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Phoenix Family Law And Estate Planning Law Blog

Review of Arizona's relocation statute

Like many other states, Arizona has a law that governs what parents who are subject to child custody and parenting time orders must do if they wish to move with the children in their care.

Arizona's law applies to all moves that are either outside the state or that are more than 100 miles from the parent's current home. While local moves are exempt from the law, a parent should still review his or her child custody order to make sure it does not impose any additional obligations.

Points to remember when planning to create a will - Part I

There was a time when people thought that estate planning is only meant for the wealthy. That is no longer the case as people of all economic backgrounds are starting to understand the benefits of a well-crafted estate plan. The first step toward that goal is drafting a will. A will contains the final directions of a person regarding what is to be done with his or her property after death. In the absence of a will, the estate is entered into probate and assets are distributed per the probate court's order.

When it comes to creating a will, there are a set of basic rules that are applicable in Arizona and most other states in the country. The creator of the will:

  • must be at least 18 years old for it to be a valid will.
  • must write it in adequate mental condition and with sound judgment.
  • must clearly mention in the document that it is a last will.
  • must name an executor of the will in the document for it to be valid.
  • must sign it in the presence of at least two witnesses.
  • may choose to notarize it to safeguard against claims of it being invalid.

Information sharing during post-divorce discovery

Once a couple has filed for divorce, the law requires each spouse to disclose details pertaining to his or her current financial condition. This is known as the "discovery" process and it involves the exchange of information between the separating spouses regarding individual income, assets and debts. In fact, this is a requirement that is mandated under the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure and courts in the state use the information gathered from the discovery process to make sure that property division is equal.

Interestingly, discovery can sometimes be an informal process in which spouses share details pertaining to their individual assets and debts in the presence of their respective divorce attorneys. However, if the separating couple is not willing to share the information voluntarily, there are several formal procedures that can be followed in order to identify the assets and debts.

Establishing grandparents' visitation rights in Arizona

The ones most affected by a troubled marriage are the children of the estranged couple. In order to provide those children with stability in their tender years, it is often the grandparents who step in to help. However, grandparents can have access to those children only after establishing visitation rights. Laws in Arizona recognize a grandparent's right to visitation and have statutes in place to enable that. For the knowledge of Maricopa County residents, the following is a brief on grandparents' rights in the state.

The first step for the grandparent wanting to establish visitation rights will be to file a petition. A grandparent has to keep in mind that the child must have resided in Arizona for at least six months. In some cases, however, it is possible to file a petition even when a child has not resided in Arizona for six months, but that is possible on a case-to-case basis. In addition, at least one of three conditions that are mentioned in the statute must be met for the grandparent to successfully obtain visitation rights.

Updating your estate plan after a divorce

Divorce introduces a lot of change. The decisions needed to split one household into two can be time-consuming, challenging and emotional to make. Once you come to an agreement on items concerning your children, marital property and more, you may breathe a sigh of relief in moving past this stage of your life.

However, even after the finalization of your divorce, there are steps to take as a newly single Arizonan. One of the most critical steps is to update your estate plan. If you and your spouse created a will and other estate planning documents together, thoroughly updating these documents can guard against uncertainty and assure that your wishes are up to date. Here are several key documents to update:

Phoenix residents may need help with the probate process

Losing a parent is a saddening experience for any person. The love and care that parents provide is often irreplaceable and, therefore, the emotional stress is often too much to handle for many people. However, in addition to coping with the loss, the heirs need to ensure that the estate of the deceased is managed adequately. Estate administration can include collecting and managing the assets of the estate, paying taxes and debts and distributing assets as directed in the will or by passing the estate through probate.

These estate administration tasks often look straightforward on paper, and it is so if the deceased had a foolproof will in place. However, if the deceased passed away without a will or with a will that was not regularly updated, the estate must pass through probate. Often, probate can pose some serious challenges to the heirs as several people, ranging from family members to friends, can be involved. In fact, this is a major issue among estates of high net-worth individuals because of the money at stake.

What are factors that judges consider to determine alimony?

When a marriage heads toward its end, there are several important financial decisions that a person has to make in addition to coping with the emotional challenges of ending a marriage. One such decision is regarding the demand for spousal maintenance, which is commonly known as alimony. According to its legal definition in Arizona, alimony is the money that is paid by one spouse to the other as part of the divorce decree. However, it is not necessary that every divorce will involve the payment of alimony.

In Arizona, the purpose of paying alimony is to make sure that the accomplishments of a marriage are shared equally by the separating spouses, much like how marital property is divided equally at the time of divorce. Alimony is particularly important for stay-at-home spouses and those spouses whose income is much less in comparison with the other spouse. By having the alimony provision, Arizona laws allow separating spouses to ensure that they are able to maintain a comfortable life even after divorce.

Mediation a smart choice for divorcing couples in Arizona

Divorce, as many of our readers may agree, is one of the most exhausting experiences that one can go through during the course of life. This is because separation often comes with its own set of challenges, which lead many couples to end up at loggerheads. Considering how divorce proceedings can easily turn bitter, separating couples may choose to spend some time to think about a divorce through mediation.

In the state of Arizona, it is possible for couples to separate amicably by deciding to obtain a divorce through mediation. As many readers would know, mediation is an alternative dispute resolution technique that is based on a collaborative approach to solve divorce-related matters. The mediation is conducted by a neutral third-party mediator who acts as a communication bridge between the separating spouses and helps them to arrive at a mutual agreement regarding all the matters associated with a divorce.

What is considered separate property in an Arizona divorce?

Arizona is a community property state, which means that all marital property is divided equally between the spouses in the event of a divorce. However, it is important to remember that not all the assets that were acquired by an individual during the course of the marriage are considered community property. Article 25 Section 213 of Title 25 of Arizona Revised Statutes clearly states what separate property is.

According to this section, property that is acquired by a person before marriage is considered separate property. Additionally, property that a married individual obtains through inheritance, gifts, rents, issues or profits earned from an existing separate property is considered separate property. Also, any property that a married individual acquires after filing a petition for divorce is considered separate property. This rule, however, is applicable only if the petition for dissolution of marriage is approved by an Arizona court.

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