Posts tagged ‘dissolution of marriage’

June 16, 2011

Arizona Alimony in a Nutshell

Arizona law does not use the term “alimony,” and instead uses the term “spousal maintenance” when referring to support payments made by one spouse to another.

Spousal maintenance can be awarded as part of the terms of a divorce decree, during the time between filing for divorce and the court entering a final decision, or even while the parties are still married. Spousal maintenance is awarded to ensure adequate income for those who have become economically dependent on their spouse through the marriage.

Spousal maintenance is NOT used to punish a spouse for any wrongdoing and is NOT dependent on gender. However, while either party in a divorce can ask for spousal maintenance to be awarded, the trend in recent years has been to award less support than what has been seen in the past.

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February 22, 2011

Community and Separate Property

Though February may be an “interesting” choice to post two articles concerning divorce, The New York Post reports that there is a 40 percent spike in divorce rates around this time of year. For this reason, we’ve opted to continue on with the topic of our last post and focus on an issue that is nearly universal to all divorces; community property.

Arizona is a community property state, which means the law presumes that all property acquired during the course of a marriage is community property. On the other hand, all property that is acquired before marriage, or after the divorce papers are served, is considered to be separate property.

If an item is classified as community property then both you and your spouse have an equal ownership in that item. This property includes most assets acquired during the marriage, as well as any income generated by either you or your spouse.

Separate property belongs solely to either yourself or your spouse. Typically, separate property is anything that you brought into the marriage, or acquired as a gift or through inheritance to you personally. These items will generally remain your separate property throughout the course of the marriage, as long as you keep them separate, but there are certain actions or events that may grant your spouse an interest in your separate property, or even change it to community property entirely (such as depositing money into a joint account used for the good of the community).

The presumption that everything acquired during marriage is community property is very broad, but there are ways to defeat it. Certain exceptions exist that allow some items or earnings can to be viewed by the courts as separate property, though the method of proving these exceptions is often complex, and usually necessitates the use of an attorney.

Along with child custody and spousal maintenance, concerns about the fate of assets gained both during and after the marriage lead to some of the most common questions asked in divorce proceedings. If you find that you and your spouse seem to be spiraling out of love rather than relishing the romance this Valentine’s Day, feel free to speak to any of our attorneys who will be happy to help answer all of your questions.

February 7, 2011

No-Fault Divorce

Family law is really about family relations.  The most common family law cases include divorce, custody, alimony, adoption, and domestic violence.  These are civil cases, and they are heard in the civil court.  You may wonder what exactly is a no-fault divorce.

Arizona divorce laws allow either spouse to file for a divorce if it is claimed that the existing marriage between the two parties is irretrievably broken, and that there is no possibility for reconciliation.  The spouse filing for the divorce or legal separation in Arizona is not required to state that either party is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage.  For this reason, Arizona is commonly called the “no-fault” state.

The circumstances for the divorce may vary greatly, but there are some very specific steps in moving forward to make a divorce final.  This includes the filing of exact documents, the serving of the documents to the other spouse, the necessity to disclose a number of papers such as one’s income tax returns, paycheck stubs, bank account and credit card statements, and copies of deeds or titles of property owned separately or jointly. In addition, both parties may ask for additional information or call expert witnesses.

As you can see, this is a complicated process with a number of options.  It is important that a person in this circumstance of facing a major life event or change needs to seek the consultation and advice of a competent, experienced law firm who helps you to not compromise your legal rights.

Unfortunately, many people stay in a marriage because they think they will lose everything for which they have worked. Instead, let The Carroll Law Firm help you in understanding how the legal system of no-fault divorce works.  Call now for your well-being and peace of mind. There is a lawyer here at The Carroll Law Firm ready to help you with any of your family law needs.

December 1, 2010

When “I Do” Becomes “I Don’t”

I don’t think anyone who says “I do” plans on later saying “I don’t.” But here you are, and there are a lot of things to think about. What assets and debts have you and your spouse accumulated during your marriage, and how will they be divided? If you have children together, what parenting time schedule do you envision? How much child support will you owe or be owed? What about spousal maintenance (alimony)? The list goes on.

We at the Carroll Law Firm PLC can help you answer these questions and more. We can serve as mediators if you and your spouse want to try and agree to the terms of your divorce with minimal court involvement. We can represent you in an uncontested or a contested divorce action. We can help you with a legal separation. No matter what route the end of your marriage takes, we will protect your interests and help you navigate through this difficult time.

If you and your spouse have children, your divorce decree will end your marriage, but it will not end your relationship with each other. As I recently heard a judge say, “A divorce ends a marriage; it does not end a family.” For that reason, you may want to think not only about the concrete terms of your divorce, but what your relationship with your spouse will look like in the future. Think about birthday parties, school events, soccer games. . . . What if your spouse wants a few extra days of parenting time because his or her relatives are in town? What if you need your spouse to pick the kids up at school on “your” day because you have a late meeting at work? How flexible are you willing to be, knowing that you may need to ask for some flexibility sometimes, too?

If you are facing the end of your marriage, please know that we are here to discuss your options with you. Please call us at (623) 551-9366 if you would like to schedule a free thirty-minute consultation. Now and always, we wish you the best.