Archive for October, 2010

Arizona Attorney Discusses Perils of Non-Modifiable Spousal Maintenance:

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Arizona Attorney Discusses Perils of Non-Modifiable Spousal Maintenance:


Any spousal maintenance ordered by the Court after a trial or hearing must, by law, be modifiable as to the amount and duration.  In other words, no matter what is ordered after the trial, the Court can later revisit the issue, and if there has been a substantial, significant and continuing change in circumstances, the Court can increase or decrease the award, and can increase or decrease the duration of the award, including ending the award altogether.


A.R.S. § 25-319 (c), however, allows parties to reach an agreement that spousal maintenance would not be modifiable, and is set in stone.  This is a double edged sword, as the party agreeing to non-modifiable support may later wish to increase what he/she is receiving or decrease what he/she is paying because of future financial changes. 


For most payments owed to creditors or former spouses, devastating financial conditions can be remedied by filing for bankruptcy and asking the Bankruptcy  Court to reduce or eliminate certain debts.  However, since 2005, the Bankruptcy Court cannot discharge spousal maintenance or other domestic support obligations owed to a spouse or former spouse. 


Beware of agreeing to non-modifiable spousal maintenance, as none of us can know what the future holds. 

If you would like a free telephonic consultation regarding your family law case, please contact McGuire Gardner at (800) 899-2730 or visit us at .

Bank Of America Suspends Foreclosures In All 50 States.

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Possible fraud in the processing of foreclosures has led many lenders to put a hold on pending trustee sales and foreclosures.  Bank of America announced today that it has widened its prior moratorium to include all 50 states.  You can read more about this action here:  Attorneys for consumers have long been complaining that banks have been taking advantage of consumers at a time when they are most vulnerable.  Many consumer bankruptcy attorneys continue to believe the only way to stop these abuses is for Congress to give bankruptcy judges the ability to “write down” the mortgage on a primary residence to the value of the home.  The carrot approach currently being employed to encourage lenders to work with distressed home owners is failing miserably.  The “stick” approach, with the Court looming to write down a mortgage would likely prompt banks to be more aggressive in their efforts to voluntarily assist homeowners.  For more information about foreclosure issues, loan modifications and bankruptcy in Arizona, check out our websites at and


Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

An issue that arises in many bankruptcy cases, is whether or not prior attorneys fees can be discharged in bankruptcy.  In divorce or family law cases, amounts owed to a spouse or former spouse for child support or spousal maintenance are not dischargeable, and other amounts owed to a spouse or former spouse may be dischargeable only in a Chapter 13, but not a Chapter 7 case. 


If an individual is ordered to pay attorneys fees directly to the attorney, in many cases this would be a dischargeable debt.  However, a spouse left owing the attorneys fees may be able to challenge the dischargeability of the debt claiming that the debt arose out of a divorce order (and that by allowing the discharge to occur, the other spouse would then be on the hook for the amounts owed).  In such cases, the attorneys fees are generally still dischargeable in a Chapter 13 case, but may not be dischargeable in a Chapter 7 case. 


If the Order specifically requires payment to the spouse or former spouse, such debts would generally not be dischargeable in a Chapter 7 case, but often dischargeable under a Chapter 13 case. 


If you are involved in a case in which you are seeking to discharge money owed to a spouse or former spouse or their attorney, or if you are trying to enforce payment of funds owed to you or your attorney by a spouse or former spouse, please contact McGuire Gardner at 800 899-2730 or visit us at for more information.


Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

In cases in which one or both parties own a business, the Court is often asked to determine the value of the business as part of the division of assets and debts between the parties. 

In some cases, the value of the business is readily determinable.  In other cases, an expert business evaluator is brought in as a joint expert or each party brings in his/her own expert. 

It is beneficial to have an attorney with business background, including accounting background or other business experience. 

My own background in accounting, and my M.B.A. through ASU, has been very beneficial in cases in which complex accounting, appraisal, or other evaluations are needed.

If you have a family law case in which a business will need to be evaluated, or complex accounting records will become important exhibits, please call 800 899-2730 and ask to speak to Attorney Douglas Gardner, or visit us at to learn more.