Planning For College Expenses After Divorce

Every parent wants to encourage their child to continue their lives after high school by attending college and pursuing a career. However, following a divorce, the way for which you and your spouse planned on paying for your child’s education may change. Consulting with a Phoenix family law attorney at The Sampair Group can help you understand your rights and obligations regarding your child’s college tuition after a divorce.

Discussions between you and your spouse on this topic should include a full review of your settlement agreement, along with planning for potential schools that your child would like to apply to, financial aid options and alternatives, room and board, travel and other aspects of higher education and the financial responsibilities that come with it.

Paying for a child’s education is strictly voluntary on part of either parent, although one parent seeking contribution to college expenses by the other parent can file a petition with the court requesting contribution. The problem with this is that the court may order a parent to contribute to the costs of their child’s college education in an amount that exceeds what they can afford. This is where preventative measures can be taken by defining the terms for these expenses in a settlement agreement.

Your agreement should require each parent to pay a share of college expenses so that the burden of the cost does not fall on just one parent. Also in this agreement should include tax benefits that come from college expenses and how they should be allocated in the event of a divorce. These rates change annually, so be sure to make any necessary changes to your agreement as they are modified.

If you don’t have an agreement with these terms, the court may require both spouses to contribute to the expenses. To avoid this, consult a Glendale divorce attorney to make sure that your divorce agreement specifies who will or will not pay for their child’s educations, remembering to include all of the fine print. For more information, contact us today.

Reduce the Expense of Divorce

Lawyer fees aren’t the only expenses to worry about when you have made the decision to continue with a divorce. It’s difficult to fully understand the cost of divorce until you are actually going through it. Before taking that major step, you should consider all of the financial implications and what you can do to reduce the drastic financial impact that divorce can have on you and your family.

Complexity
If you have no child custody issues and no assets to be split in the divorce, expenses will be reduced. Conflict and a more complex divorce with more issues means spending more money. If you have complex affairs that need to be determined, it would be important to contact a Glendale divorce lawyer for outside help throughout the process.

Conflict Costs More
The amount of conflict in your divorce will affect the cost. Conflict can lead to lack of trust, which results in spouses have difficulty making negotiations. The longer it takes for a couple to come to mutual decisions, the longer it takes for them to present the solutions to a judge, and therefore the longer it takes for the judge to come to a final decision. A high level of conflict means a low level of communication, and in turn it can waste time and money.

Location
The cost of divorce varies from state to state and some cities and states require a certain length of time for legal separation before a couple makes the official decision to begin divorce litigation and making financial settlements. Research your state laws, especially if you and your future ex live in separate states. Look into which state it would be more affordable to file for divorce in.

Type of Divorce
If the conflict and assets involved in the divorce are non-existent, there may be no need to pay for an attorney. Many states allow for do-it-yourself divorce proceedings without the assistance of representation if there are no serious legal conflicts that need to be resolved. If the divorce is uncontested, you may be able to agree on a settlement without the expense of an attorney.

For more assistance with the different ways you can work to reduce costs and conflict in your divorce, contact an experienced Phoenix family law attorney at The Sampair Group.

Collaborative Divorce in Arizona

A collaborative divorce occurs when spouses are able to work out an agreement for the process they would like for their divorce. Couples that decide on a collaborative divorce are ones that wish to negotiate their way to a positive resolution instead of choosing to seek litigation. This kind of divorce minimizes the negative economic, social and emotional consequences that families will often experience during divorce court processes.

The team that accomplishes this goal for each spouse consists of three independent disciplines that work together as a team to integrate the legal, emotional and financial aspects of the issues that are being disputed. This team will consist of a Divorce Lawyer, a Divorce Coach, and a Financial Specialist. If there are children involved in the divorce, a fourth professional called a Child Specialist, will also take part in the process.

Couples that have differing views on issues such as property division, child custody or spousal support can choose to go through a collaborative divorce by also hiring a mediator to assist in resolving these issues.

In the collaborative divorce process, both spouses and their attorneys will sign an agreement that requires the attorneys to withdraw from the case if a settlement is not reached and court litigation is required. Since most collaborative attorneys will not represent clients in divorce court, each spouse may have to find a more adversarial attorney.

Through collaboration, contact between spouses is kept brief and manageable. Once an agreement on all issues is reached, the rest of the process includes simple, legal and uncontested procedures that do not require trial or litigation.

The collaborative divorce can be approached in many ways. The best ways to efficiently go through this process are:

  • you and your spouse can stabilize you situation through mutual agreements
  • you and your spouse exchange all information voluntarily
  • you and your spouse agree on legal procedures that cut down expense and simplify the process
  • you and your spouse negotiate a settlement that works for you
  • you and your spouse come to an agreement on how issues will be handled after the divorce

No matter if you use the collaborative divorce option during the entire divorce or just part of it, it will save couples money and time, and will be much less stressful than emotional and dramatic litigation. Contact a Glendale divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group today for more information.

What can I do to get full custody?

Question:

What can I do to get full custody?

I have been separated from my husband for 10 months and want full custody. I am from Arizona and 12 months ago we moved to South Dakota to be closer to his family. After 2 months of being there he cheated on me and we have been separated ever since. Recently (under the advice of a lawyer) I moved back with the kids to Arizona. The kids are 2.5 and 5 years old. I now have an apartment, a job and have enrolled the oldest in school. All my family and support system is here in Arizona. The father is verbally abusive, but does not want to help with child care. I want full or sole custody of the children to ensure they stay with me. What kind of battle will I have to fight to ensure this happens. There is no family or friends for me in South Dakota and I absolutely do not want to go back there. I would give up any child support just to have full custody.

Answer:

You do not have the option of “giving up child support to have full custody.” At such time as you file for divorce, the court will address custody and support as well as other issues.

An important note is that the children must reside back here in Arizona for 6 months before the court will have jurisdiction over them.

You should seek a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney and probably not discuss the matter with your husband again until you do.

Good luck!

Patrick Sampair
The Sampair Group, PLLC

Offices Valley-wide:
Arrowhead: 17235 N. 75th Avenue, Suite E-100, Glendale, AZ
City North: 5450 E High St #300, Phoenix, AZ
East Valley: 1830 S. Alma School #114, Mesa, AZ

West Valley: 623.218.1000
Phoenix: 602.997.7717
East Valley: 480.636.1333

To read more of Phoenix child custody law attorney Patrick Sampair’s answers on Avvo and be sure to check out his child custody page, or if you have a question for Mr. Sampair ask him directly at: https://www.sampair.com/.

Annulment vs. Divorce (Part 1)

Both divorce and annulments are valid ways to dissolve a marriage, but there are many differences between the two. In this post, family law attorneys at The Sampair Group inform clients on the basics of annulment and the process to receiving one.

The definition of annulment is stated as an agreement that nullifies a marriage and disavows its existence, returning both parties to their prior single status as if they were never married. This agreement cannot be reached through mutual discussion, as the court must legally grant an annulment.

In order to validate the need for annulment, one of the parties in the marriage must show that there was an obstruction to the validity of the marriage at the time it was made official. Annulments usually take place after a few weeks or months of marriage, but can happen after longer periods of time.

In Arizona, there are several circumstances which would allow for an annulment and make a marriage invalid:

Void Marriage
A void marriage is considered invalid from its beginning. The reasons for a void marriage could be:

  • There is blood relation between spouses
  • The marriage is between two people of the same sex

Voidable Marriage
A voidable marriage remains valid until one spouse chooses to legally annul the marriage. In order for the annulment to be established, the court must confirm that at least one of the following factors applied to the marriage that would make it invalid:

  • A prior marriage was still in effect
  • One spouse was underage
  • Fraud and/or misrepresentation of religion
  • Inability to consummate the marriage
  • No valid license for the marriage exists
  • One spouse was coerced or threatened into the agreement
  • One spouse has concealed a criminal past or communicable disease
  • Lack of mental or physical capacity
  • Other grounds that are found by the court to be valid reasons for annulment

To begin this process, contact an experienced Phoenix divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group to get assistance in obtaining a petition and determining the legal ground for your desired annulment.

Legal vs. Religious Annulment
After an annulment is granted, the couple can then request a religious annulment if needed. This will allow for one or both people to remarry within a church or anyone else, and have this second union recognized by the church. The grounds for religious annulments differ from civil annulment guidelines, and are different within each church.

If you are seeking a divorce or annulment and need legal advice, the experienced divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group can represent you. Schedule a free initial consultation with a divorce lawyer in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley today.

Types of Protection Orders in Arizona

If you are in a situation where you feel the need for protection from another person, you should consider filing for an Order of Protection. A protective order is a document issued by a judge to order a person to not have any contact with you in order to prevent any abusive or threatening behavior toward you, whether from a former spouse or another individual. If you feel you are being threatened or harassed, contact a Family Law attorney immediately. There are five general types of protective orders available in Arizona:

1. Order of Protection
In Arizona, an Order of Protection prohibits a person from having any contact with the individual who obtained the order. This order is designed to prevent addition acts of domestic violence or harassment, and may call for other means of protection including the removal of firearms from the home as well as granting the person seeking the order to have exclusive use of the marital home.

2. Emergency Order of Protection
A judge will grant this type of order in writing, verbal agreement or telephonically to protect a person who is in imminent danger of domestic violence. An Emergency Order of Protection is only valid until the close of the next judicial business day, where after further action for an order of protection must be taken.

3. Release Order
Following Arizona law, when a person that has been arrested for an act of domestic violence is released from custody, they are subject to Release Order conditions that are in place to protect the alleged victim and anyone else involved. Within 24 hours of the defendant’s arrest, the court must forward a certified copy of the Release Order to the county sheriff, who must keep the updated document on accessible record.

4. Injunction Against Harassment
Any Arizona court can issue an Injunction Against Harassment when a person claims that another is committing a series of harassing events toward them over a period of time. This order does not require any specific type of relationship between the plaintiff and defendant and cannot be used to claim exclusive use of a home. Injunction Against Harassment orders can often require the defendant to cease all contact with the plaintiff and stay away from their home, workplace, school, etc.

5. Injunction Against Workplace Harassment
If an employer operating a business in Arizona feels that a person in their same workplace has committed a series of harassing events toward others at the same place of business, they can request from the court an Injunction Against Workplace Harassment. It can be filed on behalf of any number of employees, anyone at the work site for business-relations or anyone that enters the business or work site.

At The Sampair Group, our experienced family law attorneys can help you file an Order of Protection if you feel you are being threatened or harassed. If you feel you have been wrongfully served with an Order of Protection, contact us immediately and we can help you fight the order.

How To Spot An Excellent Divorce Attorney

More often than not, divorces can be overwhelming, complicated and emotional. On top of all of the stress and emotion that comes with a divorce, you will need to find an expert Phoenix divorce lawyer that is reliable and knowledgeable enough to help through the process to win your case and continue with your life. Here are 5  traits to look for when searching for the best divorce attorney:

1. Expert in the Field
A good divorce attorney knows more than just the basics of matrimonial law and divorce. You want to find a lawyer whose knowledge goes further than just the cookie cutter basics of two people separating. They should know all laws regarding divorce including child custody, domestic abuse/violence laws, basic tax laws, property division, alimony, and real estate laws. It is very important that they know the judges, legal system ad workings of the court where your case is occurring. Every jurisdiction is different. A good family attorney is one that has courtroom experience and is familiar with the specifics of your case so that they can adapt their legal strategy specifically to your needs.

2. A Negotiator and a Listener
It is important that your divorce lawyer is someone that can help with the negotiation and problem solving aspects of your divorce. They should work well with people, be able to help you reach a compromise with your spouse and make you feel comfortable that they are helping you. A good family attorney has an understanding of psychology and human relationships in order to help their client(s) keep a positive outlook throughout the proceedings.

3. Personal Referrals
While you don’t want to rely solely on the recommendation of others without doing your own research, referrals are always a good thing to start with. Talk to people in your community who have experience similar problems as yours in divorce hearings. Ask them who their lawyers are and how they feel about how they handled their case. Chances are you’ll end up with several good connections if you ask around.

4. Affordability and Quality
When it comes to most divorce attorneys, you get what you pay for. If you don’t have much money to spend on legal assistance for your divorce proceedings, you may have to hire a newer attorney who isn’t as experienced as a lawyer who has been practicing law for a while. However, if the attorney you can afford is a up-and-coming divorce lawyer, there is an advantage in that they may work a little harder for you in order to build up a good reputation.

5. Trustworthiness
Your divorce lawyer is someone you will be sharing a lot of confidential information with, and it is important that they prove to you that they are someone you can trust and feel comfortable sharing such things with. An ideal family attorney is kind, compassionate and reassuring. A divorce is a trying time, and you are going to be going through a rollercoaster of emotions, and an excellent divorce lawyer will not rush you or be aggressive in their approach. They should also share and support your basic philosophy or attitude toward divorce when it comes to their methods.

Family law covers many issues that involve a range of emotions. A good family law attorney knows that he or she is helping someone through one of the most difficult times in their lives. At The Sampair Group, our high conflict resolution attorneys take the time to get to know you and the circumstances of your case. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Financial Consequences of Short-Term Marriage and Divorce

In most states, a short-term marriage is a length of approximately 1 to 5 years. If either spouse seeks a divorce after a short-term marriage, it is important to be aware of the financial agreements that do or do not apply to both parties involved.

Alimony, also called spousal support/maintenance, is financial support from one spouse to another based upon the financial situation of the supported spouse at the time of the divorce proceedings. Alimony awarded in a divorce decree can be temporary, assigned for a specific time length, or permanent.

In short-term marriages, the court rarely awards alimony, especially if the spouse that is requesting the divorce is employed or employable. Those involved in a short-term marriage might find themselves better off without a prenuptial agreement. Alimony is generally only granted in short-term marriages if agreed upon by the parties through a prenuptial agreement or some other financial agreement that states a right to maintenance after a divorce. In short-term marriages, each spouse will generally yield a relatively small award of maintenance, if it is given at all.

There is also a question of equitable distribution of marital property. People in short-term marriages usually have less time to acquire a significant amount of property. Marital property is defined as all property acquired by either spouse during the course of a marriage, even if the property is not listed in both names. Some exceptions include a property acquired by gift or inheritance, property acquired before the marriage, property acquired after a judgment of legal separation, or property excluded by an agreement between both parties.

In both long-term and short-term marriages, equitable distribution involves determining what is fair and just for both parties. In a short-term marriage, however, since less property is usually acquired in the short amount of time, the court will consider property value differences in evaluating division of property. This can include property ranging from personal items to real estate.

To determine how much property you and your spouse will be entitled to after ending a short-term marriage, it is important to speak to a Phoenix divorce lawyer about your legal options. Contact an experienced family law attorney at The Sampair Group today for a free consultation.

How to Be An Excellent Divorce Client

How you are as a client is just as important as how your attorney is as representation for you during such a difficult time. The Phoenix Family Law attorneys at The Sampair Group know that there is rarely a ‘nice’ divorce, and proceedings can create a great amount of stress on all participants. Attorneys and clients usually have a love/hate relationship during the legal battles of divorce. To prevent high stress and tension, which could lead to a bad relationship between a divorce attorney and their client, there are some simple rules of behavior that you, as the client, can follow so that you can both come out of this case with enough financial and emotional resources to start a new life.

Be Organized and Keep Record
When meeting with your attorney, be sure to have all questions you have for them prepared ahead of time. Make sure you have a goal and agenda for each meeting with your Phoenix divorce lawyer so that all topics are covered and you leave the meeting feeling confident that your problems are being addressed and taken care of.

Despite the anxiety and stress you are experiencing during the divorce, it will only feel worse if you are unorganized. You will also feel more in control if you keep track of your own records and everything that is going on instead of depending fully on someone else to do it for you. Documents should be labeled, stapled and assembled in an orderly fashion before you give them to your attorney. This will save them time and money and give them more time to focus on you and your case.

Keep a detailed diary of all significant events that pertain to your case, and share copies with your attorney. These can be used in preparing testimony for your case and addressing issues in a more effective way.

Don’t Annoy Your Attorney
Continuously calling and emailing your lawyer for non-legal problems related to your case can end up costing you, and will also result in a very annoyed attorney. Most attorneys charge by the hour not just for physical visits but also for phone calls, emails, and other forms of communication. If you must call for legal assistance, have all of your questions prepared at once so you are not calling every day with a different question or concern any time one pops into your head. Also, any non-legal issues may want to be address with someone other than your lawyer such as a therapist or family member.

Be Realistic
Have reasonable expectations that not everything is going to go your way. Listen to your attorney and the advice they have for you to resolve the issues surrounding your case. A good divorce attorney will work with you as a team to make the process as fair as it can be, and to work effectively with them you need to determine your unrealistic goals up front so there are no disappointments. Also be sure to remember and constantly remind yourself that divorce is a long process, and results will not be reached immediately. Be patient with everyone involved, especially your divorce attorney.

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. 

4 Ways Divorce Affects Your Children

The media coverage about divorce frequently emphasizes the negative aspect of the impact of divorce on children.  Everything you read seems intent on making you feel like a bad parent because you are getting a divorce. It is important to know that although divorce can be hard for children, it does have benefits as well.

  1. Happy homes.  There are lots of studies about the way divorce affects children but very little about the effect of raising a child in a home full of conflict where parents fight all the time, but don’t get a divorce. Being raised in the middle of strife is damaging to children. Living in constant anxiety with two people who are unhappy takes a huge toll on a child. When you divorce, your child is removed from constant conflict and spends time with two parents who are happier and able to focus on the positives.
  2. Choices matter. Parents who divorce show their children that taking control of your life and empowering yourself to be happy is important. When you take steps to create positive changes in your life, you’re teaching your children that they can and should do the same thing in their own lives.
  3. Compromise works. Parents who are able to settle their divorces demonstrate that most conflicts can be resolved in a non-violent and reasonable way. Compromise is an essential tool your child needs in his or her life.
  4. Strength. Divorce is challenging for parents and children, but when you and children get through it, your child learns that he or she can overcome adversity and move through hard times. Getting through a divorce can bring you and your child closer as well.

 

The Sampair Group handles divorce and family law cases with sensitivity and attention to detail. Call us today in Maricopa County, Arizona to schedule a consultation about your case.