Category: Divorce Law

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.

Taxes and Divorce – What to Watch Out For

Nearly 60% of Americans hire someone to do their taxes for them each year. Needless to say, filing your taxes isn’t exactly a cakewalk. Attempting to file your taxes while in the midst of a divorce can be even trickier due to the changing nature of your marital status. Many people do not even realize the implications a divorce can have on their tax filing status until the following tax season rolls around. When it comes to taxes and divorce, consulting a tax specialist or experienced divorce lawyer is important so that all your specific questions can be answered.  Listed below are a few important tax topics to be aware of while working to obtain a divorce.

The Date of Dissolution (Filing Status)

Until now, checking the “Filing Status” box with a response of ‘Married’ or ‘Single’ has been quite simple. With a pending divorce decree in the court system, this question may now be more difficult to answer. According to Arizona law, if a couple is still legally married as of December 31st of that tax year, the couple may file jointly. If the divorce is finalized on or before December 31st, the couple will be considered divorced for the entire tax year and cannot file jointly.

Separated spouses who wish to claim Head of Household filing status (and receive a greater tax deduction) must meet the following criteria:

  • You and your spouse must have lived apart during the last six months of the tax year
  • Your and your spouse’s dependent children must have lived with you for more than half the year
  • You must have paid more than half of housing costs for the year.

If you feel you meet these requirements but have more questions, seek the help of a certified tax specialist.

Community Property Laws in Arizona

If your divorce is not yet finalized, but you and your spouse choose to file separate tax returns, you must list one half of the joint income as your own, regardless of which spouse earned the money. Community Property law in Arizona dictates that all income in your marriage is considered joint income until your marriage has been dissolved.

Tax Exemptions and Deductions

Tax exemptions for dependent children generally go to the primary custodian (or the parent with whom the child lived for more than half of the filing year). Spouses can also choose which parent will receive the exemption by filling out Form 8332 and agreeing to the exemption in writing. Keep in mind that as of 2013, having a dependent can reduce your taxable income by almost $4,000.

Spousal maintenance and child support payments are treated differently on your taxes. Spousal maintenance is tax deductible. It is considered income for the spouse receiving spousal maintenance and qualifies as a deduction for the spouse paying it. If you receive a large spousal maintenance payment, you will probably owe the IRS more in taxes at the end of the year. Keep this in mind when determining if you want spousal maintenance as part of the divorce settlement. Conversely, child support payments are not tax deductible, nor can they be considered a source of income for the recipient.

Retirement Plans

When divorce occurs later in life, the safety of your retirement fund becomes critical. A document called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) will be important to understand early on in the divorce as this can allow you to use the benefits from your spouse’s 401(k) as your own. It will also divide the money you’ve saved equally between you and your spouse when you split.

Property Taxes

If you gain property through a divorce settlement, such as the family house or other tangible assets, you will be taxed when you sell them based on the profits you have earned.

Consulting with a tax professional and having an experienced family law attorney like Brad Crider in your corner will minimize the difficulty of your tax-filing process so you can focus on the more important aspects during this difficult time of your life. The Arizona family law attorney offices of Brad Crider are particularly adept at the complex division of assets. Call Crider Law to set up an initial consultation with an attorney who will work for you to be free of devastating tax consequences once the divorce is through.

The Benefits of Post-Nuptial Agreements

While many engaged couples find prenuptial agreements unnecessary and unromantic, a few years of marriage can sometimes make a post-nuptial agreement sound pretty enticing. Post-nuptial agreements are not just a selfish means of getting what you want in the event of a divorce, though. They are also useful tools for protecting joint finances, establishing mutual understanding in legal matters, and keeping a marriage (whether struggling or not) in tact for years to come.

Most couples mutually agree that the benefits of post-nuptial agreements outweigh any conflict surrounding its creation. There are few regulations in Arizona law surrounding what can and cannot be written into a postnuptial agreement. Anything from division of assets to division of household chores can be legally agreed upon. It is best to get an idea of the things that are most important in your financial and personal relationship with your spouse, whatever they may be, before hiring an attorney. Once you have established the bulk of what you want to cover in your agreement, working with an experienced family law attorney such as Brad Crider of Crider Law will help you to settle differences and create a legally binding agreement between you and your spouse.

If financial irresponsibility or excessive gambling is a point of marital conflict, a postnuptial agreement can set enforceable spending limitations and determine who is responsible for debts incurred. You can also write in stipulations for how children will be supported, even after they turn 18 and are no longer considered minors. In the unfortunate event that you and your spouse do get divorced before this time, your responsibility to provide for your children will still be shared between you and your spouse.

When there is a significant change in the financial status of either you or your spouse, such as receiving an unexpected inheritance or losing a small fortune in the stock market, consider drawing up a postnuptial agreement to protect your economic assets in case of future divorce or death.

To set up an initial consultation with an experienced family law attorney who can help you protect your assets and your life when marital circumstances change, call Crider Law today. Brad Crider will work to understand your individual needs and draw up an agreement that is beneficial for the emotional and economic well being of you and your spouse.

Divorce: Where to Start?

Whether you have just been served divorce papers, recently made the decision to initiate a divorce, or seen divorce on the horizon for quite some time, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all that must be done. Aside from the emotional consequences of this change, there are important legal, financial, and practical matters that must be taken care of. You will have to make difficult personal decisions, such as deciding how to discuss this decision with your spouse, children, and extended family, but the Crider Law Firm is committed to personally guiding you through the legal process every step of the way. Here are some helpful steps you can take to start the divorce process off right.


  1. Take a big step back. Spend some time carefully considering the implications of the divorce on all parties involved. When you have a clear understanding of what you hope to accomplish through the divorce, then you can start taking the necessary steps to reach your goals.


  1. Gather information, documents, and paperwork. Create a record of your joint and individual assets and debts. Make a digital and hard copy file of the following documents:
    • tax returns
    • pay stubs
    • mortgage statements
    • checking and savings account statements for the past 2 years
    • debts in your and/or your spouse’s name
    • statements from IRA accounts, pension plans, or mutual funds
    • title, registration, and outstanding debts on all vehicles

Note: Arizona follows community property laws, which means that marital assets are divided fairly between spouses upon divorce. If either spouse acquired assets, monies, or debts prior to your marriage, documentation must be provided to ensure it will be considered separate property in a court of law.


  1. Talk to your spouse and arrange practical accommodations. This will likely be one of the most difficult parts of the divorce process. Depending on the quality of the relationship between you and your spouse, there could be a lot of contention, conflict, and mixed emotions when this conversation takes place. Have a plan ready outlining living arrangements, parenting time ideas, and practical solutions before you have this discussion. Be open and willing to compromise on these points though and keep a level head. The way your spouse handles the news will determine the next best steps to take.


  1. Choose the best legal route.
  • If you and your spouse are in agreement on most things, divorce mediationmay be a less stressful and more cost-effective option to settle the divorce. Once a settlement agreement has been reached through mediation, have an experienced family law attorney like Brad Crider look it over to ensure it is in your best interest. He can then help you submit all necessary documents to the legal system for an expedited settlement process.
  • If your spouse is less agreeable, you may choose a collaborative divorce in which your attorney and your spouse’s attorney will work with you outside the court room to come to a settlement decision that works for both parties.
  • If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, a judge will determine the divorce settlement and custody arrangements through litigation in court. Making sure you have a well-versed legal representative and divorce lawyer on your side will be paramount in determining the outcome of the divorce litigation.


To help you decide which method of representation will best meet your needs, and to begin taking the steps toward a divorce, set up an initial consultation with Brad Crider today.