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How does substance abuse affect child custody in Arizona?

Dealing with child custody decisions in Arizona is not an easy task. There are many different factors that are analyzed to ultimately determine what is in the best interest of the child. A child custody determination is a very fact-specific process that looks into the child's needs and who can best provide for those needs. Sometimes both parents can provide for the child's needs and joint custody is granted, which is a preferred situation for most children.

However, there are certain situations in which joint custody is not in the best interests of the child. One of those instances may be if one of the parents has a substance abuse problem. If a parent is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it makes it very difficult for the parent to take care of himself or herself, much less the children.

How medical costs factor into child support in Arizona

Paying for children's needs can be very expensive for the parents. Children need food, a place to live, clothes (which they grow out of rapidly) diapers (depending on the age), school supplies, fees for extracurricular activities and many other costs. When the parents are married or live together, they may not keep exact records on how much they pay for their children, but it can be a significant portion of their income.

When the parents are divorced or no longer together, the children's financial needs do not decrease, but figuring out how to pay for those expenses can become trickier. The most common way of dealing with that issue is through child support.

Protecting fathers' rights to their children in Arizona

Pretty much every child in Arizona has a biological father and mother. Every family dynamic is different, but in order for a child to be conceived there must be a father and mother. How much involvement a mother or father has in a child's life after conception varies though. Some children are raised in a family where the mother and father are married and raise their children together. In these situations, a father's rights to their children are not an issue.

However, many couples end up divorcing at some point in time during a minor child's life. In these situations, a father's right to be involved in their children's lives can become an issue. The traditional notion is that a mother takes care of the children and the father works and earns money for the family. However, that dynamic is changing and now it is common to have both parents working and in many families the woman is the primary wage earner for the family.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin finalize their divorce

Arizona fans of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin may remember the couple, now somewhat famously, stating that they were going through a "conscious uncoupling." This was in reference to the couple's pending divorce, which is now finalized. The couple reached a confidential settlement for their divorce and it is filed with the court. They apparently agreed to joint custody and divided their assets.

While the settlement agreement is confidential, one reason why the negotiations took over a year to finalize may be due to their large amount of assets. High asset divorces can be quite complicated. In a divorce like Paltrow and Martin's, they have to equitably divide their marital property, which may consist of multiple properties, multiple bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, businesses and many other assets.

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.

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