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Phoenix Divorce Law Blog

Prenuptial agreements can prevent divorce-fueled debt feud

When people imagine what's covered by a prenuptial agreement, or divorce more generally, they are likely to consider pre- and post-marital assets and earnings. After all, prenuptial agreements can be an effective tool to clearly define assets that were acquired prior to marriage and, thus, should be considered separate property. At the same time, premarital agreements can also define certain assets earned during marriage as separate property in the event of divorce.

What people may not immediately consider is how effectively a prenuptial agreement can address debt. No one wants to be stuck with a financial obligation that is actually not his or hers, particularly after divorce.

What is the difference between legal annulment and divorce?

Navigating a web of legal terms and concepts may cause some stress for many Arizona residents. When trying to determine whether legal separation or divorce is the best move for their family, some people may come across the concept of legal annulment. Although annulment enters the arena of family law, it is different from divorce in a number of key ways.

First off, the term "annulment" may be most closely associated with religious tradition. The state of Arizona, which recognizes and enforces the marriage contract of residents, has nothing to do with the religious connotations of annulment. However, there is a legal dimension associated with annulment, and it's worth exploring.

Defining Arizona's community property laws for divorce

From time to time, we have discussed the idea of community property on this blog as it relates to property division in Arizona. Although this legal concept has been mentioned multiple times, we have yet to explore this topic in depth. With a closer look, readers will hopefully have a better understanding of the basic mechanics of splitting assets during divorce.

Arizona is among a handful of states that have community property laws, as opposed to equitable division laws. In short, this property division scheme means that any shared assets or property (with a few exceptions) are subject to being split evenly between spouses when they divorce. Unless a prenuptial agreement suggests a different course of action, this principle will be applied across the board.

Working out a plan for parenting time

When couples are looking to settle matters of child custody, there is wide variety of final outcomes. The reality is that not every case will be resolved with both parents splitting physical custody of their children equally.

Even though one parent might receive sole physical custody it does not mean that the other parent will not be allowed to spend any time with children. Rather, granting full custody to one parent was considered to be in the best interests of the child and the other parent can still receive visitation rights to play a role in the child's life.

Remarriage, divorce and spousal support: Sorting out the details

For a person who is married at a young age and divorces within a relatively short period of time, he or she has many youthful years to consider a second marriage. Of course, anyone who is going into marriage having been through divorce, there is probably a lot of knowledge gained between the two events.

No matter the situation, entering into another marriage will no doubt be a different situation. Those who are in this scenario might want to consider a prenuptial agreement, simply as a practical measure. Defining separate and marital property ahead of the nuptials could save time and animosity down the road.

Is divorce process different for Arizona covenant marriages?

Throughout the course of this blog, divorce has generally been discussed in terms of basic marriage agreements. Under these circumstances, an individual doesn't need a specific reason to file for divorce. In other words, it is a no-fault arrangement.

It's worth noting, however, that Arizona law offers another option: covenant marriage. Not only is the process to get married under this arrangement slightly different than a "standard" marriage, but so too is the process to get divorced or legally separated.

Addressing the needs of Arizona same-sex couples

Same-sex marriage is among the hottest topics in the country right now. Every week, it seems, there is a new development in legislative and judicial efforts to expand marriage rights to include all couples.

As it currently stands, Arizona has a constitutional amendment that bars the state government from recognizing same-sex unions. However, just as is the case in many other states, the amendment is being challenged in a federal district court, according to a news report. Although the suit has been filed on behalf of seven couples and two surviving partners, no trial date has been scheduled.

The state of legal recognition for same-sex relationships is clearly in flux in the Grand Canyon State, which is why couples may need some guidance.

The other side: Divorce, inherited debt and shared responsibility

In the previous post, we discussed an important issue that might face many couples as they approach divorce: What happens to inherited property?

As it turns out, Arizona law provides a clear-cut answer. Inherited assets are considered to be separate property, no matter when ownership is transferred. However, there is another side to inheritance: debt.

Certain things in life can't be predicted, so a person might pass away with a major sum of mortgage debt. If this happens, beneficiaries could be handed the responsibility of the mortgage in addition to the residential real estate.

Determining how inherited assets will be handled during divorce

When a person designates estate beneficiaries, it's a very intentional move. Creating a will for the purpose of distributing assets and property is all about creating a legacy. For many people, this means providing for loved ones after passing away.

Given the value -- sentimental or financial -- of inherited property, divorcing individuals might wonder exactly how their status as a beneficiary will be impacted during property division. The key to this important concern can be found in state law.

How long must spousal support payments be made in Arizona?

No matter how you cut it, divorce introduces change into lives of couples seeking to split up. Families that once relied on the contributions -- financial and otherwise -- of two adults are split in two. This can obviously create financial challenges, particularly if one spouse has a higher income than the other.

In order to bridge post-divorce financial gaps, settlements can include spousal maintenance. If it's determined that one spouse is indeed eligible for alimony, then it is necessary to define how much should be paid. These aspects of spousal maintenance are defined by Arizona statute, but the term of payments may not be quite as clear.

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