Challenging Times and Family Law (Divorce, Child Custody, Assets)

| Attorneys at Law Family Law | March 25, 2020

In Times of Challenge

Sometimes couples are pushed to their limits in times of crisis. Many times, we are glad to say, they come out stronger and better together in the end. However not every couple does well under pressure, whether it be financial struggle and uncertainty, health problems or social challenges. Unfortunately with the current pandemic, we are starting to see all of those challenges coming together at once.

Financial Struggle

Let’s face it, the current financial situation in the country, and world, hit us like a ton of bricks with relatively little warning. Governments and the private sector needed to act swiftly and as a result some of us got caught in the mix without warning. Working from home, reduced hours, furloughs, and yes even permanent closures of businesses resulting in workers being laid off, have rapidly increased the financial uncertainty and stress on families. With congress announcing “stimulus packages” and what to do to come out of this financial crisis, many of us remember vividly the last time we, as a county, were in a similar situation financially. We strongly encourage couples to seek advice from professionals at this time. Financial professionals such as financial planners, CPA’s and even other legal professionals that have seen and been through this before can offer advice to hopefully allow couples and families to come out of this stronger. We also encourage those that have recently been through a divorce, child custody, spousal maintenance proceedings or other family law related issues to contact a family law attorney to discuss and review the financial arrangements and obligations in this current financial atmosphere and to make sure you and your assets are protected.

Health Problems

Please let us be clear, we are not medical doctors and we are not offering any medical advice in this article. However, we are sharing with you that health problems within a family sometimes rise to the level of the need for family law legal advice. Health concerns, whether it be personal or regarding a spouse or family member, can cause stress and friction within a relationship. As with the preceding paragraph, we strongly encourage you to seek out advice from licenced professionals and counselors regarding this matter. Medical doctors, therapists and counselors can help give better clarity regarding theses matters.  If there are legal questions that arise, please seek out the advice from an attorney to help guide and direct you with regards to the legal matters.

Social Challenges

With the term “Social Distancing” entering into our common vernacular, along with “stay-at-home” orders and “self quarantines”, we are entering a time that can challenge the very nature of what makes us human. It has become natural for us to socialize and gather with like-minded individuals. Without social interactions, courtships and gatherings the very idea of “coupling” or marriage may not have even formed. Even after family relationships are forged, we are still naturally social beings and we seek direct and close social engagement not only with our spouses and families, but others as well. As a result of some of the directives in social distancing and self quarantining, some may now feel “trapped” or “cut off” from their normal lives. And even as this opportunity gives us a time as couples and families to be together, some may feel overwhelmed. A spouse that is “always there” may not be the most ideal family situation and may lead to further discord. Once again seek advice from professionals that can assist in this regard and if there is a need for advice from a family law attorney, please reach out and gain insight and direction.

What We can All Agree on

We’re sure what we can all come to an agreement on is that we would like this current pandemic to end. As we all do our part we know that we will become stronger in certain regards and that the current situation will not be “forever”. We want you to know that we are here for you in this trying time. If you have any legal questions regarding your current family arrangement or are seeking advice for the future, please call our office at (480) 285-1735. We are Duenas Eden Law, PLC and we are trusted family law attorneys focusing on family law related issues including; divorce, child custody cases, child support, spousal support, same-sex legal issues and other family law matters servicing Ahwatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Something Has Changed…Modifying a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage (Maybe) – Divorce

| Alimony / Spousal Maintenance Attorneys at Law Child Support Divorce Legally Speaking | March 11, 2020

What is a Divorce Decree?

In the ever-changing society we live, people are filled with reasons why they want to modify some portion of their divorce decree. There are things that can be changed and things that cannot.

Perhaps I should back up and explain what is in a divorce decree. When two people get divorced or dissolve their marriage, they are supposed to divide their assets (house, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc.) and their liabilities (credit card debt, student loans, vehicle loans, etc.) between them. There must also be orders about their children, child support and spousal maintenance.

Can I get a “Do-Over” in Division of Property or Debt?

Usually, after the divorce decree has been signed, the court will not modify property and debt division. There may be certain circumstances when these things may be revisited and modified, but generally speaking, a party does not get a “do-over” if they received or negotiated a bad property deal.

Decree Changes Regarding Children

Unlike property and debt division, anything related to children – custody, parenting time and child support are always modifiable upon a showing of a substantial and continuing change in circumstances or a showing that it is in the child’s best interest. Which one depends on the situation? Why are people able to change these orders? Because children and their needs are ever changing, orders must be as well.

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) Changes

Spousal maintenance or alimony may be modified depending on the situation, such as if a spouse has changed employment, finished schooling or something else which results in a change in income. If the parties agree, they may make the spousal maintenance unable to be modified.

Modifying a Court Order

So how does one go about modifying a court order? If it relates to children, the parties can participate in mediation through the court and if an agreement is reached, oftentimes the mediator will prepare the necessary paperwork to reflect the agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, then one person has to file a request to modify through the court. It is a lengthy process that may take a few months or more to resolve. Emergency modifications are usually limited to very narrow and discrete situations, which would have to be the topic of another article.

The failure of one parent to plan accordingly does not create an emergency situation – i.e., if a parent wants to modify a child’s school, the time to request such a modification is not right before school starts.

Questions? Consult with a Family Law Attorney at Duenas Eden Law

If you have questions about whether you are able to modify an existing family court order, you should consult with a family law attorney.

If you would like do discuss further, please contact the Family Law Attorneys at Duenas Eden Law, PLC. We are experienced and trusted lawyers focusing on Family Law including; Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. We are Family Law and Child Custody Lawyers servicing Ahwatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Dorian Eden Attorney at Law Duenas Eden Law Family Law Ahwatukee AZ
By Dorian L. Eden
Adapted from the original published article in the September 2012 edition of Ocotillo Living

Happy Holidays. Think Child Support and Taxes

| Child Support Legally Speaking | December 11, 2019

Current Year’s Child Support Must be Paid in Full by December, 31st

Happy Holidays! This is an exciting time of year with many holidays, celebrations, and tidings of joy and goodwill. And if child support obligations are not paid in full by December 31, then a child likely cannot be claimed for the tax dependency exemption come April 15. While this may Vascular Surgeon, not fit into the spirit of the season, it remains a vitally important part of your annual tax planning.

Division of Child Tax Dependency Exemption

If there is an order for child support, issued by an Arizona court, then there is also an order regarding division of the child tax dependency exemption. There is also an order relating to how the parents are to share in non-covered medical, dental, vision and sometimes orthodontia expenses.

Although most family law attorneys (myself included) do not give tax advice, we do have to discuss some tax issues. The child tax dependency exemption is a big one. As you may know, there is an exemption that may benefit a tax payor upon filing. Typically, the dependency exemptions are divided in one of two ways: (1) equally or (2) following the child support percentages of income. Any tax questions on what this means or how this could affect you should be directed to a certified public accountant.

Child Support Arrearages

In order for a parent to be able to claim a child for the tax dependency exemption and receive this benefit, usually that parent must be current on child support for that tax year. That doesn’t mean if there are child support arrearages owed then all of the arrears must be paid in full as well. However, if there is an order for payment of arrearages, then the arrearages must be paid per the order for that tax year. Meaning, if someone is to pay $50.00 a month toward arrearages, then if $600 was paid toward arrearages by December 31, the arrearage is paid per the order for that tax year.

For a child support order that does not include arrearages, as long as the parent who is ordered to pay child support has paid the full amount owed for that year by December 31, then the payor parent is able to claim the child when taxes are filed.

A Wrongful Claim of the Child Tax Dependency Exemption

What happens if a parent wrongfully claims a child for tax dependency purposes – either because it is not their year to claim or because they are not current on child support or courtordered arrearages for that year? In that case, it is extremely important to consult with a certified public accountant to discuss what rights or obligations may exist. The family court may also step in to order a parent to reimburse the other parent for the loss of the value of the tax dependency exemption or modify the child support order regarding how the tax dependency exemption will be shared. In other words, it could mean money to the one who lost out or having to pay money to the one who wrongfully took the exemption.

Consult with an Experienced Family Law Attorney and CPA

The child tax dependency exemption has value. If you have questions about the tax exemption, please consult with an experienced family law attorney and also a certified public accountant. Duenas Eden Law, PLC listens to your needs to resolve your case. We are trusted attorneys in Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Serving the Phoenix metro area including Ahawatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Trust the Family Law Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Family Law Attorney in Phoenix / Ahwatukee Dorian Eden
By Dorian L. Eden
Originally published in the December 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

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