divorce and social security

Divorce and Social Security

Even after you are divorced, you may still qualify for the same Social Security benefits as a spouse would.

There are several requirements you must meet in order to get Social Security benefits from your former spouse:

  • The marriage must have lasted for a minimum of 10 years
  • You must be at least 62 years old
  • You must be currently unmarried and not entitled to a higher Social Security benefit on your own work record
  • Your ex-spouse must be at the age for which they are eligible to receive their own retirement or disability benefits. If they are in fact eligible but have not claimed their benefits, this does not impact you as long as you have been divorced for a minimum of two years.

If you have remarried and your second spouse is deceased, you will qualify to claim benefits from either your first spouse or your second spouse, so long as each marriage meets the previous requirements. You can collect these benefits as early as age 60 as a divorced spouse surviving. If you are disabled, you can collect benefits as early as age 50.

Typically, the spouse seeking Social Security benefits from their former spouse will receive one-half of their retirement benefits. If they die before the spouse requesting benefits, they will receive full retirement benefits. The amount you receive is also affected by the full retirement age of the spouse getting the benefits.

For more information on getting Social Security benefits from a former spouse, seek the help of a Phoenix family law attorney at The Sampair Group. We will work diligently with you to determine your rights after a divorce and how you receive the benefits you deserve.

tips for keeping your divorce out of court

Tips For Keeping Your Divorce Out Of Court

Getting a divorce doesn’t always mean that your case will go to court. Court should actually be seen as a very last resort if you and your spouse absolutely cannot sort out certain things in the divorce, such as dividing assets and child custody.

Keeping your divorce out of the courtroom is one of the best things you can do to make your divorce less costly, time consuming, and emotional. Even though there are certain documents that must be processed through a court, your entire case doesn’t always have to. There are many other steps you can take to lessen your chances of ending up in court:

Collaborative Divorce
This is when both parties will sign up to a non-confrontational approach to coming to agreements. Collaboratively trained lawyers will be assigned to each, and there are then a series of 4-ay meetings with each party and their legal representation. The purpose of these meetings is to go through the details and reach agreement by negotiation.

Mediation
Both parties meet with a trained mediator who’s primary role is to listen to the difference of opinion from each side and help the two of you find ways to resolve them. Once a solution has been found, the necessary legal documents will be drawn up so the agreement is legally recorded.

Don’t Fight Over Little Stuff
There are likely many things that you and your spouse argue about that are surely less important than some of the things in the big picture you could be paying more attention to. Stop fighting over who gets to keep the family dinner table and start worrying about how each of you will play a better role in your children’s lives after the divorce.

Put the Kids First
When you focus on what is best for the children, you can both try and put aside your own feelings of hurt or anger toward each other and remain calm in coming to a solution for what is best for your children, short term and long term.

Be Realistic
Be reasonable in what you expect from a settlement and don’t lose it if things don’t go exactly your way. Be willing to compromise.

Understand Your Options
Court is not the only answer, and a lot of people don’t understand this. Be clear with each other on what you are trying to achieve, and go from there.

Going through a divorce is an extremely difficult transition, especially with the added stress of how to settle things outside of court. The Phoenix divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group can help ease this stress by helping you find productive ways to get what you deserve out of your case, while keeping it out of court. Visit www.sampair.com today for a free consultation.

is your behavior the reason for your divorce

Is Your Behavior The Reason For Your Divorce?

In any marriage there are a number of things that could potentially hurt the relationship to the point of separation and divorce. Avoid the following behaviors to improve your chances of a long-term, healthy marriage.

Ignoring Issues
Unexpressed feelings will only eventually build up over a period of time, turning small annoyances into very big resentments, which then leads to very heated arguments. The bigger the problem gets, the more likely each partner is to stop trusting the other, and calm communication becomes very difficult to have. To avoid this from happening, bring up and deal with issues as they come up. Confront them in a calm manner and work on them together.

Not Spending Enough Time Together
In order for a marriage to work, you need to give yourselves times to connect with each other. The less you do this, the more disconnected and distant your relationship will become. Prioritize outside factors that may be affecting your relationship, such as a job, friends, hobbies, etc., and be sure that you are working hard to make time for your partner. Go for a walk, agree to a date night, or just spend a couple of nights a week sitting around talking to each other. You may be surprised at how parallel your lives had become if other things from your busy schedule were getting in the way of your marriage.

Communication Problems
Being able to resolve issues effectively is a big factor in making a marriage work. But if you can’t approach your problems in a mature way, it’s not going to help anyone. Being passive-aggressive or slamming the door and leaving as response to an argument is not the way to go. This will give your partner the feeling of abandonment and they will feel as if you don’t care enough about the marriage to effectively handle issues that come up, no matter the nature of the conflict. To avoid this, both partners need to work together to resolving issues in a way that will meet the needs of both of you.

Invalidation
When an argument gets intense, a spouse may fall into the terrible habit of discrediting or weakening their partner as a quick reaction. Oftentimes, they will objectify their spouse or focus on only their negative characteristics as a way to destroy their self-esteem. Most partners react this way without thinking first, but that is no excuse for how it can negatively affect a person’s emotions both long-term and short-term. To avoid doing this, try and stay calm during all arguments, no matter how angry you may be. Staying calm with help you stay rational under the heat of anger and intense emotions.

Sometimes even avoiding these behaviors isn’t enough to prevent divorce. At The Sampair Group, our high conflict resolution attorneys take the time to get to know you and the circumstances of your case. Contact an experienced divorce attorney today for a free initial consultation. 

modifying your child support order

Modifying Your Child Support Order

Under federal and state law, parents have a right to request a modification of a child support order. Both parents must reach an agreement to modify the child support order. If there is no agreement between both parties, a judge can be asked to approve the change as long as it is explained why the modification need is justified and how the amount modification that is requested will benefit the child. In this court hearing, you must be able to show evidence that circumstances have changed since the existing order. Depending on the circumstances, the judge will decide if the modification will be temporary or permanent. A permanent modification order will remain in effect until child support is no longer needed, or if the order is again modified in the future. If you are unsure of whether you have valid reasons for a child support order modifications, contact a Glendale Family Law professional. Here are some examples of the types of changes that support a modification order:

Temporary

  • a child’s medical emergency
  • a temporary inability for the payer to be able to make child support payments, whether it be for a illness, temporary financial burden, medical emergency
  • temporary financial or medical hardship for the recipient parent

Permanent

  • either parent has lost their job or gets new employment with a decreased income
  • one or both parents remarry and the new spouse’s income increases the household income
  • the cost of living increases  for one or both parents
  • either parent becomes disabled
  • the child’s needs have changed (education, health, etc.)
  • child support laws have changed

 

Through Arizona Child Support Order Guidelines, when one parent files a Petition to Modify Child Support, the filing party will serve the other party with the petition, allowing for response from the other party, who may choose to do nothing or request a hearing. If the party that is served with the petition is a resident of Arizona, they have 20 days from the date served to respond. If they are not a resident of Arizona, they have 30 days to respond. It is then up to the judge to set a hearing date and decide how to proceed with the case.

If you have found yourself in a situation where you are unable to pay support because you have lost a job or your income has decreased significantly, do not wait to modify your child support order. Contact an experience Phoenix divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group for legal representation in any family law dispute.

planning for college expenses after divorce

Planning For College Expenses After Divorce

Every parent wants to encourage their child to continue their lives after high school by attending college and pursuing a career. However, following a divorce, the way for which you and your spouse planned on paying for your child’s education may change. Consulting with a Phoenix family law attorney at The Sampair Group can help you understand your rights and obligations regarding your child’s college tuition after a divorce.

Discussions between you and your spouse on this topic should include a full review of your settlement agreement, along with planning for potential schools that your child would like to apply to, financial aid options and alternatives, room and board, travel and other aspects of higher education and the financial responsibilities that come with it.

Paying for a child’s education is strictly voluntary on part of either parent, although one parent seeking contribution to college expenses by the other parent can file a petition with the court requesting contribution. The problem with this is that the court may order a parent to contribute to the costs of their child’s college education in an amount that exceeds what they can afford. This is where preventative measures can be taken by defining the terms for these expenses in a settlement agreement.

Your agreement should require each parent to pay a share of college expenses so that the burden of the cost does not fall on just one parent. Also in this agreement should include tax benefits that come from college expenses and how they should be allocated in the event of a divorce. These rates change annually, so be sure to make any necessary changes to your agreement as they are modified.

If you don’t have an agreement with these terms, the court may require both spouses to contribute to the expenses. To avoid this, consult a Glendale divorce attorney to make sure that your divorce agreement specifies who will or will not pay for their child’s educations, remembering to include all of the fine print. For more information, contact us today.

annulment laws in arizona

Annulment Laws in Arizona

Having your marriage annulled is not the same as getting a divorce. A divorce ends a valid marriage while an annulment states that the marriage was never valid and, therefore, never existed. Annulments are not favored in Arizona and the case may be dismissed if there are no grounds for an annulment. While annulments are harder to get in Arizona than a divorce, they are not impossible.

There are several valid reasons for requesting an annulment: underage marriage, mental illness, bigamy, fraud, temporary insanity at the time of marriage, intoxication at the time of marriage, incest, duress, or one or both parties failed to consummate the marriage. While this list is not complete, these are the most common grounds for an annulment. Once the reason for annulment has been identified, it is recommended to utilize the resources of a family lawyer, like those at The Sampair Group, in order to properly complete the process.

Paperwork will need to be filed at your local courthouse before an annulment can continue. Your family lawyer will be able to help you correctly fill it out. A judge of the superior court will then review the case to decide if the reason for an annulment is valid. If it is, the marriage is then null and void. However, if the judge decides against an annulment, it’s not the end of the road. The party asking for the annulment can file a petition. Both parties will be summoned to court where testimonies will be heard in order to come to a conclusion.

Often, people think an annulment brings their paternity into question. In the eyes of the court, the child or children are seen as being born to two single parents if the marriage is annulled. Under Arizona law, the courts have decided that parents of children who are born outside of marriage have co-equal custody following the established paternity.

If you find yourself considering an annulment, the family lawyers at The Sampair Group can help. Any legal matter can be confusing and we would like to help you to better understand the annulment process. Visit www.sampair.com today for a free consultation.

4 ways divorce affects your children

4 Ways Divorce Affects Your Children

The media coverage about divorce frequently emphasizes the negative aspect of the impact of divorce on children.  Everything you read seems intent on making you feel like a bad parent because you are getting a divorce. It is important to know that although divorce can be hard for children, it does have benefits as well.

  1. Happy homes.  There are lots of studies about the way divorce affects children but very little about the effect of raising a child in a home full of conflict where parents fight all the time, but don’t get a divorce. Being raised in the middle of strife is damaging to children. Living in constant anxiety with two people who are unhappy takes a huge toll on a child. When you divorce, your child is removed from constant conflict and spends time with two parents who are happier and able to focus on the positives.
  2. Choices matter. Parents who divorce show their children that taking control of your life and empowering yourself to be happy is important. When you take steps to create positive changes in your life, you’re teaching your children that they can and should do the same thing in their own lives.
  3. Compromise works. Parents who are able to settle their divorces demonstrate that most conflicts can be resolved in a non-violent and reasonable way. Compromise is an essential tool your child needs in his or her life.
  4. Strength. Divorce is challenging for parents and children, but when you and children get through it, your child learns that he or she can overcome adversity and move through hard times. Getting through a divorce can bring you and your child closer as well.

 

The Sampair Group handles divorce and family law cases with sensitivity and attention to detail. Call us today in Maricopa County, Arizona to schedule a consultation about your case.

making a fresh start after divorce

Making a Fresh Start After Divorce

Surviving your divorce takes strength and determination. When you emerge on the other side, you are ready for a fresh start and a chance to create the life that will make you happy.

The most important thing to do is think about what you really want. What are your goals and dreams? What will make you feel happy? It takes time to come out of the divorce fog and really see what will make you feel good about your life, but it’s definitely worth taking the time to consider all of your options. You might be ready for a big change like going back to school, finding a new job, taking up an exciting new hobby, or losing weight. This is a great time in your life to make drastic changes and explore options and new avenues.

You will need to take into account some practical considerations, and money is at the top of the list. Create a reasonable budget for yourself that allows you to cover all of your monthly and recurring expenses with your new household income.  Figure out exactly how much you need each month to pay your bills, then set aside some money each month for savings or emergencies and finally review how much discretionary income you have left to play with.

Dating may be part of your fresh start or you might feel you just aren’t ready to jump in yet. Listen to your instincts and take the time to heal your heart. Allow your friends to slowly lead you into the dating scene when you are ready and don’t forget to consider online dating.

Keep in mind that if you have children, this is a time of great change for them as well. While it is important for you to find your own way and make big changes in your own life, make sure your kids don’t feel bewildered by too many changes all at once. Strive to create some consistency, while at the same time allowing yourself the space you need to figure out where your life is going from here.

The Sampair Group is available to help you with your divorce, custody case, or post-decree modifications. Our highly experienced attorneys represent clients in the Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix areas of Arizona. Make an appointment today.

reasons to settle your divorce

Reasons to Settle Your Divorce

Divorce is one of the most complex and difficult situations you will ever face. The combination of painful emotions, domestic upheaval, and financial change can make it difficult to think clearly and find your way through the situation. The crazier and nastier your divorce gets, the harder it becomes to work through it. There are many reasons why a settlement is the best way to resolve your divorce, but here are the top three.

  • Your sanity. The longer the divorce goes on, the more stress you will likely feel. The sheer time commitment can be damaging to your emotions and your career. The rollercoaster of a trial saps your energy and drowns any connection you might have left with your co-parent. A settlement stops the madness, removes the uncertainty, and allows you to move forward to a future you design for yourself.
  • Money. Although it definitely feels like divorce is about emotions, it usually ends up being primarily about money. Who gets what, who pays what, and who owes what are the primary issues. The longer that you and your ex disagree about these primary points, the more it will cost in legal and court fees. There will actually be less to divide the longer you argue. There is also a lot of uncertainty when you go to trial. If you reach a settlement you are able to create a compromise you both can agree to.
  • Your kids. The longer the case goes on, the more stress it places on your children. They are always aware of tension between their parents. If you are fighting about custody, it is even harder because they feel placed in the middle of your conflict.

The Sampair Group provides experienced representation in all types of family law cases in in the Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix areas of Arizona. Call our office today to discuss your case.

create reasonable expectations for your attorney

Create Reasonable Expectations for Your Attorney

Your attorney is your best source of information and advice in your divorce case. He knows the facts in your case, understands your point of view, and is familiar with the judge and the law. You can expect your attorney to be able to explain the law, offer recommendations, and solve many of your legal problems. While there is a lot your attorney can do for you, there are some things that are beyond his abilities and it’s best to have the right expectations.

Your attorney cannot be your therapist. Although you will spend a lot of time talking about your divorce with your lawyer, her role is to guide you through the legal part of the divorce. Although she is likely very empathetic and understanding, she isn’t trained in helping people cope with the emotional aspects of a divorce. Many people see a therapist to help them work through the issues involved in the divorce.

While your lawyer can make a lot of things happen for your benefit in the courtroom, it’s important to remember that what happens in your case is controlled by the law. Your attorney knows how to present your case and get the best results possible, but in the end the outcome is governed by the laws of Arizona.

The bulk of a divorce is about money and unfortunately when you’re dividing the assets of a marriage between two people, there usually isn’t as much as you would like. You and your spouse have a set combined income that supported your household and now that same amount has to support two households. For most people, it’s a stretch. Your attorney will make the best skilled argument to get you the best possible outcome, but he can’t create more money.

The Sampair Group offers skilled and compassionate legal representation in divorce and family law cases in Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Mesa, Arizona. Make an appointment to meet the attorney that will help you with your case.