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What To Do About Child Support Garnishments

If you have children and get divorced, it is likely one of the parents will be ordered to pay child support to the other. Taking care of children during divorce is one of the Court’s greatest concerns, and if support payments are not made there are remedies for collection of past due amounts. One of the most popular ways to enforce a child support order is through a garnishment. If your wages are garnished in order to satisfy a child support obligation, the result can be financial hardship due to receiving a lower paycheck than normal. You may also have to appear in Court, and this can be costly as well. So, what do you do if your wages are being garnished for payment of a child support obligation? The first step is to consult with a skilled family law attorney, and learn how to get back on track.

Payment of child support is court ordered, and thus no further court action is generally taken for a wage garnishment when the support falls behind. Some of the ins and outs of child support garnishment include:

  • The amount that can be taken out of your check is limited, this means that you have the chance to question the amount withheld but also means that the past due amount will be paid off over a longer period of time. It is best to work out an agreement on past due child support rather than have your wages garnished, so you retain an element of control over your finances and budget.
  • The maximum amount that may be held out of your pay is a whopping 50%!
  • If your employer fails to respond to the garnishment, they can face fines for not responding. Thus, most employers promptly reply and hold money out of your paycheck. This means you cannot rely on your employer to “cut you a break”.

You must address the issue head on and reach a result quickly in order to avoid financial destruction. If you are behind on support payments, call our office for help. We will work with you to come up with a strategy that allows you to keep most of your disposable income in your pocket while also keeping up with your child support payments. In some cases this may require a request that the Court enter an order changing the amount of support awarded, and making this request requires a showing of changed circumstances. Common examples of how your circumstances may have changed include loss of job or a lower paying job. For more information, call our office.

 

Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today. We have helped others through the process of divorce and are here to help you too.

Three Ways Depression Can Ruin Your Relationship

Let’s face it, not every moment of a romantic relationship is sunshine and flowers. Differences of opinion can lead to heated arguments, and the events of life can sometimes get in the way. But, when you are involved with a person who suffers from a clinical condition, you must work even harder to make your relationship work. One of the most debilitating clinical conditions is that of depression. And, it may be near impossible for a person with this diagnosis to have a healthy relationship.

Three ways depression can ruin your relationship include:

  • With true depression, not just sadness, a person will eventually give up on the things they love. This makes being with a person suffering from this condition hard to be around, and can leave a partner feeling unfulfilled. When both parties to a relationship are not getting the emotional nurturing they need, the relationship will not last.
  • It is hard for a person with depression to explain what is going on for them mentally and emotionally. This makes it hard for their mate to understand the condition, and giving up sometimes seems the easy way out.
  • The natural instinct of most people is to try and help those they love, but with depression the person suffering is unable to appreciate the offer. This can lead to feelings of rejection, which will certainly contribute to the end of any relationship.

The key is to understand this is not a personal attack on you, and sometimes the best thing you can do is to let a person find their own way. It takes patience, which is hard to come by when you are married but not feeling a part of a partnership. It is not our position that you divorce or leave your spouse when serious medical conditions arise, but we do understand the challenges relationships of this type present. And, it is important to keep in mind that the type of depression discussed here is not just a temporary sadness, it is a serious condition that requires medical attention. We can help you to develop a plan for your kids during this time, and help you to take steps to protect your assets. Call us for more information.

For more information about marriage and divorce, call us today. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

Can A Prenup Help You Avoid Divorce Court?

The idea of signing a prenuptial agreement is distasteful to some, but can end up helping avoid divorce or significantly altering the path a divorce case takes. Prenuptial agreements can help couples prepare for dissolution by setting forth how assets will be divided, and what debts will be paid by which spouse. If you have substantial financial holdings, knowing what to expect if you divorce can put your mind at ease and allow you to focus on your relationship rather than on your bank balance. For some couples this level of comfort allows them to build a stronger relationship, and in the event the marriage does end it can really help speed up the divorce process.

Case in point is that of celebrity couple Kaley Cuoco and Ryan Sweeting. Reports revealed the pair had what could be considered an “iron clad” prenuptial agreement. The agreement is said to address several key issues, and most importantly the following:

  • Issues of spousal support.
  • Issues of asset and property distribution.

These two issues seem to be the largest sticking points, especially with celebrity couples, who tend to have large bank accounts and multiple properties. When an agreement is clear as to division of assets and property, the guesswork can be removed from the case, making getting to a final resolution a much quicker process. Of course not all agreements are valid, and if you have been asked to sign a prenuptial agreement or are considering presenting one to your betrothed, it is wise to have an experienced family law attorney assist. There are legal requirements that must be in place in order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, and if any of these requirements are found to be lacking the entire agreement could be disregarded. Perhaps one of the most important requirements is that the parties voluntarily enter the agreement, without coercion or undue influence. If the distribution is blatantly unfair, it might be inferred that one party did not agree to the document willingly. In order to protect your assets and your future, and to give yourself the peace of mind that comes with having a “blueprint” for divorce, call our office for help. We will review your case carefully, and draft documents that protect your interests. Having a solid prenuptial agreement in place will not eliminate the need to appear in Court, but could make the proceeding less intensive and thus get you to a resolution faster.

For answers to your questions about marriage and divorce or to find out if a prenuptial agreement is right for you, consult one of the trained family law professionals in our office. Let us put our valuable experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

 

 

How To Keep The Peace During Divorce

Getting divorced stirs up a lot of emotions, and can turn into a hotly contested legal battle. Certain issues generally take center stage, with parties refusing to budge on their position. While it is important to safeguard your children and assets, it is also important to reach a final resolution of your case so you can move forward with your life. When trying to figure out what is best for you, it is not uncommon to look for guidance from friends and family as well as from your family law attorney. And, in an age where athletes and superstars are also seen as role models for many, sometimes it can be helpful to see how a celebrity couple handles the sensitive issues that accompany divorce.

One such couple is Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner. The approach being taken by the power couple is to present their case to mediation rather than have it linger at the Courthouse. The Huffington Post reported on the case, and highlighted some of the benefits of keeping the peace while getting divorced as:

  • Avoiding lengthy litigation and the opportunity to “prove” which parent is better helps shield your kids from the negative impact associated with the “name calling” that so often accompanies this type of behavior.
  • Remaining calm helps the parties maintain good health and thus allows them to be better parents to their children.
  • Mediation remains private, which is a huge concern for celebrities.

If this type of forum appeals to you, it is good to know that it is also available to non-celebrity and superstar couples. One way your approach may differ from Ben and Jen’s though is that you should have competent counsel represent you during the process. Stars have a team of advisors at their disposal, and perhaps this is why the couple opted to participate in divorce mediation without the assistance of an attorney. But, for the average couple it is best to have legal representation even in mediation. Having an experienced attorney by your side will give you the comfort of knowing your interests are well-protected, and help ease the burden divorce can cause. We listen to your needs and then develop a plan that is most likely to meet those needs. Call our office today for more information, and for help with your case.

For more information about marriage and divorce, consult a qualified legal professional. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

The Benefit Of Therapy During Divorce

There are few things in life more stressful than getting a divorce. Your entire world changes when you get divorced, and taking back control of your life can seem like an impossible task. For many, the help of a trained counselor or therapist is necessary. When professional help is given, the benefits are immeasurable and your entire family reaps the rewards. Once you have put yourself in a position to move forward, your kids and loved ones begin to see the positive impact of therapy during a divorce.

Every case is different, with its own set of unique facts. This means that what you need from a therapist is much different than what any other person needs. While the results are different for everyone, some of the most common benefits of therapy during divorce include:

  • Giving you the tools necessary to establish and maintain healthy boundaries you’re your ex-spouse.
  • Learning how to deal with feelings of depression, remorse, and anxiety.
  • Helping you to avoid unhealthy emotional responses, such as drinking or gambling.

It is important to choose the right counselor, because the way you interact with your therapist is critical. You must feel comfortable enough to be completely honest, and give yourself the freedom to talk openly. Divorce might be the end of your marriage, but it is not the end of your relationship with your children and you can move forward towards a bright future. Being able to put your needs first will help you be a better parent, friend, and employee. When you are emotionally happy and healthy, being able to handle the stress of unpleasant situations becomes a little easier. We work hard to make sure you understand how the divorce process impacts your state of mind, and how you can learn to face the end of your marriage without emotional fallout. Call us today for more information.

If you have questions about divorce, consult a qualified legal professional. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call the Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

Five Things The Court Considers When Awarding Spousal Support

When a marriage ends, each spouse deserves a fresh start. It is hard to get this start if you do not have the financial ability to support yourself or your children. Asking for spousal support (often times referred to as alimony) is one way to help you find your financial footing, and live an independent life. In order for the Court to determine if support is appropriate, and in what amount, several factors are taken into consideration. It is important to understand what the Court reviews, so your case can be prepared with evidence that is favorable to your request, whether you are seeking support or are the one being asked to pay.

The Court determines spousal maintenance by reviewing certain criteria and asking questions about the case, such as the following:

  • Is there a possibility for the spouse who is asking for support to support themselves without aid?
  • What type of lifestyle are the parties used to living? After a divorce, the parties are entitled to enjoy a similar lifestyle, which may require financial support from one spouse to the other.
  • Are there any educational needs that must be met prior to the spouse asking for support being able to support themselves?
  • What is the income of each party, and how does it differ? This includes looking at whether one of the spouses stayed home in order that the other further their career, and how the income of each party was impacted by this decision.
  • How long were the parties married?

If you have other factors that are not included in the above, the Court will listen to those as well. Once a decision is made it will be either for a set amount to be paid monthly or a lump sum to be paid all at once. If you are awarded monthly payments, the Court will also fix and end date to the payments. Our goal is to help you reach results that meet your needs, and the needs of your family. Call us today to find out what to expect when seeking spousal support, or when being asked to pay alimony.

For more information about divorce and spousal support, call us today. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

Are There Benefits To A Legal Separation?

When some couples believe their marriage has reached its end, a last ditch effort to salvage the relationship may be made. In some cases, the parties prefer to begin the dissolution process by legally separating before taking the plunge and getting divorced. A separation can give the parties perspective, and often times will help a couple come to a decision about their marriage that is acceptable.

Some things to know about legal separations include:

  • If both parties are not agreeable to the separation, the Court may designate the case as a divorce.
  • If you have not yet met the residency requirements for a divorce in Arizona, you may opt for a separation until the requirements are met.
  • The grounds for a separation are the same as those for obtaining a divorce.

When seeking a separation, many of the same issues as in divorce must be considered. This means you have to seek court determination as to where your kids will live, when visitation will take place, and how assets are divided. Keep in mind that at any time during the separation, one or both of the parties may change their mind about their circumstances. If a change of heart takes place, the parties can reconcile and work on their marriage. However, if it is clear the legitimate aims of marriage can no longer be met; the request for a legal separation can be changed to a request for dissolution. Taking the step to separate before divorcing is helpful for many couples, because it gives the parties a taste of what it is like to no longer be together. For others, separation simply prolongs the process. We will work with you to develop a plan that works for you.

For answers to your questions about separation, consult a qualified legal professional. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today.

 

The Most Common Causes Of Divorce

Life has a way of never staying the same. Just when you think you have hit your stride, an event might come along and derail you. Sometimes the event is minor, other times catastrophic. The way in which people deal with life’s little curveballs can determine the outcome of their relationships. Some of the changes may be positive, while others may be less so. And, there are those circumstances that at first glance seem to be negative, but upon taking a closer look are blessings in disguise.

While it is unfortunate that families split, and children are shuffled back and forth between parents, divorce does happen. Turning this event into a positive life moment, and learning from it depends on several factors. A good starting point is to determine the cause for the dissolution, and then take steps to ensure history is not repeated.

Common causes for divorce include:

  • Financial struggles.
  • Death or serious illness, either of a child or of your spouse.
  • Failing to fully commit to the marriage.
  • Ineffective communication, or too much fighting.
  • Infidelity, either physically or emotionally.
  • Getting married at a young age.
  • Expecting your partner to change, or failing to compromise on issues that are important to both parties.

No one cause can be identified, and likely there are multiple reasons for why marriages end in divorce. Your case is unique to you, and the reason for your divorce will not be the same as in any other case. If you have exhausted all attempts at reconciliation, and still believe divorce is the answer, call our office. We can help to make the process less painful, and will work to make sure your interests are protected. Having a skilled family law attorney on your side works to ease the burden somewhat, and can give leave you with the feeling that your post-divorce life will be happy. Throughout the process we will keep you updated, and fully advised of the status.

For more information about the causes of divorce, call us today. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

Three Ways To Break The Divorce News To Kids Without Breaking Their Hearts

Nearly every child of divorce can tell you the how, when, and where of learning their parents planned to divorce; but the “why” is usually missing. Most people, and especially children need to know why things happen in order to process the event and move forward. For kids, being provided an explanation as to why their parents are splitting can help immensely with the adjustment to post-divorce life. And, when the kids are able to adjust without significant struggle, it can make it easier for the parents to do so as well.

If you are looking for advice on how to tell your children you are getting divorced, here are three good ways to break the news that may not also include breaking their hearts:

  • Avoid a confrontation, or a heated discussion that is just a room away from where your child sleeps. If your kids overhear you arguing, they are likely to hear all of the emotion and regrettable words, which can live on well past the entry of the divorce decree. Instead of closing the bedroom door and having a discussion that could easily escalate, sit down with your kids and tell them what is going on together. This will show that you trust your kids enough to let them in on family decisions, and will also help give them a sense of security of their place in the family structure.
  • Avoid breaking the news around a holiday or birthday. If you decide to tell your kids about the divorce around Thanksgiving, they are likely to form a negative association with that holiday for the remainder of their adult life. While there is no good time to get divorced and to tell your children you are doing so, there is an element of timing to consider. Try to find a time that is not close to a holiday or other event your child enjoys. Doing so will help to make those times of the year less stressful on your kids for years to come.
  • Be honest with your kids about the facts rather than trying to sugar coat everything. The amount of information you provide your kids is up to you, and of course their ages are a factor in what is said. But the more you are able to tell your kids, while also letting them know some issues are off limits as adults only issues, the more prepared your kids will be to face life as a child of divorce.

Our team of qualified family law professionals is here to help you in any way you need before, during, and after your divorce. Call us today to find out more.

For more information about divorce, call us today. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of parental rights permanently ends the legal parent-child relationship. Once these rights are terminated, a child may be adopted without parental consent.

Termination of parental rights may be voluntary, based on the informed consent of the parent, or it may be involuntary, a result of court proceedings brought against the parent.

In Arizona, courts will only involuntarily terminate parental rights in extreme situations, such as the child being in serious emotional or physical danger, and the termination of the parental rights is in the best interest of the child.

A parent is deemed unfit if any of the following conditions apply:

  • Abandonment of the child
  • Sever or chronic abuse or neglect
  • Long-term illness or deficiency of the parent
  • Long-term alcohol or drug induced incapacity of the parent
  • Abuse or neglect of other children in the household
  • Felony conviction or incarceration
  • Failure to establish paternity
  • Murder or manslaughter of a sibling child
  • Felony assault of child or sibling
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Failure of Reasonable Efforts

There are circumstances, however, that are not considered valid grounds for termination. Some parties that have been through a divorce seek to terminate a parent’s rights because they do not pay child support or do not follow the visitation schedule. These are not sufficient grounds for a termination of parent rights proceeding.

If parents decide to place their child or children for adoption, it is considered to be voluntary termination of parental rights.

Under Arizona law, the right to file an action for the termination of parental rights goes to any person or agency with an interest in the welfare of the child. The action can be filed as long as the person taking the action has sufficient grounds to base the claim. The people and agencies that often petition for termination of parental rights are relatives, foster parents, physicians/nurses, Arizona Child Protective Services, and child welfare agencies.

If you are thinking of relinquishing your parent’s rights or have been served with an involuntary termination proceeding order, it is best to get legal advice from a Phoenix Family Law Attorney at the Sampair Group. The experienced child custody attorneys at Sampair represent individuals throughout the valley with locations in Phoenix, Glendale and Mesa.