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Phoenix Divorce Law Blog

Court reviewing state child support guidelines

Calculation of child support payments in Arizona follows guidelines issued by the state Supreme Court. The Court is considering changes to these guidelines because of Arizona's minimum wage increases and new federal regulations. These will impact support calculations and parents' finances.

Arizona voters approved a referendum requiring minimum wage increases in the state in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Without changes to support guidelines, minimum wage workers would be unreasonably harmed by a calculation formula in the current child support guidelines known as the self-support reserve. This is used to evaluate and determine whether a parent can afford to pay support while keeping a minimum standard of living.

Protecting retirement assets

Property accumulated over many years of marriage can lead to a high asset divorce. Addressing these retirement assets is extremely important but may be particularly complicated.

Spouses should collect all financial data on marital assets or their own separate property. For property division, this can help determine whether one spouse made a premarital contribution. Keeping documents can also be used to follow performance of investments and account balances over the years.

Separating from the home

A spouse should consider the couple's house, like other property and marital assets, as something that they may have to lose in their divorce. For tax and other financial reasons, the apparent financial value of the house and emotional attachments, may be misleading.

The spouse should first consider the value of selling the property as part of the divorce settlement. Selling or keeping the property have separate tax consequences.

Deciding custody of the assets: 401(k) and other accounts

Between Labor Day and the December holidays, divorce filings rise. As the possible end of marriage is being considered during this time, asset valuation should be part of this planning because property division is not merely a 50-50 split. Certain assets have different financial consequences not readily apparent from their face value.

Ultimate ownership of the couple's home should be carefully considered. Upkeep costs can be crippling because there will two households living on the same income that one existed on.

Shared child custody recommended by some researchers

In Arizona, child custody is often a strongly disputed issue in a divorce. However, recent research shows that shared custody or equal parental access benefits the children of divorced parents.

Mothers are frequently awarded fully physical custody of children in this country. Long-lasting concerns over the impact of conflict among divorcing parents upon the children has led to this outcome.

Establishing house rules for children after a divorce

Children of parents in Phoenix who are going through a divorce have a lot to adjust to, and part of what they must come to terms with if their parents share custody is having two homes - one with one parent, one with the other. While each parent wants to see that their child is happy and thriving, they each might have different ideas about how to accomplish that. Therefore, it sometimes happens that the rules at one parent's house are not the same as the rules at the other parent's house.

This situation can be confusing for the child, and could even cause distress. Children need stability, especially after a major life event, such as a divorce. However, there are things parents can do to try to see eye-to-eye on what the rules should be in each household.

The divorce tax bill

Undergoing divorce does not eliminate the burden of taxes. Planning for tax consequences should be part of pursuing a settlement or decree.

For example, child support payments are not tax deductible. This also means that the parent who receives this support does not have to pay taxes on it.

What is paternity fraud?

Paternity fraud impacts fathers' rights and has consequences for child support payments, among other things. It takes place when a mother knowingly misidentifies a man as the biological father of her child. This fraud also occurs when she suspects that the man identified on the birth certificate is not genetically connected to the child.

One method of committing a fraud is requesting a man to execute an affidavit of paternity or birth certificate form for a child when he has no biological connection to that child. Usually, the child's mother makes this request. States complicate this matter when using these documents instead of a DNA test to establish paternity before ordering child support.

What can a divorce do to finances?

A divorce in Arizona may have financial consequences over and above legal costs. Several of these matters, even though they may appear complex and technical, should be considered as major issues that must be pursued in court or negotiations. Planning should start well before the divorce filing.

Planning might include developing an idea about a spouse's assets once marital property is divided. After this is determined, the spouse should develop a budget based upon these assets, personal property, income and liabilities. This budget could be used as a guide in seeking a property settlement with the former spouse.

Helping you develop a workable child custody plan

No family is perfect. While some Arizona parents can deal with the natural ups and downs of a marriage, this is not always the case when disputes get hostile and frequent. In these matters, it is often best for everyone involved to end the marriage. While it is no easy feat to initiate a divorce, it can be the best decision for spouses and even their children.

When it comes to addressing the needs and best interests of a child during dissolution, parents must consider how a fair, workable and ideal parenting plan will look like. It is not easy to go from seeing a child full time to half of the time or less; however, this is a task that divorcing parents must adequately address. At Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, our experienced legal team has helped divorcing parents successfully navigate family law issues. Our law firm is dedicated to guiding Phoenix parents through this often difficult time.

Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC is one of the East Valley's premiere litigation law firms.

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