Category: Affects of Divorce

Will I Owe Spousal Maintenance?

In the state of Arizona, spousal maintenance is determined by a two-part analysis of all relevant factors pertaining to the financial, academic, and career standing of both spouses. The first level of analysis determines the eligibility of both spouses to receive or give spousal maintenance. The second level then takes into consideration the assets and abilities of both spouses. This information is then used to determine how much spousal maintenance will be owed upon the dissolution of the marriage. Spousal maintenance can be a challenging hurdle in the divorce settlement process because it requires significant documentation of past, present, and current circumstances. Here are some things to consider as you discuss spousal maintenance with your attorney:

Part 1: Eligibility

Since every case is unique, a judge must consider these important factors in relation to the specific needs of the individuals to determine if either spouse is eligible for monetary support. To determine if you will owe spousal maintenance, your attorney and the courts of law will need to know:

1) If your spouse has reasonable living accommodations and other necessary property.

2) If your spouse’s income and means of employment warrants self-sufficiency.

3) The duration of the marriage

4) The age of the spouse in relation to the time it would take to achieve academic and economic self-sufficiency.

Essentially, the courts must verify that both spouses are independently self-sufficient or able to become self-sufficient within a reasonable amount of time following the divorce. If your spouse is absolutely unable to provide for themselves due to an unequal division of assets, educational shortcomings, or demanding childcare obligations, they may be eligible for spousal maintenance.

Part 2: Considering All Relevant Factors

If your spouse is found eligible for spousal maintenance, the following factors are then assessed to fairly decide spousal support following the divorce:

1) The standard of living within the marriage

Did you live above or below your means?

2) The duration of the marriage

How much time was invested in the marriage?

3) Level of education, career experience, and earning potential

Did either spouse quit past jobs to take care of children? Do they have enough education to return to the work force?

4) The physical, mental, and emotional condition of the spouse seeking support

Does one spouse have significant health requirements that warrant spousal support?

5) The ability of the supporting spouse to meet their own needs while providing support to their former spouse

– Can one spouse adequately provide for themselves while partially providing for the other?

6) All contributions made by both parties to childcare and household income during the marriage

– Was the division of household labor, childcare, and income from earnings equal between spouses?

7) Any sacrifice of educational or career opportunities made by the spouse seeking support for the benefit of the other, their marriage, or their children

– Has one spouse’s earning potential been reduced while the other spouse’s has been advanced?

8) The ability of the spouse seeking support to obtain educational advancement and employment if necessary (with consideration of financial restrictions and time constraints)

– Is necessary educational training readily available? How much will it cost? How long will it take to complete the education and find adequate employment?

9) The extent to which both parties can contribute to children’s education costs

– Will spousal maintenance be necessary to help one parent contribute?

10) Health insurance costs for both parties

– How much will new coverage cost? How much money will be saved in the reduction of the current health insurance plan?

11) An imbalance in financial assets or properties

­– What debts have both spouses incurred independently? Does either spouse have hidden assets?

12) Any criminal convictions

– Were there any charges of domestic violence in which the spouse or child was a victim? What other damages were incurred?

Each case is substantially unique and requires an in-depth look at very personal matters. You can trust the experienced family law attorneys at Crider Law to work with you to establish a fair spousal maintenance agreement and ensure your needs are taken care of. Brad Crider is an expert on the complex division of assets and will work hard to create a fair divorce settlement for your individual circumstance. Call Crider Law today to set up an initial consultation.

“A Child’s Best Interest”: Key Factors to Child Custody

When it comes to determining child custody and parenting time rights in the midst of a divorce, you’ve undoubtedly read the words “in the best interest of the child” countless times. But what does that really mean? Since every family dynamic is unique, you may be wondering how a judge can really determine what is best for YOUR child. You do not have to completely relinquish this life-changing custody decision to a third-party judge however if you are able to first negotiate with your ex-spouse, through assisted mediation or otherwise. While a judge still has power to make the final decision, they will take into account any agreement you and your spouse have come to. In addition to your input, there are many other factors that judges use to determine a custody solution. It is important to be aware of these key factors so you have a say in what best suits the needs of your family.

Custody Options

On matters of custody, courts rarely take an “all or nothing” approach. In the occasional case where one parent is granted sole custody, the child will reside with them permanently and this parent will be responsible for making all legal decisions on behalf of the minor child. More often however, a judge orders a joint custody arrangement. If a judge rules that “joint legal custody” is best, both parents will be responsible for making important legal decisions for the child together. “Joint physical custody” means that the child will have one primary place of residence and a parenting time plan will be drafted to ensure the other parent gets their fair share of time with the child. A combination of these parenting plans may be ordered as part of the divorce settlement.

Key Factors

To determine the best parenting and custody plan, a judge will look at factors like:

  • The physical, mental, and financial capacity of both parents to provide for the child
  • The stability of each parent’s home environment
  • Geographical location and proximity of parent’s homes to each other and to the child’s place of education
  • Any parental history of drug and alcohol abuse or domestic violence
  • The age and number of children involved
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • The child’s preference may be considered if the child is old enough (usually at least age 12)
  • Any special needs of the child

Use Caution

Another important component judges will look at is the apparent willingness of both parents to support their child having a relationship with the other parent. If you have an especially vindictive spouse, they may try and use your words and actions against you to make you seem unfit to parent, limiting your custody and parenting time privileges. Though it may be difficult, be very careful what you say about your ex out loud and in writing during the divorce proceedings.

You will often have to compromise with your spouse on issues concerning custody, but your children are absolutely worth fighting for. Brad Crider is an experienced family law attorney in Arizona who is dedicated to fighting for your rights to time with your children. For further information on specific custody questions or to set up your initial consultation, call the Crider Law Offices 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.

Losing Sleep After a Divorce

A divorce is one of the more stressful experiences people go through in their lives. It involves changes in relationships with loved ones, the disruption of routines and the adjustments of schedules. For some, the stress of a divorce steadily declines once it’s finalized. But others continue to deal with anxiety and tension for weeks and months after their divorce.

One of the most common problems many divorcees experience is the lack of quality sleep. The stress they feel during the divorce proceedings may keep them up at night. Others find that the inability to get a good nights rest persists long after the divorce is finished. Research shows that this long-term lack of sleep can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure.

Doctors point out that sleep problems are pretty normal for the first month or so after the separation and as the divorce proceedings begin. It’s an adjustment that most people are able to deal with. It’s when these sleep problems continue for an extended period of time that the red flags go up. Experts say this can be a sign of depression. If left unchecked, it can play a significant role in the body’s ability to fight off sickness and disease.

A recent study reported on the quality of sleep of almost 200 participants who had recently either separated or divorced from their spouse. They specifically kept an eye on the correlation between lack of sleep and blood pressure. What they found is that the longer a person’s sleep problem persisted after their separation or divorce, the more likely they experienced high blood pressure.

The magic number seems to be 10. The study found that people experiencing lack of sleep up to 10 weeks seemed to be okay. It was after they hit that 10-week mark that the blood pressure problems began to manifest themselves. In fact, the research was able to show that “each standard deviation increase in sleep complaints corresponded to a roughly six unit increase in subsequent systolic blood pressure.” (Health Psychology)

For people who find themselves losing sleep after a divorce, it is recommended that they seek out cognitive behavioral therapy, make adjustments in their daily schedules that will help promote healthy sleep, or find better ways to relax at bedtime.