Tips from Chandler family law attorney

Alimony and Child Support During COVID-19 Crisis

What do you do if the COVID-19 scare has shut down your employer and has caused a layoff, or has suddenly left you without income to pay child support or alimony? Or what can you do if you’re the recipient of alimony or child support? You’re probably left needing to figure out how to pay bills and make ends meet without support from your child’s parent or ex-spouse?

An epidemic like this can have far reaching economic consequences and when it comes to family law issues and can stress out both the payer and the payee. A look at the entirety of each parties’ financial situations could be required.

Compromise may also be appropriate, and though you must properly convey the entire agreement to avoid interpretation or enforcement issues later. In these cases, legal counsel is strongly advised.

However, in cases where parents are not able to reconcile their differences and compromise, these parents may need to seek court intervention. This could be in the form of a virtual alternate dispute resolution and it is advised that you seek legal counsel immediately.

You can call Shaffer Family Law in Chandler today at (480) 470-3030 if you have any questions.

Couple arguing during divorce proceedings

Differences Between Uncontested and Contested Divorces

Divorce is never an easy thing. It’s an emotional, draining, scary, frustrating and challenging event in anyone’s life. If you’re thinking about getting a divorce or are beginning the process of undergoing one, the more information you have, the more comfortable you’ll be during this difficult time in your life. Knowing your options will allow you to do what’s best for you and your family so that you can get passed this time of your life and move on.

Before you meet with your Chandler divorce lawyer, it’s good to know about the different types of divorces. That way you’ll better understand what your lawyer will explain to you in more depth. There are two types of divorce cases: contested and uncontested.

Both are complex, but the real difference between the two is the ability for both parties to come to an agreement on all aspects of the case. If the two spouses can’t agree on the terms of the divorce, the case will have to go to court and it could be a lengthy battle.

However, both uncontested and contested divorces have their own advantages and disadvantages and choosing one over the other will ultimately depend on the type of relationship you have with your ex-partner if you have children and assets that are shared.

What Is an Uncontested Divorce Case?

Typically, an uncontested divorce case is one where both parties can come to terms on an agreement on all aspects of their divorce, including the kids, property, assets and more. Usually, uncontested divorce cases are amicable and are shorts. Individuals filing for an uncontested divorce need to so on “No-Fault” grounds in legal terms “in-supportability.”

This just means that the marriage has broken down because the two parties are incompatible with one another and neither have the expectation of reconciling again.

In order for an uncontested divorce case to be successful, both parties much agree on all child custody matters and marital assets and debts.  The parties must agree to matters relating to shared parenting and the split of all debts, assets, and property. They must also voluntarily sign all necessary paperwork and documents without any hostile arguments, too.

Given the ease of an uncontested divorce case, it’s acceptable to file without the need for legal representation. However, it’s not advised as both parties can easily overlook very important aspects of their particular divorce case and situation.

This can then result in an unenforceable divorce by the court. It’s better to have a Chandler divorce attorney by your side during an uncontested divorce case to ease the process and make sure everything is correct so that you don’t run into any difficulties later on. Having representation will make the entire divorce process seamless, so you now have one less than to worry about during this important transition of your life.

What Is A Contested Divorce Case?

Sometimes, divorce cases are so amicable. Usually, when things get ugly, spouses won’t come to see eye-to-eye on various divorce terms, which leads to a contested divorce. You’ll definitely want to seek representation from a Chandler divorce lawyer for a contested divorce case.

When spouses can’t agree on the divorce settlement, the case is now considered to be a contested divorce that requires a reputable and skilled attorney. Contested divorce cases usually require mediation, arbitration and can possibly go to trial. They are a lot longer than an uncontested divorce and can become very complex, especially with child custody battles, large marital estates and complex division of property and more.

There are numerous proceedings and steps that spouses will go through in a contested divorce. While there’s no exact timeframe, these divorces can drag on for months at a time before it’s all finalized. Steps that parties complete before the divorce is finalized include filing all the legal paperwork, serving the papers to the appropriate parties, court-ordered mediation before hearing or a temporary orders hearing and then counterpetition/responding.

From there, you’ll go through the discovery process, pre-trial hearings and motions, negotiations or mediation and finally the trial. If applicable, you might be able to appeal the final decision on your contested divorce case if the outcome is not in your favor or what you initially wanted.

It’s not uncommon for a divorce to start out as uncontested, but as things progress and the two spouses can’t agree on terms, the case can easily escalate to a contested divorce case.

Common reasons why divorce would be contested include:

  • A spouse hiding assets
  • A combative divorce where spouses can’t work amicably together to separate
  • A dishonest spouse
  • A cheating spouse with proof of infidelity
  • A spouse lying about finances
  • Auguring over the division of property
  • Conflicting views on parenting and child support or custody
  • An abusive marriage
  • The simple fact that spouses can’t communicate effectively during the divorce process

While many want to know how long a contested divorce will last, the truth is that it’s hard to say. The entire process can take a few months to even as long as a few years in really complex contested divorce cases. But usually, the more the spouses can agree and cooperate on various matters, the smoother and faster the entire contested divorce will go.

Because divorce can be a challenging event, it’s better to seek legal advice and representation from a Chandler divorce lawyer. A knowledgeable divorce attorney will be able to safely help and guide you through a contested or uncontested divorce.

Everything from the initial documents you’ll need for your consultation to working on all the court orders and more, a Chandler divorce attorney will help you throughout your entire case. Give us a call today at (480) 470-3030.

Benefits of having a divorce lawyer

The Difficulty of a Divorce Case Without an Attorney

You might be tempted to try and go through a divorce without seeking representation from a divorce lawyer. But before you actually do it know it’s a long and challenging road given the complexity of divorce cases.

The biggest reason why people want to go through a divorce without a lawyer representing them is the costs associated with legal representation. However, in reality, the disadvantages associated with going through a divorce on your own can really outweigh all that money you saved.

Not only do Chandler divorce attorneys know the law and all of its intricate details, rules, and regulations, but they also know what points need to be argued and how to effectively argue them.

After all, they went to school to know the ins and out of divorce proceedings, so they understand the divorce process and what’s needed to tip the case in your favor. Plus, the court system can be very complex. If you don’t fill out forms and papers correctly, your case can be thrown out or it can prolong the process.

A Chandler divorce lawyer will know how to properly deal with all the nuances of the courts. They’ve also experienced with the legal process and are knowledgeable of court etiquette. Despite the fact that many divorce cases don’t actually make it to court, Chandler divorce attorneys understand that much of the litigation process of divorce happens outside of the courtroom.

When people try to represent themselves in a divorce, they’re actually doing a poor job and causing an extra burden on the local courts. Trying to go through the legal system when filing a divorce with no guidance or real knowledge of the process can actually slow down the court.

Although these people try to save money to make the process easier, they’re actually making it more work for themselves and all parties involved.

They think that they can easily figure out the process as they go along, but the legal system isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of legal terms that the general public might not understand, thus hurting your divorce case in the long run.

More Huge Drawbacks to Self-Representation for A Divorce

A huge drawback to a self-represented divorce is the fact that you won’t know how to address certain issues that can arise during a divorce case. And the fact that you don’t know what to look for can be very devastating to your case. Not knowing what issues need addressing can really haunt you in the long run.    

Then there’s the problem of objectivity. Since you’re representing yourself, there’s no objectivity, which can really hurt your divorce case. You won’t be able to shake any subjective perception of the case because you only see it from your side.

A Chandler divorce lawyer will always be objective about the facts in your case and will find a way to show you in the best light possible.

You Get to Do All the Paperwork

Unless you love paperwork, when you ditch legal representation for your divorce, you’re stuck doing all the tedious tasks that come along with it like endless paperwork. There are many forms that need to be filed during the divorce process and a Chandler divorce lawyer will handle it all when they take on your case.

But if not, you’ll need to go through and read the very complex agreements and paperwork before signing and filing them with the court. Many require meticulous review that you’re not trained to do or respond to. However, all this paperwork is imperative to your case and needs to be completed before you stand before a judge.

Additional Stress

Because the divorce process is difficult and complex, it’ll be a stressful time in your life. Adding more stress to your situation isn’t recommended. However, representing yourself in a divorce case can add even more stress to your life.

You’ll find that the demand for timelines, the confusion of documents and lingo and the frustrations you might experience with the courts can all add up and add more stress to your already booked and chaotic life.

A Chandler divorce lawyer will help ease the stress of it all by guiding you through the process as gently as possible. They’ll handle all the hard work and simply notify you on things you need to bring, sign, do and more. Plus, a lawyer can really help you get through the emotional rollercoaster of a divorce.

Some divorce cases can really inflict a lot of trauma, so a skilled and experienced divorce lawyer can help you manage all the emotional stress in order to instill confidence to help you get through this difficult time.

It’s Not in The Best Interest for Your Family

If you have a family, a self-represented divorce isn’t in the best interest of your family despite being good on your wallet. If your divorce requires custody, child support or other issues dealing with children, then it’s in your family’s best interests to seek professional help from an experienced Chandler divorce lawyer.

Things can get messy when kids are involved, and you want to ensure that everything is done correctly so that the children are protected as much as possible to reduce any trauma or unease they might be experiencing.

A knowledgeable divorce lawyer will evaluate the situation and your entire case in order to increase the odds of having a good outcome for the entire family, especially the children.

Going through a divorce without a lawyer is never a good idea. The majority of the time, your case won’t end well, and it might cost you more stress, headaches, time and even money in the long run than if you would have just hired a divorce attorney from the start.

A divorce lawyer at Shaffer Family Law in Chandler will help guide you every step of the way and look out for your family’s best interests as they work to achieve the best outcome possible.

More Tips to Prepare Yourself for Divorce

Take Responsibility for Your Actions

Divorces, especially highly emotional ones, can feel very overwhelming. It can be overwhelming to the point where you are tempted to withdraw from the hard work of unpicking your life with your spouse.

Don’t become a bystander in your own divorce. This is the best way to come away with less than you deserve. You need to do the work and do it well. Listen to the attorney you hired, but when it comes down to it, you need to make your own decisions. You’ll reach a better settlement when you take control and will help you speed up the process do that you can get on with your life.

Don’t Date

If you have a relationship outside of your marriage during your divorce, regardless of when it started, it can make the formal divorce process a little complicated. There may be a risk that any communication you had with the person can be used in a legal proceeding to prove infidelity. If you’ve already started a new relationship, you should consider putting things on hold until the whole process is over and the paperwork is complete. 

Figure Out the Living Situation

Think about where you, your partner, and your children—if you have them—are going to live. Factor in how childcare is going to affect where you live and what kind of accommodations you’ll need. This will help you put together a working budget of your weekly, monthly, and yearly expenses. The goal is to ensure that your plan is doable.

Make Arrangement for the Kids

When it comes to your children, you’ll need to think about how you’ll explain the situation to them. There are many things they’ll need to cope with this disruption in their life. You’ll need to think about who will have primary custody, where the kids will live, and if there will need to be any changes in where they go to school. 

Stay Organized

Yes, you’ll need to think about how you’ll explain the situation to them and consider the tools they’ll need to cope with the upheaval. You’ll need to think about which of you will have primary custody, where the kids will live and any changes in where they go to school. 

A fair and informed divorce agreement is going to depend on having an accurate picture of your finances, assets, and debts. Gather copies of all the important financial documents and access to all account information. These important documents include tax returns for up to 5 years, recent pay stubs, insurance policies, information for retirement accounts and pension accounts, social security estimates, and employment contracts and employer provided benefits for you and your spouse.

Understand Your Biggest Assets

A home is often more than any other purchase, we have strong emotional attachments to the homes we live in. But don’t let those emotions get the better of you regarding property you shared with your spouse.

You many end up discovering that you gave up other assets just to keep a home in which you can no longer afford to live.

While many people believe that their house is their biggest asset when in fact its their retirement or pension account. The court may well consider its future value when dividing assets.

Get Professional Help

As important as your friends and family are, you’re going to benefit from professional help which, at a minimum, is going to take the shape of a divorce attorney or a mediator.

Research and interview at least attorneys in your area and make an informed decision about which one is right for you. At Shaffer Family Law, we have years of experience and are open to talking to you about what you need from an attorney and help you get through this process as smoothly as possible.

Tips to Prepare Yourself for Divorce

Be 1000% Sure of your Decision

Breaking up a marriage can be traumatic for not only you and your spouse, but also your children. So, before putting things in motion, you need to be sure that you can honestly say that you did everything you could to make the marriage work. You don’t want to go through this procession without making sure you haven’t tried all the options. There’s couple’s therapy and just regular therapy. By doing this and exploring all your options before filing for divorce, it will help make this difficult process a little bit more manageable. 

Imagine Your Relationship with Your Future Ex-Spouse

Perhaps you’ve already decided that you never want to see your ex-spouse ever again. Of course, if you have children or at the very least, good friends in common, you’re more than likely going to interact with them sometime in the future. What do you want this relationship to look like? As you go through your divorce, you need to consider how the actions you take will reflect on those regular or occasional interactions. Remember, you’re legally separating from them, not moving to Mars. It’s more than likely that your paths will cross again.

Plan How You’re Going to Deliver the News

It’s maybe something not everyone thinks about, but have you told your partner you want to divorce? Are you stuck on how to bring it up? Divorce is a lot bigger than simply breaking up with someone. It’s important to have enough time to be able to think about how you’re going to express your decision as clearly and calmly as possible. By now, you should also know you should expect how your spouse is going to take in and react to this news.

When you tell them, be prepared by having a bag packed and a place to stay, just in case either one of you needs to spend some time alone. If you are in an abusive situation, please seek a professional to help you or have someone you trust be there to back you up.

Spend Time with Loved Ones

Even if your divorce is cordial, you’re going to experience some form of stress and it’s more than likely going to take an emotional toll. In the middle of all the craziness, it’s so easy to forget about checking in with yourself and caring for your wellbeing. This is the perfect time to lean on your close friends and family. If they don’t already know what is going on, tell them and talk about your feelings and the decision it’s led you to make. You can also just have fun and spend quality time with them. This is a great way to relieve some stress.

Take Everything In

For a lot of people, there are some days that seem unbearable. Sometimes people who feel battered by divorce proceedings turn to things that aren’t going to help them. They’re self-medicate with alcohol or drugs, or do thing they would never think about doing, like having sex with the wrong people or vandalizing their ex-spouse’s car.

None of these are going to help – they’ll only make you feel better temporarily, and you’ll probably end up feeling worse than before. These behaviors can slow down your divorce or get in the way of your parenting, which can threaten your custody plan. The best mindset to have during the divorce is that the only way to get through it is facing it head-on.

Benefits of having a divorce lawyer

The Difficulty of a Divorce Case Without an Attorney

A divorce can affect more than just your personal life — it can change your professional life too. While most people focus primarily on the emotional stresses and personal issues that come with divorce, there are other sensible concerns that need your attention. Another thing to think about too is that it is common for a person leaving a marriage to rethink their career.

For example, if you’re a full-time employee and a parent, there’s a chance you’ll have to adjust to your new life as a single parent by cutting back the hours you work. On the other hand, if you weren’t working during your marriage, you might need a job to help support yourself.

Whatever the circumstances, there is a high chance that your career will be impac

You might be tempted to try and go through a divorce without seeking representation from a divorce lawyer. But before you actually do it know it’s a long and challenging road given the complexity of divorce cases.

The biggest reason why people want to go through a divorce without a lawyer representing them is the costs associated with legal representation. However, in reality, the disadvantages associated with going through a divorce on your own can really outweigh all that money you saved.

Not only do Chandler divorce attorneys know the law and all of its intricate details, rules, and regulations, but they also know what points need to be argued and how to effectively argue them.

After all, they went to school to know the ins and out of divorce proceedings, so they understand the divorce process and what’s needed to tip the case in your favor. Plus, the court system can be very complex. If you don’t fill out forms and papers correctly, your case can be thrown out or it can prolong the process.

A Chandler divorce lawyer will know how to properly deal with all the nuances of the courts. They’ve also experienced with the legal process and are knowledgeable of court etiquette. Despite the fact that many divorce cases don’t actually make it to court, Chandler divorce attorneys understand that much of the litigation process of divorce happens outside of the courtroom.

When people try to represent themselves in a divorce, they’re actually doing a poor job and causing an extra burden on the local courts. Trying to go through the legal system when filing a divorce with no guidance or real knowledge of the process can actually slow down the court.

Although these people try to save money to make the process easier, they’re actually making it more work for themselves and all parties involved.

They think that they can easily figure out the process as they go along, but the legal system isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are a lot of legal terms that the general public might not understand, thus hurting your divorce case in the long run.

More Huge Drawbacks to Self-Representation for A Divorce

A huge drawback to a self-represented divorce is the fact that you won’t know how to address certain issues that can arise during a divorce case. And the fact that you don’t know what to look for can be very devastating to your case. Not knowing what issues need addressing can really haunt you in the long run.    

Then there’s the problem of objectivity. Since you’re representing yourself, there’s no objectivity, which can really hurt your divorce case. You won’t be able to shake any subjective perception of the case because you only see it from your side.

A Chandler divorce lawyer will always be objective about the facts in your case and will find a way to show you in the best light possible.

You Get to Do All the Paperwork

Unless you love paperwork, when you ditch legal representation for your divorce, you’re stuck doing all the tedious tasks that come along with it like endless paperwork. There are many forms that need to be filed during the divorce process and a Chandler divorce lawyer will handle it all when they take on your case.

But if not, you’ll need to go through and read the very complex agreements and paperwork before signing and filing them with the court. Many require meticulous review that you’re not trained to do or respond to. However, all this paperwork is imperative to your case and needs to be completed before you stand before a judge.

Additional Stress

Because the divorce process is difficult and complex, it’ll be a stressful time in your life. Adding more stress to your situation isn’t recommended. However, representing yourself in a divorce case can add even more stress to your life.

You’ll find that the demand for timelines, the confusion of documents and lingo and the frustrations you might experience with the courts can all add up and add more stress to your already booked and chaotic life.

A Chandler divorce lawyer will help ease the stress of it all by guiding you through the process as gently as possible. They’ll handle all the hard work and simply notify you on things you need to bring, sign, do and more. Plus, a lawyer can really help you get through the emotional rollercoaster of a divorce.

Some divorce cases can really inflict a lot of trauma, so a skilled and experienced divorce lawyer can help you manage all the emotional stress in order to instill confidence to help you get through this difficult time.

It’s Not in The Best Interest for Your Family

If you have a family, a self-represented divorce isn’t in the best interest of your family despite being good on your wallet. If your divorce requires custody, child support or other issues dealing with children, then it’s in your family’s best interests to seek professional help from an experienced Chandler divorce lawyer.

Things can get messy when kids are involved, and you want to ensure that everything is done correctly so that the children are protected as much as possible to reduce any trauma or unease they might be experiencing.

A knowledgeable divorce lawyer will evaluate the situation and your entire case in order to increase the odds of having a good outcome for the entire family, especially the children.

Going through a divorce without a lawyer is never a good idea. The majority of the time, your case won’t end well, and it might cost you more stress, headaches, time and even money in the long run than if you would have just hired a divorce attorney from the start.

A divorce lawyer at Shaffer Family Law in Chandler will help guide you every step of the way and look out for your family’s best interests as they work to achieve the best outcome possible.

ted by your divorce in some way. In order to be prepared for this potential change, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Changing Your Priorities at Work

While you’re going through your divorce, you’ll be very busy. From meetings with your attorney and talking to a financial advisor or accountant to court dates and collecting information and documents, you’re going to have your hands full.

Unfortunately, some of your divorce tasks may require you to do things during the workday. Your attorney or bank may call you while you’re in a meeting, or you’ll need to make an appointment over lunch or go to court on a weekday. There are many reasons you’ll need some flexibility at your job throughout the divorce process.

Many need to use paid time off for court dates and other necessary appointments that fall on workdays. You can also discuss your situation with your manager and figure out how much flexibility you have to work with. Don’t be afraid to let them know about your needs but be practical about balancing work and your personal life.

Re-Entering the Labor Force

Many stay-at-home parents and unemployed/under-employed spouses are usually forced to reenter the workforce after a divorce. This is usually because they need to pay for a new home, food, clothes, and other essentials.

While a stay-at-home spouse could receive spousal support as part of the divorce agreement, though many times it is temporary or may not be enough for the person to remain unemployed.

Even going back to work, even part-time, can be quite challenging, especially if you haven’t worked for a long period of time. If you have a degree or have had a career in the past, it could be easier, but in any case, it may be helpful to consider taking educational classes to refresh your skills.

Start Planning Early

Depending on your situation, there are a number of ways you can make this new transition for yourself and your family easier. If you do have children, try asking for relatives and close friends for help. Even if it’s just in the beginning as you and your ex-spouse finalize all the details.

Childcare can be very expensive, so you will need to figure out how you can care for your children while you work or at least consider that staying home may be the best option for the meantime.

Even if you don’t have children, it could be beneficial to look at your budget and figure out where you stand. Ask yourself:

  • Will you need a job that pays more?
  • Do you need more work hours?
  • Are you going to change your schedule?
  • What will your monthly costs be?

When it comes down to it, only you know the answers to these questions and it’s up to you to step up and get it done! You need to sit down with everything you need to get done and fully grasp your situation. The sooner the better. Give Shaffer Family Law a call at (480) 470-3030 today and we can help you make your divorce process as simple as possible.

Career and Divorce

Here’s How Divorce Can Influence Your Job

A divorce can affect more than just your personal life — it can change your professional life too. While most people focus primarily on the emotional stresses and personal issues that come with divorce, there are other sensible concerns that need your attention. Another thing to think about too is that it is common for a person leaving a marriage to rethink their career.

For example, if you’re a full-time employee and a parent, there’s a chance you’ll have to adjust to your new life as a single parent by cutting back the hours you work. On the other hand, if you weren’t working during your marriage, you might need a job to help support yourself.

Whatever the circumstances, there is a high chance that your career will be impacted by your divorce in some way. In order to be prepared for this potential change, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Changing Your Priorities at Work

While you’re going through your divorce, you’ll be very busy. From meetings with your attorney and talking to a financial advisor or accountant to court dates and collecting information and documents, you’re going to have your hands full.

Unfortunately, some of your divorce tasks may require you to do things during the workday. Your attorney or bank may call you while you’re in a meeting, or you’ll need to make an appointment over lunch or go to court on a weekday. There are many reasons you’ll need some flexibility at your job throughout the divorce process.

Many need to use paid time off for court dates and other necessary appointments that fall on workdays. You can also discuss your situation with your manager and figure out how much flexibility you have to work with. Don’t be afraid to let them know about your needs but be practical about balancing work and your personal life.

Re-Entering the Labor Force

Many stay-at-home parents and unemployed/under-employed spouses are usually forced to reenter the workforce after a divorce. This is usually because they need to pay for a new home, food, clothes, and other essentials.

While a stay-at-home spouse could receive spousal support as part of the divorce agreement, though many times it is temporary or may not be enough for the person to remain unemployed.

Even going back to work, even part-time, can be quite challenging, especially if you haven’t worked for a long period of time. If you have a degree or have had a career in the past, it could be easier, but in any case, it may be helpful to consider taking educational classes to refresh your skills.

Start Planning Early

Depending on your situation, there are a number of ways you can make this new transition for yourself and your family easier. If you do have children, try asking for relatives and close friends for help. Even if it’s just in the beginning as you and your ex-spouse finalize all the details.

Childcare can be very expensive, so you will need to figure out how you can care for your children while you work or at least consider that staying home may be the best option for the meantime.

Even if you don’t have children, it could be beneficial to look at your budget and figure out where you stand. Ask yourself:

  • Will you need a job that pays more?
  • Do you need more work hours?
  • Are you going to change your schedule?
  • What will your monthly costs be?

When it comes down to it, only you know the answers to these questions and it’s up to you to step up and get it done! You need to sit down with everything you need to get done and fully grasp your situation. The sooner the better. Give Shaffer Family Law a call at (480) 470-3030 today and we can help you make your divorce process as simple as possible.

Benefits of Divorce

Little-Known Benefits of Divorce

Our Chandler Divorce Lawyers are here to give you the advice you need to get the results you desire. Ultimately, divorce is terrible. From the cost of hiring a lawyer to lose an additional income, divorce can come at a high price.

In addition, it is common for people to walk away from the proceedings with a lot fewer assets and savings for retirement. And on top of everything else, it also takes an emotional toll on a person. However, divorce doesn’t isn’t all bad, especially when it comes to financial benefits it can come with.

While not a reason to run out and get a divorce, here’s a few financial benefits that could make a sad situation seem a little better.

  1. Easier and more control over budgeting: The end of a marriage often means the end of fights over the finances. No more trying to figure out the priorities in the budget, especially if you’ve spent the past few years persuading or pleading your now ex-spouse to cut back on spending. 
  2. Early access to your retirement fund: A little known fact is that divorce is one of the few times you would be able to access your retirement account early and not be penalized for the early withdrawal. Though, it’s important to be careful when taking money out of your retirement account. It can be a risky move, but it is a nice option for the newly divorced when they may not otherwise have one.
  3. Better returns on investments: Divorce could mean better investment returns, especially for women. Men tend to be more aggressive when it comes to investments and take more risks. Divorce is a good time for women to take charge of their own retirement planning, which could be positive financially in the long run.
  4. Financial aid for the kids: Divorce has been known to be difficult for children. One good thing for them involves college financial aid. When it comes to signing up with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, you are only required to submit financial information from the parent that has full custody, instead of financial information both parents. Of course, child support and alimony received from the non-custodial parent will need to be included for FAFSA, though any additional financial assistance is helpful.
  5. Older divorcees have Social Security perks: Divorced spouses may be able to file for Social Security spousal benefits when they reach retirement age. You’re eligible for these benefits if you and your ex were married for at least 10 years. The best thing about this is your ex-spouse doesn’t even know you’re doing it and it won’t impact their benefits.
  6. Reevaluate financial priorities: While people are sometimes angered by the lifestyle changes caused by divorce, there is actually a lot of opportunities for them to rethink priorities and start fresh. Even major adjustments, such as giving up property, can be beneficial in the long run. It could be better financially a smaller house or even an apartment.

Divorce doesn’t have to mean a dwindled down bank account. Even with less income, divorced people can build wealth if they use their resources wisely. Of course, not everyone’s financial situation will improve with divorce, but it’s surprising how it can improve.

It’s important to remember that getting a divorce isn’t something you should rush into, but if you find yourself in a marriage that isn’t working, don’t give up hope. You may still come out ahead when it comes to the financial benefits of divorce.

At Shaffer Family Law, we understand the fine details of the legal system and will give you the guidance you need to get through the divorce process, answer your questions, and be an advocate for you. If you are ready to move forward, we invite you to give us a call at (480) 470-3030 today.

Managing Stress During This Stressful Time

As the events surrounding the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak unfold before our eyes, it’s understandable to be feeling increased levels of stress. It doesn’t help that information on the virus is rapidly changing and can be very overwhelming – even scary. If you have noticed increased levels of fear and anxiety, there are a few things you can do to manage it.

Here are 5 easy steps to follow:

  • Exercise regularly: While gyms are closed and there are rules about social distancing, you can still get in aerobic exercise by walking, running, hiking, and going outside to play with your children or pets. Releasing endorphins can help boost your mood and these exercises can be easily performed at home.
  • Maintain a health diet: Stress can have a negative effect on your eating habits, as well as your metabolism. The best thing you can do during these times is to eat as healthily as you can. Stress can trigger overeating, so be ready to fight the urge and keep healthy snacks on hand. This can also help you regulate your blood sugar throughout the day, which is another great way to help keep your body and emotions stable.
  • Take a break: It’s common for us humans to want to have control over our lives and when it comes to a situation like this, many of us will need to learn how to manage lack of control. It’s also a good idea to avoid excessively watching the news or reading articles online. This is important for you, as well as your children. Try to distract yourselves with board games, tackling projects around the hour, reorganizing a room or reading a new book.
  • Connect with friends and family: It’s very important to connect to connect with people during this time of uncertainty and fear. Check in regularly with your parents, grandparents, children, siblings, friends, and even your colleagues.
  • Don’t forget to rest: While it may seem ironic to rest while you must stay home, it is easy to not get enough sleep when you are stressed. Stick to getting the recommended amount of sleep each night. This will help you stay focused and manage your stress. You should also try to avoid consuming stimulants like alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine.

There are many other things you can do to manage your stress and help create a sense of normalcy. It can help you and your children. If you feel as though you are not able to manage your anxiety or depression on your own, reach out to a specialist for an in-person or over the phone visit. For you to be able to care for those around you, you need to take care of yourself too. 

Retirement (401k) Assets used in a Divorce

What Will My Spouse Get from A 401K Retirement Plan During A Divorce?

There are a few circumstances where you won’t get penalized for touching your 401K retirement plan early and divorce is one of them. A 401K retirement plan is considered an asset and, in a divorce, you’ll have to figure out what spouse gets what asset (or if they are evenly split down the middle).

Splitting retirement plans and assets can be an added headache and stress in an already emotionally draining divorce case. In some cases, a 401K retirement plan is a divorcing couple’s biggest asset.

If the division of these assets isn’t done by a knowledgeable divorce attorney, then both parties can expect expensive taxes, harsh penalties and more money than intended going to an ex-spouse.

How A 401K Retirement Plan Is Split During A Divorce

Splitting a 401K retirement plan happens in three steps. First, a divorcee decree is ordered for the division since it’s one of the qualifying circumstances for early withdrawal with no penalties. A divorce lawyer will need to draw up a domestic relations order that is a legal document referred to as a QDRO.

This document explains to the administrator of your retirement plan that it must divide the 401K so that it complies with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Then a judge will need to approve and sign the QDRO order before the 401K administrator signs off on the division of the asset. What the QDO does is establish your ex-spouse as an “alternate payee,” which makes them another person to receive payment from the plan.

Transfer Incident To Divorce Versus QDRO

Proper handling of your assets in a divorce is important, ensuring that the right person will pay for any applicable taxes. The type of retirement plan you will split will determine the rules that you’ll have to follow.

Even if you and your ex-spouse will divide your IRAs and any qualified plans in the same manner, there’s a separate legal term that applies to the type of division you use. IRAs are different from 401k plans and are divided using a transfer incident to divorce rather than a QDRO.

Some courts label both types of assets as QDROs, but you’ll need to clearly choose the category of which your asset falls into when submitting the information to the judge so that it’s listed right in the divorce agreement.

If you don’t, you’ll end up running into unnecessary complications that could be costly. Because things can get confusing, it’s usually best to hire a financial expert to help with the division of assets, especially IRAs and 401k retirement plans.

How A 401k Retirement Plan Is Distributed

There are three options for your ex-spouse to choose from when it comes to the distribution payments of your 401k plan. First, the QDRO must explain the method that they choose, and the plan administrator will then begin the distribution process.

First, they can roll over their portion of your 401k into their own retirement plan or simply leave their share with yours in the existing retirement plan. They’ll then take their portion, or payments, when you retire, too. Or, they can choose to accept the money as a cash payment when the divorce is finalized.

There are penalties associated with a lump sum withdrawal from a retirement account after a divorce. If your ex-spouse is under the age of 59 ½ and wants the cash, that payment will most likely get hit with a 10% withdrawal penalty.

Plus, they’ll have to report that payment to the IRS so that it’s taxed and if that lump sum of cash is very large, it can even be taxed in a higher tax bracket.

What You Should Do To Protect Your 401k

If you’re getting divorced or even considering it, you’ll want to make sure that you get your finances in order now about how you want your retirement plans to be divided. You’ll want to better understand the general rules of how your plans work and what will happen when they are split.

Also, not that there are different laws and rules related to the division of retirement and pension assets depending on what state you live in. You’ll need to do your homework to find out what rules your state has about the matter.

You’ll also want to get a professional divorce attorney to represent you. Even if dividing the other assets, you have seemed straightforward, it’s better to have a skilled divorce lawyer on your side to review the division of all pension and retirement assets. If you’re uneducated on this matter, you’ll lose a lot of money in the long run.

If you and your ex-spouse can’t agree on the division of assets, then you’ll need to involve the legal system to decide on the split, which will be declared by the court. But there are other methods to use for divorce proceedings, such as mediation or collaborative proceeding.

These two methods allow you to take control back so that you and your ex-spouse can decide on the terms of the split instead of the court. The courts will make their decision on the subject of your asset division based on a variety of factors as well as the laws of the state in which you live.

Other factors are how much you both made during your marriage and the contributions and roles played by both parties throughout the marriage.

Scroll to Top