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Phoenix Divorce Law Blog

When will I be done paying child support?

A parent who lives with their child may be painfully aware of just how much money it takes to raise that young person. From costs associated with keeping food in their body and a roof over their head to paying for their clothes, school supplies and activities, a Phoenix parent may be stretched to cover the many expenses that are required to maintain a child's needs.

In Arizona both of a child's parents are responsible for contributing financially to the child's well-being. As such, if the child's parents are no longer together then a child support order may be necessary to ensure that the noncustodial parent continues to provide for their kid. Child support obligations can last for many years but generally terminate when the children subject to them turn eighteen years of age.

New tax law has implications for alimony payers

At present, when an Arizona couple goes through a divorce one of the parties to the legal process may be required to pay the other alimony once the divorce is finalized. Alimony, also called spousal support, is financial support paid from one former partner to the other to allow the recipient to survive in once their marriage ends. Alimony payments can take on different formats and may be paid in lump sums or periodic payments over time.

Prior to the passage of the recent federal tax reform law, payers of alimony were allowed to deduct the sums that they provided to their exes from their tax returns. Therefore, if a payer provided their ex-spouse with $10,000 of support over the course of a year they could deduct $10,000 from their own taxes when filing time came around.

Is divorce on the horizon for in the New Year?

Although the holidays are often a time of happiness for families throughout Arizona, they can also be a time of stress and sadness for those who feel caught in unhappy relationships. It can be the togetherness that the holidays impose that causes them to realize that their marriages are failing. While some may wish to give themselves time for reflection on how best to move forward with their spouses, others may recognize that divorce is their best option.

Deciding to divorce and taking the step to initiate a divorce are two different processes. The legal requirements of a divorce, such as residency and grounds, must be appropriately pleaded for an individual to successfully file with the court to initiate a divorce proceeding. Once their first filing is complete, the filer must abide by timing and notice schedules to ensure that their soon-to-be ex is aware of the legal process.

Why is it important to establish paternity of a child?

Not that far into the past many Arizona families fit into a standardized mold that included a father, a mother and any number of children born to the parent's marriage. Such familiar structures were common, but today families take on many different forms. While in some cases the two parent structure still exists, today it is just as common for families to include single parent homes, mixed families and families in which grandparents or other third parties take active roles in the raising of youths.

The fluid nature of what a family is has made it easier for some individuals to live the lives that they want. Not all parents' relationships last, and as such it can be beneficial for individuals to separate and raise their children despite the failure of their union. When parents separate prior to the birth of their children, though, questions can sometimes arise regarding the parentage of their offspring.

Proper execution is necessary for a valid prenuptial agreement

Although they tend not to be the most romantic items that engaged Phoenix couples acquire prior to their marriages, prenuptial agreements can be the most important planning tools that unmarried couples can execute to set their financial expectations during their marriages. While prenuptial agreements are often invoked when marriages end and couples divorce, they can also serve as effective communication devices for couples that need to discuss what each will bring, and potentially take, from the marriage.

It is not unusual for unmarried persons to acquire significant assets prior to choosing to wed. Because of this, a person could stand to lose significant financial wealth if their assets are not protected through a premarital contract like a prenup. While any couple may choose to execute a prenup they can be particularly useful for couples that carry with them significant assets.

When will I be done paying my ex-spouse alimony?

Alimony is one of the financial obligations that may connect two divorce Phoenix residents after their legal relationship has been terminated by the courts through divorce. Unlike child support which is to be used by the parties to support and care for their shared offspring, alimony is financial support that one former partner may be required to pay to the other in order to help the recipient live following the marital split. In most cases an award of alimony will end based on the facts and circumstances of the former couple's case and will be discussed in their agreement or award of alimony.

For example, during a divorce a party may request of their former spouse the payment of support after their marriage has ended. The court, upon receiving the request, may evaluate the parties' relative financial positions, the length of their marriage, the help the requesting spouse needs to become financially self-sufficient, and a number of other considerations. If the requesting spouse needs only a little help to get on their feet then the court may order a one-time, lump-sum award.

Fathers have rights to custody and time with their children

Generations ago it was significantly more common for mothers to stay home with the children born to their marriages and to forego work outside of the home as their husbands took on careers and earned the money that supported the family. Since mothers were seen as the primary caregivers of the children it was more likely that they would be granted custody of their kids in the event that their marriage to their husbands ended.

Now, however, Phoenix fathers are as likely to be involved in the upbringing of their kids as their children's moms. There is no presumption that a child should automatically be placed in the physical custody of their mother if the child's parents choose to end their relationship; in Arizona and jurisdictions throughout the country child custody determinations must consider the best interests of the children who will be affected by the orders and agreements accepted by the family law courts.

Ride-share drivers placing child support roadblocks

Arizona garnishes employee wages as part of its child support enforcement measures to collect overdue child support. However, there are procedural loopholes for independent contractors, such as ride-share drivers for Lyft and Uber.

A court issues a notice of assignment for late child support payments to employers who automatically garnish wages. However, in instances where a parent who is in arrears is an independent contractor, these notices go directly to the parent. Drivers for ride-sharing companies directly receive these notices as independent contractors.

Arizona grandparents' rights

One of the child custody issues facing couples undergoing divorce are whether grandparents have any visitation rights. However, Arizona law provides limited rights for these visits.

The state exempts intact families from grandparent visitation. Even for the right for filing a petition for visitation, grandparents must prove one of several conditions. First, the child's parents' marriage was dissolved for at least three months. Or, a parent is dead or was officially declared missing for at least three months. Finally, the child was born to unwed parents who never marry.

Determining custody of the family business

A spouse's business is an important asset when their marriage ends, particularly in a high asset divorce. Knowing its worth even before divorce negotiations may be vital and helps assure that there is a fair buyout or sale to the other spouse.

An unbiased professional such as a forensic accountant should appraise the value of the business even if the other spouse is transparent. The appraisal should cover the value of equipment such as computers and any buildings and real estate that it owns. They should know the income that the business generates each year and its future growth potential.

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

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