All posts by jpdev

How many cases do you handle at any given time?

I don’t put an arbitrary limit on the number of cases we handle at any particular point. It depends on the number of cases, the anticipated amount of work that needs to be done in those cases, the combination of cases (generally one moderately complicated divorce case takes as much time as up to a dozen bankruptcy cases), the type of client (some require more regular contact with our office or need us to assist with things other clients do on their own), and many other factors. Over my almost two decades in practice, I have learned how to keep a proper balance of cases. I would describe my practice as a low-volume practice. Rather than charging low fees and making up the differnce in volume (and lower service), I charge a moderate fee and keep my case-load low enough so that every client has easy access to me and quality representation. When I see that we are reaching our limit, we either decline cases or bring in additional staff to handle the extra workload, depending on the needs of the potential incoming cases.

What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In Arizona?

There are several types of bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most commonly-filed type of bankruptcy. The reason why it is so common is that it is much faster and easier than a Chapter 11 or 13 bankruptcy. Whereas a Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy can take years to complete; for example, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy must last at least three years but not more than five years; a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically over in a matter of months. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are permitted to keep property that is exempt. Exemptions vary from state to state. In Arizona, we have a set of exemptions that describe what a creditor cannot seize. If the creditor cannot seize it because of the exemptions, then the bankruptcy court typically cannot seize it, either.

Of course, there are exceptions. But the general principle to keep in mind is that in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you can erase all the debt that is eligible to be erased, and you can keep all property that is exempt. But even if the property is exempt, you may lose it to a creditor who has a lien against that property, so it is important to obtain a consultation with an experienced Arizona bankruptcy attorney in order to make sure you will not be stepping into a landmine when you file your bankruptcy case. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is usually much cheaper than a Chapter 13 or 11 bankruptcy, too. For example, most attorneys charge around $4,500 for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Arizona.

But a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often only a fraction of that amount, usually around $1,500, depending on the complexity of your situation. The more complex your case, the more it is going to cost. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can provide lots of relief from creditors. It is a delight to see the smiles on clients’ faces when their bankruptcy case is over. It is as if a load of bricks has been lifted off their shoulders. There are some limitations on what a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can do. First of all, you will need to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. There are several steps to qualifying. One step is whether your income to expense ratio is correct.

Basically, the expenses you will have even after your other debt is erased in bankruptcy; generally must exceed your after-tax income. Another important limitation is the inability to force auto and home (and other secured lenders) to let you catch up on your payments if you have fallen behind on your payments as of the date your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed. If you need time to bring your payments current, you’ll probably have to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy. Likewise, if your income exceeds your expenses, you’ll probably have to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy has helped millions of Americans get a fresh start. It is one of the greatest financial tools to rid yourself of the massive debt many Americans find themselves in.

Who Is Eligible To File For A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Either a person or a business can file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If a business files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the business will essentially end. There is no such thing as filing a Chapter 7 for your business and then continuing to run the business after the bankruptcy is over. In fact, no discharge is even issued in business Chapter 7 cases. On the other hand, if you are a consumer, you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if your income is not too high. If you are not trying to catch up mortgage or vehicle payments or catch up on other secured debt payments; if you have not filed a prior Chapter 7 (that resulted in discharge) within the past eight years; if you have resided in Arizona for at least 91 days prior to filing the case; if you are an individual or are filing together with a spouse; and if you don’t mind losing assets that can be seized by the bankruptcy trustee because no exemption applies.

There are other important factors that need to be closely analyzed in order to confirm eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. When you make an appointment at Thomas Law Office to meet with Mr. Thomas for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Mr. Thomas will carefully screen your case for the most common problems to make sure that Chapter 7 is right for you. Many of our bankruptcy consultations are free of charge, so it costs you nothing to come in and find out if you qualify and if so, whether there are any significant risks if you do file. There are situations where it pays to wait. By waiting, you may be able to keep more of your stuff. By waiting, you may time-bar claims that the bankruptcy trustee can make against you. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a wonderful tool for shedding debt and getting a fresh start.

You can stop most garnishments, eliminate most debts, and surprisingly actually improve your credit score. Yes, that’s correct! Many of our clients who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy end up with higher FICO scores a year or so after they file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Mr. Thomas “provides you with lots of useful information on how to rebuild your credit score even further. Some people are ashamed to file bankruptcy. They should not be ashamed to file for bankruptcy protection. Corporations file for bankruptcy protection to protect their interests; you should do the same.

Do not feel sad for the big banks and mega-lenders who would use every tool in the book to suppress you. These lenders have often received more than the principal amount you borrowed from them. They charge outrageous interest rates and should not have the benefit of your concern. They are cold, soulless entities who have no regard for the suffering of individuals and their families. You need to put yourself and your family ahead of the needs of these heartless corporations.

For more information on Chapter 7 Bankruptcy In Arizona, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by callingtoday.

Arizona Makes Changes To Spousal Maintenance Law

In April 2018 Governor Ducey signed a bill that makes an ostensibly minor change to one of the factors a judge must look at to determine whether a person should be awarded spousal maintenance in a divorce case and adds another factor to the list. The factor that has been changed is the one that pertains to educational contributions by the spouse seeking financial support.

Previously, this part of the spousal maintenance law – the list of factors that justify an award of spousal maintenance — stated that a judge could award spousal maintenance if the party seeking spousal maintenance “contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse.”

The new wording, which will probably take effect later this year, states that a judge may award spousal maintenance if the spouse seeking spousal support “has made a significant financial or other contribution to the education, training, vocational skills, career, or earning ability of the other spouse.” This change, of course, is going to mostly hurt men, because it is usually the man who ends up having to shell out big bucks to an ex-spouse. Although at first glance, it seems like this law is positive for men because the support-seeker must show a “substantial” contribution rather than just mere contribution, the fact of the matter is that the categories of things that justify an award of spousal maintenance has been enlarged to non-educational things such as training, vocational skills, your career, and even your promotions/career advancement.

Even worse, another factor was added that, by itself, could also be the basis for an award of spousal maintenance: if the spouse seeking support (usually, the wife) “has significantly reduced that spouse’s income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.” So, whereas your wife previously had to show that she affirmatively contributed to your educational opportunities, now she merely needs to show that she did not pursue her own income or career opportunities.

Wow! All she needs to do is nothing. Just sit back, watch some YouTube videos and text her friends while you toil away like a slave at your stressful job. Later, she can say that she chose not to get her graduate degree or continue her career in some high-paying job because she needed to fix your breakfast and dinner (which probably don’t taste all that great, anyway). Not a bad deal, huh? Of course, I’m exaggerating a little here to get your attention and make the point. But this nightmare scenario is what is coming down the pike for too many men.

It is more important than ever to get a prenuptial agreement if you are not yet married. If you are married and don’t have a prenuptial agreement, you should strongly consider getting a postnuptial agreement. If you are facing a divorce, you need to get yourself into my office so that we can do some serious damage control.

Father’s Custody Rights In Arizona

So, what is the state of the rights of fathers in Arizona who want custody of their children? The answer is that although things are getting better, many men still face an uphill battle when they enter the courtroom, all other things being equal. I remember the days when fathers routinely were only given every-other-weekend visitation – as it was then called – with their children. Back then, when a man got divorced, he often lost his children or only got to see them twice a month. It was heart-breaking to see men in such pain when frequent access to their own children was taken from them. But the old-fashioned thinking back then was that a child is better off with the mother, at least prior to the teenage years. Well, much of that ridiculous and outdated way of thinking has disappeared … but it still lurks deep beneath the surface to some degree.

A law passed almost a half-decade ago mandated that “a parent who is not granted sole or joint legal decision-making is entitled to reasonable parenting time to ensure that the minor child has substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with the parent ….” This was such a refreshing development for those of us who primarily represent husbands and fathers in divorce and custody cases. This new statute forced judges to be fair to fathers and not treat them like second-class citizens, like mere visitors to their own children. So, we have indeed seen progress for fathers. The new law has been working as intended.

But, as with many things, when the rules change, people (in this case, mothers) who want to find a way around them will look for creative ways to do so. And that has begun. For example, we are seeing more cases where abuse is alleged. We are seeing more cases where unfitness of all kids is being alleged. It is important to know how to anticipate this scenario and fight back against these dirty tactics. Some judges will see right through these immoral attempts to deprive a good dad of time with his child; others will not, and need to be shown, very clearly, that what is going on is an effort to strip a father from enjoying plenty of time with his children.

So, the good news is that things are looking better for fathers, at least in Arizona. More cases are settling. More fathers are enjoying more time with their children post-divorce than ever before. However, there has been an increase, at least in our experience, of high-conflict cases where the mother is doing whatever she can to ruin the father’s right to enjoy the “substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing contact” with his children that he deserves. If you are in this situation or know someone who is, or if you want to wisely obtain advice before assuming everything will go smoothly in your case, please visit our office for a consultation about your current or potential case. Also, please read other parts of our website to become informed about the topic of father’s rights in Arizona. We love to have informed, prepared clients. Working together as a team, we will be at a great advantage in the courtroom – if the other side does not settle on terms favorable to you before even going to court.

Are There Legal Ways To Protect Your Assets From A Divorcing Spouse?

The single biggest way in which you can protect your assets from your wife is to make sure that she signs a prenuptial (premarital) agreement before you marry her. A prenuptial agreement provides much flexibility in deciding how assets and debts will be divided during a divorce. Most importantly, you can eliminate or greatly reduce what some call “legal theft” or “financial slavery,” otherwise known as alimony or spousal maintenance. But if it is too late for that, you could try to get her to sign a postnuptial agreement. Postnuptial agreements are permitted in Arizona. But you must proceed very carefully because this is a tricky area of the law.

Whether you are planning to have your wife sign a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement, you will need the guidance and advice of an experienced Arizona prenuptial agreement attorney or Arizona postnuptial agreement attorney. If neither an Arizona prenuptial agreement nor a postnuptial agreement are viable options in your situation, the only other thing you can try is to delay the divorce itself. If you delay the divorce filing, you may be able to prepare for a divorce by taking certain steps to reduce your exposure in a future divorce.

This is a very complicated and risky area of the law, and you should never take such steps unless you meet with an attorney who can help you plan for an eventual divorce. At our office, we offer a divorce planning service. This inexpensive service can save you perhaps tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on asset division, spousal maintenance and child support payments. There are legal ways to protect yourself if you have the time to do it and you know how to do it without running afoul of the law.

Impact Of Marital Infidelity On A Divorce Proceeding

If you cheated on your wife, you will not suffer an adverse consequence in your divorce case unless your children were exposed to the cheating. For example, if you foolishly slept with many women and introduced many of them to your children, a judge could find that behavior to be harmful to the children and give you less parenting time or fewer rights as a result of your carelessness. But if you were discreet about it, the judge will not care and will not punish you with regard to how assets and debts are divided. However, if you spent much money on your mistress and your wife can prove that you did so, your wife may have a claim to half the funds expended on your mistresses.

Also, it is possible that a judge could feel sympathetic to your spouse and subconsciously rule in her favor in areas where the judge could decide the matters either way. So it is important to have an experienced and effective Arizona divorce attorney on your side in order to anticipate and swiftly deal with your wife or your wife’s attorney’s attempts to creatively “mention” the affairs in an effort to affect the judge emotionally. Some judges, particularly those that are very religious, may have a hard time keeping their emotions from affecting how they rule if they could easily justify with evidence a ruling in either direction. Most judges are very good at being unbiased in such matters but you do not want to take chances. Having an attorney who knows how to proactively shut down sneaky attempts to use the marital affairs as a weapon against you is invaluable.

For more information on Protecting Assets Legally, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by callingtoday.


A Few Common Issues That Arise In Military Family Law Cases

Serving The Other Party

When a spouse in a divorce case or parent in a child custody case is in the military, some common issues tend to arise. Some of these will be addressed here. One of the issues that arises in military family law cases is how to serve a summons and petition for divorce on the other spouse. There are special rules for serving members of the military on military bases and on ships. For the Army, see 32 C.F.R. §516. For the Navy and Marine Corps, see 32 C.F.R. §720.20. You also should be familiar with the rules of civil procedure and/or family law procedure for the jurisdiction where the case is filed. If you are attempting to serve the military member at his or her military address, you can use the local sheriff or a private process server. But in those cases, the military officials at the base cannot serve process on the military member at the base. Rather, the military officials will make the military member available for service of process if the military member is actually at the base at the time service is attempted.

Alternatively, if you have an off-base address for the military member, you can try to serve him there by using whatever method you would normally use in a non-military case. Obviously, it is much easier to serve a military member if he lives off-base. Sometimes, if you are having trouble finding or serving the military member, it can be a good idea to send your documents to the unit commander and request that the unit commander give the documents (and an acceptance of service form) to the military servicemember. However, the servicemember may not accept service. If you run into difficulty, seek legal help, as it can be tricky serving a military member in a high-conflict case.

If the military member is stationed overseas, you may be able to serve the military member by registered or certified mail if the nation where he is stationed does not object to that form of service of process. You need to become familiar with The Hague Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents if the nation where he is stationed is a party that signed on to the Convention. Some countries, such as Japan, have no objection to service by certified or registered mail. But other countries, such as Germany, require that you do the service of process via a specific government office. If the stakes are high, don’t take chances. Get legal assistance immediately.

Getting The Servicemember To Show Up In Court

Another problem that arises is how to get the other party to show up for a hearing in person. Keep in mind that each member of the military gets 30 days of paid leave. You can find out how much leave he or she has left by getting a copy of his or her pay statement, which is known as a Leave and Earnings Statement. That Statement will show how much leave has been used and how much is left. The bad news is that it can be difficult to get a military member to show up if he is on a mission or is in special training around the time of the court hearing. However, keep in mind that military regulations are generally liberal about granting leave when a servicemember needs to attend a court proceeding, especially in cases of paternity and child support.

Figuring Out Which State The Service member Is A Resident/Domiciliary Of

It is very important to know which state the military member is a resident of. This is called the person’s domicile. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows servicemembers to retain their original domicile – the one they had when the began military service – for state income tax and voting purposes, regardless of where the servicemember is stationed. However, the domicile might be different because of a variety of factors. And deciding which jurisdiction to use, if there is more than one option, can be a very important part of your strategy. (But if there is only one correct jurisdiction and you file elsewhere, you will be wasting time and money, and could get sanctioned by the court in that jurisdiction.) Attorneys in both states should be consulted to determine which laws will benefit you more. When there is a choice in the matter, going with the state with the better laws is often the better choice, even if it might cost you more in travel or attorney’s fees.

There are a variety of issues that commonly arise in military divorce and custody cases. These are just three of them. More will be described in upcoming articles. Please do not take chances if you are involved in a military family law case. There are numerous traps for the unwary, and the extra expense of a good attorney often pays exponential dividends.


Do you keep up with changes in the law?

Of course; every lawyer has a duty to keep abreast of changes in his practice area. Attorneys in Arizona are required to undertake 15 hours of continuing education courses each year. This is the bare minimum. I often take more than 15 hours when I find courses that interest me. In addition, I attend seminars in practice areas other than my main practice areas. I believe this gives my clients an edge because my perspective is broadened. For example, in divorce cases a couple may be dividing a business. Because of knowledge I have gained from business law seminars, I probably know more than the average divorce attorney about traps for the unwary when dividing a business. It usually saves my client money as well, because a business lawyer does not need to be consulted for ordinary matters. If I think a matter is one better suited for a business specialist, I of course urge my client to seek input from that type of professional.

How Does The Service Members Civil Relief Act Affect My Divorce Or Custody Case?

Arizona has a number of military bases and numerous military servicemembers who are domiciled in this state. Issues often arise when they are sued for divorce or custody and they cannot participate in the litigation.

The Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was passed in 2003 and has been amended several times since then. The SCRA provides many protections to members of the military. For purposes of divorce and custody cases, one of the main protections of the SCRA is preventing a default against you if you are in the military and are abroad or even in the United States if certain exceptions apply. The SCRA is very detailed and a comprehensive discussion of it is beyond the scope of this article. However, the important, relevant general protections will be addressed briefly so that you are aware of them.

If there is a default against a responding party in a divorce or custody case, the petitioning party must file an affidavit before judgment is entered. The affidavit must state whether the responding party is in the military or that it can’t be determined whether the responding party is in the military. If this statement is not made, the judgment is voidable, meaning that can be attacked by the responding party if that party can show that he was prejudiced by the failure to notify him and that he had a meritorious defense he could have used in court.

The SCRA also states that if a responding party is in military service, the military servicemember can apply for a stay of at least 90 days and the court must delay things by at least 90 days if there may be a defense to the lawsuit and a defense cannot be properly presented without the responding party’s (military servicemember’s) presence.

Further, the SCRA provides that a responding party may request a stay in any proceeding during the period of military service and up to 60 days after the termination of the case, at any stage of the case or proceeding. This type of request will be granted for at least 90 days if the responding party sends a letter or other communication setting forth facts that current military requirements substantially affect the responding party’s ability to appear, stating a date when he can appear, confirming that military duty requirements prevent the military member’s appearance, and indicating that no military leave is presently authorized.

The SCRA has all sorts of other protections that are beyond the scope of this article, such as terminating residential and vehicle leases, preventing evictions, preventing taxation in multiple states, etc. If you are in the military you should immediately talk to military counsel about the rights and protections you have under the Service Members Civil Relief Act.

Getting A Passport During A Custody Battle

If your child does not already have a passport, you may want or need to obtain one. The question then arises as to whether the other parent can object. If you have sole custody or sole legal decision-making authority, you should be able to obtain a passport without obtaining the consent of the other parent. If custody or legal decision-making authority has not yet been established, your ability to obtain a passport without the other parent’s consent depends in part on the child’s birth certificate. If the parent seeking a passport for the child is not listed on the passport, that parent will be unable to obtain a passport absent the other parent’s consent. However, if the parent seeking a passport for the child is the only parent listed on the child’s birth certificate, that parent should be able to obtain a passport without the other parent’s consent.

If the parents have court-ordered joint custody or joint legal decision-making authority, the consent of both parents will be needed. If one of the parents objects to the issuance of a passport for the child, the parent seeking the passport will need to obtain a court order permitting that parent to apply for a passport over the objection of the other parent.  There other requirements that must be met before a passport will be issued by the U.S. Department of State. You should visit the U.S. Department of State’s website to find out all the requirements before seeking a passport. Here is a link that is to that page as of the posting of this article:

 https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renew-passport/under-16.html

Another important thing to keep in mind is the option to take advantage of the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program if you believe the other parent may seek a passport in order to remove the child without your consent by means of fraud or other methods. The Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program allows the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues to contact the enrolling parent(s) or legal guardians(s) to verify whether the parental consent requirement for minor passport issuance has been met when a passport application has been submitted for an enrolled child. In addition, upon a child’s enrollment in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program, the Department of State may alert the enrolling parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of a pending passport application and past passport issuances for the child. Only U.S. citizens or children who qualify for U.S. citizenship under the age of 18 can be enrolled in the Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program.

Of course, if you believe that the other parent may try to remove your child from the country in order to deprive you of parenting time or for whatever reason that you believe is not in the child’s best interest, you should seek immediate legal advice.

What Are The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Exemption Rules In Arizona?

Exemptions are important in bankruptcy cases. If property is “exempt”, it means the debtor may keep the property and does not have to turn it over to the bankruptcy trustee. All property- even property the debtor intends to keep- must be listed on the debtor’s bankruptcy schedules. A debtor claims property as “exempt” on the bankruptcy form called Schedule C- Property Claimed as Exempt. Federal bankruptcy law states a debtor may “exempt” some property under federal law or under the laws of the debtor’s home state. Arizona requires its residents to use state law exemptions, instead of federal exemptions. Thus, debtors filing bankruptcy in Arizona are allowed the exemptions in the Arizona statutes and federal non-bankruptcy statutes.

On the top of Schedule C, a debtor claiming Arizona exemptions should check the second box next to 11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3). Legal counsel should be consulted to determine what property can be claimed as exempt and how to apply the value limitations found in the Arizona statute. Arizona residents may claim the exemptions made available by Arizona law only if they lived in Arizona for all of the two years before the bankruptcy filing. If the debtor did not live in Arizona for all of those two years, then the debtor must claim the exemptions provided by the state where the debtor lived for the greater part of the six months between two years and two and a half years before the bankruptcy filing.

11 U.S.C. § 522(b)(3)(A). If the debtor is ineligible to claim exemptions provided by that state’s law, then the debtor may claim exemptions provided in Bankruptcy Code § 522(d). Legal counsel especially must be consulted if the debtor was not an Arizona resident for all of the two years before filing bankruptcy because that analysis can become very complicated and can have an enormous impact on your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in Arizona. Here are some of the more common exemptions in Arizona:

Homestead: Interest in real property upon which debtor’s house sits, condominium or cooperative, mobile home, or mobile home in which debtor resides plus the land upon which the mobile home is located in the amount of $150,000. May not be doubled by husband and wife.

Personal Property: Household furniture and furnishings, household goods, including consumer electronic devices, and household appliances personally used by the debtor or a dependent of a debtor and not otherwise specifically prescribed in this chapter in an amount not greater than $6,000 (total fair market value). Debtor’s library, including books, manuals, published materials and personal documents with a fair market value not greater than $250. One watch with a fair market value not greater than $150. One typewriter, one computer, one bicycle, one sewing machine, a family bible, a burial plot, one shotgun or one rifle or one pistol, with a total fair market value not greater than $1,000.

Equity in one car not greater than $6,000. If debtor (or debtor’s dependent) is physically disabled, the fair market value of the motor vehicle must not be greater than $12,000. (Equity is the fair market value of the motor vehicle minus debt to secured creditor). Professional prescribed prostheses for debtor or a dependent of the debtor, including a wheelchair. Life insurance proceeds not greater than $20,000 if payable to surviving spouse or child upon the life of a deceased spouse, parent or legal guardian.

Money/Benefits: Minor child’s earnings unless debt to be discharged was contracted for the special benefit of the minor child. Child support or spousal maintenance received pursuant to a court order. All money, proceeds or benefits from employer health, accident, disability insurance benefits or similar employer benefit program. All proceeds from destruction of or damage to exempt property and all proceeds or benefits arising from fire or other insurance on exempt property. Cash surrender value of life insurance policies were for a continuous unexpired period of two years such policies have been owned by a debtor and have named as beneficiary the debtor’s surviving spouse, child, parent, brother or sister, or any other dependent family member, except for the amount of any premium that is avoidable by a creditor as a fraudulent transfer.

An annuity contract where for a continuous unexpired period of two years such contract has been owned by a debtor and has named as beneficiary the debtor, debtor’s surviving spouse, child, parent, brother or sister, or any other dependent family member, except for the amount of any premium that is avoidable by a creditor as a fraudulent transfer. Any claim for damages for levy upon or sale under execution of exempt personal property or for wrongful taking or detention of exempt personal property. Does not apply to annuities, nor to cash surrender values increased by premium payments made within two years in excess of the average annual premium paid during the previous three years. Bank deposit not to exceed $300.

This sum is not exempt from normal service charges assessed by the bank holding the funds. Benefits from the ERISA-qualified retirement plan or deferred compensation plan except those amounts contributed within 120 days before a debtor files for bankruptcy. Does not apply to an alternate payee under a qualified domestic relations order. Does not apply to assets of bankruptcy proceedings filed before July 1, 1987. Not exempt from orders resulting from a judgment for child support arrearages or child support debt. Prepaid rent, including security deposits as provided in §33-1321(A) for debtor’s residence, not exceeding the lesser of $2,000 where the debtor has not claimed a homestead exemption. Not exempt from orders resulting from a judgment for child support arrearages or child support debt. Group life insurance policy proceeds. Library and philosophical and chemical or other apparatus used for instruction of youth in any university, college, seminary of learning, or school.

Tools And Equipment: Tools, equipment, instruments and books (including telephone numbers, client or customer contact information, or marketing tools such as websites, domain names or any other intangible work product) in the possession of debtor or debtor’s spouse primarily used and necessary to carry or develop the commercial activity, trade, business or profession of debtor or debtor’s spouse, with a fair market value not greater than $5,000.

Tools DO NOT include a motor vehicle primarily used for personal, family or household purposes such as transportation to debtor’s employment. Farm machinery, utensils, implements of husbandry, feed, seed, grain and animals belonging to debtor, with a value not to exceed $2,500, where debtor’s primary income is derived from farming. All arms, uniforms and accoutrements required by law to be kept by a debtor.

Wages/Salary/Pension: Seventy-five percent (75%) of disposable earnings. Only one-half of disposable income may be claimed exempt in response to an order for support of any person. These exemptions do not apply in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. “Disposable earnings” means that remaining portion of a debtor’s wages, salary or compensation for his personal services, including bonuses and commissions, or otherwise, and includes payments pursuant to a pension or retirement program or deferred compensation plan, after deducting from such earnings those amounts required by law to be withheld. Many police officer, teacher, and other government employee pensions are also exempt. Most public benefits (welfare) are also exempt

Food And Fuel: All food, fuel and provisions for debtor’s individual or family use to last up to six months.

Clothing: All wearing apparel used primarily for personal, family or household purposes with a fair market value not greater than $500.

Musical Instruments: All musical instruments for debtor’s individual or family use with a total fair market value not greater than $400.

Animals: Domestic pets, horses, milk cows and poultry with a fair market value not greater than $500.

Jewelry: All engagement and wedding rings with a total fair market value not greater than $2,000.

There are other exemptions, too, but these are the main ones that apply to most people. Your bankruptcy attorney will carefully examine your situation to determine whether anything you own or have an interest in is not exempt and therefore can be seized by creditors or the bankruptcy trustee in your Chapter 7 Arizona bankruptcy case. It is important to remember that the above exemptions apply only to Arizona residents. Also, as mentioned above, if you have not lived in Arizona for more than two continuous years, you may need to use the exemptions of a different jurisdiction or even the federal exemptions (if no state’s exemption applies or if the state that does apply for permits its residents to elect either that state’s exemptions or the federal exemptions; Arizona permits no such elections because all Arizona residents must use the Arizona exemptions.

For more information on Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Exemption Rules, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by callingtoday.