Alongi Law Firm, PLLC

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Maricopa County Family Law Blog

Assuming a mortgage isn't always possible

Arizona couples tend to have a few significant assets such as a retirement or bank account that will need to be divided in their divorces. In addition, a couple could own a home that has significant equity that must be split. In some cases, the home will be liquidated with each person sharing a portion of that equity. In others, one person will gain control of the home while the other receives other assets in return.

Whoever gains control of the home may have the option of refinancing the current mortgage. This gets the other spouse off of the loan and may also make it possible to cash out equity in the property. If this is not possible, a divorcing couple could choose to keep the current mortgage in place. Depending on when the mortgage was issued, an individual may assume the loan and put it in his or her name.

How older adults can prepare for divorce

Couples in Maricopa County who have been married for decades might be more likely to get a divorce than younger couples who have only been together for a few years. Divorce is on the rise for people who are 55 and older, and for people 65 and older, the divorce rate is more than two times higher than it was in 1990. These marriages may be ending in part because of a shift toward the idea that divorce is more acceptable, particularly as people are living longer lives.

However, it is important at this time that both individuals take steps to protect their finances. For example, calculating income for the purposes of alimony may be more complex as people advance in their careers because they may also acquire stock options, travel benefits, executive compensation packages and more that need to be included. For the purposes of property division, in a community property state like Arizona, most assets acquired after marriage are considered to be shared property that should be equally divided in a divorce.

Women initiate divorce far more often than men

No Arizona spouse enters into marriage consciously thinking about divorce. However, it's likely resonating somewhere in their collective subconscious. For years, the conventional wisdom has been that about half of marriages are ultimately doomed to fail, and many studies tend to generally support that supposition. That being the case, many may also expect the initiation of divorce to be a 50/50 proposition, but this is not backed by the statistics. In fact, wives begin dissolution proceedings far more often than husbands.

Studies by various social researchers have revealed that women are at least twice as likely as men to start the divorce ball rolling. Wives who have a college education initiate divorce 90% of the time. The numbers may vary, but the conclusion is unequivocal; a woman is far more apt to reach a point of no return in a marriage than a man. The researchers also postulated several reasons why this seeming imbalance is true.

Protecting financial health during a divorce

When Maricopa County couples decide to end their marriage, finances are often a significant concern. Even when a couple is relatively financially stable, divorcing can create a shortfall that can be difficult to recover from. Many experts believe that careful planning before, during and after the divorce can minimize the negative impact that the end of a marriage can have on the financial health of both parties.

Each spouse should begin working on a post-divorce budget as soon as possible. This budget can help them to understand what they can expect financially, at least for the first year or two after the split. The budget should also reflect the cost of the divorce itself, including lawyer and court fees. In addition, divorces often involve one or both parties moving out of the couple's home, so the cost of relocation, including moving services and security deposits, should be considered.

Tips for preparing for a divorce

Summer is a time when divorce rates tend to spike. People in Arizona who are considering divorce can start preparing by talking to family, attorneys and financial advisers about their plans.

It is important for people going into a divorce to understand the family finances. This means knowing such things as how many bank accounts and credit cards the couple owns and who is on the title of the house. They should also know how much money they have in various accounts and collect as much financial paperwork as possible. People should also take the time to reflect on the implications of divorce and whether it is something they really want. Some couples choose to opt for various types of counseling, including an approach called "discernment counseling." This is designed for couples who are about to get a divorce and who need to decide whether they will stay together or go through with it.

Planning for positive summer co-parenting

Divorcing parents in Maricopa County often have a challenging time adapting to a new co-parenting relationship. As children move back and forth between parents' homes, some of the changes and disruption can be mitigated by the continuity of their educational schedules. When the summer months come around, co-parenting can require new adjustments so that children continue to enjoy a relaxed, fun summer without unnecessary tension between their parents.

In the first place, communication is nearly always important to successful co-parenting after divorce. The same is true during the summer. The earlier in advance that each parent can communicate about changes to the parenting schedule, vacations or other plans, the greater the likelihood of a successful summer. In addition, a shared online or visual calendar posted in both homes can be important to ensure that planning takes all of a child's time and plans into account. Disputes over co-parenting issues can be emotionally taxing, but it is also important that the children do not feel as if they need to choose sides against one parent. Absent a situation of neglect or abuse, each parent should be doing everything they can to encourage a positive relationship with the other parent.

Tips to make custody exchanges easier

After getting a divorce, it can be hard to imagine continuing to see your ex through a custody agreement. In the beginning, your emotions may still be running high, so anything you can do to make the transition smoother will help.

Here are a few tips to make exchanging parent time go over as easily as possible.

Social Security options after a marriage ends

When married couples in Arizona split up, Social Security benefits will not necessarily be immediately impacted. If an individual who is at least 62 years old was married for 10 years or more, they may be able to collect benefits on an ex's record as long as they are also unmarried. Their ex must also be entitled to benefits, and those benefits must be more than what they would be entitled to receive.

As long as a former spouse is at full retirement age, they may be entitled to half of their ex-spouse's full Social Security benefits. This amount is adjusted accordingly if a former spouse opts to collect at the minimum age of 62. Even if an ex hasn't applied for benefits, their former spouse may still collect if they've been divorced for at least two years.

Should you keep relationships that are tied to your ex?

Divorce isn’t usually the separation of just two people. Oftentimes, a marriage’s split severs other relationships too.

If you’re uncertain about which of these relationships are worth saving, here’s our guide for when you should and should not keep relationships that are tied to your ex.

Custody of unborn children brought into question

A complicated family law case regarding parents' rights recently made its way to the Arizona Court of Appeals. And while the court reached a decision, the case only managed to open a wide range of questions for the future regarding unborn children and parents' rights.

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