How Joint Families Can Stay Peaceful This Holiday Season

Joining two families into one is a difficult process in and of itself. However, when the holidays come around, it can become even more stressful as you try to balance time with all the families involved. Where married couples usually only have to deal with two sides of the family, those who are in a blended family situation may find themselves dealing with four sides of a family or possibly even more. The following tips will help you enjoy the holiday season and help keep the peace so there are fewer hard feelings.

Set Up Clear Plans Ahead of Time

The best way to make sure there are fewer arguments during the holiday season and you’re able to keep the peace more easily is to set up clear plans ahead of time so everyone knows exactly what to expect. Make sure you put all plans in writing and send it to all parties involved, so they have a paper trail of what will happen and when. This avoids any confusion and ensures everyone knows what the schedule will be for the holidays. This is particularly useful if the plans change each year due to custody schedules and alternating holidays.

Keep a Positive Attitude

It can be difficult to stay positive when it feels like the situation is going wrong. However, when you keep a positive attitude about the holidays and the events that occur surrounding them, you stand an even greater chance of enjoying the holidays. In addition, a negative attitude is catching. If someone is being overly negative, it’s easy to bring down the mood of everyone else around them.

Mix Old and New Traditions

If you are new to blended families, it can be difficult to maintain traditions. It’s likely that each side of the family has their own traditions they would like to uphold. While it’s not easy to keep all of them and sometimes you need to cut some out, it’s essential to make sure you keep some of them. However, it’s also essential to start some new traditions that reflect the new setup in your family. Creating a good mix of old and new traditions is a great way to keep everyone involved and maintains a more positive outlook.

Involve the Kids

It can be difficult to figure out what is best for the kids when you’re in a blended family situation. While you will need to make many of the final decisions on your own, it’s essential to include the kids in the conversation. Talk to them and find out what traditions mean the most to them and what they expect from the holiday season. Keep this information in mind as you make the plans for your holidays, so your children still feel like they are an important part of the family.

Having a blended family can be complex, especially when it comes to determining what to do and who to visit during the holiday season. However, this doesn’t mean you have to settle for a miserable holiday season. In fact, if you follow these tips, communicate openly and make your plans well in advance, you may find celebrating holidays with family is just as enjoyable as ever, if not more so.

Tips on Building a Relationship With Your Stepchildren

Blending families is extremely complex. While you may look at something like the Brady Bunch and think it’s easy to bring two families together into one, the truth of the matter is often much different. It takes a lot of time and dedication from all parties to ensure the transition goes as smoothly as possible. If you’re facing this type of situation, the following tips will hep you build a better relationship with your stepchildren to create harmony in the household and keep everyone on the same page.

Take Your Time

A good relationship with your stepchildren isn’t going to happen overnight. In many cases, the children haven’t fully healed from the experience and bringing someone new into their lives may bring old feelings back to the surface, especially if they were holding onto the hope their parents would get back together. Watch their cues and follow their lead when it comes to interactions to achieve the best results.

Keep Changes to a Minimum

Children go through a lot of life-changing events during a divorce. This can include the obvious adjustment to only living with one parent at a time, as well as other changes like moving into a new house or even going to a different school. Even though children are resilient, going through all of these changes can be difficult. Adding in a new stepparent is just one more thing they have to deal with. Keeping any other changes to a minimum will help make the transition much easier.

Don’t Expect Love at First Sight

You may not like your stepchildren at first, and they may not like you. However, this doesn’t mean all is lost. It’s important to take your time and get to know each other. Eventually, affection will develop and you will even come to love each other as family.

Make Parenting Decisions Before Marriage

When both parties entering a marriage already have children from past relationships, there can often be a clash of parenting styles. For this reason, you will find things go much more smoothly if you talk about how you will parent separately and together before you get married. Set the boundaries for what each parent is responsible for and how issues will be handled. This ensures there are fewer arguments over these matters, allowing you to present a united front with the children.

Demand Respect

One of the biggest issues many individuals encounter in their role as a stepparent is trying too hard to be friends with your stepchildren. While it’s important to be someone they can turn to, talk to and rely on, it’s also important to make sure they know you deserve respect, just like their natural parents. You are still a person in authority and need to be respected. This is especially important if the children are having difficulty accepting you into the family. They don’t have to like you, but they do have to show you respect.

Keep Reasonable Expectations

While everyone wants a good relationship with their stepchildren, you need to keep your expectations reasonable. After all, some children see the introduction of a stepparent as a replacement for the absent parent, even if that parent still plays an important role in their lives. When you approach the development of your relationship with reasonable expectations, there is a much lower chance of being disappointed in the end.

It’s not always easy to be a stepparent, but if you follow these tips and take the right steps, you can set a solid foundation on which you can build a positive relationship, adding another important role model to their lives. In the end, you aren’t replacing their other parent; instead, you are an addition to their growing family who will also help support them.

Dealing With Out-Of-State Property After a Divorce

Dividing property can be one of the most difficult and complex aspects of a divorce, especially when the two parties are having difficulty agreeing on who should get what. However, this can be made even more complicated when the couple owns property in another state. If you and your spouse have bought a vacation home or other property in another state, it’s essential to understand how this process works to ensure you are both properly protected. The good news is this property is typically handled similarly to any marital property you do own within the state. If it was obtained during the marriage, it is still marital property and will be divided equally.

Property to Be Divided

Whether you own a house out of state or empty land with an RV parked on it, you will need to look at all property present in order to divide it fairly. For instance, it’s not just the actual land and the structures that are on it that should be divided. In fact, it may come down to either one party paying half of the value to the other party, thereby purchasing the property from the other, or selling the property outright and splitting the profits between the two parties. However, that isn’t all that must be considered. Any furniture, electronics, cars or other items present on the property must also be assigned a value and split between the two parties.

Not Always a 50/50 Split

When most people think about dividing property in a divorce, they think everything must be split evenly down the middle. This isn’t always the case, even if no fault is assigned in the divorce. While the court is interested in making sure both parties get a fair deal and the property and assets are divided as equally as possible, they do realize this isn’t always a possibility. It can be difficult to determine the true value of all items and there may be disputes between the two parties regarding how much something is really worth. In some situations, sentimental value can play just as big of a role as the actual monetary value. If the parties can come to an agreement regarding property division, it always ends up better than if the court has to step in and help. However, this isn’t always avoidable when the parties are unable to agree between themselves.

Can the Court Force a Sale?

One of the biggest questions individuals have is whether the court can force them to sell a home or other large property. The short answer is yes. This typically happens in situations where the parties are unable to agree among themselves regarding splitting certain property. If this occurs and there is no good reason in the eyes of the court for one party to be awarded a property over the other, the court may order the couple to sell the property and evenly split the profits. This is the most equitable division, even if one of the parties was interested in keeping the property. However, before this is ordered, the court will look at several factors to determine if one party should be awarded the property. These factors include:

  • Financial contributions made toward the home
  • Financial circumstances
  • Value of the home
  • Age and overall health
  • Presence of minor children
  • Ability to continue paying for the home

The individual who has primary custody of minor children and is still able to pay for the home is more likely to be able to keep it, for instance.

Dividing property can be one of the most difficult aspects of divorce, especially if out-of-state property is involved. The good news is a qualified attorney can help make this process much simpler and ensure a good outcome for all involved. For more information about divorce and division of property, 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.

How Courts Decide to Split a House During a Divorce in Arizona

Going through a divorce isn’t an easy process for anyone. There are so many things to be decided and because of the already uncomfortable situation, it can be difficult to work together and come to a consensus that makes everyone happy. This is even more challenging when the conditions are more volatile. Because Arizona is a community property state, dividing up the items you own can be particularly challenging. Regardless of who bought the item, everything is equally owned by both parties and both individuals have equal rights to claim just about anything. This is why it’s important to understand how the Arizona courts decide who gets what when individuals can’t agree between themselves.

What You Should Know

Most of the assets you acquired during your marriage falls under the community property laws and belongs equally to both of you. Even assets you had prior to marriage can easily become intermingled unintentionally, making dividing them more difficult during the divorce process. One of the most important elements of dividing the property  is determining its value. While the parties involved in the divorce can work together to divide the items fairly based on the value they place on them, the court can also help determine the value of certain assets and items. An attorney can also be extremely useful in this task. Remember, both debt and assets need to be divided as equally as possible between the two parties.

Marital Vs. Separate Property

Many people don’t understand how to tell the difference between marital and separate property. For instance, perhaps the husband purchased tools and doesn’t feel they should belong to the wife at all. Maybe the wife was the one who chose the furniture and feels like she has more of a right to it than the husband. In most cases, everything purchased during  the marriage belongs equally to both parties. If both parties contributed financially to larger purchases, even before the marriage, it is also considered marital property. However, if one spouse obtained the property themselves before the marriage or it is a family inheritance received during the marriage, it is considered separate property, unless it has been mingled. An attorney can help you determine if this has occurred. The marital home is one of the most difficult elements to determine properly and may require professional help to decide how to handle the home.

Frequent Questions

One of the biggest questions individuals have is whether the length of marriage affects property division. In general, it does not. While a shorter marriage often involves less property obtained during the marriage, there is no difference in how much stake an individual has in said property based on how long they were married.

While most couples file no-fault divorces, sometimes there is a situation that warrants one party to be named at fault in the divorce proceedings. In these situations, the person who was wronged may feel they have a larger stake in the property that must be divided. In most cases, the property is still divided equally between the two parties, but there are exceptions, particularly where debt is concerned. For instance, if one spouse cheated on the other and racked up a large amount of debt while doing so, they are more likely to be given a larger portion or perhaps all the debt.

Assigning value is another sticking point for many people. While the parties can agree on the value of items to be divided, the court can also step in to help if needed. A proper appraisal may be required for higher ticket items as well. If you have retirement assets that need to be considered, be sure to talk to an accountant to get a realistic view of how much of those assets belong under marital property.

Hiring an attorney is the best way to ensure all assets, property and debt is divided in a way that is fair to all parties involved. No two situations are the same, making it essential to reach out for help. For more information about divorce and community property laws, call us today. 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.

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.

What Is A Default Judgment?

One of the most basic legal concepts is that of due process. What this means is that all parties to a lawsuit are given notice of the action before any decision is made. This requires service of process on every litigant, so that they can enter an appearance in the case and protect their interests. If you fail to respond to a lawsuit, the Court has the authority to enter judgment as requested in the petition. Never rely on a statement from your ex that he/she will be fair or that you have previously agreed upon things and assume that party will follow through in the final Divorce Decree. The failure to respond to a Petition can have very serious and negative consequences. To avoid this harsh consequence, contact a knowledgeable attorney to make sure you answer on time and in full.

In a divorce proceeding, entry of a default judgment for failing to respond to the case can include some results that are undesirable. This might include:

  • Property division awards that give you less than you deserve.
  • An unfair distribution of debt repayment.
  • Child support that does fit your budget, or meet your kids’ needs.
  • Child custody in a way that does not give you the amount of time you want with your kids.

It is not an option to ignore a summons. A thorough review by a competent family law attorney will reveal the deadline by which you must file an answer to the petition. Knowing your answer date puts you in a position to be able to fully develop your responses to the allegations made by the other side, and will give you a chance to file your answer on time. Experienced family law attorneys know how to figure out the answer date in your case and make sure that a harmful default judgment is not taken against you. If you have been served with divorce papers, act quickly to make sure you answer on time.  .

For answers to your questions about divorce processes, 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.

Help Getting Over The Anger Of Divorce

Let’s face it, getting divorced is not fun and can cause a host of emotions. Some of the more common feelings that go along with getting divorced are sadness, a sense of failure, depression, and anger. Any one of these feelings, if they linger too long, can be damaging to your future. In order to have a successful divorce, you have to have a successful post-divorce life. Part of this is done by reaching agreements or making persuasive arguments for what you want during the divorce case. But, part of this also comes from the personal growth that should come after the ink dries your divorce decree.

If you are having overwhelming feelings of anger or resentment after your divorce, these things can help you move past those feelings and put you in a positive mental state:

  • Write down what you are feeling. This is a tactic used by many counselors and therapists, and the goal is to get you to put your feelings down on paper, so you can have a visual reference to what you are feeling. Along with writing down how you feel you should also refer back to those writings with regularity. You might be surprised at how quickly your feeling change, or find a common theme that causes your anger. Once you know what to look for, it will be easier to deal with a situation when it arises.
  • Talk to a trusted friend or professional. Sometimes all a person needs is to vent, and get their feelings off their chest. If you allow yourself to keep your feelings of anger inside, they are likely to come to the surface in an inappropriate or dangerous way.
  • Figure out what causes your anger by looking for reoccurring events. If you know what causes you to become angry, you can avoid similar situations in the future.

Harboring deep feelings of anger or resentment can be damaging to your health, and can cause conflict in the relationships you wish to hold on to after divorce. In order to have a post-divorce life that does not leave you feeling anxious, it is critical to move past any anger you have about the case.

For more information about divorce, 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.

What To Do About Child Support Garnishments

If you have children and get divorced, it is likely one of the parents will be ordered to pay child support to the other. Taking care of children during divorce is one of the Court’s greatest concerns, and if support payments are not made there are remedies for collection of past due amounts. One of the most popular ways to enforce a child support order is through a garnishment. If your wages are garnished in order to satisfy a child support obligation, the result can be financial hardship due to receiving a lower paycheck than normal. You may also have to appear in Court, and this can be costly as well. So, what do you do if your wages are being garnished for payment of a child support obligation? The first step is to consult with a skilled family law attorney, and learn how to get back on track.

Payment of child support is court ordered, and thus no further court action is generally taken for a wage garnishment when the support falls behind. Some of the ins and outs of child support garnishment include:

  • The amount that can be taken out of your check is limited, this means that you have the chance to question the amount withheld but also means that the past due amount will be paid off over a longer period of time. It is best to work out an agreement on past due child support rather than have your wages garnished, so you retain an element of control over your finances and budget.
  • The maximum amount that may be held out of your pay is a whopping 50%!
  • If your employer fails to respond to the garnishment, they can face fines for not responding. Thus, most employers promptly reply and hold money out of your paycheck. This means you cannot rely on your employer to “cut you a break”.

You must address the issue head on and reach a result quickly in order to avoid financial destruction. If you are behind on support payments, call our office for help. We will work with you to come up with a strategy that allows you to keep most of your disposable income in your pocket while also keeping up with your child support payments. In some cases this may require a request that the Court enter an order changing the amount of support awarded, and making this request requires a showing of changed circumstances. Common examples of how your circumstances may have changed include loss of job or a lower paying job. For more information, call our office.

 

Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today. We have helped others through the process of divorce and are here to help you too.

Three Ways Depression Can Ruin Your Relationship

Let’s face it, not every moment of a romantic relationship is sunshine and flowers. Differences of opinion can lead to heated arguments, and the events of life can sometimes get in the way. But, when you are involved with a person who suffers from a clinical condition, you must work even harder to make your relationship work. One of the most debilitating clinical conditions is that of depression. And, it may be near impossible for a person with this diagnosis to have a healthy relationship.

Three ways depression can ruin your relationship include:

  • With true depression, not just sadness, a person will eventually give up on the things they love. This makes being with a person suffering from this condition hard to be around, and can leave a partner feeling unfulfilled. When both parties to a relationship are not getting the emotional nurturing they need, the relationship will not last.
  • It is hard for a person with depression to explain what is going on for them mentally and emotionally. This makes it hard for their mate to understand the condition, and giving up sometimes seems the easy way out.
  • The natural instinct of most people is to try and help those they love, but with depression the person suffering is unable to appreciate the offer. This can lead to feelings of rejection, which will certainly contribute to the end of any relationship.

The key is to understand this is not a personal attack on you, and sometimes the best thing you can do is to let a person find their own way. It takes patience, which is hard to come by when you are married but not feeling a part of a partnership. It is not our position that you divorce or leave your spouse when serious medical conditions arise, but we do understand the challenges relationships of this type present. And, it is important to keep in mind that the type of depression discussed here is not just a temporary sadness, it is a serious condition that requires medical attention. We can help you to develop a plan for your kids during this time, and help you to take steps to protect your assets. Call us for more information.

For more information about marriage and divorce, call us today. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.