly earned freedom, nor is spending the same way as during the marriage guaranteed. This includes whether to keep the family home or not. A realistic appraisal of a budget, resources and the ability to earn money must be made.

5 divorce risk factors

It can be difficult to maintain a marriage, even when you and your spouse are highly compatible, but hard work and true love cannot save every relationship. There are some surprising risk factors that make it more likely for couples to call it quits. 

These contributors to divorce do not guarantee a marriage is going to fail, but they do raise the odds. Here are some scenarios that may mean your marriage is more likely to end in a divorce.

Living together before marriage and divorce risk

The risk of divorce for Arizona couples who live together before getting married may be higher over the long run than for couples who do not. A study that appeared in the September 2018 issue of Journal of Marriage and Family reported that couples who cohabited before they got married had a higher risk of their marriage coming to an end.

Using data from the National Surveys of Family Growth, researchers looked at women 44 and under who had a first marriage between 1970 and 2015. They found that although there was a higher divorce risk in the first year among couples who had not lived together, following that first year, the greater risk was for couples who had.

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