Is It A Gift Or Just Paying Bills?

Is It A Gift Or Just Paying Bills? Here is a typical scenario in a divorce case:  One spouse moves out of the marital home and files for divorce. For the next 10 months, he or she continues to pay the $1,800 mortgage, and two car payments of $400 each to ensure their credit isn’t damaged, and to protect the property from repossession or foreclosure. Should those payments totaling $12,000 (non-paying spouse’s half the mortgage and car payment of $400) be considered a gift to the other spouse?  Or, should the paying spouse be entitled to reimbursement from the non-paying spouse? In the past, Courts looked at whether the payment… Read More

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Kids calling the stepparent “Mom” or “Dad”

Kids calling the stepparent “Mom” or “Dad” Ending a relationship or marriage is tough for most parents. It’s especially painful when your children refer to your spouse’s new significant other as “Mom” or “Dad”.  These parental labels may be at the urging of the parent or inadvertent by the child.  Either way it can be hard for the real “Mom” or “Dad” to accept and there isn’t much that can be done about it. Recently, one biological “Mom” in New Jersey decided to seek the Court’s help in restricting her ex-husband’s fiancé from also being called “Mom” by the parties 8-year old son. In that case, the parents shared legal… Read More

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Pet Custody Disputes

Pet Custody Disputes For many people, pets play an important role in the family: protector, children’s playmate, exercise buddy and best friend. When a couple can no longer make their relationship work and living apart is inevitable, the pets are often caught in the middle.  According to American Veterinary Medical Association, in 2012 there were more than 43 million households with dogs and 36 million households with cats in the United States. That doesn’t include households with bird, horses or other types of animals. In Arizona, Courts regard dogs, cats, fish, birds, horses and other pets as property, despite the importance and value we place upon them. Courts are increasingly… Read More

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Marital Dissolution and Feelings of Anger

Marital Dissolution and Feelings of Anger A marital dissolution is upsetting, especially if one spouse has cheated. Add in the legal formalities, which include the division of assets and debts, and custody issues if there are children, and you have a nerve-racking situation.  Arizona is a no-fault state, which means the courts don’t look at the reason for the breakup, they only require that the union be irretrievably broken. The legal aspects of the divorce process are often stressful because as the parties involved, you aren’t just splitting up property. All those things which you owned together, whether they are dishes, furniture, jewelry, or vehicles, probably signify happier times, and… Read More

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Children and the Housing Crisis

Children and the Housing Crisis It’s no surprise that a recent report found Arizona children have been hit hard by the foreclosure crises and recession.  Twelve percent (12%) of Arizona kids live in households that have already lost their home to foreclosure or are likely to go through a foreclosure sale in the near future. Losing a home to foreclosure can be devastating to the whole family, but the loss can affect children in ways we may not have realized.   According to the Brookings Institute Report written by Julia Isaacs, some of the negative effects of foreclosure include: Kids do less well in school.  Frequent moves or changing schools, especially… Read More

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Tips for Divorcing Parents

Tips for Divorcing Parents Parenting plans that focus on the kids Let kids be kids. Parents who are able to minimize drama and work together to be effective co-parents will be better off, and so will their kids.  Find ways to show support for your kid’s academic and athletic talents, and create parenting time schedules respecting the children’s activities and goals. Technology and You – Parents and kids are busy, so remember to use all the great mobile devices and tools such as iPhone, Blackberry, and Google Calendar to keep track of family time and events.  Sync your custody and parenting time schedules on a regular basis and remember to… Read More

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