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Phoenix Arizona Family Law Blog

Determining visitation in your parenting plan: Your decision

Parents going through a divorce experience intense emotion. Yet their children, stuck in the middle, require the same care and attention as before the separation.

Arizona provides the opportunity for cooperating parents to decide, before a court hearing, elements of visitation. The creation of a parenting plan, agreed to by both parents, allows a child to be given a plan for seeing individual spouses after a split. Preparing for the discussion and determination of visitation rights in court gives parents a unique way to determine how a child’s time will be spent — for the benefit to the entire family.

Inherited IRAs in a divorce property settlement

People in Phoenix considering divorce may be concerned about how their assets will be affected by the property division process that accompanies the end of a marriage. Individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, and other forms of retirement funds are often some of the most significant assets involved in a divorce settlement. For couples at all levels of wealth, these accounts are often large and can be invested in a number of different ways. While individually owned IRAs have long been a standard subject of property division in a divorce, there has been an increasing trend toward the use of inherited IRAs during a divorce settlement.

In many cases, inheritances are not ordinarily considered part of marital property to be divided in a divorce. This is especially true when the inheritance is never commingled with marital property, and given the way that inherited IRAs are used, this is almost always the case. However, even when the value of the inherited IRA is not subject to division, the account can often be used to satisfy the needs of the property division settlement elsewhere.

Cooperation is key to raise children after divorce

Arizona parents who are separated or divorced know that co-parenting after a split has many challenges. However, to make co-parenting work, both parents must be ready to cooperate and keep the focus on the best interest of the children.

Negotiating life after child custody has been established is not always the easiest thing as parents need to respect the parenting schedule agreed to during the divorce while at the same time beginning new lives. Emotions can also get in the way, particularly if the split between the parents came after a betrayal such as adultery. However, there are ways the parents can work together to make parenting after the divorce successful and still provide the kids with a warm, loving, balanced life with both parents actively involved.

Tips for creating a parenting schedule during a divorce

When Arizona parents get separated or decide to divorce altogether, they may find that sharing the kids with each other can be difficult. However, parenting schedules can be developed by the former couple to create a stable schedule that helps the children adjust to having two households.

During the creation of a parenting schedule, there are several things that should be taken into consideration. This includes the children's schooling and activity schedule. If the kids are involved in after-school activities, the parent who is able to better accommodate those activities may want to have the kids at that time. Parents also need to consider logistics, especially if they do not live near each other. Sharing custody throughout the week could mean a lot of driving for both the parents and the kids.

Divorce in 2018

Arizona residents who are considering getting a divorce should be aware that the new tax laws could impact the financial outcome of a separation. Couples should consider certain factors before deciding whether it would be prudent to obtain a divorce in 2018 or wait until the next year.

One significant change that will occur with the new tax law is how alimony will be treated. For years, individuals who have had to pay alimony could deduct the amount from their taxable income, and individuals who received alimony have been required to include it as part of their taxable income. Beginning with new divorces in 2019, the payor will not be able to deduct the alimony they pay, and the recipients will not have to include it in their taxable income. This change is likely to result in some spouses receiving less alimony.

Avoid these 4 destructive coping methods during a divorce

Going through a divorce can be a very visceral experience. Some methods used to cope with the stresses of the divorce process can lead to developing potentially destructive habits. Because it may take a long time to come to the acceptance stage of grief in your divorce, it’s important to cope with your emotions in a healthy way.

If you’re struggling with the emotional turmoil of a failed marriage, try to avoid engaging in these four dangerous coping behaviors:

When a parent's disability affects child support payments

Arizona parents who either receive or pay child support know that these funds are often crucial for covering the costs of raising a child. However, even when a noncustodial parent is well-meaning and consistent with their payments, a sudden disability can make it challenging to keep up with the payments.

When such situations arise, parents might wonder what can be done to continue with payments without falling behind. Since disability often means a reduction in income, parents who pay child support might request a modification of the court-ordered amount. When a parent does this, the court reviews the case to see if the modification should be granted. During this process, the court considers if the disability is temporary or permanent. In addition, the court looks at sources of income, including disability insurance and any additional money the payer might be receiving. Once this is done, the court decides on the modification and how long it will be in effect. If a court grants a temporary modification with the estimated time of a temporary disability, and the disability continues past that time, the disabled parent might seek additional modifications.

What to know when preparing for a child support hearing

Facing an upcoming child support hearing might seem like a stressful situation. However, keeping a few things in mind may actually help prevent unwanted outcomes. While Arizona courts may follow certain state child support guidelines, they also count on facts specific to each case.

All parties involved in a child support hearing need to be completely honest when reporting any information to the courts. Judges expect absolute truth from everyone in order to make fair and informed decisions. If the court suspects a dishonest attempt at manipulation by either party, this could make it difficult for the judge to remain unbiased and impartial.

Proactive steps to make divorces less painful

When couples in Arizona decide that they want to get divorced, it is important for them to take proactive steps to make the process less painful. With careful planning, spouses might be able to reduce the financial and emotional costs that divorce can bring.

People who are thinking about filing for divorce should begin by carefully thinking about what they want, what they need and what they are willing to give up. They could even list everything in three columns on a sheet of paper with each category titled. In addition to thinking about their own goals, they should think about the items that their spouses will likely want, need and be willing to give up. This might help them when they are engaging in negotiations.

More women ordered to pay child and spousal support

When many people in Phoenix hear the term "alimony," they may think of an ex-wife receiving monthly support payments from her ex-husband. However, alimony or spousal support obligations have been gender-neutral since a ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1978. Instead of being dependent on the gender of the partner with the higher income, spousal support determinations are based on the economic and financial makeup of the marriage. This is especially true when one partner stays home to raise children or care for the house. While this has traditionally been a gender role ascribed to women, an increasing number of households across the country have a female breadwinner.

Approximately 40 percent of all American households have a woman as the higher-earning spouse. When a marriage ends in divorce, this can lead to an ex-wife paying spousal support to her ex-husband. A survey conducted by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 45 percent of lawyers had seen an increase in the number of women paying spousal support. The number of male recipients of spousal support continues to be low but is on the rise. In 2010, only 3 percent of the estimated 400,000 recipients of alimony payments were male.

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