Latest from Family Focus

Excerpt from Divorce in Arizona by Marlene Pontrelli and Robert Schwartz One of the first issues that often arises during a divorce is what to do with the family home.  Selling your home is a big decision. To help you decide what is right for you, ask yourself these questions: What will be the impact (positive or negative) on my children if the home is sold? Can I afford to stay in the house after…
The announcement by Bill and Melinda Gates that they were ending their 27 year marriage shocked many. However, what was even more shocking was how amicable it appeared.   We hear horror stories about how contentious, emotional, and difficult divorces can be. In some cases, the mere thought of engaging in any financial and emotional warfare that may result is incentive enough to keep spouses together. While there is never a perfect way to end a…
A frequently asked question in family law has to do with how much of an interest, if any, each spouse has in the couple’s assets and liabilities.  The way it’s usually asked is something along the lines of: “I have this [inheritance item, cash, property etc. either from before the marriage or gifted to me during the marriage], how much does my spouse own of it, since we are married?” Different states have different laws. …
The difference between legal separation and divorce is a commonly asked question.  Each State may address legal separation differently.  In Tennessee, there are important differences between legal separation and divorce to know before making a decision. First, legal separation is not the same as a divorce.  It is also not a “cheaper” way to avoid the costs otherwise associated with divorce. To begin with, Tennessee is somewhat unique when it comes to divorce.  While most…
One of the most frustrating parts of a divorce for participants, whether you are representing yourself or you have a lawyer, is the volume of documents that must be exchanged. In Arizona, under the Rules of Family Law Procedure, each party is required, within 40 days of after a response to the initial petition is filed, to disclose certain documents.  Depending on the issues involved, this list can be fairly exhaustive. If you are considering…
Open Letter to Client Thank you for entrusting me with your family law matter.  Going through a divorce or any family law case can be very stressful and you are probably unsure of what to expect from your attorney. I thought it would be helpful to provide you with some general information so that you will have reasonable expectations about my role in this process and what I can do to help move this matter…
The presents are unwrapped, and gifts exchanged. But that gift with your name on it, or that new vehicle in the driveway with a big bow on top, is it really yours?  Or, in the event of a divorce or legal separation, is it part of the marital estate subject to division? Gifts that you and your spouse gave to one another may be treated as gifts if the intent that it was a gift…
Your divorce has just been finalized. Now what?  Depending on the assets divided, there may be a number of steps that you have to take to implement the terms of your divorce.  While your attorney likely provided some guidance upon completion of the divorce, here are 12 steps to consider. Automobile and Homeowner Insurance Automobile and homeowner insurance must be obtained, or transferred into your name for all vehicles and homes that you are keeping.…
Many people assume once they are divorced and a Judge has entered an Order that the terms of that Order are binding and never end.  Under certain circumstances, this is not true. There are several situations where a judge may modify a “final” divorce order.  The modifications that can occur are discussed under Tennessee law, but similar laws exist in other states as well. First, a judge may modify custody and parenting time to protect…
After a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed, a common question is what’s next?  It seems almost impossible to figure out how to navigate between the actual filing of the paperwork to start the process, to getting to the final decree.  Here are the 7 basic steps to keep in mind, which are the same steps you will follow whether you are represented by an attorney or are doing it on your own. Filing…