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PHENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – It’s no secret the pandemic has put a lot of stress on many families. According to Phoenix attorney Nicholas Boca, with the Cantor Law Group, Covid-19 is making divorce and child custody cases more complicated.


Disagreements about vaccinations, masks, and travel create more turmoil for parents. “Without the pandemic, it’s heated, it’s already heated,” said Boca. “You have two parents that are going through the divorce process, fighting over their livelihood, fighting over children, whatever they think is best for their children with someone they disagree with. It’s already contentious, and you add in the pandemic, and it’s a very polarizing issue right now. It’s even more contentious.”

Arizona law is not entirely clear if vaccination is considered a major medical decision, and that’s created some confusion about whether a parent with joint custody has to get the approval of the other parent to vaccinate their kid. There are also disputes about whether children should wear a mask in school or public places or if a child is safe hanging out with one side of the family that isn’t vaccinated.

Marriage and family therapist Nikki Aragon said if parents can’t reach peaceful resolutions, it’s the children who may suffer most. “How do you figure who to align with?” said Aragon. “You love both parents, trusting both, trying to take good care of you, and when you are getting opposite messages from them, that’s very hard to reconcile.”

Family law attorneys like Boca do their best to convince clients to compromise, even during a pandemic, but it’s not easy. “Ultimately, at the end of the day, what we don’t want is two people that hate each other raising a child,” said Boca.

Dividing property during a divorce

Community Property and Equitable Distribution: What Are They?

It is no secret that divorce can be difficult. There are complexities even when it is amicable. Next to the question of “Who gets the children?”, the most difficult and complex arguments and agreements will be about property, assets, and money.

There are two different methods of dividing property in divorce proceedings: Community Property and Equitable Distribution. Community Property is everything the couple accumulated while they were married. This includes all real estate, businesses, bank accounts, personal property (stereo, car, boat, furniture, etc.) and even debt. In Community Property states, everything is split 50/50, no questions asked. Equitable Distribution, however, is when everything is split in accordance with how the judge sees fit. That does not mean everything will be split equally.

Arizona is one of nine states where all Community Property gets equally divided (along with Puerto Rico and Alaska, the only state with an “opt-in” stance on the Community Property Law).

What is the Process for Proper Distribution of Community Property in Arizona?

In the State of Arizona, Community Property accumulated in the marriage may be divided up, but not always divided 50/50. In Arizona, the Court will divide assets and debt as fairly as it sees fit to do so. As difficult as it is to separate a personal and financial union you have had with someone, your best bet is to independently divvy up the Community Property. It is best if both parties can calmly and maturely negotiate an agreement of division, rather than leave it up to the Court. If the Court is brought in to divide and negotiate the distribution of your Community Property, please prepare yourself for conflict with each other, and drawn-out legal proceedings.

The Court may not favorably give you what you deserve. Plus, neither party knows how the Court will divide everything. If, however, you and your spouse cannot come to a sensible agreement, the Court will have to be called in to divide everything. Anything acquired prior to the marriage like a business or stocks is considered Separate Property, unless funds from both parties have contributed to it, which would then make it Community Property.

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How Do We Divide Our Community Property?

Start with pure disclosure of EVERYTHING the two of you own, even if it is property or a business that the other party is not aware of. Houses, cars, pets, land, businesses, 401K, bank accounts, stocks, etc. Even debt is considered Community Property in Arizona. Hiding assets is not smart in a divorce, especially when there are so many resources to find information on ownership of businesses and property. Doing so can result in a very long divorce proceeding with higher attorney fees, possible missed time from work, and more emotional distress.

Read More about Community Property Division…

August 22, 2019

Filing Taxes During a Divorce

If you are currently going through a divorce in Arizona, there are some important things that you should know about filing your taxes. You will only be allowed to file a joint income tax return with your spouse for this tax year if you are still married on Dec. 31 and your spouse agrees to file your return jointly for the year. If both of these factors apply, you can check the married filing jointly box on your tax return.

Filing a joint return allows you to a larger exemption than if you file separately or as a single filer. If you are not divorced but are separated at the end of the tax year, you will qualify to file a joint tax return since there will not be a final divorce decree in your case that ends your status as a married person. However, if your divorce is finalized before Dec. 31, you and your spouse will need to file your own separate returns and will not be able to file a joint return.

Filing Taxes While Legally Separated vs. Divorced

If you are legally separated from your spouse but have not received your Decree of Separate Maintenance, you will still be married. The orders that you receive for the division of your property, custody of your children, and child and spousal support will not affect your tax filing status. Since you will not have a final order from the court that ends your marriage, the IRS considers you to be married. However, if you have an order of separate maintenance by the end of the tax year, you can choose to file your tax return as single or as a head of household, according to IRS publication 504. However, if you and your spouse are able to agree to file a joint return, it might be a good idea. Each of you will likely pay higher taxes if you file separate returns.

Talking About How to File Your Tax Return

When you are going through a divorce, both you and your spouse may have trouble talking to each other about anything. It might seem hard to imagine discussing the pros and cons of filing a joint return. It is a good idea for you to talk to your tax preparer and your divorce lawyer about filing a joint income tax return. In most cases, the taxes will be lower for joint returns. However, depending on your deductions, respective incomes, and credits, you and your spouse might be better off filing separate returns.

A major disadvantage of filing a joint return is that you and your spouse will both be liable for taxes that may be owed on the tax return. If your spouse fails to pay his or her portion of any tax liabilities, the IRS will go after you to recover what is owed. You can take steps to protect yourself in the case that your spouse fails to pay his or her portion of the taxes by entering into a tax indemnification agreement with him or her. There might also be some relief available to you from the IRS. There are three types of tax relief that the IRS offers to spouses who have filed joint returns, including the following:

  • Innocent spouse relief
  • Equitable relief
  • Separation of liability

We will discuss tax indemnification agreements and the three types of tax relief that you might be able to claim further below.

Read More about Filing Taxes During a Divorce…

Best Interest of the Child

If you are currently going through a dispute over the custody of your child, you may have heard the phrase “best interests of the child” and wondered exactly what it means. The best interests of the child standard is defined as a legal standard that is used by courts in Arizona when they are making decisions about legal decision-making and parenting time in child custody cases. In Arizona, courts use a number of factors that are outlined in A.R.S § 25-403 help them to decide where the child will live and who will be able to make important decisions for him or her.

This article talks about:

  • What are the Standards for the Child’s best Interests?
  • What Factors are Considered?
  • Child Custody Disputes
  • Proving Best Interests Living with Parent
  • Getting Legal Help


In every case, the child’s interests are considered to be more important than the interests of either parent in regards to child custody and visitation. This makes it important for you to understand what the courts consider when they are making custody and visitation decisions.

What are the Standards for the Best Interest of the Child?

In child custody cases, judges focus on what is in the child’s best interests. This means that courts make decisions about custody and visitation with the goal of encouraging the child’s emotional development, mental health, security, and happiness so that he or she will grow to become a well-adjusted adult. In the past, courts generally favored the mothers when they made custody decisions. Now, there is greater recognition that the child’s best interests are best served by the child having the ability to develop a close relationship with both parents. While the ability to develop close relationships with both parents is important for a child, getting the parents to promote their child’s development of a close relationship with the child’s other parent is a common problem in child custody disputes.

It is important for you to try to make the decisions in your custody case in your child’s best interests. The decisions that you make or that the court makes for you will ultimately affect your child and your relationship with him or her for years.

Read More about Best Interests of the Child

Filing for bankruptcy before or after divorce


Money and financial issues are the top cause of arguments between spouses, according to a 2018 survey that was conducted by Ramsey Solutions. Financial stress is also the second leading cause of divorce after infidelity. These statistics show that there is little wonder that many couples who plan to divorce may also be in financial situations that necessitate filing for bankruptcy.

If you want to file for divorce and also want to file for bankruptcy, the timing is important. When you are trying to figure out whether to file before your divorce, at the same time as you are divorcing, or following your divorce, there are several things that the experienced attorneys at Cantor Law Group thing that you should consider.

Filing for Bankruptcy Before Your Divorce: Pros and Cons

There are several ways that filing for bankruptcy before your divorce can benefit you. If you file for bankruptcy first, you and your spouse will only have to pay one filing fee and can share the legal fees of your bankruptcy attorney. Filing for bankruptcy first can also make the property division portion of your divorce case simpler. In a normal divorce, the court will divide both the assets and the debts. If you and your spouse secure a discharge of your unsecured debts, neither one of you will have to pay them after you receive the discharge. This means that the court will not need to divide them.

It is also important to note that if a judge orders your spouse to pay a debt that you share, the court’s order will not impact the creditor. Since the creditor is not a party to your divorce, it can go after either you or your spouse to collect payment. If you do not obtain a discharge of a debt through bankruptcy, the creditor can seek to collect what is owed regardless of the family court’s orders. If it is discharged in a bankruptcy that you and your spouse file before you file for divorce, the creditor may not engage in any further collection activities for that debt against either you or your spouse.

Filing for bankruptcy before your divorce also has a few disadvantages. If you plan to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it may be a better idea for you to wait to file your bankruptcy case until after your divorce is finalized. This is because of the differences between these two types of bankruptcy.

Read More about Bankruptcy During and After Divorce…

June 21, 2019

Who gets Pet After a Divorce in Arizona

Most people would agree that they view their pets as members of their families. They may treat their dogs as if they are children in a divorce. People purchase toys for their dogs, send them to obedience school, and use a similar sing-songy tone of voice when they speak to the dogs that they use with small children. When people divorce, it is little wonder that they may have bitter disputes over who will get their cats or dogs. Battles over pets in divorce cases can become ugly, and some couples will spend thousands of dollars in fees to try to win custody of their pets. While people might view their pets as their children, the law treats them differently. Here is what you should know about how pets are treated in divorce cases.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, almost 57% of U.S. households own pets. Approximately 38% of people who own pets own at least one dog, and 25% own cats. According to a survey by the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers, pet custody disputes are increasing. In that survey, the AAML found that cases in which pet custody disputes were allowed had increased by 22% over the preceding five years. Of the disputes, 88% involved disputes over dogs while 5% involved disputes over cats. Overall, 27% of the lawyers said that they had noticed an increase in the number of clients who had disputes over their pets.

How are Pets Viewed by Arizona Courts?

Under A.R.S. § 25-211, all of the property that a couple accumulates during a marriage is considered to be the community property of both spouses. Historically, pets have been viewed as a type of personal property and have simply been awarded to one spouse or another just like other types of property such as cars, furniture, art collections, and etc. Some courts will not allow people to argue about pet custody since the judges view the pets as just another type of property. In cases in which the pets were acquired for very little money, the judges may be unwilling to entertain arguments about who will get them.

This is changing, however. More courts are allowing arguments about the custody of pets in recognition of the importance that they have in people’s lives. In three states, including California, Illinois, and Alaska, there are now laws in place that provide factors for courts to consider in contested pet disputes in divorces. Arizona does not have such a law, however, which means that not all judges will agree to hear arguments about the custody of pets. California’s law outlines a number of factors that judges can consider when determining who will get the pets, including the following:

  • Which person feeds the pet?
  • Which person paid for or adopted the pet?
  • Which person pays for the pet’s food and toys?
  • Which person walks the pet?
  • Which person takes the pet to see the veterinarian?
  • Which person spends more time with the pet?
  • Whether there have been allegations of animal abuse against either spouse?

Read More about Pets During a Divorce…

June 7, 2019

Legal Separation vs Divorce in Arizona

What is the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce?

While a legal separation is uncommon, it is still used by some couples in lieu of divorces. There are several reasons why people choose legal separation instead of a divorce. In some cases, it may make more sense for a couple to become legally separated while in others, it may be better to file for divorce. Before deciding which you want to choose, it is important that you understand the differences between legal separation and divorce and the potential benefits and drawbacks of each.

Legal separation has some similarities to divorce but has some key differences. When a couple gets divorced, it terminates their marriage. Their property, assets, and debts are divided between them, and the court issues orders regarding child custody, child support, and possibly, spousal maintenance. When a couple chooses legal separation instead of divorce, it is a formal process through which a couple separates without getting divorced. The court will issue orders about the division of the property and debts, child custody and support, and possibly, spousal maintenance. However, the couple will still be married.

People who are legally separated still must answer that they are married on their tax forms and on other forms. They also are not free to marry other people since they are married. While many couples who get legal separations will eventually divorce, some choose to remain legally separated instead of getting divorced for a variety of reasons. If a legally separated couple does choose to eventually divorce, the orders from their legal separation will be incorporated into their divorce decree.

Read More about Legal Separation vs Divorce…

May 22, 2019

Credit Score After Divorce

You might have heard that divorce can damage your credit. While the act a divorce may have no direct impact on your individual credit score, there are several scenarios that your credit score can be harmed during and after the divorce process. It is important for you to understand the potential issues that can arise in a divorce that could negatively affect your credit score so that you can guard against them. Cantor Law Group can work closely with you to help you to protect your financial interests during and after your divorce.

When you get divorced, you may go from two incomes to one. While a drop in income will not directly affect your credit score, it can cause a few situations that can. Banks consider your debt-to-income ratio when they decide whether to extend credit to you. If your debt-to-income ratio is higher after your divorce because your income has dropped, this can make it harder for you to secure new credit.

Jointly-held Debts

Another potential problem occurs when your name still appears on a debt that your ex-spouse is responsible to pay. For example, if you had a joint credit card account that the court ordered your ex to pay in your divorce decree, your credit could be harmed if your ex-spouse makes late payments or ceases to pay it altogether. Creditors are not a party to your divorce, and they are not obligated to follow the court’s orders. This means that they can come after you for payment even if the family court judge ordered your ex to be responsible for the debt.

Having to Refinance Your Home

If you and your ex are both on the deed to your home, and you take it in your divorce, you will have to refinance the mortgage to remove your spouse’s name from it. When you apply to refinance your mortgage in your own name, the bank will look at your income and credit score to determine whether you qualify for a loan on your own. Mortgage applications also require a hard credit inquiry, which will cause a temporary drop in your credit score. Refinancing your home in your own name will also add a substantial amount of debt and affect your debt-to-income ratio.

Read More about Credit Score After a Divorce…

Common Questions to Divorce in Arizona

In certain cases, going through a divorce with children involved can be an overwhelming situation. Ultimately, it comes down to what is best for the children and both parties coming to an agreement in the end. In Arizona, there are two types of legal divorce motions: contested and uncontested.

The definition of an uncontested divorce means merely that one spouse has filed a petition for divorce and the other spouse is choosing not to respond in court. In an uncontested divorce, the terms of the divorce are agreed upon by both spouses, allowing the process to be completed by simply filing for the divorce and receiving a judgment.

A contested divorce can be much more difficult to work through. In a contested divorce, one spouse files for divorce, but the other spouse challenges the terms. When this happens, it’s beneficial to have an Arizona divorce attorney on your side to guide you through the process and represent your interests in court. Your attorney can offer you legal counsel to help you make informed decisions about financial assets, child custody, spousal support, and real property disputes.

Below are the main Differences Between a Contested Divorce and Uncontested Divorce.

  • Contested divorces may end up in court.
  • Uncontested divorces are often faster to finalize.
  • Contested divorces could require disclosure of financial assets.
  • Uncontested divorces are usually settled out of court.
  • Contested divorces are usually best left to an attorney.
  • Uncontested divorces may require little legal intervention.


1. How is the Divorce Process Started in Arizona?

Each state might handle the divorce process, but in Arizona it begins when a Petition for Divorce is filed. This action is the actual legal filing of the paperwork outlining the desire to dissolve a marriage by the filing spouse. Your divorce attorney will handle this part of the process, but there are some stipulations involved that are specific to Arizona. Either you or your spouse is required to be a resident of the state for at least 90 days before the filing of the petition for divorce.

Read More about Common Question About Divorce with Chidren…

August 21, 2018

In the state of Arizona, a contested divorce occurs when the spouses cannot mutually agree on the terms of the dissolution of their marriage. The most common issues of contention in a divorce are generally child custody, child support, and division of marital assets. In such a situation both parties retain independent counsel and battle it out in family court with a judge having the final say on any and all contentious issues.

No Fault Divorce In Arizona

The divorce statute in Arizona requires both parties to state that their marriage is irretrievably broken whereby the court conducts a hearing to see if the parties can be reconciled. In that hearing if both parties agree to proceed with the divorce, the court usually grants the divorce. However, if one party objects, the court may call for a conciliation conference.

Common Fault Grounds For Divorce In Arizona

In the past, a reason was required to proceed with a divorce such as undue cruelty or infidelity. No fault divorces were introduced so that parties do not have to allege a reason in order to separate. In the case of a contested divorce, fault may be cited in order to gain an advantage in custody proceedings or division of marital assets. The fault grounds for divorce laid out in Arizona Statutes are as follows:

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