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Archive for May, 2013

Factors That Guide Child Support Modifications

Posted on: May 30th, 2013 by Scott Law

As a part of the divorce process, many states necessitate separate child support proceedings to ensure that the minor gets the same level of support that he or she would have enjoyed had the parents been together. During the court hearing, each parent is required to present evidence to support his/her ability to make the child support payments.

The parents may submit documents like pay stubs and tax returns as evidence in this matter. Depending on the evidence, the court specifies the amount that each parent is supposed to pay. Oftentimes, due to changes in personal circumstances, one of the parents may seek Arizona child support modifications.

The Factors

Decreased income: The noncustodial parent may lose his/her job and find it tough to make the child support payments. On the other hand, if the parent with primary custody has lost their job, the noncustodial parent might be asked to contribute more towards child support.

Increase in requirements of the child: The child may need some medical treatments or could be participating in extracurricular activities that demand money. The custodial parent, in these cases, might seek child support modification Arizona to meet these financial obligations.

Large inheritance or considerably increased income: In such cases, the custodial parent may ask the court to reevaluate child support payments as the noncustodial parent may be able to afford more due to their new economic status.

Increased family responsibility: If a noncustodial parent remarries and has children out of that marriage, he or she can ask the court that child support responsibility be decreased as the parent would have to financially support additional children.

If you have questions regarding child support or child support modifications contact Scott Law Offices to learn about your options.

 

Divorce Mediation and Its Advantages

Posted on: May 30th, 2013 by Scott Law

Divorce mediation is a way of finding solutions to issues like spousal support and child support payments. The mediation occurs out of the courtroom where both parties and their divorce attorneys in Arizona meet the court-appointed third-party who acts as the mediator. The mediator is a neutral person who assists the parties involved in reaching a settlement. The divorcing couple gets an opportunity to sort out issues and come to an agreement on various issues. The mediator can only offer an opinion during the process and cannot force an agreement on the parties.

Advantages of  Divorce Mediation

A successful divorce mediation saves both time and money. Through mediation, a couple can sidestep the long divorce court process saving their time as well as the family court’s time and resources. The fees paid to the lawyer would also be relatively less. Since the mediator is a third-party who has absolutely nothing to gain from the outcome of mediation, it is fair to all. Also, the objectivity with which the mediator views the issues enables him/her to come up with solutions that the divorcing couple often cannot.

The entire mediation process is confidential. There would be no court reporter recording everything that is said during the process. Essentially there would be no “airing dirty laundry” in public as this is a settlement of divorce out of court. If the entire process goes smoothly, you would hopefully be able to maintain a cordial relationship with your former spouse after divorce. Mediation also helps reduce the tension often involved in court proceedings.

Scott Law Offices is committed to working with clients to negotiate the best possible resolution in every case and is prepared to litigate to protect the rights of our clients.  Contact our office for a free consultation.

Negotiating Divorce Settlement Agreements – Factors to Consider

Posted on: May 2nd, 2013 by Scott Law

Maintaining financial security is the top consideration for any person who is faced with a divorce. So, the aim must be negotiating a divorce settlement that will keep you financially viable throughout your life. Before you separate, you, your spouse, and your attorneys must get together and decide how to divide the marital assets.

Retirement plans

If retirement has been accumulated during the marriage by either spouse, the amount accumulated would need to be divided equitably.  This can often be done by agreement of the parties and in working with the plan administrator.  Sometimes, however, a specialist is required to accomplish the division of retirement and to draft the appropriate orders.   If retirement is going to be a major source of income for you, it must be taken into consideration during the divorce settlement.

Health insurance

If you have children and also have health insurance, the court would ask you to extend the coverage to them. If neither parent currently has access to health insurance, the parents need to determine what the cost of insurance would be in order to factor it into the child support payments.

Marital home

The court takes into account the kind of life the child is accustomed to and ensures that the lifestyle is maintained. So, the parent who gets the parenting time with the child most often may also be awarded the marital home as it plays a huge part in maintaining the pre-divorce lifestyle of the child.  In negotiating a divorce settlement, marital home must be addressed as well as any equity, negative equity and debts.

Child Care and Extracurriculars

The parents should consider how to divide child care costs and extracurricular activities for the child. These expenses may be factored into the child support payments.   They may also be agreed upon as expenses divided outside of child support.  The parents will determine what works best for them and utilize the resources of a Phoenix family law attorney to assist

Consequences of Failure to Make Child Support Payments

Posted on: May 2nd, 2013 by Scott Law

A parent who fails to make child support payments faces penalties such as accruing interest, wage garnishment, or even incarceration.

Non-payment and the role of federal government

If a noncustodial parent charged with nonpayment of child support moves to a different state to avoid the payments, he/ she may be convicted of a federal offense. The charges would fall under the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act.

In these cases, some of the factors the federal government would address are:

  1. The noncustodial parent failed to make the payments despite having the financial capability.
  2. The noncustodial parent did not pay the child support.
  3. Child support payments have not been made for at least one year.
  4. The pending child support payment amounts to more than $5000.

Penalties for single parents in the military

A parent who is in the military who is ordered to pay child support but does not can face severe penalties.  The parent may even face termination.

Nonpayment defenses

A parent who has failed to make court ordered child support payments or has fallen behind in making payments, can attempt to prove that he or she has been providing for the child through monetary and non-monetary means but would need to hire a good Arizona child support attorney to set forth such defenses.

Understanding Parenting Time and Visitation

Posted on: May 2nd, 2013 by Scott Law

For every parent, spending quality time with the child is very important. For divorcing parents, parenting time and visitation plans are what allow them time together with the child. Therefore, it is vital that a divorcing parent understands how to get visitation rights and looks to family law attorneys in Phoenix AZ as a source of great help. There are many kinds of parenting time and visitation plans, the following includes general information on a few common types.

Supervised Visitation

In certain instances, the court will order supervised visitation.  This means that in addition to the visiting parent, another responsible adult will be a part of the visit for the entire duration. Depending on the situation, the court may allow the parent who does not have the custody to choose a person to act as the supervisor, such as the grandparent of the child. In some cases, the parent might be asked to visit the child at a particular location to allow the court-appointed designee to supervise the visit or may require a supervising agency to conduct the supervision.

Unsupervised Parenting Time

A parent who has unsupervised visits with the child can take the child to his/her own home or any other appropriate location to spend quality time. However, this has to be within the parenting time or visitation schedule. In certain cases, restrictions are placed on the parent exercising their parenting time. For instance, if the baby is too young, the parent many not be allowed to have the child overnight until the infant becomes accustomed to bottle-feeding.

Virtual Visitation

When parents reside a long distance from each other, it is important for regular phone or video chatting to occur.  With Skype, FaceTime and other forms of video chatting available, the internet makes it easier for parents to visit with their children even at a great distance.