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Maricopa County Family Law Blog

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.

What you need for a protective order in Arizona?

No one should feel uncomfortable or unsafe in their home. Protective orders or restraining orders, as they’re most commonly known, are there to protect you and your family from harm. These orders are no guarantee of safety but can serve as a legal deterrent to someone who wishes you harm.

If you think you need an order of protection, one of the most important things you can do is write down every instance of harassment or domestic violence. Times like these are traumatic, but you owe to yourself and family to write down everything you can as soon as possible. Leave nothing out. Verbal threats and property damage are also relevant. Someone doesn’t have to physically touch you or your child to count as harassment or domestic violence.

The credit perils of a quick divorce property settlement

Divorcing couples in Arizona and around the country often make difficult choices, and some of these decisions can influence their lives for years to come. It is not uncommon for divorcing spouses to make concessions during property division negotiations to reach a settlement quickly and put the whole process behind them, but making important decisions without considering all of the financial ramifications can leave spouses open to harassment from bill collectors and with credit damage that can take years to rectify.

The most valuable assets covered during property division talks, such as cars or homes, are often financed with loans that both of the spouses signed. The problem is that lenders are not bound by the provisions of court-ordered divorce settlements and will pursue all signers for payment when loans fall into arrears. This means that when jointly held loans are not paid off, spouses may be hounded for payment even when they have ceded their ownership interest in the asset.

Study highlights the dangers abusive relationships pose to teens

Nearly half of the women killed by homicide in Arizona and around the country die at the hands of an individual with whom they had an intimate relationship. Yet, the dangers violent men pose to adolescent girls have largely been ignored by researchers. A team of epidemiologists from Harvard University and the University of Washington recently sought to address this imbalance by reviewing the cases of 150 teens killed by their intimate partners between 2003 and 2016.

Out of the cases that were studied, 90% involved an adolescent girl who died at the hands of a boyfriend, and the perpetrator was over the age of 18 almost 80 percent of the time. In some of these cases, an older man killed a teenage girlfriend because he was worried about being prosecuted for statutory rape or wished to terminate a pregnancy. The researchers gathered their data from coroner's records, police reports and medical examiner's files.

Options for dividing a home in a divorce

Arizona residents and others who are going through the divorce process may need to figure out how to divide the marital home. A home can be divided in a variety of different ways, and one option may be to sell it and split the proceeds. If this happens, it may be necessary to account for capital gains taxes and other associated fees. It is also a good idea to line up a new home or apartment before the sale is final.

Those who don't have a problem cooperating after a marriage ends may retain joint ownership of the home. Retaining ownership can also be helpful for parents who have young children. If a former couple is going to retain ownership of a home, they need to make sure that there is an agreement in place to split household expenses and maintenance duties.

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