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

Phoenix Arizona Family Law Blog

Can you modify a child support order in Arizona?

It may have been a few years since you finalized your divorce and one of the thing you may not have taken into consideration at that time is just how different your life would be today. You may have found that the child support payments that were once manageable are now a struggle. Have you ever wondered if you could modify your child support payment? The good news is, yes, there is a process in the state of Arizona that can assist you in getting your child support payment either raised or reduced.

Joint custody, child support payments and negotiating agreements

Parents in Arizona who are getting a divorce might wonder how custody will be decided and about the relationship between custody and child support. There are two kinds of custody: legal and physical custody. The first deals with a parent's right to make important decisions about a child's upbringing, such as what religion the child will practice, or about healthcare. The other deals with how much time the child physically spends in each parent's home.

In the past, divorce often involved children staying with their mother and only seeing their father occasionally. This is generally not true for child custody and visitation schedules today. There is more of an effort to make sure fathers maintain a relationship with their children after divorce, and joint custody is more common. This also means that mothers are less likely to have to take on the role of a single parent.

Back child support and getting a home loan

An Arizona parent who owes back pay on child support but needs a loan to purchase a home may feel backed into a tough situation. It's important to understand that owing child support is considered a derogatory credit event. This can impair one's chances of obtaining an approval for a mortgage.

When seeking to obtain a loan to purchase a home, it is important that an individual obtain a copy of their credit report to be aware of the information that is being disclosed. They should also see how high their FICO score is and if it is enough to meet the requirements set by mortgage lenders. To determine if mortgage payments will be feasible on top of child support, the homeowner can use an affordability calculator.

What to do to get custody of children back

As some Arizona parents know, difficult situations can sometimes lead to losing custody of their children. While this experience can be incredibly painful, it is not always permanent as there are some steps that can be taken to attempt to regain custody of the children.

The first thing to do is to honestly assess the situation to figure out why custody was taken away. Since judges decide child custody based on a child's best interest, figuring out exactly why the judge decided the child was safer with someone else is a necessity in planning and getting ready to attempt to regain custody. If there are also court-mandated contingencies, such as anger management, parenting classes or alcohol and drug rehabilitation, for example, they should be completed before continuing with the process.

The benefits of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements

Over time, people may have different feelings toward their partners. Therefore, Arizona residents who are planning on getting married may benefit from creating a prenuptial agreement. It will dictate what happens in the event that the marriage ends. One of the best reasons to have such an agreement is that it can be negotiated in a rational manner when both parties have a good relationship with each other.

Another good reason to have a prenuptial agreement is that it allows for greater communication about personal and household finances. As a general rule, a prenuptial agreement will have language related to how assets are divided or who gets spousal support. It is important to note that a prenuptial agreement cannot determine parental rights as the best interest of the child is always the top priority. If a couple never prepared a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement may be entered into after they have gotten married.

Steps to prepare your finances post-divorce

re you someone who struggles to stay on top of their finances or are you on top of every transaction? No matter which type of person you are, many people need help managing their finances when going through a divorce.

Many times, people who have been married for a significant amount of time only have one spouse handling all the finances. This strategy is popular when one spouse earns significantly more than the other and decides to keep a watchful eye over all the assets. This leaves the other spouse in the dark about how their finances work and how to plan for the future once divorced.

Both parents need to be in a child's life

Even if a parent in Arizona has full custody of a child, he or she can't just cut the other parent out. Instead, it is that person's responsibility to make sure the child has relationships with both parents if it is safe. Failure to do so could lead to a judge rescinding an original custody order or otherwise modifying it.

Parents are discouraged from saying bad things about the other parent in front of a child. This could result in the child being hesitant to want to spend time with the noncustodial mother or father. Parents are also not allowed to interfere with the relationship between the child and his or her other parent. This is true even if that person is a celebrity. Recently, Angelina Jolie was ordered to provide the cellphone numbers of the six children she and Brad Pitt raised together.

Parenting together after a divorce

Parents in Phoenix who choose to divorce may wonder about how they can best forge a new co-parenting relationship with their former spouses. Their romantic relationship has come to an end and they have decided to separate, but in most cases, both parents are very driven to maintain their relationship with their children. The kids may be going back and forth from one home to another, and parents will continue to need to make decisions together even after their marriage is over.

Co-parenting relationships can look different for different families. However, by keeping some tips in mind, parents can help to support a stable, loving environment for their children after divorce in both of their parents' homes.

Preparing for child custody hearings in Arizona

When divorcing parents in Arizona are unable to come to a mutually acceptable child custody agreement, the court steps in to make important decisions. Being as prepared as possible before and during the proceedings can help a parent ease their apprehension and present a compelling argument to the judge who will be determining such things as custody arrangements and visitation schedules. There is no secret for success during a hearing of this nature, but there are some common pieces of advice that can be helpful.

Being prepared for arguments during a child custody hearing means that a parent should be able to discuss clear, organized plans for caring for their child. A judge may also ask about arrangements with childcare while a parent is working or the living situation if a parent only has one bedroom. While a custody hearing is usually smaller and more intimate, it's still advised that parents dress conservatively and act respectfully toward one another.

How tax reform can affect a divorce

Arizona couples who decide to divorce may see their financial plans affected by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which passed Congress and was signed into law into December 2017. The financial aspects of divorce may outweigh the practical and emotional consequences of the end of a marriage, and this can often be the case when taxes are involved. One of the most significant changes put in place by the tax reform bill essentially reverses how alimony and spousal support payments are treated in the tax code.

For people who divorce before the end of 2018, the current tax system will remain in place. Under this system, the person who pays alimony can deduct those payments from his or her taxes at the end of the year. For wealthy couples with high-asset divorces and significant annual income, the tax benefit of this deduction can be substantial. At the same time, the recipient of spousal support, usually in a lower tax bracket, pays taxes on the payments with his or her annual tax return. The recipient can direct those payments to a retirement fund. This system provides benefits for both parties that encourage a generous alimony agreement.

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