Tips For Keeping Your Divorce Out Of Court

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Divorce and Social Security

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

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding QDROs

Retirement accounts and pension plans are an important part of the community property division in a divorce.  If either you or your spouse have an employer pension plan that was added to during your marriage, it is a marital asset and community property, even if only one spouse’s name is actually on the account. This asset is divided in the divorce, but divvying it up is much more complex than simply splitting up a bank account or changing the title on a car. Because the money in these accounts generally cannot be transferred by the owner’s request, there is a complex process that must take place to be able to move the funds out and give them to the other spouse as part of the divorce settlement or order.

To access the funds in the account that you and your spouse or a judge has decided should be transferred, your attorney must prepare a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, called a QDRO (pronounced “quadro”). This document must be prepared to meet the specifications of the individual pension plan or account. The court signs the order and it is sent to the company that manages and administers the account. If the document meets the requirements set up by the Administrator of the Plan being divided, the funds can be transferred to an account for the receiving spouse. In other words the receiving spouse now has a “sub-account” in the ex-spouse’s Plan, in her name. She is restricted by the same rules as the Plan Participant when it comes to withdrawing the money. Occasionally the Plan will allow the receiving spouse to roll her share of the Plan into a Rollover IRA account. Talk to your attorney to get details about QDROs and whether one is needed in your case.  Your attorney can also advise you as to the actions you need to take if you receive QDRO funds to avoid tax issues.

The Sampair Group handles complex financial divorces in Maricopa County, Arizona. Our office is conveniently located to serve you and is ready to take your call. Make an appointment now.

The Impact of Divorce On Your Career

Any big stress in your life can have a potential impact on your career. Divorce ranks high among life stressors but it also directly impacts your schedule and mental acuity. Your divorce requires not only emotional energy, but lots of time off from work to meet with your attorney or mediator and days off for court appearances. This can have a detrimental effect on your career success. Keep it all together by following these steps:

  • Minimize time off. Find out if your attorney or mediator can meet with you on weekends. Save your personal days for court appearances which are always scheduled during business hours.
  • Talk to your boss. Be up front about what you are going through and be clear that you are dedicated to your job. Make it clear you will go above and beyond your duties by working at night, from home, or by taking on additional responsibility once your case has concluded.
  • Look the part. Be particularly careful to present an outer appearance of success, clarity, and dedication to your job at all times. Dress well. Keep your office space organized.
  • Control what you can and let go of the rest. You can minimize the impact on your workplace by taking personal calls away from your co-workers and having breakdowns in the bathroom alone, but you have no control over your spouse showing up at your office or your company being notified that your wages are being garnished for child support. You can’t control everything and no one expects you to.

When you are facing a divorce, you have many questions. Talk with an attorney who understands your concerns and is available to answer your questions. The Sampair Group services all of Maricopa County and our attorneys are ready to discuss your options with you today.

Do Assets Need To Be Divided During a Divorce?

Divorce is so complicated because it involves complex financial calculations and formulas. The actual ending of your relationship to each is quite simple. Divorce takes so much time and money because the assets and debts of the marriage must be divided and often there are important issues regarding children. You may wonder then if it is possible to divorce without dividing up assets. Understanding what can happen to your assets during a divorce is important.

In general, with certain important exceptions, any assets or debts acquired during your marriage by either of you are community assets and debts.They belongs to both of you and must be divided in the divorce. The ownership of community propertymust be addressed in your divorce (the exception to this would be if you have had a marriage of very short duration and have not had time to acquire any community assets or debts).

You don’t need to go to court to have this division occur. You and your spouse can create a settlement agreement on your own.Decide how you want to split everything up. If you agree, it’s a fairly simple matter for your attorney to draft the divorce papers and move your divorce through the courts quickly without undue delay. Even if you can’t decide on your own, an attorney or mediator can help you quickly divide everything so that your divorce can move forward without contest.

Some spouses keep things completely separate throughout their marriage, never putting two names on any asset or debt. Although these items are legally community property, this can simplify your divorce if you agree that each will own or be responsible for assets or debts currently in the spouse’s own names.

The Sampair Grouphandles divorce and family law cases in the Mesa, Phoenix, and Glendale areas of Arizona. Our attorneys are uniquely qualified to handle your case with attention to detail. Call our office to schedule a convenient appointment today.

Annulment Laws in Arizona

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

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

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

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

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

Should We Stay Together For The Kids?

After many years of marriage, the stresses may seem to increase with each year passing. You and your spouse may be at the breaking point where you are pondering the idea of divorce, but knowing how it would impact the children may stop those thoughts. However, it is also important to wonder if staying together for the children is any better.

There is no clear answer to how to approach this situation, and each circumstance is different. It’s important to think about the children’s best interests. Are they better off in a home where their parents are constantly fighting and are unhappy most of the time or would they benefit more down the road if mom and dad were not together, but they were each happier?

Staying together “for the kids” certainly comes with risks. If you are miserable in your marriage, your family may be loaded with arguments, anger, frustration and pain. If you are a couple that cannot be civil or handle conflict rationally with each other, your child may learn these bad parenting skills and be negatively impacted by them.

Another risk that comes with staying married for the sake of the children is that your child may be neglected while you and your spouse are wrapped up in their own conflicts. It may be physical neglect, such as the parents completely check out of parenting, or it may be emotional neglect, and the parents may not show up together for the child’s important events or may try and alienate the child from the other parent.

If you and your spouse cannot co-parent effectively while living in the same household, you may want to rethink the situation and realize that co-parenting from separate homes may be what is best for your child.

There are times, however, when the child will benefit if the family stays intact, even if the parents are no longer in love with each other. Co-parenting under the same roof is better as long as each parent can stay civil and keep the children out of their arguments and conflict.

For more information on child custody and family law, look to the Glendale and Phoenix family law attorneys at The Sampair Group.

What Is Contempt of Court?

You may have heard the term “contempt of court” and wondered what it is or how it might apply in your divorce or family law case. Contempt of court happens when a person under the court’s jurisdiction (such as you or your spouse, or even one of the attorneys in your case) does something that defies the court’s authority or is severely disrespectful to the court. It’s up to the judge to decide that someone is in contempt of court and the judge has broad discretion about making this call. Examples of contempt of court actions might include failing to pay child support, refusing to follow a parenting plan, failing to pay spousal support, or insulting or defying the judge.

In family court cases, a hearing is held when a court chooses to invoke a contempt order, giving the person accused of contempt the opportunity to present a defense. If the person fails to appear, a warrant can be issued and the person can be held in jail for up to 24 hours.

A finding of contempt can result in jail time, fines, or seizure of property. If the person found in contempt in a family law case is sentenced to jail time, a hearing must be held every 35 days throughout the jail term.

To avoid a contempt order, it is essential that you exactly follow all court orders in your case, appear in court at all scheduled times, and remain polite and civil during all proceedings. If you disagree with an order or are having problems meeting its requirements you need to talk to your attorney immediately so that you can avoid facing a contempt of court charge.

When you need help with a family law case, call The Sampair Group. We regularly represent clients in Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Phoenix in divorce and family law cases and are ready to provide the representation you need.

Good Divorce Decisions Take Time

When you begin the divorce process you most likely want nothing more than to get the case over and done with so that you can move on. The divorce process may seem like it takes a long time and you’re itching to just rip the bandage off and get on with your life. Because you may be anxious to move forward, it can be easy to make quick decisions and then later regret your choices. As you move through your divorce, you will have to make decisions about what you will ask for or settle for when it comes to spousal support, child support, parenting time and decision-making, and property division.  These decisions will impact the rest of your life, so it is very important that you take the time to think them through and decide carefully. Follow these tips to ensure your decisions are good ones.

  • Talk everything over with you lawyer and make sure you understand all the consequences of each decision. Ask about alternatives and always ask what your attorney recommends you do.
  • Take the time to think through all decisions you are presented with. If you want to go home and mull it over, do so. There are times when you may be asked to decide something in a split second, particularly in the midst of courtroom negotiations. If you need more time to think about something, say so.
  • Listen to your common sense. Everyone around you might advise you about the best way to handle something, but in the end you are the one who has to live with it. Do what feels right to you. Most decisions in divorce can be made with knowledge from your lawyer applied to your own common sense.

The Sampair Group is ready to help you work through all of the decisions involved in your divorce or family law case. Schedule an appointment with us in the Glendale, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Phoenix area.

Is Your Behavior The Reason For Your Divorce?

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

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

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

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

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

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