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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.