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Phoenix Divorce Law Blog

Collecting alimony arrearages in Arizona

Alimony, or spousal maintenance as it is commonly called, is an important aspect of many divorces in Arizona. It also can be one of the most hotly contested aspects of a divorce. If one spouse does not work during a marriage, alimony can be necessary for them simply to meet monthly obligations after a divorce. However, the person who earned the money often times does not want to part with what they believe they have earned by themselves. Because of this dynamic, alimony decisions can be very complicated and contentious.

Either way, after a judge signs the alimony order, the person paying it is legally obligated to pay it as long as the order states. This can be for a number of years or in some cases for the rest of the other spouse's life. Over that span of these orders, the paying spouse may fall behind in their payments for various reasons. The amount they failed to pay is known as arrears.

How does one start a child custody proceeding in Arizona?

Many child custody orders in Arizona start during a divorce as a married couple decides how to parent their child separately. However, there are many parents who were never married to the other parent of their child. Parents in this position also have a right to petition for child custody, but the process is a little different than for couples going through a divorce.

If a parent wants to start a custody action, they must establish a few basic facts. The first is that they are in fact the biological parent of the child. They must also establish that they are not married to the other parent and that paternity has been legally established. This can be done in one of three ways: there is a court order establishing paternity, there is a child support order, or the parents signed an Acknowledgment of Paternity and signed the birth certificate. Also, the child must have resided in Arizona for at least six months or was born here, if younger than six months.

Adjustments to gross income for child support purposes in Arizona

Many parents in Arizona are required to pay child support each month. Those who have gone through the process of establishing a child support order know that child support payments are based on guidelines established by Arizona law. These guidelines take into account a number of different factors, but one of the main factors is each parent's gross monthly income.

Gross income is the amount of money the parent receives monthly from almost any source, including employment, prior to taxes and other expense deductions. However, the guidelines do allow for certain deductions to be taken out of the gross income for the purposes of determining child support. So, the amount of income used to determine the monthly child support payment is actually a parent's adjusted gross income.

Proposed Arizona bill would change unwed fathers' custody rights

Many children are born out of wedlock in Arizona. In many of these types of situations, the father signs the birth certificate or a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity. This legal document formally establishes the father of the child. It is very easy to identify the mother of the child, as the mother gives birth, but that is not the case for the father. As a result, the law has developed this form to establish paternity.

According to the current law in Arizona, this acknowledgment of paternity does nothing more than establish that the father is the presumed father. This means that the father does not have any legal rights to custody or visitation of the child until determined by a court order; the court must make decisions about the father's right to custody and/or visitation. Until then, the mother is the legal custodian of the child.

Action star and wife to get divorced - again

Arizona action movie fans may be interested to learn that actor Jean-Claude Van Damme's wife filed for divorce for the second time. The couple had previously been married in 1987 and divorced in 1992. During the first marriage, they had two children who are now adults. Then they were married again in 1999 and have been married since then. Van Damme is no stranger to divorce though, as this is now is fifth divorce.

Divorce for anyone can be a complicated and emotional time. There are a number of issues that need to be resolved as people separate two lives that were previously merged together. If the couple had minor children, they will also have to determine which spouse will have custody and visitation as well as determining child support. This also means figuring which belongings each spouse will keep and how they will pay for certain financial obligations, which can be complicated in a high asset divorce, like Van Damme's divorce.

Agreements that alimony cannot be modified are valid in Arizona

Alimony, also called spousal maintenance, can be one of the most contentious issues in a divorce in Arizona. Alimony refers to financial support payments paid from one spouse to the other after a divorce. The alimony award can be permanent or temporary. It can also have contingencies placed on it or it may decrease over time. It is a very fact-specific issue in divorce and each alimony award is different.

Arizona judges follow guidelines when making alimony decisions, but the guidelines are not as rigid as those used for child support. One of the factors considered in setting alimony is how much time it will take one spouse to become economically independent, which in many cases is a guess at best. Other factors include the health of each spouse, which can also change with little or no warning.

How domestic violence affects child custody in Arizona

There are many victims of domestic violence in Arizona. In some situations the victim is an adult or a child, but in other situations, both the adult and the child are abused. While it is very important for a person to leave an abusive marriage, in order to leave it completely, the victim must go through the divorce process just like any one else.

That means the victim will still have to deal with the issues of child custody, child support, alimony and property division. Some of these will be dealt with in the same manner as a marriage without abuse, but child custody is dealt with differently.

What is considered gross income for determining child support?

Many parents in Arizona either receive or pay child support. For many of these parents the child support obligation was determined using the child support calculator. We have previously discussed how this calculator is used to determine child support. However, as we discussed there may be disputes regarding which numbers are put into the calculator in the first place.

One of the more common disputes revolves around the issue of gross income and what is included as a parent's monthly income. It may seem straightforward, but not all of the money a parent earns each month is considered gross income for child support purposes.

Challenging a paternity test in Arizona

Many children in Arizona are born to parents who are not married. Despite this, many times the father is present and known to both the mother and child. However, this by itself does not establish paternity. There are a few legal steps that must occur before the establishment of paternity. Many times these steps are done voluntarily and there is not a dispute, but this is not always the case.

Even if the parties are ordered to obtain a paternity test, which concludes that the man is presumed to be the father, either parent can still challenge the finding. The party opposing the results must submit a written challenge to the genetic test results within 20 days of the results being submitted to the court. If a written challenge is not submitted, then the test results automatically become evidence in the case.

How are retirement accounts divided in an Arizona divorce?

People in Arizona have different economic situations. Some have little property or discretionary income while others have significant assets and extra income. For people in the latter category, these assets can be in the form of real property, stocks, investments, retirement accounts and many other types of assets. However, when people with many assets divorce, these assets must be divided just like in every other divorce.

This can be a complicated matter. Assets in these situations can be difficult just to value. Property appraisals may be needed as well as business appraisals if one or both spouses own a business. The couple may also need a forensic accountant to analyze the various accounts they own to determine their value as well as the marital portion of those accounts.

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