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.
At Scottsdale-based Canterbury Law Group, our legal team is well versed in Family Law including divorce. Our litigators are often asked to describe the different stages of divorce. While each divorce is unique, here is a quick review of what you may expect:
The first step in the process is filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The person who files the Petition is identified as the Petitioner (or Plaintiff) and the opposing spouse is identified as the Respondent (or Defendant.) A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is a public record that includes basic facts about you, your spouse and your children. The document is usually brief and does not contain a great deal of personal information.
Once the Petition is filed with the Court, due process requires that the Respondent be “served” with the Petition and a Summons to Appear. Once served, your spouse has 20 days to file a written Response to the Petition. Once a Response has been filed, the attorneys then discuss if temporary order or support is needed. Temporary orders of support may include child support, spousal maintenance and marital expenses paid by one spouse to the other while the case is pending.
Financial investigation is the next step. This portion of the case involves determination of the value of the marital estate or “discovery,” which includes depositions, subpoenas, interrogatories and review of financial documents by accounting experts. If the assets and debts are agreeable by both parties, they may choose to waive formal discovery. However, if either party disagrees with their spouse’s estimate of value or the amount of debt distributed to each party, formal discovery will be necessary. Rigorous asset searches are often performed to find any hidden assets in non-disclosed accounts, safety deposit boxes, or overseas accounts.
If both parties cannot reach an agreement, the attorneys may choose to submit the issues in controversy to the Judge during a pretrial conference. Pretrial conferences are sometimes conducted in the Judge’s chambers. The Judge’s pretrial recommendations are not binding but they do indicate how the Judge might prefer to settle the case. Pretrial conferences are often a critical motivation for reaching a final settlement without preparing for a full trial on the merits. Trials are expensive and unpredictable.
In the event an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation or pretrial conference, the matter is set for trial. A case is often set several months out. During the months before trial, your attorney will be preparing your case. Trials range in duration from half a day to perhaps a week, depending on the complexity of your case. There are no jury trials in divorce cases. The decisions are made solely by the Judge. A final divorce judgment and Decree will be entered at the conclusion of the trial. Those orders remain binding upon both spouses for the life of the order unless appealed by either party within a certain number of days.
When a divorce involves children, Scottsdale-based Canterbury Law Group fights aggressively to protect the children’s’ future and well being. In fact, we are known for securing the most sensible child arrangements possible at the lowest expense. We first attempt to collaborate with both parents and related experts to design practical provisions for successful co-parenting and child support schedules.
In the event that mutual settlement of these issues is not possible, our no-nonsense litigators will prepare your case with diligence and the utmost attention to detail. Arizona law requires that the best interest of the child be the lead consideration above any other when allocating child custody. Moreover, judges are commanded by statute to maximize the amount of parenting time for each parent. This usually suggests an equal 50/50 parenting time protocol absent parental fitness issues (e.g. drug, alcohol, criminal history, domestic violence) being proven by the other parent by competent and admissible evidence.
Arizona family courts determine custody based on the best interests of the child, taking into consideration a great deal of details including:
- The child’s age
- The child’s wishes
- Each parent’s wishes
- The child’s adjustment to home, school and community
- Any history of domestic violence or child abuse by either parent
- Whether the parents have provided primary care of the child
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- Each parent’s willingness to foster a meaningful and substantial relationship with the other parent.
If you are thinking about filing for divorce in Scottsdale or Phoenix, call us today to schedule your consultation. Sometimes the best offense in a case is a well positioned, and thought our strategy which is completed weeks or months in advance of formally filing the case.
The attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have vast experience in Scottsdale family law and divorce. Family law issues can be extremely difficult and the end results can be life altering both emotionally and financially for the children and adults involved, so we are dedicated to providing clients with a skilled and passionate legal team when dealing with divorce and other family law disputes. An Arizona divorce can be a very complicated process, which is why you need an attorney from Canterbury Law Group. From filing the petition or responding to a petition until the final hearing, our expert team will prepare an aggressive and thorough case for your Scottsdale divorce.
Canterbury Law Group handles all types of family law matters including:
- Divorce & Legal Separation
- Child Custody & Parenting Time
- Paternity Issues
- Child & Spousal Support
- Orders of Protection
- Emergency Orders
- Decree Enforcement
- Grandparent Visitation
- Non-Parent Custody Rights
- Relocation & Custody Issues
- Multi-State Legal Representation
When children are involved in your Phoenix family law case, the outcome is even more crucial. Do not waste any of your precious time and efforts. Be sure to begin this legal process with your trusted Scottsdale legal team at Canterbury Law Group. Call us today to schedule your consultation.