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Protect Your Financial Future After Divorce

Divorce is one of the most stressful and emotional transitions you can face, and can often come with financial surprises. It is important to prepare for your financial future so the burden does not haunt you until retirement. Here are some ways to protect your financial future after divorce:

Financially preparing for the divorce and separation as soon as possible is the best way to go. Make copies of important documents such as pay stubs, tax returns, financial account statements, life insurance policies and loan documents and agreements, and begin organizing all of this information. Start tackling your finances during the divorce process, not after. Get separate bank accounts and credit cards, and be sure to cancel all joint credit cards and accounts. This way you can establish your own credit history and will not be held responsible is your ex-spouse fails to pay any credit card bills. As you negotiate the divorce, be sure that the mortgage, utilities and other bills get paid on time so you are not penalized.

Create a new budget for yourself for after the divorce. You will have less monthly income to use in your current lifestyle, so decide what kind of changes you need to make in order to better afford the single life. Consider expenses such as household, automobile, children, insurance, and other debts. Even if it’s in the divorce agreement, you can’t always count on your ex-spouse to pay the amount they are supposed to, or pay on time, so it’s important to know where you stand financially. Building an emergency fund from any cash you receive from the divorce is a great way to protect yourself from financial surprises or emergencies. This fund should equal 3-6 months of your living expenses for enough cushion during financial hardships. Having an emergency fund will also prevent you from racking up credit card debt.

Consult with a Phoenix Divorce Lawyer at The Sampair Group to discuss protecting your real assets such as cars, real estate and personal property. It is rare that couples in a divorce get a fair settlement when it comes to assets, so you should seek to resolve the splitting up of assets as fair as possible. Seeking outside counsel is also important when it comes to medical insurance. It is very important to discuss coverage for you, and any children involved, after the divorce. As for social security, you are entitled to 50% of your spouse’s benefits if you were married for at least 10 years if that amount is greater than your own benefits. This applies even if your ex remarries, but not if you do.

Be sure that you revisit and evaluate your beneficiaries. If you do not remove your former spouse as your primary beneficiary on retirement and investment accounts, they will receive all of that money in the even of your death. These policies must be changed themselves, as just making changes on your will does not protect these funds.

Planning For College Expenses After Divorce

Every parent wants to encourage their child to continue their lives after high school by attending college and pursuing a career. However, following a divorce, the way for which you and your spouse planned on paying for your child’s education may change. Consulting with a Phoenix family law attorney at The Sampair Group can help you understand your rights and obligations regarding your child’s college tuition after a divorce.

Discussions between you and your spouse on this topic should include a full review of your settlement agreement, along with planning for potential schools that your child would like to apply to, financial aid options and alternatives, room and board, travel and other aspects of higher education and the financial responsibilities that come with it.

Paying for a child’s education is strictly voluntary on part of either parent, although one parent seeking contribution to college expenses by the other parent can file a petition with the court requesting contribution. The problem with this is that the court may order a parent to contribute to the costs of their child’s college education in an amount that exceeds what they can afford. This is where preventative measures can be taken by defining the terms for these expenses in a settlement agreement.

Your agreement should require each parent to pay a share of college expenses so that the burden of the cost does not fall on just one parent. Also in this agreement should include tax benefits that come from college expenses and how they should be allocated in the event of a divorce. These rates change annually, so be sure to make any necessary changes to your agreement as they are modified.

If you don’t have an agreement with these terms, the court may require both spouses to contribute to the expenses. To avoid this, consult a Glendale divorce attorney to make sure that your divorce agreement specifies who will or will not pay for their child’s educations, remembering to include all of the fine print. For more information, contact us today.

How do you file for divorce after 24 years of being separated?

Question:

How do you file for divorce after 24 years of being separated?

My mother has been seperated from my father for over 24 years. She doesn’t know where he lives. The last known residence was a prison in St. John’s, Arizona. She is looking to get remarried. How do you get a divorce without the other party present?

Answer:

In order to obtain a divorce in Arizona, the Petitioner must serve the filed documents on the Respondent. In a case such as this, where his whereabouts are unknown, once she has done a diligent search to locate the other party, such as Internet, etc., if she is unable to locate him, she can serve him by publication in a newspaper. She does not have to succeed in locating him to get divorced, but she must make a diligent effort to do so.

The entire process takes about 120 days and many law firms, such as The Sampair Group can complete the process for a flat fee.

Congratulations to your mom.

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/.

What can I do to get full custody?

Question:

What can I do to get full custody?

I have been separated from my husband for 10 months and want full custody. I am from Arizona and 12 months ago we moved to South Dakota to be closer to his family. After 2 months of being there he cheated on me and we have been separated ever since. Recently (under the advice of a lawyer) I moved back with the kids to Arizona. The kids are 2.5 and 5 years old. I now have an apartment, a job and have enrolled the oldest in school. All my family and support system is here in Arizona. The father is verbally abusive, but does not want to help with child care. I want full or sole custody of the children to ensure they stay with me. What kind of battle will I have to fight to ensure this happens. There is no family or friends for me in South Dakota and I absolutely do not want to go back there. I would give up any child support just to have full custody.

Answer:

You do not have the option of “giving up child support to have full custody.” At such time as you file for divorce, the court will address custody and support as well as other issues.

An important note is that the children must reside back here in Arizona for 6 months before the court will have jurisdiction over them.

You should seek a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney and probably not discuss the matter with your husband again until you do.

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

How To Spot An Excellent Divorce Attorney

More often than not, divorces can be overwhelming, complicated and emotional. On top of all of the stress and emotion that comes with a divorce, you will need to find an expert Phoenix divorce lawyer that is reliable and knowledgeable enough to help through the process to win your case and continue with your life. Here are 5  traits to look for when searching for the best divorce attorney:

1. Expert in the Field
A good divorce attorney knows more than just the basics of matrimonial law and divorce. You want to find a lawyer whose knowledge goes further than just the cookie cutter basics of two people separating. They should know all laws regarding divorce including child custody, domestic abuse/violence laws, basic tax laws, property division, alimony, and real estate laws. It is very important that they know the judges, legal system ad workings of the court where your case is occurring. Every jurisdiction is different. A good family attorney is one that has courtroom experience and is familiar with the specifics of your case so that they can adapt their legal strategy specifically to your needs.

2. A Negotiator and a Listener
It is important that your divorce lawyer is someone that can help with the negotiation and problem solving aspects of your divorce. They should work well with people, be able to help you reach a compromise with your spouse and make you feel comfortable that they are helping you. A good family attorney has an understanding of psychology and human relationships in order to help their client(s) keep a positive outlook throughout the proceedings.

3. Personal Referrals
While you don’t want to rely solely on the recommendation of others without doing your own research, referrals are always a good thing to start with. Talk to people in your community who have experience similar problems as yours in divorce hearings. Ask them who their lawyers are and how they feel about how they handled their case. Chances are you’ll end up with several good connections if you ask around.

4. Affordability and Quality
When it comes to most divorce attorneys, you get what you pay for. If you don’t have much money to spend on legal assistance for your divorce proceedings, you may have to hire a newer attorney who isn’t as experienced as a lawyer who has been practicing law for a while. However, if the attorney you can afford is a up-and-coming divorce lawyer, there is an advantage in that they may work a little harder for you in order to build up a good reputation.

5. Trustworthiness
Your divorce lawyer is someone you will be sharing a lot of confidential information with, and it is important that they prove to you that they are someone you can trust and feel comfortable sharing such things with. An ideal family attorney is kind, compassionate and reassuring. A divorce is a trying time, and you are going to be going through a rollercoaster of emotions, and an excellent divorce lawyer will not rush you or be aggressive in their approach. They should also share and support your basic philosophy or attitude toward divorce when it comes to their methods.

Family law covers many issues that involve a range of emotions. A good family law attorney knows that he or she is helping someone through one of the most difficult times in their lives. At The Sampair Group, our high conflict resolution attorneys take the time to get to know you and the circumstances of your case. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

Back to School Tips for Divorced Parents (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Always Help With Homework
Even if you are not the custodial parent, try to have your kids do their homework with you. This is helpful so you know how they are progressing in school and help with any big projects they may have.

Plan Out The Year
Sit down with each other in the late summer a few weeks before school begins to lay out a schedule and other plans on a calendar to plan the entire school year. Don’t forget to include on this calendar any sports or other school activities that the child will be a part of. The more organized you are, the less confusion and stress there will be.

Buy Extra
Buy duplicate used schoolbooks so the child has one at each home. This way they don’t have to constantly remember to bring a huge load of books from one place to another.

Divide Duties
Before school begins, decide which parent will be responsible for the different parts of getting your child ready to begin, including who will buy school supplies, back-to-school clothes, etc. You should each be pitching in the same amount of time and money.

 

Back to School Tips for Divorced Parents (Part 1)

Co-parenting is a full time job in itself, and adding a school schedule into the mix doesn’t make things any easier. As a divorced parent going through these struggles, it is also important to know that the start of the school year is just as stressful for your children as it is for you, if not more. But there are plenty of ways to make the back-to-school experience easier for your children and both parents.

Communicate
Keep up with constant communication with your ex-spouse about all school activities, correspondences and any other information regarding your child’s schooling. Both of you must always be in the loop equally. Never use your child as a form of communication between the two of you.

Scheduling
Make sure to coordinate each of your schedules so that it is guaranteed that your child will have a ride to/from school or to other school activities.

Keep Teachers In The Loop
Be sure that the school has record of both parents taking care of the child separately, in case of emergency. Also, if there is one parent that is not involved, be sure to inform the teachers. This can help them avoid any embarrassing situations (i.e. inviting a child to a “Dad’s Day” event if their father is not in the picture.)

Keep It Simple
Some children may be confused about how to explain their situation to their friends. Simply tell them that they can explain that sometimes they live with mom, and sometimes they live with dad.

Read more in Part 2

 

The First Steps To Divorce In Arizona

In Arizona, divorce is also called “dissolution of marriage.” To begin a divorce proceeding, there are several steps one must take.

When you decide to file for divorce, it is important to immediately contact an attorney. The Phoenix divorce lawyers at The Sampair Group know that this process can be stressful and emotional from start to finish, and will be there to assist you through every step.

First, the party filing for divorce must file a petition in Superior Court, in addition to a filing fee. The petition includes certain facts about property rights, spousal maintenance, child custody and child support along with any other rights that are related to the marriage.

In addition to the petition filed in Superior Court, you must also submit a sensitive data sheet, which includes private information about each party involved in the divorce along with any children from the marriage. This document may include sensitive data such as social security numbers of all family members. It is kept sealed by the court so the general public cannot access the information, preventing fraud or other means of using that type of data.

A creditor notice must also be included in the petition. Each spouse will receive a notice from creditors regarding their rights and responsibilities for debt that was incurred during the marriage.

A joint preliminary injunction must also be filed, which is through an order of the court that takes effect as soon as the divorce proceedings have begun. This injunction prohibits either spouse from transferring assets, selling property, changing insurance policies or taking any other actions that may impact how community property is determined or allocated.

Each spouse will also receive notice of their rights and responsibilities about their current healthcare insurance policies and how the divorce will impact that.

A summons is one of the most important documents to file in a divorce process. This legal document informs the responding party that a divorce case has been filed involving them. The summons requires a response in 20 days if the respondent has any input regarding the divorce.

To make sure you are taking the necessary and lawfully required steps to filing for divorce in Arizona, contact a Phoenix family law attorney today.

Child Custody Battles: Factors Considered by the Court

Arizona Divorce AttorneyChild custody laws are implemented to maintain relationships between divorced parents and their children in a way that meets the best interest of the child. Going through the steps of child custody hearings can be difficult for everyone involved, but a judge will determine the outcome based on what is best for the child in many different factors of their lives. Here are some common factors that will determine the outcome of your child custody hearing:

What The Child Wants
The child’s personal preference is one of the biggest things taken into consideration when a judge is determining child custody. However, the weight that this factor holds depends on the child’s age and if they are old enough to make a sound decision based off of what they wants. In most states, it is usually between ages 12 and 14 that a child’s opinion will receive more consideration.

Medical and Educational Needs
If the child has important medical or educational needs, the judge will consider the abilities of each parent to provide the necessary means for the child on a day-to-day basis. Under this consideration is discussion of each parent’s work schedule, physical limitations, emotional state, and how well they understand the child’s needs and how to take care of them.

Relationship Between Child and Parent
This is also another very important factor. If one parent is present in the child’s life more often than another, the parent who is around more will have a better chance at being awarded more custody. Emotional ties are looked at strongly by a judge during a child custody hearing.

Safety
The court will often send a certified evaluator to the home of each parent in order to assess the living space that the child would be spending most of their time with. The job of the evaluator is to ensure that the child has a safe place to eat, sleep and play, but they may also put negative marks on the visit if it doesn’t meet certain standards of cleanliness and safety.

If you are experiencing a custody battle, seeking professional assistance is important to ensure that the rights of your child are protected. A child custody attorney at The Sampair Group will advocate for you and your child’s best interest. Visit www.sampair.com for more information.

What To Expect in a Child Custody Hearing

Arizona child custody attorneyAny kind of court appearance can be intimidating, especially if it is one surrounding your children and child custody. The ultimate goal of the court is to put the best interest of the child first and create an arrangement that serves their physical, mental, and emotional needs. But as a parent, you must be prepared before going into your child custody hearing.

Child custody matters are usually handled in a small setting. The typical courtroom may be much smaller and more intimate than you would expect, with very few people present. While the hearing is taking place, the judge wants to be sure that the child is in a stable environment where they can adjust to the changes. They will look at a number of factors before determining the final agreement.

During the hearing, the judge will look closely at each of the homes that the child may live in. This is to determine that the homes are safe and close to schools, health care and shopping. They will also take into consideration the room-to-people in the household ratio so they can be sure that the house the child is living in full time can accommodate all residents of the home appropriately.

If you want to be the sole custodial parent, there are some things you are going to have to prove. You must prove that you can provide the bulk of emotional support and guidance for your child. Doing this may include showing the judge your work and social schedule to show them that you have an adequate amount of time to take care of your child.

A child custody hearing may involve multiple testimonies from the parents, the child, and any witnesses such as family members, school officials, etc. Each of the parties will testify on their communication and experiences with the child and how they feel each parent benefits the child in which ways. They may present their opinion on who they feel should be the custodial parent of the child.

Child custody can be difficult to maneuver, so it is important to always seek the guidance of a Glendale child custody attorney. Visit www.sampair.com to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney at The Sampair Group that will fight for your parental rights.