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Maricopa County Family Law Blog

Helpful ideas for shared custody in an Arizona divorce

Parenting is definitely not without its challenges as most Arizona parents can attest. If you're getting divorced, you may encounter some problematic issues regarding child custody or finances having to do with your kids. Preparing a co-parenting plan can be stressful as well, especially if you and your spouse disagree on certain things. Your divorce doesn't necessarily have to ruin your family life. There are several ways to reduce stress in a shared custody situation.

It's crucial for both parents to be willing to cooperate and work as a team. You may no longer reside in the same household but you will always have your children in common with your ex, so the more you work together to help them adapt to their new lifestyle, the less stressful your co-parenting arrangement may be.

Substance abuse could affect the outcome of your divorce

Going through a divorce is an understandably difficult and emotional process. As a result, you may find yourself falling back into old habits of drinking too much or even taking substances in attempts to dull your pain. However, these actions could greatly affect the outcome of your divorce, especially when it comes to child custody.

If you want to obtain at least joint custody of your children, you need to prove that you are a fit parent. If you and the other parent do not get along, it is possible that he or she may try to use your substance use as evidence that you should not have custody, even partially.

How is debt divided in divorce?

The ending of a marriage is not usually a simple process. The two people involved have to make choices on how to handle several aspects of life that they previously managed together. This can include determining child care, property division and even debt division.

If you carry any amount of debt along with someone else, you likely understand that the amount owed is the responsibility of both of you. So what happens if you decide to divorce your spouse? Experts say that the distribution of debt during a divorce depends on several factors.

Is your ex-spouse interfering with your rights as a parent?

As an Arizona parent, there is nothing more important than protecting the relationship you have with your child. Divorce can change how often you see your kids, so it is crucial that you have equitable access to your kids and the ability to maintain a strong relationship, even after the process is final. One way to do this is to seek a custody and visitation order that is fair and reasonable.

Even with a practical custody plan in place, the other parent can do things that could potentially undermine your role and the relationship you have with your kids. Through various types of interference and influence, your ex-spouse may carry out actions that compromise your rights and what your kids think about you. If this is happening, it is parenting time interference, and you do not have to stand for it. 

Is divorce always litigious?

It might be entertaining to watch explosive legal battles play out on TV or in the lives of celebrity couples, but it is far less fun to go through that experience. Highly contentious divorces usually cost more, take significantly longer to finalize and are simply harder for everyone involved. You probably already know this and might even be putting off filing for divorce because of it.

You have options other than staying in an unhappy marriage or dealing with a highly contentious divorce. Indeed, many Arizona couples use approaches like mediation or collaborative divorces to reach timely and agreeable resolutions.

What are your rights if your military spouse abandons you?

The military lifestyle is definitely challenging for most families. Many Arizona spouses can relate to trying to hold down the home front while a spouse serves combat duty or a peace assignment overseas. Beyond the normal course of duty in the U.S. military, households where one spouse is a service member also encounter the typical problems known to civilian families, as well.

Balancing your time between caring for your children and providing support to your spouse both state-side and abroad can be a rewarding yet difficult experience. The U.S. military provides support to its members and their spouses in all matters of family life, including support for spouses and children when a military service member abandons his or her family.

Preparing for your first meeting with a divorce attorney

You and your spouse may have gone through every possible step to resolve your differences and save your marriage. However, if it is clear that things are not going to work out, you would be wise to take steps soon to protect your rights during the divorce and property division.

Some divorcing spouses feel discouraged and weary by the time they begin divorce proceedings, and this may cause them to make mistakes that cost them dearly for years to come. Seeking legal advice as early as possible after making the decision to divorce can help you to obtain a fair settlement or ruling and create custody decisions you and your family can live with. However, to make the most efficient use of your time and money, it is best to be prepared before your first visit to an attorney.

Follow the money trail if you suspect a hidden asset problem

When you and your spouse mutually decided to end your marriage in an Arizona court, you were really hoping to make it as painless a process as possible. That's understandable, especially because, like most good parents, you simply want what is best for your kids and want to settle your differences, then move on in life. If both sides play fair during property division proceedings, you may be able to achieve those goals.  

However, if you think your spouse is trying to give you the short end of the stick regarding division of marital assets, then not only might your situation become stressful, you might need outside support to help you address and rectify the problem. You would definitely not be the first Arizona spouse to deal with a hidden asset problem; knowing how to pull the plug on such schemes is a first step in the right direction to protecting your assets.  

Thinking about joint custody? Make sure you consider all factors.

During divorce, parents are naturally concerned with how their choice to end their marriage will impact their children. In order to minimize negative effects and allow their children to have a certain amount of continuity of lifestyle, some Arizona parents choose a joint custody arrangement. While not the best choice in every situation, joint custody offers many benefits. 

One of the main benefits of joint custody is the fact that it allows the children to have regular access to both parents. There is clear evidence that children need this opportunity, and it can actually reduce the negative impact of a divorce. However, before you agree to a joint custody arrangement, it is important to consider all factors that could affect your time with your kids and your rights as the parent.

You got divorced: How can you help your kids cope?

You are definitely not the only Arizona parent to divorce in 2018, nor will you likely be the last. Like most good parents, your children's best interests are one of your highest priorities, and you worked hard to come up with a fair and agreeable co-parenting plan that provides your kids with ample amounts of time with both of their parents. You expect to encounter other challenges as well, however, as you and your kids adapt to a new lifestyle.

It's a good thing that spouses can custom-design their post-divorce parenting plans to fit their immediate needs and their long-term family goals. It is also a good thing that, even when the court issues an order regarding custody, visitation or support, it doesn't necessarily mean it is permanent. You can seek modification, as necessary. If you know where to seek support, you and your children can obtain all the help you need to move toward a new, successful future.