Getting divorced is a process, and it is a process during which several problems can arise. Fortunately, it is possible to avoid many of these problems with the right approach; and, for those that are unavoidable, there are multiple potential solutions available. The key is to make informed decisions both before and during the process, and to work closely with an experienced divorce lawyer who can help guide you every step of the way. In a recent article, we discussed issues that can arise after a divorce. Here, we are covering problems that can arise during the divorce process.
Many of these problems typically arise when divorcing spouses try to handle their divorce without legal representation. But, some of them—like both spouses wanting to keep the same marital assets—may simply arise as a matter of course. In these situations, both spouses must work with their respective attorneys to evaluate their options, make informed and reasoned decisions, and find a resolution that ultimately focuses on the bigger picture.
10 Common Problems During the Divorce Process in Arizona
What are some of the problems that can arise during the divorce process in Arizona? Here are 10 of the most-common examples:
1. Improperly Classifying Marital and Separate Property
For divorce purposes, all assets fall into one of two categories. Assets are either “marital”—which means that they are subject to division, or they are “separate”—which means that they are not. Correctly identifying spouses’ marital and separate assets is a key early step in the divorce process. While there are some general rules (i.e., assets acquired during the marriage are marital assets in most cases), there are exceptions, and divorcing spouses must work with their respective lawyers to ensure that they classify their property correctly.
2. Not Addressing All Marital Assets
Along with improperly classifying marital and separate assets, another common problem involves simply overlooking marital property. Couples must divide all of their marital assets during the divorce process. If they don’t, they can run into even bigger problems in the future. Here, too, working with an experienced divorce lawyer is key, as your lawyer will be able to help ensure that you identify all physical property, financial accounts, and other assets that are on the table in your divorce.
3. Disagreeing Over the Proper Distribution of Marital Property
Under Arizona’s “community property” law, divorcing spouses will need to split their marital assets 50-50 in most cases. But, there are exceptions here as well, and this can lead to disputes over how much of the marital estate properly belongs to each spouse. When one spouse believes he or she is entitled to more than 50 percent of the couple’s marital estate, it will be necessary to carefully examine the relevant factors and determine whether this belief is justified.
4. Disagreeing Over Who Gets What
Even if divorcing spouses agree on how much of their property they each get to keep after their divorce, they can still disagree over who gets what. In fact, these disagreements are among the most common problems arising during the divorce process. While this problem cannot necessarily be avoided, it can be overcome, and divorcing spouses can use various tools and techniques (including divorce mediation) to come to terms.
5. Disagreeing Over the Value of Marital Property
Another common problem related to marital property distribution involves disagreeing over the value of certain marital assets. The valuation of specific assets can significantly impact the overall distribution of a divorcing couple’s marital estate; and, when these disputes arise, couples can engage a neutral third-party valuation expert to provide an unbiased opinion.
6. One Spouse Hiding Assets or Income
Dividing spouses’ marital assets and appropriately calculating alimony and child support all require a comprehensive picture of the spouses’ holdings and finances. If one spouse attempts to hide assets or income, this can lead to problems as well. Arizona law requires both spouses to fully disclose their assets and income at the outset of the divorce process; and, if one spouse fails to do so, the other has clear legal remedies available.
7. Both Spouses Wanting to Maximize Their Time with Their Children
Along with property division and financial issues, divorcing spouses can encounter problems related to the establishment of post-divorce child custody rights as well. Understandably, parents typically have strong emotions when dealing with child custody, and both parents will frequently want to maximize the time they are able to spend with their children. In Arizona, all child custody decisions must reflect the best interests of the children involved; and, from traditional visitation schedules to co-parenting and bird’s nest custody, parents today have a variety of options available.
8. Both Spouses Wanting to Spend Birthdays and Holidays with Their Children
In addition to general disagreements about child custody rights, divorcing parents will often encounter conflicts with regard to birthdays, holidays, and other specific issues. Once again, divorcing parents have multiple options to choose from, and finding an amicable solution will usually be a matter of working with their respective attorneys (and perhaps a mediator) to reach a compromise that is reasonably satisfactory for both parties.
9. Inadvertently Triggering Tax Liability
In some cases, selling marital assets, establishing alimony, and various other aspects of the divorce process can have state and federal tax implications. To avoid inadvertently triggering unnecessary tax liability, divorcing spouses should work with their lawyers to ensure that they address these potential implications proactively.
10. Struggling to Find a Path Forward
Ultimately, one of the biggest problems divorcing spouses can encounter is struggling to find a path forward. With everything involved in the divorce process, it is easy to find yourself feeling stuck along the way. Once again, an experienced divorce lawyer can help; and, by approaching your divorce one step at a time, you can keep making progress toward a positive end result.
Request an Appointment with a Phoenix Divorce Lawyer
If you are considering a divorce in Arizona, we encourage you to contact us for more information. To speak with an experienced Phoenix divorce lawyer at Weingart Family Law in confidence, please call 480-923-9063 or request a free consultation online today.