Three Ways To Break The Divorce News To Kids Without Breaking Their Hearts

Nearly every child of divorce can tell you the how, when, and where of learning their parents planned to divorce; but the “why” is usually missing. Most people, and especially children need to know why things happen in order to process the event and move forward. For kids, being provided an explanation as to why their parents are splitting can help immensely with the adjustment to post-divorce life. And, when the kids are able to adjust without significant struggle, it can make it easier for the parents to do so as well.

If you are looking for advice on how to tell your children you are getting divorced, here are three good ways to break the news that may not also include breaking their hearts:

  • Avoid a confrontation, or a heated discussion that is just a room away from where your child sleeps. If your kids overhear you arguing, they are likely to hear all of the emotion and regrettable words, which can live on well past the entry of the divorce decree. Instead of closing the bedroom door and having a discussion that could easily escalate, sit down with your kids and tell them what is going on together. This will show that you trust your kids enough to let them in on family decisions, and will also help give them a sense of security of their place in the family structure.
  • Avoid breaking the news around a holiday or birthday. If you decide to tell your kids about the divorce around Thanksgiving, they are likely to form a negative association with that holiday for the remainder of their adult life. While there is no good time to get divorced and to tell your children you are doing so, there is an element of timing to consider. Try to find a time that is not close to a holiday or other event your child enjoys. Doing so will help to make those times of the year less stressful on your kids for years to come.
  • Be honest with your kids about the facts rather than trying to sugar coat everything. The amount of information you provide your kids is up to you, and of course their ages are a factor in what is said. But the more you are able to tell your kids, while also letting them know some issues are off limits as adults only issues, the more prepared your kids will be to face life as a child of divorce.

Our team of qualified family law professionals is here to help you in any way you need before, during, and after your divorce. Call us today to find out more.

For more information about 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 to Keep Your Inheritance in a Divorce

If you’re facing a divorce, you may not realize that you may not automatically be entitled to keep things you personally inherited. Property obtained, earned, or received during marriage is considered community property. There is an exception for separate property and inherited items fall into that category, but only if they are not converted into community property. If you inherited money from your grandmother and put it in a joint bank account with your spouse, that property may have become community property when you put it in the account. If you inherited a vacation home from your aunt and you put your spouse on the deed or if your spouse assisted in upkeep, improvements, or helped pay a loan you took out against the property, it may have been converted to community property.

To protect your inheritance from divorce:

  • Have a prenuptial or post-marital (created after the wedding, but serving the same purpose as a prenup) agreement created that protects inherited property.
  • Keep proof. Wills, gift tax returns, and other documentation showing something was intended as a separate inheritance can help prove your case.
  • Keep assets as separate as possible during marriage so there is no commingling.
  • Create a living trust, placing your inherited assets into the trust, thus keeping them out of the marital pot. You can control and use the assets during your life, but they are passed on to your beneficiaries after your death and there is no question about ownership.
  • Keep titles and deeds in separate names after they are inherited to prevent claims by your spouse.
  • Discuss all inherited property with your attorney when you begin to discuss your divorce.

The Sampair Group provides confidential and compassionate assistance with your divorce or family law case. We serve clients in Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix, Arizona.  Schedule an appointment today.

Social Media And Your Divorce

In today’s culture, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media and professional networking sites and applications have become a big part of how people interact with each other. Profiles are constantly being updated with shared information about our lives, jobs, etc. When a husband and wife going through a divorce are sharing this information on social networks without considering the potential consequences, it can be detrimental to the already existing stress that comes with the breakup of a marriage. The divorce process is full of stressors including legal, financial, and emotional battles between both parties, and the use of social media doesn’t make it any easier.

Be careful about who you trust on your social media profiles. Not every “friend” is a friend, and sometimes a message you thought to be private turns out to be public information that can be used against you. When posting on your social networking profiles, keep in mind the mutual friends of you and your former spouse. Some of these friends might be on your side, but some of them can easily turn on you or use information on your profile against you when taking the side of your ex, all because of something you may have posted on Facebook.

Information exchanged via technology such as emails or text messages can possibly be subpoenaed and picked through as admissible evidence in court. In many cases, one or both parties of the divorce process will claim to not have enough money for child support, spousal support, or other payments, but their Facebook profile picture of them with a new boat or on a fancy vacation may prove otherwise. The credibility of any parties that do this can be called into question immediately.

Take a few minutes to reflect on the nature of your social media posts. It would be wise to not post anything on these profiles that you wouldn’t say in person to the whole world. Information on the Internet doesn’t ever just go away immediately if it’s deleted. Exercise caution, discretion and good judgment when updating your profile. Don’t be malicious or talk poorly about your ex, as this information can quickly be used against you.

Have a discussion with your former partner to formulate a sort of social media agreement. Such issues should be addressed like what kind of information should not be posted by either of you, can you post pictures of your kids, etc. Establish one kind of communication between the two of you, such as email, to create a lower risk of impulsive comments on various types of networks. One tweet or wall post can quickly generate irreversible damage and lead to much more conflict in a divorce proceeding than you expected. Many family law attorneys will also recommend to clients that it would be in the best interest of all involved in the divorce to shut down social media profiles at the start of the divorce process.

Divorce is hard enough, and a frequent online presence can cause big problems. It is important to discuss your online presence with a legal professional. Phoenix divorce lawyers at The Sampair Group will help you understand which information is worth protecting as you battle the issues in a divorce process. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

The Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to Afford Divorce

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Three Financial Blunders To Avoid After Divorce

Once your divorce is final and you are ready to establish yourself as a single force to be reckoned with, one of the most important things to do is make sure your finances are in order. Being able to support yourself and to make decisions about your financial future without a spouse can be hard, but the reward is well worth the effort. A certain sense of accomplishment comes with being able to invest wisely, put something away for a rainy day, and help your kids as they move from high school to college and beyond. In order to do this it is important to have an awareness of your changed financial picture now that you are single, and it is also helps to know what money traps to avoid.

Three financial blunders to avoid when you are newly single include:

  • Avoid spending more than you have. This seems simple enough, but in practice is a very hard thing for most people. This is true when there are two incomes to rely on for paying the monthly bills and you might find yourself overspending simply out of habit. Try to remember that you alone are responsible for your financial health (especially if you were not awarded spousal support or it has come to an end) and make the necessary adjustments to your lifestyle. Downsizing your home, opting for an older model car, or taking your lunch to work rather than eating out are all good ways to save money when you are single.
  • Failing to review your budget and make the changes needed to take into account your status as a one income household. When you get divorced it is a good idea to take stock of what you have and what you need. Doing so will allow you to identify areas where you can cut back and save.
  • Allowing your emotions to take over and overwhelm you is also a mistake. We understand divorce is hard, but when you come to terms with the decision it will be easier to think rationally about your future. This includes coming up with a plan for your money that makes sense and is within your budget.

Our goal is to reach solutions in your case that allow you a fresh start, and also give you the chance to change. When necessary we suggest enlisting the help of a qualified financial planner, so you can be sure to start your new life off on the right foot.

For more information about divorce and what it means for your finances, 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.

Do We Really Need a Divorce?

If your relationship is over, divorce may seem like the next necessary step you need to take. There’s actually no requirement at all that you get a divorce or legal separation or do anything at all to change your legal status if you don’t want to.

If you and spouse end your relationship but don’t get a divorce, you can live separately and go on with your lives independently. While you remain married you can obtain custody, spousal support, and child support through the Arizona courts as long as you are living separately.

You will need to continue to file taxes as married and indicate ‘married’ as your legal status on legal forms. You can continue on each other’s health insurance. If one of you passes away, you are eligible for Social Security on that spouse’s behalf. You can continue as each other’s life insurance beneficiaries and health care proxies if you wish.

What are the downsides to remaining married when your relationship is over? You will need to continue to have contact with each for legal matters. If you remain married and unseparated, your marital property cannot be divided by a court. You can informally divide it yourselves, but there is no enforcement available and no way to stop your spouse from using or destroying marital assets. You will continue to be liable for each other’s debts. If one of you passes away, there is a spousal right to inheritance even if the spouse is written out of the will. Additionally, remaining legally married can create an emotional burden and connection that you may find you are not entirely comfortable with.

If you are weighing whether or not to get a divorce, you need to talk with an attorney who can explain all of the options, implications, and considerations. The Sampair Group is here to help you work through these choices. We represent clients in Maricopa County. Call us for an appointment with one of our knowledgeable attorneys now.

Dividing the Home in a Divorce

Your home may be the largest asset in your divorce. It also is usually one of the most emotionally important assets because you have a history there and may still have children in the home. The home is symbolic of your marriage and your security and as such it can be hard to make decisions about it.

Because Arizona is a community property state, the assets of your marriage divided equally. Your marital home is a community property asset if it was bought during the marriage. It may also be community property if it was bought prior to the marriage and both spouses contributed to its upkeep and payments during the marriage.

Who gets the house is often a hot point and the decision may come down to who can afford to keep the home. If one spouse can refinance the mortgage, it may make sense for her to keep the home. Of course, the other spouse is still entitled to half its value, which is distributed through other assets.

If you can’t afford to keep the home, you may be able to do so if you receive spousal support from your ex after the divorce, or if you receive enough other property in the divorce to enable you to afford the mortgage payments.

If neither one of you is able to take on sole responsibility for the home, it’s possible to co-own it. This could be a temporary situation until it increases in value enough to be sold, or you might decide to co-own it until the children move out as adults.

If you can’t agree about what to do with the home, the court will consider custody of the children, which one of you is presently in the home, how other property is being divided, and what your financial resources will be after the divorce.

The Sampair Group is your firm for divorce or family law matters. Make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable attorneys in Maricopa County today.

These Three Things Are Common Benefits Of Co-Parenting

Divorcing couples with children have to take extra care during their case to make sure the decisions made are in the best interests of their kids. It is beneficial for children to have both of their parents present on a regular basis, and at significant life events. Divorced parents who are unable to get along or agree on important aspects of raising their kids can wind up creating uncomfortable emotional situations for their children which result in social and behavioral problems.  But, when both parents are willing to work for what is best for their children, the results can be very rewarding.

Three common benefits that result when parents continue to work together even after getting divorced include:

  • Children are able to realize their full potential through seeing their parents work together, because emotions like fear and frustration are addressed openly and honestly. This can lead to an increase in self-esteem, which gives children the confidence and security they need as they face their changing family dynamic.
  • When kids see their parents working together even though they are no longer married, for their benefit, fewer conflicts tend to arise because the kids are less likely to “act out” at school or in other social situations.
  • Having both parents take a role in the day to day lives of their kids ensures each parent is an active participant in the things that matter most to their children. There is little that compares to the feeling a child gets when both parents are present for important awards at school, or after school events.

Continuing to parent as a unit also shows the children that there are expectations from each parent that must be met. Maintaining a routine and consistency helps children to thrive when with each parent and helps the parents know what to plan for visits and extended stays. Keeping your emotions in check and avoiding arguing with your ex about adult issues in front of the kids shows your kids that conflict can be resolved without escalation. This gives children a healthy example for conflict resolution and sets a good example for behavioral expectations.  For questions about how to develop a co-parenting plan that makes sense for you, call our office.

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.

Marital Assets You Don’t Know You Have

When you get a divorce, you know that you will need to divide your marital assets. In Arizona, anything acquired during the marriage is considered community property and needs to be divided during the marriage. The things that probably immediately come to your mind are the house, cars, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and household belongings. That’s certainly a lot to divide and getting through those items takes careful work and solid legal advice.

What you might not be aware of is that there are a whole host of other assets that need to be divided that you probably are not even thinking about. Most of these are intangible assets. They aren’t things you can hold in your hand, so they are easy to forget about. Here are some of these intangible assets that may have value and may need to be part of your property division:

  • Copyrights, trademarks, or patents owned by either one of you. If either one of you has written a book, blog posts, or anything published, copyright is owned even if you don’t file for one.
  • Gym memberships.
  • Frequent flyer miles.
  • Reward points on credit cards, frequent shopper cards, and more.
  • Leases on real property.
  • Web sites and blogs. The actual writing on the site is covered under copyright, but the actual site itself and domain name (URL) may also have value, as well as the design.
  • Degrees earned during marriage.
  • Professional licenses earned during marriage.
  • Digital photographs.
  • Digital files.
  • Digital movies, music, and books.
  • Seasons tickets for sports, theater, music and more.
  • Memberships or donations that give some kind of benefit or privilege (such as free admission to a museum you have donated to).

The Sampair Group provides divorce representation in Maricopa County, Arizona. We are here to answer your questions. Call us today to schedule an appointment.