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Phoenix Divorce Law Blog

Is a change necessary to maintain your child support payments?

Arizona parents who pay child support may, from time to time, feel the pinch of financial uncertainty when money challenges come up in their lives and they are still bound to provide their kids with economic support. While no parent wants to miss child support payments, it can be hard to stay on top of financial commitments when losses of income, unexpected bills and other emergencies happen. When a parent cannot stay ahead of their financial troubles and may not be able to continue to pay what they owe in child support, they may suffer consequences if they become delinquent on their payments.

Child support delinquencies affect children because they may not have enough money for their needs, and they affect a parent's financial and parenting rights. Before problems happen and a parent falls behind on their child support, they can seek a modification to their child support order or agreement to avoid the problems associated with deficiencies.

Gray divorce may lead to financial troubles for older Americans

The end of a marriage requires individuals to reorganize their lives and in some cases prioritize their wants and needs. This is because for some, going from two incomes to one or losing the income of their ex greatly impacts how much money they can count on to support themselves in the future. Recently released data suggests that the later a person gets divorced, the more likely they are to live in poverty after.

For example, while just under 19% of women who get divorced early in life end up living with low incomes, nearly 27% of female gray divorcees end up in that same economic classification. For men, the disparity is not as extensive. Early in life divorcees end up living in poverty at a rate of 10.7% while older divorcees fall into this category at a rate of 11.4%.

Which parent makes decisions when a child faces an emergency?

No parent wants to envision an event where their child is lost, hurt or otherwise in danger. However, all across Arizona parents find themselves confronted with difficult situations involving the health and welfare of their children.

When parents share custody of their kids with their former partner, they may be unsure of just what they can do without first consulting with the child's other parent when accidents and crises occur. In Arizona, emergencies present a situation where a custodial parent may generally act without first consulting their ex.

Parenting time interference can impact a father's rights

Decisions regarding child support and child custody are made based on the needs of the children whose legal matters land in Arizona family law courts. To protect the child's best interests, courts may grant different custody arrangements based on the child's unique requirements. Because children can have very different needs, very different parenting plans can be ordered through which they spend time with their parents.

A child may be solely under the custody of one parent, or in many cases, they may share their time between the households of both of their parents. When parents share custody of their child they are required to follow certain terms and conditions regarding when and where their child is handed off, which days and holidays they are permitted to spend with their child, and other issues. Parents must abide by these rules in order to avoid legal sanctions and challenges of parenting time interference.

What is considered income for child support computations?

The state of Arizona uses a complicated set of guidelines to determine how much money a child should receive in support from a noncustodial parent. One of the most significant factors that is used when determining child support is parental income. Many different sources of income may be included in the computation of child support.

Regular income from wages may be factored into a parent's gross income, as well as income they receive from tips, commissions, bonuses, pensions, or annuities. Any benefits that a parent receives such as from Social Security, workers' compensation, or unemployment may also be factored in. Other sources of income, like prize money, gifts of cash, and payments of spousal support, may be considered in the computation of child support.

Adoption and grandparents' rights

Adoption is a legal practice that allows an adult to become the legal parent of a child for whom they did not biologically create. Individuals in Arizona may choose to adopt children from the foster care system or from private adoption agencies. Some even choose to look overseas to expand their families. When a child is adopted, their biological parents' rights to them are severed and the child becomes the legal responsibility of the adoptive parents.

While a grandparent may gain a grandchild if adoption happens in their family, they may also lose a grandchild if the child's parent elects to give their offspring up for adoption. Grandparents do not retain their rights to visitation or custody of their biological grandchildren if the children's biological parents relinquish their rights to them. When biological parents' rights are cut off, all other biological familial relationships are also considered terminated.

When will a child support obligation end?

Whether a parent is married or not, they are generally expected to help provide their child with financial support. Their child custody arrangement will dictate how much time the parent gets to spend with the child, and it will also direct how much child support the parent must pay to ensure the child has what they need. In Phoenix, child support may be enforced through a variety of different legal paths until parental obligations to pay cease.

The end of a child support order or agreement may come about in many different ways. Oftentimes, these obligations end when children become adults. Upon reaching the age of majority, people may be considered capable of providing for their own financial needs.

Paternity matters when it comes to a father's rights

There are a number of circumstances under which a man may be presumed to be a child's father. If, for example, the man was married to the child's mother when the child was born, under the law the man may be presumed to have fathered the child with his wife. Other presumptions of paternity exist and Arizona residents may need to get more information about their own unique circumstances.

However, if there is no marital or other relationship-based rationale on which to support a paternity presumption, a father may find that he is neither recognized as a child's parent nor given parental rights over the child. In such circumstances, the man may choose to submit to paternity testing to demonstrate his affiliation with his presumptive child.

Address tax issues in a child custody agreement

The filing deadline for 2018 income taxes has passed and unless Arizona residents secured extensions, they should have had their documents submitted to the government almost two months ago. Most people have received and spent their returns if they were entitled to get them, while others may still be looking for ways to minimize the burdens of having had to pay money. Those in this situation may be looking ahead to next year to find ways to reduce their possible tax obligations.

One way that individuals can cut down on their tax obligations is by claiming their children as dependents. When a person must support a child or other person who cannot provide for themselves, they are able to protect some of their income from assessment under the tax laws. When two parents share a child but are separated or divorced, though, it can be a confusing matter to determine who may claim the child on their taxes.

How marital property is divided in Arizona

If an Arizona resident wants to understand the classification of property pursuant to a divorce, they must first be familiar with the legal concept of "community property." Community property is a theory of property ownership between marital partners that is recognized in Arizona and a handful of other jurisdictions. At its core, the recognition of community property in Arizona means that property that individuals acquire during their marriages is owned "50-50" and will be divided as such when they divorce.

There are special circumstances that modify this general rule. For example, it only applies to property acquired during a marriage. If a person owned property before their marriage and maintained it as separate property throughout the relationship, then it may remain the separate property of the owner. Similarly, property that is received as a gift or inheritance and is maintained by the individual owner as such may remain separate property.