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Phoenix Family Law and Estate Planning Law Blog

Know your rights to access your child's school records

Regardless of the child custody arrangements that you and your co-parent have, you have the right to access your children's public school records. That right is granted under a federal law called the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Any school or educational agency that receives money from Department of Education programs is required to comply with FERPA regulations. Generally, parochial and other private schools don't have to comply since they don't receive government funds.

What is 'indirect' parenting time interference?

We've discussed the problem of people who refuse to allow their co-parent to have the visitation with their child that a court has granted them. This is considered direct interference in parenting time. Of course, the parent whose visitation rights are being denied can take action in court.

Indirect parenting time interference may be more difficult to prove. However, it can be every bit as detrimental to the parent-child bond. Therefore, parents need to be able to recognize it and take legal action when necessary.

Prepare for the added expenses of raising kids in two homes

If you and your spouse will be co-parenting your children in two different households after your divorce (as most divorced co-parents do), you need to be prepared for added expenses. That's true whether you're sharing custody 50/50 or one of you will have primary custody and the other has visitation rights. These expenses should be detailed in your child support agreement to prevent conflict and confusion.

Even if you both continue to live in the Phoenix area, you may still rack up some hefty gasoline bills if you exchange your children fairly often. That may be something to factor into each of your budgets.

Study: Some couples blame student loan debt for their divorce

More and more couples are going into marriage with a significant amount of student loan debt, which can take decades to repay. It can impact all areas of life — including marriage. Some couples don't feel they're in a financial position to buy a home or have children while they're still paying off their student loans.

According to a recently-released study by Student Loan Hero, 13 percent of divorced people with student loans blame that debt for ending their marriages. It may not help that, according to an earlier study by the same organization, almost a quarter of respondents admitted that they hadn't been honest with their partners about their own student loan debt.

Protecting your privacy during divorce is harder than ever

You and your spouse have separated. You're considering whether to get a divorce, or perhaps you've already begun the process. You may have been living essentially separate lives for some time and may now be living apart. However, your electronic footprints may still be intertwined.

If you both have access to a shared iCloud, Apple ID or similar account, any images that are sent to it can be viewed by your spouse. He or she could possibly use this content against you, e.g., those sexy photos and texts meant only for your new significant other may be readily available to your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

Why you can't withhold child support if your ex denies visitation

When you and your spouse divorced, you agreed to pay child support until your children turn 18 or graduate from high school. Perhaps the two of you negotiated a fair support amount, with the help of your attorneys. Maybe you couldn't agree on an amount, so a judge decided the matter for you. Either way, you have a court order that requires you to pay child support every month.

Now your co-parent, who has primary custody of the kids, isn't letting you have the agreed-upon visitation. Many non-custodial parents respond to this kind of action by withholding child support. That's a very unwise move.

How co-parents can deal with a child who's a picky eater

Nearly all kids go through at least a phase of being picky eaters. Unfortunately, sometimes the few foods they will eat have virtually no nutritional value.

Dealing with a picky eater can be challenging and frustrating for any parent. However, when you're co-parenting across separate households, ensuring that your picky eaters get the balanced diets they need and helping them overcome their aversion to all things green and healthy can be especially tricky. It requires that parents make a plan, stick to it and communicate.

Preparing your family when you receive a bad diagnosis

You thought you had more time. In fact, you may have thought you had all the time in the world. You are not alone. Many in Arizona and across the country don't give a thought about the end of their lives until they are faced with bad news regarding either their own health or the health of a loved one. Suddenly, the plans you made for the future are set aside for a different kind of plan.

If you are dealing with a life-changing medical diagnosis, you certainly have many things on your mind, including how you will provide a secure future for your loved ones while you are still well enough. The first step is to seek as much information as you can about the most appropriate estate planning tools for your circumstances. Then, it's time to get organized.

How to live to together after you've split up (if you have to)

Not all couples who decide to divorce can afford to live in separate homes right away. Home prices and rents are on the rise in the metro Phoenix area. That's good news if you're selling your home in the divorce. Until then, however, it can make it difficult for one of you to leave the home and put some space between the two of you. You may be dealing with other financial issues that make it impossible to spread your combined household income over two homes.

It's possible for divorcing or divorced couples to live under one roof for a time. This may be easier for couples without children. Such an arrangement can cause confusion and false hope that their parents will work things out.

What can you do if your co-parent is harassing you?

All too often, the anger and bitterness that arise from divorce (and perhaps from actions that led to the divorce) can make communicating constructively with a co-parent seemingly impossible. Unfortunately, some co-parents actually harass their former spouses. It's important to understand when you're being harassed -- particularly when it impacts your children.

It's essential to let your attorney know if your co-parent is harassing you with endless texts or phone calls or if he or she is speaking negatively about you or spreading rumors behind your back or on social media. No one should criticize or berate a co-parent in front of their children.

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