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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Same Sex Divorce in Arizona

The Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group can help same sex couples navigate divorce. Whether you are considering filing for an Arizona same sex divorce or you’ve already been served with a divorce petition, it is critical to speak with an attorney immediately to assess your legal rights and take the necessary steps to protect them.

Same sex marriage in Arizona means that lesbian and gay couples are guarded by identical benefits as heterosexual married couples. In fact, gay couples have the legal right to obtain a divorce in Arizona and attain the same protections and responsibilities under the state’s domestic relations laws for division of property and debt as heterosexuals, including Arizona community property laws. Arizona’s community property system is designed to provide a more fair distribution of assets and debts at divorce, including the possibility of spousal maintenance.

One unique issue for lesbian and gay couples is determining the length of the marriage, which can be crucial for calculating spousal maintenance and / or the division of retirement benefits. For example, a couple may have entered into a civil union in State A, later received a domestic partnership designation in State B, and finally gotten married in State C. In a situation like this, the questions become: When did the marriage begin, and where? Ultimately, the first date and place where they had a valid marriage is the legal date which will be used.

Currently, the LGBTQ community is still waiting for legal clarity on custody issues in divorce, which includes child custody and adoption. Sometimes there are children of a prior heterosexual relationship that one of the parties brings to the marriage. Other times the couple decides to have their own child or children, using options such as sperm donors or donor egg and surrogacy if the couple is male.
Contrary to popular belief, a non-biological parent does not automatically gain the status of a legal parent merely by virtue of being married at the time of the birth. Neither, unfortunately, does Arizona currently have a provision for adding a second mother or second father to a child’s birth certificate, which can be important for some legal purposes as well as genealogy or simply personal satisfaction. They also would have no rights regarding caring for the child or children should the other parent die or otherwise be incapacitated.

However, now that same sex marriage is recognized in Arizona and throughout the country, a step-parent adoption proceeding is an option to address this problem. For more on these issues, consider Canterbury Law Group in Scottsdale, AZ as your go-to legal problem solvers. 480-744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Shared Holiday Time After Divorce

Divorced families with children may face some hardships during the holiday season because of parental custody and shared holiday time. At Canterbury Law Group, our Scottsdale divorce attorneys help navigate the difficult custody process with the ultimate goal to make the situation as clean as possible for everyone involved, especially the kids.

Here are some common ways that parents divide and share holiday time:

  • Alternate holidays every other year. You can assign holidays to each parent for even years and then swap the holidays in odd years. With this arrangement, you won’t miss spending a holiday with your child more than one year in a row.
  • Split the holiday in half. You can split the day of the holiday so that your child spends part of the day with each parent. This arrangement requires planning and coordination because you don’t want your child to spend holidays traveling all day.
  • Schedule a holiday twice. You can schedule time for each parent to celebrate a holiday with your child. For example, one parent can celebrate Christmas with the child on Dec. 23th and the other parent on the 25th.
  • Assign fixed holidays. You can have each parent celebrate the same holidays with the child every year. If parents have different holidays that they think are important, each parent can have those holidays every year.

Some holidays have special considerations because both parents usually want to spend time with the child on or near the holiday. We have the following recommendations for such situations.

  • Your child’s birthday: You can schedule a short visit for the parent who doesn’t have the child on the birthday, give both parents birthday time in the schedule, or the parents can alternate having the birthday.
  • 3 day weekend holidays: These holidays include Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day. Parents can alternate the 3 day weekends, split the weekends, or give the Monday holiday to the parent who already has the weekend.
  • Mother’s Day and Father’s Day: Usually your child spends every Mother’s Day with the mother and every Father’s Day with the father.
  • Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving weekend: One parent can have Thanksgiving Day and the other parent can have the weekend, you can give both parents time on Thanksgiving and on the weekend, or parents can alternate having Thanksgiving and the weekend.
  • The Christmas holiday season: One parent can have Christmas Eve and the other parent can have Christmas Day, one parent can have Christmas and the other parent can have winter break, you can make New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day into one holiday and the parents alternate having it.
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Written by Canterbury Law Group

More About Orders of Protection

As top Scottsdale divorce attorneys, the team at Canterbury Law Group receives many questions about Orders of Protection. Here are some common questions and answers for people looking for more information. If you’re in need of protection, contact Canterbury immediately – time is of the essence in these matters and any delays can be held against you by the court.

1. How can an order of protection help the victim? In an order of protection, a judicial officer can order:

  • The abuser not to commit any of the offenses included as domestic violence
  • The abuser to have no contact with you or with anyone else named in the order (this could include telephone calls, texts, letters, messages through someone else, personal contact, etc.)
  • The abuser to stay away from your residence, place of employment, and school or those of anyone else named in the order
  • One party to have exclusive use of a home shared by you and the abuser (if there is reasonable cause to believe that the abuser may cause you physical harm)
  • Law enforcement to accompany a party to a shared home to get his/her belongings
  • The abuser to turn in any firearms in his/her possession to law enforcement and not possess firearms
  • The abuser to stay away from and not harm any animal owned by you, the abuser or a minor child in either of your homes (and award you care and custody of the animal)
  • Other relief that is appropriate and necessary for your protection and the protection of anyone else specifically named in the order
  • The abuser to complete a domestic violence offender treatment program or any other program deemed appropriate by the court (as part of a final order)

2. In which county can I file for an order of protection? As an Arizona resident, you can file for a domestic violence protective order in any superior, municipal or justice court in any county in Arizona. The only exceptions are that:

  • If two courts are located within a one mile distance, then one court can be designated as the court which issues protective orders;
  • If you have filed an action for divorce, separation, paternity or annulment with the superior court (involving the same person from whom you want protection), then you need to return to the superior court to request an order of protection; and
  • If the defendant is less than 12 years of age, only the juvenile division of the superior court may issue the order or injunction.

If you have questions about your finances and / or bankruptcy, call us today to schedule a consultation at 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Struggles of Shared Parental Custody Through the Holidays

Divorce can be a very complex process and even the most amicable separations can become strained. Child custody is often one of the most challenging parts of the divorce proceedings and parents often struggle to find an agreement that is fair for all involved. At Canterbury Law Group, we have seen that, unfortunately, holidays can reignite these challenges. It often takes divorced families great effort to maintain a sense of family fairness throughout the holiday season.

There are several things that you can do to help make child custody issues during the holidays less contentious. Some of these include the following:

  • 1. Be in open communication with your family. Understanding everyone’s expectations from the beginning is a good way to make sure that everyone’s requests are heard.
  • 2. Act in the best interest of your child. Remember that your former spouse is the other parent to your children. Just because the marriage ended doesn’t mean they are no longer part of the lives of your children. Be flexible. Reassure your kids that you will be OK while they are with the other parent. Keep the arrangements as simple as possible.
  • 3. Establish new traditions. It’s a good idea to create new holiday rituals with family and friends. Although some past traditions may be hard to eliminate, new ones will add some sense of excitement to the present. Reassure your children that the holidays will continue in a new yet joyous way. Rather than focusing on the sad elements, get your kids excited about the new traditions. Be sure to let your children have part in what your family will do to celebrate.
  • 4. Plan ahead. Schedule fun and stress free events with loved ones. If the holidays tend to be too painful and the divorce reminders are everywhere, consider a vacation that allows you to “escape” the painful triggers.
  • 5. Create a schedule. Make a list of everything you need to do for the holidays and a target date to accomplish your goals. This will help you to feel more in control and less stressed.
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Written by Canterbury Law Group

5 Tips to Make the Holidays Brighter for Divorced Families

The law team at Canterbury Law Group realize that managing separation and divorce often feels magnified as the holiday season approaches. Many people feel overwhelmed by the stress and strain of trying to maintain the status quo, when in reality, their entire world seems to be collapsing. The Holiday season serves as a constant reminder of past festive and happier times and is contrasted by the current feelings of loneliness and despair.

Although there are no overnight solutions to cure holiday blues, there are steps you can take to help the season be merrier.

  • 1. PLAN AHEAD – Schedule fun and stress-free events with your loved ones. If the holidays tend to be too painful and the divorce reminders are everywhere, consider an out of state vacation that allows you to “escape” the painful triggers.
  • 2. ESTABLISH NEW FAMILY TRADITIONS – While you may want to maintain some of the past traditions, it’s a good idea to create new rituals with family and friends.
  • 3. REASSURE KIDS THAT THEIR HOLIDAYS WILL CONTINUE, BUT IN A NEW WAY – Rather than focusing on the sad elements, get your kids excited about the new traditions. Be sure to let your children have part in what your family will do to celebrate. And now, they get “two” holidays each season (one with Mom and one with Dad).
  • 4. ASK IF YOU ARE ACTING “IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILD” – Decide in advance how the holiday time will be divided. Reassure your kids that you will be OK while they are with the other parent. Keep the arrangements as simple as possible.
  • 5. MAKE A SCHEDULE – Make a list of everything you need to do for the holidays and a target date to accomplish your goals. This will help you to feel more in control and less stressed.
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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Canterbury Law Group Participates In The State Bar of Arizona & Phoenix’s 12 News’ “Lawyers on Call” Segment

Listen in tonight at 5:00 pm to Phoenix Channel 12’s News “Lawyers on Call” segment to hear Canterbury Law Group answer your questions on family law. This public service program is sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona.

What is Lawyers on Call?

Lawyers on Call is a public service program sponsored by the State Bar of Arizona and Phoenix’s 12 News. Members of the public can have their legal questions answered by volunteer lawyers.

When Should I Call?

If a Lawyers on Call phone bank has been scheduled, lawyers will answer your calls from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.  The number to call is 602.258.1212. (Please note that lawyers will only be available at this phone number from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. This phone number is not in service at other times).

What Questions Can I Ask?

The Lawyers on Call program features a different topic of law. The lawyers who volunteer for the phone bank are specifically trained in that area of law. Please limit your questions to that show’s topic of law.

  • What: Lawyers on Call – Family Law Issues
  • Who: State Bar of Arizona and 12 News
  • When: Tuesday, November 10, 2015
  • Time: 5 to 7 p.m.
Information provided by: http://www.azbar.org/legalhelpandeducation/lawyersoncall
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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Realities of the Divorce Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Common Reasons for Divorce

Before you consider divorce, be sure to speak to the Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group to discuss your case and options. A divorce lawyer can act as both a legal counselor and sounding board during this life-changing decision. Although there are many variables and unique reasons for divorce, we have included the statistically top reasons people file divorce in the U.S.

  • 1. Lack of communication. A successful relationship requires constant communication. Distance in a marriage is created quickly if you don’t share your feelings.
  • 2. Finances. If money becomes a consistent topic of disagreement, the road to divorce is almost inevitable.
  • 3. Feeling constrained. Some feel that marriage is holding them back from achieving goals and taking opportunities. If your partner can’t support your dreams, then they may not support the marriage.
  • 4. Trust. Trust is one of the leading factors in having a successful relationship and marriage. Your marriage is unlikely to survive if you do not trust your significant other.
  • 5. Expectations from each other. When expectations aren’t met, it can put a huge strain on the relationship.
  • 6. Your spouse doesn’t understand / fulfill your needs and desires. Everyone has different needs and wants. A successful partnership requires going the extra mile to fulfill a spouse’s needs and wants.
  • 7. Religious and cultural differences. Religious beliefs and cultural values can cause conflict, which affects the way you live your life and raise your children. This situation is often a deal breaker.

Whether you are considering filing for divorce or you’ve already been served with a divorce petition, it is critical to speak with an attorney immediately to assess your legal rights and take the necessary steps to protect them. Delay may result in limiting your options. Every situation is unique and our attorneys are well equipped to provide you with the tools to make the best decision that suits your particular situation. Hit the ground running on your marital dissolution and consult with the legal professionals at www.canterburylawgroup.com or call 480-744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Tips For Fathers Going Through Divorce In Scottsdale

The Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group represent both men and women in divorce proceedings. Through their extensive divorce experience, they have noticed that men often think they have fewer rights to the family home and / or children while going through a divorce. This is not necessarily true.

The legal team at Canterbury suggests finding a divorce attorney immediately if divorce is a remote possibility so you can evaluate your options are start preparing for the possible filing against you, or your own filing against her. Several tips should be considered when evaluating the divorce process:

  • Watch your words. If you’re dealing with an angry wife, take note of what was said but do not retaliate. React rationally and not in anger without giving your wife any ammunition to use later. Presume every conversation is being recorded on her cell phone.
  • Don’t move out of the marital residence right away. Leaving the house may become a strategic disadvantage later. The Mother has practical custody if Dad leaves and she may be in a stronger position to get the upper hand in a later custody battle.
  • Keep records. Keep careful records of everything that is said and done in relation to the divorce process including threats, insults, etc. Record your spending habits, money you give her and the kids and all expenses you pay for. Print out your bank records periodically so that you can show any large withdrawals made by your spouse.
  • Maintain communication with children. Often, the feeling the children have about their Father makes or breaks a custody case. Be a proactive father. Don’t ever talk negatively about their Mother in their presence. Your positive interactions with them will help with the process, and will also preserve a relationship for later when the post-divorce life begins.
  • Keep yourself well. Many fathers neglect their physical and / or emotional health during these stressful times, which may lead to depression and / or isolation. Keeping a healthy diet, exercising and avoiding harmful substances is always a good strategy, and even more important in times of anxiety. You need to be at the top of your game when you deal with these emotionally difficult experiences.

Find legal counsel soon. If you feel that divorce is inevitable, it is better to obtain a divorce attorney early on. Call the Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group to schedule your initial case evaluation: 480-744-7711.

 

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Sole Child Custody After Divorce

When a divorce involves children, Canterbury Law Group fights to protect their future and well-being both emotionally and financially.

Our Scottsdale divorce lawyers work diligently to ensure your children remain a priority throughout and after the divorce, and strive to remedy sensitive issues including custody arrangements and parenting plans. Our primary focus is to reduce the possible future damage divorce can have on children and relationships.

We often see parents who hope to win sole child custody and “take the kids”. However, it is important to realize that the court’s priority is the best interests of the child, which frequently mandates a ruling of joint custody. Many parents go into a child custody hearing with the intention of seeking sole custody. For some parents, this is because they believe that the other parent is “unfit” to raise their child. Any parent hoping to be awarded sole custody should realize that there is a higher burden of proof for the parent seeking sole custody. You will have to literally prove in a court of law that the other parent is an unfit parent based on substance abuse, criminal history or acts of domestic violence.

To award sole custody, the courts have to establish one parent as the “better parent,” which can be difficult to do, particularly if both parents have been involved up until this point. In addition, most judges are reluctant to prevent either parent from having a relationship with their child because the implication is that both parents, together, are best able to care for a child. As a result, any parent seeking sole custody has to prove that he or she is best able to care for a child, with or without the assistance of the other parent.

In addition, from a judge’s standpoint, parents should not be trashing one another during a child custody hearing. Instead, the parent seeking sole custody should focus on proving that he or she is the better parent without attacking his or her counterpart. When seeking sole custody, one should focus on the physical and psychological well-being of the child. Physical well-being includes your child’s routine, sleeping habits, eating schedule and activities. Judges tend to notice parents who encourage a healthy lifestyle. The factors of psychological well-being may include making sure that the child has access to liberal visitation with the other parent. Judges tend to favor parents who openly support the child’s the ongoing relationship with the other parent. Whether hoping for sole custody or joint custody, the legal team at Canterbury Law Group in Scottsdale can effectively represent you. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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