Financial issues to consider when divorcing in Arizona


When going through a divorce, there are many steps that need to be taken to ensure that each individual understands his or her financial situation before, during and after it takes place. It is strongly advised that those going through such a situation meet with an adviser, take a look at their credit reports and establish a budget as soon as possible to suffer as little unexpected financial strain as possible after the split is official.

As with any change in a person’s financial situation, it is important to understand the tax implications of a divorce. In general, no gain or loss is recognizable on property transferred between spouses within one year after the divorce has become final. However, any spousal support is taxable to the recipient and deductible by the payer.

If a couple had children during their marriage, it is important that a divorce settlement provides for them as well. It is recommended that parents go back 12 months to review how much was spent on food, clothing and activities for each child. It is also recommended that a noncustodial parent get a life insurance or disability insurance policy that names the child a beneficiary if anything happens to that parent and can no longer help support the child financially.

A divorce may be an emotional experience for anyone who goes through it. However, consulting a family law attorney may make it easier for someone going such a hard time keep a watchful eye on their finances both now and in the future. A family law attorney may be able to help a person organize his or her financial records and create a financial plan that will benefit themselves as well as any children that he or she may have.

Source: Wall St. Cheat Sheet , “7 Ways to Manage Your Finances Through a Divorce “, Kirsten Klahn, June 08, 2014

If you need legal help with a family law matter, divorce, custody or child support issue, please contact us at The Law Office of Scott J. McWilliams L.L.C. at or at 602-237-5101




Questions to Ask During A Divorce


Whether you should end your marriage is one of the most important and difficult decisions you will ever encounter. It is important to approach the question from a rational perspective rather than solely an emotional one. In many ways it is a business decision that requires you to evaluate many issues. Some of the major issues in a divorce matter are the following:1ChildrenWho will the children live with? Will there be shared custody? If they live with your spouse, how often will you be able to visit them or how often will they be able to stay overnight with you? How will you and your ex-spouse make decisions about the children, such as their health, education and welfare? Who pays for the children’s living expenses? Their education? Travel? How are the children’s expenses paid for and by whom? Are they shared?2SupportWhat about spousal support? Will you receive it or need to pay it? How much and for how long? Will the support payments to be made by one of the parties to the other? Will either of the other parties’ support or the support of their children increase or decrease in the future due to the changed financial circumstances of either of the parties, economic conditions or other factors? Who will be entitled to claim the children as exemptions for income tax purposes?3Your HomeWho will live in the marital home during the divorce process? Will one of the spouses keep the marital home or will it be sold? How will the proceeds be divided? If someone keeps the home, will one of the parties deed their interest in it to the other? If you decide to sell the home, will both spouses be involved in the sale and closing? Who decides the selling price or if a broker will be used? Who will be responsible for major repairs and the costs of preparing the home for sale? Who will be entitled to deduct the mortgage interest charges and real estate taxes for income tax purposes? Who will be responsible for any income (capital gains) taxes which may be imposed as a result of the sale of the home?4InsuranceWill you keep life insurance for the benefit of your children? Who will be the beneficiary of such insurance? Will either party be obligated to provide medical or other insurance for the benefit of the other and if so, for how long? Will either party be obligated to provide medical or other insurance for the benefit of the children and if so, for how long? Who will be responsible to pay for any medical, dental, drug or hospital expenses of the children that are not reimbursed by any policies of insurance that either of the parties may have?5Income TaxesWho will be entitled to receive any refund that may be due on any past joint income tax returns filed by the parties? If there is a deficiency on any past joint income tax returns, who will be responsible for it? If you file joint income tax returns for the present year who will be responsible to pay any taxes due and who will be entitled to receive any amount refunded? If you are possibly considering divorce or currently involved in a divorce proceeding, you can obtain more information from our website, or you can call us for a no cost consultation at 602-237-5101, The Law Office of Scott J. McWilliams L.L.C.

Custody Issues at Holiday Time


With Halloween just around the corner, many families have started to make their plans for the holidays, including which relative is hosting Thanksgiving dinner to where to go for vacation. Unfortunately, with almost half of all marriages in the U.S. ending in divorce, the holidays can be a stressful time for both the parents and the children. Determining which parent will get the children on what holiday and in which year can cause any parent to want to bypass the holidays and dive right into March. This is why it is very important for parents going through a divorce or deciding whether or not to get divorced, to establish a specific holiday plan that will be included as part of the Parenting Plan submitted as part of the final Divorce Decree. A detailed holiday plan can mean the difference between a hectic holiday season spent trying to decipher who gets the kids on what day and time, and a holiday season spent enjoying the time with your family and friends. As with any possibly contentious and emotion drive matter such as divorce, it is important to try and do as much as one can to make the process as non-adversarial as possible. An attorney familiar with family law can help you reach that goal and attempt to make you and your family’s future holidays enjoyable.

Orders of Protection and Injunctions Against Harassment May Be Used in Family Law and Divorce Matters


Who Can I Request an Order of Protection Against? An Order of Protection may be requested of the court if the person you desire protection from is a person to whom you are related. This includes a parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child, grandchild, spouse (or their parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild), former spouse or parent of your child. The order may also be sought against an individual married to your parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sister or brother. The person whom you name as the alleged offender is known as the “defendant” in the court case. The individual filing a case seeking an Order of Protection is called the “litigant.” What Do I have to Show to the Court to File for an Order of Protection? In order to file for a protective order, you must show that the defendant has threatened, assaulted, endangered, harassed, abused, stalked or otherwise shown the intent to commit such crimes against you. An Order of Protection may also be sought if the defendant committed (or is about to commit) a dangerous crime against a child younger than 15. If you have a Family Court case pending in Superior Court, you must obtain your order at Superior Court. Injunctions Against Harassment Unlike an Order of Protection, an Injunction Against Harassment is available if the conduct of any person is “harassment” as defined by Arizona law. The defendant can be anyone, whether or not related to you. The conduct can be any conduct which is harassment. Harassment is defined as a series of acts over any period of time that is directed at a specific person and that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed and the conduct in fact seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person and serves no legitimate purpose.  If you are in need of legal service or help regarding a family law matter, divorce, custody or order of protection and/or injunction against harassment you may contact us at The Law Office of Scott J. McWilliams L.L.C. for a legal consultation our web site is

Budgeting with children after a divorce


Every parent knows how hard raising a child can be. It is also expensive, costing $226,920 on average. If a couple faces a divorce

one of the most important things to consider for life after divorce is budgeting as a single parent. In addition, it’s important for Arizona residents going through a divorce to have a full understanding of their legal rights to help them solve divorce issues.

As a single parent, it is vital to create a budget. The budget should consist of fixed costs like utility bills, Internet and TV and insurance, and variable costs like groceries, entertainment and travel. In addition, one-time annual costs like property taxes and car registration renewals should be included. Finally, child-care costs, rent or mortgage payments, and home repairs should be accounted for if necessary.

If expenses surpass available income, it might be necessary for parents who are not working to get a job or start a new career. Colleges offer many grants and scholarships to single parents to help them create a more financially stable future. Taking advantage of these opportunities can help.

Many other considerations such as special tax breaks, planning for a child’s future, and being a smart shopper all play a role in making a financially stable household with one parent. Taking the time to learn these skills can help make a single-parent home more comfortable for a child to live in.

Any parent going through a divorce should be aware of their legal rights throughout the process. This may help them get a fair settlement that can help improve the future of their family.  If you need legal help filing for a divorce please contact our firm at

Source: SF Gate, “Budgeting as a single parent,” Steven Merkel, Oct. 24, 2012

Judge Orders Mother in Prison Must Be Allowed to See Children


In what is sure to be a controversial ruling, Judge Nancy Whittenburg ordered that Tracy Richter, a mother serving life in prison for murder, must be allowed to see her children. The order requires that the Father of the children, Michael Roberts, to take his children from their home in California to visit Richter at the women’s prison in Iowa three times while she appeals her murder conviction. The order also prohibits Roberts from moving to his native Australia with the children while Richter’s appeal is pending.

Richter was convicted by a jury of shooting a 20 year old man at the home she shared with Roberts and the children in 2001. The children were present during the shooting of the 20 year old man by Richter. Prosecutors say that Richter shot the 20 year old man several times at close range in the back of the head in Richter’s bedroom as part of a plot to frame Richter’s first ex-husband.

In making her ruling, Judge Whittenburg said that the children have a “long, positive history with their mother” and that Richter was an excellent parent. The prosecutor said that he believed the decision did not consider Roberts’ rights as a father that it is unbelievable that Richter maintains parental rights after being convicted of murder, fraud and perjury. Richter’s attorney stated that they would most likely appeal the ruling as he did not believe the decision was in the best interest of the children.  If you need assistance with any family law matter please contact us at The Law Office of Scott J. McWilliams 602-237-5101.

How can Arizonans prevent divorce-related money disputes?


On a blog about divorce and family law, you may not expect to find financial tips for couples who are looking forward to getting married. After all, divorcing spouses have their own set of financial concerns regarding the division of marital property, child custody, child support and more. But some financial concerns are equally relevant for Arizona couples who are happy together and for those who aren’t.

Protecting premarital assets is a major concern for many people in Phoenix who are planning to marry. If what starts out as a good relationship does lead to divorce, the division of marital property can be a complicated matter, especially if high assets are involved. That is where a prenuptial agreement can come in handy.

If protecting premarital assets is your goal, then it’s a good idea to keep them separate from the assets your future spouse brings to the marriage. That means holding onto all financial statements dated before the marriage becomes official. You can still have shared accounts, of course, but keeping marital and premarital property separate could prove beneficial for both parties if the marriage happens not to work out.

These days many people are tying the knot later in life, and that means they likely have significant credit and debt histories. Knowing where each other stands in terms of those histories is also a good idea. In the unfortunate case that a divorce does happen, neither party will want to be saddled with the other person’s premarital debt.