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Tucson Family Law Blog

When parents are voluntarily impoverished to avoid child support

When some Arizona parents are ordered to pay child support, they attempt to shirk their financial responsibilities by becoming voluntarily unemployed or impoverished. Essentially, this means that a person may voluntarily leave his or her job or stay unemployed even when he or she has the opportunity to work. Some individuals may even work under the table so that their income is not reported.

Child support payments are usually court-ordered payments made by the noncustodial parent to help the custodial parent pay for child-related expenses, such as medical care and schooling. If the custodial parent only has a verbal agreement with the noncustodial parent, he or she should contact his or her local Office of Child Support Enforcement. This agency can assist with helping to establish a legally binding child support order while taking allegations of voluntary impoverishment very seriously.

How unemployment might affect child support payments

A parent in Arizona who loses a job is not automatically allowed to pay less in child support. If the parent is eligible for unemployment, the unemployment office needs to be notified about the child support order. Child support payments will then be deducted from the unemployment benefits.

Some parents who become unemployed might not be eligible for unemployment benefits. In this case, the parent should not simply ignore the child support order while looking for a new job. Instead, the parent should keep communication open with the custodial parent and the family law court. The parent may need to ask for a modification in child support based on a change in circumstances. If the parent's child support payments are not lowered by a court during this time, the parent might need to pay extra after finding a job to make up missed payments.

New tax rules could impact 2019 alimony agreements

Arizona couples who divorce in 2019 or later will be operating under new tax rules when it comes to alimony. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts of 2017, alimony that is paid as part of a divorce agreement will no longer be tax deductible. Meanwhile, alimony payments will no longer be considered taxable income. This is the exact opposite of the way alimony has been taxed for the past 76 years.

At first glance, this may appear to be a great deal for alimony recipients, but it should be pointed out that a spouse with reduced after-tax income will have less money available to pay alimony. This could offset any tax savings by the recipient. However, financial experts say the new tax law can be used to help both parties in certain situations.

How divorce may affect paying for a child's college education

When people in Arizona get a divorce, they may wonder how this could change their plans for their children's college education. A study by Ameritrade found that two-thirds of couples do not have a financial plan in case of divorce or death.

Divorce can be expensive, and it is costlier to maintain two households than one. Therefore, there may be less money available for college. Children may need to consider a state school instead of an expensive private institution. Scholarships, grants, loans and other forms of financial aid may be available to some. Usually, a parent cannot be compelled to pay for graduate school. Divorce agreements commonly specify a five-year limit for education costs.

Financial security is a major concerns for divorcees

One of the unfortunate outcomes of an Arizona divorce is that one or both of the spouses may be less financially stable afterward. As a result, couples are increasingly looking for more financial security in the divorce process in addition to more collaborative solutions to property division.

For many unhappy spouses, the first step is to hire a financial planner. This professional could be part of a team along with an attorney and family members. With a team in place that can offer financial, legal and emotional support, a spouse may feel better prepared to enter divorce negotiations.

Changing roles in marriage can cause divorce, study finds

Some marriages in Arizona may start with each person being on equal footing. Others may begin in a more traditional manner, where the husband is in charge of finances and earning money while the wife stays home with the children or has a job that pays less money. According to researchers in Sweden, if there is a change in the career trajectory of the wife in the latter scenario that leads to her earning as much or more money than her husband, that marriage could be more likely to end in divorce than one in which both people were equal from the start.

One issue is that women may put off their own career development in favor of relocating for their husbands' jobs and raising the children. When the women reenter the workplace or take on more responsibilities at work, husbands may not step up to take over the child care and household chores even if they cut back on their own hours. This can create resentment in women who are now juggling these tasks along with demanding careers.

What custody means for parents and children

For Arizona parents, being a custodial parent has advantages and disadvantages. The custodial parent is generally the parent the child lives with most of the time.

Even if the agreed-upon visitation schedule gives the child a substantial amount of time with the noncustodial parent, this means the bulk of the day-to-day parenting falls to the custodial parent. This includes homework, emotional support, extracurricular activities and more. While this is largely positive, it does also mean that when the child acts out frustration, anger and other negative emotions, those tend to be directed at the custodial parent. It is normal for children to do this even though it can be stressful for the parent.

The pros and cons of a child custody nesting arrangement

Some Arizona parents who are getting a divorce might have heard about a practice called nesting. This involves the children remaining in one home while parents take turns living there with them. Nesting can help children adjust to the divorce, but it also requires a high level of cooperation between parents. Furthermore, it is important for children to understand that the arrangement does not mean parents will be getting back together.

Nesting is often more successful if the arrangement is temporary. For example, parents may plan to use this arrangement until a lease runs out or until they are able to sell a home. It may also be important for both parents to have a place of their own to retreat to when they are not in the home. A factor in one nesting arrangement that broke down was that while the father was able to go to his parent's house and have his own space when he was not in the shared home, the mother had to sleep on her sister's couch. There were also issues with the parents' schedules and the condition the house was left in.

Making financial plans for a divorce

People in Arizona may want to make some financial preparations before they file for divorce. This may be particularly true if they are not very involved in the household finances. A first necessary step might be gathering as many financial documents as possible and making copies of them. If the divorce becomes acrimonious later, it might be difficult to get these from the other spouse.

Establishing a personal bank account and an individual line of credit may also be important for people who share accounts with a spouse. People may want to order copies of their credit report so they can address any errors before the divorce is in progress. For people who do not earn a living, it might still be possible to get a credit card based on household income. Applying for credit cards should be done well before the divorce is underway because this part of the process may take some time.

Housework and divorce

Arizona couples who routinely argue over housework issues may be interested to know that such arguments can result in a divorce. This is according to a study conducted by Harvard Business School.

The study, which evaluated 3,000 couples, determined that a quarter of those who went through a divorce referred to 'disagreements about housework" as the primary reason for going their separate ways. Couples who hire a cleaning services and other types of assistance to save time are more likely to stay together.

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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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