Also serving the Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal County Area
Helping Clients With Emotional Family Law Issues
The Arizona Family Law Attorneys at My AZ lawyers are committed to helping our clients handle the legal, financial, and emotional aspects of complicated family law cases. We have helped thousands of people in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties with family law issues and resolutions.
Be it, negotiating child custody, child support, resolving property division issues, visitation agreements, protection orders, or handling another family law matter, our Arizona Family Law Team work to find solutions that accomplish our clients’ goals. Plus, we recognize that the outcome of a family law case can impact our clients both financially and emotionally for years.
All this is done as economically as possible. We offer very competitive rates for our services. Plus, affordable monthly payments. Additionally, our Arizona Family Lawyers offer free and confidential consultations. Contact our AZ Family Team today.
Arizona Divorce Lawyers
Our Arizona Divorce Lawyers work with our clients to equitably resolve divorce disputes and related issues. Also, many cases require the litigation of the issues related to separation in a courtroom. Others, however, can be resolved outside of the courtroom and are more expeditiously resolved by way of mediation or arbitration. Therefore, our AZ divorce lawyers are experienced in successfully mediating issues for our clients. However, when cases require an aggressive style of litigation, our attorneys possess the skill and experience to represent our clients zealously in the courtroom.
Child Custody and Child Support Lawyers
Often the most contentious issues in divorce and family law proceedings are child custody and child support. Our AZ Support and Custody Attorney understand that parents want to fight for as much time with their children as possible. Therefore, we understand the importance they place on gaining custody.
Also, our attorneys are creative and diligent in developing parenting plans and in procuring child support for custodial parents. More often, in most Arizona child custody cases, the non-custodial parent is ordered to pay the custodial parent child support. Hiring our Arizona Family Law Team can help ensure both parents are contributing fairly to the cost of raising a child.
Other areas of Arizona family law we handle include:
Arizona Military Divorce
Domestic abuse and violence
Marital property division
Spousal support (also called alimony or spousal maintenance)
Each state has its own family laws, and they can be applied drastically differently under specific circumstances. It’s vital that you understand which things you’ve heard are true, and which are just conjecture. Here are some frequent misconceptions about Arizona divorces and family law.
Historically, women have been more likely to receive alimony, also known as spousal maintenance or spousal support, payments in a divorce. However, this is because more women have been stay at home parents over the years. Some of the factors that go into deciding alimony are the relative income of the spouses, the standard of living during the marriage, any physical or mental health conditions of either spouse, career sacrifices made by either spouse, the length of the marriage, the spouses’ ages, and more. Being a woman, by its very nature, is not a factor that goes into determining alimony. The wife can even be ordered to pay her husband alimony in a divorce.
In the interest of preventing incessant litigation, most property division orders are non-modifiable. Some alimony orders are nonmodifiable as well, or include automatic adjustments for cost of living increases, and terminate if the spouse receiving alimony remarries.
Once child custody and support orders are made, a modification won’t be granted for at least one year. A modification will only be granted if there has been a “substantial and continuing” change in circumstances. There is an exception to the one year rule for custody modifications- a modification can be granted at any time if the child is in immediate danger or if one parent is refusing to comply with the custody orders.
As mentioned above, a child support modification can be granted if there has been a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. The court typically views a change in income of 10% or more as substantial. Quitting your job to intentionally reduce child support payments doesn’t satisfy the continuing requirement. However, if the parent is laid off or retires, that parent can petition to reduce support payments.
Most states follow either equitable division or community property. Arizona is a community property state, so assets and debts that were acquired during the marriage are subject to property division during a divorce. Even if a debt was incurred in one spouse’s name alone, the other spouse can be held liable for that debt.
You should be wary if your spouse is ordered to pay community debts in your divorce orders. Family law orders can’t stop your creditors from pursuing you if those debts remain unpaid, even after a divorce. If your spouse discharges their debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your obligation to pay community debts won’t be discharged by their bankruptcy.
Just like a house, bank accounts, and other assets acquired during a marriage, retirement accounts like 401(k)’s and IRA’s are community property as well. Contributions made before the marriage will be separate property, but the account must be traced back and divided if any contributions were made during the marriage. This will be calculated using a QDRO, or a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. These calculations can be complex and may require the assistance of a family law attorney.
If you know your spouse is about to divorce you, you can engage in a little retail therapy- but don’t go too extreme based on your usual spending habits. Shopping sprees, drug and alcohol binges, lavish vacations, and other expensive purchases before or during a divorce can be marital waste. If a spouse is found guilty of marital waste, they will be penalized during property division, meaning the other spouse will be granted more of the community assets or less of the community debts to make up for the reckless spending. The judge will compare spending during the alleged period of marital waste to previous spending to determine if the spouse’s conduct amounts to marital waste.
Even in an uncontested divorce, there is a mandatory waiting period of 60 days after the petition is filed before the divorce can be ordered by the court. This means that even if you and your spouse agree on all divorce terms, it will still take at least two months to get divorced. A divorce can drag on months or even years if the spouses are unable to reach agreement on the divorce terms.
Many family law orders are non-modifiable, and will affect your property, income, and time with your children for the rest of your life. Unlike in criminal proceedings, you won’t be provided a court-appointed attorney for family law matters. Not only that, but being in an active divorce is stressful for you, your children, and the rest of your loved ones. Once final orders are in place, you can return to a sense of normalcy. That’s why it may be worth the expense for you to hire a family law attorney to represent you in your divorce proceedings.
With the proper education, experience, and staffing, our Arizona family law attorneys are able to provide top notch legal representation at competitive rates. Call for your quote, as well as more information about Arizona family law, in your free initial consultation. Our attorneys have years of experience representing clients just like you, and offer payment plan options to make hiring an attorney more attainable for Arizonans.
Gross Monthly Income-This is the first factor that will be examined when determining child support. Many types of income can be included in gross monthly income, including social security income, commissions, alimony, worker’s compensation, disability and unemployment compensation, rental income, bonuses, lottery and gambling winnings, and pensions. These will all be combined to find the total gross monthly income.
Monthly Income Disparity-This is the difference between the two parents’ gross monthly income. The parent who has more gross monthly income will likely pay more support, unless the parent with less gross monthly income has no custody.
Current Spousal Maintenance received or paid by either parent-This is also referred to as alimony, and is counted towards gross monthly income. It is usually awarded to a spouse who mainly worked in the home during the marriage, or supported the other spouse during the education and training of a lucrative career. Spousal maintenance can only be awarded to a former partner that was officially married.
Child Support paid by one parent for support of children not common to the other parent-If the parent has children with a different parent, those children can’t be excluded when determining child support. They must still be provided for. However, that doesn’t mean one parent will have to pay child support for a child that isn’t theirs.
Amount of the medical insurance premium for the children-If one parent pays for the child or children’s health insurance, that will be factored into determining child support.
Child care expenses-If one parent is fully responsible for an expense, such as daycare, this will be factored into child support calculations.
Parenting time schedule-This term has replaced custody arrangements in some jurisdictions. Parents can come up with their own parenting time schedule without court intervention if it is in the best interest of the child. Some parents may do one week on, one week off, or weekdays with one parent and weekends with another. Parents also usually decide which parent gets time with the children during school breaks like winter and spring break. Parents will usually have parenting time with their children on Mothers’/Fathers’ Day and their own birthdays.
How Marriage Impacts Child Support Payments in Arizona
Getting remarried can affect how much child support you have to pay. Plus, if your new spouse doesn’t work, possibly has other children, and you have to financially support them, it may reduce the amount you have to pay. However, if your spouse is financially comfortable, (possibly with a home and vehicles) so you don’t have to pay those expenses anymore, you could end up paying more. Either way, contacting our lawyers will help.
Child support can only be modified, at most, once per year. Therefore, you must be able to show a substantial and continued change in circumstances for a modification to be approved.
Also, substantial and continued change isn’t required if you request a modification 3 years or more since the last modification. There are three ways to modify child support. The easiest is modification by agreement, which is, as the name suggests, when both parents agree to the change in support. The modification will simply be filed with the court.
Additionally, there is also a standard modification. Either a parent or a governmental agency will request a hearing to determine if the child support currently being paid is appropriate. The parents will receive an Order to Appear at the hearing and attend a one hour conference to try to work out the amount of support to be paid.
Reaching an Agreement through a Hearing
Plus, the hearing will be held if they are unable to reach an agreement. Whereas the last method of modifying child support in Arizona is modification by simplified process. This happens more often than you may imagine. Therefore, if there has been a change of at least 15% in gross monthly income for either parent, this process can be used. Thus, one parent will file a Petition to Modify to Request a Hearing. The other parent will have 20-30 days to respond to the petition. Dependent on where they live. Additionally, the hearing will be held and the judge will determine whether a support modification is appropriate. Our AZ family attorneys will be a great asset if you are facing a hearing. Don’t delay. Call our Family law team now.
When Modifying Child Support in Arizona, Seek the assistance of an experienced AZ Family Lawyer
Even when using the simplified process, child support modification is a complicated process. If you are going through it alone, you risk either paying or being paid an unfair amount based on your circumstances. It is not only your financial well-being, but your child or children’s on the line as well. For that reason, you should at least consult with an experienced family law attorney before heading to court. Our office offers free family law consultations so you can get a better idea of what to expect. If you do choose to retain us, we offer low down payments and monthly payment plans. Call to schedule your free consultation today.
Contact Our Arizona Domestic and Family Law Attorneys
If you need help with any family or domestic law matter, please contact My Arizona Lawyers. Our AZ Family Attorneys are committed to asserting your interests and helping you start a new life. We offer free consultations and are reasonably priced legal representation. Family issues are some of the most highly contested issues. Passions run deep and often having an experienced voice in a family lawyer is often the better choice.
We serve clients in Pima County, Pinal County, and Maricopa County. Please call us today, or you may also contact us using the form below. With offices in Phoenix, Mesa, Tucson, Glendale, and Avondale, we also serve the Arizona communities of: Chandler, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Peoria. Also, Ahwatukee, Maricopa, Casa Grande, and Queen Creek. Plus, Fountain Hills, Buckeye, San Tan, and Apache Junction. Additionally including, Sun City, Surprise, Goodyear, and surrounding communities. Not to mention, the counties of Maricopa. Pima. Pinal.