Veterans Disability Protection Act of 2010 (VDPA)

The Veterans Disability Protection Act of 2010 (VDPA) seeks to protect disabled veterans in the courtroom. Disabled veterans who were injured in combat or in the line of duty receive disability compensation from the government. See article.

This compensation is supposed to be protected by federal laws, but civil court judges tend to attach the compensation to divorce lawsuits anyway. For example, sometimes when a disabled veteran gets divorced, the judge considers the disability compensation as “income” and, therefore, it becomes a divisible marital asset. They wrongfully calculate the disability compensation into a divorce settlement. 

The author of the article states that this action has led some veterans to become homeless or to commit suicide. The VDPA seeks to prevent the court from being able to take the disability compensation away from the veteran – as this would be unfair and cruel. This Act declares that all of the disability compensation will go to the disabled veteran and no one else. The court would not be able to attach the compensation to any other kind of “income” in these cases. The passage of the VDPA would “affect every man or woman injured in the line of duty while serving in the U.S. military, past, present, and future, and guarantee the total protection of their earned benefits – with no strings attached.”

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Financial Support in Military Cases

Michael S. Archer and CPT Tricia L. Birdsell provide a detailed analysis regarding the pitfalls civilian attorneys can encounter in cases involving military support issues. 

Military support  issues arise frequently in Arizona due to the presence of Luke Airforce Base, as well as other military installations in the Southwest.  If you or your spouse are in the military, each branch of service requires certain support obligations upon separation for both dependents and spouses.  This article details the steps one must take in each branch of the military to obtain support, how to calculate the support obligation, as well as how a waiver of the obligation can be obtained by the military spouse.

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Borowitz, Lozano & Clark

Experienced bankruptcy lawyer in the Rancho Cucamonga, California area, call the law office of Borowitz, Lozano & Clark.

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Arizona “No Fault” Divorce

Many people often ask what an Arizona "No Fault" Divorce really means.  In simple terms, it means that in Arizona any husand or wife, despite what the other spouse may want, can get divorced without the other agreeing that the marriage should be disolved.

The Arizona divorce statute requires that there must be an "irretrievable breakdown" of the marriage for the court to be able grant a divorce, or as it is technically called, a dissolution of marriage. 

If either a husband or wife by petition under oath state that the marriage is irretrievably broken or if one of them so states and the other does not deny it, the court will make a finding as to whether or not the marriage is irretrievably broken. If either the husband or wife denies under oath that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court will conduct a hearing to consider whether reconciliation is possible and will also (1) make a finding as to whether or not the marriage is irretrievably broken, and (2) stay the divorce proceeding for not more than sixty days. At the request of either party or on its own motion, the court may also send the husband and wife a conciliation conference.

There are other possible strategic reasons why a husband or wife may want to ask for a concilliation conference other than to stay the court’s determination as to whether the marriage can be reconcilled.  For further information on this and other issues relating to Arizona divorce cases, contact Nirenstein Garnice Soderquist PLC.

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Arizona Child Support Update

The Arizona legislature is in the process of reviewing the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. This review process occurs approximately every 4 years in order to insure that the Arizona Child Support Guidelines are in sync with the current economic situation.  The review process is required by federal law, which requires states to have child support lawsthat are: (a) applicable state wide; (b) take into consideration the non-custodial parents earnings and income; (c) are based on specific numeric and descriptive criteria; (d) results in a computation of the child support obligation; and (e) are reviewed and if necessary, revised, at least once every four years.

It is appears that there will be changes to the maximum combined gross income for child support and there will be changes to definitions to gross income when calculating Arizona child support awards. For example, one proposal is to indicate that cash value may be assigned to in-kind or other non-cash benefits for recurring contributions from any sources that reduce living expenses as opposed to making that a "shall" provision. A revised chart is being proposed for use in terms of defining adjustments for support of other children. These would be children for which the parent is legally obligated to support including children being supported by court order. There will also be provisions as proposed in the new guidelines to discuss situations when a parent’s income as the obligor is over $12,000 monthly. Recognition of possible changes to Arizona Child Support Guidelines is important.

As more information becomes available, we will continue to let you know how these changes could affect you.  In the meantime, if you need any assistance with Arizona child support issues, contact Nirenstein Garnice Soderquist PLC.

 

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Arizona Child Support

In Arizona, the legislature has indicated that the goal of the Arizona child support statute is to ensure that the amount of child support ordered approximates what would have been spent on a child if the family remained intact and were living together.  The Arizona child support guidelines were created to establish a standard and uniform method for calculating child support.  The Guidelines apply to all children and parents in Arizona and are only deviated from under special circumstances.

If you would like more information on Arizona child support, please contact Nirenstein Garnice Soderquist PLC.

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Arizona Legislation Affecting Family Law

The following changes will become effective September 30, 2009.

A.R.S. §25-403, which deals with child custody cases in Arizona has been modified to provide that the court will disregard the factor, which parent is more likely to permit frequent and meaningful continuing contact with the other parent, if the court determines that “ a parent is acting in good faith to protect the child from witnessing an act of domestic violence or being a victim of domestic violence or child abuse.”

This has obvious implications when dealing with Arizona child custody cases where domestic violence is involved. 

On a related note, another subsection has also been enacted, (A)(11), which requires the court to make a finding of whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse as defined in §25-403.03.

Contact Nirenstein Garnice Soderquist PLC for all of your related Arizona Child Custody matters.

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Uncontested Divorces in Arizona

In Arizona there are many people who have never been divorced before.  Often times, one married person decides that they would no longer like to be married and would like to know more about "uncontested divorces".  They don’t exactly know what an "uncontested divorce" is but have heard that it is an easier and relatively cheaper process.  Well, that is true.  However, most people believe that an Arizona uncontested divorce can only be accomplished when the other spouse’s whereabouts are unknown. That is not the case.  When both husband and wife have come to terms that they will be divorcing and have come to an agreement regarding the terms, i.e., division of community property, assumption of community debt, spousal maintenance (also called alimony or spousal support), and if children are involved, child custody and child support, an uncontested divorce can be used to simplify the process and get the divorce done quicker.

What actually is an "uncontested divorce" in Arizona?  Well, it is a divorce automatically granted by a court when the spouse who is served with a summons and complaint for divorce fails to file a formal response with the court. Many divorces proceed this way when the spouses have worked everything out and there’s no reason for both to go to court — and pay the court costs.

For more information regarding uncontested divorces, contact Nirenstein Garnice Soderquist PLC and they will be glad to answer any questions you may have, or assist you with the process.

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Arizona Child Custody Statutes – Best Interests of the Child

When there are children involved in divorce cases in Arizona (or paternity cases), many questions arise as to how child custody is resolved. Arizona Statutes deal with child custody issues in Arizona divorce and paternity cases and are a great first place to start.

Some definitions need to be known and understood.  For instance, with respect to Arizona child custody, "Joint legal custody" means the condition under which both parents share legal custody.  In this situation, "both parents share legal custody and neither parent’s rights are superior, except with respect to specified decisions set forth by the court or the parents in a final judgment or order."  Normally, the major decisions regarding a child involve medical, education and religion.  Most other decisions made by a parent such as daily activies of the child, what the children eat and wear, etc. are made by the parent who has physical custody of the child at the time the decision needs to be made.

That brings us to "Joint physical custody", which is defined as "the condition under which the physical residence of the child is shared by the parents in a manner that assures that the child has substantially equal time and contact with both parents."  What "substantially equally time and contact with both parents" is, of course, where many problems may arise as both parents may have very different views on this subject.

In an Arizona divorce or paternity case, if mother and father are unable to reach an agreement as to what custody arrangements should be put in place for their child, Arizona statute authorizes the court to award when deciding child custody that custody be either "sole" or "joint".  Importantly, there is no presumption in favor of one custody arrangement over the other.  And, "the court in determing custody shall not prefer a parent as custodian because of that parent’s sex".  So, the sex of the parent when determing child custody in Arizona should not be a factor in the court’s decision.

Many questions often arise about "what is in the child’s best interests" in Arizona custody cases.  The divorce or paternity case judge considers the following: 1. the wishes of the child’s parents; 2. the wishes of the child; 3. the interaction and interrelationship of the child with the parents, the child’s siblings and any others who may significantly affect the child’s best interests; 4. the child’s adjustment to home, school and community; 5. the mental and physical  health of all individuals involved; 6. which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and meaningful continuing contact with the other parent; 7. whether one parent, both parents or neither parent has provided primary care of the child; 8. the nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding custody; and 9. whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse.

Of course, this is only the basics.  When dealing with Arizona child custody disputes each case is different because no two situations are exactly the same.  Facts always differ.  If you have any questions regarding Arizona child custody in the context of an Arizona divorce or paternity case, contact Nirenstein Garnice Soderquist PLC.

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Tax Issues And Arizona Divorce

When people divorce in Arizona, there are many complex tax questions that arise. While it is impossible to address all of them without knowing the specific facts in each case, simple answers to some general questions are addressed here. First, because these issues are usually complicated, you should always talk these matters over with your divorce attorneys and CPA to get the answer for your specific situation.

 

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