Considering Dissolution (Divorce) or Reconciliation?

| Divorce Legally Speaking | February 10, 2020

Marriage in General is Hard Work

If you’re reading this article and are married, have been married, or are getting married, you know (or should know) that marriage is hard work! Between juggling schedules, working, paying bills, raising children, it’s sometimes hard to remember why a couple became “they” in the first place.

Divorce

It is relatively easy to file for dissolution of marriage (divorce). Do people sometimes choose that over trying to work on a marriage? Absolutely. Should some people be getting divorced? I firmly believe it should be available to those whose marriage is just not working, for whatever reason. I recently read an article in a family law journal that suggested people should be required to wait 60 days to get married from the date they obtain their marriage license. Currently, the opposite is true. No time limit exists between obtaining a marriage license and getting married, yet people have to wait, at a minimum, 60 days from when the dissolution action is started in court and served on the other party, before submitting a decree of dissolution of marriage for the judge to sign.

But the idea of making people wait, at least for a short time, before getting married, is not a bad one. The hope is that people will enter into marriage having given thought to the person they are marrying and what marriage means. Will it stop divorces? Absolutely not. Would it stop some people from marrying? Probably. If someone is really committed to the other, then 60 days should not make a difference.

Alternatives

Consider the alternative. Marriage counseling can be very helpful for people. It is probably more common than you realize and can either help couples rekindle their relationship or affirm that a divorce is the best option. Either way, couples often talk of or think about divorce for years before filing. I’m not advocating that people be required to try marriage counseling before filing for dissolution, because I see too many potential problems for the person involved in an abusive relationship. But if it’s not an abusive relationship, then don’t you, your spouse, and your children, deserve at least an attempt to make it work?

I suppose the ultimate message is, don’t rush into marriage and, unless your safety is at risk, don’t rush into divorce. If you have questions about divorce or want to discuss options, please call an experienced family law attorney.

Duenas Eden Law is Here to Help

At Duenas Eden Law, PLC we are experienced, qualified and trusted attorneys in Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Serving Maricopa County including Phoenix, Ahawatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Trust the Family Law Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Dorian Eden Attorney at Law Duenas Eden Law Family Law Ahwatukee AZ
By Dorian L. Eden
Originally published in the May 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

Who do you turn to? Divorce & Family Law

| Attorneys at Law Divorce Legally Speaking | February 4, 2020

Turn to the Professionals (An Attorney)

If the “check engine” light comes on, you take your car to a mechanic for service. If you need a root canal, you go see your dentist. If you have a legal issue, do you go see an attorney? You are probably thinking lawyers are expensive. However, just like your car or tooth, it is usually more costly to fix errors down the road, as opposed to dealing with the issues correctly the first time.

Family Law

Case in point, my favorite topic – family law. People oftentimes think that using the self-service center through the court is the best option for them. For some, that is accurate. For others, their situation is a little more difficult. A lawyer will help identify those more complicated areas, the potential pitfalls and advise when it is important to include other professionals.

Divorce – When to Include other Professionals

What? You’re probably wondering who else would need to be included? Going through a dissolution of marriage is an emotional process, even if you are the one requesting the dissolution. It is always a good idea to talk with a counselor or other mental health professional to discuss the emotional side – the things a lawyer is not usually equipped to help resolve. If there are children involved who are old enough to understand what it means that their parents will now be living in different households, then it may be helpful for the children to be able to talk with a counselor as well. Children may not want to or be able to open up to a parent and no matter what the age, children should never be involved with the dissolution process by either parent. Although it does not happen very often, parents can go to family counseling together with their children during the process to ensure the children realize both parents love them and that the dissolution is not because of the children.

Many times it becomes important to talk with a financial planner as well. Financial planners can help create budgets, run projections and help the less financially savvy parent protect their money after the dissolution.

Accountants are also often necessary and helpful to offer tax advice or potential tax consequences on such things as dividing accounts, carry-forward losses or simply the taxes associated with spousal maintenance for either party.

If there is a business to be divided, then it may be important to have the business appraised to determine the value. A business can have value even if the business is based primarily on reputation. Of course, real estate appraisers may also be necessary to determine the current value of a house or other real property.

Speak with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer at Duenas Eden Law

A dissolution of marriage, or any legal proceeding, is not something that most of us experience regularly. Having the right professionals involved in your case can make an enormous difference. If you have a legal question, an experienced attorney can help you sort through these issues.

At Duenas Eden Law, PLC we are qualified, experienced and trusted attorneys in Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Serving the Valley including Phoenix, Ahawatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Trust the Family Law Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Dorian Eden Attorney at Law Duenas Eden Law Family Law Ahwatukee AZ
By Dorian L. Eden
Originally published in the February 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

New Year, New You?

| Divorce Legally Speaking | January 7, 2020

Happy New Year! Have you made your new year’s resolution?

I think I usually hear people listing getting in shape, losing weight or paying debt at the top of their resolutions. But there are other things that should be considered as well. The beginning of the new year presents a great time to review homeowner’s, automobile and life insurance policies. A change in incomes or values of property may warrant a modification of insurances. It is a great time to examine your entire estate plan – wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, etc., and a meeting with your estate planner may be appropriate. If you have a financial planner and/or certified public accountant, you may want to discuss the new year and what you hope to accomplish. It is a good time to schedule a complete physical and manage your mental and physical health. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your time management skills or work/life balance.

Some people determine that it is time to make a change to their marriage. Before someone files for a dissolution of marriage, s/he may consider if it is possible to work on the marriage through marriage counseling. A dissolution of marriage case may be long and can be extremely emotionally and financially exhausting. A minimum of sixty (60) days must pass before a married couple can get divorced from the time the petition for dissolution of marriage is filed and served. Most family law practitioners use a rule of thumb of 64 days to make sure that the time limit is met. A case may actually not be resolved for four, six, ten months or a year if there are disputed issues.

Gather Financial Statements

Before a party files for dissolution of marriage and if there is not domestic violence, s/he may want to gather current financial information such as bank statements, credit card statements, pay stubs, tax returns and any other financial information. Knowledge of assets and liabilities is very important for both parties in a dissolution case.

Whatever your goal for the new year, remember there are people who can help you.

I have said this before in these articles, but reach out and seek assistance from professionals. Don’t try to navigate uncharted waters alone. If you need legal or other professional assistance, please call our Office. If we can’t help you, most of the time we will refer you to people who can. Happy New Year! I hope this year is your best ever!

Speak with a Qualified Divorce Attorney in Arizona

The Divorce Layers at Duenas Eden Law, PLC understand you needs in this trying time. 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 January 2014 edition of Ocotillo Living

I’M MOVING OUT…. What Can I take?

| Divorce Legally Speaking | January 1, 2020

It’s a new year and a time for resolutions

While that may mean losing the inevitable holiday weight gained over the last two months, it may be more serious and involve a decision that a relationship just is not working. If you have decided to end a marriage and separate, you will quickly realize that it’s not as easy as saying, “I’m leaving.” There are couches and televisions to divide. There are household bills that still need to be paid. There may be bank accounts to separate. And who has to pay those credit card bills from the holidays?

Arizona is a Community Property State

Because Arizona is a community property state, assuming the parties are legally married, then generally, each person is entitled to one-half of the accumulated assets during the marriage. There are some exceptions to this rule, but in general, this is the presumption. Typically, if the parties are able to communicate somewhat, they can discuss who will take the couch, the table, etc. But, if that’s not possible or safe, leaving and taking one-half of the furniture can be done. It’s a good idea to take before and after pictures of each item and room, and to create a list of items taken and left. Te same is true for money in bank accounts (although bank statement will suffice in lieu of pictures). If an agreement can’t be reached, then the court is there to decide.

Debts and Bills

Paying debts and bills is a different issue. In a community property state, both parties are obligated to pay ongoing bills and debts, even if the parties are no longer living together. If the parties agree on which each person is going to pay what obligation, then ideally each party would honor that agreement. If there is no consensus, then it may be necessary to seek court involvement for allocation of debt payment. It may be difficult to protect one’s credit during the process, but obtaining a copy of your credit report and monitoring ongoing activity is important. If one person fails to pay debts and other bills and your credit becomes negatively affected, there may be remedies that the court can implement.

No two cases are exactly the same. So, before taking action, you should consult with a family law attorney to discuss the specifics of your particular situation.

Speak with an Experienced Divorce Attorney

We understand that separations and divorce can be difficult. 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 January 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

I Want to File for Divorce… Now What?

| Divorce Legally Speaking | December 17, 2019

Dissolution of Marriage

In Arizona, proceedings to end a marriage are called a dissolution of marriage. Arizona is a no-fault state, meaning that one person does not need give a reason why the marriage is over, but must simply state that it is irretrievably broken and there is no likelihood of reconciliation.

Most people do not get married without at least some planning and forethought. But a number of people say to their spouse, “I want a divorce,” without knowing what that means other than they will no longer be married.

The case is initiated by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. But, before ever getting to that point, it is important to have a good idea of your finances, debts and how you envision life after divorce.

Many Things to Consider in Divorce Filings

Dissolving a marriage is a complicated process that involves children’s issues, financial ramifications, tax implications, dividing assets and debts. It may involve someone paying or receiving spousal maintenance. Do you have current copies of all investment and bank account statements? Have you carefully reviewed the last several, or more, months of statements for any suspicious activity? Do you have a current credit report and copies of all credit card statements? Do you know what your house is worth and what you owe on your mortgage? Do you own a business? Where do you intend to live after the dissolution is granted? If you have children, how would you want to divide custody and parenting time? These are all important questions to ask yourself before beginning this process.

Seek a Qualified Attorney

A qualified attorney can assist you with this life-changing event. Knowledge and a frank discussion about possibilities builds a good foundation for the process. Trying to handle everything associated with a divorce on your own, without any legal assistance, can be costly because you may be agreeing to things that you otherwise would not have to or want to. You may give up assets to which you are otherwise entitled or parenting time with your children. Some mistakes can be corrected. With others, there may not be anything that can be done.

If you are considering a divorce or your spouse has said the D word to you, please call to schedule a consultation to make sure you are as prepared as possible for the process.

Duenas Eden Law, Divorce Attorneys in Phoenix – Ahwatukee – Laveen

The Lawyers at Duenas Eden Law, PLC  listen and focus on helping you successfully manage your legal issues. We are experienced trial attorneys that focus on Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Offices located in Ahawatukee and serving Phoenix, 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 April 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

What Goes into a Child Support Calculation?

| Child Support Legally Speaking | December 5, 2019

News flash…child support is not based on the children’s expenses (usually). As a family law attorney, I hear myself saying this to clients or potential clients on a regular basis. Child support is based on the parent’s incomes.

Arizona has child support guidelines and a calculator, which is very easy to use.

You plug in the appropriate numbers and magically child support is calculated. Sound easy? In theory yes, but it begs the question of what numbers to use.

Incomes are sometimes easily determined and sometimes not so much. If one parent isn’t working, the court may still attribute income to that parent-it might be minimum wage or something much greater. How much is very case and fact-specific. The presumption is that both parents are able to contribute to the cost of raising their child, which is why both parents will typically have some income amount listed-even if one is not working.

Why not base child support on expenses?

While parents (and attorneys) will argue over one’s income, if a child’s expenses were to be used, it would be even more problematic. How do you attribute expenses if one parent shops at discount stores for the child and other at higher-end stores? How many pairs of shoes does a child need? Is one too few? Is fifteen too many? What is the right number? To eliminate those arguments, we use incomes.

Of course for self-employed parents or those who receive the bulk of their income in cash tips, such as a hairdresser or massage therapist, incomes may be slightly more difficult to determine, as opposed to a salaried employee.

Other things may also effect child support

Supporting other children not common to the parties, which parent pays health insurance for the child and the cost associated with that, childcare or private school tuition costs, are among the most common. The other, and biggest factor-the amount of time each parent has with the children.

With child support comes a determination of how to share noncovered medical expenses, such as copays and deductibles for the child, and the division of the child tax dependency exemption.

While the calculator is available for free on the Arizona Supreme Court and Maricopa County Superior Court websites, choosing which numbers to use is often the biggest issue people have. If you have questions about child support, how much you are currently paying, how much you should receive, or whether it can be modified, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney.

Contact a Trusted Attorney

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 2012 edition of Ocotillo Living

Health (and other insurance)

| Divorce Legally Speaking | November 25, 2019

Yikes! There was a rush of people filing for dissolution of marriage just after the first of the year – as there is every
year. Once someone files, they can change health, automobile and other insurance and even beneficiaries, right?

Hold on for a second! I’m sure you read the preliminary injunction that was issued when the petition for dissolution was filed, didn’t you? Or you read it when you received the documents from your spouse? If not, I won’t chastise you, but you need to go read it. You were ordered not to make any modifications to any insurance – meaning you were not allowed to remove the other person from your insurance just because you filed. (If you did, then you need to talk with someone about the potential implications for you.)

If a spouse disobeys the court’s instruction and removes the other from an insurance policy before the decree of dissolution of marriage is entered, a judge can order one person to pay the entire cost of a medical procedure that would have otherwise been covered had the medical insurance not been canceled. If you think that sounds harsh, the court can also fine or potentially incarcerate someone for violating the preliminary injunction – if the violation is severe enough.

The same is true for automobile insurance policies. You can’t take your spouse off of any insurance policy. I understand the argument that one person continues to pay for it while the other benefits. But, wouldn’t you rather pay the premium as opposed to taking your wife or husband off of a policy and then s/he gets in a car accident – with no insurance coverage? If you’re still married, then you both are liable and you’ll likely end up paying more to resolve the case than you would spend on the insurance premiums.

But what happens after the decree? Once people are legally divorced, then they cannot remain on the same health insurance policy. To do otherwise and mislead the insurance company is generally considered a very bad thing. So don’t do it!

Once the policyholder spouse notifies his/her human resources or the insurance company of the dissolution of marriage, usually the other spouse is provided notification of eligibility to enroll in COBRA. This can be expensive and it is usually worth checking into other insurance policies to determine the best, and most cost-effective coverage.

After a dissolution, both spouses should also obtain their own automobile and other insurance policies.

The idea behind the preliminary injunction is that assets, liabilities, insurance, etc. are to remain status quo during the dissolution of marriage. In essence, they are to be “frozen.” The courts don’t like people who ignore court orders. Are there things you can to do protect yourself before filing, absolutely! And, if you’re considering dissolution of marriage, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney to discuss what can, and cannot, be done.

Contact a Trusted Attorney

Duenas Eden Law, PLC provides Proven Judgement in Difficult Matters in Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Same-Sex Legal Issues. 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 April 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

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