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Maricopa County Family Law Blog

Understanding modern spousal support awards in Arizona

For many years, spousal support was an important part of divorce, focused on helping two spouses divorce fairly without one party or the other entering financial ruin in the process. In many cases, only one spouse was the primary breadwinner in a home while the other spouse spent his, or, more often, her time in addressing matters at home.

However, while many couples still choose to operate their lives together this way, spousal support is less commonly awarded than it used to be. Even in cases where a court does honor a request for spousal support, other factors like child support orders and property division in the divorce affect the prospects of spousal support heavily.

Could a wife's larger paycheck lead to divorce?

Married women who have children have increasingly begun to outpace their male spouses as primary breadwinners for the family. In 2011, 23 percent of the wives in those families earned more than their husbands.

When people find themselves in nontradtional gender roles like that, there is bound to be a learning curve at first. One woman in that situation who wrote "When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women" and who also is an expert in finance says that when women are bringing home the bacon, the rate of divorce rises.

Embryo adoption is another way to be a parent

Couples who have trouble conceiving children on their own often are open to adoption. But adoption has its own problems, as the biological mother can always change her mind and keep the baby.

One couple in another state found a different solution to their nine-year infertility problem after unsuccessfully attempting other options. They wound up adopting an embryo.

How can I help my kids adjust to the divorce?

No parent wants to see their kids unhappy, especially when the reason behind it is the parents' divorce. It is perfectly normal for children to struggle during this difficult time. They may profess to be fine, yet still struggle to cope with the changes.

Below are some suggestions for getting through this critical period.

Domestic abusers with guns often kill their victims

No type of domestic abuse is all right, but it's inarguable that there are degrees of severity. There remains one constant regarding the heightened risk of getting killed by your intimate partner, and that's having a firearm present.

In fact, findings from a Danger Assessment research study determined that wives and girlfriends of men who assaulted them with a firearm or threatened to do so, had a 20 times greater risk of being murdered. Simply keeping a firearm in a home where domestic abuse is already a problem increases the risk of getting murdered by six even among other abused women living without a gun in the home.

Can I share dependent tax benefits with another parent?

For many divorcing parents, reaching a fair agreement about how to raise their children is the most difficult part of the process. Custody and parenting agreements can create surprising conflicts between spouses during a divorce, even when both parties are trying to remain reasonable. The issues at stake deal with both personal property and finances, as well parents' most precious relationships, those with their children.

If you and your spouse face difficulty reaching fair compromises in your parenting and custody agreements, you may end up missing out on important benefits come tax season, or claiming benefits that you shouldn't. In general, parents may not share dependent tax benefits in the same year. This can create enormous problems for parents, and complicate an already difficult process.

Military members face special challenges in child custody cases

Child custody matters are difficult for anyone to handle. When one of the parents is in the military, the challenges seem to mount. Understanding what special considerations are in place for members of the armed forces can help the men and women facing these situations to formulate a plan.

Remember that military service shouldn't preclude a parent from having custody of a child. The best interests of the child are the focus of the case. If the military member is the parent the court decides it is in the child's best interests to live with, that is the parent who will have custody of the child.

How to get your groove back after your divorce

Going through a divorce is enough to take the wind out of even the most ebullient individuals. It's certainly an adjustment, and even if you initiated the divorce, you may still be feeling pangs of regret.

But don't let yourself drown in your tears — or your beers. There are plenty of healthy and productive ways to help you get your groove back once your divorce is finalized.

  • Process your feelings. Endings can be difficult in all matters, but when it comes to relationships, it's usually even harder. Journaling might help you acknowledge and process feelings of loss and regret. That leads to release and embracing the future unencumbered by sadness.
  • Build a support network. You may already have one — that core group of family and friends who are always in your cheering section. But those emerging from codependent marriages may have few folks to turn to for much-needed support. Expand your horizons by meeting new friends with similar interests and use social networks to reconnect with old buddies who can help you during this transitional time.
  • Spend time alone. This can be anathema to those suffering from separation anxiety when the kids are with your ex. But in actuality, learning to become comfortable in your own skin without input from others is a confidence-builder. Have lunch at that new bistro, sign up for kick-boxing or tai chi . . . whatever whets your interest.
  • Develop a new passion. No, this doesn't mean lassoing the first gal or guy who floats into your orbit. What did you put on the back burner during your marriage? Maybe you never finished your degree. Take some night courses in your field of study and engage in the educational process. Love dogs or cats? Volunteer with an animal rescue group. Let your heart be your compass and follow it.

Arizona Dreamers should prepare for any outcome

As Congress faces down a self-imposed deadline to avoid an end-of-the-year government shutdown, across the nation, 800,000 young Dreamers' futures are fraught with uncertainty.

Will Congress manage to put aside its acrimony and broker a deal regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to allow these young adults some semblance of security? While many are unmarried students without dependents, others have children that were born American citizens. For them, fractured families could be part of the collateral damage of a failure of Congress to reach accord.

What dads need to know about visitation for their newborn

Unfortunately, there are many children being born into a single-parent environment. While mother and father may not have remained together as a couple, both still have rights and responsibilities when it comes to the life they have created. As a father, it can obviously be more difficult to be a part of your child's life unless you make it happen -- and if you take the proper steps, you can do just that.

If you still have an amicable relationship with the mother, you can take steps before your child is born. If you do not have a relationship with the mother, it would be beneficial for both you and your child to cultivate one if possible. Then you can have discussions regarding visitation before the birth.

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