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Projects try to reduce conflicts that leads to military divorce

According to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Defense, the divorce rate for military families has steadily increased since 2001. In contrast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the civilian divorce rate has shown a decline over recent years. In Arizona and elsewhere, stresses related to service duties can exert additional strain on a marriage and can play a central role in the decision to seek a military divorce.

In an effort to help military spouses reconnect after a deployment or active duty, several programs have been developed. These programs are intended to help spouses and their children find ways to interact outside of the normal stresses of everyday routines. One program involves families spending time in a cabin without distractions such as television to help facilitate communication and family togetherness. 

Some of the programs offer marriage counseling and classes for handling finances and finding ways to cope with life outside of military duties. Along with the difficulties of reintegrating into civilian life, many service members face challenges posed by injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. It can take up to a year for an individual to re-acclimate to family life and improve  relationships with family members.

These programs are not a cure-all for every family, however. Many couples cannot work through the problems that plague their relationship, and they come to the conclusion that a divorce is the best option for their situation. Arizona residents who have decided to seek a military divorce may be best served by consulting with an attorney who is experienced in military regulations regarding these family law proceedings in order to reach the best settlement agreement.

Number of “grand-families” increasing across America

A recent report from Generations United, a national group focusing on “intergenerational collaboration” between kids, young adults and older adults reveals that the rate of children being raised – at least partially – by grandparents and other relatives is on the rise. These so-called “grand-families” are often formed by trauma affecting a nuclear family, such as divorce, incarceration of one or both biological parents, abandonment or even death of one or both biological parents.

The grandparents in these situations step in to raise the children, sometimes to help the kids avoid going into the foster care system. The Generations United report emphasizes the very important role that grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. 

For example, children raised in grand-families (instead of in the foster system) have:

  • Better overall health
  • More stability
  • Increased sense of belonging
  • Fewer mental health issues relating to trauma (like anxiety, depression and behavioral problems)
  • A sense of permanency
  • Greater cultural identity

Arizona grandparent rights

Arizona state lawmakers recognize the important relationship between grandparents and grandchildren. That’s why there is a law on the books – Arizona Statutes Annotated 25-409 – that allows third parties (like grandparents or other relatives) to petition for physical custody or legal decision-making authority or visitation rights.

It isn’t an easy road to get custody or visitation, since the law presumes that it is in the best interests of a child to remain with his or her parents. The onus is on the grandparent to prove otherwise.

If you, as a grandparent or other relative, want to pursue an action for custody or visitation rights, you’ll need to make a very persuasive argument as to why your request should be granted. The help of an experienced family law attorney can make a huge difference in your case.

Avoiding the financial pitfalls of a grey divorce

Some couples who are unhappy are deciding to end their marriages even if they have been married for many years. Divorce over the age of 50 — or grey divorce as it is known — is becoming more common today. In fact, overall divorce rates are declining in the country except for couples in this age range. Arizona spouses in this situation may wish to sidestep the possible financial ramifications of divorce later in life by avoiding certain mistakes.

When a couple that is close to retirement age divorces, there can be added financial pitfalls which could include retirement plans. One piece of advice experts agree on is selling the family home to offset any financial injury; holding onto a home may make the situation even more tenuous. Couples also need to know where they stand in terms of their assets and their debts so each person can make plans regarding their financial situation. Not looking at that picture can also create an added financial burden.

Divorce also changes a couple’s tax situation, so they need to focus on those changes and how they will affect each of them. Speaking with an accountant or tax adviser independently may be wise. Another error many people make is underestimating their monthly expenses living as single individuals. And former spouses should never hide assets from each other; it’s actually against the law. 

Randle Palmer & Bernays
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