Written by Canterbury Law Group

Family Court Decisions: Temporary Orders

Family Court Decisions: Temporary Orders

There are challenges that a couple must deal with when they decide to divorce. Finalizing formal family court rulings might take months or even years. Numerous problems cannot wait that long. For instance, parties should rapidly resolve matters such as child custody, child and spousal support, ownership of the family automobile, and ownership of the marital house before the formal divorce or legal separation hearings.

These pressing problems are quickly resolved thanks to the family courts’ temporary orders, which are discussed in more detail below.

When a couple separates, family courts hold a hearing and issue temporary orders. Even before filing separation papers, a party may in several jurisdictions ask the family court for an interim order. The hearing can then take place in a few days or weeks.

Plans are made for the urgent family law issues following the hearing. Until the parties go through the formal divorce process or engage in another type of legal settlement, such mediation, the arrangement is temporary and remains in force. Despite having just a short-term legal effect, formal family court judgements frequently take temporary orders into account.

Hearings for temporary orders are generally less formal and shorter than full hearings in family court. Before the hearing, a couple or/and each party should be certain they are clear about their goals. The hearing will move swiftly, leaving little time for participants to dilly-dally in expressing what they think is best.

Temporary Orders Address What?

There isn’t a specific list of topics that all interim orders cover because every circumstance is different. The orders do, however, typically specify the temporary configuration for the following categories of family court cases:

  • Sale or ownership of the marital residence
    having access to the family car
    Child support is often calculated using the child support standards.
    spousal assistance
    Schedule for child custody and visits
    health protection
    Uncovered medical costs
    preventing one spouse from speaking with or approaching the other spouse. (This can have the result of ejecting the partner from the marital residence.)
    order prohibiting the sale of any important assets or household belongings by either spouse
    Keep in mind that not all decisions made through interim orders are final. They are meant to preserve the family’s stability and circumstances until more formal and binding judgments about the family’s future can be made by the family court.

The significance of temporary custody orders for children

Some couples can come to decisions by themselves. It will probably save you some hassle if you ever find yourself in that circumstance. To avoid any future ambiguity, make sure you and your husband jointly draft and sign the child custody and visitation agreement.

If, like many couples going through a divorce, you and your spouse are unable to come to terms with these matters, you should seek a provisional injunction right once. This is crucial when discussing custody of children.

It’s crucial to at least apply for custody as soon as possible if you’ll be keeping custody of the child(ren), especially if you take them away from the house. To best defend your rights and future in family court, you want the legal request on file.

As quickly as feasible, an enforceable order directing the child custody arrangement, including periods for visitation/parent time, needs to be entered into the court’s records. Law enforcement may be reluctant to intervene with one parent against the other in the absence of a court order awarding one parent custody.

The Hearing for a Temporary Order

The judge can do the following during the hearing:

  • Review your request’s specifics.
    Think about the underlying details
    Ask the parties any questions you have.
    Find out your spouse’s perspective.
    To determine your proposal for child support, take into account both your financial situation and the state laws.
    Sometimes the hearing for your temporary order provides an opportunity for the various parties to reach a compromise before appearing before the court. This gives the judge and the court much-needed time to concentrate on the actual difficulties at hand.

Requests for Temporary Orders: The Decision-Making Process

Unless the matter is really time-sensitive, it’s uncommon for the judge to make a judgement right away from the bench (in which case the specific issue will be decided). Within a week of the first hearing, the whole temporary order is typically issued. The court will decide whether to approve the order in its entirety or to make any necessary modifications.

Note: You could be needed to provide proof of your income and a breakdown of your spending if you’re asking for interim child support. Before or when you file your request, some courts may ask you to complete pre-made forms. It may be wise to create these documents even if your state does not have any such obligations in order to bolster your requests for financial assistance.

Sometimes the court finds that more information is required in order to reach a just conclusion or that your spouse was not properly informed prior to the hearing. In these situations, the judge may issue a ruling that is only valid up until a further temporary order hearing can be scheduled.

Any agreements the parties were able to reach prior to the hearing are included in the temporary order. The judge will assess the parties’ agreement if they manage to reach a comprehensive one. Most of the time, the judge deems these agreements to be acceptable and may rule that they act as the temporary order.

Temporary orders only last as long as your divorce is finalized or as long as you and your spouse can agree on a divorce settlement. However, decisions taken at hearings for interim orders may have an impact on divorce procedures.

How to Make a Temporary Order Request

It requires submitting certain documentation to the family court in order to request a temporary order. These forms are offered online on the websites of many courts. Find out whether there is a self-help legal center at your court where these forms could be obtained. Even the courts occasionally employ individuals to assist you with paperwork organization. States have different deadlines for submitting requests for interim orders. While other jurisdictions permit filing immediately after separation, some states mandate that you wait until divorce papers have been filed.

Need a Legal Separation Lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix?

As family court lawyers, we have built a network of Arizona mediators, attorneys, tax specialists, estate planners, financial planners, child specialists, real property appraisers, adult and child therapists and parenting coordinators who are here for you if you ever need them. Our lawyersdivorce mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys in Scottsdale are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and the costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-744-7711 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Appeals and Motions to Modify the Divorce Decree


After a divorce is finalized, either spouse may have grounds to appeal certain court rulings. Either a divorce decree modification request or a court judgment appeal may be made in order to accomplish this.

An overview of the procedure to challenge a court order pertaining to a divorce proceeding is provided below.

Having Your Divorce Judgment Reviewed

A state court of appeals can hear an appeal of a divorce court judge’s ruling. While the initial judge’s ruling in a divorce case is respected, it is uncommon, though not unheard of, for an appeals court to reject the lower court judge’s judgment.

An appeal can only address material mistakes that were made during the trial. This could be a case of factual, legal, or judicial misconduct.

Due to the fact that both parties to the divorce agreed to the terms of the settlement, divorce settlement agreements are typically unaffected by an appeal. A spouse can attempt to claim that there were issues with the way the agreement was created, which could create a problem with its enforcement.

Divorce Appeal Notice

A notice of appeal is given to the opposing party to start the appellate procedure. For filing and serving notice, there are detailed guidelines and timeframes. Your right to appeal could be lost if you don’t adhere to your county’s and state’s filing requirements.

The Appeal’s File

The Record on Appeal must be prepared once the notice of appeal has been submitted to the court and served on each party. The processes used by the states to record court transcripts differ. Ask the court clerk what documents are maintained there and how to get them for your appeal.

The clerk’s record consists of all the written materials—documents, papers, pleadings, etc.—that were submitted to the court. It contains every piece of evidence and document presented during the trial. Other court documents (like motions) that were not initially introduced at trial may be found in the Record on Appeal.

Every word spoken in court while a court reporter was present is recorded in the court reporter’s transcript, a typewritten booklet. It often includes all of the witness testimony, the arguments made by the attorneys, and any remarks made by the judge or the parties.

The appeals document

The written appellate briefs submitted by the attorneys for each party serve as the primary vehicle for argument on appeal. A brief is a piece of writing that presents the case’s legal arguments and supports them with citations to relevant statutes, case law, the reporter’s transcript, and records kept by the clerk.

After being hired, the parties’ divorce lawyers file their pleadings to the appeals court. Regardless of whether they first represented you, a lawyer must be retained in order to represent you in the appeal court. You will need to consult with your lawyer or get new counsel for your case.

When submitting a brief, the lawyer may be asked to specify whether or not oral arguments are necessary.

Oral Debate

If a request for an oral argument is made, the time allotted for each party to deliver its case will normally not exceed 15 or 30 minutes. There will be no witness summons and no consideration of fresh evidence.

You might retain the same trial court attorney to defend you on appeal, or you could get new counsel. The lawyer will go over the mistakes that were made in the trial court and how they contributed to the outcome of the initial divorce case.

Appellate Court’s Decision

The appellate court will issue its decision after receiving the Record on Appeal, the appellate brief, and any oral arguments. State-to-state variations in time exist. Typically, an appellate court can take as little as a month or as long as a year or more to rule on an appeal.

The appeal court has the option of upholding the trial court’s judgment or remanding the case back to the trial court for judgment revision or a fresh trial. In rare cases, the court may simply vacate (overturn) the judgment.

Divorce modification requests

The appeals process is costly and might not yield the outcomes an ex-spouse is hoping for.

The easiest way to get the divorce decree modified is to just ask for it, which is much less expensive and usually more effective. It is possible to change some aspects of the divorce, including spousal support, child support, child custody, and visitation, however some changes are simpler to make than others.

A “move to modify” must be submitted in order to request a change to a property settlement, child custody arrangement, or alimony payment. The same court where the divorce judgment was rendered is where this motion was filed.

The majority of states offer specific paperwork to fill out. To see if they are open, inquire with the state and county courts in your area.

When writing a motion to modify, you must provide evidence of new circumstances that call for a revision. For instance, the termination of employment may be cause for alimony or child support modification.

Each state has its own laws governing the modification procedure and the evidence required for the modification to be approved.

Although it is challenging, child custody arrangements can be changed. Following the approval of the custody agreement, courts generally reluctant to modify custody arrangements. However, if it is in the child’s best interest and a change is required due to external factors, they will.

The completed petition for modification must be submitted to the court and served on the ex-spouse. The court will set a date for a hearing where the arguments will be made.

You should provide a copy of your agreement with your petition if you and your spouse concur that a revision is required. The adjustment may be made by the court without a court presence being required.

Speak With One Of Our Divorce Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s divorce attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale will handle your case with personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, divorce mediationcollaborative divorce, and more.

We are experienced divorce attorneys and will fight for you to get you the best possible outcome. Our law firm will represent you fully in court, so you can get on with your life. Call us today for an initial consultation. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Does Divorce Impact Social Security Benefits?

Credit and Divorce

You’ll want to pay attention to how divorce and remarriage affect your Social Security, just as you would with marriage. For example, a name change must be recorded to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in order for your earnings to be accurately reported, and remarriage affects survivor benefits.

Essentially, if you have been married for at least 10 years, you will likely continue to get Social Security benefits. If your marriage lasted fewer than ten years, you would not be eligible for your ex-benefits. spouse’s Remarriage and other variables can affect your benefits.

During a divorce, it is not overly complicated, but you must understand your rights and take care of these matters immediately.

How long must a couple be married before receiving benefits?

To be eligible for spousal benefits, you must have been married for at least 10 years.

How much Social Security does a divorced spouse receive?

This is crucial information for your divorce financial planning. To comprehend your spouse’s or ex-retirement spouse’s funds, you must obtain their Social Security benefits statement. This is particularly significant if you lack your own earnings or employment history.

When you reach the full retirement age, you will get full or unreduced benefits as well as fifty percent of your retirement savings account. Typically, if you have your own benefits, you will receive them first. If your spouse receives a bigger benefit than you do, you will also receive funds from their record.

The current full retirement age is 66, but it will shortly increase to 67. You can apply for Social Security payments at the age of 62, but the amount you get will be decreased. You may be eligible for delayed retirement credits if you or your spouse prolong your retirement age. These raise your monthly benefit amount.

Can You Continue Receiving Social Security Benefits After Divorce?

You can only get Social Security benefits after a divorce if:

  • You were wed for a decade.
  • You have not married again*
  • Your ex-spouse is qualified for Social Security and disability benefits.
  • Your personal retirement benefits are lower than those of your ex-spouse.
  • You are age 66 or older
  • You have been divorced for a minimum of two years.
  • Generally, remarriage will nullify your former spouse’s benefits.

How Are Social Security Benefits Divided Upon Divorce?

Social Security can be split in a variety of ways. Still, it is common for each spouse to get fifty percent of the retirement account. You may be subject to Social Security regulations, or you may be eligible for a greater payment or additional benefits. Divorcees must consult with an attorney to guarantee that each party receives what is due.

A delayed retirement can affect the timing and amount of benefits received. Overall, delaying retirement is preferable to retiring early, so your benefits will not be lowered.

Can You Collect Social Security If Your Ex-Spouse Has Died?

Yes, you will receive the full amount of their retirement benefit if your ex-spouse dies. At age 62 or beyond, you will begin receiving Social Security. Delaying your Social Security payments until age 65 or 67 ensures you receive the entire amount (retiring before age 67 can result in a reduction of 0 to 15% in benefits till age 67).

How Divorce Affects Benefits for Survivors

If your divorced spouse dies, you are eligible for widow/widower payments if your marriage lasted at least 10 years. However, you will not be required to meet the length-of-marriage criteria if you are caring for your deceased ex-minor spouse’s or disabled child. Benefits paid to a 60-year-old or older surviving divorced spouse do not influence the benefit rates of other survivors receiving benefits.

Keep in mind that the SSA will not notify your ex-relatives spouse’s if you apply for survivor benefits. In addition, there is no limit on the number of individuals who may claim for benefits from a single Social Security account.

How Remarriage Affects Benefits for Survivors

In general, if you remarry before the age of 60, you are ineligible for survivors payments until the second marriage ends by death, divorce, or annulment. You can continue to claim benefits on your former spouse’s record if you remarry after age 60 (50 if disabled).

At age 66 or older, you are eligible to receive retirement benefits based on your new or current spouse’s record if it is greater. Your remarriage would not affect the amount of child support given to your children.

Name Modification on Your Social Security Card

If you change your name, you must inform both the Social Security Administration and your employer. This will ensure that your earnings are reported and documented accurately by your company.

You can obtain a new Social Security card bearing your new name. You must produce a copy of your birth certificate, adoption decree, or other appropriate documentation to confirm your date of birth. To establish your identity, you’ll need a valid U.S. driver’s license, state identification card, or passport.

Are You Afraid of Divorce, Remarriage, and Social Security? Consult a Lawyer

Social Security-related information is available at A divorce can effect many aspects of one’s life, even after death. It is essential to comprehend the legal ramifications of a divorce, from retirement benefits to name changes on Social Security cards.

Put your mind at ease by allowing an expert divorce attorney in your state to assist you in making the right decisions regarding divorce, remarriage, and Social Security.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Military Divorce

While military divorces are not more complicated than civilian divorces, there are particular divorce procedures and requirements that apply to U.S. service members and their spouses. These differences may pertain to support payment compliance, service of process, residency or filing requirements, or the distribution of military pensions. The following is an outline of the laws that govern the divorce of U.S. servicemen and women.

Military Marriage Statutes

Both state and federal laws govern military divorce. For instance, federal rules may govern where divorcing spouses end up in court or how military pensions are shared, whereas state laws may govern the issuance of alimony and spousal support. The exact state laws applicable to a divorce depend on the state in which the divorce is filed.


Before a court may award military members or their wives a divorce, it must have “jurisdiction,” or the authority to hear the case. Generally, a person’s place of residence determines the court’s jurisdiction over them. However, for military personnel, jurisdiction may be the place where the person holds legal residence, even if the service member is stationed somewhere else.

Residency, Filing Requirements, and Proceedings Stays

Numerous states have decreased or removed the residency requirement in military divorces, allowing service personnel or their wives to petition for divorce in the state where they are stationed, even if they are not legal citizens.

In general, military members and their wives can petition for divorce in one of three states:

  • The state of residence of the filing spouse
  • State in which the service man is stationed.
  • The state in which a service member asserts legal residency

The reasons for divorce, including property division, child custody, and child support, are defined by the state where the divorce is filed. As a result, the specific conditions of a divorce will change based on that particular state’s laws.

It is important to note that active-duty service members have certain protections against court proceedings. Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), for instance, service members are protected from default judgment and can apply for a “stay” — a temporary halt — of any civil action, including child custody proceedings, initiated against them during active duty or within 90 days of their release from active duty.

This stay is in place so that service members can devote their time and attention to defending the nation while still being subject to court orders or verdicts while they are unable to appear in court. If a servicemember desires a delay that continues beyond 90 days, he or she may petition the court to grant it, but the court has the discretion to grant or deny any additional extensions.

Pensions and Military Benefits

Like civilian retirement benefits, military pensions are subject to distribution between spouses in the case of divorce. Depending on the jurisdiction, the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) permits state courts to recognize military retirement money as either sole or communal property. While the USFSPA does not specify a method for distributing retired pay, the amount is often established and distributed in accordance with state regulations.

In addition, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) pays the former spouse’s portion of military retirement immediately if there were at least 10 years of marriage and 10 years of military service overlap (known as the 10/10 rule).

However, regardless of the length of the marriage, a court may sanction an offset payment to a military spouse who has been married for less than 10 years. In such a case, payment would come from the retiring spouse, not DFAS.

In addition to pension benefits, spouses of former military personnel are eligible for full medical, commissary, and exchange privileges following a military divorce if they meet the following criteria:

  • The couple was married for 20 years or more
  • At least 20 years of service are credited toward the service member’s retirement compensation.
  • There was at least a 15 year overlap between marriage and military duty

Matrimony and Child Support

There are particular restrictions regarding spousal maintenance (alimony) and child support in the military. The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that a service member’s family support obligations continue after a divorce or separation.

A court may enforce spousal and child support obligations in a number of ways, including by:

  • Court-order
  • Garnishment
  • Willful or Unwilling Allotment
  • A court may also mandate the paying spouse to retain life insurance to cover child or spousal support payments for a predetermined amount of time.

Consult a Lawyer Regarding Your Military Divorce

Because a military divorce needs understanding of laws that do not apply to civilian divorces, it is prudent to consult with a divorce attorney who has experience handling military divorce matters. An expert, local divorce attorney can assist you understand the many laws that may apply to your situation, your rights as member of the armed forces, and more.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Is Divorce Good For?


People contemplating divorce are typically aware of what to anticipate. They’ve observed divorces in the movies and often personally know at least a handful of people who have been through a divorce. In spite of this “second-hand” experience, facing your own divorce is one of the more frightening events in life.

Not only do you face a court-sanctioned ending of arguably one of the more meaningful relationships you have ever had, you also must begin to think about such unpleasant things as the division of property and new living accommodations. In many circumstances, there is also the terrible prospect of no longer seeing your children on a daily basis.

Predictability and divorce don’t go together. But if you have reasonable expectations, you will have the best chance of being pleased with the outcome of your divorce. Consequently, it is prudent to comprehend what a divorce can and cannot accomplish for you. So what is divorce good for, anyway?

What Divorce Can Do

Property Division

A divorce court will endeavor to split marital property in the most cost-effective manner possible. Most states will exclude from this division any property that was acquired prior to the marriage or that was acquired via gift or inheritance.

In some states (community property states), this involves a 50/50 split of the property acquired by the parties during the marriage. Other states (non-community property states) will look into the couple’s individual financial conditions, financial intentions for the future, and other pertinent considerations in trying an equitable allocation of the property.

Because the division of property is never predictable, if you have a strong need for some item of property, it may be best to have your attorney negotiate and settle the property distribution ahead of time with your spouse’s attorney.

For example, you may decide that, although you would really like to stay in the family home, you really need to keep your business. Therefore, you might choose the business over the house. In this way, you can attempt to reach a mutually agreeable property division agreement with your spouse.

Support Obligations

Divorce proceedings can help determine a couple’s support obligations. This can come in the form of child support and spousal support (also called “alimony”) (also called “alimony”).

Child support payments are now largely set by state law, but deviation from those standards are not uncommon. Also, child support orders may depend on the custody arrangements ordered. In general, spousal support largely relies on the specifics of each divorce and the divorcing couple’s financial circumstances. Therefore, here again, any attempt at predicting a court’s ultimate support decision is often difficult.

Child Visitation and Custody

Aside from the distribution of wealth, divorce also can help set child custody and visitation schedules. Likewise, this is not at all predicted. While courts frequently try to base their decisions on a set of factors deemed to promote the “best interests” of the child, case-by-case and court-by-court, these decisions can vary. After all, in making custody decisions judges are naturally influenced by their own beliefs, opinions and values.

Further, judges generally see and hear only the worst of people during heated custody proceedings. So, based on their limited “view” into the parents’ lives, a divorce court may not always make the “best” possible decision when it comes to custody. Here again, discussion and settlement are crucial choices to keep in mind. Everybody engaged in the divorce, especially the children, will benefit from a cooperative child custody arrangement.

What Divorce Can’t Do

Ensure Precise and Equal Distribution

A divorce cannot accomplish an exact or mathematically equal division of property and time with children. Because no two people, no two marriages, and no two divorces are alike, the judge who writes a divorce order must make the best decision with the limited time and information available. It may not always be the fairest possible decision that could have been reached, and it is certain not to favor you individually in every possible way.

Frequently, divorce courts must make the best of awful situations. For instance, there can be no appropriate custody agreement when one parent lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming and the other lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Ensure Civil Relations

Even though a court can determine custody and visitation, it will not be present every Friday when mom drops off the children, nor will it spend the weekend with dad to ensure he does not make disparaging remarks about mom in front of the children. A court order is ultimately just a piece of paper. Mom and dad will STILL have to civilly deal with each other to carry out the terms of the custody and visitation order.

This includes interacting with the other parent, as divorce does not make your ex-spouse less of a parent to your child (one exception being cases of abuse).

Maintain Your Current Level of Living

You should also recognize that a divorce court can’t increase your salary to prevent your standard of living from declining once you divorce. Unfortunately, from a financial perspective, it is much more cost-effective for two individuals to live together and share expenditures than to run two separate households. There is little, if anything, the court can do to prevent a reduction in your standard of living after a divorce.

Resolve Emotional Issues

Finally, a court will not be able to punish your ex-spouse or morally vindicate you for all of the bad things that happened while you were married. In addition, the divorce process will not heal your emotional wounds or eliminate the need to mourn the failed relationship. That is your job, although you can seek assistance through therapists and support groups.

Still Want to Get a Divorce? Explore Your Options With an Attorney

As you determine the benefits of divorce, at least in your specific situation, you will likely have questions along the way. A great way to get those questions answered is by speaking with a legal expert today. A skilled divorce lawyer in your state can provide you with peace of mind.

Speak With One Of Our Divorce Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s divorce attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale will handle your case with personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, divorce mediationcollaborative divorce, and more.

We are experienced divorce attorneys and will fight for you to get you the best possible outcome. Our law firm will represent you fully in court, so you can get on with your life. Call us today for an initial consultation. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce And Business Ownership

Eric and Ariel reached the terrible choice to divorce after 19 years of marriage. Ariel’s profession of collecting and selling various collectibles began before their marriage. However, now that she is getting a divorce, she is concerned about the future of her business. Will it be divided between her and Eric, or does she retain sole ownership as she owned it before to their marriage? Well, it depends.

A business will be evaluated as an asset in the case of a divorce. Whether it will be shared depends, among other things, on state rules, whether the business is considered marital property, and whether a prenuptial agreement is in existence. Learn more about divorce and company ownership by reading on.

Define Conjugal Property

The key determinant of whether an enterprise is subject to property division is whether it is classified as marital or separate property. The term “marital property” refers to the joint property of a married couple, which is more complicated than it may appear.

First, state rules influence the definition of marital property, which is typically community property or property susceptible to equitable division. Second, how the property is handled and even what happens to it throughout a marriage might influence how it is finally classified.

Community Property versus Equitable Distribution in Business Ownership upon Divorce

A divorcing couple must first establish whether they reside in a community property state or an equitable distribution jurisdiction. In states with community property, practically all property acquired during a marriage is considered joint property, while property owned prior to the marriage is considered separate. Obviously, the law is seldom straightforward, thus exceptions exist. Gifts and inheritances received by one spouse during a marriage are regarded separate property; however, combining them with communal property can alter their status.

In states with equitable distribution, the partition of property is less easy because a judge decides how it should be shared. Obviously, state laws establish specific standards about how property should be split. Additionally, the concept of equitable distribution is that property is divided “fairly” but not necessarily evenly.

When Is a Business Marital Property In the Context of Divorce?

The business will be considered marital property if the couples are co-owners. However, this is not the only method in which a business might be considered marital property. If a business was established after the marriage, it is likely to be regarded marital property.

Sometimes, businesses created by one spouse prior to marriage are not considered marital property. However, this is not always the case. For instance, if the non-owner spouse made contributions to the firm throughout the marriage, it may still be considered marital property. It is vital to remember that “contributed” can refer not just to direct contributions of time to the business, but also to caring for the home while the business owner ran the company.

Using a prenuptial agreement to safeguard business ownership

A prenuptial agreement is the greatest approach to ensure that a business is not subject to property division in the event of a divorce. Occasionally, a spouse may start a business after the wedding, in which case it would be impossible to include it in a prenuptial agreement. However, it is possible to obtain a postnuptial agreement to define business ownership, which is similar to a prenuptial agreement except that it is executed after the couple is married.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Credit and Divorce

Credit and Divorce

If you have just gone through a divorce or are planning one, you may want to examine credit and divorce concerns attentively to prevent the predicament described above. In addition, understanding the various types of credit accounts acquired during a marriage can provide light on the potential advantages and disadvantages of each.

Does Divorce Affect Credit Scores? Your credit score may decline.

Divorce does not influence your credit score by itself. Unless you take the necessary safeguards, the divorce process, which sometimes involves joint credit accounts, may negatively impact your credit.

The divorce order defines who is liable for accounts opened during the marriage. This judgment does not, however, bind the lenders. This means that you may still be liable for an account bearing your name.

Types of Credit Accounts and Financial Obligation

There are two different sorts of credit accounts: individual and joint. You can also allow approved others to use your account when applying for credit.

Personal Accounts

The creditor takes your income, assets, and credit history into consideration. Regardless of your marital status, you are solely responsible for paying off the debt in your individual account. The account will appear on your credit report, as well as that of any “approved” users.

Nonetheless, if you reside in a community property state (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin), you and your spouse may be responsible for debts incurred during the marriage, and the individual debts of one spouse may be reflected on the credit report of the other.


If you are not employed outside the home, work part-time, or have a low-paying job, having an individual account could be detrimental. Because it may be difficult to provide a solid financial picture without your spouse’s salary.

Alternatively, if you start an account in your own name and are responsible, no one else’s actions (or nonpayment) can negatively impact your credit rating.

Shared Accounts

Considerations for a joint account include the income, financial assets, and credit history of both account holders. In a joint account, you and your spouse are jointly accountable for paying debts, regardless of who pays the bills. A creditor who reports the credit history of a joint account must include both parties’ names (if the account was opened after June 1, 1977).


A creditor accepting a loan or credit card may consider the combined financial resources of two applicants as evidence of their creditworthiness.

However, because two people jointly applied for the credit, both are liable for the debt. This is true even if a divorce ruling assigns each spouse distinct debt liabilities. On jointly-held accounts, ex-spouses who run up expenses and don’t pay them can harm their ex-partners’ credit histories.

Account titled “Users”

If you create a personal account, you can grant access to another individual. If you list your spouse as an authorized user, a creditor who reports your credit history to a credit bureau must also include your spouse’s name (if the account was opened after June 1, 1977). A creditor is also permitted to report the credit history of any other authorized user.


Frequently, user accounts are created for convenience. Students and housewives, who may not qualify for credit on their own, benefit from these loans. These individuals may use the account, but they are not contractually obligated to pay the bill.

What Happens to Your Credit If You Divorce?

If you are contemplating divorce or separation, pay close attention to the status of your credit accounts and the relationship between credit and divorce. If you keep joint accounts during this time, it is imperative that you make regular payments to protect your credit rating. As long as a joint account has an outstanding amount, you and your spouse are accountable for it.

Will a divorce save assets from creditors?

As noted previously, a judge’s divorce judgment does not apply to creditors. This means that creditors may pursue you for any missed payments or unpaid credit card balances. Additionally, they will submit your credit history to a credit bureau.

Should Debt and Credit Cards Be Paid Off Prior to Divorce?

Yes! If at all possible, it is preferable to pay off or decrease as much of your joint debt as possible prior to or as part of the divorce process. If that is not practicable, stop making new purchases with shared credit cards.

Preventing an Ex-Spouse From Ruining Their Credit During or After a Divorce

Divorce by itself can be quite hard. However, it is essential to consider the financial ramifications, especially in terms of credit scores. The following recommendations can assist you in maintaining good credit as you go in life.

Early closure of joint accounts

You might want to close any joint accounts or accounts where your ex-spouse was an authorized user. You might also ask the creditor to convert these accounts to individual accounts.

A creditor cannot automatically liquidate a joint account due to a change in marital status, but may do so at the request of one of the divorcing spouses. However, creditors are not required to convert joint accounts into individual accounts.

Instead, they may force you to reapply for credit individually and, based on your new application, grant or deny credit. To remove a spouse from an obligation on a mortgage, vehicle loan, or home equity loan, a lender will usually need refinancing.

2. Obtain Your Credit Score Through a Credit Reporting Agency

There is no better time to obtain a free annual credit report than when you are going through a divorce or have concerns about an ex-debt spouse’s repayment. Determine your debts, what has been reported, and whether your ex-spouse is behind on payments for joint accounts.

If you reside in a community property state, you must be aware of all of your ex-obligations spouse’s accrued during the marriage, even if your name was never on the loan or credit application. Any debt created during the marriage is regarded as jointly incurred by both parties.

3. Separate and Transfer Credit Card Obligation

Instead of simply announcing that one spouse will be responsible for paying off the credit card debt, actually divide the debt on shared credit cards and transfer it to the responsible spouse. Then, cancel the joint cards without delay.

4. Include a clause on indemnification in your divorce agreement

Consider inserting an indemnification language in your divorce agreement if just one spouse is to be accountable for a jointly-owned debt. This section specifies which spouse is responsible for the debt and makes it abundantly apparent that the other spouse is not liable.

You can sue your spouse if they refuse to pay a debt stated under their name in the indemnification agreement.

Obtain Expert Legal Assistance With Your Credit and Divorce Concerns

Your credit score is an essential component of your financial well-being. If you’re considering divorce, you’ll need to know who will be responsible for the majority of the debt after the marriage and how this could affect your credit history. However, you are not required to answer these questions on your own. A local divorce attorney will be able to alleviate your anxiety.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

10 Things To Do Before You File For Divorce and Realities of the Divorce Process

10 Things To Do Before You File For Divorce and Realities of the Divorce Process

Here are ten actions to take if you believe that your marriage is beyond repair and that divorce is inevitable.

Speak with a lawyer.

Find out what your legal obligations and rights are. Consider the scenario where you decide to relocate to your parents’ home with the kids while you wait for the divorce to be finalized. Moving in with your parents, even for a short time, could be a grave legal error.

Copies of documents.

Make copies of everything you can find by going through household files, including tax returns, bank statements, check registers, investment statements, retirement account statements, employee benefits manuals, life insurance policies, mortgage papers, financial statements, credit card statements, wills, Social Security statements, car titles, etc. It’s crucial to learn as much as you can about the company’s finances if your spouse runs a self-employed business. If you have financial information on your home computer, make copies of it.

List the belongings in the home and in the family.

The major possessions should be listed, including furniture, jewelry, art, appliances, and cars. Don’t forget to search your home’s storage spaces and your safe deposit box for valuables.

(Knowing all of the marital assets is crucial when it comes to dividing the property.)

Understand the household budget and costs.

Write down each monthly expense for utilities, a mortgage, and other living expenses as you go through your check register for the previous year, if you can. Keep track of the money you spend every day so you can figure out your monthly cash outlays as well.

Choose a family debt management strategy.

Determine the family debt, if any, and think about settling it before filing for divorce. One of the most challenging issues to settle during a divorce is how to divide the marital debt. When assessing debt, consider whether any of it was racked up by one spouse or the other before the wedding. The spouse who incurred it would be responsible for paying off this “non-marital debt,” which belongs to them.

Find out the exact salary of your spouse.

If your spouse receives a regular paycheck, it is simple to check a pay stub; however, if your spouse is self-employed, owns a business, or receives any portion of income in cash, you should try to keep track of the money coming in over the course of several months.

Analyze your earning potential in a realistic manner.

Perhaps you have been focusing solely on raising children while you have been out of the workforce for a while. Analyze your current employability and whether pursuing more education before getting divorced would be advantageous for you in the long run.

Look at your credit report.

If you don’t already have credit cards in your name, apply for them right away, use them, and build your credit. If you have a bad credit history, try to pay your creditors now so that you can raise your credit score before the divorce.

Make your own “nest egg” by yourself.

You ought to have access to your own money at all times. You will be responsible for paying bills if your spouse leaves and stops doing so until temporary support orders can be put in place. You will require funds for a retainer if you plan to initiate the divorce. Start putting money aside now, and when you have a sizeable nest egg of your own, consider starting divorce proceedings.

Prioritize spending time with your children.

Keep your kids’ schedules as regular as you can throughout the divorce process. If you and your partner can’t be with the kids together without fighting, schedule separate times for you both to be with them. Participate in your children’s school, sports, and extracurricular activities. Don’t speak poorly of your spouse in front of your kids. Put your kids first in everything you do.

The Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group handle complex divorce cases throughout Arizona, California, Nevada and New York. Their skilled litigation team provides no-nonsense legal counsel for family law cases at the highest level possible.

The law team at Canterbury thoroughly prepares clients while understanding that all cases have unique circumstances and laws vary by state and local jurisdiction. The Scottsdale divorce attorneys also prepare clients for the constant surprises that inevitably arise during the divorce process:

Length of divorce – Depending on your unique situation, divorce can take few months to well over a year, leaving issues that still need to be settled. The vast majority of matters resolve within one calendar year. More complex dissolutions with large asset bases and children, can take up to two years. At Canterbury Law Group, we help clients work out many divorce issues before entering court in attempt to eliminate or reduce long cases. The longer the case, the more expensive it is for both sides.

Court TV is not reality – Court TV may have constructed an unrealistic image of what court is like for the majority of divorce cases. In fact, most cases reach a settlement before needing to see a judge, or if you see a judge, it might only be for a few preliminary hearings and no trial if you elect to settle later.

Rescheduling is common – Expect your court dates to be rescheduled for other cases that take priority in your jurisdiction, such as criminal trials. You cannot insist upon a court date just because the court issued it. Rather, be prepared for rescheduling. Change is constant in a divorce proceeding.

Patience is needed – In most courthouses, your case will not be the only case scheduled for a hearing. Be prepared to sit and wait for other cases to be heard before yours. However, you must always be on time in the event the court is on time.

Everyone has an opinion – When you are going through a divorce, you will realize that everyone has an opinion. Ignore most of them because each case is unique, and no one can give you divorce advice better than your divorce attorney. Don’t rely on what you ‘hear’ or ‘read’ on the internet. Secure top legal counsel and let them steer you successfully to the resolution of your case so you can move on with your life. For more on divorce legal services, go to or call 480-744-7711.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce Timeline


Most people have no idea what to expect when they decide to get a divorce. Considering that divorce is a difficult legal process, it may be filled with unpleasant surprises and annoying delays. Reviewing a legal divorce timeline is always beneficial to give you a general idea of what to expect and make you feel more at ease during a difficult time.

The timeline below provides a general idea of how a divorce typically plays out, but your divorce may deviate slightly due to unique circumstances involving you and your spouse or unique legal requirements in your state.

1. Beginning the legal divorce process

One of the spouses hires a lawyer to begin the divorce process, and the attorney drafts a petition (also referred to as a complaint), which is a legal document outlining the grounds for the divorce as well as the terms for dividing assets, child custody, and other matters.

2. Making the complaint and serving it

The petition or complaint is submitted to the court by the attorney. The petition or complaint, along with a summons requiring the other spouse to respond, are served on that spouse by the attorney or the court.

3. Getting Your Partner’s Response to the Divorce Complaint

The served spouse has a set amount of time to respond (usually about three weeks). The response indicates whether or not the spouse who was served concurs with the petition or complaint. He or she is presumed to have accepted the terms of the petition or complaint if they fail to respond. The response—also known as an answer—describes the served spouse’s preferred method of handling divorce-related decisions.

4. Beginning the process of property division and exchanging documents

Documents and information about things like property and income are exchanged by the couple. The couple and the court can make decisions regarding property division, child support, and alimony by reviewing this information.

5. Engaging in negotiations or mediation

The couple may occasionally agree to settle all of their differences amicably through mediation or settlement. In some states, divorcing couples must go through this procedure.

If a settlement is reached, it is presented to the judge during a non-judicial hearing. The judge will inquire about a few fundamental facts and whether each party is aware of the agreement and chooses to sign it.

6. Getting any settlement agreement court approval

If the judge accepts the settlement, they issue the couple a divorce decree outlining the terms of their agreement. The case will go to trial if he or she does not approve it or if the couple cannot come to an agreement.

7. Taking part in a divorce trial

The judge decides the unresolved issues, such as child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, and property division, after attorneys for each side present evidence and arguments at trial. The judge then grants the divorce after coming to a conclusion.

8. Contesting the judge’s judgment

A judge’s decision may be appealed to a higher court by either spouse or both spouses. However, it is uncommon for an appeals court to reverse a judge’s judgment. Also keep in mind that if both spouses accept the terms of the settlement, it is typically not subject to appeal. But if something needs to be changed after the trial, you might be able to change the divorce judgment.

Speak With One Of Our Divorce Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s divorce attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale will handle your case with personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, divorce mediationcollaborative divorce, and more.

We are experienced divorce attorneys and will fight for you to get you the best possible outcome. Our law firm will represent you fully in court, so you can get on with your life. Call us today for an initial consultation. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Inheritance and Divorce

Learn whether a court can divide your inheritance in a divorce.

Not necessarily. For purpose of divorce, the law usually categorizes property as either “marital” or “separate.” As a general rule, marital property is subject to division between the spouses; separate property isn’t. This is true whether you live in a “community property” state (like California), which divides property on a 50-50 basis, or an “equitable distribution” state (like New Jersey), which apportions property based on what the court believes is fair under the circumstances.

Is My Spouse Entitled to My Inheritance in Divorce?

That depends on a number of factors, including where you live. Each state’s divorce laws will govern how to address inheritance, in community property states and equitable distribution states as well.

In the overwhelming majority states, an inheritance is considered separate property, belonging exclusively to the spouse who received it and it cannot be divided in a divorce. That holds true whether a spouse received the inheritance before or during the marriage. But in a state like New Hampshire, for example, courts may consider an inheritance to be divisible in a divorce (unless you can persuade a judge that it shouldn’t be).

Now here’s the rub—although your state may initially view an inheritance as separate property, your actions can change it into marital property. Sometimes that happens intentionally in what is called a “transmutation of property.”

An example of an intentional transmutation of property from separate to marital is where a spouse inherits a house, then puts the other spouse’s name on the deed. The spouses move in and share the costs of living there. In that scenario, if a divorce rolls around, the inheriting spouse would be hard pressed to convince a judge that the house was never intended to be marital property.

But let’s say the inheriting spouse never puts the other spouse’s name on the deed, and neither spouse lives in the house during the marriage. At some point down the road, however, the non-owner spouse contributes to improvements which increase the house’s value. At the time of divorce, a judge might determine that—although the house itself may not be marital property—the increase in value specifically due to the improvements is a part of the marital estate, and thus subject to division between the spouses.

The most common example of converting an inheritance to marital property is when the inheriting spouse “commingles” (mixes) the inheritance with marital assets. This can be intentional, but often it happens by mistake. For example, Uncle Zeke passes on and leaves you $10,000 in his will. After you and your spouse break out the bubbly and toast the kindly gentleman, you put the money in an existing savings account that’s in both your names, and which either of you can access at will. If you did that because you wanted to share the inheritance money with your spouse . . . great! Mission accomplished.

But if you thought that putting that money in the joint account was just for convenience, and that it would always remain yours alone, you may have put yourself behind the proverbial eight-ball. By commingling the inheritance with marital funds, you’ve likely converted it into marital property. You can make an argument to the court that this was never your intention, but you’ll have an uphill climb.

Can I Claim My Ex’s Inheritance Received After Divorce?

Sharing a spouse’s inheritance after divorce is a nonstarter, unless your divorce judgment specifically addresses that topic.

That said, there is a situation where an ex-spouse’s post-divorce inheritance could come into play. If you’re receiving spousal support (alimony) or child support, you might be able to petition the court to increase the support amount, based on that inheritance or any interest income the principal is making.

Courts usually allow modification of support—both up and down—for a variety of reasons, such as a job loss, a spouse or child becoming disabled, or a spouse’s substantial pay increase (again, depending on the laws in your state).

You’d first have to see whether your state views an inheritance as a potential basis for a modification request. If it does, you may have viable grounds to seek an increase in support. Of course, this is going to depend in large measure on how significant the inheritance is. Your best bet for success is when the inheritance has substantially enhanced your ex-spouse’s standard of living.


1 2 3 15