While most of us have a pretty good idea about what a prenuptial agreement is, many people don’t know the first thing about postnuptial agreements. If you’re married and don’t have a prenup, you may want to consider a postnuptial agreement – and it does not mean that you are hedging your bets or are even considering divorce. Instead, a postnuptial agreement is a legal contract that fills in for a prenuptial agreement – if you don’t have one or if yours has timed out or has otherwise been revoked – and is only implemented in the event of divorce. If you have questions related to a postnuptial agreement, the experienced family law attorneys at DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC in Phoenix can help.

A Postnuptial Agreement Aids the Divorce Process

If your marriage does end in divorce, your postnuptial agreement aids the divorce process immensely. A postnuptial agreement is not a harbinger of divorce by any means, and many go unused permanently. If your marriage does come to an end, however, this legal document will guide the important decisions that need to be made, including:

  • The division of your marital property – The division of marital property is one of the most hotly contested issues in any divorce and can greatly increase the time it takes to obtain a divorce. Your postnuptial agreement will delineate who gets what, which properties are marital property, and which properties are separate property – and removes this time-consuming and expensive obstacle from the divorce process.
  • Spousal Maintenance – If your postnuptial agreement addresses spousal maintenance – what many of us think of as alimony – you similarly won’t need to address this issue in the course of your divorce. Spousal maintenance is highly specific to the case at hand and can take a considerable amount of time to negotiate during the divorce process. Your postnuptial agreement can take this component of your divorce off the negotiation table.

It’s important to point out, however, that issues related to child custody and child support cannot be addressed in a postnuptial agreement (or prenuptial agreement). These are issues that must be settled by the court (or agreed to by the court) and must only be settled in real-time in accordance with state laws.

Fortifying Your Marriage

Many people contend that a postnuptial agreement is a sign that one’s marriage is destined to fall apart, but this is far from the case. On the contrary, going through the process of creating a postnuptial agreement makes you and your spouse face the facts as they relate to divorce, and this can help you recognize just how difficult and painful a divorce would be. You can look at your postnuptial agreement as a tool that helps you keep your marriage on track. You both had to sign off on the postnuptial agreement, and you’re both well aware at this point exactly how damaging a divorce would be.

Money Arguments

Since we’ve touched on the topic of how a postnuptial agreement can help strengthen your marriage, it’s important to bring up the issue of arguments about money in a marriage. Arguments about money are undeniably common in marriages, and serious money arguments are closely associated with divorce. A postnuptial agreement can address and guide your current finances. A postnuptial agreement puts all your money questions into black and white and provides answers to those questions. This can help alleviate your worries and concerns related to money in your marriage. Instead of letting money problems lead you to divorce, you can use your postnuptial agreement to address your money issues head-on – before divorce becomes the answer.

Protecting Your Future

Even if you have a comprehensive prenuptial agreement, it likely can’t anticipate all of life’s twists and turns. This is where a postnuptial agreement can help. If you and your spouse have greatly increased your financial holdings over the course of your marriage, have started a business, have expanded a business, or have branched out financially in ways you never imagined, a postnuptial agreement can succinctly address the issue.

Your Postnuptial Agreement

If you’re wondering whether you need a postnuptial agreement, consider your finances, and if they are anything other than extremely straightforward, a postnuptial agreement is probably a good idea. While prenuptial agreements are governed by legal statute in the State of Arizona, postnuptial agreements are a matter of judicial precedent, which means they are recognized by the courts because there is precedent to do so. Your postnuptial agreement is viewed by the court in much the same way that any contract is – as long as it contains the elements necessary to make it valid and enforceable, including:

  • Your postnuptial agreement should be in writing.
  • Your postnuptial agreement should be signed by both of you.
  • Your postnuptial agreement should be notarized.
  • The agreements set forth in your postnuptial agreement must be fair and equitable (the court won’t sign off on the agreement if it deems that one spouse is coming out ahead at the other spouse’s expense).

Keeping Things Fair

The court will be looking to make sure your postnuptial agreement treats both of you reasonably fairly. Within these parameters, you are free to get creative with the division of your marital property. If, for example, your family business is your spouse’s darling, and you hope to remain in your family home, you can divide things with these goals in mind. The court is interested in the fairness of how the dollar value of your assets is divided but cannot concern itself with the personal value you place in your home, business, art collection, investments, or anything else – only you and your spouse can assign these values, and you can use your postnuptial agreement to address them.

Questions about a Postnuptial Agreement? Call a Phoenix Family Law Attorney

A postnuptial agreement can address the financial concerns in your marriage and guide your financial decisions if your marriage does end in divorce. A postnuptial agreement, however, can only help if it is a valid legal document that fairly addresses these issues, and the dedicated family law attorneys at DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC in Phoenix are committed to helping you create a postnuptial agreement that protects your rights and works for you. Our formidable legal team is here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 602-457-6559 for more information today.

 

 

 

If you are facing a divorce, you are naturally concerned about your post-divorce finances, and you may be wondering about alimony. Spousal maintenance – what most of us think of as alimony – is among the most misunderstood components of divorce, and it’s worth taking a closer look. Historically, only the wife could ask for alimony, but this has changed, and either spouse can ask for alimony if their circumstances fall within the parameters of the Arizona statute.

While there is no guarantee that you will receive spousal maintenance after your divorce, if you qualify and the court deems you in need, this financial bump can help you better navigate your post-divorce life. If you have divorce concerns related to alimony, the dedicated family law attorneys at DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC in Phoenix are committed to helping you obtain a divorce that works for you – and that includes alimony if you are so entitled.

Your Divorce

Before you can receive alimony, you must directly ask for it in your divorce petition. If you waive your right to this spousal maintenance, you can’t go back in and modify your decree in an effort to obtain it. In other words, it’s important to get this right from the get-go, and working with an experienced family law attorney will help ensure that you do.

Your Affidavit of Financial Information

Your Affidavit of Financial Information (AFI) is critical to every financial component of your divorce, including child support and alimony. As such, it’s imperative that you pay close attention to compiling a financial affidavit that accurately reflects your finances. This document will delineate your gross monthly income from every source, your monthly expenses, and the children you support. You will provide your divorcing spouse’s attorney with your AFI along with supporting documentation, and it’s important that the numbers on both match each other.

The information on your AFI will likely include:

  • Documentation regarding your income (including paystubs)
  • Financial information related to self-employment (as applicable)
  • Financial information pertaining to your children (including daycare and babysitting as applicable)
  • Information related to your current and past employers
  • Your income taxes for the last three years
  • A list of your monthly expenses
  • Information about expenses related to medical/eye/dental insurance
  • A list of your outstanding debts

Temporary Spousal Maintenance

As you move through the divorce process, you may need temporary spousal maintenance to help keep you afloat, and you can file a motion for the same. Your motion should lay out exactly why you need the financial support and should demonstrate that your divorcing spouse is capable of paying for it. The basics should include:

  • Your expenses
  • Your income and its inability to cover your expenses
  • Your lack of access to community funds
  • Your spouse’s income and ability to cover your financial needs during the pendency of your divorce

Your motion can also address expenses associated with your divorce, such as your legal fees and moving costs.

The Initial Analysis of Your Case: Qualification

To qualify for alimony, you must be able to prove that at least one of the following applies to you:

  • Your personal property alone (the income it produces) is not sufficient to provide for your reasonable needs.
  • You are unable to provide for your reasonable needs through your ability to work alone, or you lack the earning potential to earn enough, or you care for a child whose age or health requires you to stay home and not work.
  • You significantly contributed to your divorcing spouse’s educational and/or career successes.
  • Your marriage lasted many years, and you are currently of an age that precludes you from obtaining employment sufficient to provide for your reasonable needs.

If at least one of these does not apply to you, you don’t qualify for alimony, and the process ends here.

Analyzing the Factors Specific to Your Situation

Once you are determined to qualify for spousal maintenance, the court will take the factors specific to your situation into account in determining the amount of support you will receive and the duration of that support. These factors include:

  • The standard of living you and your spouse established during the course of your marriage – The court recognizes that you and your spouse probably won’t both be able to maintain the standard of living you reached in your marriage, but it is interested in making sure that your separate standards of living won’t be seriously lopsided.
  • The length of your marriage – Generally, a marriage that lasts less than ten years is considered a short marriage, a marriage that lasts from 10 to 20 years is considered medium length, and a marriage that lasts more than 20 years is considered a long marriage. Longer marriages generally translate to more alimony for a longer period of time.
  • Your age, physical and emotional health, earning capacity, and employment history – The court will look at these components in relation to your ability to earn. The less able you are to earn, the more significant your alimony amount and duration are likely to be.
  • Your spouse’s ability to pay alimony
  • The comparative financial resources that both of you have
  • Your contributions to your spouse’s ability to earn
  • The extent to which you sacrificed your own earning potential to stay home and care for your family
  • You and your divorcing spouse’s ongoing ability to contribute to your shared children’s education
  • Amount of time you’d need to get the training or education necessary to obtain a job that would adequately support you
  • Excess spending, concealment of funds, or fraudulent disposition of marital property – If your divorcing spouse engaged in any of these practices, it can lead to him or her paying more in spousal maintenance than he or she ordinarily would have.

If You Have Alimony Concerns, Contact a Phoenix Family Law Attorney Today

Financial concerns are among the most stressful concerns associated with divorce. The dedicated family law attorneys at DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC in Phoenix are committed to helping you obtain the spousal maintenance to which you are entitled. Our experienced legal team is on your side, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call us at 602-457-6559 for more information today.

The number of married couples divorcing after the age of 50 has been rising in recent years. In some ways, divorce later in life is simpler. The kids are grown so support and visitation are rarely issues. In other ways, ending a long-lasting divorce later in life presents challenges that require added consideration.

Divorce typically leaves both spouses in worse financial condition than while married. Creating a post-divorce financial plan becomes more critical when marriages end late in life. A full inventory of assets and their values must be made. Division of assets and debts should be decided based on life expectancy, age difference and potential sources of post-divorce income.

Younger ex-spouses generally find opportunities to recover and have adequate time to pursue them. The opportunities and time to recover for spouses divorcing late in life are usually much more limited. To ensure both spouses are financially secure after divorce, property and debt distribution often require different considerations than needed when spouses are young.

Home ownership. Disposition of a family home for young couples is usually straightforward for Phoenix, Arizona residents. Either the spouse with primary custody of the children will often keep the home or the property will be sold and profits split between the spouses. Older spouses should not automatically decide to sell the property as it may prove financially beneficial for one spouse to keep the home.

A reverse mortgage can provide a consistent source of income once a homeowner reaches 62. Access to government aid programs such as Medicaid and veterans’ pension programs may be limited by financial assets but not by equity in a primary residence. Seniors who have $100,000 in the bank may be prevented from accessing some programs they could otherwise use if that same $100,000 was in home equity.

Senior homeowners often enjoy property tax breaks and utility discounts but must live in the home to benefit. Even if a spouse foregoes those benefits by moving from the home, the property can generate a steady source of income as a rental, particularly in hot real estate markets. Alternatively, the ex-spouse may remain in the home but rent a room or a section of the home if feasible.

Retirements and pensions. In general, spouses are entitled to half the retirement or pension benefits earned during the marriage by either spouse. When both have retirement accounts, it may be simpler to just agree that each will keep his or her own account. Where one spouse does not have a retirement account or where there is a significant difference in account values, provisions must usually be made to divide the accounts.

Retirement and pension account provisions vary. Some may allow distribution of funds soon after divorce. Others may restrict distribution until one or both spouses reach a specific age. Extra time and effort may be required to obtain valuations of funds in these programs and to draft required paperwork such as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to access the funds. Full knowledge of account values is essential to accomplish a fair distribution of property.

Social Security. While generally not an issue for younger couples, for spouses nearing 60 this issue holds great importance. A divorce decree cannot allocate Social Security benefits. Distribution is based on federal law. At age 62 a person married for 10 years can claim half of an ex-spouse’s Social Security benefit without reducing the amount to which that spouse is entitled. If the ex-spouse dies after 10 years of marriage, the survivor may be able to claim the full benefit at age 60.

For a person with a limited work history, obtaining a Social Security benefit based on the spouse’s work record can provide substantial income. If the marriage has not lasted 10 years, it may be wiser to consider a legal separation or other arrangement at least until requirements are met to access Social Security benefits.

Health insurance. One spouse often faces loss of health insurance coverage after divorce. Options may include extending existing coverage via COBRA provisions in the current policy or requiring the spouse with insurance to pay for all or part of a policy covering the soon-to-be uninsured spouse at least until that spouse becomes eligible for Medicare. A spouse already eligible for Medicare might also consider requiring the spouse with greater income to pay the cost of a Medigap insurance policy to supplement Medicare coverage.

The option of legally separating for a period rather than divorcing might be considered as well. Since the marriage remains legally intact, the insured party’s health insurance policy will usually continue to cover the other spouse.

Alimony and life insurance. Spousal maintenance or alimony can only be logically considered once the value and intended disposition of property is determined. If both spouses have been actively employed during the marriage and earning comparable salaries, alimony may not be needed. However, where one spouse left the job market for a considerable period to be the primary caretaker of the children, the requirement to pay alimony becomes more likely. The reality for at least one spouse in many late-in-life divorces is that opportunities will be limited to re-enter the job market at a salary sufficient to achieve financial independence.

When alimony is ordered in a divorce involving older couples, the person paying should be required to maintain a life insurance policy naming the alimony recipient as beneficiary. This protects the recipient from being cut off from a stream of needed income should the payer unexpectedly die.

Estate planning. Once the divorce is final, ex-spouses should revise wills, medical directives and other documents that designate beneficiaries or have given power of attorney to the other spouse. Spouses may want to consider whether the divorce decree should include provisions to establish trusts or require that specific provisions be maintained in each person’s will for benefit of children.

Couples in a long-term marriage generally have accumulated more assets over time.

Anyone contemplating divorce would be wise to consult an attorney for advice and assistance. Particularly when a divorce comes late in life, the guidance of a tax consultant may prove equally necessary and valuable as most divorce issues basically involve a numbers game. Legal and financial assistance can help ensure you obtain a fair division of assets to provide financial stability for years to come.

Discuss Your Options at an Initial Case Review with DeShon Laraye & Pullen PLC

At DeShon Laraye & Pullen PLC, we know how to navigate the complexities that surround child custody issues skillfully. You don’t have to face the court or your ex alone in court. Contact one of our divorce attorneys for an initial case review. You can schedule a meeting with our divorce team by calling (602) 252-1968 or sending us a message via our online request form.

“Ghosting” is a phenomenon that occurs when someone you know just suddenly vanishes or refuses to respond to your communications without a given reason. When it happens between a married couple, the action of the spouse, who “ghosted” you, is committing spousal abandonment in the State of Arizona.

You do not want to stay in the marriage but may feel like you do not know where to turn after discovering you must serve divorce papers. The reassuring news is that you have options.

In this post, the legal team at DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC describes an overview of spousal abandonment divorce proceedings in Arizona and the steps you can take to serve your petition. While the information presented below is general, you can speak with an Arizona divorce lawyer for situation-specific advice.

Establishing the Grounds for Divorce

Arizona courts require you to provide a valid reason for seeking a divorce from your partner. Fortunately, we are a no-fault divorce state, which means that you do not need to plead your case beyond the marriage being irretrievably broken.

Therefore, spousal abandonment is reason enough for filing a dissolution of marriage. You must also wait out at least one year after abandonment before submitting your application.

The Arizona Divorce Process When You Cannot Locate Your Spouse

Even though you cannot locate your spouse, you must still follow the typical divorce procedure by filing in the Superior Court in your county of residence.

In most divorce cases, including spousal abandonment, there are three necessary steps to follow:

  1. File your petition for a Dissolution of Marriage in your residential county
  2. Serve the petition in a manner consistent with an unlocatable spouse
  3. Attend court hearings to pursue a Decree of the Dissolution of Marriage

As you can see, it is a straightforward process for any divorce. However, when the action involves children, it becomes a more complex procedure.

It is helpful to talk with an Arizona divorce lawyer for this situation. He or she can help you make decisions that are in the best interest of your minor dependents.

Serving Divorce Papers to an Unlocatable Spouse

Serving divorce papers in Arizona must occur even when you cannot find your spouse. Typically, most divorces serve documents by mail or hand-deliver them via a process server. In the case of an unlocatable spouse, you will use a substituted methodology.

With that said, you must first exhaust every opportunity to reasonably locate him or her before using a substituted service. This concept gives rise to hiring a process server to “skip trace” him or her.

Skip tracing is a method of using a person’s personal information compared against state, federal, and individual credit databases. If the process server uncovers your estranged spouse’s location, then service resumes as usual.

However, if he or she is still unlocatable, then you will serve your spouse via publication. Service by publication occurs where you post the petition in locally distributed newspapers. An Arizona divorce lawyer can help you execute this aspect properly.

Contact an Arizona Divorce Lawyer at DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC for an Initial Consultation

Dealing with divorce is upsetting enough without adding abandonment to your injury. You do not have to face this situation alone.

At DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, we understand the impact that this situation has on your life. Our team of Arizona divorce lawyers is here to help you at every critical point of the divorce process.

You can schedule an initial consultation with our team of legal professionals by calling (602) 457-6559 or completing our contact request form.

You’ve dreamed of finding the right person your entire life, and now you have. You and your partner are ready to start an incredible life together, and it all begins with a wonderful wedding day. Before you walk down the aisle, though, you’ll have a few choices to make. Yes, you’ll have to decide which caterer to use and who will be a bridesmaid, but you’ll also need to discuss whether you want to utilize a prenuptial agreement. Before you sign your marriage license, make sure you understand what a prenuptial agreement is, how it works, and whether one is right for your relationship. Here’s what you need to know.

First off, it’s important to understand exactly what a prenuptial agreement is and what it is not. This type of agreement is a legally binding document that is designed to protect your personal assets and belongings in the event of a divorce. While no one enters a marriage with the expectation of the relationship ending, it’s important to keep in mind that marriages end for a number of different reasons. Many of these are out of your control. People grow, circumstances change, and relationships adjust. A prenuptial agreement ensures that in the event of a divorce, you and your partner will leave with your personal assets, rather than dividing these equally after your separation.

If you’re thinking about creating a prenuptial agreement, you can start by meeting with an attorney. Your lawyer wants to help both you and your partner move forward. They’ll be able to advise you as to how a prenuptial agreement can benefit both of you. Your attorney can answer questions about the document and assist you in drafting a prenuptial agreement that works for you. Understand that even if you aren’t sure what you want to include in the prenuptial agreement, your attorney can provide guidance and assistance.

Some couples worry that a prenuptial agreement will damage their relationship. They’re afraid that if they choose to create a prenuptial agreement, it will cause a rift between them. Before you choose to create this document, sit down with your partner. Have an honest discussion about the benefits or drawbacks of creating a prenuptial agreement. If either one of you owns property, has family heirlooms, or owns a business, a prenuptial agreement can be especially beneficial. Should you divorce at some point in the future, this agreement ensures that you will each walk away with your personal assets that you brought into the relationship.

In addition to protecting your assets, a prenuptial agreement can discuss how you want to handle alimony, as well as the separation of debt. Once you are married, you and your partner may choose to utilize joint checking accounts or credit cards. If you separate, this will need to be divided and each person will be held liable for a certain portion of any debt. A prenuptial agreement can discuss this carefully.

Whether you have been dating for weeks, months, or years, make sure you have an honest discussion with your partner about creating a prenuptial agreement. Simply broaching the topic of a prenuptial agreement should not cause damage to your relationship. After all, if the two of you stay married, it will never come into play. If, however, you do choose to separate, it can provide protection and benefits for both of you.

It’s also important that you remember to meet with an attorney to draft up a legally-binding prenuptial agreement if you choose to utilize one. A verbal agreement will not be considered a legal agreement in the case of a divorce as there is no way to prove what was actually said or agreed upon. A family law practice attorney can help you and your partner carefully consider your wishes and desires going into your marriage and can assist you in creating the documents you need to move forward together.

You can schedule an initial consultation with a Phoenix prenuptial agreement lawyer today by calling (602) 461-7818 or by sending us a message through our online contact form.

In Arizona, the family courts make a provision for separating and divorcing couples to settle some of the terms of their arrangements in private. If both parties can agree on issues such as child support, visitation and the division of assets, they can create and sign a rule 69 agreement. By having this agreement in place, both soon-to-be former spouses can concentrate on the unresolved issues in court and leave the agreed-upon matters alone.

The rule 69 agreement was created to make family law cases easier to handle. If divorcing couples can resolve some of their concerns before the court date, they can save the judge, and everyone else involved, a lot of time. If used correctly, a rule 69 agreement can reduce much of the stress of a separation or divorce. It can be abused by either party, however, which is why Arizona law has set parameters for rule 69 agreements.

Rules and Legalities of the Agreement

Rule 69 agreements are legally binding contracts. Once entered by the judge, they are difficult to modify. Because of this, rule 69 agreements must meet at least one of these criteria:
• A written document, preferably signed by both parties;
• Read for the record in court;
• Recorded by audio in the presence of settlement conference officer or a court-appointed mediator.

If either party meets one of these requirements, it’s difficult for the other to assert that they did not consent to the arrangement. It is possible to discredit a rule 69 agreement in Arizona, however, provided the challenging party can prove that something is wrong with it.

Fighting a Rule 69 Agreement

As mentioned above, it’s not easy to back out of a rule 69 agreement after it is provided to the court and approved by the judge. Once these contracts are submitted, they’re considered a court-ordered arrangement. You may be able to nullify the rule 69 agreement, however, if you can prove one of the following:
• You weren’t present when the document was created and signed;
• You were forced into agreeing to the arrangements under duress;
• The terms outlined in the agreement are not fair to you or in the best interests of your child(ren).

Bear in mind that if you don’t win your case, you can be ordered to pay your spouse’s attorney fees. It’s better to challenge the agreement only if you have unshakeable evidence that it isn’t valid or that it violates someone’s rights.

The Bottom Line

Rule 69 agreements are only meant to help couples who are separating and divorcing work together to create a plan that benefits everyone. Mediation is available to help couples collaborate on final decisions. Once they present an agreement to the court, the judge will ask both parties if it was entirely mutual, if either of them agreed to the arrangements under duress and if both parties believe the terms stated are in the best interests of everyone involved, particularly the children. In other words, the judge will give both sides every opportunity to speak up if they don’t feel good about the agreement.

Call DeShon Laraye & Pullen PLC today if you have any further questions about Arizona’s rule 69 agreement.

At DeShon Laraye & Pullen PLC, we know how to navigate the complexities that surround Arizona’s rule 69 agreement skillfully. You can schedule a meeting with our team by calling (602) 461-7818 or sending us a message via our online request form.

Child custody is the term legal professionals use to define the relationship between a child and his or her parents or legal guardians. It’s almost used exclusively within the context of divorce and separation to describe how both parents should physically care for and visit with their child or children.

There are a few custody arrangement types. Therefore it is helpful for parents dealing with custody issues to understand the options that may be available to them. Each type carries different implications, so getting it right is critical to the success of the relationship you share with your child and your ex.

However, speaking with a child custody attorney in Phoenix is best if you have specific questions. You can contact DeShon Laraye & Pullen PLC for an initial custody arrangement evaluation. Schedule yours today by calling (602) 461-7818 or submitting a message via our online contact form.

No matter what your family’s structure is, deciding upon a child custody arrangement that acts in the best interest of your child is a critical first step toward living life under the new norm.

Here are the four types of child custody arrangements in Arizona that may help you and your family:

1. Legal Custody

Legal custody is the doctrine that serves as the basis of parental rights and responsibilities. It is the purest form of child custody from a legal standpoint since they are rights afforded to all parents regardless of arrangement type.

Legal custody gives you the authority to participate and make decisions based on education matters, medical care, and religious issues. In short, every parent has legal custody, whether or not they have sole or joint custody.

2. Physical Custody

Physical custody is a designation reserved for parents who provide care and support to the child daily. Also known as residential custody, it is a form of custody that describes with whom the child will live.

A physical custody arrangement can be awarded solely or jointly. We examine these two sub-arrangements in closer detail below.

3. Sole Custody

Sole custody is when the courts assign the responsibility and care over a child to a single parent. The parent with sole custody is sometimes referred to as the custodial parent, while the parent who has visitation rights is known as the non-custodial parent.

The sole custody arrangement is most common since it affords the non-custodial parent an opportunity to still visit with his or her children without interrupting the consistency of schooling and home life that children need to thrive.

4. Joint Custody

Sometimes called shared custody or shared parenting, joint custody is when the child’s full-time living arrangements are divided between parents using a method of percentage.

For instance, a court may award a joint custody agreement using a 50-50 split. However, the actual rate used varies according the what is in the best interests of the child.

Joint custody arrangements are more challenging in terms of a court ruling. There is a ton of consideration on behalf of the family court judge assigned to your case.

It’s possible that receiving joint custody might not even be on the table if he or she feels that it is not conducive to your child’s well-being.

Ultimately, your options for joint custody include working with your ex, making a request to the court, and hiring a child custody lawyer in Phoenix to help you make the best possible case. Elements that a judge may ponder may include your child’s cognitive abilities, parental work schedules, child support needs, education needs, and economic capacity of both parents to manage this arrangement successfully.

An agreement that values joint custody arrangements is applauded for their child-centric approach. However, opponents of them say that the child does not have adequate access to consistency, which does not work for every child or family type.

How a Phoenix Child Custody Lawyer Can Help

Providing for and protecting your children is a top priority as it should be. If you are concerned about child custody issues as a married or unmarried person, you have options.

Moreover, you have rights that deserve protection, as well. When you hire a licensed Arizona family law attorney, you are retaining peace-of-mind in knowing that you are affording you and your family the best possible chance of moving forward in life.

Discuss Your Options at an Initial Case Review with DeShon Laraye & Pullen PLC

At DeShon Laraye & Pullen PLC, we know how to navigate the complexities that surround child custody issues skillfully. You don’t have to face the court or your ex alone in court. Contact one of our child custody lawyers in Phoenix for an initial case review. You can schedule a meeting with our team by calling (602) 461-7818 or sending us a message via our online request form.

As Phoenix divorce attorneys, we are often asked whether it’s better to be the one to file for divorce or the one to be served. From a legal standpoint, there is no implication or consequence of being the first to file for divorce.

It does not show to the courts that you are the aggressor or the one who decided to bail on the marriage. Sometimes, a spouse becomes the filer simply because he or she can better afford the filing fees, whether he or she wanted it or not.

However, there are definitely advantages and disadvantages from a logistical perspective, and we are going to cover those more specifically in this article.

If you are going through the process of considering an Arizona divorce, it is advantageous to retain the legal counsel of an experienced Phoenix divorce attorney at DeShon Laraye Pullen, PLC. We can help you navigating the complexities of filing and serving your petition as well as helping you through it all over the long-run time horizon. Contact our office for an initial case view by calling (602) 252-1968.

Be Aware that Every Case Is Unique

While the information presented below is purely informational in nature, it can help you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of being the first party to file for divorce. Keep in mind that only the direct application of the law by a licensed Arizona attorney is the best way to determine your options.

Pros and Cons of Filing for Divorce First in Arizona

The advantages of filing for divorce first are marginal from a general standpoint. However, benefits do exist for specific situations. For starters, you aren’t ‘caught off guard’ by being on the receiving end of divorce papers.

Advantages of filing for divorce first include:

  • Establishing the administrative expectation of the case including court dates and choice of venue
  • The ability to plan for the divorce beforehand by carefully considering your options and possibly speaking with an Arizona family law attorney
  • A sense of relief since the plug has been pulled on the marriage and you were the one to initiate it
  • Deciding when the date of marital asset acquisition periods end by filing
  • Being the first to speak in court since you are the named petitioner and your spouse is the respondent

On the other hand, a few simple disadvantages exist when it comes to being the first filer. However, to truly gauge the effects, it really depends on your unique situation and the nature of your relationship with your ex.

Disadvantages of filing for divorce include:

  • Suddenly alerting your ex to the assets and custody arrangement of which your eyes are set
  • Paying higher filing fees and court costs since they are generally offered by the petitioning spouse
  • Making it difficult to go back on your word if you later change your position on the matter of divorce

Again, the court does not treat the spouse who filed for divorce any differently. The circumstances surrounding the filing may come into question, but courts can not legally hold your right to terminate a marriage contract against you.

Your only requirement is to devise a strategy that protects your remaining assets, any shared children, and complies with Arizona law.

Hire a Phoenix Divorce Lawyer to Help you File in Arizona

As you can see, there are many thoughts and considerations when it comes to answering the question of who should file for divorce first in Arizona.

The best way to ensure that your interests and family stay protected is by hiring the experienced legal counsel of a licensed Arizona family law attorney. He or she can help you through the initial filing process while managing your case until the decree is finalized.

Consider Working with DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC

At Deshon Laraye Pullen PLC, we know how painful the divorce process is. But we also know that you need a strong advocate to pull you through the process and become stronger over the long-run. Plus, we’ll ensure that we handle your divorce following your values and your family’s best interest.

You can schedule an initial consultation with a Phoenix divorce lawyer team member today by calling (602) 252-1968 or by sending us a message regarding the details of your divorce through our online contact form.

Past due child support isn’t necessarily the definitive, tell-tale sign of a deadbeat parent. More often than not, it’s an indicator that the parent is unable to afford his or her child support payment due to changes in circumstances.

Rather than seek out legal counsel attributed to a vulnerable financial position, the owing parent tends not to take action at all. That’s when problems really begin to mount.

If there is a level of unwillingness or inability to pay for child support, there may be severe consequences on the horizon, including criminal charges, steep fines, wage and tax garnishments, and suspension of professional and occupational licensure.

What You Can Do If You Are Past Due

The absolute worst action you can take is to avoid the situation by ignoring it. It’s an increasing problem that does not go away.

The good news is that you can discuss your options with a Phoenix child support attorney at DeShon Laraye Pullen, PLC. He or she can help you decide your best course of action that considers the needs and legal requirements of everyone involved. Contact a team member of our legal family care team today by calling (602) 252-1968 or sending us a quick note here.

What Happens to Arizona Parents Who Are Past Due on Child Support?

Arizona state law gives authority to the Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) to enforce the payment of child support from the paying parent to the custodial parent. However, division representatives must provide you with adequate notification before any enforcement actions occur.

DCSS can utilize the following remedies to collect on past-due child support accounts:

  • Wage and federal and state tax garnishments

  • Seizure of personal property or assets

  • Revocation or suspension of professional licenses

  • Placing a lien on real estate for which you own

  • Charging you with contempt of court

While the preceding list isn’t exhaustive, it gives you a good idea as to some of the actions that DCSS can take to recuperate past-due child support accounts. If you have received a notice regarding action taken against you, make sure you gather the insight from a Phoenix child support lawyer before responding.

Criminal Prosecution Is on the Table

Perhaps the most worrisome part about being past due on child support payments is the fact that state and federal criminal proceedings are available to the state when going after delinquent accounts. If the above-referenced methodologies don’t work, then the state’s only recourse is criminal action.

After all, they want to send the message that it’s not okay to shirk your familial responsibilities from a financial standpoint. Plus, what good does being in jail do anyway? You aren’t able to work when you’re locked up which only makes the problem worse.

There are options available to parents who are unable to afford their child support payments, but it’s up to you to communicate to a legal professional what is reasonably occurring that prevents you from making any payments whatsoever.

One way the court tries to alleviate unfair financial burden from financially stressed parents is by modifying the child support order currently in effect. Courts can’t make you pay money that doesn’t exist, but they do want to make sure that any changes are well-documented and that they have received approval from a family judge beforehand.

That way, everything stays above-board, and you can continue living your life without undue burden or strain.

Why You Should Discuss Your Options with a Phoenix Child Support Lawyer

It is a frightening and intimidating experience to face your ex, your shared children, and the courtroom when you are already behind on your support payments.

Instead of attending your next hearing with your head down, change your approach by retaining a licensed Arizona family law attorney to protect your interests during child support hearings. It’s your right as an American citizen to retain counsel without the implication of guilty or financial means.

Consider Retaining a Phoenix Child Support Lawyer at DeShon Laraye Pullen, PLC

If you are facing issues related to past due child support payments in Arizona, don’t wait to act any longer. Contact a Phoenix child support lawyer from the legal team at DesShon Laraye Pullen, PLC. We are available to help you through the process for a better tomorrow. Schedule an initial consultation today by calling (602) 252-1968 or sending us a note through our form.

Even the most cordial of exes can experience stress during a divorce. There are particular connotations that come along with the word, including time, money, and custody issues. While you can’t ever really ‘prepare’ for divorce before it happens, there are a few actions that you can take to ensure that your interests are protected.

If you are facing a divorce, you may want to retain the legal counsel of an experienced Phoenix divorce lawyer at DeShon Laraye Pullen, PLC. Our legal care team can assist you in navigating the complexities of the divorce process as well as help you avoid detrimental mistakes. Contact us for your initial consultation by calling (602) 252-1968 or sending us a message via our online form.

As you continue your search for information and weigh your options, here are our top tips when it comes to avoiding common mistakes that people make during divorce. While the article below is purely informational, you should always direct your specific questions to a licensed Arizona attorney.

Mistake # 1: You Waited Too Long to File for Divorce

Ending a marriage is not a decision that one should make lightly. However, if we are being real, there is a point-of-no-return that every couple hits when they know it’s over. Unfortunately, things are comfortable, and if kids are involved, most people don’t want to rock the boat of a ‘well-adjusted life.’

The truth is that suffering through marriage is not a well-adjusted way of life. Resentments build, debts mount, and assets grow. The longer that couples delay the inevitable, the more complicated the divorce proceedings can become.

Mistake # 2. You Discussed Your Divorce via Social Media

We preach total abstinence from social media during divorce proceedings in Arizona. However, that isn’t doable or advisable for everyone. So, if you must remain ‘social’ while going through a divorce, the least you should do is never mention the details of your case online.

No good can come of bad-mouthing your ex or showing off the excessive amounts of money you are spending.

Before hitting the ‘post’ or ‘send’ button, think about how your words could come back to haunt you. These days, people who say they are your friends may not actually mean it. And they might even prove this assertion by screenshotting and sharing something you thought was utterly private.

Your written words are admissible as evidence. Resist the urge to put your opinions in writing, please.

Mistake # 3: You Tried to Conceal Shared Marital Assets

Arizona statutes require both spouses to disclose their marital and non-marital assets in their entirety. Some parties get a little too smart and attempt to transfer ownership of property and investments to avoid their disclosure in court.

This is a mythical loophole that does not work. You can be confident your soon-to-be-ex will mention your expensive car or large bank account you didn’t include in your financial disclosure forms. Leave your assets in your name and add them to your list instead of trying to cover them up.

Mistake # 4: You Forgot to Make Changes to Your Estate Planning Documents

A divorce doesn’t necessarily negate the language in place on your estate plan. An estate plan typically includes your last will and testament, health and financial directives, powers of attorney, and living trust. These are pretty sensitive documents that impact the future financial wealth of you and your family.

Plus, you should update these items so that your ex isn’t in charge of determining whether or not you should remain on life support.

Mistake # 5: You Didn’t Discuss Your Options with a Phoenix Divorce Lawyer

There are several missteps and pitfalls that one can take during a divorce. The consequences of which can affect several aspects regarding the outcome of your case. Whether you are a more economically stable spouse or not, there is more at stake than money and property. Divorcing couples must mitigate the stress of the process using a level head and retaining their own right to counsel.

Hiring a divorce attorney during an Arizona divorce case does not have to be a contentious thing. It’s a civil right afforded to both parties. When each party retains his or her separate counsel, there is a certain level of comfort in knowing that both of your rights are being protected.

There are checks and balances at this point. In short, you are hiring certainty that you, your ex, and the entire legal system is managing your case from a big-picture perspective.

Consider Hiring a Phoenix Divorce Lawyer at DeShon Laraye Pullen, PLC

You do not have to face the Arizona divorce process alone. Hire a Phoenix divorce lawyer that is going to provide you with due care that best represents your needs. You can reach the DeShon Laraye Pullen, PLC, office to arrange for an initial consultation by calling (602) 252-1968 or sending us a message via our contact form.

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