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The Impact of Social Media During Divorce

Social media seems to be everywhere these days. Just about everyone has at least one social media profile they use to keep in touch with people and to share information about their lives. However, these types of sites are still relatively new and many people don’t think about the negative impacts of the things they post, particularly when it comes to relationships. Understanding the impact of social media in terms of romantic relationships, especially when it comes to divorce, is essential to ensure you’re protected.

Social Media’s Impact on Relationships

Whether you’re married or just dating at the moment, social media can be both positive and negative for relationships, but few people think about the negative effects. Some of the issues that can arise in relationships as a result of social media include:

  • Infidelity — Social media makes it much easier for individuals to stray from their current relationship. Many people, women in particular, often find their inboxes filled with messages from members of the opposite sex who are clearly in relationships based on their profiles. These messages are often framed as a way to cheat without getting caught as easily.
  • Unrealistic Expectations — Many people these days are well-versed in using Photoshop, image filters and others methods of altering their pictures. It’s easy to forget this when you’re scrolling through social media and find yourself attracted to someone. If you do start a relationship with someone you meet on social media, you may have unrealistic expectations of how they look and how they live their life.
  • Distractions — Most people have gone onto social media at some point to quickly respond to someone, only to find themselves sucked into reading articles, browsing pictures or watching videos. Rather than spending time with their partner, they end up with their nose to their phone for far longer than they intended.
  • Insecurity — Social media is a breeding ground for insecurity. Whether you don’t feel your significant other is posting enough about you or they are commenting or liking too many posts from a member of the opposite sex, it’s easy to begin feeling jealousy when there’s no reason to.

How Social Media Impacts Divorces

Attorneys today are now using social media as a tool to help them win divorce cases for their clients. They can be used to prove income if you claim you can’t pay child or spousal support or may even contain evidence of cheating. It’s important to remember that anything you post can, and most likely will, be used against you, so it’s essential to be careful about what you post, especially if you’re going through a divorce case. Never post anything illegal, such as drug use, even if you’re just joking around with your friends. If you do spend money, keep it off social media. The last thing anyone needs is to be painted as a reckless spender. Never bad mouth your ex, even if you have good reason to. The key in child custody cases is to be diplomatic and present yourself as capable of being neutral for the children’s sake. Finally, if you do have a new significant other, hold off on making an announcement and posting pictures until after your divorce is finalized.

image of divorced couple splitting property

How Does Community Property Get Split Up During a Divorce?

An Introduction to Community Property Division

Divorce can prove a remarkably traumatic and messy experience even when everything goes about as smoothly as you might realistically hope. The division of property that you and your spouse have shared for years, however, can seem especially tricky, often introducing fresh grievances or re-igniting old ones in the process. You may have additional problems dealing with Arizona’s adherence to the principle of community property division. Let’s examine this method of divvying up assets between divorcing spouses so you can gain a better understanding of how it works, what problems it might entail, and how to ensure the most satisfactory possible outcome.

Community Property vs. Equitable Distribution

Most U.S. states use a method known as equitable distribution to determine who gets what in a divorce case. In equitable distribution, the court has full power to distribute assets based on its interpretation of what’s fair to each party. Depending on such variables as which spouse earns the lion’s share of the household income, spends more time looking after the children, or both spouses’ potential earning power, the court may then award a spouse anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of the overall marital assets.

Nine states, including Arizona, currently break this trend by dividing marital assets according to community property rules. (In Alaska, however, community property is treated as an option, not a requirement.) This means that the marital assets are divided 50/50 regardless of the roles played by each spouse in the marriage. The court has far less power over the awarding of assets, although it does retain some say over what constitutes an equal split. Your share of the community property may include assets that you don’t especially want while depriving you of others that you genuinely prize.

Separate Property vs. Community Property: What Counts as Which?

Community property doesn’t place everything you and your spouse own into a single lump — instead, it applies specifically to items that you purchased during your marriage. Exceptions to this rule include property acquired separately as a gift or inheritance, as well as any property acquired following a petition for divorce that results in an actual divorce decree.

Certain assets are considered separate property, placing them outside the bounds of the divorce settlement. These include any real estate or other property you acquired before getting married, as well as any rent or other additional value generated by that property.

The First Step: Complete Disclosure and Initial Assessment

You and your spouse (with the aid of your respective attorneys) can iron out much of the confusion over your community property division before the matter ever goes before the court. First and foremost, both of you must disclose everything you own, from pets and jewelry to cash, cars, and homes. Attempting to shield any of your assets by excluding them from the community property inventory will only introduce costly, upsetting complications to your divorce. Once you and your spouse have listed every asset you can think of, you’ll need to figure an estimate of value to help the court decide what makes for an equitable division.

Business, Home, and Debt Division 

If you started your own business or purchased a business before your marriage, that business remains wholly yours as separate property. However, the court may decide to award your spouse a percentage of the business’s appreciation in value, or even an outright percentage of the business itself, if your spouse contributed to the business’s success either financially or through hard work.

A home purchased before marriage, with the deed in your name alone, remains your separate property, giving you the right to ask your spouse to vacate it. However, if you both hold joint title to the home and your spouse serves as your children’s primary caregiver, your spouse may actually be the one who continues to live on the property.

Community property includes debts as well as assets. Debts are typically considered the problem of both spouses equally, regardless of who incurred the debt or whether the debt was incurred before the marriage.

Don’t go it alone when pursuing a community property divorce. Contact our firm to speak to a skilled Arizona divorce attorney.

 

Woman preparing to testify from home

How to Prepare to Testify in Court from Home

With all the restrictions that have been put into place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more things can be done from home. While most people think about working from home, courts have also turned to at-home sessions, particularly in the areas of divorces. It’s relatively easy to allow individuals to appear from their homes, providing the same testimony they could provide in a courtroom. The same is true for having lawyers in attendance. However, before you appear in court from home, there are a few things you should do to prepare.

Ensure a Quiet Environment

Distractions abound when you’re at home, and it’s essential to eliminate them as much as possible before you testify in court to ensure everything goes smoothly. For instance, in the case of a divorce, make arrangements for your children to be out of the home. Not only will this greatly minimize noise and distractions, but it’s best they can’t hear what goes on in the case. You should also turn off the TV or anything else that makes noise. Wearing headphones can help reduce the noise you hear, but it’s also essential to make sure there aren’t any sources of noise, including other people, because you are in a professional setting and even with your headphones on, your mic will pick it up and transmit it to the other parties on the call.

Understand Screen Sharing

Evidence can be an important part of a case. However, since you won’t be there in person to hand a sheet of paper to the judge or the other party, you will need to share it in other ways. Most video conferencing software offer simple screen sharing tools you can use, but you need to be familiar with them. Set up a mock call using the software you’ll use so you can practice ahead of time. This will ensure the process goes smoothly and there are fewer delays during the call.

Use a Computer, Not the Phone

Most video conferencing software allows you to call in from your phone if you don’t have access to a computer, but when you’re testifying in court, whether for a divorce or any other type of case, it’s best to have a monitor in front of you. Not only does it allow you to see the other people in the call, but if anyone shares their screen to present evidence or other documents for your review, you need to see them clearly. You can’t do that when you’re using your phone to participate in the call.

Testifying in court can be a nerve-wracking experience. While you may feel more comfortable testifying from the comfort of your home, it’s still important to maintain a more professional setting so you’re sure the case will proceed smoothly.

Child Relocation in Arizona

Following a divorce that involves a child or children, the custodial parents may wish to relocate with the children. By Arizona state law, the court cannot keep a custodial parent from relocating, but a compromise can be difficult to negotiate between parents when visitation rights will be affected. As a result, these cases are typically resolved in court.

Many child custody orders require that both parents live in the same state. However, the custodial parent has the right to request relocation for a child, as long as the reasons for relocation are legitimate and in the best interest of the child. Child relocation is often granted in situations that involve the custodial parent getting a new job or remarrying.

If both parents already live in the same state and share custody, the parent that wants to relocate with the child more than 100 miles from their current residence must provide written notice 60 days in advance of a projected move. The non-custodial parent then has a 30-day window to decline the request. If they object, they must file a formal objection with the court, where a judge will set a hearing with both parents present to decide if the move is in the best interest of the child. If there is no response to the written notice, the court will assume that there is no objection, and will grant relocation, given that all reasons for relocation are valid in opinion of a judge. During this process, child custody agreements, child support payments, and visitation will be re-litigated.

Before approving relocation, the court must make specific findings and relevant factors that solidify that the relocation is being decided in the best interest of the child. The parent who wants to relocate has the legal burden of proving what is in the child’s best interest.

Examples of factors that the court will consider include:

  • Reasons that the custodial parent wants to relocate (employment, family support, etc.)
  • How the move will impact the child educationally and emotionally
  • How the move will affect the other parent’s ability to visit the child

If you need representation in a family law dispute, contact an experience Phoenix Family Law attorney at The Sampair Group today to get a decision made in your favor.

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. 

How To Handle Your Child’s Healthcare After Divorce

The process of divorce can be particularly trying, but often the toll can be especially hard on the children. Generally both parents will be looking out for their child’s best interest, but it can be difficult to navigate the legal landscape that they find themselves in.

How to divide costs and provide or maintain healthcare coverage for your child can be difficult even in the best of situations, so it is important to have an experienced divorce lawyer to guide you through the process.

There are many factors to consider when choosing an attorney, such as experience, focus, and personal attention. As well, the thought of exorbitant legal fees can overwhelm you before the legal process even begins. The lawyers at The Sampair Group are well versed in Arizona family law and understand the needs that you may have during the difficult time of divorce. They also have flexible payment options to help reduce the stress on you and your family.

In Arizona, child support is based on the combined income of both parents, but there are many variables that can come in to play. Having a committed Phoenix family law attorney to explain the Arizona Child Support Guidelines will make the process easier for all parties, most importantly, the children.

Family law courts will order that a child’s medical and dental coverage is provided by the parents, but in many cases an arrangement between both parties can be made outside of court to arrange healthcare. A lengthy court process can draw out a healthcare agreement between parents longer than may be necessary, and there are many factors that weigh in when deciding how best to provide for children during a divorce. Consulting with a Phoenix child custody lawyer can help make the transition as smooth as possible and ensure that the needs of your child are met in the best manner available.

Divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through; in the Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Glendale area The Sampair Group has compassionate family law attorneys ready to guide you through the process as easily as possible.

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.

Divorce Mediation – Why It Works

Mesa, Arizona divorce lawyerMany couples will try their best to dilute the drama that can come with divorce, but with so many issues to deal with (custody agreements, splitting assets, etc.), the stress can become overwhelming and unexpected, and this burden can continue even after the divorce is finalized.

Divorce mediation is one of the options during a divorce as an alternative to going to court. Many issues can be settled in mediation including division of property, child support and custody, and alimony. The parties will get together with a third party mediator who will assist them in settling the issues. There are many benefits to mediation and advantages it can bring to you and your family during this difficult time.

When a couple decides to take their divorce in front of a judge, there are substantial legal fees for both sides. Mediation is much less costly than what it would cost each spouse to pay for an attorney.

Time is also a factor that you can benefit from when you choose mediation. The amount of time it takes to mediate a divorce rather than go through court proceedings is much different. Mediation motivates both parties to get agreements settled as soon as possible since it is more likely that the couple will be able to compromise on more issues, rather than going through a heated court battle.

When a couple chooses mediation to settle their divorce, they have power over the outcome, whereas if a divorce is settled in court, all decisions are made by the judge. In court, the atmosphere over these decisions can be strict and cold, while the mood during mediation is more reasonable and calm. Both sides must sign the mediation agreement, and if a joint decision cannot be made, the couple can choose to continue negotiation or then take the case to a later date.

Mediation is great for sensitive and difficult issues such as creating a co-parenting plan and dividing important assets. Many issues are discussed in the process with a neutral mediator that helps to equalize the balance in a difficult time and create space for agreement and comfort. For more information on mediation during your divorce, contact a Glendale divorce attorney at The Sampair Group. Visit www.sampair.com for more information.

Pets and Divorce in Arizona

When it comes to the term “child custody,” most people will only think of human children. For some couples, their pets are their children, and there can be just as much of a battle over who gets the dog or cat after a divorce. Family and divorce law is designated to protect the rights and best interests of human children and divorce, whereas laws regarding who gets the family pet are placed toward the best interest of the owner.

Pets are considered personal and community property of a couple and the court can award custody of a pet to only one owner. If there are minor children involved in the divorce, the pet will usually be placed in the home where the children spend the most of their time. If there are no minor children, the judge will take into consideration the agreements that can possibly be made between each spouse regarding custody of the pet.

If the parties cannot come to an agreement or there is contest to the judges decision about where the pet will go, the judge can and may order the pet to be sold.

Just as it can be done in regular divorce proceedings over property, child custody, etc., mediation is also an option for divorcing couples that cannot agree on where the pet should go.

The court may also take into consideration the overall situation surrounding your pet, such as its health, training, and other needs. Both parties do have the option of formulating a sort of “custody agreement” about the pet, which will outline who will retain ownership of the dog, if there are visitation rights, financial responsibility for the pet, and who can make medical decisions for the pet, including euthanasia.

Any pet can quickly become part of the family. For more information on having your rights legally protected in a divorce, whether it be over a pet, child, or a piece of furniture, contact a Surprise divorce attorney at The Sampair Group. Visit us today at https://www.sampair.com/firm-overview/divorce/ for more information.