Divorce Lawyers Serving Sun City West and Surprise
Arizona firm works to protect clients’ interests when ending a marriage
Choosing to end a marriage can be traumatic, but Pennington Law, PLLC strives to achieve the best divorce terms possible so you have a strong foundation for the future. Working from offices in Sun City West and Surprise, we provide knowledgeable counsel and skillful advocacy on terms related to child custody, property division, alimony and child support. Our compassionate attorneys are dedicated to achieving a positive legal resolution for you.
Elements of a child custody arrangement
What many people generally refer to as child custody is divided into two types of parental rights under Arizona law. Decision-making authority describes the legal power mothers and fathers have to make important choices about their son or daughter’s upbringing. The second element of custody is parenting time, which addresses where the child will live and what visitation arrangements will be made for the parent who does not live in the child’s primary residence. Our firm takes the time necessary to learn what needs to be done in order to create a healthy environment for children and parents. Generally, reaching an agreement on these issues sets the proper tone, but if the matter goes before a judge, we are ready to present a thorough case to demonstrate that your proposal is truly in your son or daughter’s best interests.
How is property divided in an Arizona divorce?
Arizona is a community property state, which means that most assets acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage are owned equally by both. Accordingly, the parties usually receive approximately equal shares of the marital estate when they divorce. However, if you have a prenuptial agreement in place or one spouse received an individual gift or inheritance, certain assets might not be included within the marital estate. Dividing funds from bank accounts is usually pretty simple, but splitting other assets, such as stocks, retirement accounts and the marital home, could be much more difficult.
Litigation pits divorcing spouses against each other, even when their breakup is relatively amicable. However, in the collaborative divorce process, both parties and their lawyers work together in order to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Our firm can explain how, in collaborative divorce, parties share information and hire experts together, avoiding costly discovery battles and the stress that accompanies going to court.
How child support is calculated
We can look at the facts in your case and assess what type of child support order would be entered under the Arizona guidelines. The state uses an “income shares” model which takes into account how much each party makes as well as the percentage of the year that a child spends in each parent’s residence. Health insurance expenses and child care costs are also part of this calculation. If you have an order in place, but circumstances change to the point that the monthly child support rate would change by at least 15 percent or $50 (whichever is less), then you can petition the court for a modification.
Distribution of marital debts
Like marital assets, debts accumulated while a couple was wed must also be allocated as part of the divorce process. Often, the home mortgage is the largest debt and the most difficult to deal with. Our firm can try to work out a fair arrangement through negotiations or mediation. This might result in one party assuming the mortgage and maintaining the home while the other receives some compensation for their share of the home’s equity. If consensus cannot be achieved, a judge will determine the specific debt division terms in accordance with Arizona’s community property law.
Contact an experienced Arizona divorce lawyer for a free initial consultation
Pennington Law, PLLC advocates for Arizona spouses during divorce proceedings and related matters, such as custody disputes. To make an appointment for a free consultation at our Surprise or Sun City West office, please call 623-229-0463 or contact us online.