Our family law attorneys at Platt & Westby, P.C., provide a full range of family law services, including drafting of prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, advising fathers on their rights to a child born to unwed parents, assisting grandparents in getting visitation with grandchildren, protecting the rights of parents to family medical leave, and all aspects of divorce, property division, spousal maintenance, and child custody.
Divorce is almost always a complex issue, both legally and emotionally. Self-service programs and paralegals would have you believe that by purchasing a “divorce package” you will get a cheap, complete and hassle-free divorce, just as if you were buying a can of beans off the shelf. Cans of beans may be similar but all marriages are different. A "one size fits all" divorce really fits no one. You need an experienced family law attorney for help in resolving complex issues of property division, alimony, child custody and child support.
Division of Marital Assets
Arizona is a community property state. Therefore, any property acquired during the marriage is considered community property and upon dividing the assets, will be split 50/50. However, property owned by a spouse before the marriage is their sole and separate property.
This area can become confusing if the owner makes a gift of the property to the other spouse, or commingles separate funds with community funds. Complications concerning separate or community property are often overlooked by unqualified and unlicensed "document preparers." They require an experienced family lawyer to reach an equitable resolution.
Retirement plans must be divided by a properly prepared “qualified domestic relations order” (QDRO) in order to satisfy IRS regulations and tax laws. The requirements of the trustee of the retirement plan will need to reflect the proper division of the parties’ respective interests, which can become complex when one spouse worked before marriage and earned retirement credit as separate property, or continues to work for the same employer after the divorce, accruing greater retirement credits. Paralegals either fail to recognize these problem areas or are not qualified to address the division of this valuable asset.
Just as assets can be brought into a marriage, so can debt. If communal funds are used to pay the debt of one of the marriage partners, a divorce attorney can help the non-debtor spouse secure a legal interest called an equitable lien.
Child Custody & Child Support
The most bitterly contested issue in divorce is often which parent should have primary child custody and which should have visitation—and how much visitation he or she should have. Only a properly qualified lawyer can steer a person through a contested custody dispute.
In an effort to help people understand their child support obligations under state guidelines, the Supreme Court of Arizona has provided the general public with a child support calculator. This calculation provides the baseline for child support; any deviation from it must be approved by the Court. Our experienced child support lawyers know when and how to ask the court to deviate from the child support guidelines in special cases.
Determining child support is one thing—getting child support is another. Our child support attorneys can help you with matters of child support collections.
No divorce is so simple that you should place your trust, your finances, and your children’s well-being in the hands of a document preparer. The Arizona family law attorneys at Platt & Westby, P.C., have been helping couples through the process of divorce for nearly three decades. Contact our office or call 602-277-4441 to speak with one of our experienced family law attorneys. As always, the initial consultation is free of charge.