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What to expect in AZ?

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Junior Member
What is the name of your state? Arizona

Bear with me while I lay out the basic details before my question:

I am going to be filing for divorce from my husband of 8 years this week. We have one child together; a son we adopted internationally when he was 5 years old. When I met and married my husband I was making approx. $1800 week (gross) working for my fathers aerospace company. Between both of our salaries we were able to improve our lifestyles greatly and have gone from $125k houses to $400k houses.

I started a business (car painting), which he runs and I do the books, in 2001 which holds it's own and has given us a very nice lifestyle. When we adopted our son I scaled back my hours at my father's shop to only work while our son was at school since he had spent his entire life in an orphanage we didn't want to put him in day care. Obviously my income dropped dramatically, although our own business did well and our life style continued.

Last year I started another business for myself. It is not profitable yet to say the least and I have continued to work my other job one or two days a week while our son was in school. My new business (decorative house painting) is one year old and has not established a steady income yet, so the only legitimate income I show (other than the car painting business) is the $12,000 I made at the office job.

In Nov. of last year my husband decided to move to CA (without me, marriage had been on the rocks). He left me to sell the house by myself, which I did and he didn't even come home to pack his things (which he wasn't ready for yet) or move to a rental house while we were to both get counseling before I would commit to the move. He did not come home to see his son at all.

Just before Christmas he called after a counselling session to tell me he made a mistake moving and he wanted to come home. I had moved into a rental house and changed my son's school. Husband came home and it took about a month before he was saying he couldn't live in the rental house. It was below our usual standard of living - but not knowing what the future held, I didn't want to get in over my head with a new business and no child support, etc. so it was fine for me, but husband hated it. So, he found us a house and we moved again. This is the best neighborhood we've been in since adopting our son as far as having lots of kids to play with, a place to ride a bike, etc. It's a new neighborhood with big, clean streets, very little traffic and our house is in a cul-de-sac which is perfect for the neighborhood kids to play football, basketball, etc. And there are about five other boys here my son's age. (yes, I'm getting to the question . . . :) )

Now that we are divorcing my husband has a great idea : :rolleyes: - I refinance the house and take out some equity to give him $20,000 so he can buy another house. He also wants the auto painting business (and I can't run it anyway, so that part is fine with me) and to share parenting time equally so he doesn't have to pay support. Oh, and he wants to just have one attorney draw up the papers to say this and we just both agree and sign off on it. Hey, but lucky me, I get to keep my new decorative paint business! Yah, the one that doesn't make any money yet...while the auto paint business bills over 200k a year. Sounds like a real fair trade to me! :confused:

He's been verbally abusive to me and our son for many years. In fact, my son cried when he moved back from California because he didn't want him to come home. He said "I do love my papa, but he needs papa school." Unless I'm asked I'll leave out the details of that part, but just know that he's not the best father in the world and I do not have friend, family member, or co-worker who likes him. No one will come to our house because they can't stand to be around him and if I go to see them I get "griped" at for not being with him, wasting gas and putting miles on the car.


Have we been together long enough to warrant spousal maintenance since I haven't really worked full time for the past three years due to staying home with our son?

Since he is the reason that we have had to move three times and change my son's neighborhood and school, have him lose his papa, get him back, and lose him again; is it possible that the judge will award me the house for a specific length of time rather than move my son again - and make my husband responsible for part of the mortgage? (It's $1900 - gonna be tough to make it on my own).

I plan on fighting the 50/50 parenting time based on his past history with our son (also, he has two children from two other relationships that he doesn't see - pays support on one of them, let a step-father adopt the other) so I don't expect him to really be around for long.

Have we been together long enough to use the "lifestyle I've grown accustomed to" thing?

Also, I just found out he's been doing cash work on the side and has been pocketing in excess of $4500 a month, but I don't know for how long. Do I report this to the judge to make sure he reports more accurate income or will I just stir the pot and make things harder on myself in the long run as this will absolutely infuriate him.

I would really like to keep my son here for about five years (he'll be out of grade school by then) and then sell the house. But, I am worried about being able to make it financially. I'm sure somewhere along the way I'll be late on a payment here or there unless my decorative painting business really takes off - which is entirely possible - I'm very good at what I do. Even if I sell the house now I'll end up with a $1300 - $1500 mortgage on anything else I buy with the housing market in AZ so, should I just do my best to stick it out here knowing that if I can hold on for a few years I stand to make some really good money? We've had the house since March 1 and we already have almost $90k in equity. I will be able to get a credit line in a few months to use for emergency cash if I come up short one month.

According to the online child support calculator it looks like I will get between $600 - $800 in child support. If I am eligible for spousal maintenance, if even for six months while I get more stable in my business, what is the normal amount or what do the courts base it on?

I know this is long and asks a lot of questions. I appreciate any help anyone can give so I know what to expect so I can begin to plan at least a little bit for the near future and the courts. I've never been married so this is all new to me. Thanks so much.


Senior Member
Hon, you most seriously need to get yourself an attorney. You are well on your way to getting cheated out of your fair share of the marital assets if you don't. Your share of the business he wants to keep may be greater than his share of the house. Get an attorney so that you are properly represented. DO NOT share one with him.


Junior Member
"I became way to bored before I ever got to your questions."

Freespeech: The very first line of my post clearly states that it will be a long post and therefore you had the opportunity to choose not to read it.

This site is supposed to be an informational site that helps others who going through a difficult time in their lives. With your lack of compassion I'm at a loss as to why you visit this board.

Since you have so little to do with your time perhaps you might consider enrolling in a basic grammar course at your local college. It seems you missed class the day they were teaching the difference between "to, two, and too" back in third grade. You may also want to take the time to be evaluated for Attention Deficit Disorder. Maybe you are so easily bored because you can't keep up with that great big brain of yours. :p


Junior Member
LdiJ said:
Hon, you most seriously need to get yourself an attorney. You are well on your way to getting cheated out of your fair share of the marital assets if you don't. Your share of the business he wants to keep may be greater than his share of the house. Get an attorney so that you are properly represented. DO NOT share one with him.
LdiJ: Thank you for replying so nicely. I have scheduled an appointment with an attorney today. The attorney agrees with you completely and also thought that the business may be worth more than his share of the house.

For anyone else reading these posts: In Arizona (and it would make sense it would be this way in any state) attorneys cannot represent both the husband and the wife. He can draw up the papers if the husband and the wife are in agreement, but he can only give legal advice to one of you.

In my case the attorney said that he strongly suggests that we petition the courts to have both the business and the house appraised to determine if I would owe him, if he would owe me, or if we would break even. He, too, thought I would be doing myself a great disservice if I agreed to this without taking the necessary steps to ensure I wasn't being taken advantage of.

I have also learned that although the business he runs is only in my name and he is just an employee, he is still legal responsible for 50% of it's debt as well as being entitled to 50% of its profit. My husband had threatened me that if I didn't agree to his terms he would run the company into the ground and leave me with nothing. According to the attorney, he could very well do that, but he would also be hurting himself and in Arizona the courts look down on such behavior and would still base child support and spousal maintenance on the income the business would have generated.

Thanks for the advice, LdiJ, and for being nice about it. :D

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