Once you’ve gone through a divorce, one of the last things you want to do is deal with issues you overlooked during the process. This can be frustrating, time-consuming, and expensive, and it can interfere with your plans for your post-divorce life.
Avoiding unnecessary issues post-divorce is all about making informed decisions during the divorce process. By gathering the necessary information, thinking about the future, and weighing all available options, you can bring an end to your marriage with confidence that you will be able to move on.
How To Avoid Unnecessary Issues After Your Divorce
So, what kinds of issues are we talking about? Here are seven examples of issues that can arise after a divorce—along with some tips for avoiding them:
Issue #1: Undivided Community Property
When going through a divorce, spouses must divide their shared (or “community”) assets according to Arizona law. In most cases, this means splitting their community assets down the middle. If spouses overlook community assets during the divorce process, this can leave them with undivided community property post-divorce.
How to Avoid It: Take the Time to Comprehensively Identify All Community Assets
To avoid ending up with undivided community assets, divorcing spouses must take the time to comprehensively identify all of their community property. Making a list is a good place to start, and in many cases, this will involve going room-by-room through the family home. But, divorcing spouses need to be careful not to overlook non-physical assets, including bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, cryptocurrency wallets, and NFTs.
Issue #2: Undivided Community Debts
Along with dividing their community assets, divorcing spouses must also divide their community debts. Crucially, these may include debts incurred jointly in both spouses’ names and potentially individual debts incurred during the marriage. If both spouses remain liable for a mortgage or other joint debt after their marriage ends, it isn’t hard to see how this can lead to trouble.
How to Avoid It: Address Asset Division and Debt Division with Equal Care
Too often, dividing debts is an afterthought for divorcing spouses. But, this should not be the case. Divorcing spouses should address asset and debt division with equal care, and both spouses should ensure that they clearly understand their financial responsibilities post-divorce.
Issue #3: Financial Challenges That Could Have Been Avoided
Whether due to paying too much alimony or not receiving enough child support, divorcing spouses risk unanticipated financial challenges if they are not careful during the divorce process. While it is possible to modify alimony and child support in some cases, this is not necessarily a straightforward process, and a favorable outcome is not guaranteed.
How to Avoid It: Identify All Income Sources and Create a Financial Plan
To avoid unanticipated financial challenges, divorcing spouses can ensure they address all relevant financial considerations during their divorce. This includes ensuring they clearly understand their spouse’s income sources and their own post-divorce financial needs.
Issue #4: Fundamental Disagreements Regarding Important Child-Related Decisions
Who will make decisions about your children’s religious upbringing and healthcare? Who will make the rules about curfews and screen time? Who will decide where your children go to college? These are all important questions that parents can struggle to address amicably after bringing their marriage to an end. Without a plan, fundamental disagreements can create roadblocks that are difficult to overcome.
How to Avoid It: Create a Framework for Making Child-Related Decisions Post-Divorce
To avoid significant child-related disagreements, divorcing parents can create a framework for making important decisions as they come up. Divorcing parents can also make some decisions in advance. Here, too, the key is to have a plan. If both parents have a plan, they can follow, this will significantly decrease the risk of unanticipated decisions leading to unnecessary confrontations.
Issue #5: Differing Interpretations of the Parenting Time Schedule
A well-drafted parenting plan will leave no room for interpretation. Each parent will clearly understand his or her parenting time rights—even when special circumstances arise. Too often, however, parenting plans are not sufficiently clear. Ambiguities and oversights frequently leave parents without the guidance they need to avoid disagreements post-divorce.
How to Avoid It: Develop a Comprehensive and Custom-Tailored Parenting Plan
To avoid differing interpretations post-divorce, divorcing spouses must ensure that their parenting plans are sufficiently comprehensive. They must address everything from holidays and vacation travel to drop-off times and transportation responsibilities. By carefully considering all possible scenarios, divorcing spouses can craft a custom-tailored parenting plan that meets their needs.
Issue #6: Inability to Pay Alimony or Child Support
If one former spouse can no longer pay alimony or child support, this can cause financial stress for both parties. While Arizona law provides means for both modification and enforcement, once again, there are no guarantees.
How to Avoid It: Establish Appropriate Alimony and Child Support Obligations During the Divorce Process
Spouses can establish appropriate payment obligations during the divorce process to avoid (or at least minimize the risk of) alimony and child support payment issues post-divorce. Generally speaking, alimony payments should allow both parties to maintain their standard of living, and child support payments should conform to Arizona’s Child Support Guidelines.
Issue #7: Relocation and Other Practical Issues
Divorced spouses often need to remain in contact long after their marriage ends. This is especially true when they have minor children. If one spouse relocates, gets a new phone number, or simply stops communicating, this can also create issues.
How to Avoid It: Set Rules and Expectations During Your Divorce
Divorcing spouses can establish rules and expectations in their divorce settlement agreement to avoid these issues. As a practical matter, both spouses’ ability to relocate may be limited based on Arizona’s child custody laws. However, by writing things down, divorcing spouses can ensure that they are on the same page and reduce their risk of facing unnecessary challenges and frustrations in the future.
Schedule a Free Initial Divorce Consultation at Weingart Family Law in Tempe, AZ
If you are considering a divorce and would like to know more about how you can protect yourself during the divorce process, we invite you to get in touch with our divorce lawyer. To schedule a free initial consultation, please call 480-530-5551 or contact us confidentially online today.