Modify Your Custody Arrangement: How Your Attorney Can Help!

Whether it is six months or many years after the divorce is said and done, you may find that it’s time to modify your custody arrangement. Reopening discussion with your spouse on the issue of custody and parenting time can be difficult as it often means making another major alteration in your life, your spouse’s life, and the lives of your children. Hiring an attorney to facilitate mediation and handle the details will not only allow you to spend more time with your children during the transition, but will also benefit your and your child’s health and safety.

In order to request a new or modified custody arrangement, a change must have taken place that will significantly impact your child. When evidence of a “changed circumstance that is substantial and continuing…” (A.R.S 25-503(E) is presented to a judge, he/she will determine if a new parenting agreement is in the best interest of the child. Some examples of circumstances that warrant such a change include:

  • Significant increase/decrease in income
  • Adopting or giving birth to another child
  • Onset of a medical disability
  • Ongoing domestic violence

It is better to consider a legal change in custody as a last resort rather than your initial solution to any familial discord. This is because the frequent arguments, court hearings, constant changes, and the high levels of stress that accompany such turmoil in the home can be very harmful to a child who is developing into a young adult. Your attorney can help you work out familial discord by mediating parental discussions on changes that need to be made in the parenting agreement. Brad Crider is an experienced family law attorney who is well versed in child custody and domestic relations laws in Arizona. His expertise will not only help you solve problems, but also ensure legal changes are made quickly to keep your child protected from harm or obstacles that may come as a result of your changing circumstances.

If your child is a victim of abuse or domestic violence, you can file a “Petition for Temporary Modification of Custody without Notice” to remove your child from the dangerous environment immediately. Once your child is safe, your attorney can help you through the necessary process to permanently change the custody arrangement.

To better determine if your circumstances warrant a change in your custody order, consult the Crider Law Firm before filing any paperwork. This will save you time, money, and unnecessary stress. To set up a consultation with Brad Crider discussing divorce, division of assets, or child custody arrangements, call the Crider Law Firm today.


Top Celebrity Divorce Settlements

With fame, fortune, and success often comes the added difficulty of a very public personal life. Most people with large assets to protect enter marriage comfortably believing it will last, but find comfort in a prenuptial agreement in case it doesn’t. When the unthinkable divorce does indeed happen however, many celebs give in to the outrageous demands of their spouses, managers, and attorneys to protect their reputation. Here are some of the most expensive and extravagant divorce settlements among the rich and famous in recent years.

1. Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore

After having seven children together in their 31 years of marriage, Robyn and Mel Gibson separated immediately after Mel was arrested for drunk driving in 2006. Robyn filed for divorce in 2009 and since no prenuptial agreement was in place, she was entitled to half his estate, averaging about $450 million. This was reportedly one of the most expensive divorce settlements in Hollywood’s history. Following the divorce settlement, Gibson had to shell out $750,000 and a house in California to his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, who is the mother of his eighth child, Lucia.

What went wrong?Reports of a misdemeanor battery charge in combination with a drunk driving arrest caused problems that led to the absolving of a long marriage and the breakup with his girlfriend following the divorce.

2. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

In 2010, at the height of his career as the best golfer in America with the highest salary in the industry, Tiger Woods was exposed as a serial cheater, with over a dozen women admitting to having affairs with the professional athlete. As a result, Woods lost important endorsements, took a hiatus from golf, and underwent an expensive, yet private divorce from his wife of six years. Though the settlement amount has never been confirmed, Nordegren was rumored to have received $110 million outright with large monthly child support benefits. Even at this minimum of $20 million for every year of marriage, the Woods-Nordegren settlement made celebrity divorce history.

What went wrong? It’s safe to say that having dozens of secret extra-marital affairs can really put a damper on a marriage, not to mention ruin a career and soil a reputation.

3. Michael Jordan and Juanita Jordan

After 17 years of marriage, Juanita received $168 million in the divorce settlement, which was one-third of the basketball star’s net worth. They did sign a post-nuptial agreement after Jordan had been in the NBA for five years, but the couple mutually and amicably divorced in 2006.

What went wrong? The couple rarely had instances of public turmoil in the relationship, but fame and celebrity proved to be hard on their family and led to the end of their marriage.

4. Madonna and Guy Ritchie

In 2008, Madonna’s eight year marriage ended, leaving her $92 million poorer and wondering if she would ever find love again. While we expect celebrity divorces to be riddled with scandal and corruption, Madonna and Ritchie appeared to have simply fallen out of love. Friends said Madonna had some eccentric lifestyle choices that made her difficult to live with.

What went wrong? What happened to Madonna’s marriage happens to many marriages that end in divorce. As people grow apart, they lose sight of the commitments they made when, as Madonna said, things were “flawless” in the relationship.

Despite the Hollywood divorce stories that make it seem as if money is everything, the emotional upset of divorce is very real for everyone from celebrities to the average Joe. Finding an attorney who is sensitive to the difficulty of divorce while being willing to fight for your financial rights is an important part of the divorce process. Brad Crider, a practiced Arizona family law attorney, specializes in the complex division of assets and understands the impact of separation on the modern-day family. Contact Crider Family Law to set up your initial consultation and let Brad begin fighting for your financial rights today.

A Good Age for Divorce

Many couples or married individuals considering divorce have had marital struggles for quite some time, but they don’t know when is the “right time” to end things. They wonder if things will get better and if they should wait to see if the storm passes. They wonder what their opportunities for falling in love again will be like as a divorcée. Couples with kids wonder what the effect of divorce will be on their children and if there is a good age for divorce.

While there is no magic age at which divorce becomes easier, the most important thing to consider is how your children will respond and their ability to cope. Every circumstance and every child is different, but here are some tips that may help you decide when divorce would be best for you and your children.

  • While it is believed that children cannot recall many things that happen before their third or fourth birthday, the events that happen between ages 0-4 still have a significant impact on a child’s development. Though children cannot verbally express much as this age, they can feel the tension, fear, and abandonment that usually come from this upset in their normal life. It is important for parents to monitor their child’s reactions, comfort them, and show them love and affection often.
  • Young kids between the ages of 5-10 need more stability and hands-on parenting time. They need a solid home foundation from which they can confidently move forward to become unique individuals, comfortable in their own skin. Studies show, and courts agree, that it is important for children at this age to have the predominant influence of both parents in their lives.
  • The struggle most adolescents face as they try to understand themselves may be exacerbated by divorce. Your teen may act out aggressively or cut themselves off from you verbally or emotionally in an attempt to cope with their feelings. It is important to communicate effectively with your child about the divorce so that they understand they are not at fault. It is also important to be patient and let them approach you with their concerns when they need to.
  • Children who are in their twenties when their parents divorce may begin to question their understanding of what love, commitment, and family really are. This can be especially harmful during a time when they are looking for these relationships themselves. They often feel lied to and feel that their understanding of themselves and their family is irretrievably damaged.
  • Don’t pretend to be in a happy marriage for the sake of the children. Secrets kept with the intent of protecting your children from the hard reality of a broken marriage do not strengthen the relationship you have with your kids. If children find out later that their parents were unhappily married for most of their childhood, this will only worsen their feelings of being lied to and deceived.
  • Most importantly, effective communication with your children is crucial as you go through a divorce. You should not treat your children as a confidant to vent to, but you and your spouse should jointly discuss with your children the decision you have made to divorce. If your children are old enough to understand, calmly explain the changes that must be made as a result of your decision.

Brad Crider is an experienced family law attorney serving the greater Mesa, Arizona area who understands that every parent wants what’s best for his or her child. His years of experience as a family lawyer and father have prepared him to fight for your child’s right to a better home life. To set up an initial consultation, call the Crider Law offices today.

Choosing Battles: Knowing When to Fight and When to Concede

Most couples today get divorced because they no longer see eye-to-eye and argue frequently. When the reason for the divorce is marital conflict, the divorce process itself is likely to involve just as much arguing and disputing. It can be difficult in these times of stress, high-emotion, and anger to respond calmly. However, consciously choosing your battles and learning to respond calmly can save your sanity, your case, and your wallet. Here are some tips to help you learn when to fight back and when to concede in issues with your spouse.

Do not start drama, engage in conflict, or create problems where there needn’t be any.

Keeping a level head will benefit you, your children, and even your spouse during the divorce. The more conflict you create, the more stressed you will be and your case can suffer because of it. If you work hard to communicate amiably with your spouse (through the assistance of a practiced family law attorney), you will incur fewer legal fees and the process will run much smoother.

It is especially important when children are involved to keep the parental conflict to a minimum. Children can feel the tension, even when they do not understand why it is there, and be adversely affected by it.

Always “fight” for your children

It is important to remember that children will almost always benefit from having both parents in their life (though there are exceptions when a parent is abusive or criminal). The best way to “fight” for your children is to suggest 50/50 joint custody up front, even if you desire full custody, or believe the other parent unfit to care for your children. It is still best to offer the other parent equal custody so they do not feel they are being attacked. If you immediately demand full custody, the other parent is likely to get defensive and try to get back at you in financial ways later on, thus causing more conflict. If your spouse is contending for full custody of the children, do not concede without a fight. Your children need you in their lives.

Choose your words carefully.

Do not respond to emails or verbal attacks from the other parent while you are upset. Allow yourself time to cool off to ensure you do not make a rash decision or further the conflict. Be careful not to say anything out loud that could be used against you in court.

Keep the big picture in mind.

In the long run, who gets the furniture and who gets the silverware is not worth spending extra money in legal fees until someone walks away a winner. Material things can be replaced.

Once child custody agreements and support decisions have been arranged, STICK TO THEM.

Even if it doesn’t seem fair, the law is the law and making late payments or refusing to abide by court orders will only cause more problems for you, your children, and the courts.

Document Everything.

Insist that everything be documented, even if your ex assures you they will cooperate without documentation. This is not only a matter of trust, but smart business practice. This will make potential fights down the road a lot easier.

You must be willing to compromise.

You will win some battles and lose some battles in a divorce settlement, and while it will be difficult, you must be willing to compromise and sometimes willing to concede. Being willing, rather than being forced, to compromise, will reduce conflict and make everyone’s lives easier.

Hidden Assets in a Divorce: Spotting Red Flags

Refusal to be forthcoming with assets and other financial information is criminal in a court of law. However, the hatred and spite of bitter exes may cause some to delve into such behavior. If you have never been involved in the family finances, you do not to become instantly suspicious, but start getting involved immediately. Asking extensive questions and obtaining complete documentation are critical to ensuring your spouse will not nickel and dime you out of your own monetary possessions. If you suspect  your spouse may be hiding assets from you or the courts, here are some red flags to look for to determine if further investigation through a “divorce discovery process” is necessary. Crider Family Law will be there every step of the way to guide you through the discovery process as you search for hidden assets in a divorce.

  1. Spousal refusal to provide financial documentation OR claiming they have no access to it

A spouse who has not been very involved in the family finances or does not have access to important records is usually referred to as the “out-spouse”. In an amicable divorce, the “out-spouse” could simply ask the “in-spouse” for records and documentation and they would willingly comply. However, this is not usually the case. If a spouse refuses to provide documentation or access to financial information upon your request, seek legal help from your attorney.

  1. Assets recently transferred to a separate account (in their name or a friend’s name)

Once the divorce proceedings begin, the individual transfer of funds from joint or brokerage accounts is strictly supervised and prohibited. If your spouse has been preparing and planning for the divorce however, there may be evidence in bank statements of transferred funds to a separate account. This account may be in their name individually or in a friend’s name. If your spouse transfers funds into a friend’s account with the intention of transferring them back once the divorce is final, they are not required to document these funds as part of the community property that will be divided equally in the divorce. Investigate all bank account and brokerage statements from the last year to be thorough.

  1. Overpaying the IRS

If your spouse primarily handles the taxes and is consciously preparing for divorce, they may instruct the Internal Revenue Service to use the tax refund from this year towards payment on next year’s taxes. Once the divorce is finalized, your spouse would have a large federal and state tax refund (based on money you earned jointly) to use towards next year’s taxes. This not only robs you of your rightful tax refund, but also gives them a hefty discount towards next year’s payment.

  1. Overpriced Groceries (Stockpiling “Cash Back”)

Though it would not amount to a large sum of money, it is possible to stockpile cash by simply adding it the grocery bill. By withdrawing an extra $60 or $80 every time the pin pad asks if you would like cash back, this theft from your joint account may go unnoticed and is virtually untraceable without the receipt.

  1. Delaying a promotion or raise

If your spouse has a good relationship with their boss, they may disclose your current marital status in an attempt to delay a promotion or a raise until the divorce is finalized.Similarly, they may delay bonuses or commissions checks for the same purpose.

  1. Suspicious expense reports

If you can get your hands on a copy of your spouse’s latest business expenses, you might see that Cousin Joe, twice-removed, has been added to the payroll, or that trusted family friends have been paid for their “consulting.”

An experienced family law attorney like Brad Crider can help you spot red flags to discover if your spouse is hiding assets for self-gain. To set up an initial consultation, call the Crider Law Offices today.