Alongi Law Firm, PLLC

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Maricopa County Family Law Blog

How to determine if divorce mediation is a viable option

Before 2020 ends, many Arizonans will end their marriages. A lot of them want to avoid going to court when they divorce. In some cases, this is possible because spouses agree to mediation, instead.

Divorce mediation is one of several alternative dispute resolution alternatives. It involves peaceful discussions and negotiation, with both spouses agreeing ahead of time to try to avoid litigation and confrontation as much as possible. It may take one or numerous sessions to settle a divorce through mediation.

Things to know about Arizona property division laws

Arizona is known for its low housing costs, great public transportation systems and ample employment opportunities. These are often among the top reasons many married couples choose to settle here and raise their families. Of course, not every marriage lasts a lifetime, which is why it pays to know another unique factor about this state: Property division in divorce operates under community property guidelines.

There are only eight other states that use community property guidelines to split marital assets and liabilities between spouses in divorce. Following such guidelines, most family court judges will split all marital property 50/50 between spouses. Whether this leads to an increase in hidden asset schemes is debatable; however, a concerned spouse is wise to investigate any issue that raises a red flag, such as money being withdrawn from a jointly owned account without both spouses' consent.

Don't let divorce ruin your physical health

When a person experiences a stressful situation, he or she may feel emotionally distraught, needing time and support to recover. For instance, those in Arizona who are currently preparing for or have recently navigated divorce may be glad to be moving on in life but also feel a sense of loss or emotional distress. Even more problems can arise if that emotional distress manifests itself through adverse physical health.

This is what Paramore rock band member Hayley Williams says happened to her when she and her former husband called it quits. Williams says their marriage had been tumultuous for a long time. She was already emotionally traumatized by the time her divorce was made final. At that time, she said, her weight had plummeted to a mere 91 pounds, a physical effect of her emotional stress.

Divorce and financial planning

Maricopa County couples who are contemplating ending their marriages often face a wide array of emotions, and this can lead to wanting to get the process over with as quickly as possible. This might end up being a mistake, however, especially for those who have a significant amount of assets, because planning for the financial consequences in advance can be a crucial part of a divorce.

Having a financial adviser throughout the process is recommended for both parties, particularly one who is experienced in analyzing the issues that are important in a divorce. These can include appraisals of family businesses and art collections, spousal and child support, the impact on Social Security retirement benefits, life and health insurance policies, estate planning, post-divorce budgeting, investments and charitable gift planning. A certified divorce financial analyst will work closely with each party's respective divorce and estate planning attorneys and will obtain pertinent information from financial institutions and certified public accountants.

Can I modify a custody agreement?

Having to file for divorce is one of the hardest things to do. It signifies the end of a long-term relationship with someone you once cared for. However, you may still have to see and work with your former spouse if you have a child together. This can be difficult if you ended on poor terms or if one parent is not willing to cooperate. Having a custody agreement approved by a court can make this situation easier, but problems can still exist if the other spouse does not adhere to the contract.

Three reasons to alter a parenting agreement

Creating a child-friendly parenting schedule

Maricopa County parents who are getting a divorce may want to explore a variety of solutions for parenting time. Parents aiming for a 50/50 split, which is increasingly common, may find that for younger children, alternating weeks means too much time away from each parent. Children can develop separation anxiety as a result.

Instead, parents may want to consider having the child move between their households more frequently and breaking down the days so that the child spends four days a week with one parent and three with the other. This could mean a 3-4-4-3 schedule across two weeks or a 2-2-3 schedule across a week. For parents, this might also work better since they have the child more regularly and are not trying to arrange child care for every other week.

Divorce for those 50 and older is a growing trend

When people living in Arizona choose to get a divorce, there are many issues to be addressed. This is true at any age. For people who are part of a demographic that is increasingly getting divorced - those 50 and older - there are specific issues such as property division.

These are called 'gray" divorces. While most age groups have seen a reduction in divorce, people 50 and older are bucking that trend. In the 20 years from 1990 to 2010, the number of people in that age group who got a divorce doubled. Experts say that variables play a major factor in gray divorce. It is one of the two parts of life when divorce is frequent. That includes people who have been married for about 20 years and those who are in the first seven years of their marriage.

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.

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