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Tucson Family Law Blog

Understanding different types of child support

Child support payments can be confusing for both non-custodial and custodial parents. Parents in Arizona may be affected by federal laws governing child support. To understand how child support works, it is important for parents to understand the different types.

A child support case established through the Office of Child Support Enforcement, or OCSE, is known as an IV-D case. OCSE provides services to parents, such as locating a non-custodial parent, establishing paternity and enforcing existing court orders awarding child support.

Student debt stress can contribute to divorce

A large number of young people in Arizona and across the country face a large debt burden in the form of student loans. On average, the outstanding balance of a student loan borrower is $34,144, and that number is higher for members of the class of 2017, whose average debt burden is $39,400. Over the past 10 years, the number of people who owe $50,000 or more in student loans has tripled. While a number of researchers have looked into the social effects of rising tuition and escalating student loan burdens, these can also have a significant impact on borrowers' personal lives.

Many millennials have postponed marriage and other significant milestones due to concerns about their debt burden and how to manage it. For those who have married, the stress and pressure caused by student loan debt can put them on the road to divorce. One survey of student loan borrowers found that 43 percent regularly argue with romantic partners about money. Another survey found that one-third of divorced borrowers said that financial issues, including student loan debt, was an issue in their divorces, while 13 percent said that student loans were specifically responsible for the end of their marriages.

Sharing the parenting responsibilities after divorce

When Arizona parents decide to divorce, the logistical and emotional efforts involved in co-parenting can weigh heavily. Even the most amicable of divorcing spouses can face struggles when it comes to co-parenting, as each parent has to deal with the reality of not being with his or her child full-time. By keeping several guidelines in mind, divorcing parents can help to make the journey towards successful co-parenting easier and less stressful for both themselves and their children.

Child custody and visitation are some of the most contentious matters among many parents who divorce. Even after a parenting plan has been set and a custody schedule agreed upon, the logistical details of sharing custody can be confusing. This is one reason why keeping a shared calendar is critically important for every member of the family. Whether using an online service or multiple printed calendars, the key is to ensure that custody changes, visitation time, medical appointments, school events and family functions are tracked.

Understanding child support obligations with joint custody

Determining child support can be one of the most difficult and complicated aspects of getting divorced. Child support is typically determined by the Child Support Standards Act, but that statute doesn't address joint custody. In order to determine joint custody obligations, parents and their legal representatives must sift through quite a bit of information. Here is a closer look at some of the factors that are used to determine child support in Arizona and other states throughout the country.

Every state has a slightly different formula when determining joint custody obligations, but most take a few key variables into consideration. That includes the amount of time spent with each parent, the number of children in the family and the total income of each household. In some states, joint child support is determined by nothing more than the income of each parent and the total number of days spent with them every month. If the child spends an equal amount of time in both households, then the court might decide that no one should pay child support.

The financial surprises of a divorce

Women in Arizona who are thinking about getting a divorce should be prepared for how the process can impact many aspects of their lives. They should be particularly aware of the unexpected financial issues that are likely to crop up.

Out of 1,785 women who took part in a recent survey regarding divorce, 46 percent stated that their divorce experience resulted in financial surprises. The women who participated in the survey included women who were on the verge of getting a divorce, in the middle of their divorce process or already divorced. Women who were at least 55 years old made up 22 percent of the respondents; most of these women had already completed their divorces.

How child support could increase tension between parents

When Arizona parents of minor children get a divorce, one may be required to pay child support to the other. If a cause was money issues, this could carry over into how the child support payments are handled.

This was the case with one couple who broke up over issues around career dissatisfaction and money. A few years after the divorce, the father informed the mother that the child support payment would be late. At the time, he was trying to put together a repayment plan for bankruptcy that would allow him to keep the home. The mother gave him a month in which to catch up on payments. When he was unable to do so, she turned to the legal system for help.

How 2019 tax laws can have an impact on common divorce issues

As if going through a divorce may not be difficult enough for former Arizona couples, the change in tax laws starting Jan. 1, 2019, may make it even more difficult for former couples to move forward. The tax changes will have financial impacts on many divorce issues that are often sticking points, including alimony, ownership of the family home and custody of the children.

When it comes to alimony, also called spousal support, the paying former spouse will not longer be able to deduct those payments from his or her income. This can push the person into a higher tax bracket so that he or she ends up paying more in taxes. On the flip side, this could result in lower alimony payments.

How keeping a home may help some who are divorcing

When people in Arizona get a divorce, it could lead to a reduction in their financial stability and that stretches into retirement. This may be particularly true for older adults who are already near retirement and who are getting divorced at much higher rates than in the past. A study by the Center for Retirement Research found that people who were divorced were 5 percent more likely to run out of assets. However, this did not appear to be true for divorced single women.

It is common for financial professionals to advise against a woman keeping a home in divorce. However, this study found that as women enter retirement, if they still have the home, it may be a source of financial security and of equity.

Estate planning during and after divorce

Divorcing couples in Arizona are required by law to keep some things the same as long as they are legally married. This may mean paying for an estranged spouse's health insurance and keeping them as the beneficiary on retirement accounts. However, there are a few things a spouse has the option to change while a divorce is still pending.

An estate plan should be updated after every significant life event. Marriage and divorce are two events that could impact an estate plan. When couples get married, they often name each other as health care proxy and power of attorney. To avoid having someone who may not have their best interests in mind while making these kinds of decisions, it's important to change designations as soon as possible after filing for divorce.

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.

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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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