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Phoenix Family Law and Estate Planning Law Blog

5 post-divorce dating tips

Your spouse asked for a divorce, and you're trying to decide what your future will look like. It's not what you planned, but you want to make the most of it.

Does that include dating again? If so, here are a few tips that can help:

  • Don't make comparisons. Your new relationships are not your marriage. If you are constantly comparing them, it can make you unhappy. Focus on new experiences and new memories.
  • Always be honest. Don't lie to your new partners about what you're thinking, feeling or wanting. Be honest about your past and what you're looking for.
  • Take it slow, if that's what you want. No one else decides when you should start dating again. If you need some time, don't feel compelled to rush just because you feel social pressure or you have people asking you when you're going to date again.
  • Focus on being happy. You may not have asked for the divorce, but was yours really a happy marriage? You may have been struggling to make it work. If it's ending, it's time to focus on your own happiness.
  • Decide what you want. Do you think it's time to date just for fun? Are you looking for a new person you can marry? Are you unsure where you fall on that spectrum? It's fine no matter what you choose. Just make sure you know what you want so that you have realistic goals and expectations.

Many custodial parents don't receive full child support payments

When a parent is awarded primary custody of one or more children, the other parent is often ordered to pay child support. For too many custodial parents, however, collecting that needed support is difficult.

Data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau shows just how widespread the issue of unpaid child support is. In 2015, only 43.5 percent of parents received all of the child support that was due to them. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is the fact that 30 percent of custodial parents got none of the support they were owed. That's the highest rate of nonpayment in the 22 years tracked, beginning in 1993.

Custody terms you should know

When parents divorce, likely the most important decision they will make is how to divide custody of their children. You may have some idea of how you want to do this. If you're fortunate, you and your spouse see eye-to-eye on the matter. However, it's essential to know what the law says and what your options are.

The first thing to understand is the difference between physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the children live and who is taking care of them. Legal custody refers to who has decision-making rights regarding matters that involve the children's welfare, education and health.

What divorcing parents of adopted children need to know

In many ways, the priorities for co-parenting children that you and your ex-spouse adopted together are no different from those for co-parenting biological children. Divorced parents should focus on ensuring that their children continue to feel loved and supported by both of you and not feel anxious about their own future.

Children who have been adopted, however, often feel a greater sense of insecurity and fear. That's particularly true if they are old enough to remember life before their adoption. For too many adopted children, that life was one of being moved from one foster home to another. For some children, adoption meant traveling to a new country where they didn't know the language or look like other kids (or their new family).

Don't let your health insurance coverage end with your marriage

If you are considering divorce or have begun the process, one of the things your attorney will likely ask you to think about is your health insurance coverage. If you are getting coverage through your spouse's plan, you will no longer be covered once the divorce is final. That means you should start considering your other options for coverage as soon as possible.

If you're not able or don't want to delay the finalization of your divorce decree until you can obtain coverage through your own employer or through Arizona's health insurance exchange at the beginning of the calendar year, you can continue your coverage on your spouse's plan through the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) for up to 36 months.

Why are there so many stepmother/stepchildren estate battles?

Relationships between stepparents and their adult stepchildren can be rocky. This can be particularly true if the parent committed adultery with the person who became his or her second spouse. However, when the parent dies, these relationships can get even worse. Too often, people find themselves battling the surviving stepparent for assets and property they believe to be rightfully theirs.

Since women generally outlive men, these battles more often than not involve stepmothers. One attorney says that about half of his firm's estate disputes involve stepchildren and their newly-widowed stepmothers. There are several common factors behind these disputes. Although the genders could easily be reversed, we'll stick with the assumption that the decedent was male.

Helping your kids value family after divorce

Many divorcing parents are concerned that the break-up of their marriages will sour their children's view of family. They may be concerned that their kids won't want to get married and start families of their own because of what they experienced. However, you can provide your children with the joys of family even when theirs is no longer living under one roof.

Much has been written about the importance of family meals. Even for families where the parents live together, long work hours and extracurricular activities can make sitting down at the table for a meal together challenging.

Preparing to send your child on a flight alone

Many children and teens of divorced parents fly alone between their parents' homes for vacations and other occasions. The airlines call them "unaccompanied minors" and have services to help get them where they're going safely and comfortably.

If you're planning to send your child on his or her first flight alone, do your homework. There are no specific federal regulations for unaccompanied minors. Therefore, airlines vary in their minimum and maximum ages, what flights kids can take, what services are available and how much they charge. Some airlines let parents use the unaccompanied minor service for teens under 18 even if it's not required.

Things to keep in mind when choosing a guardian for your children

Are you someone who shies away from discussions regarding your own mortality? If so, it's okay because you are definitely not the only one in Arizona who dreads such topics. As a parent, however, you've likely wondered who would be there to take care of your children if something were to happen to you and your spouse. If you're a widow or widower, the question might be of paramount importance to you.

It would be nice if you could simply ask your best friend to step up to the plate if a need arises, but that's not typically how it works. In fact, there are many legal issues involved with naming a guardian for your children and careful selection and proper execution of a plan may mean the difference between protecting your children's best interests and leaving them in an uncertain situation that may be quite stressful.

Arizona parental rights case could land in U.S. Supreme Court

Despite the fact that same-sex couples have been able to legally wed throughout the country since 2015, divorce can still present some complications, particularly when there are children involved. One divorced lesbian couple has taken their custody battle to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The couple married in 2008 in California, where gay marriage was legal at the time. They used artificial insemination by an anonymous donor to conceive a child, whom one woman carried and gave birth to. They drew up a parenting agreement and wills that listed both of them as equal parents of the boy, who was born in 2011 in Arizona.

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