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Tucson Divorce Law Blog

After property division, spouses must adjust financial focus

An Arizona divorce will prompt a great many changes, some of them positive and others less so. One of the most obvious changes that will follow any divorce involves finances. In some cases, spouses emerge from the end of their marriage in great financial shape. For many spouses, however, divorce and property division lead to a need to make some adjustments to their financial habits.

In order to make wise financial decisions in the wake of divorce, it is first necessary to gain an understanding of the full range of one's new situation. This begins by determining where all currently held assets lie, and how much wealth is held within each asset type. This is also the time to examine one's savings goals, and determine if a new savings path might be a better fit. For example, if a couple was previously dedicating a large portion of monthly income to paying down the student loan debt of one spouse, the post-divorce plan might be for the spouse who does not have student loans to allocate a similar percentage of income to retirement savings or investments.

How do retirement plans factor into property division?

Dividing marital wealth can be a challenge, especially for Arizona couples who have a diverse blend of asset types. Retirement savings often play a significant role in the property division process. Savvy spouses will take the time to educate themselves on how these assets are divided, so that they can structure a negotiation strategy that meets their own particular set of needs and goals.

When a marriage comes to an end, the general rule of thumb is that any retirement savings that were attained during the course of the marriage are subject to division during divorce. This is true of money that an individual spouse set aside for retirement, as well as employer contributions. Retirement savings that were in place at the time of marriage will usually be considered separate property. In some cases, it can be helpful to calculate the rise in value on the assets that were already set aside when the marriage took place in order to remove that value from the pool of divisible assets.

Wife finds out about secret high asset divorce

When one Arizona spouse is ready to end a marriage, that news often comes as a surprise to the other party. In an unusual case, a wife was surprised to learn not that her husband of 20 years wanted a divorce, but that he had already taken the steps to complete one -- just months after the pair married. She is now suing to have that divorce nullified, and to prevent her husband from selling one of their homes. The case may lead to a high asset divorce filing in this country, as well. 

The woman became suspicious when a tax bill arrived for one of the couple's homes but did not have her name on it. She hired an attorney to investigate, and he determined that the woman's husband presented foreign divorce papers to try and remove her name from the deed to the property. It is believed that he did so in an attempt to sell the home to his adult daughter.

Tips for easing or avoiding common property division woes

In the process of ending a marriage, few things are more fraught with stress and tension than the division of marital wealth. Property division often becomes the primary focus of a divorce, and both parties can grow frustrated while working out who will get what. In the worst cases, one spouse will take action to intentionally deplete marital assets, which can complicate matters even further. It is important for Arizona spouses to take preventative steps to avoid such an outcome.

As soon as a spouse has made the decision to file for divorce, one of the first orders of business should be to close or restrict access to any shared accounts. This can help to ensure that one's soon-to-be ex does not express his or her frustration or anger by racking up new debt. To the greatest extent possible, all open lines of credit should be paid off and closed. If that is not possible, contact the creditor and explain that a divorce is about to take place, and ask that the account be frozen.

During property division, many overlook these asset types

Once an Arizona couple has decided to divorce, the urge to get things wrapped up and move on can be strong. While this is understandable, rushing through the property division portion of a divorce is never a good idea. This is a time in which a number of important decisions must be made, and where haste is not beneficial. When it comes to community property, not all assets are created equal, and many spouses leave money on the table by neglecting to address certain types of wealth.

An example is found in future interests. These assets include stock options and various types of business interests. Determining the worth of such assets can be a challenge, but there are professionals who can assist in valuation. It is important for spouses to understand that just because a future interest may seem to hold little current value, there is a good chance that the asset will one day be worth much more.

The challenges of 50/50 child custody arrangements

Parents who decide to end their marriage are often concerned about how the change will impact their shared children. Often, both parents want to remain involved in the daily lives of their kids, but once the family is divided into two distinct units, this can be difficult to accomplish. A solution lies in 50/50 shared custody, an arrangement that has a range of pros and cons. For those in Arizona who are considering this form of child custody, it is important to take some things into consideration.

Once a child reaches school age, their life becomes far more complicated than in the preschool years. While they will develop some types of autonomy as they grow older, they also take on a  whole new set of responsibilities in relation to school. Splitting time equally between two homes can be tough, and parents must be ready to pay close attention to school projects, homework and various deadlines. In addition, school supplies must be kept in line with a policy that is mirrored between both homes, so that the child is always aware of where his or her bookbag and work is located.

Child support case focuses on stepparent relationship

When an Arizona resident marries a person who already has children, the new family member assumes a number of responsibilities regarding those kids. He or she will often step into a parental role and take on a number of tasks that are usually handled by a parent. Should that marriage end, however, the stepparent will be able to walk away from those responsibilities, and he or she will have no further obligations toward the child or children. A recent case in another state challenges this end result, however, and it has left one stepparent obligated to pay child support for his two stepsons.

The matter involves a man and woman who married in 2005. At that time, the woman already had a set of twin boys from a previous relationship, and her new husband took on the role of stepparent to the children. When the couple separated in 2009, they continued to share responsibility for the boys. Two years later, the mother completed her law degree and began making plans to move to the West Coast. At that point, the stepfather began a child custody case to assert his right to remain involved in the lives of the children.

Unusual outcome in controversial child custody case

A custody battle that made headlines across the nation has recently featured an unexpected twist. Arizona readers may recall the child custody case; it gained media attention after the judge ordered three children to juvenile detention for refusing to meet with their estranged father. The matter led to a great deal of debate and brought the case to the attention of the state's Judicial Tenure Commission. In a recent twist, the judge has taken steps to remove herself from the case.

Family law issues are often highly contentious. In fact, these cases are among the most difficult and distressing matters that come before the courts. Judges who are tasked with hearing these matters are expected to uphold a high level of professionalism and to rule in accordance with the law. When standards are not met, the result can be an inquiry by the authority that oversees judicial matters.

Could a high asset divorce damage one's health?

Most Arizona residents are familiar with the commonly held notion that married people are more healthy than those who are single or divorced. This presumption is the result of multiple studies that have examined marriage, divorce and health issues. However, a recent study goes against the body of evidence that supports the belief that marriage has health benefits. Those findings could come as welcome news to spouses who are considering a high asset divorce but are worried that their health could decline as a result.

Researchers looked at how married spouses rate the level of support within their marriage. Participants were asked how much support they receive from their spouse in good times and bad. Many reported that they sometimes felt a great deal of support, while at other times they felt less supported. Those marriages were categorized as ambivalent.

Is it time for a new approach to child support?

The practice of collecting child support has an admirable goal: to ensure that both parents provide the financial means of raising a shared child. However, in reality the system is flawed, and the end result is often far from that laudable goal. Many families in Arizona and elsewhere go through a great deal of turmoil fighting over child support, much of which could be avoided.

Currently, most states become involved in the transfer of money from one parent to the other. Whether support payments are court-ordered or reached through an agreement between the parties, the state often processes those payments. This is especially true for lower income parents, many of whom struggle to meet their child support obligations or struggle to get by without the support to which they are entitled. When a parent cannot or does not pay, he or she could face serious repercussions, including jail time.

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