Archive for the ‘Divorce’ Category

Solutions for High Conflict Custody Cases

Posted on: February 15th, 2020 by Stephen Willis

Going through a divorce process is quite traumatic and emotionally devastating. Ending a relationship and starting a new life involves many stages. Sometimes, dealing with divorce comes with financial and health struggles as a side effect. It gets even more harrowing if children are also involved. Discussing issues with a high-conflict spouse ends up in more frustration and pain. At divorce attorney Mesawe will find the right solutions to the unique needs of every client. 

A healthy conversation in the legal processes is necessary

When the partner exhibits anti-social behavior, the event can become stressful without any outcome. The involvement of an attorney helps in representing the legal processes efficiently and compassionately. Peace of mind is very critical while undergoing legal procedures. A calm and open mind is vital to safeguard the legitimate rights. 

The presence of an angry, abusive, and confrontational person can hurt the entire process. The endless conflict and fighting often lead nowhere other than loss of time and money. 

High-conflict cases can have several causes, such as neglect, financial struggles, or abuse. Regardless of the reason for separation, communication is often not productive. As a result, further issues may arise, such as failure to meet parental responsibilities

How to deal with a high-conflict and narcissistic spouse?

Getting help from an experienced attorney is essential for a safe and less stressful process. But to deal with a high-conflict person, you should keep in mind a few points. The first thing is to stop dwelling on the past. To move forward with good things in life, don’t recall any memories of hurt or pain. Ignorance is bliss. Therefore avoid the comments from them and meet your spouse only in the presence of an attorney. The unnecessary argument will not lead to any fruitful conclusion. Let your attorney deal with such things.

If you want to avoid ending up with a fight, then avoid any conversation unless there is something meaningful to say. Discussions about feelings will not matter at this point when you both have decided to separate. It will only lead to further arguments. 

Focus on your goal. If children are involved, look for solutions that are best for them. Try to resolve the custody case early for the sake of the children. Seek the help of therapy, mediation, and try to maintain composure in the presence of children. 

A helping hand is everything you need

A family law service like Jensen Family Law plays a vital role in settling family disputes. We protect your rights and efficiently represent your interests. Keeping the whole complete process at a professional level and calming high-conflict situations is our specialty. We are always prepared to meet your needs. Child custody, the partition of property, or child support, many things come along with a divorce. We take care of all those issues.Please feel free to learn more about them by heading to

Jensen Family Law – Mesa

3740 E Southern Ave Suite 210 Mesa, AZ 85206

(480) 999-2321

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How to Select the Right Family Law Attorney

Posted on: February 25th, 2018 by Kevin Jensen


I admit one of the things I dislike most in life is shopping.  I’m just not really all that patient and as a result, I have been prone to make rash decisions in the past just to get the whole shopping experience over with.  Sometimes it has worked out great and other times… not so much.  Despite my aversion to shopping, I have learned there are some purchases that require taking time and doing it right.  For example, I would never make an important decision like buying a house or a car without test driving the car or walking through the house.  I do research on the neighborhood or look at car reviews… you know, “kick the tires” and ask a lot of questions.  I want to make sure that if I am going to make such a large financial commitment I will be as happy as I can be with my purchase.  Why would it be any different when hiring a family law attorney to handle your important family law or divorce matter?

Similar to purchasing a vehicle or a house;  you should “kick the tires” when hiring an attorney to handle your divorce or other family law matter.  Making sure you have the right attorney to represent you can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.  I believe there are a few important things you should do when hiring a lawyer to handle your case.

First, the experience is vital.  I do not think this necessarily means the number of years in practice.  We have younger lawyers in our law office that are far more competent at handling family law matters than attorneys who have been practicing for decades.  Experience in handling family law matters should be the first thing you should look for.  Lawyers are not necessarily limited to the type of law they practice.  When I first started my law practice I handled many types of cases.  It was not that I wanted to necessarily practice in numerous areas of law; I was more concerned with feeding my family.  But I soon realized that I was stretched too thin and needed to be more focused in one area to provide the type of service and expertise I wanted to provide for my clients.

The law and rules that apply to family law cases are much different than those in bankruptcy or accident cases or other types of law.  Beware of attorneys that say they practice family law, but also practice numerous other types of law.  You would never have an orthopedic surgeon perform your heart surgery and you should not have a tax lawyer handle your divorce case.

Do not be afraid to ask the lawyer you are interviewing about his or her legal experience.  Ask if he or she handles other types of cases.  Look at reviews on his or her website.  I think reviews are one of the best ways to find a good, competent lawyer.  When I am thinking of buying a car, one of the first things I do is look at car reviews or ask people who have owned the type of car I am looking at what they think about it.  We live in a world where you can get lots of information about just about everything at the touch of a button; divorce lawyers are no different.

Second, bedside manner counts.  Have you ever had a doctor or a dentist that you just did not connect with?  What a complete turn off!  Most of us do not want to work with a doctor who seems uncaring or does not listen or take time to answer questions.  It is important to understand that your divorce case is a team effort that will require you to work well with your attorney.  You need to make sure that you feel good about that person you are hiring and can work with him or her.  Does the lawyer you are consulting with take time to educate you and answer your questions?  I believe strongly in educating my clients or potential clients.  The more my clients know about the law and the legal process the better able I am to serve them.  Does your lawyer seem to genuinely care about you and your case?   I consulted with a man the other day who is going through a really tough post-divorce custody modification case.  He told me he had met with several attorneys and I was the only one that took the time to answer his questions and seemed to really care.  Those are the best compliments I receive as an attorney.  I want my clients to know that we are in this together and that I have their back. I think one of the most underrated aspects of hiring a family law attorney is whether or not you connect with that attorney on a personal level.

Third, cost matters.  Full disclosure… every Arizona divorce attorney practicing law is in the business to make money.  Attorneys, like doctors or other professionals, are expensive. Most of us have spent a lot of money obtaining our education and many have significant student loans.  But that does not justify exorbitant fees to handle your case. A simple divorce case with no children and minimal assets should not cost thousands and thousands of dollars.  On the other hand, a case involving a long marriage with lots of assets and children is going to be more expensive.  A good family law attorney is going to be upfront about the cost of your case.  We try hard in my firm to be as cost-effective as possible in every case.  On the other hand, we are being paid to do a job and we don’t want to cut corners.  I tell every potential client I meet with the cost of their case will depend much more on the parties and their willingness to be reasonable than anything we do.  But, I am also disappointed when I meet with someone who has met with another divorce lawyer who has quoted four or five thousand dollars for a simple uncontested case. Ask questions about the cost and make sure your attorney is upfront about his hourly rate and other things that he may charge for (such as photocopies, etc.).  I do believe you get what you pay for but don’t overpay.

Hiring an Arizona family law attorney will be one of the most important investments you make.  The outcome of your case will most likely have ramifications for years to come.  I never get offended when a potential client tells me he or she will be meeting with other attorneys.  Just as it is important to test drive a car before buying; I always think it is a good idea to shop around and kick the tires before hiring your family law attorney.

If you or a loved one is having thoughts about a family law related issue we invite you to visit our office in Mesa Arizona. We love finding solutions to complicated issues.

Jensen Family Law – Family Law and Divorce Attorneys
3740 E Southern Ave #210, Mesa, AZ 85206
(480) 999-2321


Does the Economy Influence Arizona Divorce Rates?

Posted on: February 13th, 2014 by Kevin Jensen

There are many reasons couples decide to get divorced. Over the years as a practicing as a family law attorney in Mesa AZ, I have heard just about every explanation there is for seeking a divorce. One fairly common reason couples often cite for seeking a divorce is a financial strain. There can be no dispute that we live in financially stressful times. One can hardly turn on the news these days without hearing a story about the economy and the impact it is having on some aspect of our daily lives. But, does the state of the economy also influence the decision of whether or not to get divorced?

I recently came across an interesting article discussing a recent study that the impact the economy has on divorce rates. The study, which was recently published in Population Research and Policy Review hypothesizes that the divorce rates of couples in the United States actually decreased during the recession from 2009 through 2011. However, as the economy recovers, the divorce rate among couples in the United States has increased. This seems somewhat counterintuitive. Why would couples stick together and tough in out when things are most financially stressful (i.e. during a recession), but when some of those financial strains disappear decide to go their separate ways?

Philip N. Cohen, the University of Maryland sociologist who conducted the research provides some insight. Mr. Cohen found that while there is no doubt that economic difficulty can lead to divorce; during a recession, when couples are often stretched to their financial limits, Arizona divorce attorney can cost prohibitive. Divorcing leads to changes in costs in the housing (instead of combining incomes to pay for one house, each spouse becomes responsible, to a certain extent for his or her own housing). Divorce also often leads to legal fees, the need for daycare and other costs associated with having separate homes. Thus, according to Mr. Cohen, a recession can create barriers that make divorce cost prohibitive and also creates issues that may take precedence over marital troubles.

On the other hand, when the economy improves, divorce rates may rise as seen by the increase of hiring divorce attorneys in Scottsdale AZ. For some, the improvement in their financial situation provides them the freedom and perhaps security necessary to split up. In other words, according to the study, some people put off getting divorced until they can afford it.

Cohen is clear that the precise reasons behind the rise and fall of divorce rates due to economic conditions is still somewhat murky. This is by no means an exact science. People decide to end their “happily ever after” for many reasons. Financial strain is but one of many considerations many couples may consider when deciding to split up. In a world where so much of day-to-day life is dictated by financial conditions; add divorce to the list of life experiences that may be influenced by the current state of the economy.

Why Do I Need A Lawyer for My Uncontested Divorce?

Posted on: May 24th, 2013 by Kevin Jensen

I frequently provide a thirty-minute consultation to individuals who are contemplating getting a divorce in Mesa AZ. Many of my consultations involve individuals who believe their spouse will agree on everything and that the divorce will be uncontested. Most people who think their case will be uncontested usually ask the question “do I even need a lawyer for this divorce?”

In most cases, the answer is yes! You are probably thinking “what do you expect a lawyer to say!” However, most divorce cases are not as simple as they might seem on the surface. There are some divorces that probably don’t need a Scottsdale Arizona Divorce lawyer. These are usually cases where the parties have been married for a short amount of time, do not have any minor children together and have accumulated few, if any assets or debts. In that particular circumstance, because there is so little to divide or argue about the couple can probably get a divorce without an attorney’s assistance. These types of cases are frankly few and far between.

A more typical scenario is a case where the parties have been married five years or more, have one or more minor children and have purchased a house and/or have some substantial debts or assets that need to be divided. These types of cases include a number of potentially complicated legal issues that require a family lawyer’s expertise to properly navigate. Regardless of whether your divorce is contested divorce in Arizona or an uncontested divorce in Arizona, you should always have a criminal defense attorney mesa az when dealing when your case involves the typical scenario described above and especially when the case involves minor children.

An uncontested divorce is one where you and your spouse have reached an agreement on all of the issues in the case and you submit a Consent Decree (settlement agreement) to the judge to sign. This is the preferable way to resolve any divorce case. An uncontested divorce can be finalized in a matter of a couple of months and both parties get to have a say in the outcome of the divorce instead of letting a judge decide for them. However, even if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree on every issue in your case you should still involve a lawyer for a few reasons.

First, an experienced family lawyer can point out legal issues you may not have even considered. One of the primary reasons you settle your case is to avoid having to ever go to court. An experienced family law attorney in Mesa AZ will help point out typical issues that arise in many divorce cases so you can come up with a long-term plan to avoid disputes down the road. This is especially important in any case involving children.

Second, At a minimum, you will need a lawyer to make sure your settlement is documented correctly. There are free forms that are provided by the court that many people use when they do not use a lawyer. These are simplified forms that do not include many of the issues that experienced family law attorneys address when drafting settlement documents. The common result of drafting your own settlement is future return visits to court to address issues that were not properly addressed at the time of the divorce. I have had many cases where parties have hired me after the divorce to help address issues that could have been resolved when the parties were initially divorced and that probably would have been addressed had they hired a lawyer.

Finally, even if you think you can settle your case without the assistance of a lawyer, it may be well worth your while and expense to at least have an experienced family law attorney review your settlement before you submit it to the court. There are some people who try to take advantage of their spouses in divorces. I have had some very sad cases where one spouse has convinced the other to do a quick settlement just to “get it over with” or “so we don’t drag this out.” While that may sound like a good idea, oftentimes there may be an ulterior motive. I have had cases where some spouses signed away their rights to compensation for businesses, or retirement accounts or spousal maintenance. In other words, they agree to a very one-sided settlement. In most cases, once a settlement is reached and the judge signs off on the settlement, it is too late. Some people think that the family court judge will look out for them. That may be true when it comes to issues involving minor children, but rarely any other types of issues. Most judges will sign off on any agreement that is put in front of them. The majority of family court judges will take the very reasonable position that the parties know best and will not upset an agreement they have reached on their own. A family law attorney can point out pitfalls in your agreement. At a minimum, you will at least be educated and understand what you may be signing away. You may even decide to hire the Mesa Divorce lawyer to represent you for the rest of the case to assure you are not being taken advantage of.

There is an old saying that says an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In other words, spending a little money now may save you a lot of money later on. In an uncontested divorce case, spending a little money at the time of the divorce to make sure it is done correctly and documented correctly may allow you to get your divorce much more quickly and, more importantly, may save you thousands of dollars in future litigation.

What is a Divorce Hangover and How Do I Avoid One?

Posted on: February 6th, 2013 by Kevin Jensen

Truth be told, I don’t drink, so I have never had a hangover. I had plenty of friends in high school and college who had them. From my perspective, it always seemed to me that having a hangover was a mighty steep price to pay for an evening of “fun” that you couldn’t even remember the next day. What my friends could remember was the pain and headaches and misery that accompanied their hangover. Frankly, the hangover usually made my friends miserable to be around until after they got over it.

As a family law lawyer in Mesa, I have seen many people suffer from post-divorce hangovers. And, just like my friends who were unpleasant to be around while they were experiencing their drinking hangovers, people with divorce hangovers are unhappy and sometimes difficult to be around. This often extreme unpleasantness can result in unfortunate effects on other family members, particularly children who are often the biggest victims in divorces, as well as other family and friends who are really looking to offer support.

I think the best description of a divorce hangover is found in an article entitled “Taming the Divorce Hangover”. Here, the author talks about the pain and emotion, including anger that often accompanies a divorce. There is no shame in having those types of feelings. Divorce is difficult. It is, in reality, a death of sorts; the death of your marriage. For some people the death of their “happily ever after.” However, when those feelings of pain and anger are allowed to keep going on and on and don’t seem to subside, you are probably experiencing a divorce hangover.

There are numerous problems that can arise from a divorce hangover. One of the big problems I see is that some people just cannot let go. The anger and pain they feel is targeted toward their ex-spouse. In many cases, it is very understandable. But this unchecked, untreated anger leads to bigger problems. In my experience, the anger can lead to things such as a belligerent refusal to pay support (“I’m not giving that evil person my money”), refusal to cooperate with decisions regarding children, finding any reason to haul the ex-spouse back into court, damaged relationships with children and other family members and the list goes on. In some horrible extreme cases, violence occurs.

So how do you deal with a divorce hangover? That’s a difficult question to answer. I am a lawyer, not a counselor, so I’m not in the habit of giving that type of advice. However, counseling may be the very place to start. For many people, the hangover is occurring because they just can’t let go and move forward. As a family law attorney in Scottsdale my cases, I have dealt with involving people who I consider to be suffering from divorce hangovers, in most instances, the person with the hangover simply cannot let go and wants the ex-spouse to continue paying the price for what he or she perceives the ex-spouse has done to him or her. Of course, letting go and moving forward is easier said than done. Those who find a way to do this are able to have happier and healthier futures. Those who don’t wind up going back to court over and over and over. This results in more misery, more anger, and more legal expenses.

The author in the article referenced above provides some good ideas for recognizing and dealing with anger issues, which I recommend for your review and consideration. I believe the first step in overcoming any divorce hangover is to make a commitment to yourself to allow yourself to heal and move forward. Time heals all wounds if you allow it to do so. Like an alcohol hangover, the best remedy is time. After a while, the sickness, nausea and headaches pass and life is good again. A divorce does not have to result in long-term suffering. Be proactive in allowing yourself to move on as reasonably quickly as you can. Get professional help if necessary, there is no shame in doing so. The result of avoiding a divorce hangover is a healthier relationship with your ex (which really is a must if you have children together) and a healthier relationship with others in the future.

Deadbeat Parents: How to Enforce Your Arizona Child Support Order

Posted on: January 16th, 2013 by Kevin Jensen

I read an interesting article the other day about a man named Corey Curtis in Wisconsin. Mr. Curtis is the father of nine children with six different mothers. According to the news article, Mr. Curtis owes almost $100,000 in back child support. The fact that Mr. Curtis has multiple children by multiple women and is not paying child support is not what made this story newsworthy. What made this article interesting is that the family court judge, exasperated by Mr. Curtis’ failure to take responsibility for his children by paying his child support, ordered, as a condition of his probation, that he not procreate until he can demonstrate to the court that he can provide for his children. Under Wisconsin law, this type of legal restriction is permissible.

The problem with deadbeat parents is a nationwide problem, including in Arizona. Here in Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe Arpaio conducts an annual deadbeat parent roundup. These sweeps are aimed to locate and arrest the parents (usually fathers) and criminals who are not providing court-ordered financial support for their children. Sheriff Arpaio points out that the purpose of his “Operation Don’t Be a Deadbeat” roundups is to send a message to parents to pay their child support. “As a Mesa Arizona criminal defense attorney this is one of Sheriff Joe’s programs I can support.” Says Mesa lawyer Dana Hogle

The failure for a parent to pay child support can impact all of us. According to a 2011 Census Bureau Report, more than $35 billion dollars in child support was owed nationally in 2009. Among the more than 6.9 million custodial parents who were awarded child support in 2009, only 41.2% received the amount that was due. 29.2% of custodial parents nationwide received none of the child support money they were due. The lack of payment to support these children naturally results in the need for more government programs to assist single parents who do not get consistent support. Other government resources, such as courts and child support enforcement agencies spend millions each year to track down deadbeat parents.

In my experience as an Arizona family law attorney practicing in Mesa and the East Valley, the best strategy to enforce the non-payment of child support is to be aggressive and consistent. State and federal laws make it a crime to not pay child support. Too many single parents, mostly mothers, simply do not have the ability or resources to try to enforce child support orders. One good resource in Arizona is to contact the child support enforcement division of the Arizona Department of Economic Security. AZDES has many resources to assist in the enforcement of child support orders. Among the remedies available to AZDES is to seize assets of a non-paying parent, placing liens on the property, intercepting lottery winnings, suspension, and revocation of drivers’ licenses and reporting non-payment to credit bureaus.

Another option is to hire an experienced Arizona family law attorney to file a child support enforcement petition and/or motion for contempt. An enforcement or contempt action is brought before a family court judge, usually, the judge that handled the original divorce. The process includes filing a petition and serving it on the non-paying party. The court then sets an Order to Show Cause hearing and requires the non-paying parent to come into court and explain why he or she is delinquent in paying their child support obligation and providing insurance. The court can impose any number of remedies under Arizona law, including garnishment, attachment, liens, etc. Status conferences on frequently set so the court can continue to track the progress of the non-paying parent. More significant remedies can be imposed, including jail and criminal charges for failure to pay child support. I frequently hear some individuals threaten to file bankruptcy on back-child support. This is an idle threat because child support is non-dischargeable in bankruptcy court. A child support arrearage never goes away and just keeps accruing interest for years and years to come.

Any parent that is owed back child support should take aggressive measures to enforce the child support order. Making a non-paying parent stand before a judge and explain his or her failure to take care of his or her children is an uncomfortable thing for most parents. In many cases it is not a matter of ability to pay, it is a matter of motivation. With the proper motivation, many deadbeat parents begin working on the delinquency. Non-payment of child support is a serious matter with serious consequences that affect all of us. The answer to non-payment is not often going to be a court order prohibiting procreation (although it is not a bad idea). A better answer is more accountability and consequences. Aggressively enforcing your child support order with court action may be all the motivation your ex-needs to do the right thing.

Am I Entitled to Spousal Support in Arizona?

Posted on: November 15th, 2012 by Kevin Jensen

As a divorce attorney in Mesa AZ, an issue that frequently arises in an Arizona divorce case is whether one spouse is entitled to spousal maintenance (sometimes called Alimony) in Arizona. For many people, (in most cases the wife), divorce is not only an emotionally draining time period but a time of great uncertainty. One of the by-products of any divorce is the loss of income generated by the soon-to-be ex-spouse. Many wives/mothers are left wondering how they will make ends meet with the loss of income of their ex-spouse. In many cases, the wife is a stay-at-home mother with little or no education beyond a high-school diploma. Many women sacrifice a significant amount of time, money and effort supporting their husbands while they get their education and build their careers. They often sacrifice their own career ambitions to stay home and raise the children and support their husband’s careers. As a Mesa family law attorney, I have seen too many occasions when a divorce happens, the contribution of the wife in helping her husband get his education and build his career goes unrecognized and uncompensated. I have met with numerous women over the years who tearfully worry about what will happen to them after the divorce while their ex-husbands continue to earn good incomes as a result of the education and careers their ex-wives helped them build. While there are no easy answers to address these concerns in their entirety, there is some good news: Arizona law recognizes the need for ex-spouses to provide support in certain circumstances

In most cases, the amount of spousal support a spouse may receive may not be sufficient to completely support her (or him), it will often provide a reasonable supplement. The ex-wife will almost always need to find work to help support herself or to make up the difference. The spousal support may even provide enough of a cushion that the ex-wife can further her own education and work toward a profession of her own to better provide for herself. However, like any post-divorce support, it is rarely indefinite. Spousal support almost always ends when the spouse receiving support re-marries. Even if that does not occur, in most instances, spousal support will be for a definite period of time (typically a certain number of years). A wise recipient of spousal support will look for ways to better improve her (or his) situation so that when the spousal support ends, the spouse has a way to support herself.

Not every case in Arizona will result in a spousal maintenance award. Whether a spouse is entitled to receive spousal support payments after a divorce depends on a number of different factors under Arizona law. When determining whether a party qualifies for spousal support, the family court judge must consider the following factors found in A.R.S.25-319:

1. Does one spouse lack sufficient property to care for that spouse’s reasonable needs (this includes property awarded to that spouse as part of the divorce proceeding);

2. Does the spouse seeking support unable to be self-sufficient through employment, or the parent or custodian of a child whose age or condition is such that the spouse should not be required to seek employment outside the home or does the spouse seeking support lack the earning ability in the market to be self-sufficient;

3. What contribution did the spouse seeking support make to the educational opportunities of the other spouse (this does not include just financial contribution, but can include caring for children while one spouse went to school, caring for the home, etc.);

4. Was the marriage of long duration and/or is the spouse seeking the support of an age that may make it difficult to find adequate employment to be self-sufficient.

If the family court judge finds that any of the above factors apply, a spousal support award can be given. Next, the judge must consider how long the award should last and what amount of support should be awarded. The statute requires the judge to consider an amount and length of time as seems just without considering any marital misconduct that may have taken place. In making this determination, the court considers the following factors:

1. What was the standard of living during the marriage;

2. How long was the marriage;

3. The age, employment history, earning ability and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking support;

4. The ability of the spouse who will pay support to meet that spouses needs while also meeting the needs of the spouse seeking support;

5. The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market.

6. The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse.

7. The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced that spouse’s income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.

8. The ability of both parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children.

9. The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and that spouse’s ability to meet that spouse’s own needs independently.

10. The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and whether such education or training is readily available.

11. Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.

12. The cost for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought if the spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved.

13. All actual damages and judgments from conduct that results in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or child was the victim.

As is probably obvious, whether or not a spouse is entitled to spousal maintenance is a fact-intensive analysis. A party seeking spousal support needs to make sure the attorney they hire knows how to aggressively pursue spousal maintenance for him or her by gathering the necessary evidence that addresses the factors discussed above. Spousal maintenance, unlike child support, is not determined by a set of guidelines and a calculator. An Arizona judge can award a spouse as much, or as little spousal support as seems reasonable given the factors outlined above. Likewise, a judge could find an award of spousal maintenance is not warranted.

One last word about spousal maintenance: I often have prospective clients who don’t want to pursue spousal support because they don’t want to be mean or difficult. Spousal support is really nothing more than a recognition of yourcontribution to the marriage. Just because you may not be the breadwinner in the family, you took care of the home and children and supported your spouse while he or she got their education and/or built his or her career. Your sacrifice and contribution should not be swept aside at the time of divorce. You supported your spouse as he or she built his or her career because that was your contribution to building the life you both wanted. Your spouse will get to continue to earn a living based in part, on your contribution. You deserve to be compensated for what you did to get him or her to where they are.

Talking About Children Before Marriage May Decrease Chance of Future Divorce

Posted on: August 21st, 2012 by Kevin Jensen

Mesa Arizona Divorce Attorney

For many couples children are the source of the greatest joy and happiness in their marriages. They can also be the source of the most pain. When a couple decides to divorce, children related matters such as custody, visitation and child support are often the most hotly contested issues in the divorce. The creation of children is the ultimate symbol of the love couples share for one another. However, can the failure to get on the same page regarding children before getting married increase the chances of a couple later getting a divorce, and this is no different with divorce in Mesa, AZ? Some family law attorneys and therapists think so.

In a recent Washington Post Article family law lawyers and therapists were asked how the failure to discuss the issue of children prior to marriage can impact the marriage. One family law attorney suggested that “talking about [whether or not to have children], at the very least, is a good idea before the rings are on.” As a family law attorney in Mesa, Arizona with more than a decade of experience, I have seen many couples struggle with this issue. One the problems that can arise when a couple does not see eye to eye on the issue of having children is that one spouse may resent the other for denying him or her something that is so important. On the other side of the coin, a spouse who is pressured into having a child or children may feel resentful toward his or her spouse this can be devastating to the marriage and the child.

There are many reasons some people do not want children. The financial commitment related to raising children is one of the biggest concerns. The cost of raising a child goes up every year. According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report, a middle income family with a child born in 2011 will spend approximately $234,900 for food, shelter and other necessities to raise a child over 17 years. This amount will continue to rise.

The key to avoiding potential conflict on this issue is to communicate about the issue of children before marriage. Ramani Durvasula, a Los Angeles psychologist states that “being clear on parenting desires is crucial heading into marriage.” According to Dr. Durvasula, failure to discuss the issue of children prior to marriage “can actually be a backbreaking challenge for a relationship because of the high potential for ‘unfixable regret.’”

A successful marriage is the result of hard work, compromise and perhaps most of all good communication. Couples may increase their chances of living happily ever after by openly and honestly communicating about their desires regarding children before they ever say “I do.”

If you have questions about any Family Law Related issues in Mesa, AZ I invite you to contact my office:

The Law Offices of Kevin JensenFamily Law Attorney Mesa AZ

3740 E. Southern Ave.

Suite 210 Mesa, AZ 85206

Phone: (480) 999-2321

Divorce Can Destroy You At Tax Time

Posted on: July 23rd, 2012 by Kevin Jensen

We found this article at dailyfinance and thought that we would share it and give our thoughts.


Divorce is one of the hardest things you may ever go through — both emotionally and financially. But while you’re focused on your now-adversarial relationship with your ex, you shouldn’t forget to keep an eye on another entity that may be after a larger chunk of your assets thanks to your split: The IRS. Turns out, divorce has a huge impact on your taxes, and knowing what’s at stake can help you avoid major complications later on.

Here are some of the things to keep in mind as you go through the divorce process.

Filing Status

Checking the box for either married or single may seem like the simplest thing in the world, but it gets complicated with divorce. The IRS wants to know your legal marital status as of the end of the year you’re filing for. So even if you’ve filed your paperwork, if your divorce isn’t final by Dec. 31, then you’ll be considered married for the year.

However, there’s an exception that allows separated parents to claim the favorable head of household status, which gives you greater deductions. To qualify, you must have paid more than half your housing costs for the year, lived apart from your spouse during the last six months of the tax year, and your dependent child must have lived in your home for more than half the year.

Exemptions for Children

The question of who gets to claim exemptions for children can make a huge difference to your tax bill. Typically, the test depends on which parent the child lives with for more than half the year. But divorced or separated couples can essentially pick who gets the exemption for children by signing a written declaration. With the current write-off at $3,700 per child, the decision you make can determine which of you will get up to $1,300 in tax savings.

Alimony, Maintenance, and Child Support

Payments between former spouses under a divorce decree fall into different categories. Cash payments that qualify as alimony are deductible by the person who makes them and are counted as income for the person who receives them. But you can generally agree to reverse that treatment and avoid any tax consequences for payments if you prefer.

Child support, on the other hand, isn’t deductible by the payer or counted as income by the recipient or the child. So as you describe certain payments in your divorce agreement, be careful because the description can change the way those payments get taxed.

Retirement Accounts

As part of a property settlement, a spouse may be entitled to part of the other spouse’s IRAs or employer-sponsored retirement account. For 401(k)s and other employer plans, a qualified domestic relations order can allow you to get benefits from a spouse’s plan and treat them as if they’re your own, thereby avoiding potentially disastrous tax consequences. Under certain circumstances, you may be able to roll 401(k) money into an IRA of your own.

Property Transfers

In general, neither spouse will realize any capital gain or loss or other tax consequences from receiving or giving up property in a divorce decree. But if you later sell property that you received due to divorce, you’ll then have to pay taxes on gains, based on the original tax basis of the property you received.

To be treated as part of the divorce, a property transfer must be complete within a year of the date the marriage legally ended, unless it was specifically provided for under the divorce agreement. In that case, you have up to six years to make transfers, although later ones may still be valid if you can show valid reasons for the delay.

Community Property

Finally, most states treat each spouse’s income as his or her own, even when it’s jointly reported on a tax return. But in community property states, which include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin, different rules may apply. As a result, you may be treated as having earned part of your former spouse’s income during the year in which you divorce.



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