John Bednarz, P.C. | Divorce & Family Law Attorney
View Practice Areas
Relax and meet John

Phoenix Divorce Law Blog

Is there something I can do to get custody without court?

As this blog has discussed on previous occasions, concerned grandparents who have grandkids that need care and loving support can obtain the legal authority they need to so provide in certain circumstances.

However, this process will almost inevitably involve a trip to court that could be quite contentious and complicated, particularly if the child's parent or parents object to the grandparents' taking custody.

Dads should be ready to assert their rights in the new year

It turns out that there is some truth to the rumor that a lot of people go through divorces, separations or just informal breakups in January.

At least according to one study, January is not the month when new divorces are most common. Instead, that dubious honor belongs to the month of March, followed closely by August.

Alimony change could affect more than one's taxes

Since about the early part of 2018, it's been in the news that the federal government has changed the way alimony, also referred to as spousal support, gets treated for federal income tax purposes.

For the last 75 years up until now, a person ordered to pay alimony could usually take such payments as a tax deduction. On the other hand, the person receiving these payments had to report them as income on his or her tax returns.

Why is a QDRO so important?

Some might think that family law attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona, who are handling a divorce or separation primarily work to make sure that their clients' interests in property are protected vis a vi the other party in the divorce.

Some people may also see their attorneys as their advocate and negotiator, as the one who is supposed to get them the best deal possible.

Criminal charges related to custody and possible defenses

This blog has previously discussed how courts can enforce parenting plans when one parent, or other person for that matter, hides the child from the other parent or otherwise refuses to return the child to the parent who has custody. For a number of reasons, many of which are legitimate, parents seriously break the terms of a parenting plan or do so violate child custody orders with such frequency that they may face criminal charges, either instead of or in addition to a civil contempt.

Arizona law indeed does punish such behavior as a felony, although relatively minor violations can be handled as a misdemeanor. Basically, anyone who withholds a child from the child's legal custodian can run afoul of this law, although in practice, prosecutors may not always choose to enforce this law.

What is considered non-marital property?

As this blog has mentioned before, Arizona is a community property state. In the context of a divorce, this means that, generally speaking, marital property is split 50-50 between the spouses. Incidentally, even couples with no intention of splitting need to be aware of our community property laws.

The general rule is that if a couple owns property together, or if it was acquired during their marriage or because of income either one of them earned during their marriage, then the property is community property. In practice, at least for long-term marriages, most assets are going to be treated as community property, subject to a 50-50 split.

How will my second job be treated for child support purposes?

Many parents in Phoenix, Arizona, work hard to make sure that they and their families have what they need to survive and, from time to time, enjoy life a little bit. This sometimes entails one or both parents putting in extra hours at work or taking on a second job.

Of course, in situations where parents live apart, each parent's respective income factors in to the court's decision as to how much child support each parent must be responsible for. In theory, this means that all income, including income from one's second job, is in play when it comes to determining a parent's child support bill.

Representing dads who need help with holiday parenting time

A previous post on this blog talked about the importance of establishing a clear parenting plan that spells out which parent will have the children at what points over the major holidays. This post explained that doing this sort of careful planning can make the holiday season go smoothly for everyone.

While one hopes that both parents will be able to understand that a child really should get to spend some of their holidays with both of them, for a lot of reasons, it does not always work out that way. For example, a dad who is trying to build or repair a relationship with his children may find it very hard to convince the mom to give them up over the holidays. While the mother's reluctance can be malicious, more often than not it may be more of a failure to appreciate the dad's role in his children's lives. With that in mind, things like visiting relatives or observing certain holiday traditions become more important.

Thinking clearly about the family residence

When a couple is divorcing and going through a legal separation, they may find that they have a lot of emotions attached to the home they shared while happily married. But, like the couple's other property, the home will be subject to property division.

In the vast majority of cases, this means that the home will either have to be sold, or one of the parties will need to move out. Given the emotions involved and for other reasons, perhaps even a misconception that getting the marital residence is always good financially, a Phoenix resident may be tempted to fight to keep the house at all costs.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which means that now is a good time for all Arizona residents to remember, and as much as possible support, victims of domestic violence and their loved ones. It is estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men are victims of domestic violence.  The activities undertaken during this month may give women just the moral and emotional boost they need to end an abusive relationship. Unfortunately, it often takes more than just courage and emotional support for a woman or a man to break away cleanly from an abusive partner.

Particularly if they are married to or have a child in common with their abuser, victims of domestic violence also are going to need legal help. Initially, this sort of help can include the obtaining of a restraining order and the enforcement of that order.