how to afford divorce

How to Afford Divorce

You’ve agreed your marriage isn’t working and that your conflicts are not healthy for your kids to witness. You’ve agreed how to pay for your legal fees. But you can’t get around one big sticking point. How are you going to afford to live separately after your divorce?

When you are married you have X amount of dollars coming into your home and a set amount of expenses. When you divorce and physically separate there is still only X amount of dollars coming to the two of you yet suddenly you have two sets of household expenses to cover. It can be a stunning and sobering realization and may seem like a nearly impossible situation. Here’s how to make those dollars stretch to cover two homes.

  • Consider downsizing all around. If one of you stays in the marital home and one of you gets another apartment or home, your expenses may be more than your budget can handle. If you both move to smaller or less expensive places, your dollars will go further.
  • Share expenses. Roommates, friends, or family can all help you by contributing to your household budget or providing rent-free places to stay.
  • Increase your income. An obvious, but not always easy solution, is to increase the amount of money being earned. If one parent has been at home with children, becoming employed can make two homes possible. A raise, second job, or side income can also be helpful.
  • Reduce your expenses. This may be a good time to refinance the mortgage on the family home, reduce your cable subscription, buy a less expensive car, etc.
  • Be creative. You might be able to remain in the same house, sharing the same costs with some creative remodeling or rearranging. You might rent the marital home out and both live elsewhere, making a profit on it.

 

The Sampair Group has the advice you need to help you get through your divorce in Maricopa County. Call us today so that we can begin helping you.

 

 

why you should be the one to file for divorce

Why You Should Be the One to File for Divorce

If you and your spouse are heading for a divorce, you may think it doesn’t really matter who files the papers. In actuality there is an advantage to the person who files for divorce.

  • If you are the one to file, you are the one in charge of exactly when it happens. You won’t be blindsided when you’re recovering from surgery, when your job is at a critical moment or when you are on vacation.
  • If you file for divorce you have time to plan. You can hire the attorney you want and take the steps to protect yourself financially that your attorney recommends.
  • You will be able to locate all of the financial records you need to prove the extent of your marital assets. If your spouse files first he or she may use the head start to remove or block your access.
  • Bank accounts and credit cards are at your disposable if you file. You can remove marital assets for safekeeping (if your attorney advises you to do so) or freeze joint credit cards and have individual accounts and cards ready to go.
  • When you file for divorce, you generally control the location of the divorce. Your attorney will be able to file in your home county. If your spouse has moved to another county, this prevents him or her from filing there where it is less convenient for you.
  • When you file, your attorney can seek temporary orders of custody, child support, spousal support and exclusive occupancy of the marital home. These are valuable not only in the short term but because judges tend to like to maintain the status quo and a temporary order is likely to become a permanent order.

Call the Sampair Group for your divorce or family law case in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Glendale. Our attorneys are ready to help you.

custody and your childs school

Custody and Your Child’s School

When you’re going through a custody case, you instinct may be to try to keep it quiet for as long as possible, in order to protect your child. It is a lot to deal with and if suddenly everyone your child knows is aware of it, it can be overwhelming. Although you might not be ready to tell the world, it is important to communicate with your child’s school about what is happening.

Because of the situation at home, your child’s behavior at school may be impacted. It’s a good idea to communicate with your child’s teacher so she is prepared to help your child should emotions surface at school. Children react in many different ways and your child’s teacher could be puzzled by a sudden behavior change if she doesn’t know what’s happening inside your family. It is also possible that your child may decide to open up to the teacher about the situation, so you want her to be in the loop. The school may also have resources for children going through divorce, such as counseling or support groups. Peer group meetings can be of invaluable help for your child so he can see that other kids are coping with the same issues.

Once you have a temporary or permanent order of custody, you will want to give a copy to the school, particularly if you want restrictions placed on whether your ex can pick your child up or take him out of school. They need to know who is the custodial parent and who has decision-making authority. If the non-custodial parents wants to stay informed with copies of notices, report cards, and parent-teacher conferences, the school may need a copy of the order to provide these as well.

When you need an attorney who will stand up for you, call the Sampair Group in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Glendale. We’re ready to take your call.

benefits of a prenup

The Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement

When you get married, the last thing you want to think about during this happy time of your new life is the “what if’s” of if the marriage doesn’t work out. But for many couples, a prenuptial agreement can be a wise decision to make. If you and your significant other decide to formulate a prenup before tying the knot, it is important that you each seek legal advice. The family law and divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group know the benefits of a prenuptial agreement and will guide you through the process to make sure that your agreement is consistent with state laws and is fair to both parties. There are many benefits to a prenup agreement, and it can often be a win-win for everyone involved if the marriage were to not work out.

Preserves Property and Assets
Through a prenuptial agreement you can preserve property and assets that you attained prior to the marriage. This could also include the obligation to support children from a prior marriage, and for many other reasons.

Certainty
A prenuptial agreement lays out all of the arrangements and understandings that the spouses can agree upon before marriage. This formal agreement helps both parties know what to expect so they won’t have to worry about what will happen in terms of assets, finances, etc. in the event of death or divorce.

Protecting Debt
A prenuptial agreement can protect the assets of one spouse from being used to satisfy the debts of the other party that they may have built up prior to the marriage.

Minimize Divorce Drama and Costs
When you sign a prenuptial agreement, it leaves less room to fight about assets and other aspects of the divorce. It has all already been set out by you beforehand and agreed upon between your spouse and yourself, resulting in less stress if anything happens to the marriage. Divorce can be costly, and a prenup can also help minimize the monetary damage.

Family Members
Family members of each spouse can also be protected through a prenuptial agreement. It will ensure that family members receive (or don’t receive) marital property in the case of death or divorce. This is commonly used to protect the interests of children from a previous marriage.

Protect Family Business, Heirlooms
When there are children from a previous marriage, keeping family heirlooms out of the marital estate can be important. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that they are kept out of the marriage and provided to the person(s) they are intended for. A prenup can also keep control of property that belongs to a family business.

Divorce paperwork and agreements can be difficult and messy, so it is important to seek legal guidance when deciding if one is right for you and your spouse. Contact the divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group today for more information.

Impact of divorce on women

The Impact of Divorce on Women

There’s no question that divorce is a financial hurdle for everyone, but a recent study shows that women usually take a greater financial hit. The results of the study showed that on average men’s household incomes drop about 20% after divorce, but women’s household incomes dramatically fall by 41%. This is a significant financial reduction and highlights how divorce can create long-term financial deficits for women.

If you are a woman dealing with divorce, it is important that you work with an attorney committed to your case who can get you the best settlement possible. There are also some things you can do on your own to protect your financial future.

  • Start managing your money. If you were not the spouse in charge of household finances, you need to learn how to do so. Organize the information about all of your bank accounts, investments, bills, and financial responsibilities. Create a budget that you can live with. Become a savvy money manager.
  • Ask for alimony. Talk with your attorney about the spousal maintenance (alimony) you may be entitled to. Some women are eligible for alimony yet are hesitant to request it. Remember that spousal maintenance is meant to ensure that everyone walks away from the marriage in a financially stable situation, so be certain to consider it.
  • Track payments. If your ex is ordered to pay child support or spousal maintenance, keep careful records of what you receive. If he doesn’t pay, get in touch with your attorney.  If your ex is required to pay for educational, medical, or other expenses for your child, keep all receipts and track all payments. These expenses add up and can be a significant drain on your household finances if they are not reimbursed.
  • Plan for your retirement now. Now that you will be single, you need to rethink your retirement plan. Discuss the division of marital retirement assets with your attorney and get the facts about Social Security retirement. A financial planner can help you save what you need to retire.

The Sampair Group represents men and women in divorce cases in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Glendale. Make an appointment today to discuss how we can help you.

Back to School 2

Back to School Tips for Divorced Parents (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Always Help With Homework
Even if you are not the custodial parent, try to have your kids do their homework with you. This is helpful so you know how they are progressing in school and help with any big projects they may have.

Plan Out The Year
Sit down with each other in the late summer a few weeks before school begins to lay out a schedule and other plans on a calendar to plan the entire school year. Don’t forget to include on this calendar any sports or other school activities that the child will be a part of. The more organized you are, the less confusion and stress there will be.

Buy Extra
Buy duplicate used schoolbooks so the child has one at each home. This way they don’t have to constantly remember to bring a huge load of books from one place to another.

Divide Duties
Before school begins, decide which parent will be responsible for the different parts of getting your child ready to begin, including who will buy school supplies, back-to-school clothes, etc. You should each be pitching in the same amount of time and money.

 

Back to School 1

Back to School Tips for Divorced Parents (Part 1)

Co-parenting is a full time job in itself, and adding a school schedule into the mix doesn’t make things any easier. As a divorced parent going through these struggles, it is also important to know that the start of the school year is just as stressful for your children as it is for you, if not more. But there are plenty of ways to make the back-to-school experience easier for your children and both parents.

Communicate
Keep up with constant communication with your ex-spouse about all school activities, correspondences and any other information regarding your child’s schooling. Both of you must always be in the loop equally. Never use your child as a form of communication between the two of you.

Scheduling
Make sure to coordinate each of your schedules so that it is guaranteed that your child will have a ride to/from school or to other school activities.

Keep Teachers In The Loop
Be sure that the school has record of both parents taking care of the child separately, in case of emergency. Also, if there is one parent that is not involved, be sure to inform the teachers. This can help them avoid any embarrassing situations (i.e. inviting a child to a “Dad’s Day” event if their father is not in the picture.)

Keep It Simple
Some children may be confused about how to explain their situation to their friends. Simply tell them that they can explain that sometimes they live with mom, and sometimes they live with dad.

Read more in Part 2

 

different types of child custody

Different Types of Child Custody

Each state governs child custody laws differently. In order to best understand your options for child custody and visitation options, you should be familiar with the different terms and types of child custody and how your Phoenix child custody attorney will help you approach the different options you can consider.

Legal Custody

When a parent has legal custody, they have the right to make any decisions regarding the need and upbringing of the child. This includes decisions about education, health care and religion, as long as there is consultation with the other parent.
In many states, both parents will be granted joint legal custody and can both have legal rights to making decisions about how to raise their children. Parents can share joint legal custody without having joint physical custody.
When sole legal custody is granted to a parent, the one granted this kind of custody is the only one who has the legal authorization to make major decisions on behalf of the child.

Physical Custody
Also called “residential custody,” sole physical custody refers to which parent the child lives with a majority of the time and only has visitation with the other parent. If the child is spending an equal amount of time with each parent, the state might award the parents join physical custody. This type of custody works best if the parents live relatively near each other as it lessens the interference in the child’s every day life.

Sole Custody
One of the reasons a parent might be awarded sole custody is if the other parent is proven to be extremely unfit to care for the child (i.e. drug or alcohol problems, charges of child abuse or neglect).
In many states, courts will hesitate to award sole legal custody to a parent to try and enlarge the role that both parents can possibly make in the child’s life will still considering the child’s best interest.

Joint Custody
This is the most common types of custody awarded in divorce cases when no parental issues exist. Joint custody is awarded equally to each parent and can take the form of joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or both. Joint custody can be granted if the parents are divorced, separated, no longer living together, or even if they have never lived together.

In Arizona, statute provides that the court may not prefer one parent to another with respect to custody based on the gender of either parent. They are required to determine the best interest of the minor children by applying the statutory factors regarding custody and parenting time in correlation with the facts of the case. Contact an experienced Glendale family law attorney at The Sampair Group today for legal representation in your divorce and child custody hearing.

5 signs of impeding divorce

5 Signs of Impending Divorce

1. You Think Of Life Without Your Spouse
During marital problems, one or both spouses may have thoughts of how much better life would/could be if they were divorced. If you are constantly thinking about divorce, it’s a sign that you feel stuck and don’t see any solution to your marital problems.

2. Disconnection
If you’re no longer spending time together and you feel relief when your spouse isn’t around, it’s a sign that you have disconnected from each other and are both already disengaged from the marriage.

3. No Conflict Resolution
A lack of effective conflict resolution can be detrimental to a marriage. Not being able to resolve differences without avoiding disagreement and conflict can lead to a loss of respect, which can increase distance and cause withdrawal between spouses.

4. Disaffection
Emotional disengagement is usually accompanied with a lack of affection or complete disappearance of it. If you have separated from each other emotionally, it’s likely that you don’t feel much love for each other.

5. Increased Focus Outside of the Marriage
Once a marriage gets disconnected enough, each spouse will start focusing less on the marriage and more on outside activities. This could include immersing themselves in the lives of their children, working late nights at their career or pouring themselves into future careers.

Going through a divorce is a confusing and stressful time. Contact an experienced Phoenix divorce attorney at The Sampair Group for more information.

protect your financial future after divorce

Protect Your Financial Future After Divorce

Divorce is one of the most stressful and emotional transitions you can face, and can often come with financial surprises. It is important to prepare for your financial future so the burden does not haunt you until retirement. Here are some ways to protect your financial future after divorce:

Financially preparing for the divorce and separation as soon as possible is the best way to go. Make copies of important documents such as pay stubs, tax returns, financial account statements, life insurance policies and loan documents and agreements, and begin organizing all of this information. Start tackling your finances during the divorce process, not after. Get separate bank accounts and credit cards, and be sure to cancel all joint credit cards and accounts. This way you can establish your own credit history and will not be held responsible is your ex-spouse fails to pay any credit card bills. As you negotiate the divorce, be sure that the mortgage, utilities and other bills get paid on time so you are not penalized.

Create a new budget for yourself for after the divorce. You will have less monthly income to use in your current lifestyle, so decide what kind of changes you need to make in order to better afford the single life. Consider expenses such as household, automobile, children, insurance, and other debts. Even if it’s in the divorce agreement, you can’t always count on your ex-spouse to pay the amount they are supposed to, or pay on time, so it’s important to know where you stand financially. Building an emergency fund from any cash you receive from the divorce is a great way to protect yourself from financial surprises or emergencies. This fund should equal 3-6 months of your living expenses for enough cushion during financial hardships. Having an emergency fund will also prevent you from racking up credit card debt.

Consult with a Phoenix Divorce Lawyer at The Sampair Group to discuss protecting your real assets such as cars, real estate and personal property. It is rare that couples in a divorce get a fair settlement when it comes to assets, so you should seek to resolve the splitting up of assets as fair as possible. Seeking outside counsel is also important when it comes to medical insurance. It is very important to discuss coverage for you, and any children involved, after the divorce. As for social security, you are entitled to 50% of your spouse’s benefits if you were married for at least 10 years if that amount is greater than your own benefits. This applies even if your ex remarries, but not if you do.

Be sure that you revisit and evaluate your beneficiaries. If you do not remove your former spouse as your primary beneficiary on retirement and investment accounts, they will receive all of that money in the even of your death. These policies must be changed themselves, as just making changes on your will does not protect these funds.