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Mental Health in Divorce

If you’ve found yourself in the situation of divorcing a mentally ill spouse, especially if children are involved, you’ll need to research all your options. You or your spouse may be the one initiating the divorce. Either way, do not leave the outcome up to chance. You’ll need an experienced lawyer to help you through these muddy waters.

Arizona is a no-fault state, which means that the court can grant a divorce no matter who or what is at fault. Also, when it comes to child custody cases, mental illness plays a large role regarding custody, alimony, and divorce in general.

Grounds for Divorce

You do not need a specific reason for filing for divorce in Arizona. However, you may still be requested to submit a reason or circumstance. For example, if your spouse has been seeking treatment in a mental institution for one or several years, then your reason for getting a divorce will clearly be mental illness on the part of your spouse. In other cases, a judge can actually deem a divorce as “at fault” if, for example, your spouse has committed a serious crime, has drug or alcohol dependency, or has a mental illness.

Can I Void my Marriage?

In some cases, yes. This is especially true for cases of mental illness. Your spouse may have married while not understanding what they were doing and the court finds this reason enough to void your marriage. Another reason to annul a marriage is if your spouse was intoxicated at the time of the ceremony and was unable to understand the implications.

Mental Health and Child Custody

When children are involved in a divorce, this is often the biggest concern on a parent’s mind. Unlike in the past, custody is not automatically given to the mother or the parent who is more financially stable.  In Arizona, the court will take into consideration multiple factors when determining child custody. This oftentimes includes the health of the parents, including mental health.

Determining Custodial Rights

If one parent has mental health issues, this not does automatically exclude them from custodial rights. Many parents with mental illness continue to have nurturing and positive relationships with their children. If however, a mental illness prevents a parent from caring for a child, this will be seriously considered by the courts in Arizona. The judge may also look at the implications of hardship for the child if they need to move, as well as the employment situation and the amount of time the parent has available to care for the child.

Terminating Parental Rights

There are cases where a parent with a mental illness loses their custodial rights. A spouse, concerned family member, or anyone else, like a doctor or agency, has the right to request the court terminate a parent’s custodial rights due to a mental illness. When this happens, the termination is permanent so the circumstances must be extreme. The child must be at serious risk of mental, emotional, or physical neglect or abuse. Furthermore, if a parent has a history of abusing drugs or alcohol, the court may deem this reason enough to terminate parental rights. When a child is removed from a home, the court does everything in their power to reconcile the family relationship. However, if the parent’s mental illness is severe, the reunification attempt may prove fruitless.

Arizona Family Reunification

Reunification of families is undertaken by the Arizona Department of Child Safety. They create a plan and conduct background checks on all adults in the household. If reunification is successful, the organization will continue to monitor the situation to help avoid the child being separated from the parent again.

Alimony and Mental Health

Alimony is given to a spouse who can not afford to support themselves after a divorce. These benefits are given to spouses who are unemployed, suffer from a mental illness, or who qualify for disability. If the spouse’s mental illness does not qualify them for disability, the court can decide if the other spouse needs to financially support the mentally disabled spouse.

Mental Illness and Incapacitation

In cases where a spouse is incapacitated due to a mental illness, the court can appoint a guardian to represent them. This guardian has the same kind of duties and rights that a guardian would have over a child. If a divorce is proceeding, the guardian has the right to request alimony on behalf of the incapacitated spouse.

Getting a Divorce in Arizona

If you’re considering pursuing a divorce in Arizona due, you must have lived in the state for at least 90 days. You will also need to file a petition for the divorce with the Clerk of the Superior Court. If you’re dealing with a spouse with mental illness, the divorce can be more complex. This is the time to consult an attorney. The team at The Sampair Group can help you with this. Contact us today at 623-777-3926.

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.

Dividing Property in an Arizona Divorce

If you are going through a divorce, there’s no question that it can be a difficult process that causes both financial and emotional challenges. These issues often get even more trying if you are unable to come to some type of agreement about the primary issues that need to be resolved – especially the division of your property. Read on to learn more about this here.

Understanding Community Property

According to Arizona law, any debts and assets that are acquired by a married couple from the beginning of their marriage until the divorce paperwork is served is considered community property. This means that each spouse is entitled to receive half.

Technically, there’s no requirement for the court to divide all the property equally. Instead, the court will divide property “equitably” or fairly based on the circumstances. Even with this being the case, unequal divisions are extremely rare. Debt or property that is brought into the marriage by one spouse or funds or assets that are received during the time of the marriage by inheritance or a gift, is the property of that spouse as long as it has been maintained separately.

Even though this seems pretty straightforward, trying to figure out separate property from community property can often present a challenge. In some situations, separate property is converted into community property when the single owner of a home opts to change the title to community property. Also, the community property may obtain an interest in the separate or sold property of one spouse if improvements or mortgage payments are made by both spouses.

How is Marital Property Divided in Arizona?

There are several ways that assets may be divided in Arizona during a divorce. The two people getting divorced can come to an agreement, assigning certain assets to the other person, or even buy out the other’s share. Additionally, they can opt to sell the assets and then divide the proceeds that are earned.

Also, all of the debts that are incurred, which include credit cards, car loans and mortgages have to be assigned to one of the spouses and each of the marital debts needs to be paid off after the divorce has become final.

While the classification of a couple’s property is something that takes place automatically after the couple is married, they do not have to follow the laws of community property if they agree to a post- or pre-marital agreement. This provides that each spouse will maintain their assets separate from the other.

Additionally, there are several exceptions based on Arizona law that require community property to be divided equally. For example, if one spouse’s behavior (i.e. gambling or drug use) wasted the community property.

In the end, due to the complexity related to issues of property division in Arizona divorce cases, one of the best things a person can do is to enlist the services of a divorce attorney. At the Sampair Group we can help ensure that the entire process is handled fairly, regardless of the asset or debt situation that may be present. Contact us today at 623-777-3926.

Common Mistakes People Make During Divorce (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Taking Legal Advice From Friends
Even if they have been through a divorce, or two, or even three before, you should never take the word of your friends over the advice of your lawyer or mediator. They’re basing their advice on their experience, which is alright, but everyone’s experience is going to be different, from how you handle it emotionally to how much money you will be getting in the settlement. There are laws that must be followed, and your lawyer is responsible for making sure your divorce proceedings respect the respective laws. Be sure to take everything that your friend or family say with a grain of salt, then speak to your lawyer.

Letting Your Lawyer Make All Decisions For You
No matter how experienced your divorce attorney is, this divorce still involves you and your emotional needs or wants. It is you that is going to have to live with the choices made in the proceedings for the rest of your life, not your lawyer. After taking the advice of your attorney, carefully weigh the different options of each road before deciding on which course you want to take.

Settling for Less Than You Want or Deserve
When you are settling all agreements, you want to be sure that you aren’t underestimating your expenses and what you will need in order to adjust to the new lifestyle of a single person and be comfortable within your means. If you are the spouse making payments, be sure you are not committing to paying more than you can afford, while still being fair to your ex-spouse and yourself. Both spouses need to make a diligent plan for how they are going to live separate lives, so be sure you never settle too low or commit too high.

Every divorce case is different. An experienced Glendale divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group will look at the unique circumstances of your divorce and work with you to reach the best possible outcome. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Does my ex-husband have rights to appliances if I pay the mortgage?

Question:

Does my ex-husband have rights to appliances if I pay the mortgage?

My ex-husband wants some of the appliances in the divorce settlement. I plan to continue paying the mortgage after the divorce is final. Money was added to the mortgage to pay for the appliances. If I am payihg the mortgage, in essence, I am paying for them. Does my ex-husband have a right to them?

Answer:

This type of circumstance frequently occurs when there is a second mortgage used to pay bills or buy personal property. In gerneral if you can show that the appliances were paid with funds from a mortgage, then there may be some offset required before Husband can get the appliances. However it would also depend on other factors such as when the mortgage was taken out, how much of it was paid back and how long ago the appliances were purchased.

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 divorce lawyer Patrick Sampair’s answers on Avvo and be sure to check out his divorce page, or if you have a question for Mr. Sampair ask him directly at: https://www.sampair.com/.

 

Is my husbands ex wife entitled to his social security and current 401k?

Question:

Is my husbands ex wife entitled to his social security and current 401k?

While my husband was married to his ex wife, he never had a 401k plan. She was the bread maker of the house hold. She earns 50% of what he earns through employment. She is 54 and he is 42. Now that it has been two years since they were separated and a year in a half since they were divorced. He now has a 401k, is she entitled to it? In the divorce settlement she requested for him to not be entitled to her 401k. In which he agreed. What about social security? Will she be entitled to that as well? What if I’m (his current wife) the beneficiary? Will she still be entitled to it?

Answer:

The ex is not entitled to any of your husband’s 401k. By federal law she cannot get any of his social security.

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 divorce lawyer Patrick Sampair’s answers on Avvo and be sure to check out his divorce page, or if you have a question for Mr. Sampair ask him directly at: https://www.sampair.com/.