Posts

Are Divorce And Separation The Same?

Divorce is not the only option when you are having marital problems. For some couples the decision to legally separate is a better choice than the decision to dissolve the marriage. The reasons why a couple might make this decision could be financial or religious, or based on some other personal belief. Regardless of the reason, there are still issues that are commonly found in divorce that will apply when separating. Knowing what to expect when considering a separation rather than a divorce will help you decide which route is best for you.

The law on separation agreements is found in the same statutes that govern divorce proceedings. Typically the agreement will contain provisions that resolve the following issues:

  • Child support
  • Child visitation and custody arrangements
  • Property distribution, including division of assets and liabilities

To be effective, a separation agreement must be in writing and approved by the Court. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your spouse as to the major issues needing resolution in your separation, you will be required to present evidence regarding your position to the Judge. The Judge will make decisions that are equitable, which may not always mean equal. Another important thing to keep in mind when entering into a separation agreement is that you are still legally married. This is an important distinction between divorce and separation, and the two are not the same. To be sure your rights are protected when negotiating terms of a separation agreement, call an experienced family law attorney for help.

If you have questions about divorce and legal 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 to schedule your appointment.

What Is A Default Judgment?

One of the most basic legal concepts is that of due process. What this means is that all parties to a lawsuit are given notice of the action before any decision is made. This requires service of process on every litigant, so that they can enter an appearance in the case and protect their interests. If you fail to respond to a lawsuit, the Court has the authority to enter judgment as requested in the petition. Never rely on a statement from your ex that he/she will be fair or that you have previously agreed upon things and assume that party will follow through in the final Divorce Decree. The failure to respond to a Petition can have very serious and negative consequences. To avoid this harsh consequence, contact a knowledgeable attorney to make sure you answer on time and in full.

In a divorce proceeding, entry of a default judgment for failing to respond to the case can include some results that are undesirable. This might include:

  • Property division awards that give you less than you deserve.
  • An unfair distribution of debt repayment.
  • Child support that does fit your budget, or meet your kids’ needs.
  • Child custody in a way that does not give you the amount of time you want with your kids.

It is not an option to ignore a summons. A thorough review by a competent family law attorney will reveal the deadline by which you must file an answer to the petition. Knowing your answer date puts you in a position to be able to fully develop your responses to the allegations made by the other side, and will give you a chance to file your answer on time. Experienced family law attorneys know how to figure out the answer date in your case and make sure that a harmful default judgment is not taken against you. If you have been served with divorce papers, act quickly to make sure you answer on time.  .

For answers to your questions about divorce processes, 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.

Help Getting Over The Anger Of Divorce

Let’s face it, getting divorced is not fun and can cause a host of emotions. Some of the more common feelings that go along with getting divorced are sadness, a sense of failure, depression, and anger. Any one of these feelings, if they linger too long, can be damaging to your future. In order to have a successful divorce, you have to have a successful post-divorce life. Part of this is done by reaching agreements or making persuasive arguments for what you want during the divorce case. But, part of this also comes from the personal growth that should come after the ink dries your divorce decree.

If you are having overwhelming feelings of anger or resentment after your divorce, these things can help you move past those feelings and put you in a positive mental state:

  • Write down what you are feeling. This is a tactic used by many counselors and therapists, and the goal is to get you to put your feelings down on paper, so you can have a visual reference to what you are feeling. Along with writing down how you feel you should also refer back to those writings with regularity. You might be surprised at how quickly your feeling change, or find a common theme that causes your anger. Once you know what to look for, it will be easier to deal with a situation when it arises.
  • Talk to a trusted friend or professional. Sometimes all a person needs is to vent, and get their feelings off their chest. If you allow yourself to keep your feelings of anger inside, they are likely to come to the surface in an inappropriate or dangerous way.
  • Figure out what causes your anger by looking for reoccurring events. If you know what causes you to become angry, you can avoid similar situations in the future.

Harboring deep feelings of anger or resentment can be damaging to your health, and can cause conflict in the relationships you wish to hold on to after divorce. In order to have a post-divorce life that does not leave you feeling anxious, it is critical to move past any anger you have about the case.

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

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.