Four Reasons To Pay Child Support

When a couple gets divorced the result is often two households that need financial support. When children are involved it is customary for one parent to pay child support, so that the financial support that is needed to maintain the needs of the kids are met. But frequently, child support goes unpaid and the parties can find themselves back in court in an attempt to enforce the child support order. The well-being of your kids should be reason enough to pay child support, but in some cases a little more incentive is needed.

Any issue regarding children can easily become one of the most contested parts of a divorce case, but here are four good reasons to pay your child support as ordered:

  • Failing to pay could result in an action that lands you in jail for nonpayment. If you are having difficulty paying support now, think of how much more difficult it is from behind bars. If you are incarcerated you are not able to go to work, and this means that not only do your financial obligations to your kids suffer, but your entire budget takes a hit.
  • Failing to pay could result in loss of your driver’s license, which will leave you without the ability to get to where you need to go. The domino effect of the loss of the right to drive can be felt in every aspect of your life, but can be avoided simply by paying child support as it becomes due.
  • Failing to pay may result in a lien being placed on your home, which will not be removed until the back due amount is paid in full. A lien impedes your ability to refinance or to sell your home, which can hold up important real property transactions to which you are a party.
  • Wages and bank accounts can be seized or garnished if you do not pay your child support. This results in less of your paycheck in your pocket, which impacts your ability to effectively budget your salary.

If you are having trouble paying child support, the answer is to seek a modification of the order. Likewise, if support is not being paid to you as required, the proper course of action is to file a motion with the court. Whether you are seeking a modification or an enforcement of a child support order, we can help. Call our office for more information.

For more information about spousal support, contact us for an appointment today. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your initial visit.

 

 

One Way To Keep The Kids Happy In Divorce

By and large the biggest concern of most divorcing parents is how the new family dynamic will impact their children. This is also an issue the Court puts foremost when entering orders in a divorce case, and the general rule is that decisions are made with the best interests of the children taken into consideration. What this means for you is not the same as what it might mean for a friend or family member. So, in order to make sure the plan put in place in your case does not harm your children, you have to be vocal about your kids’ needs. It is also helpful to make every effort to work well with your ex-spouse for the sake of your children. There are several things you can do to make sure your kids are not exposed to the dark side of your split, including keeping disagreements between the adults and avoiding using the children as pawns or leverage for your own gain. For those that are able to make this transition smoothly, the kids usually end up happy and no worse for the wear.

One way to keep your kids happy during, and even after, your divorce can be seen from a celebrity couple that has been getting a lot of press lately. Hilary Duff has made headlines about her split from Mike Comrie, and the news is good. The pair was recently seen enjoying a meal together with their son. The benefits to getting along with your ex, as seen through the eyes of your children, include:

  • Kids learn by the behavior they witness, and when they see their divorced parents getting along as friends it makes it easier to emotionally accept the new family structure.
  • When children see their divorced parents resolving their differences with respect and cooperation, valuable life lessons regarding conflict resolution are taught.
  • Kids of divorce can often times feel they are to “blame” for their parents’ split. But, when the kids witness their parents working together for the benefit of the children these harmful emotions are not given a chance to surface and manifest in undesirable behavior.

The trick is to figure out what works for you and your former spouse. If your kids are older, it helps to include them in important decisions. If you are considering divorce and have questions about how it will impact your kids, call our office. We can help you come up with solutions that fit your family.

 

For answers to your questions about marriage and divorce, consult one of the trained family law professionals in our office. Let us put our valuable experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

 

 

Benefits of Divorce Mediation

Divorce can be a complicated process that all too often brings out the worst in people. Worse yet, the whole process often gets dragged out in court. But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. An increasing amount of couples are opting for divorce mediation as opposed to the traditional process. Here’s what you need to know:

What is Divorce Mediation?

Mediation is what is known as an “Alternative Dispute Resolution” method, or “ADR”, in the legal world. While it does still involve attorneys and often additional mediation experts, it can save both time and money (more about that below). The process also does not involve a judge, instead having the couple work through the divorce themselves through mutual agreement. It is important to know that both members of a couple must agree to go through mediation, as it is a voluntary process.

Who is Mediation a Good Choice For?

Couples don’t necessarily have to be on amicable terms when they decide to go through mediation, but they do have to be willing to work together to make the divorce as painless as possible. And again, it is an exceptionally good option for those who want to save time and money by avoiding the need to go to court. While attorneys are still involved, the cost for mediation is still typically less than the usual divorce process simply because there are no costs associated with trial and litigation and the process is not usually drawn out for many months or in some cases, years.

The Bottom Line

It is important to realize that while mediation is usually a less painful process, this doesn’t mean it is entirely easy. This is because all settlements that are reached during the process have to be mutually agreed upon by both parties. In rare cases, mediation is not successful, and the ongoing disagreements must then be settled in court. Still, the majority of couples find that mediation is a smoother, more civil way to handle divorce. When you’re ready to explore this option, it’s time to reach out to an experienced and understanding family law attorney.

Why Do I Need an Attorney?

Many people wonder if they really need an attorney for their divorce or family law case. If you and your spouse agree about many things, it might seem like you don’t need to hire an attorney. No matter how amicable your split is, there are many important reasons why you need an attorney.

  • An attorney can explain all of your rights. You are likely entitled to things you have no idea about. An attorney can give you all the information about your rights under state law and help you decide what you need.
  • Your attorney understands court procedure. Divorce and family law cases involve hard deadlines and specific requirements by the court. If a document you submit is not worded correctly, you could lose out on important benefits or rights.
  • A lawyer sees the big picture. Your attorney has handled many family court cases and understands the long-term implications of everything involved in your case. He or she can help you think about not only what you want and need today, but what you will want your decree to contain five, ten and fifteen years from now.
  • The attorney’s advice is not influenced by the emotional devastation you may be feeling as the result of the breakup of the relationship between you and your ex. Your attorney should be able to be clear headed and provide you advice based upon your desires balanced with the legal chances of achieving those desires.
  • Legal counsel provides you with the opportunity to use a sounding board. If you represent yourself you have no idea how what you are asking for or planning to say will be received by the court. Your lawyer helps you work through every detail of your case and understand its implications before you go to court.
  • Your attorney is probably going to be able to settle your case. Most cases settle before a trial. If you represent yourself it is often difficult to negotiate with your spouse who may very well be driven by desires different than your goals.

The Sampair Group represents clients in divorce and family law cases in Maricopa County. Our attorneys are ready to listen to your concerns and work for your goals. Call us today.

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

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.

The Top Three Reasons You Should Consider Co-Parenting

When a couple with kids gets divorced, the focus should be on what is best for the children. Most kids benefit from having both parents play an active role in their lives, and this can be difficult when the parents are no longer married. But, there are things that can be done to make sure mom and dad are both important parts of their kids’ lives, even if they are not still husband and wife. Regardless of the custody and visitation arrangement, a good co-parenting plan can help make sure your children’s needs are being met.

The top three reasons you should consider co-parenting after your divorce include:

  • Kids feel more emotionally secure when both parents take part in their lives.
  • When parents work together for the benefit of their children, fewer conflicts arise.
  • Co-parenting increases the likelihood that both parents will remain an active participant in their children’s lives.

From the time your kids are born, it is important to establish a routine. We all know babies thrive when they are on a schedule, and it also helps the parents when making plans. The need for consistency does not change just because parents get divorced. We all like to know what to expect, and kids are no exception. Successful co-parenting also gives kids the chance to see their parents working together despite their differences. This can give children a role model, and sets a good example for your kids to follow. If you have questions about how to develop a co-parenting plan that works for your family, call our office.

For more information about how to co-parent, consult a qualified legal professional. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

 

Two Tips To Maintain Privacy In Divorce

Even in a world where all you have to do is check your Facebook to learn your neighbor is at the dentist, not everyone wants to have their life played out in public. Celebrities, for example, are notorious for taking measures to ensure an element of privacy is maintained, and you can too. Simply refraining from posting a photo or status update is a good start, but there are other things you can do. And, if you are going through a divorce, it is always a good idea to keep things to yourself, so that the outcome of your case is protected.

A good example of a celebrity couple who has remained relatively low-key is Benji Madden and Cameron Diaz. In early 2016 Madden posted about his wife, and the reaction by some was surprise that the pair had been married. Perhaps it was the short courtship that lead to the little known fact the pair had married, or perhaps it is the way Diaz is known for not being the “marrying type”. Whatever method they used, it seemed to work.

There are a few things an everyday person can do to keep their life private as well. Two tips to maintain privacy in divorce include:

  • Entrust sensitive information only with those on a “need to know” basis. This includes your attorney, and the Judge when asked. While it is tempting to spill all to your best friend or a family member, doing so can mean that you no longer have an expectation of privacy in the things revealed to those people. If there are things you just have to “get off your chest”, or are struggling with emotionally, the help of a trained counselor or therapist is acceptable.
  • Shut down your social media sites, or at least during the divorce, refrain from posting on the sites. It seems like a difficult thing to do given the electronic age we live in, but if you take a break from Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you might be surprised at how little you miss those outlets. Without an online forum to turn to for posting things about your private life, you ensure that details you wish to keep to yourself remain within your knowledge only.

Keep in mind things you put out there on social media or other public platforms can be used in your case as evidence. In order to avoid pictures or tweets being misunderstood, simply refrain from posting. If you have questions about this aspect of divorce, or need answers to other questions, call our office today.

If you have questions about divorce, consult a qualified legal professional. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

How To Choose A Child Custody Arrangement That Works For You

Determining that divorce is the best answer to resolving your marriage issues is only the first of many hard decisions. Throughout the process there will be many issues that require resolution, and some will be more difficult than others. A divorce decides such things as property distribution, spousal support, who pays which debts, where the kids will live, how much visitation the non-custodial parent gets, and how much child support is paid. Hands down the most complex and contested issues have to do with money and kids. Figuring out a child custody arrangement that works for you takes time and thoughtful consideration.

The Marital and Domestic Relations law in Arizona is the relevant law for all things divorce and separation, including child custody. First and foremost the most important factor is to make decisions that are in the best interests of your children. Some of the things to think about when in this regard include:

  • How well you are able to work together with your ex on issues regarding your kids.
  • How well the parents work together regarding issues involving their kids.
  • The financial ability of each parent to provide for the kids in way to which they are accustomed.
  • The preference of an older child, if there is one.
  • Logistics, such as school or daycare drop off and pick up.
  • Whether your children are involved in any extracurricular activities that are geographically closer to one parent or the other.

Nationwide there has been an increase in requests for equal parenting time. This type of plan gives each parent equal time with the kids and works best when the parents live reasonably close to each other. Where equal parenting  will not work the Court will consider what options are available to give both parents meaningful parenting time. For instance a common plan is where the kids live primarily with one parent, and spend weekends and some holidays with the other parent. This might be best for your circumstances if you are relocating. The type of parenting plan that works best for you will depend on the specifics of your case. And, in cases of relocation you must seek approval of the Court to do so with your children in tow. To make sure the parenting plan arrangement in your case works for you and your kids, partner with a qualified family law attorney. Our team of family law professionals is here to to help you make the choice works best your family.

For answers to your questions about how to choose a child custody arrangement that works for you, consult a qualified legal professional. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call the Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

Are Divorce And Separation The Same?

Divorce is not the only option when you are having marital problems. For some couples the decision to legally separate is a better choice than the decision to dissolve the marriage. The reasons why a couple might make this decision could be financial or religious, or based on some other personal belief. Regardless of the reason, there are still issues that are commonly found in divorce that will apply when separating. Knowing what to expect when considering a separation rather than a divorce will help you decide which route is best for you.

The law on separation agreements is found in the same statutes that govern divorce proceedings. Typically the agreement will contain provisions that resolve the following issues:

  • Child support
  • Child visitation and custody arrangements
  • Property distribution, including division of assets and liabilities

To be effective, a separation agreement must be in writing and approved by the Court. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your spouse as to the major issues needing resolution in your separation, you will be required to present evidence regarding your position to the Judge. The Judge will make decisions that are equitable, which may not always mean equal. Another important thing to keep in mind when entering into a separation agreement is that you are still legally married. This is an important distinction between divorce and separation, and the two are not the same. To be sure your rights are protected when negotiating terms of a separation agreement, call an experienced family law attorney for help.

If you have questions about divorce and legal separation, consult a qualified legal professional. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call the Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.