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Phoenix Divorce Law Blog

Understand your state's property division laws before marriage, divorce

Property division is an important aspect of divorce. Along with child custody and visitation, it is one of the areas of divorce many couples fight about the most. It is important for couples-both those who are engaged and those who are considering divorce-to understand how property division works so that they can take steps to plan accordingly.

The laws of property division are different for each state, so couples need to make sure they have a solid understanding of the law of the jurisdiction in which they are obtaining a divorce. Courts in Arizona utilize a minority approach to property division in which community property is generally split down the middle.

Take time to do your prenuptial agreement right

Prenuptial agreements can, as readers probably know, be an important way for couples to have greater control over the financial outcome of a potential divorce. But, as anybody who pays attention to celebrity gossip knows, prenuptial agreements don't always work out. The divorce case of hedge fund manager Ken Griffin and his wife Anne Dias-Griffin brings up an important point about prenuptial agreements: if an agreement is entered into improperly, it will most likely be challenged and will probably not hold up in court.

In the Griffin's case, there is no outcome as of yet, as the case is really just getting off the ground. Ken Griffin filed for divorce in Illinois over the summer and his wife filed a response petition last week. In documents she filed with the court, she claims that the prenuptial agreement the couple entered into should be voided because she didn't have enough time to consider it and was all but coerced into doing so.

AZ man fighting surprise child support payments

Child support is an important resource for parents caring for children out of wedlock or after a divorce, and everybody agrees that parents have the duty to help support their children. This does not mean that there are no circumstances under which child support might be unfair to foist upon a parent. Take, for instance, the unique case of a 24-year-old Phoenix man who is being required to pay support for a child he conceived as a 14-year-old and which he only recently found out about?

The man, who was technically a victim of statutory rape, didn't press charges over the incident. Two years ago he was served with papers ordering him to pay child support for his six-year-old daughter. Now he owes roughly $15,000 in back payments and medical bills, plus interest, and is having his wages garnished and funds seized from his bank account. Needless to say, this would be a shocking thing to face as a young man.

Family pets increasingly addressed in prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements are very valuable tools in the context of marriage and divorce. Although there are certain issues these agreements cannot address by law, there are many terms which they can address which help couples lend more predictability to a potential breakup. What these agreements cannot address are things like child custody and child support exemptions. Prenups also cannot encourage divorce.

What prenuptial agreements can address are things like separate property, estate plans, financial protection for children of a previous marriage, protection of an inheritance, and how property will be divided in the event of divorce. Prenups are quite versatile, though, and can also address things like the use of social media and custody of pets. The latter issue is becoming more and more common to see in prenuptial agreements.

Phoenix woman regains custody of children

Child custody is something that many parents can too easily take for granted until they have custody taken away. This often happens to parents in divorce or after accusations of abuse or neglect. Phoenix readers may have heard about Shanesha Taylor, a Phoenix mother who left her two sons in a hot car in March while she was at a job interview in Scottsdale. As a result, she was put through criminal proceedings in connection with the incident and Child Protective Services took temporary custody of the children and allowed her to see them only on weekends.

This week, Taylor was granted custody of her children and will be able to have the charges dismissed if she meets specified conditions. One of them is that she attend 26 parenting classes, five of which she has apparently already attended. According to her attorney, her children are now able to live at home with her, though there are still "a few details" that need to be addressed.

Oil baron's divorce could be costly

Divorce can be costly for some couples, particularly those who are determined to battle it out in court over every little disagreement. In divorce cases where a lot of money is at stake, divorce can be particularly costly. Oklahoma billionaire Harold Hamm-known for his pioneering work in the fracking industry-is currently going through what could be among the costliest divorces in history.

Since Hamm was married 25 years ago, the value of Hamm's company has reportedly increased by $17 billion, at least according to his wife's attorneys. The issue with respect to property division in the case is whether that increase in wealth occurred because of Hamm's hard work or on its own. If the former, the money will be divided under Oklahoma's equitable distribution law. If the former, the property will be deemed separate property not subject to division. As commentators have noted, the most likely possibility is that the increase will be deemed a combination of Hamm's initiative and chance.

Working out a parenting time agreement in divorce

In divorce, settling matters related to child custody and visitation is not always and easy task. In many cases, it is the most difficult part of the divorce. Oftentimes the difficulties lie in the relationship between the parents, but the difficulties can also arise from not understanding an effective way to approach the issue of parenting time. Of course, this is part of why it is so important to work with an experienced attorney. In addition, parents can also take advantage of information provided by the Arizona Courts so they are better educated going into the process.

In a document entitled "Planning for Parenting Times: Arizona's Guide for Parents Living Apart," Arizona parents are able to get a basic understanding of some of the issues to consider when working out a parenting time schedule with their ex, as well as the possibilities for parenting time schedules. Though it is understandable that circumstances change, working out an effective parenting time schedule is important to do the first time around so that parents do not have to go back to court and rework things.

Overcoming challenges inherent to the divorce process

A couple may choose to divorce for a number of reasons. Whether a divorce was years in the making, precipitated by one major event or a total surprise; learning that a husband or wife has filed for divorce is likely to set off a firestorm of thoughts and emotions.

Once divorce papers have been filed and served, everything changes. The problems a couple faced privately are no longer just between the two of them. As attorneys, judges and the courts get involved, husbands and wives may feel as though they have little to no control.

Work closely with a skilled attorney on property division issues

Property division is a very important aspect of the divorce process, particularly for couples with significant assets. Because of the nature of the process of property division, it is important for parties to divorce to be well represented by an experienced attorney. One major reason for this is that the application of the rules of property division is not always straightforward.

In Arizona, as some Phoenix readers may know, courts utilize an approach to property division called community property. Under this approach, most property a couple acquires during the marriage is considered to be community property and is subject to equal division in divorce. That being said, exceptions to this rule can include property received by inheritance and gifts.

Does remarriage end existing orders for spousal maintenance?

In the years after divorce, many people adjust to the changes in their lives and move forward. For many people, this may include giving marriage another try.

Most aspects of a marital relationship come to a close once a divorce is finalized. However, child support and spousal support payments are one legacy of marriage that can continue long after two people have parted ways. In terms of remarriage, parental obligations do not end, so child support orders remain in place until children reach the legal age limits. On the other hand, spousal support orders could be suspended if the spouse who receives payments is married again.

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