It is important to recognize the unique challenges for blending families. Awareness of all the issues and potential stresses is an important thing for all marrying couples to have, whether or not a blended family is involved. But this post examines the special considerations that blending families should discuss before marriage – and keep revisiting thereafter.

New Roles

When families are blended, someone can become a stepparent, father, mother, brother for the first time. These roles can be uncomfortable and awkward at first. That is natural and should be acknowledged.

If you are unmarried and have children, there are some important things for you to know awhile preparing to file your taxes. Tax considerations often blindside single parents who are recently divorced or just had their first child, so briefly reviewed some potential considerations for you during tax season.

Of course, we advocate speaking with a professional for optimal financial health. We are happy to give you recommendations on great tax and financial experts in Scottsdale and Phoenix that we have collaborated with in the past.

Here are some tips from Forbes

Ever wondered how our society knows what the marriage or divorce rates are? While surveys may provide insight into American family life, the majority of our reliable data comes from the Census Bureau.

Divorces and marriages are always filed at the local courthouse but this data is nothing more than a legal record until the Census Bureau collects and intelligently compiles it, affording us an opportunity to uncover trends and other important information. The Census Bureau is poised to soon end this task.

Saying “I do” when Arizona couples marry should be a solemn pledge that two people are bound together for life. Unfortunately, we all know how easily “I do” can turn into “I did but don’t anymore.” Divorce is no longer a rare occurrence between married couples but has become the norm in today’s society.

Arizona has two types of marriages in the statutes: the common marriage used by most people and the covenant marriage. A covenant marriage is meant to be a more serious commitment than a normal marriage.

In most cases, spousal maintenance will be awarded only if a marriage lasts for a sufficient duration and one spouse truly needs the financial help. However, it may be possible for spousal support to be ordered in marriages that were relatively brief. In Arizona, there are two questions asked when determining whether to grant support.

The first question is whether or not a spouse needs or is entitled to receive support. If so, then the next question is how much support to award. When determining how much support to grant, a court will look to see whether a spouse has the resources needed to provide for his or her needs. Extra consideration may be given to spouses who will also be custodial parents who may not be able to work due to taking care of the child.

A custody battle in Arizona is ongoing between two foster parents and the biological father of a 9-year-old girl and 5-year-old boy. The biological father of the siblings reportedly raised the daughter until the parents separated; the mother was six-months pregnant at the time. When the boy was allegedly born exposed to methamphetamine, both children were placed into foster care with a Kingman couple in 2009.

Did you know that prior to the 1960s, you needed to prove that your spouse had committed a grievous act that harmed the marriage before the courts would grant you a divorce? This was the case not only here in Arizona but in other states across the nation as well. But by 1985 that had changed in 49 states, including Arizona, because they had allowed for no-fault divorces.

But the idea of permitting a divorce without proving wrongdoing hasn’t sat well with some current politicians and has led at least three states to issue what are called covenant marriage licenses. Arizona is one of them. But what is a covenant marriage and what should our readers know about them?

In Arizona, a parent who has the primary physical custody of a child basically has no restrictions on when they can simply pack up and move as far as 100 miles away, erecting a barrier to the continued involvement of the non-custodial parent in their child’s life. Doing so violates no law, and there is no mechanism to review whether that is detrimental to the other parent or to the child. If some in the state legislature have their way, that may change.

The focus in the new law being contemplated is clearly on the best interest of the child following a divorce. Current law in effect for the past two decades focuses on whether such a move is in the best interest of the parent. Some critics of the proposed change, however, think that it goes too far, allowing a non-custodial parent to invite court scrutiny of just about any move contemplated by an ex-spouse.

In Arizona two years ago, statistics show that there were a total of 37,064 couples getting wed and 28,072 divorces, with no one exactly sure how many of the couples splitting up had non-adult children in the household. If the law is changed as proposed, a court reviewing a contemplated move will be able to take into account whether the result will be greatly increased travel time for the non-custodial parent to see their child, which could make visits less frequent for some.

One problem some see with the proposed change is a 45 day notice requirement, suggesting that there could be circumstances in which a move is needed in a shorter period of time. Proponents of the change suggest that some custodial parents take advantage of the current carte blanche rule for moves less than 100 miles away by making a set of incremental moves that add up to a far greater distance over time. In the end, what is most important, of course, is that children continue to have the love, support, and involvement of both parents in their lives as much as possible.

Source:  Capitol Media Services, “Legislation would add hurdle for divorced parents who have custody of their kids to move” Howard Fischer, Feb. 07, 2014

For couples in Maricopa, Arizona, who are divorcing, things may be anything but business-like. Individuals who can put emotions aside to participate in the divorce mediation process may find they are happier with the outcome, especially when it comes to financial matters. According to experts, setting aside personal bias and feelings and approaching matters with a business attitude can make things easier for everyone.

The first word that immediately springs to mind when you mention divorce is probably not collaboration or cooperation. Yet the concept of collaborative divorce is one with some attractive features and advantages, usually for both parties. There are lawyers here in Arizona well trained in it, and ready to guide clients through it.

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