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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Not To Do During a Custody Battle

What Not To Do During a Custody Battle

Knowing what not to do during a custody battle and what the judge will look for can help you prepare the best case possible. While some missteps like lying in court are obvious, you might not have considered some actions that can hurt your case.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

Preparing For Court

Don’t lie in child custody court

What you say in court and the information you include on court forms must be true. Lying in court during a child custody case ruins your credibility.

The judge will look for the truth in each parent’s claims through custody evaluations, witness testimony and other evidence presented at trial. Lying in court during a child custody case could cause a parent to lose custody or be held responsible for paying the other parent’s legal fees.

Don’t refuse to participate in the case

Since court cases are often stressful and expensive, you might feel tempted to ignore the case altogether. Yet not taking part in a custody case could cause you to miss out on time with your child.

If you don’t answer the other parent’s filing, the court could issue a default judgment against you. This means the other parent would get everything they asked for without any input from you.

During your case, you’ll receive mailings that require a response, such as requests for documents and notices to appear in court. Ignoring these could lead to the dismissal of your case. Make sure you don’t leave the city or state for an extended period as these documents are typically sent to your last known address or workplace.

Don’t disrespect the other parent

One thing the judge will look for in a child custody case is whether a parent will encourage a relationship between their ex and the child. Disrespecting the other parent shows that you might not be capable of doing so.

Insults directed at your ex through social media, calls, texts and emails could all impact the verdict. You also shouldn’t make negative comments about your ex in front of others. What you say could come to light in court through witness testimony.

Don’t abuse alcohol or drugs

Substance abuse is a major mark against a parent in a custody battle. When you’re under the influence, you can’t be the parent your child needs — especially if you’re dependent on that substance to get through the day. Make responsible choices to show the court you’re fit to parent.

Don’t withhold your child

Withholding your child from the other parent is unique compared to other things not to do during a custody battle because it comes with a caveat: Keeping the child away from the other parent might be your only choice if the parent presents a clear danger.

When there aren’t any safety risks, denying the other parent access to the child will reflect poorly on you. Courts prefer to keep both parents involved in a child’s life and want to see that you can encourage a positive relationship between your child and your ex.

Don’t involve your child in the case

Your child may be the subject of the custody battle, but putting them in the middle will cause undue stress.

Spare them the details of the case, and turn the focus toward maintaining the routines the child is used to and spending quality time together. Distractions from what’s going on in the household like extracurriculars are particularly helpful in allowing some sense of normalcy.

Don’t bring new partners into your child’s life

Bringing a new partner into your child’s life is an often overlooked example of what not to do during a child custody battle. Your child will be in a fragile state during this time. A new partner could cause confusion and anger if your child assumes you’re trying to replace their other parent.

If you do have a new partner, don’t involve them in the case. Judges often frown upon parents who bring their partners to court because their presence could be a distraction. Outside of court, keep interactions between your partner and your ex to a minimum. Any confrontations that occur could help your ex’s case.

Don’t push for a trial without trying to compromise

Trial should be a last resort after all other attempts at a resolution have failed. Stay in charge of parenting decisions and jump-start your co-parenting relationship by negotiating a settlement with the other parent. If you find it difficult to resolve your differences with just the two of you, try an alternative dispute resolution method.

Don’t show up to court unprepared

Preparation is key in a custody battle. You’ll need to be ready to speak in front of the judge, propose a parenting plan and present solid evidence to back up your claims. If you have a lawyer, they will help you prepare.

If you represent yourself, review your state’s child custody laws and rules of evidence to avoid presenting evidence that the court cannot consider. For example, in some states, recording phone conversations without the other person’s permission is illegal. Illegally-obtained recordings hurt your credibility and can’t be used in court.

Don’t behave badly in the courtroom

Your behavior in the courtroom will have an impact on the final verdict. In a custody case, the judge will look at each parent’s actions in the courtroom as a reflection of their character.

Don’t talk out of turn or get into arguments with the other parent. Treat everyone in the courtroom and in the courthouse with respect.

Don’t disregard court orders

Temporary orders are often part of divorce and custody cases. These orders stay in effect until the court issues final orders.

If you have court orders for child support or visitation, make sure you follow them. Not doing so shows a lack of respect for the court and that you may not be capable of following the final custody order.

Also, don’t get into the habit of rescheduling time with your kids. Show up on time for pickups, and drop your child off as scheduled to show the court you can adhere to orders. Only stray from the order if absolutely necessary, and give the other parent proper notice.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Both judges are evaluators of child custody will seek the parent whose actions are positive and promote the relationships between the child or children and both parents. it is vital a parent never appears to be in a mode or retaliation or be vindictive or use financial issues as a weapon in matters of child custody. Therefore, parental alienation happens when a parent is guilty of causing a child or children to be negatively influenced towards the other parent of the child or children. On occasions this behavior can be unintentional but if often intentional and it is worth remembering parental alienation is not only a weapon used by one gender. Parental alienation is not gender specific any either parent is equally able to indulge in this destructive pattern of behavior should they wish to do so.

Parental Alienation Examples

There are many ways a child or children can be manipulated when one parent carries out acts of parental alienation. The goal is normally to separate the emotional bond a parent has with the child or children. The parent can do this by making negative comments about the parent directly to the child or children or to third parties but by ensuring the child or children can hear what is being said. These comments can have a great influence on a child or children who if they hear negative comments on a regular basis, become more credible and believable to the young minds who hear it. In the end, the result is often the child or children sees the other parent in the manner the way the accusatory parent has presented the situation to them.

Additionally, other members of the family may also join the accusatory parent in making alienating comments and actions towards the other parent in front of the child or children. These do not have to be outrageous statements, but just small comments and actions can help to cement negative thoughts towards the other parent. Nonetheless, with alienating, it is more often than not that not just one act or statement is negative, but usually the result of many small comments made over a prolonged period of time.

Signs of Parental Alienation

As we have discussed it is seldom one single action represents parental alienation but a series of actions and words and thoughts that manipulate a child or children negatively impact a parents’ relationship with their child or children. Undoubtedly some tactics used in parental alienation are extremely harmful but never more so than when a parent accuses the other of criminal activity. Especially when they do this in front of a child or children. This is a matter that needs to be acted on immediately. Here are some signs to look for that your child or children may be the victim of parental alienation:

  • Is a parent creating scenarios where the child or children misses when it is your time for visitation?
  • Has the attitude of your child or children changed from one of being pleased to see you to one of being angry towards you?
  • Does your child or children no longer use a familiar, informal name for you?
  • Does your child or children show signs of being uncomfortable around you?
  • Does your child or children only give very brief, monosyllabic answers?
  • Does the other parent turn up unexpectedly, creating drama and tension when there is no need to do so?
  • Does the other parent severely question the child or children following your visitation?
  • Does the other parent show resentment when you discuss enjoyable times with your child or children?
  • Does the child know matters regarding the divorce beyond what they need to know at their age?
  • Does it appear your parenting time is being cut short, altered or canceled at short notice?

There are three types of parental alienation.

 

  • Mild parental alienation: The child avoids contacting the alienated parent, but has a good relationship with them when the alienator is not around.
  • Moderate parental alienation: The child strongly resists contact with the alienated parent and is resentful when they do spend time together.
  • Severe parental alienation: The child insists on not having contact with the alienated parent. They may hide or run away to avoid being around the parent. In these cases, the alienator is determined to ruin the other parent’s relationship with the child.

Signs of parental alienation

Five factors help identify PA.

 

  • The child actively avoids, resists or refuses a relationship with the nonpreferred parent.
  • The child and nonpreferred parent once had a positive relationship.
  • The nonpreferred parent displays no abusive, neglectful or bad parenting behaviors.
  • The child shows many of the behaviors associated with parental alienation (more below).
  • The preferred parent shows multiple alienating behaviors (more below).

Behaviors of a child affected by parental alienation

A child affected by parental alienation may show eight behaviors. It’s important to note that these can also occur without parental manipulation.

 

  • Unfair criticism of the alienated parent (known as a campaign of denigration)
  • Unjustified harsh feelings toward the alienated parent
  • Exclusively negative feelings toward the alienated parent and only good feelings toward the alienator (known as a lack of ambivalence)
  • Insistence that all of their negative feelings and criticisms are their own (called the independent thinker phenomenon)
  • Consistent support of the alienator
  • Repetition of language and false stories told by the alienator
  • Lack of guilt about their hatred or mistreatment of the alienated parent
  • Extension of their dislike of the alienated parent to the alienated parent’s relatives

Behaviors of an alienating parent

An alienator’s behaviors may include:

 

  • Sharing personal information with the child (e.g., the other parent’s infidelities)
  • Preventing the child from talking to or visiting the alienated parent
  • Planning activities that they know will interfere with the alienated parent’s visitation time
  • Disobeying the parenting plan or refusing to negotiate a plan with the other parent
  • Hiding important information from the other parent (e.g., the child’s report card or medical records)
  • Monitoring all contact between the child and the alienated parent

It has been suggested that parents with behavioral issues like narcissistic personality disorder are more likely to be alienators. Though many people assume it’s more common for a mother to use a child against a father, parental alienation against a mother can also occur.

What to do about parental alienation

If you suspect parental alienation, seek professional help. It’s best to be proactive because the more severe PA becomes, the harder it is to treat.

A mediator, therapist, family counselor or child psychologist could help you figure out whether alienation is occurring and come up with a plan to improve your relationship with your child.

More research is needed to find a safe and effective treatment for PA. Current responses depend on the level of alienation.

  • Mild parental alienation: A judge could order parents to allow one another to have a healthy relationship with the child.
  • Moderate parental alienation: A parenting coordinator could help to reduce conflict and improve communication. Both parents and the child could also go to counseling. None of this will be effective if the alienator refuses to take part and continues alienating the child.
  • Severe parental alienation: The alienator might lose custody and only have supervised visits, while the child might have to attend reconciliation therapy with the alienated parent. This treatment may have negative side effects.

Parental Alienation Laws in Arizona & Effect on Child Custody (Legal Decision Making)

Title 25’s legal decision-making laws were last modified a couple of years ago when the Arizona state legislature decided it will be the responsibility of the court to engage both parents in the raising of a child or children. In light of this, clearly parental alienation is recognized as being a cause of damage to a child or children. When one parent has an established history of using parental alienation, it is less than likely they will be able to come to an agreement regarding parenting time or putting the best interests of the child or children first. In some cases, not even the use of lawyers or mediators assist in getting to this goal.

In such circumstances, a judge will consider what is in the best interest of the child or children. To make that determination, the judge will review  Arizona Code section 25-403.

The court is going to examine what parent is more likely to allow frequent, meaningful and continued custody with the other parent. So parental alienation can definitely count against a parent in these circumstances. The court may decide the child or children should be spend additional time with the other parent who is not involved in the practice of alienation tactics. In some circumstances, this alienation crosses a line into custodial interference where one parent violates current custody orders. In Arizona, this is considered a felony offense with possible jail time.

Source: “Parental Alienation.” Stewart Law Group, https://www.arizonalawgroup.com/child-custody/parental-alienation/

Need a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.  Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Co-Parenting With a Narcissist: Tips and Strategies

Parental Alienation In Arizona

While co-parenting can be difficult, it might seem unachievable if your ex is a narcissist.

Regretfully, you are aware of how a narcissist prioritizes their own self-interest over their parental duties and disregards the welfare of their children. You know how they deceive, how they manipulate, how they abuse emotions in an attempt to gain respect and control.

Additionally, if you’re divorcing a narcissist, you’re probably coping with the fallout from a highly contentious custody dispute and attempting to work out a complicated custody arrangement.

But don’t give up—if you have the correct attitude and parenting resources, you can create plans to lessen conflict and successfully co-parent with a narcissist.

Narcissism: What is it?

When sharing custody with a narcissistic ex, it’s critical to understand exactly what narcissism is. This makes it easier for you to deal with them and lessen the harm they cause to your child by enabling you to understand what drives their behavior.

Narcissism is more than just a propensity for selfishness or self-centeredness; rather, it is an extreme form of self-involvement in which the individual is indifferent to the needs of others or the consequences of their actions.

Remember that a person with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is not the same as someone who just has a narcissistic personality. NPD is a mental health condition that a psychiatrist or psychologist will diagnose. An individual must continuously display at least five of the following characteristics in order to be diagnosed with NPD:

  • Excessively lofty and conceited feeling of importance
    Obsession with grandiose fantasies Belief in their own superiority over others
    Excessive need for validation, praise, and adoration
    Possession of rights and anticipation of favorable treatment
    Lack of empathy and unwillingness to take other people’s feelings into account Believing that other people are envious of them
    Extreme conceit and snobbishness. While exhibiting any of the aforementioned behaviors on a regular basis, a person with narcissistic personality traits may not fit the NPD diagnostic criteria or receive an official diagnosis.

Thinking of narcissism as a spectrum, with narcissistic personality disorder at the other end, and someone with a few narcissistic traits that negatively impact others at the other, can be helpful. Your co-parenting techniques take into account your ex’s particular behaviors, where they are on the spectrum, and the dynamics of your relationship.

A narcissistic parent: what is it?

A narcissistic parent puts themselves before their child; rather than fostering the child’s growth into a mentally sound adult, a narcissistic parent is only interested in utilizing the child to further their own self-serving agenda.

Instead of viewing their child as an individual, a narcissistic parent views them as an extension of themselves. When their child doesn’t live up to their irrational expectations, they frequently try to live through them and punish them. Their child’s independence and interactions with other people, particularly with the other parent, make them feel threatened and possessive. On the other hand, a narcissistic parent may be careless or even completely ignore their child if they are unable to use them to further their own agendas.

Narcissists are erratic people who frequently lose their cool and become furious with their kids and other people. To increase their own sense of value, they purposefully undermine their child’s confidence and sense of self-worth. In order to get their way, they frequently lie, guilt-trip, gaslight, and employ other emotional manipulation techniques. They can also become obsessed with controlling both their child and their co-parent.

Children who grow up with a narcissistic parent face serious, lifelong psychological consequences such as low self-esteem, internalized guilt and shame, and trouble developing safe emotional attachments.

Strategies for co-parenting with a narcissist

You must approach co-parenting like a business partnership in order to effectively share custody with a narcissist: create clear guidelines, impose strict boundaries, and keep meticulous records of everything. In addition, you must learn how to be an emotionally detached parent, learn how to talk to narcissists and ignore them, and detach emotionally from your child.

Make a thorough parenting strategy.

The rules governing the division of parenting duties between co-parents are outlined in a parenting plan. Experts always advise having a parenting plan, and the majority of states mandate them as part of custody orders.

One of the most crucial things you can do to make co-parenting with your narcissistic ex manageable is to have a comprehensive, personalized plan that gives you the ability to set firm boundaries with them.

Specifically crafted to meet your child’s needs, your plan should shield both you and your child from the negative impacts of your ex’s narcissism. It ought to contain particular clauses and requirements for every facet of co-parenting, such as:

  • Guidelines for communication (between parents and between each parent and the child when they are alone)
    shared parenting principles, including rules about screen time, bedtimes, curfews, and punishment.
    Guidelines for making decisions regarding the education, health care, and religious upbringing of your child
    Procedures for resolving disputes when you can’t agree on shared parenting decisions
    Guidelines for allocating parenting costs that your child support order does not cover
    regulations prohibiting parents from disparaging one another in front of their children, using them to exchange information, or using them to learn more about one another
    Are there any additional guidelines to support a positive co-parenting dynamic and safeguard your child’s welfare?
    There are standard plans that you can or must use in many family courts, along with guidelines for what information to include. But in high-conflict situations, these templates are rarely comprehensive enough—particularly when one of the parents is a narcissist.

You must have a thorough plan to manage and prevent conflict with a narcissist because they will likely seize any opportunity to control and manipulate. If your court permits it, you may submit your own customized parenting plan in addition to adding special provisions to the standard plan. (You can easily complete both using Custody X Change’s parenting plan template.)

Parenting plans are only enforceable by courts if they are formally declared by a judge. Ask your court to make your supplemental provisions or custom parenting plan into a court order during the legal process (i.e., during a trial or settlement). In the absence of a court order, a parenting plan is merely an unofficial agreement that parents are expected to follow, which is unlikely for a narcissist to do.

Adhere to a thorough parenting timetable.

The physical custody arrangement—when the child will be with each parent—is explained in a parenting time schedule. It is also known as a visitation, residential, or time-sharing schedule and is frequently included in a parenting plan.

The rules of your local court and the custody laws in your state will determine how specific your schedule needs to be. Sometimes, family courts just mandate a parenting time division (such as a 50/50 split) and leave it up to the parents to work out a detailed schedule on their own. When you co-parent with a narcissist, you should avoid doing this because they will use any room for maneuvering to gain more control and manipulation over you and your child.

Rather, you ought to have a comprehensive parenting timetable that takes into account your child’s needs, specifies the beginning and ending times of each visit, and lays out ground rules for the times and locations of interactions. In the majority of states, courts will impose strict physical custody orders on both parents in the event of a high-conflict custody dispute or at the request of one parent. The other parent may request that the court enforce or amend the custody orders if the other parent doesn’t comply.

Plan to spend less time with the other parent when creating your custody schedule (either as part of a settlement or as a request in court). Less time spent interacting with your ex and fewer exchanges result from longer visits for each parent. For instance, think about scheduling four-day visits every other weekend rather than every weekend. You see your former partner every other week rather than every week, but the weekend parent spends the same amount of time with the child.

To find out how much time you and your partner spend with your child, you should also compute your scheduled parenting time. This is automatically computed with the Custody X Change app.

When your child is in school or with a caregiver who is not their parent, you can also record third-party time. You can see with greater accuracy how much time your child spends with each parent because this time is not included in the calculations.

Parenting time data is frequently needed for child support calculations, and it will also be necessary if you need to return to court to have your orders upheld or changed. You can track your actual parenting time and present the court reports as proof, for instance, if your ex frequently cancels visits or exceeds their allotted parenting time.

Establish strict limits on communication.

When co-parenting with a narcissist, you must set and adhere to strict boundaries regarding communication. Narcissists will use hostile and manipulative communication strategies to try to control you and keep you in their toxic orbit. It can be stopped by establishing guidelines and learning how to communicate with narcissists.

Establish guidelines in your parenting plan to safeguard you from unwelcome, needless, and unhealthy communication from your former partner. Declare that you will only talk to them about your child and co-parenting concerns, and calmly and quickly cut off any attempts to bring up forbidden subjects. Establish deadlines for responses and demand that they plan phone calls ahead of time.

Furthermore, avoid getting into disputes with them and resist their attempts to provoke you. Since narcissists, as you are aware, love attention, the best course of action is frequently to ignore them.

It’s important to remember that when co-parenting with a narcissist, experts advise against talking to them on the phone or in person. Not only is it more difficult to ignore them, but the tension can quickly turn into open conflict, frequently in front of the child, and there’s no record of what’s said.

Try to limit your communication with the other parent to text or email instead, and think about using a messaging app like Custody X Change that is specifically made for high-conflict co-parenting.

Before sending messages, it highlights aggressive language, allowing the sender to make changes. In the event that these messages are sent, the hostile language is noted explicitly in conversation logs, which, if required, can be provided to the court. To maintain structured and well-documented communication with your ex, you can also add attachments to conversations and arrange them according to topics.

Record everything.

Having already gone through the legal process of getting a divorce and determining child custody from a narcissist, you probably already know how important it is to keep meticulous records. Regretfully, the issuance of final orders does not mark the end of record-keeping. You never know when a narcissist will try to manipulate you further by modifying court orders or making up false allegations, so it’s critical to be ready with documentation of all co-parenting-related matters.

Keeping a parenting journal makes this enormous task more doable, even simple. Keep track of your child’s behavior patterns, take notes on your interactions with the other parent, electronically organize pictures and documents, and document instances where your child is impacted by the narcissistic behavior of the other parent.

To keep track of parenting costs and payments made to one another, use an expense tracker. Additionally, you can use it to ask the other parent for reimbursement for shared expenses, which keeps things businesslike and reduces needless communication.

Be the parent who is emotionally stable.

The emotional needs of their children are not given priority by a narcissistic parent. This implies that you should make it your mission to be your child’s safe haven, watching out for their wellbeing and sound emotional growth.

Give your kids the freedom to express their emotions without fear of criticism. Observe the emotional harm that the narcissistic behavior of the other parent causes to your child and devise plans to stop it or deal with it when it does.

Naturally, this presents difficulties because of the intricate psychological fallout from having a narcissistic parent. Experts advise mental health counseling for kids of narcissists because of this. Additionally, you might think about getting counseling for yourself, particularly if you exhibit signs of narcissistic abuse syndrome. Your ability to support your child will improve with the extent to which you are able to move past your relationship with a narcissist.

Think about coordinating your parenting.

You can co-parent with a narcissist more easily if you get professional help in the form of parenting coordination. A parenting coordinator is a specialist in child custody (typically a mental health specialist) who is hired by parents following custody orders or appointed by the court in cases involving high levels of conflict.

A parenting coordinator evaluates parents and makes recommendations to the judge regarding custody and parenting plan provisions during a court case. Following a case, coordinators help parents communicate and make decisions by ensuring that they adhere to the parenting time schedule. They occasionally even have the authority to decide when parents cannot agree.

When co-parenting is ineffective, consider parallel parenting.

If a narcissist is unwilling to cooperate or make concessions, co-parenting with them can be nearly impossible to manage, even with the best techniques and tools. If this describes your circumstances, you might want to think about parallel parenting. When you parent in parallel, you have very little contact with the other parent and you both raise your children independently of one an

Need a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.  Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Happens if the Non-Custodial Parent Misses Visitation?

What Happens if the Non-Custodial Parent Misses Visitation?

Many parents find child support and visitation confusing. It’s not just you who is curious about the exact moment and manner in which these two align. Parental awareness is necessary because, according to state law, the two issues are actually distinct. Recognize your parental rights whether you are the primary custodial parent or the non-custodial parent.

Why the Courts Consider Visitation and Child Support Separately

Child support and child custody are considered separate issues by courts. Regardless of their experience or level of competence as parents, parents are still obligated to pay child support. All children, regardless of the type of custody and/or visitation arrangements in place, are entitled to this financial support.

Protecting the child’s best interests is the foundation for both child custody decisions. While there are many considerations, regularity and safety are usually at the top of the list.

The opportunity for the children to have nearly as much contact with each parent as they did prior to the separation and/or divorce may also be prioritized by the courts, subject to the child custody regulations recognized by a particular state. Seldom is the failure to pay child support considered a justification for limiting the children’s time with the non-custodial parent.

In any case, if the parent who is required to pay child support is current on those arrears, the court may suggest generous visitation or even shared custody.

The Impact of Missed Appointments

Visits that are cancelled are another common source of annoyance. When the non-custodial parent doesn’t follow the visitation schedule, what is the parent meant to do? Should the custodial parent continue scheduling visitation hours and endure excruciating meltdowns and outbursts after failing to show up?

Unfortunately, the custodial parent has limited options if the non-custodial parent chooses not to follow a visitation schedule that was mandated by the court. They can make an effort to get in touch with the other parent and find out why they aren’t attending the scheduled visitations. Alternatively, they could go back to court with the non-parent and ask for a different visitation schedule.

Kids and Refusing to Attend Visitations

Admit it: When a child doesn’t want to see their parent, no one can (or should) force them to. However, dealing with a child’s refusal of visitation may result in legal ramifications. In the event that kids balk at going on a planned visit with their other parent, you should:

  • Talk to them about their reasons for not wanting to participate in the visit (if they are concerned for their safety, ask to speak with your attorney).
    Assure your kids that you want them to spend time with the other parent and that their parents love them.
    Explain the concept of visitation and the reasons it’s crucial for them to spend time with each of their parents.
    Discuss with the other parent whether it would be possible for your kids to take a vacation or have fewer visits in certain situations.

What Happens If the Parent with Custody Refuses to Permit Visitation?

As the parent with custodial rights, they must adhere to the visitation schedule (sometimes referred to as a parenting plan) set by the court. Even in cases where the non-custodial parent fails to pay child support, this remains valid. You must continue to permit the visits as scheduled even though you have the option to ask the court to enforce the child support order.

The custodial parent should contact their family attorney and the state child welfare agency if they are afraid that their child will suffer any harm in the near future, such as from suspected abuse or contempt.

Every situation is unique. Consult an experienced attorney or look through the resources available in your state for comprehensive information about visitation rights and child custody.

Need a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.  Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What to Do About Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation In Arizona

When a child or children are in the mix during a break-up or a divorce, the communications of one parent as well as their actions may purposefully undermine the relationship the child or children has with the other parent to the extent parental relationships can be permanently damaged. As a result, courts are rapid in their actions to address such behaviors and acts when they are exposed. Parents need to understand these issues and should avoid all negative behaviors. Therefore, it is important to learn the indications in the behavior of a child or children when they have been placed in a position they are being alienated towards the other parent.

Read on to learn more about the aspects of parental alienation.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Both judges are evaluators of child custody will seek the parent whose actions are positive and promote the relationships between the child or children and both parents. it is vital a parent never appears to be in a mode or retaliation or be vindictive or use financial issues as a weapon in matters of child custody. Therefore, parental alienation happens when a parent is guilty of causing a child or children to be negatively influenced towards the other parent of the child or children. On occasions this behavior can be unintentional but if often intentional and it is worth remembering parental alienation is not only a weapon used by one gender. Parental alienation is not gender specific any either parent is equally able to indulge in this destructive pattern of behavior should they wish to do so.

Parental Alienation Examples

There are many ways a child or children can be manipulated when one parent carries out acts of parental alienation. The goal is normally to separate the emotional bond a parent has with the child or children. The parent can do this by making negative comments about the parent directly to the child or children or to third parties but by ensuring the child or children can hear what is being said. These comments can have a great influence on a child or children who if they hear negative comments on a regular basis, become more credible and believable to the young minds who hear it. In the end, the result is often the child or children sees the other parent in the manner the way the accusatory parent has presented the situation to them.

Additionally, other members of the family may also join the accusatory parent in making alienating comments and actions towards the other parent in front of the child or children. These do not have to be outrageous statements, but just small comments and actions can help to cement negative thoughts towards the other parent. Nonetheless, with alienating, it is more often than not that not just one act or statement is negative, but usually the result of many small comments made over a prolonged period of time.

Signs of Parental Alienation

As we have discussed it is seldom one single action represents parental alienation but a series of actions and words and thoughts that manipulate a child or children negatively impact a parents’ relationship with their child or children. Undoubtedly some tactics used in parental alienation are extremely harmful but never more so than when a parent accuses the other of criminal activity. Especially when they do this in front of a child or children. This is a matter that needs to be acted on immediately. Here are some signs to look for that your child or children may be the victim of parental alienation:

  • Is a parent creating scenarios where the child or children misses when it is your time for visitation?
  • Has the attitude of your child or children changed from one of being pleased to see you to one of being angry towards you?
  • Does your child or children no longer use a familiar, informal name for you?
  • Does your child or children show signs of being uncomfortable around you?
  • Does your child or children only give very brief, monosyllabic answers?
  • Does the other parent turn up unexpectedly, creating drama and tension when there is no need to do so?
  • Does the other parent severely question the child or children following your visitation?
  • Does the other parent show resentment when you discuss enjoyable times with your child or children?
  • Does the child know matters regarding the divorce beyond what they need to know at their age?
  • Does it appear your parenting time is being cut short, altered or canceled at short notice?

There are three types of parental alienation.

 

  • Mild parental alienation: The child avoids contacting the alienated parent, but has a good relationship with them when the alienator is not around.
  • Moderate parental alienation: The child strongly resists contact with the alienated parent and is resentful when they do spend time together.
  • Severe parental alienation: The child insists on not having contact with the alienated parent. They may hide or run away to avoid being around the parent. In these cases, the alienator is determined to ruin the other parent’s relationship with the child.

Signs of parental alienation

Five factors help identify PA.

 

  • The child actively avoids, resists or refuses a relationship with the nonpreferred parent.
  • The child and nonpreferred parent once had a positive relationship.
  • The nonpreferred parent displays no abusive, neglectful or bad parenting behaviors.
  • The child shows many of the behaviors associated with parental alienation (more below).
  • The preferred parent shows multiple alienating behaviors (more below).

Behaviors of a child affected by parental alienation

A child affected by parental alienation may show eight behaviors. It’s important to note that these can also occur without parental manipulation.

 

  • Unfair criticism of the alienated parent (known as a campaign of denigration)
  • Unjustified harsh feelings toward the alienated parent
  • Exclusively negative feelings toward the alienated parent and only good feelings toward the alienator (known as a lack of ambivalence)
  • Insistence that all of their negative feelings and criticisms are their own (called the independent thinker phenomenon)
  • Consistent support of the alienator
  • Repetition of language and false stories told by the alienator
  • Lack of guilt about their hatred or mistreatment of the alienated parent
  • Extension of their dislike of the alienated parent to the alienated parent’s relatives

Behaviors of an alienating parent

An alienator’s behaviors may include:

 

  • Sharing personal information with the child (e.g., the other parent’s infidelities)
  • Preventing the child from talking to or visiting the alienated parent
  • Planning activities that they know will interfere with the alienated parent’s visitation time
  • Disobeying the parenting plan or refusing to negotiate a plan with the other parent
  • Hiding important information from the other parent (e.g., the child’s report card or medical records)
  • Monitoring all contact between the child and the alienated parent

It has been suggested that parents with behavioral issues like narcissistic personality disorder are more likely to be alienators. Though many people assume it’s more common for a mother to use a child against a father, parental alienation against a mother can also occur.

What to do about parental alienation

If you suspect parental alienation, seek professional help. It’s best to be proactive because the more severe PA becomes, the harder it is to treat.

A mediator, therapist, family counselor or child psychologist could help you figure out whether alienation is occurring and come up with a plan to improve your relationship with your child.

More research is needed to find a safe and effective treatment for PA. Current responses depend on the level of alienation.

  • Mild parental alienation: A judge could order parents to allow one another to have a healthy relationship with the child.
  • Moderate parental alienation: A parenting coordinator could help to reduce conflict and improve communication. Both parents and the child could also go to counseling. None of this will be effective if the alienator refuses to take part and continues alienating the child.
  • Severe parental alienation: The alienator might lose custody and only have supervised visits, while the child might have to attend reconciliation therapy with the alienated parent. This treatment may have negative side effects.

Parental Alienation Laws in Arizona & Effect on Child Custody (Legal Decision Making)

Title 25’s legal decision-making laws were last modified a couple of years ago when the Arizona state legislature decided it will be the responsibility of the court to engage both parents in the raising of a child or children. In light of this, clearly parental alienation is recognized as being a cause of damage to a child or children. When one parent has an established history of using parental alienation, it is less than likely they will be able to come to an agreement regarding parenting time or putting the best interests of the child or children first. In some cases, not even the use of lawyers or mediators assist in getting to this goal.

In such circumstances, a judge will consider what is in the best interest of the child or children. To make that determination, the judge will review  Arizona Code section 25-403.

The court is going to examine what parent is more likely to allow frequent, meaningful and continued custody with the other parent. So parental alienation can definitely count against a parent in these circumstances. The court may decide the child or children should be spend additional time with the other parent who is not involved in the practice of alienation tactics. In some circumstances, this alienation crosses a line into custodial interference where one parent violates current custody orders. In Arizona, this is considered a felony offense with possible jail time.

Source: “Parental Alienation.” Stewart Law Group, https://www.arizonalawgroup.com/child-custody/parental-alienation/

Need a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.  Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements

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Before getting married, no one wants to consider getting a divorce. Prenuptial agreements, often known as premarital agreements or prenups, assist in establishing specific conditions if the marriage terminates.

For instance, in the event of a divorce, a person with a legacy family business may try to shield those assets from the opposing side.

A prenuptial agreement has several restrictions on what can be written in it. This article gives a general summary of what prenuptial agreements may and may not contain.

What May Be Covered by a Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements frequently contain distinctions, safeguards, and clauses pertaining to money. The parts that follow in this article go into more information about several prenuptial agreement sample clauses.

Property division distinctions (marital vs. separate property)

What constitutes separate property and what constitutes marital property is governed by specific legislation in each state. Some states have “community property” rules, which frequently provide for equal asset distribution.

The court will divide all marital assets in accordance with state law upon separation brought about by death or divorce. You can utilize a prenuptial agreement to prevent a judge from deciding what happens to the property you acquired during your marriage.

Which assets ought to be treated as separate properties can be specified in the prenuptial agreement. This could be real estate you held before to the marriage or belongings from a previous marriage.

Other assets will be regarded as marital assets and divided by the court if they are obtained after the marriage is consummated.

In some states, you can choose whether you’ll receive alimony payments or not. Some states forbid doing this. When preparing the prenuptial agreement, make sure you are aware of the legal requirements in your state or consult a family law attorney.

Protections against the Debts of the Other Spouse

If there is no prenuptial agreement, creditors may seize marital assets even if only one spouse owes money. Limit your debt liability in a prenuptial contract to prevent this.

Arrangements for Children of Former Relationships

A prenuptial agreement might be used if you have children from a prior relationship and want to make sure they inherit any of your possessions.

Protections To Maintain Family Ownership

If you have a family artifact, family company, potential inheritance, or other item of property that you wish to maintain in your birth family, you can state it in your prenup.

Estate Plans’ Protections

Prenuptial agreements are just one step in making sure your estate is distributed according to your preferences. Keep in mind that additional papers, such as wills and living trusts, must be drafted and kept secure.

Descriptions of Spouses’ Responsibilities

There are several justifications for a prenuptial contract. The following list of items is typical in prenuptial agreements:

separate companies
retirement advantages
Income, claims, and deductions for submitting your tax returns
control of home expenses and bills
control of any joint bank accounts
Investment agreements for specific purchases or endeavors, such as a home or business
control over credit card payments and usage
investment contributions
Distribution of property to the survivor in the event of death, including life insurance
arranging for one of you to attend school.
Resolution of possible disputes through mediation or arbitration

What Prenuptial Agreements May Not Contain

What can and cannot be mentioned in prenuptial agreements is governed by state law. The following is a list of things that the majority of states prohibit in prenuptial agreements:

Dispositions Outlining Any Illegal Activity

You are not allowed to include any illegal provisions in your prenuptial agreement regardless of the state. By doing so, the entire prenuptial agreement or specific portions run the risk of being thrown out.

Making decisions about child support or custody

Child support and custody clauses are not permitted in prenuptial agreements. The determination of child support is ultimately up to the court. The “best interest of the child” standard is used by the court to decide child support.

Prenuptial agreements that include child support, custody, or visitation cannot be upheld by the court. This is due to the fact that it is against the law.

What is in the child’s best interests is decided by the court. They wouldn’t take away the child’s right to support or the chance to interact with a healthy parent.

Losses of Alimony Rights

This is the clause that judges most frequently strike down. Several states outright forbid this.

Some states frown upon it and place restrictions on your capacity to renounce your alimony rights. Alimony waivers are legal in some states. Make sure to research the laws of your particular state.

Divorce-Encouraging Provisions

Prenuptial agreements are carefully examined by judges to search for anything that provides a financial incentive for divorce. If a clause could be seen as encouraging divorce, the court will invalidate it.

Any clause detailing how property would be divided used to be seen by courts as favoring divorce. Judges pay close attention because society wants to avoid divorce.

Information Regarding Personal (And Not Financial) Issues

Personal preferences cannot be included in a prenup. This could include agreements over who would do what tasks, where to spend the holidays, whose name to use, child-rearing specifics, or how to interact with particular relatives.

Prenuptial agreements are made to handle problems with money. Any clause addressing subjects other than money will not be upheld.

When a contract mentions personal domestic issues, judges become uneasy. They frequently reject the document because they think it is pointless.

If you and your spouse want to reach an understanding on such issues, do so in a different document. Just be aware that a court would not be able to enforce this document.

Obtain legal guidance for prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements are advantageous to both parties since they establish the parameters of a marriage before issues occur.

But before being signed, every prenup should be thoroughly reviewed by an attorney. Critical mistakes may render the entire agreement or a portion of it invalid.

To get legal counsel and peace of mind, contact a local family law attorney right now.

Prenuptial Agreement Pros

  • Prenuptial agreements serve the purpose of protecting children and grandchildren’s inheritance rights from a former marriage.
  • A premarital agreement can protect a professional or business practice so it does not become divided and your former spouse does not have involvement or control of the business should you divorce.
  • A premarital agreement can protect a spouse who is debt-free from assuming debt obligations the other party has.
  • A premarital agreement can ensure you will be fairly compensated should you be giving up a successful and lucrative career should the marriage not survive.
  • A premarital agreement can put in writing any responsibility and decision making sharing the parties agree too, prior to marriage as well as addressing financial aspects of the marriage.
  • The amount of spousal support one spouse will have to pay the other if the divorce can be decided in a premarital agreement.
  • The finances of older persons or persons of substantial wealth entering into their second or more marriage can be protected with a premarital agreement.

Prenuptial Agreement Cons

  • You may have to concede your right to inheritance from the estate of your spouse when they pass away. However, the law states you are entitled to a portion of the estate if your spouse has not made a provision for such in their will.
  • You may be entitled to a share of the increase in the value of a business your spouse owns if you have made a contribution such as taking care of the home or entertaining clients. However, in a premarital agreement, you may not be entitled to claim a share of that increased value. In many states, the law says the value increase is marital property considered to be divisible.
  • A lack of trust may result from commencing a relationship with a contract at the outset.
  • It is tough to see how issues in the future may be handled so keep in mind, seemingly simple compromises made in the romantic period before marriage may have a significant impact later on.
  • A spouse who does not earn a wage or earns only a low wage may not be able to keep the lifestyle they have become used too while in a marriage if the agreement has spousal support limits the spouse has an entitlement too.
  • Every relationship has its honeymoon stage where a spouse who is in love will not make wise financial decisions as they cannot see the relationship ever terminating. A prenuptial agreement helps with this.

Get Professional Legal Assistance To See If A Prenup Is Right For You

If you, or you and your future spouse are together thinking about a premarital agreement, it is vital to look at the pros and cons at the outset. The experiences of a family law attorney can be very helpful and it is paramount each partner consults a different attorney from different law firms, to make sure the rights and interests of each partner are represented.

Source:

“Pros and Cons: Prenuptial Agreements.” Findlaw, family.findlaw.com/marriage/pros-and-cons-premarital-agreements-prenuptials.html.

Contact Our Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers in Scottsdale

Consulting with a talented Scottsdale prenuptial agreement lawyer or family law attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in drafting and litigating premarital agreements will save you a great deal of grief and expense in the future. Contact Canterbury Law Group today.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Child Abandonment

Child Abandonment

Child abandonment can be defined as when a person in charge of a child or children or a guardian or parent in charge of a child or children either deserts the child or children without consideration for the safety, welfare or physical health of the child or children ,or has the intention of abandoning the child or children and in certain circumstances it may also be defined as failing to provide the appropriate and needed care for a child or children who live with them. As well as physical abandonment, child abandonment can situations include what is known as emotional abandonment where a parent offers little to no emotional support and/or physical contact over prolonged periods of time. Sadly, children who face these issues often become adults with issues such as emotional dependency, helplessness and very low-self-esteem as well as a myriad of other issues.

Someone who is charged with deserting a child or children may face severe criminal penalties.

What Is Childhood Abandonment?

Childhood abandonment is wide category and can describe many behaviors and actions. Some examples include:

  • Only minimal efforts are made to communicate and support a child or children.
  • Leaving an infant child or children in dumpsters, trash cans, on the side of the road or doorsteps.
  • Leaving a child or children with another party without providing provisions for the support of the child or children and with no meaningful conversation with the child or children for in excess of three months.
  • Not participating in an appropriate program reuniting the parent or guardian with a child or children.
  • Not having regular visits for 6 months or longer with a child or children.
  • Unwilling to be the provider of care, supervision or support for the child.
  • Absence from the home for a such a time that it poses a risk of harm to the child or children.

Child Abandonment Laws

Laws differ depending on the state you and the child or children reside in. some states have specific laws regarding child abandonment, whereas others consider it under already established child abuse laws. Most states consider the abandonment of a child or children as a felony. This includes when a guardian or parent physically abandons a child or children when they have the intention of the relinquishment of all their responsibilities and rights towards said child or children. On the other hand, some states classify this as a misdemeanor (usually invoking less harsh penalties) considering acts of abandonment that are not physical in nature. In both sets of circumstances, child abandonment is frequently defined as:

  • Leaves a child or children typically beneath 13 years of age without the supervision of a responsible person (normally thought to be over 14 years of age.)
  • Failure to keep contact with the child or children and not providing reasonable levels of support for specified time periods.

Speaking from a standpoint of criminality, the definition of child desertion is the physical abandonment of a child or children but in some states, it can include what is termed emotional abandonment and failing to provide needed, food, shelter, clothing and medical care for their child or children.

Mandated Reporting Laws

As some states qualify the abandonment of a child or children as a form of child abuse, certain people in the realm of the child or children may have a legal obligation to report suspected or known situations to the appropriate authorities. Regulations and rules change depending on the state you are in so you will need to check to see if you fit the criteria of being what is called a “mandatory reporter.”

Safe Haven Legal Exceptions

Safe Haven laws in most states have exceptions to child abandonment laws. These Safe Haven laws allow mothers to abandon their infants who are newborn in what has been established as a safe place, such as fire stations, houses and churches without them having to fear being charged with the abandonment of a child or children.

Leaving A Child Alone at Home

Sometimes it may be unavoidable to leave a child or children at home without supervision. In general, states offer guidance to help parents avoid charges of child abandonment, Some states have statutes that will weigh a number of factors when deciding to pursue a charge of child abandonment such as the length of time the child or children were left alone, economic hardship or illness of the guardian or parent responsible for the child or children and the age of the child or children.

Punishment and Penalties for Child Abandonment

Depending on the state where they reside, an individual who is facing charges of child abandonment may be having to consider wide ranging punishments and penalties as well as multiple sentencing options, largely dependent on whether the state considers the abandonment of a child or children as a misdemeanor or crime. It is worth knowing a court can impose not only the termination of parental rights and jail time but also qualify supervised access to the child or children in the future and financial penalties in the form of fines. There is also a possibility an individual will have to face charges of reckless abandonment that has a far harsher penalty should a child or children die for a reason linked to their desertion.

Loss of Parental Rights

Most states maintain a parent is deemed to have abandoned a child or children following a period of two years when they have limited their financial support and contact. This abandonment can result in a parent losing their rights to the child or children. Nonetheless, a parent is not in a position where they can elect or make a choice regarding the forfeiture of these responsibilities and rights. Indeed, even in situations where there is little to no doubt that a child or children have been willfully abandoned, it is the viewpoint of most states they will not take the legal steps to terminate the rights of a parent except in circumstances where there is another figure willing to take on the role of a parent and who is in a position to formally adopt the child or children.

Source: “My Wife Cheated On Me and I Want a Divorce.” Maples Family Law, 17 Jan. 2019, https://www.maplesfamilylaw.com/divorce/my-wife-cheated-on-me-and-i-want-a-divorce

Need A Family Lawyer In Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation.  As proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can move on with your life and your children. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Termination of Parental Rights

Termination of Parental Rights

Terminating parental rights is a serious subject and should be very carefully considered before any actions are taken. Read on to learn more about the termination of parental rights.

What Does Termination of Parental Rights Mean?

When the rights of a parent are terminated it means the rights that person had as a parent of their child or children have been taken away so that person no longer remains the legal parent of the child. This has a number of implications:

  • There is no longer a parent-child relationship.
  • The parent usually has forgone the right to speak with or visit with the child or children.
  • The parent no longer has an obligation to pay child support.
  • The parent no longer gets to raise the child or children.
  • The parent is removed from the birth certificate of the child or children.
  • The child or children can be adopted by another without the permission of the parent.

There is a reason the nickname for the termination of a parents right is referred to as the civil death penalty – such matters are taken with a great deal of levity by judges, who do not usually terminate the rights of a parent unless there is a very good reason to do so. The following information is in reference to private terminations of parent’s rights among family members only.

Who Is Allowed to Terminate A Parent’s Rights?

A petition to terminate the rights of a parent can be filed by a guardian, parent or family member. When the petitioner of the child is in receipt of public assistance such as SNAP or TANF it is not very likely the parent’s rights will be terminated by a judge. In those circumstances, the child support office has to mandatorily notified regarding a termination if the petitioner is in receipt of public assistance. The Department of Family Services, known as the DFS may request a judge to terminate the rights of a parent in instances when CPS has been involved with a family. Normally, this occurs when the DFS has been involved with the family for in excess of a year and has made numerous attempts to address the outstanding family problems. If the issues are very serious and/or the parent has failed to make progress, the District Attorney may be asked by the DFS to file a parental rights termination case.

Can I Opt to Give Up My Parental Rights?

In most cases the answer will be no. Judges, more often than not, have the view a child or children need two parents so that sufficient financial and emotional support is provided. Parental rights cannot be given up in order to avoid addressing poor behavior in a child or children and neither can you unilaterally relinquish your parental rights. In normal circumstances, you will usually have to attend a court hearing in person to explain your situation and unique goals to the judge.  Every case is different and no outcome can be guaranteed by any lawyer.

Reasons for Termination of Parental Rights

  • Only a very minimal effort has been made to support the child or children by the parent – this includes taking care of the child or children and communicating with the child or children.
  • The child or children would face a serious risk of mental, emotional or physical injury being in the company of the parent.
  • The parent is unfit in that they refuse or are incapable of providing the child or children the proper guidance, support or care.
  • When the child or children were conceived following a sexual assault. When the parent has been convicted for such a crime, their parenting rights can be legally terminated.
  • The parent has been neglectful meaning the child or children have not been correctly taken care of, this includes shelter, medical care, providing food, education and any other special need the child or children may require.
  • When CPS has taken a child or children from the home, the parent only has a limited window of time to address and correct the reasons for the removal of the child or children. If in a reasonable time, the parent does not correct those issues, the state can and often will petition to terminate parental rights.
  • When the parent displays behaviors related to abandonment indicating they desire to give up all their rights regarding the child or children. In these cases, it usually means a parent has not contacted the child or children for a time in excess of 6 months without good reason for doing so.

Regardless of any parent’s preference, the assigned judge is always going to decide on what they consider is going to be in the best interests of the child or children. Clear and convincing evidence must be produced by the party requesting the termination; this is one of the highest burdens of proof imposed by the law.

Where Do I File for Termination Of Parental Rights?

Termination of parental rights and be filed at the Juvenile or Family Superior Court in the county where the child or children resides. You may also file in the county where one of the parents makes their home. However, when the child or children are Native American, these matters are usually handled by the independent tribal court.

I Haven’t Heard From The Other Parent In Years. Is There A Fast Way To Terminate Their Rights?

Sadly, in these circumstances, it may take longer if the other parent cannot be located. The other party will have to be personally served with papers, giving them the opportunity to attend court and defend their custodial rights, should they choose to do so. When you are not aware of the location of the other parent, the judge has an expectation you will do everything in your power to locate them by speaking with family, friends, their employer, email and online searches, etc. A judge may allow you to post a notice in a newspaper should the previously named searches do not reveal the parent’s location.

How Do I Terminate Parental Rights In Arizona?

In Arizona, at least one of the following statutory grounds must be asserted and proven with clear and convincing evidence:

  • Within 30 days after being served with a Notice of Adoption, the presumed father failed to file a claim of paternity.
  • The parents have agreed to an adoption of their child or children or have relinquished the child or children to a licensed adoption agency.
  • Serious Neglect or abuse of the child or children.
  • Abandonment
  • A chronic substance abuse history from the parent which cannot be remedied or treated
  • When one parent faces felony incarceration for a considerable period of time, or life sentence.

The statutes containing the comprehensive list a court may rely on when terminating parental rights can be discovered here.

Do I Need A Lawyer for Termination Of Parental Rights In Arizona?

The termination of parental rights is a very serious matter and you should ideally engage a lawyer to assist in navigating difficult to understand laws and procedures that are mandatory in this process. In situations where DFS has filed a case seeking to terminate your custodial rights, an attorney will usually be appointed to represent your situation at no cost. However, you sometimes get what you pay for.  In circumstances where the other parent has decided to file a case against you, you should seriously think about getting a qualified and experienced attorney to help defend your rights.

Sources:

Martin, Kasio. “Family Law Self-Help Center – Overview of Termination of Parental Rights.” Family Law Self-Help Center – Overview of Termination of Parental Rights, https://www.familylawselfhelpcenter.org/self-help/adoption-termination-of-parental-rights/overview-of-termination-of-parental-rights.
“FAQ about Termination of Parental Rights in Arizona -.” Internet Marketing for Attorneys – Big Mouth Marketing, 3 Jan. 2018, https://www.bigmouthmarketing.co/legal-resources/faq-termination-parental-rights-arizona/.

Need A Family Lawyer In Scottsdale?

Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation.  As proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can move on with your life and your children. Call today for your initial consultation. Our family lawyers can help with divorce litigation, collaborative divorcedivorce mediationchild custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Can a Father Take a Child Away from the Mother?

Can A Father Take a Child Away From The Mother

If you have sole physical custody, also known as, the primary custodial parent, you can take your child away from the mother. However, if you do not have primary custody, it can be virtually impossible to take the child away from the mother.

On occasion, when your child or children are taken from you, it can constitute a crime such as unlawful kidnapping. However, when you are married and there are no custody orders from the court, it remains legal for your child or children to be taken by the other parent until a court issues orders to the contrary. Or, in the case where you are divorced, and the mother has been granted primary custody for the child or children it is not appropriate for the other parent to take them. On the other hand, it becomes more complicated when there is joint legal decision making. You would need to consult a copy of the custody order to ascertain when your child or children can be taken by the other parent. It is crucially important to have an understanding that primary custody is markedly different than joint legal decision-making.

Following visitation or parenting time, the other parent has an obligation to return your child or children or let you collect your child or children.  Both parents can and should follow their family custody orders insofar as they are formal orders by the court, enforceable by law, and by extension, law enforcement officers if necessary.  Should one parent unilaterally elect to refuse return of your children, this act, standing alone, is a violation of a court order which can lead to fines, purge orders, or even confinement should a finding of custodial interference or parental kidnapping be made by the Court.

When You Have Sole Legal Decision Making

  • When there is an ongoing 209A Abuse Prevention Case pending and you have a custody order relevant to it.
  • When as a parent who is not married, you have a court order that states you have primary custody and parenting time.
  • When you are a mother who is not married and there is no custody order, but you are in possession of a court order that states the name of the father of the child or children.
  • When you are a mother who is not married, and no party has been to court to obtain an order stating who is the father of the child or children – this is known as establishing paternity.
  • When you are a divorced parent, or married, and you are in possession of a court order that states you have primary custody for the child or children.

When You Don’t Have Sole Legal Decision Making

  • When you are married and there is not a custody order in place. In that situation physical custody is presumably shared by both parents.
  • When there is a court order stating the other parent and you have shared physical custody.

What Can I Do if the Other Parent Decides to Kidnap Our Child or Children?

It is a crime when the other parent takes your child or children or keeps your child or children away from you when they do not have a right to do so.

The other parent does not have the right to keep or take your child or children from you when you have an order of primary or shared custody. When visitation or court-ordered parenting time has reached its conclusion, the other parent must return the child or children to you or allow you to collect the child or children. The other parent does not have the right to keep your child or children away from you or take the child or children away from you when you have courYt-ordered parenting time or shared physical custody. In addition, the other parent has no right to keep your child outside of the scheduled parenting time, nor do they have the right to take the child or children without your permission.

In situations where the other parent keeps or takes your child or children when they do not have the right to do so, you have the following options:

  • Contact the police.
  • Encourage local prosecutors to file criminal charges.
  • Go to the Probate and Family Court to file an enforcement motion.
  • If your child or children was taken abroad contact the U.S. State Department.
  • Make contact with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The Police Can Do The Following:

  • Attempt to find your child or children and then return your child or children to you.
  • Criminal charges can be filed against the other parent in the sole discretion of the local prosecutor’s office.
  • Find your missing child or children by working with the National Center for Missing And Exploited Children.

Note: If you do not have a custody order and you are not married to the father of the child or children, the police may require you to go to the Probate and Family Court to obtain a custody order.

File Criminal Charges

  • A criminal complaint can be filed against the other parent by going to the District Court near you and filing at the office belonging to the criminal clerk.
  • If the other parent has kidnapped your child or children, you can also call the office of the District or County Attorney to let them know.

When You Go to Probate and Family Court

  • You may file a petition to establish custody or paternity depending on whether you are married or not married to the other biological parent.
  • Your family law petition will address the Juvenile or Family Court which may order the other parent to return the child or children to you. Another option is the court can also give an order to the sheriff so they can forcibly bring the other parent to the court. It will be necessary for a lawyer to assist you with this process.
  • File what is known for as “Petitioner for Contempt”. Jail can be a consequence for the other parent if they do not obey the orders if issued.

Contacting the U.S. State Department

Once contacted, the U.S. State Department is able to assist when the other parent takes your child or children outside the boundaries of the United States.

What If the Other Parent Takes our Child but We Are Married and There Is No Court Order of Custody?

In circumstances when there has never been a court order regarding custody and you are married, it is not a crime when the other parent takes your child or children away from your home. Under the law, it is not considered to be kidnapping under the law. To try and get your child or children back, you may be able to obtain the custody order from the Family Court by commencing an action for marital dissolution or legal separation and seeking immediate temporary orders awarding you some level of custody.

How Can I Stop The Other Parent from Taking Our Child Out of the Country?

When you think your child or children may be removed from the country by the other parent, you can request an order from the Probate and Family Court that:

  • Places the name of your child or children on the Do Not Depart list maintained by the federal government.
  • The other parent can be court ordered and forbidden from departing the United States with your children or child.

When the name of your child or children are not on the Do Not Depart list, an alert will be triggered by the Transport Security Administration, known as the TSA, which routinely scans all passports belonging to your child or children when they are at the airport. When this occurs, the TSA will not allow your child or children to proceed further through the airport. In this case, you will need the skills of a lawyer for help with this particular court order. A lawyer can:

  • Demonstrate to the family court judge the need for such an order;
  • Ensure the TSA has full knowledge your child or children is on the Do Not Depart list after orders are issued by the family court judge.

Source: “Can the Other Parent Take Our Child Away?” MassLegalHelp, https://www.masslegalhelp.org/domestic-violence/wdwgfh7/other-parent-take-child.

Speak with Our Father’s Rights Attorneys In Scottsdale

Our Father’s Rightschild custody, and guardianship attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale address your case with concern and personal attention, and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

We are experienced family law attorneys and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. You can trust us to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Can A Mother Lose Custody Of Her Child?

Can A Mother Lose Custody Of Her Child

Many fathers think there is a bias in favor of mothers when it comes to custody cases. Indeed, in common parlance, one hears of the mother losing custody a great deal more than the custodial parent (regardless of gender) losing custody of their child or children. This outlook is very understandable, and you can be forgiven for thinking the road to obtaining custody is long and fraught with pitfalls…but the reality is usually different. Remember, certain parental misconduct, regardless of gender, can be just cause for that parent to lose custody of their child or children.

Read on to learn more about how a mother can lose custody over her child or children and what your role might be in the process.

There are two things to keep in mind as you are reading this:

  1. This piece discusses serious acts of misconduct originated by the custodial mother that should be the cause of her losing custody over her child or children. It is not, however, about how a father seeking custody should conduct themselves or take part in litigation that is not needed and not reasonable.
  2. This piece is for fathers who have a goal of obtaining custody over their child or children but as yet do not have a plan in place to achieve that goal. There is no question of the courage required to go to litigation in a case of child custody. When you lack a plan to achieve a goal, it is little more than wishful thinking on the part of the father. You have to seriously ask yourself:  “Am I willing to follow through on this and commit to the process and the results?” – If you are unsure or the answer is a resolute “No” – you are wasting your time reading further.

However, if you possess the skills, courage and fiscal ability to go to family court and expose the misconduct of the mother towards the child or children and then make positive changes in the lives of your child or children, by reading this you are in a great place to proceed!

The Top Reasons for A Mother to Lose Custody of her Child or Children

  • The mother committed acts of physical abuse towards the father or the child or children.
  • The mother committed acts of mental abuse on the child or children and this includes acts and behaviors designed to promote the concept of parental alienation to the child or children.
  • The mother is neglecting the child or children.
  • The mother expresses frustrations or acts in a way that produces custodial interference of father’s parenting time.
  • The mother is violating existing orders of the court.

How Can a Mother’s Physical Abuse of a Child or Children Cause Her to Lose Custody?

Unquestionably, physical abuse is a valid basis for a mother to lose custody of her child or children. Furthermore, as the father, you may be found to be partaking in child neglect if you do not take appropriate action and do not prevent the continuation of said physical abuse. You have a responsibility and a duty to undertake the protection of your child or children. In simple terms, time cannot afford to be wasted and you need to act without delay to remove your child or children from a situation that is physically abusive towards them. A mother may (and very frequently does) lose custody of her child or children in any of the ways described below. But please note, this is not an exhaustive or all-inclusive list.

  • Law enforcement deciding to pursue action following a report of physical abuse towards the child or children.
  • Social services (often known as Child Protective Services or CPS or DES in some areas) receives a report alleging physical abuse of a child or children and then opens a case with the purpose of investigating the allegation. CPS retains the legal powers to physically remove a child or children from a home where they suspect or have evidence of a child or children have been the victims of physical abuse and they often provide custody, albeit on a short-term and temporary basis to other family members or the non-abusive parent. Many times, this is the first step towards what is known as a “dependency” court action.
  • The father goes to a family court and files what is called a “request for order.” This process informs the court of the physical abuse being perpetrated by the mother towards the child or children. In normal circumstances the order requests the court to make a determination awarding sole physical and legal custody of the child or children to the father with the mother of the child or children receiving visitation that is professionally monitored.

The Mother’s Physical Abuse Towards the Father

If the mother has committed acts of physical abuse to the father in the following ways, she can lose custody of her child or children:

  • Law enforcement arrests the mother of the child or children following an act of domestic violence. Normally this means the father will obtain from the police an “emergency protective order” and in some cases the criminal law judge will issue what is called a criminal protective order. This happens when the mother is going to be prosecuted by the city attorney or the district attorney.
  • The father requests sole physical custody and sole legal custody when filing with the family a court a domestic violence restraining order petition that will most likely include terms for supervised levels of visitation for the mother of the child or children.

Can Emotional Abuse Perpetrated By the Mother of a Child Or Children Cause Her to Lose Custody?

Here are some of the most frequently experiences forms of emotional abuse that can be inflicted by a mother towards a father or a child or children. Again, this list is not exhaustive or all inclusive:

  • Verbal abuse from the mother aimed at a child or children. Usually in the form of disparagement, belittling or badgering and often by the means of shouting at the child or children for reasons that cannot be rationally justified.
  • The mother working to isolate the father in the mind of a child or children by utilizing what is known as parental alienation.
  • Although very difficult to provide convincing evidence to back up…the assertion emotional or love support is being withdrawn or has been withdrawn from the child or children.
  • Emotional and/or physical abuse of a sibling or the father. If a mother exposes a child to the aforementioned abuse, these are legitimate and correct grounds that the mother may lose custody of the child or children as a result of her actions.

How Serious Does Neglect Have to Become for a Mother to Lose Custody of Her Child or Children?

Serious neglect is undoubtedly a correct, proper and legitimate basis for a mother to lose custody of her child or children. Obviously, parenting is not a perfect process and even the strictest family law judge appreciates this fact and that parents may make unintentional mistakes. However, a mistake is very different from a parent exercising poor judgment on a consistent basis throughout the lives of their child or children. When a mother chooses to seriously neglect the safety, the wellbeing, health, education of her child or children it is very clear these derelictions of duty should be just cause for the mother to lose custody of her child or children.

Can A Mother Lose Custody of Her Child or Children Because of the Frustration Of Parenting Time?

There is a lack of a specific legal definition for frustration of parenting time but it can be summed up as: consistent and unreasonable limitation or interference with the parenting time of the other parent. There are at least three different reasons why this should be a justified cause for a mother to lose custody of her child or children:

  • It shows a lack of respect and for the dignity of the father and his role in the life of the child or children when a mother continually frustrates the parenting time of the father.
  • It displays a refusal or lack of ability to co-parent.
  • It is indicative the mother is capable of engaging in more destructive behaviors and conduct that will be detrimental to the lives of the father and the child or children. When this issue is not addressed at the outset, the next step the mother often takes is actively causing parental alienation, further separating the physical and emotional bonds a father has with his child or children.

If A Mother Violates A Court Order, Is This Cause For Her To Lose Custody Of Her Child Or Children?

Another type of misconduct is when court orders are violated. As you would imagine, the seriousness of the violation committed should be a reflection of the seriousness of any resulting consequences. Even if a mother is routinely a few minutes late dropping off or picking up her child or children, it is very unlikely this will result in any change of the outstanding custodial arrangements. Conversely, let us say a mother decides to interpret that the parenting time of the father is merely a suggestion by the court that she can use her discretion as opposed to a court order – this will represent a violation of a very serious nature and may well lead to the custody of a child or children being transferred to the father.

What Steps Need To be Taken For a Child Or Children To be Extracted From the Custody of A Mother?

This is dependent on whether the father already has a child custody order in place.

When Married Parents Do Not Have A Child Custody Order In Place

When the father is still married to the mother and no divorce has been filed – the father has to make a determination regarding the current situation. His options are:

  • Commence and file a formal dissolution of marriage case.
  • Start the process of legal separation.

When the parenting issue has become so strained it is just another indication the marriage is beyond reconciliation, fathers would be wise to do the following regarding the treatment the child or children receive from their mother:

  • Document mother’s misconduct and make a reasonable effort to communicate in order to get to a stage where the misconduct stops. The documentation can be in the forms of written or electronic communication with the mother.
  • The father will need to speak with an attorney nuanced in family law should the misconduct of the mother continue. Together, the father and the family law attorney can review the situation and look at further options.
  • The father should file a request with the court for an order for an appropriate amount of parenting and custody time, should the father move forward with a child custody petition, legal separation or marriage dissolution.

When Unmarried Parents Do Not Have A Child Custody Order

In this situation the father will need to file what is known as a paternity action. Once filed, the petition is served through the appropriate channels to the mother of the child or children. At the same time, the father will need to obtain appropriate child parenting time and child custody by filing and serving a request for order of such with the court.

When Parents Have A Custody Order

In these circumstances, a father may have several options. please note this list is not exhaustive or all-inclusive.

  • Following communication between the father and the mother, a violation that has been documented may result in an attempt at the parents achieving a private resolution without further intervention from the court.
  • A father can attempt to show cause against the mother by the filing of a contempt order with the purpose of providing evidence that Mother’s conduct violated existing court orders.
  • A father may make a determination he wishes the court to seek a parenting time or modification of child custody order. Depending on the severity of the violations the mother has inflicted on her child or children will be a material factor in the decision of the father to pursue not only the sole physical custody of a child or children but also consideration should be given to whether the father also wants to obtain sole legal custody of the child or children.

Is The Custody order From A Judgment?

The options mentioned above are applicable if the father has a custody order following a final judgment. That said, if a father seeks a modification of legal custody or seeks significant change to parenting time, he usually has to justify this to demonstrate why this will be in the best interest of the child or children. This should not be a struggle if the misconduct and poor behavior of the mother of the child or children is of a serious nature to give reason the mother should lose custody of the child or children.

Next Steps

When fathers have to deal with mothers who are being very unreasonable and even malicious when the father is trying his utmost to fulfill and take seriously his responsibilities as a father, he should, without delay, seek intervention from a court. There is no doubt the life and wellbeing of your child and/or children are fully worth your effort and time. To not act, risks your child or children being further exposed to a destructive, unhealthy or unsafe environment that may have a negative and lasting impact on their current and future lives.

Speak with Our Father’s Rights Attorneys In Scottsdale

Our Father’s Rightschild custody, and guardianship attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale address your case with concern and personal attention, and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

We are experienced family law attorneys and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. You can trust us to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Are Your Fathers’ Rights Being Violated?

Are Your Fathers Rights Being Violated

When a court has issued visitation and child custody orders, parents have an obligation to follow them. When a parent does not do this, there are several options open to the other party, depending on how severe the outstanding issues are. Mothers can face serious consequences including a jail sentence, the payment of attorney fees and maybe even the loss of any custodial rights, should the mother violate the rights of a father. Read on to learn more about this important subject that can have a huge impact of the lives of families.

Custody Violations and Custody Decisions

There are several types of custody a court can make but in essence they are dealing with the assignation of child custody to one or both parental parties. Popular custody types include:

  • Primary Custodial Parenting Time– the child or children resides with only one of the parents
  • Sole Legal Decision Making– one parent has the complete responsibility for the welfare, health and education of the child or children
  • Joint and Equal Parenting Time – both parties have large amounts of physical visitation with their child or children
  • Joint Legal Decision Making – both parents share equal responsibility for the decisions regarding a child or children’s welfare, health and education

A mother can face an accusation of violating the rights of a father if she does not uphold her court-mandated responsibilities to the child or children, or if she decides to interfere with the ability of the father by making it difficult or impossible for him to invoke his custodial rights. Courts view paternal rights very seriously including the rights a father has to be a co-parent in the raising of his child or children. Judges tend to reject a parent’s credibility when one parent purposefully or even accidentally interferes with the responsibilities and rights of the other party or acts as a damaging influence in the relationship a parent has with their child or children.

Visitation

Parents’ parenting time rights are shared via written court orders including the times and dates when a parent may invoke custody rights. The court order may be more specific and clearly make a determination regarding child transportation and locations where the kids can be collected at the start and end of a visitation. Both parents are strongly urged to stick to the mandated court schedule yet remain flexible to accommodate reasonable needs of the other parent. When the court ordered schedule is deviated against your wishes for multiple weeks or months, it is usually best to head back to court and have a legal modification completed to the court order. If a new schedule has been verbally agreed by the parents and the mother then commit a violation of said schedule, the father may be in a position whereby he is not able to obtain the legal enforcement of the previously stated verbal agreement.

Can A Mother Violate The Rights Of A Father?

Here are some of the common ways a mother can violate a fathers’ rights:

  • Mother’s unilateral scheduling of activities during Father’s custodial parenting time, thereby making it impossible for father to be able to spend time with his child or children to the extent allowed under the terms of the court ordered visitation schedule;
  • Encourages others or takes part in ridiculing the father with the purpose of discrediting the father and his relationship with his child or children;
  • Without permission or agreement with the father, takes the child or children and permanently moves them to an out of state location;
  • Uses the child or children as a message boy or girl to the father or involving the child or children in any issues regarding divorce proceedings or custody issues with a goal of disturbing the time a father has with his child or children;
  • Does not co-parent with the father of the child or children;
  • When the father is behind on child support, the mother denies him access to the child or children;
  • Mother does not adhere to an established schedule and frequently has the father waiting on her to deliver or collect the child or children;
  • The mother neglects to include and involve the father of the child or children when he has joint custody in making decisions regarding the upbringing of the child or children; and
  • Subjects the father to accusations of child neglect and/or abuse of his child or children despite knowing what she is saying is false.

Recourse When a Mother Violates The Rights Of A Father

The first thing a father should attempt is communication with mother but not when a restraining order against you is not already in place. If this is the case, you need to speak to a family law attorney without delay to initiate conversation with the attorney of the other party. It will be of great benefit to keep a documented record of the times, dates and methods used by the mother whenever a violation of your rights has occurred. Should the mother make a decision to continue with the violation of your visitation or custody rights, you can call the local police department and they have the means to enforce the orders of the court. If the mother refuses you access to your child or children, help can be obtained from the local district attorney’s Child Abduction Unit. And of course, you should let your attorney know about any involvement of law enforcement in the scenario you are facing.

If you desire, a contempt court action can be filed by your attorney against the mother of your child or children. A contempt hearing can then be scheduled and a Judge will make a determination if the mother is indeed in violation of the established court custodial orders. If this is found to be the case, the court can do some or indeed all of the following in their judgment:

  • Permit the father additional visitation rights to his child or children by making a change to the established custody order;
  • Grant the father primary physical custody of the child or children, thereby again changing the established custody order;
  • Change the custody order to give the father sole legal custody;
  • Make an order where the mother can only have visitation which is limited to “supervised visits”;
  • Impose a jail sentence or fines on the mother for contempt of court; and
  • As the father had to bring the contempt of court action, the judge may decide the mother is responsible for the legal fees of the father.

Source: Wallin, Paul. “Consequences Mothers Face for Violating Father’s Rights: WK.” Wkfamilylaw, 17 Dec. 2018, https://www.wkfamilylaw.com/consequences-mothers-face-violating-fathers-rights/.

Speak with Our Father’s Rights Attorneys In Scottsdale

Our Father’s Rightschild custody, and guardianship attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale address your case with concern and personal attention, and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

We are experienced family law attorneys and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. You can trust us to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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