Posts tagged ‘divorce’

January 6, 2014

Some General Guidelines for Determining Child Support

Arizona courts follow the Arizona Child Support Guidelines (the “Guidelines”). The information below, from the Guidelines, only addresses a few of the issues that can arise when determining a parent’s child support obligation.

The Guidelines estimate the total amount of child support that a child’s parents would have spent if they were living together, with each parent contributing his or her proportionate share of the total amount of support. Child support obligations take priority over all other financial obligations. In certain circumstances (such as the parties’ agreement), courts can deviate from the Guidelines when ordering a parent to pay child support.

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March 27, 2013

Attorneys Fees

During a divorce it is not uncommon to see one party requesting that his or her legal fees be paid by his or her spouse. However, whether or not the court will grant this request is dependent on the facts involved in the case.

In making this determination, the court will often take into consideration the financial resources of both parties along with the reasonableness of the positions they have taken throughout the course of the proceeding. Should the court determine that a petition was not filed in good faith, was not grounded in fact or based on law, or was filed for an improper purpose, such as to cause an unnecessary delay in proceedings, to add to the costs of the opposing party’s legal fees, or to harass the other party, then the court is likely to award the other party reasonable attorneys’ fees.

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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 17, 2011

Child Support

A divorce is a legal proceeding wherein one or both spouses are seeking to end their marriage.  As a part of the divorce proceeding, the Court will issue orders pertaining to custody of the parties’ child/children.  The court may also grant temporary orders during the divorce proceedings before a final decree is issued. These orders include the payment of child support and visitation rights / parenting time with the children.

The Arizona Revised Statutes dictate how much child support will be calculated. There are Child Support Guidelines set by the Arizona Supreme Court, which establish a uniform standard used to determining a child support obligation. There is also a child support calculator (available online) that allows a person to plug in certain numbers such as income, health insurance, day care payments, etc. in order to show how much a spouse can expect to pay in child support. Child support cases take into consideration the financial situation of both parties, therefore good documentation is imperative. This documentation may include: tax returns, credit reports, car payments, pension statements, real estate records, credit card balances, and investment statements. The Arizona Child Support Calculator usually provides an accurate assessment of the level of support that will be required, but in some situations deviations from this amount are granted. An attorney can take the time to go through these possible situations with you if you are facing this issue.

Once the divorce is finalized and the court has determined the child support and visitation rules, both parties are legally obligated to follow the court order-and to follow it correctly. In the event a spouse violates a court order granting child support, there are several remedies available to the other spouse including the garnishment of wages, bank account and asset seizure, and in extreme cases, criminal penalties such as imprisonment. Although divorce decrees are final, the court is allowed to revisit issues such as child support and custody in certain cases. If circumstances regarding child support change that would result in an outcome that differs by 15% or more (such as a parent losing a job or getting a substantial raise), the court may revisit the original orders and change the amounts due.

You can see that there are very specific laws regarding divorce and child custody. An attorney can help you understand the differences between terms such as an absent parent, a custodial parent/person, and a non-custodial parent; or what the age of majority is, or the difference between an alleged father and a legal father.  Going through a divorce is hard enough without worrying about understanding all of the laws and your legal rights. It is important that you find a qualified law firm to help you with this process. We believe our lawyers at The Carroll Law Firm are the perfect choice in helping you through this difficult time of important decision making.