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Tucson Family Law Blog

DNA paternity testing: alleged versus biological evidence

In Arizona and across the United States, divorced men may need to take DNA paternity tests to prove or disprove biological fatherhood. Parental questions are important issues affecting the upbringing of children. Establishing paternity is significant for a child conceived out of wedlock because an unmarried man is not automatically the legal father of his partner's child. Instead, he is called the baby's "alleged father" unless a DNA paternity test shows that he is the biological father. Additionally, the law does not require an alleged father's name to appear on the baby's birth certificate.

A positive DNA paternity test determines that a formerly alleged father is now a biological father. In this case, the court issues an official order requiring that the father pays child support as a way of caring for the child's upbringing. The biological father is also a potential custodian of the child. States can order paternity testing in various ways.

Many common causes drive people to divorce

While every divorce is unique, researchers have found that people in Arizona and across the country tend to divorce in certain common circumstances. Most fundamentally, a breakdown in the loving connection in a relationship is common in the largest number of divorces, according to researchers. One study involved 2,371 recently divorced people in opposite-sex relationships. Their average age was 45, and the couples decided to divorce for a number of different reasons. Of the study participants, 44% initiated divorce proceedings themselves while 40% said the divorce was initiated by a former spouse. Another 16% said the decision to end their marriage was mutual.

The most common cause of divorce, cited by 47% of participants in the survey, was the loss of romantic feelings or intimacy between the couple. There may have been a number of precipitating events, but the participants said that they had lost feelings for each other during their marriage. In many cases, these reasons often overlapped with other concerns. For example, 44% of the respondents said that the most important reason for their divorce was a problem with communication. Some of these people may have been in ongoing arguments with their former spouses while others reported that they no longer spoke or shared meaningful conversation.

Prenuptial agreements can be ideal for business owners

Couples in Arizona and throughout the country have warmed up to the concept of the prenuptial agreement in recent years. These documents can be especially beneficial to those who own a business. With a prenuptial agreement, a couple can determine whether to classify the company as marital property or create a custom label for it.

The terms of the agreement may establish how much the company was worth at the time of the marriage. This amount generally cannot be split in a divorce proceeding. Therefore, a business owner can protect the equity that they built before entering into a union.

Important documents for child custody

Parents in Arizona who have to attend child custody hearings should be prepared to present the best evidence for their case. It is important that they have certain documents submitted with their written submissions to the court to support their arguments and that they have copies at the hearings.

Both parties fighting for child custody should maintain a record of all of the phone calls that are made between the non-custodial parent and the children. The phone log should detail the duration of each call, when the calls took place and how often they were made.

How parents can help their children adjust to a divorce

There are several things that parents in Arizona can do to protect their children after a divorce. The first thing that they should do is make sure that a child knows that the divorce was not his or her fault. This can be part of an overall strategy to be as honest as possible without divulging inappropriate information. Generally speaking, lying about small things can cause a child to lose trust in a parent.

A child should be allowed to spend time with both parents without feeling guilty about choosing one over the other. It is important to keep in mind that spending time with one person doesn't indicate a lack of love or respect for the other. Children should also be allowed to spend time with their friends even if it means reduced parenting time. Allowing kids to spend time with their peers can be good for their overall development.

Summer and divorce planning

Divorce filings in Arizona and the rest of the United States tend to increase in August and March, according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington. For the study, the researchers examined divorces from 2001 to 2015 that were filed in Washington.

One divorce attorney states that if there are issues in a marriage, those issues tend to intensify if a couple has to spend more time in each other's company. The spike in divorce filings tends to occur when such couples are able to get back to their routine after spending the winter holidays or the summer together.

What courts consider in parental relocation cases

There are some cases in which divorced parents in Arizona might need to relocate. This could cause a dispute between parents and changes in the custody schedule, and it might be necessary to go to court.

In some situations, a parental relocation might be in a child's best interests. A relocation could provide improved housing or job opportunities or put the parent and child closer to extended family. Relocation does not always mean disruption to a visitation schedule or that visitation is not possible. However, a court often starts from the assumption that relocating is not what's best for a child, so the burden might be on the parent to convince the court otherwise.

Researchers find some wedding dates linked to divorce

People in Arizona who are getting married may want to steer clear of Valentine's Day or dates with clever number combinations for their wedding. Australian researchers looked at 1 million marriages and found a correlation between certain wedding dates and the likelihood of divorce.

The wedding date that was followed by the highest number of divorces was Valentine's Day. The University of Melbourne study found that after five years, 11% of couples who married on Feb. 14 had divorced. For 21% percent of those couples, the marriage was over after nine years.

Study finds wide national variance in child support payments

According to the software company Custody X Change, a typical child support payment in Arizona is among the lowest in the country, with the usual payments ranging from about $400 to $528. However, just across the state line in New Mexico, the typical payment is $735 to $880, and in Nevada, it is $881 to $1,187. With every state calculating child support differently, a parent who is relocating might want to consult an attorney to find out how child support payments will be affected.

The company imagined a hypothetical situation in which the mother's income was $45,000 and the father's was $55,000. The hypothetical also assumed that the couple had two children and that the mother was the custodial parent, with 65% of child care time compared to 35% for the father. While the income estimate may have been high based on information from the census and Pew Research, the study did highlight the wide variation in child custody payments.

The parallel parenting option

When parents in Arizona divorce, they often have the goal of eventually establishing a strong co-parenting relationship. This means that they are able to set aside their differences and effectively work together to parent their kids. However, there are situations in which one parent may be considered "high-conflict." This means that they are unwilling to behave in a way that fosters a healthy relationship with their former spouse; they may seek to create conflict at every opportunity.

In some cases, these individuals have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, such as narcissistic personality disorder. In other cases, the high-conflict person remains angry at his or her former spouse and actively seeks to anger, humiliate or provoke the other parent.

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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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