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Tucson Family Law Blog

Requirements to make alimony tax-deductible

When an Arizona couple divorces and one party pays support to the other, the payer can usually claim the support as a tax deduction. However, this is only possible if several conditions are in place. The U.S. Tax Court ruled on one of these conditions in 2017.

A man who divorced in 2007 had claimed a deduction for alimony on his tax return. Included in that deduction were several months' worth of temporary support payments and a portion of a bonus he had received the year before the divorce. He and his wife had signed an agreement before the divorce was final regarding the division of the bonus, but it was not included in the subsequent spousal support order. That order only mentioned the monthly payments he was supposed to make plus a percentage he was supposed to pay once his income went above a certain monthly level.

Making a child support agreement outside of court

There are a number of options available for Arizona parents who are getting a divorce and who would prefer not to go through litigation and have a judge make a child support decision. Parents might choose an alternative dispute resolution process. Arbitration is not very common in family law, but it may be used in some cases. It involves a neutral third party who listens to both sides and reaches a decision. The parents do not necessarily have to abide by the decision, and aspects of it might be changed later in court. With mediation and collaborative law, parents actively participate in resolving conflict and reaching a compromise.

A more informal solution is for parents to negotiate an arrangement together with the help of their attorneys. Parents can also have their attorneys conduct these negotiations on their behalf

Getting finances ready for a divorce

Couples in Arizona who are considering getting a divorce should consider the effect a separation could have on their finances. In order to prepare their finances for a divorce, there are certain steps that each party should take.

People who are getting a divorce should be careful of whose financial advice they follow. For those who are unsure about whether it is appropriate to move money or change accounts immediately before a divorce, they should seek the council of a licensed attorney in their state.

Nesting as an alternative to traditional joint custody

Arizona parents who would like to share custody of their children after a divorce but who are concerned about the potentially destabilizing effect on the children of moving between homes might want to consider nesting. This refers to an arrangement in which the parents and not the children rotate in and out of the family home.

There are both advantages and disadvantages associated with this arrangement. Children are able to settle into a routine during a time of upheaval. Parents have the opportunity to experience the difficulties of moving between households that children do in more traditional custody arrangements. However, finances and housework may all be potential areas of conflict. While seeing parents cooperate in co-parenting can be good for children, the arrangement may also make it difficult for them to accept the finality of the divorce.

How a husband's employment status could lead to divorce

Arizona couples could be more vulnerable to having their marriage come to an end if the husband does not work full time according to a study that was published in 2016. There were fewer barriers to divorce for women starting in the 1970s including more social acceptance of divorce and more economic freedom for women. However, this economic freedom did not appear to correlate to higher divorce rates.

Household chores did not appear to be a significant factor either. In couples in which the husband worked less than full time, there was a 3.3 percent chance that the marriage would end in divorce in any given year. When the husband had a full-time job, that number dropped to 2.5 percent.

Politics having a negative effect on relationships

Arizona couples who are arguing more over politics are not alone according to a surveyy from the polling firm Wakefield Research that reports one in 10 couple breaking up over politics. At 22 percent, millennials have an even higher rate of ending a relationship over political disagreements.

The nationwide survey of 1,000 participants was taken between between April 12 and April 18. It also found that although usually money is one of the main topics of disagreement in a relationship, in the previous six months, participants reported disagreeing more about the Trump administration than about finances. Furthermore, almost one-quarter of respondents who were in a relationship said that since President Trump was elected, they were disagreeing with their partner about politics more than ever before.

Steps to take if a parent is abusing drugs or alcohol

Some Arizona parents who are going through a divorce might think their child could be in danger if the other parent abuses drugs or alcohol. They should mention these concerns at the custody hearing. Having documentation of the parent's substance abuse as well as any evidence that it has a negative impact on the child will help support their case.

A parent may also become concerned about the other parent's use of drugs or alcohol after a custody order has been issued. It may be necessary to try to get it modified if this is the case. If the child's safety is at risk, the parent might deny visitation or get a restraining order against the other parent. A judge may decide that the parent with the substance abuse problem should get supervised visitation until a rehabilitation program has been completed.

Handling electronic communications between parent and child

Some Arizona parents who are divorced may have a visitation agreement that includes an arrangement for the noncustodial parent to communicate with the child using text, phone calls or video calls. In some cases, custodial parents might wonder whether they can prohibit the other parent from communicating with their child in this way. In general, courts discourage cutting off contact between a parent and child unless there is an issue such as domestic abuse.

If abuse is an issue or the child is being harassed, the parent may want to document the harassment and go to court to resolve the issue. A court may enact strict rules around when and how the noncustodial parent can communicate with the child. Another option is for the parents and their attorneys to try to reach a new agreement.

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner file for divorce

Movie fans in Arizona and around the country were likely shocked in 2015 when Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner announced that they were divorcing just one day after celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary. The A-list couple's separation has remained, for the most part, a private affair, but media outlets became interested in Affleck and Garner again on April 13 when they officially filed for divorce in California.

Reports suggest that the couple's divorce will be an amicable one. Garner and Affleck are said to be seeking joint custody of their three children aged 11, 8 and 5, and the couple said that they remained friends and asked the media to respect their privacy in a brief press release. The Hollywood power couple have been photographed together several times since their initial announcement, and their fans had begun to that a reconciliation was possible. However, the news of the divorce filing would seem to put these hopes to rest.

Tips for a child custody hearing

Arizona parents who are divorcing might also be heading toward a custody battle. These are best avoided because the judge will have the final say, and the parent may not like the outcome. However, if they are unable to reach a compromise with the other parent, there are steps they can take to make it more likely they will receive custody.

Even if the parent can not compromise with the other over custody, they should try to demonstrate to the judge that they are willing to work with that parent. This willingness could count in their favor. The parent should also dress appropriately and behave respectfully toward the judge during the custody hearing. The parent may also want to provide any documentation that supports their bid for custody.

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Law Office of Michael A. Johnson, P.C.
177 N Church Avenue
Suite 311
Tucson, AZ 85701

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