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.

How Divorce Impacts Your Credit Score

Divorce is mainly comprised of financial transactions. Dividing assets and debts and setting up spousal and child support payments all are about money and as such they can all have an impact on your credit score.

Getting divorced by itself does not have a direct impact on your credit score, however the financial arrangements created by the divorce can impact it. For example, if you and your spouse have a joint credit card account and your spouse is ordered by the court to pay the debt and does not, you are still financially liable for that account and the lack of payment will appear on your credit report and negatively impact your credit score. Mortgages are another common way your credit score can be affected. The court could order your ex to be fully responsible for the mortgage. However, there is no easy way to get your name off that loan. If your ex doesn’t pay, your credit score will be negatively affected.

To protect your credit score, close all joint accounts as soon as possible, or at least freeze them so no further charges can be added to them. Remaining balances on joint credit cards can be transferred to sole accounts, but the court will need to order your ex to do this if he or she is unwilling. The best way to get your name off a mortgage is for your ex to refinance the mortgage into his or her own name.

Check your credit report every six months during your divorce and in the year after your divorce. Look for inaccuracies such as accounts that have been paid in full or closed still listed as active. Get a free credit report from annualcreditreport.com.

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.

Handling Your Stress Through a Divorce

One of the most stressful experiences a person can go through is a divorce. It’s not what you expected to happen and suddenly you find yourself heading to court. This turbulent time requires you to have coping skills that will help you confidently get through court proceedings while keeping your stress level manageable.

Not only will you feel better during the divorce proceedings when you manage stress, you will also have a chance to help determine the outcome of the case. A divorce can take anywhere from six months to two years or longer. During this time, you need to be on top of your game. If you haven’t started hitting the gym, now is the time. Exercise is proven to help reduce stress, which is turn helps you get control over your negative thoughts and emotions. It’s also important to understand the court proceedings before they happen, as well as all your options. For example, you can opt for mediation rather than going to court to help expedite the divorce and manage stress at the same time.

Read on to learn about some more tips and strategies to manage your stress during a divorce.

Prioritize your Health

To present the best possible you, especially during proceedings that include child custody, you need to prioritize your mental, physical, and emotional health. You need to be calm and cool at all times, especially when under pressure. You will need to make important decisions that will affect the rest of your life and your children’s lives. Avoid substance abuse. Self-medicating may seem to help stress at the moment, but it will drag you down and you’ll end up feeling more stress and anxiety than you previously felt. If you have a weakness for alcohol or drugs, seek professional support to help you through this time.

Ask for Help

The household still needs to be managed during a divorce. There’s laundry, housecleaning, grocery shopping, extra-curricular activities, homework, and plenty of other things that need to be done. When you’re going through a divorce and it’s only you to get these things done, your stress level will go up. That’s why it’s important to ask friends and family for help during this difficult time. Reach out to neighbors, friends, coworkers, church members, and anyone else you can think of to help keep routines and life going as normally as possible.

Create a Budget

Suddenly, your household budget is cut in half  and you have the added expense of divorce hanging over your head. You’ll need to pay for attorneys, child custody evaluators, private mediators, or any other professionals involved in the case. The judge can also order temporary spousal maintenance or child support. Additionally, the court can order one or both spouses to handle the bills, including the mortgage, electricity, and more. To keep your household financially healthy, create a monthly budget that includes basic living expenses, such as rent, food, telephone, utility bills, vehicle expenses, internet, and other expenses. Money is going to be tight, so be conservative with your spending. Divorce is stressful enough without having to be chased by creditors or having to declare bankruptcy.

Hurtful Testimony? Stay Composed

Your spouse or someone else may testify against you in a negative light, however, you must keep your composure during these testimonies. If you were to exhibit and uncontrolled outburst, this will look bad to the judge and undermine your custody dispute. Instead, leave it to your attorney to handle the matter in the right way. This will help determine the outcome of the case.

Have a Plan

If there is the possibility of domestic violence occurring during the divorce and/or child custody hearings, it’s important to have a plan to keep you and your family safe. If you believe there is a threat, consider an order of protection. Your attorney will help you obtain this. You may also want to consider staying with family or friends or moving to a new home, if possible.

Work with a Reputable Attorney

You need someone on your team to help be your voice during this stressful time. Someone to guide and support you. At The Sampair Group, we have handled hundreds of divorce cases, and we can handle yours, too. To help minimize the stress of a divorce, you need the right attorney. Give our team a call today at 6234-777-3926.

Can A Prenup Help You Avoid Divorce Court?

The idea of signing a prenuptial agreement is distasteful to some, but can end up helping avoid divorce or significantly altering the path a divorce case takes. Prenuptial agreements can help couples prepare for dissolution by setting forth how assets will be divided, and what debts will be paid by which spouse. If you have substantial financial holdings, knowing what to expect if you divorce can put your mind at ease and allow you to focus on your relationship rather than on your bank balance. For some couples this level of comfort allows them to build a stronger relationship, and in the event the marriage does end it can really help speed up the divorce process.

Case in point is that of celebrity couple Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting. Reports revealed the pair had what could be considered an “iron clad” prenuptial agreement. The agreement is said to address several key issues, and most importantly the following:

  • Issues of spousal support.
  • Issues of asset and property distribution.

These two issues seem to be the largest sticking points, especially with celebrity couples, who tend to have large bank accounts and multiple properties. When an agreement is clear as to division of assets and property, the guesswork can be removed from the case, making getting to a final resolution a much quicker process. Of course not all agreements are valid, and if you have been asked to sign a prenuptial agreement or are considering presenting one to your betrothed, it is wise to have an experienced family law attorney assist. There are legal requirements that must be in place in order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, and if any of these requirements are found to be lacking the entire agreement could be disregarded. Perhaps one of the most important requirements is that the parties voluntarily enter the agreement, without coercion or undue influence. If the distribution is blatantly unfair, it might be inferred that one party did not agree to the document willingly. In order to protect your assets and your future, and to give yourself the peace of mind that comes with having a “blueprint” for divorce, call our office for help. We will review your case carefully, and draft documents that protect your interests. Having a solid prenuptial agreement in place will not eliminate the need to appear in Court, but could make the proceeding less intensive and thus get you to a resolution faster.

For answers to your questions about marriage and divorce or to find out if a prenuptial agreement is right for you, 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.

 

 

Inheritance and Divorce

When going through a divorce, a big concern for either party may be how it will affect inheritance you have received before and during the marriage. Generally, equitable distribution and community property distribution in divorce cases do not apply to property that a spouse has inherited from a third party during a marriage, as it is considered that spouse’s property alone. However, there are some things both parties should know about how divorce can affect inheritance distribution.

When analyzing the inheritance, the key questions are the size of inheritance, when it was received, how it has been used and the financial needs of the family (both parties and any children) at the time of the divorce. Each case depends on the individual facts and circumstances surrounding the inheritance.

A judge will consider what property a party owns separately, and what can be considered marital property. Marital property will be split equally, whereas separate property will not be split, but can still be shared in certain circumstances.

In deciding the difference of the property ownership, the judge considers how, when, why and under what circumstances the property was received. They will also look at how the property is being held currently (who’s name the property is under). Also considered in the case is what each spouse contributed to the property and how much they each use it. (Example: If the property is in the wife’s name, but the husband is the only one who uses it and maintains it, just as he would if he were a co-owner of the property.)

If inherited assets are held in joint names or used for the benefit of both parties and/or for the family, they will likely be considered joint assets when being divided by the court.

If assets were inherited shortly before the divorce proceedings began, they are less likely to be included in the matrimonial assets for division, depending on if there are other assets in the marriage sufficient enough to meet future needs of the couple or family.

One of the main considerations by a judge is the needs of the family, especially those of minor children. If the only way to meet those needs is by transferring inherited assets or assets deriving from them to the other party, the court will do so.

Inheritances and separate property are very big reasons for why couples should look into prenuptial agreements and always have an experienced Phoenix divorce lawyer on their side. There are many rules that apply to parties dividing property in the event of a divorce or separation case, especially when children are involved. Consult the advice of an experienced attorney at The Sampair Group today to discuss the circumstances of your case and what your legal options are.