Law Offices of Matthew S. Schultz, P.C.

Phoenix Arizona Family Law Blog

Co-parenting and vacations

It’s the time of year that kids tend to get antsy at school. With the beautiful weather, who can blame them for wanting to be outside? With summer vacations close at hand, all parents are making arrangements for their children at summer daycare, classes, and vacations.


Is a creative custody arrangement right for you?

Every divorce involving children is difficult. Even when parents still respect and care for one another, dividing into two homes can be incredibly upsetting.

To minimize the negative impact this could have, especially on the children, some parents are opting for non-traditional custody plans and schedules. 

Will divorce affect your claim to your inheritance funds?

If you inherit or stand to inherit property and assets after the death of a loved one, you may wonder what claim, if any, a spouse may have to these items. If you end up facing divorce, will your spouse be able to take a portion of the funds? Since your family gifted the inheritance directly to you, isn't it automatically your own separate property?

In Arizona, a community property state, each spouse receives an equal share of the marital funds. Luckily, in most cases, an inheritance is separate property, whether you get the funds before or during the marriage. There is one caveat, however. If you commingle the funds, you could lose a claim to the property.

Child custody basics for parents in Arizona

Child custody concerns are understandably important for any parent, which is why it is necessary for parents to understand how to protect their rights. In general, child custody is determined based on what is in the best interest of the child. There are different types of custody arrangements, so it is useful for parents to be familiar with each one.

Legal custody of the child must be determined and refers to which parent has the right and responsibility to make important decisions for the child. Important decisions can include education, medical and religious decisions that must be made for the child. Legal custody can be joint or sole. When one parent has sole legal custody, the parent will make important decisions for the child alone. However, if the parents share joint legal custody of the child, they must work together to make important decisions for the child. Each parent is responsible for day-to-day decisions for the child when the child is in their care.

Handling custody interference issues

When you separated from your spouse, you likely attempted to create some type of custody agreement if the two of you had children. After a judge finalizes any type of custody agreement, it becomes legally binding and both parties must hold to the provisions handed down in it. Custody interference is any violation of the guidelines of the visitation or custody rules by either you or your ex-spouse.

There are many reasons why a parent may violate a custody order. Some are serious and some are less so. Parents, like most adults, have occasional life changes or events that may result in missing a drop-off time or other minor issue. Some other incidents, like kidnapping, are extremely serious and can result in criminal and civil penalties. As a rule, an individual will always want to adhere to his or her portion of the agreement and seek a peaceful resolution with the co-parent, using legal solutions if and when needed.

Representing fathers and protecting their rights in Arizona

Many families in America today look different than they did 50 years ago. People start families at all ages it seems, and, in many different ways as well - adoption, surrogates and "mixed" family situations can be found throughout the country. One of the most common scenarios that can present legal issues is unwed fathers who want to establish paternity.

In most cases the process of establishing paternity can be fairly straightforward, but there is no avoiding the fact that sometimes these types of cases can get quite complicated. Why? Well, because establishing paternity is usually just the first step in the process of a father exerting his legal right to start and grow a relationship with his child.

Tax issues in divorce

At the end of a marriage, it can be useful to consider the tax implications of the pending divorce, especially for individuals with high amounts of valuable assets to divide. If a person fails to understand how taxes affect the division of property, real estate and retirement accounts, he or she is less likely to have a surprise tax bill waiting once the divorce becomes final. By following proper procedures and timelines, a person can minimize the tax burden of splitting assets with a spouse.

Property division will likely begin with the location and valuation of assets. Once the financial assets are all out on the table, you can begin to work with your soon-to-be ex-spouse to decide how and when to divide assets and determine what tax impact may accompany the transfer. For some financial accounts, a person must adhere to Arizona state laws regarding the division and transfer of assets.

Getting your child support modified may be possible

At times, a child support arrangement that the court previously ordered proves to be unfeasible. After all, life is unpredictable, so you may have lost your job or suffered a serious injury that has prevented you from being able to continue with your current payments.

Fortunately, you have the option of asking the court to modify your child support. A few tips may help you to successfully pursue this option.

Child support may continue into early adulthood

Are you negotiating your divorce? Are you a parent who shares children with your soon-to-be ex? Then it is likely that you are trying to determine the details of financially supporting your children going forward.

Will you be the custodial parent or will you share custody with the other parent? Any child support agreement will touch upon these basic issues. One issue that many individuals may not immediately think of is post-secondary support of the child after he or she turns 18 years of age.

How do you cope with a divorce during the holiday season?

While most people in Arizona are getting into the "holiday spirit," there are some people who may be having a more difficult time than others - those who are going through a divorce during the holiday season. A recent article, acknowledging the difficulty that some people may experience at this time, attempted to help those individuals with a specific question: How do you cope with a divorce during the holiday season?

Well, for starters, couples who have children and who are going through a divorce may be able to cope by focusing even more attention on their children than they ever did while they were together with their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Sure, the children may be shuttling back and forth between the spouses at a time when most families are coming together, but the holidays offer a unique time to re-connect with your children: they are off school for a while, and you may have some vacation time to spend together with your children doing some of your favorite activities.

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