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Tucson Family Law Blog

How income disparity affects divorce risk

Divorce is more likely among Arizona couples in which the man earns less money than the woman. However, if they earn a roughly equal amount, they are less likely to split up. A number of studies have shown that despite a rise in the percentage of married women who earn more money than their husbands, attitudes have not changed as rapidly. There is still a great deal of pressure placed on men to be the family breadwinners.

One study found that when a husband does not work full time, the risk of divorce is 33% higher. Some women complain that when their husbands work part-time, they still accumulate debt. A study by the Pew Research Center in 2017 found that just one-quarter of Americans thought it was very important for a mother to provide financially for her children compared to 40% who thought fathers had the same responsibility.

Dealing with the financial challenges of divorce

When Arizona couples decide to end their marriage, they should take steps to protect themselves financially both during and after their divorce. Without proper preparations, people may experience serious financial problems afterwards.

When people get divorced after living in two-paycheck families, the sudden drop in income can be difficult to manage. Custodial parents may also have to bear much of the costs that are related to raising their children. If they have not thought about downsizing from where they live to less-expensive homes, they might also find that they are unable to afford paying their mortgages, homeowner's insurance, and the maintenance and repair costs that are associated with their homes.

International custody conflicts

When couples in Arizona divorce or end their relationship, child custody issues are often a concern. If one of the parties has citizenship in another country, the potential for custody complications increases greatly. This is because the parent might attempt to return to his or her country with the child or refuse to send the child back to the United States after a visit.

Parents living in the United States should be aware of the Hague Convention, an international treaty that requires participating countries to respect family court decisions in other countries. If a child is residing in a country that is part of the Hague Convention in violation of a family court decision in another participating country, the parent who has custody rights could have an easier time getting the child back home.

How to deal with a toxic co-parent

Good co-parenting requires each ex to put the children's best interests first. Unfortunately, some exes can be considered "toxic" and bring a lot of unwanted drama. Arizona residents in this situation may want to learn some tips that can help them successfully co-parent with a toxic person.

Couples often divorce because of power struggles. When a person has to communicate with a toxic co-parent, they need to remember that the interaction is not about pulling rank. The communication between the co-parents should be focused on the children. Many have found that it's best to keep a business-like attitude throughout the process. It may be helpful to use a parenting portal or email as opposed to having face-to-face conversations or sending text messages.

Can parents reschedule a child custody hearing?

When Arizona parents decide to divorce, child custody can be one of the most emotionally fraught and challenging issues they face. Many parents may feel like the odds are stacked against them or that their children are being kept from them. These feelings of frustration can multiply when parents are given an inconveniently scheduled hearing. There are steps that parents can take to mitigate the effects and work to protect their rights to involvement in their children's lives.

In some cases, it may be possible to attend the hearing over the phone or through video. Child custody hearings are typically short, unlike an all-day trial. The hearing may last 15 or 30 minutes. Unless planned in advance, witnesses are typically not heard at this type of court case. Therefore, judges may be more likely to accept a remote appearance, especially when no testimony is needed. On the other hand, a family law attorney can also file a motion to seek a postponement of the hearing, stating the parent's reasons for being unable to appear on the originally scheduled date.

Retirement accounts and other investments in a divorce

Getting a divorce can mean dealing with complex investments for some couples in Arizona. It is necessary to understand the restrictions around splitting these investments or withdrawing from them early since doing so can incur significant taxes and penalties. In some couples, one person is largely responsible for managing the money. This can leave the other person at a disadvantage in case of a divorce, and that person should get information on the assets that are owned jointly and individually.

For people who are concerned that a soon-to-be-ex-spouse will take action with those assets without consultation, such as withdrawing a large sum or making an investment, they might want to freeze the assets. It may be best to work with legal and financial professionals during property division. These professionals might be able to advise divorcing people about various potential pitfalls. For example, there could be capital gains taxes on selling some assets, such as securities.

When divorce property division includes a business

Arizona business owners may face some particular challenges when they decide to divorce. Property division and the financial consequences that accompany the end of a marriage can be difficult for people in any profession, but small business owners may actually lose their companies. When a business is small and closely held, it may reflect a large bulk of the marital assets to be divided. In addition, when both spouses were a key part of the company, there may be some serious challenges to determine the future of the company. As a result, some business owners may decide to sell their companies and move on to handle their obligations during the divorce.

While losing the business may be a negative outcome of a divorce, the process is easier when the enterprise is fairly valued and sold at a profit. In other cases, the difficult circumstances created by the divorce may lead to a bottleneck in business operations, driving down profitability and even viability for the firm. In other cases, the full valuation of the business may itself be a source of conflict, especially if a new product launch or funding cycle involving outside investors is on the horizon.

When practical concerns motivate a divorce

The widespread debate about raising taxes on the rich has led some Arizona couples to speculate about the potential value of a "strategic divorce". Because taxes are assessed on married couples as a family unit, they may pay more than two single people both earning relatively high salaries. The threshold for the highest tax bracket - 37% - is hit by a married couple before they reach double the salary for that tax bracket for a single person. However, most of the couples in the highest tax brackets are likely to face far more expenses if they choose to divorce than to pay the taxes in question.

For other couples, the option of strategic divorce may be motivated by financial concerns rather than an abundance of money. For example, elderly people suffering from dementia or other serious illnesses may need full-time nursing care. Medicaid will not pay the costs of nursing home care until a person's assets are spent down, including their retirement funds and other accounts. This can leave people a spouse destitute with few options for supporting themselves. Therefore, couples may consider divorce as another option to secure needed care without descending into poverty.

When couples don't eat together, divorce could be coming

When couples in Arizona no longer eat dinner together, they may be headed for divorce. This may sound like a radical statement or a major assumption, but experts say that it is often an indication that a marriage is falling apart. Of course, couples may start spending meals apart due to conflicting work schedules and shifts. However, they may soon find themselves spending time apart even on the weekends or other days off from work, especially if the spouses make little effort to offset the logistical problems posed by their work schedules. Essentially, the loss of shared time can be a reflection that both partners are growing apart from one another.

Eating apart isn't the only seemingly minor issue that can indicate that the end of a marriage is coming. When couples stop enjoying fun activities or laughing together, this can indicate that they no longer enjoy being in each other's presence. The same is true for couples that essentially end their intimate or romantic relationships. While they may still have a relatively stable home life, they may no longer feel a deep connection to one another that helps to keep a marriage strong and long-lasting. They may even find themselves staying late at the office or volunteering for business trips to avoid time spent alone with the other spouse.

How parents may reach child support and custody agreements

When parents in Arizona are going through a divorce, they might need to reach an agreement on child custody and support. However, this does not always mean having to go through the process of litigation. Parents may reach an agreement through negotiation or by using an alternative dispute resolution method.

Negotiating may be done informally by parents directly, with their lawyers or by the lawyers on behalf of the parents. Even if parents do not negotiate with their attorneys present, they may want to have their attorneys review their agreement.

Contact

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

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