It is perhaps no secret to Arizona readers that heavy consumption of alcohol often engenders problems on the job and at home. A study that began in the mid 1980s and lasted over 15 years targeted the effects of excessive alcohol use on marriages. After reviewing the data culled from following the progress of almost 20,000 marriages, the study concluded that marriages where one spouse drank heavily were more likely to end in divorce.

At the outset of the study, couples were asked to respond to a number of questions, particularly about the consumption of alcohol as well as emotional distress. As the couples were tracked over the course of the study, those that divorced were noted. One apparent conclusion from the reported results was that heavy use of alcohol threatens marriage.

One of the more difficult issues to resolve in an Arizona divorce proceeding is the joint ownership of a family business. In many of these instances, one of the parties spends far more time working in the business than the other. Regardless, the owners of a family business are best served by specifically addressing the ownership structure post-divorce, as well as the respective responsibilities for the continued operation of the business entity.

Arizona NBA fans may be pleased to learn that superstar Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa have called off their divorce. Both announced their reconciliation by separate postings on social media sites, Kobe opting for Facebook and Vanessa using Instagramn. The couple has faced the possibility of divorce for at least the last decade, following revelations that Kobe allegedly assaulted a woman sexually in 2003. Those accusations resulted in criminal charges that were ultimately dismissed when the woman involved did not want to participate in a trial.

Kobe and Vanessa renewed their vows during a ceremony in 2005, which reportedly cost Kobe upwards of $50,000. But the relationship appears to have remained rocky, and Vanessa instituted formal divorce proceedings in 2011. Nevertheless, the two were still spotted together, and Vanessa was a frequent visitor at Kobe’s home basketball games on the west coast.

It’s no secret that an Arizona divorce brings with it unexpected expenses. The simple fact of disentangling shared finances as the parties plan for their new lives apart can result in a number of new costs that may impact one or both individuals. Those people who plan ahead and gain an understanding of the costs involved following a divorce may be in a better position to negotiate a comprehensive settlement that is also fair to both sides.

Health insurance policies, car and house insurance premiums, as well as income tax obligations are all potentially impacted once a divorce is finalized. Retirement plans, life insurance premiums and even memberships at the local gym could also require additional payments to maintain. Family discounts that may apply when a couple is married may be inapplicable once two households are established and expenses are no longer shared.

Joint parenting and co-parenting are the new focus in divorce courts throughout the country. As people move away from gender stereotypes and more restrictive lifestyles, the courts are changing their approach to the legal rules and social policies around parenting after a divorce. Part of this new approach as implemented in Arizona includes a new parenting law kicked in beginning Jan. 1, 2013. The purpose of the law is to promote parents working together to provide children with more access to each parent and to discourage delay of court proceedings and dishonesty with the family courts through incentives and fines.

Arizona readers likely know that “Neon Deion” Sanders and his estranged wife Pilar continue to make headlines in their divorce. The former NFL great and Hall of Fame member was back in court for a child support hearing recently. Previously, a judge presiding over the divorce proceedings had set monthly child support at $10,000, even though Deion was granted temporary custody of the two boys.

For her part, Pilar is proceeding on several legal fronts. In addition to seeking enforcement of the court’s previous temporary child support order, she is reportedly seeking to have the prenuptial agreement between the couple declared invalid. Further, her attorneys indicated she was asking to have the 13 year marriage annulled and the accumulated assets declared to be community property.

In the 2007 Census, there was an estimate of around 3.7 million businesses operated by a husband and wife team. This is wonderful for keeping profits in the family and contributing to general agreement among decision making personnel, but what happens when filing for a divorce wasn’t in the business plan? Arizona couples that own a business together may never consider the implications of how a divorce may affect the flow of business.

Stories come from all over about once married business owners that have both successfully tried, and also failed at trying to amicably keep a business going following a divorce. Mediators and counselors agree that respect is the key concern if the business is to succeed under the same but separate management. Some relationship therapists have suggested sessions where ex-spouses learn to communicate better under the new circumstances.

From time to time, we have mentioned collaborative divorce in our posts on this blog. This type of proceeding offers a different approach to the typical approach to obtaining a divorce in Arizona. Instead of litigating every step of the way, a collaborative divorce is a multidisciplinary approach where the goal is to work together to achieve fair agreement on all outstanding issues.

While each party has an attorney, they agree to avoid court intervention. Instead, a team of professionals is arranged, depending on the particular facts and circumstances presented. That team could include financial advisors and mental health professionals. The concept of a divorce coach is utilized, both for the parties to the divorce as well as for any minor children.

An Arizona divorce covers a myriad of issues, from property division to spousal maintenance and a host of other topics. One issue that arises in some divorce proceedings is the entitlement of an ex-spouse to the Social Security benefits of the other. This is an important area which should not be overlooked and could result in benefits payments from a spouse’s Social Security account over many years. However, like most governmental benefit programs, Social Security benefits come with their own rules and regulations which often cause confusion as the parties to a divorce attempt to determine how the benefits might apply to them.

The first important consideration is the length of the marriage. When a marriage lasts 10 years or longer, a possibility exists to collect Social Security under the account of an ex-spouse. The Social Security Administration requires that the marriage lasted at least 10 years, which is determined by the date of the final order of divorce. In those instances where the length of the marriage qualifies, an ex-spouse can collect up to half of their ex-spouse’s benefits. If they qualify for benefits on their own, they can only collect the difference between their benefits amount and one half of any higher benefit amount due the ex-spouse.

Parents filing for divorce in Arizona typically have to confront a wide range of issues when it comes to child custody. Aside from deciding how custodial responsibilities will be divided, issues such as visitation and child support must be addressed. One related topic that is sometimes overlooked in a divorce is the legal right of a parent to access medical and health records concerning their child.

One father discovered that obtaining access to his son’s medical records was no walk in the park. Early on in his divorce, the father learned that the mother had made medical decisions concerning the child without his input or consent. Specifically, she had apparently filed a do not resuscitate order with the boy’s doctor without disclosing her action to the father.

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