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Sep 1, 2023

Untying the Knot: Key Considerations for Divorce Proceedings

You might go into the divorce process with the goal of keeping a positive attitude.

Untying the Knot: Key Considerations for Divorce Proceedings

You might go into the divorce process with the goal of keeping a positive attitude or always treating your former spouse as a friend, and you will soon find out that this is so difficult that trying to achieve them only makes you feel worse about your already unenviable situation. Likewise, when a couple divides their property, both of them feel noticeably poorer, so while you should not intentionally waste money just to wound your ex in the pocketbook, make sure that your debt balances get smaller every month, including the months while your divorce case is pending, is also an unattainable goal for most people. Instead, you should focus your energy on being organized. This will help you accomplish your divorce more quickly so that you can get back to your new life as a single person. A Tempe family law attorney can help you strategize about your divorce and implement your plans.

How Do Arizona’s Community Property Laws Affect Your Divorce?

The stereotype that people who get divorced end up with only half of the property they had when they were married rarely plays out in reality. On paper, Arizona is a community property state. This means that when a divorce case goes to trial, and the court must divide the couple’s marital property, the court’s goal is to divide the marital property evenly in half. The legal principle underlying this is that marital property, defined as income earned and assets acquired during the marriage, belongs equally to both spouses, regardless of how much money each spouse earned.

Before you start to worry that your ex-spouse will walk away with half of everything you ever owned, consider that not all assets are marital property. For example, property that you have owned since before your marriage, including but not limited to real estate and business interests, is your separate property, and you do not have to share it with your ex-spouse. If your separate assets have appreciated in value during the marriage, the court may order you to pay your ex a portion of the amount that those assets have appreciated. Inherited property and personal injury settlements are also separate property, even if you received them during the marriage.

There are two common scenarios in which divorces do not result in an equal division of marital property. One is that the judge, taking into account the spouses’ differing incomes and financial needs, will divide the property unequally so that the less wealthy spouse will not need alimony payments from the wealthier and higher-income spouse. The even more common scenario is that the couples agree to a division of property during mediation, and the judge simply signs off on it; this property division scheme may or may not be equal.

Will You Have to Pay Alimony?

Alimony awards are much less common than they used to be since, in most couples, both spouses earn income from employment. If the parties’ income is vastly unequal, the court may order alimony payments, but these usually last only a short time. Even in cases where the court orders alimony payments, it may calculate them based on the recipient spouse’s imputed income, that is, based on the assumption that the recipient spouse will maintain employment. Spouses often agree on whether alimony is appropriate, but they disagree about the appropriate amount of alimony or imputed income.

Parenting Time and Child Support

If you and your spouse have minor children together, the court will issue a court-ordered parenting plan when it finalizes your divorce. Most couples agree to the division of parenting time during mediation rather than the judge deciding. The court calculates child support payments based on the parenting plan and on the parents’ incomes.

Do You Need a Divorce Lawyer?

Most divorce cases do not go to trial, and when you read about the divorce process on the website of your county’s family court, divorce seems simple. Despite this, you will probably need to hire a divorce lawyer. Working with a lawyer can help you avoid mistakes that could delay the divorce process or cause you to lose out on money, assets, and parenting time to which you are entitled. Divorce mediation works best when it is lawyers negotiating with each other rather than a couple that just broke up.

Contact Singular Law Group About Staying Organized During Divorce

A family law attorney can help you finalize your divorce efficiently and with minimal drama. Contact Singular Law Group PLLC in Tempe, Arizona, to set up a consultation. A Tempe divorce lawyer can help you navigate aspects of divorce such as property division, alimony, child support, and parenting plans.

 

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