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Maricopa County Family Law Blog

Women are more likely to file for divorce

While many people in Maricopa County might think that women are more interested in marriage than men, divorce statistics show that they are also more likely to end an unhappy relationship. According to a 2015 study conducted by the American Sociological Association, women initiate up to 70% of divorces across the country, far exceeding the number of divorces initiated by men. This marks a sharp upturn from the past, but there are many reasons for these changes. In the first place, women are more likely to work outside the home, and more people tend to marry those of roughly equal financial circumstances.

This means that women are not held back from filing for divorce because of a concern for how they will be able to survive. Fewer women are stay-at-home mothers, and financial issues may be less of a concern for many women who decide to end their marriages. On the other hand, some women may actually feel as if their marriages are holding them back, especially if they are unhappy and unfulfilling. They may feel that they carry higher levels of domestic responsibility despite holding down an equally demanding full-time job and come to resent the inequality.

How could a divorce affect my kids?

As a parent, your kids are important to you. You probably spend much of your time making sure that their needs are met and that they are given their best chance to succeed.

You are probably used to putting your children’s needs before your own, which may lead you to worry if you are considering asking your spouse for divorce. Many parents are concerned that divorce will be extremely damaging to their children. Some parents even stay together only for the sake of their children. However, divorce may not be as harmful to children as some parents fear.

"Strategic divorce" could provide financial benefits

The debate about taxing the wealthy is not restricted to presidential campaigning. For some people in Maricopa County, these discussions have sparked serious thoughts about how they might respond to changes in the tax system in an attempt to keep a greater proportion of their income. One of the issues that has been highlighted is the "marriage penalty." While people at lower income levels often receive tax benefits by marrying, those in the highest bracket enter it as a married couple earlier than they would as two single high earners. However, few wealthy people are likely to divorce to save hundreds of dollars on taxes, especially given that the costs associated with property division would far outweigh the tax savings involved.

Still, the concept of strategic divorce can be appealing for people of different financial means when dealing with certain types of problems. Marriage can provide safeguards and benefits, but it can also pose difficulties. For example, an elderly person with dementia or terminal illness requiring full-time nursing care may find it difficult to pay down their assets enough to receive Medicaid coverage for a nursing home. Their spouse may also be left impoverished. Divorce may be an appealing option if it could help the partner in need receive care.

Strategies co-parents can use to cope with problems after divorce

After going through a divorce, many co-parents in Arizona feel like they are navigating through a completely different world. While they are dealing with their own pain, they also need to make smart parenting decisions as they look out for the best interests of their children. The following strategies have helped co-parents with some of the most common issues faced after a divorce.

It can be a challenge to communicate with an ex-spouse. However, speaking with an ex-spouse in a respectful way is important for the well-being of the children and helps the co-parents reach their parenting goals. They should avoid using their children as mailboxes or messengers. If face-to-face communication is not the best way to maintain peace, using email or text messages may be helpful.

Considerations for splitting an IRA among divorcing couples.

In Maricopa County and around the country, there has been an alarming increase in the number of divorces in couples over 50. Often referred to as grey divorces, these marital splits have brought about new challenges regarding the division of assets. One example is dividing an IRA.

Traditionally, splitting an IRA is relatively common and not difficult to do. However, when divorcing couples are close to the 72(t) requirement to take a distribution, things become more complicated. One area which seems to present the greatest difficulty is if one or more spouses has elected to take draws from the IRA before reaching the age of 59 and 1/2 by utilizing monthly payments allowed under the 72(t) provision. This could be due to a need for increased cash or some other financial hardship. If an IRA account that is paying monthly payments becomes one of the assets that is to be split in the divorce, it is often very complex to reach an advantageous division for both spouses.

Reset finances by discussing a postnuptial agreement

One way that some couples in Arizona have decided to reset their finances is by discussing a postnuptial agreement. This legal document is similar to a prenuptial agreement. One major difference between these two agreements is when they are signed. Prenuptial agreements are signed prior to marriage, and postnuptial agreements are signed during marriage.

Signing a postnuptial agreement does not mean that a couple's relationship is doomed to failure. Some have found that it adds clarity to their finances. It has allowed some to correct the mismanagement of finances, particularly when one partner does not handle money well.

Divorces peak in the beginning of January

Legal professionals in Arizona and other states have started calling January "Divorce Month." Statistics from a study conducted in 2016 at the University of Washington confirmed that divorce filings went up in the month of January from the year 2001 to 2015. Additionally, searches for the word "divorce" or "divorce party" go up during January in search engines and online platforms.

There are a couple of things that may behind the upward trend in divorces during the month of January. First, many couples are under a lot of stress because of travel or spending time with family during the holiday season. They may have the thought that they never want to spend the holiday season again with their spouse. Second, starting the new year and hoping to make positive changes means that some decide that divorce is their best option. Even if divorce is on a person's mind during December, most people decide to wait until the holidays are over before breaking the news to their children or family members.

Divorce may alter a person's retirement plans

Marital dissolution will almost always require division (or some other solution) for retirement assets. Furthermore, if the plan (such as a 401k) falls under a particular federal law ('ERISA'), you will likely need a special, extra order called a "qualified domestic relations order" ('QDRO'). The QDRO will allow funds to be transferred without either individual incurring financial penalties. Not all plans require this level of attention, but many do.

It is also possible that money in a retirement account remains where it is until months or years after the divorce becomes final. It is important to note that a retirement account may not be split evenly, and the exact split will determine on several factors, especially if the parties negotiate a different way to divide their property and debt so the retirement plans can be left alone.

Where will your family pet go after a divorce?

Over the course of your marriage, you and your ex probably collected several shared assets. So, when your marriage ends, part of the divorce process is determining which items you share and which items belong solely to you. And when it comes to family pets, it can be difficult to determine who gets to keep them.


How long will you pay child support for?

There are many issues to resolve in a divorce. As a parent, you must also resolve how often you will see your kids but also how much you will pay to them in child support. Chances are that you've never experienced this process before and you may have questions about child support.

Among the biggest questions may be how long Arizona requires you to make those support payments.

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