Written by Canterbury Law Group

Non-Custodial Parent Moving Out Of State Arizona

Non-Custodial Parent Moving Out Of State Arizona

When deciding if a parent will be allowed to relocate with a child or children, courts in Arizona conduct an investigation whether the relocation is likely to damage the relationship the child or children has with the parent who is not relocating. Following a divorce, it is not at all unknown for one parent desiring to relocate to another city or indeed, another state. It may be for a new spouse, a new career or just a fresh start in a new place. Regardless of the reason, it has a substantial effect on issues of custody. Following the move, if the parents are unable to come to an agreement regarding custody of the child or children, a judge will make the final and legally binding decision. The judge will consider many factors when assessing the most preferred custodial situation for the child or children. Therefore, as relocation custody can be a complex issue, it is vital to understand circumstances and situations that may impact your case.

Overview of Arizona Custody Laws

The center point of any custody dispute is what is in the best interests of the child or children. Let’s look at some of the factors court consider to be of paramount significance when deciding on the visitation and custody arrangements that will satisfy the physical and emotional needs of the child or children:

  • The physical health and mental health of each parent.
  • The relationship the child or children has with their parents.
  • The ability of each parent to provide a stable environment for their child or children.
  • If any of the parents have a history of child abuse or domestic violence.
  • The ability of the child or children to adjust to a new community and home.

The judge will then make a decision as to whether to award sole or joint physical custody as well as sole and joint legal custody of the child or children having undertaken a consideration of factors relating to the health and wellbeing of the child or children. It is worth remembering a parent with sole custody of the child or children may have more leeway when it comes to the relocation of the child or children.

Relocation Rules For Arizona Parents

A relocation is not a simple move to the other side of town. When parents share legal or joint custody, the parent who is relocating is obliged to give advance notice of at least 45 days regarding an intended move out of state or an in-state move in excess of 100 miles. The parent who is not moving may then make a petition to the court preventing the relocation. When a judge refuses the relocation request, the other parent may still move there, but will be unable to take the child or children with them to live.

How Judges Decide Relocation Cases

Primarily, the judge examines the negative consequences a potential move may have on the wellbeing of a child or children. Evidence will be submitted by each side and the judge will determine whether to allow the relocation and how custody arrangements will be adjusted. At the hearing, a judge may hear testimony from the individual parents, relatives, teachers, or friends. In particular the judge is looking at the following aspects:

  • The reason for the move.
  • Is the purpose of the move to interfere with the visitation of the other parent?
  • Will the quality of life and wellbeing of the child or children be impacted in a negative way?
  • The relationships the child or children have with both parents, looking at the past, the present day and the future potential of these relationships.
  • What are the possible effects of less visitation with one parent?
  • The relationship a child or children has with their siblings.
  • The adjustment to home and community the child or children will have to undertake.
  • If they are of mature enough years, the preferences of the child or children.
  • Any other circumstances the court deems to consider as important.

The burden of proof lies with the parent making the move to show it is in the best interests of the child or children to move with them. Courts understand the needs of a parent to move, travel and follow a career but the best interests of the child or children and the right of the other parent to maintain meaningful relationships with their child or children has to be balanced up against this.

Source: Otterstrom, Kristina. “Child Custody and Relocation Laws in Arizona.” Www.divorcenet.com, Nolo, 31 Mar. 2017, https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/child-custody-and-relocation-laws-arizona.html.

Speak With One Of Our Child Custody Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s child custody lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. We can help with legal guardianshipchild relocationfathers rightsgrandparents rights, and more. Call today for an initial consultation!

We are experienced family law attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Custodial Interference In Arizona

Custodial Interference In Arizona

ARS 13-1302 is the Arizona statute governing custodial interference. An individual can face custodial interference charges when they knowingly act in a manner that contradicts an existing parenting plan or when they act in a way defying the legal rights of a parent. Custodial interference takes place when a parent makes a decision to purposefully hamper the custody rights of the other parent. Sadly, this is a frequently a contentious issue in cases of shared custody and can even result in charges of a criminal nature being filed because once they are established, custody orders are enforceable, more than that, they are also binding from a legal standpoint.

When Can You Claim Custodial Interference?

Court orders have to be in place because if rights of legal decision making and parenting time are yet to be adjudicated by the court, there are no outstanding orders to be broken and there are no meaningful legal actions you can undertake until the courts sign off on the orders.

Examples Of Custodial Interference Include:

  • When parenting time has been scheduled, refusing to bring the child or children.
  • When the other parent has company making a visitation to the child or children without at first obtaining permission to do so.
  • Not returning the child or children on schedule.
  • Purposefully limiting the contact, the child or children have with the other parent.
  • Using enticements on the child or children to isolate the parent holding custody.
  • Taking the child or children before court orders are in place.
  • Taking the child or children when it is not parenting time according to the schedule already in place.

These are common examples but as each situation is unique you should talk to a family law attorney and they can make a determination as to whether your rights have been violated.

When your child or children have been born out of wedlock, the law states the custodial rights go to the mother until brand new court orders becomes effective. It is vitally important you do not take any actions against the child or children or the mother. This law will be enforced and can result in criminal proceedings.

When The Other Parent Interferes With Custody

Custody agreements are often contentious but when you have a court order already in place, you are within your rights to call law enforcement when the other parent refuses to stick to the agreed parenting plan. Your actions should also be reported to the courts. Minor examples of interference will likely be met with a caution from law enforcement as well as the enforcement of the agreed, court order, plan of parenting. In cases when a parent continues to interfere in this way, the police will now have written documentation of the behavior and if needed can make an arrest. In situations when the custodial interference has become very extreme, the courts have the power to make the following changes to the established parenting plan:

  • Transfers at a preset location that is neutral (sometimes a police station.)
  • Visits that have to be supervised by a third party.
  • Loss or restriction of custody and rights of visitation.
  • Penalties and fines.
  • Criminal repercussions.

Custodial Interference Penalties

As custody is an agreement that is court ordered, when this agreement is not adhered too, it is enforceable by law. The court system has the best interests of children uppermost in their thoughts. As per ARS 13-1302, custodial interference can be penalized by:

  • Class Four Felony: Interference by a non-parent.
  • Class Four or Class Six Felony: When a child or children is taken outside of state boundaries depending on the parenting agreement and the circumstances.
  • Class One Misdemeanor: When the child or children are returned within a forty-eight hour timeframe and they are unharmed.

As you can see, the penalties are serious. That said, it is usually only in the most serious situations where criminal charges are filed. More than likely, the initial penalty will result in a loss of current parenting rights. Always remember, any action by the parent that is contrary to the interpreted best interests of the child or children will be taken very seriously indeed.

Custodial Interference Law Exemptions

In some situations, the court allows a parent non-adherence to the parenting plan if the following applies:

  • A parent is protecting the child or children from harm.
  • Disruptions to the parenting plan that have been previously agreed upon.
  • Events the parents do not have control over.

There is no question it is frustrating to deal with custodial interference. However, the courts will be on your side and will protect your rights. The courts just will now permit a parent to continually transgress a parenting agreement that has been court ordered. The wellbeing of your child or children will be of primary concern and your own concerns will be taken seriously.

Source: “Custodial Interference in Arizona: Laws for a Disruptive Divorced Parent.” Mesa Divorce Lawyers & Family Law Attorneys, 30 May 2019, https://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-family-law/custodial-interference-arizona/.

Speak With One Of Our Child Custody Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s child custody lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. We can help with legal guardianshipchild relocationfathers rightsgrandparents rights, and more. Call today for an initial consultation!

We are experienced family law attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

My Wife is Keeping My Child Away From Me? What to Do?

My Wife Is Keeping My Child Away From Me

The relationship between you and your wife has reached the point of no return. The wife says she is going to leave, and the kids are going with her. Legally, can she do this? Can you stop her from following through with these actions? What can be done legally to help you? What course of action do you take if she leaves with kids in tow having not obtained your permission to do so? Primarily, she just cannot take the kids and depart. She has no more rights to the child or children than the father, this is even more so when there is no custody or divorce agreement in place.

What To Do When Your Wife Leaves With The Children

  • As a father you have certain rights and they need immediate protection in these circumstances. If you allow this to go on without any action, you are at risk of losing the rights you have when the custody and divorce case goes to court. You should immediately contact a family lawyer who will safeguard your rights.
  • Your attorney will immediately contact the attorney your wife has retained to commence work on an agreement. Avoid legal ramifications by deciding not to just show up and attempt to take the children back. Leave it to the attorneys. This contact from the attorneys will be documented and the courts will be able to tell, you did not just allow this to go on and that you want to maintain your involvement in the lives of your child or children.
  • A schedule for visitation needs to be created and adhered too as there is no doubt the time spent with our child or children will be examined during the divorce proceedings. If you want custody, be sure to be involved with the parenting decisions for the child or children and ensure you are there for them when they are with you. Avoid having them babysat. Instead, be a Dad and make sure the time you spend with them is quality time. Make sure no scheduled visits are missed, so it cannot be held against you. These are all things the judge will be reviewing.

Father’s Rights During and Following Divorce

Throughout the divorce process, you have certain rights as a father and your wife is not able to stop you from using those rights unless there are circumstances such as a substance problem or history of abuse. Examples of these rights include:

  • You wife cannot keep you from your children. And any attempt by her to do so needs immediate attention. You have the right to attend activities, events, sports games, graduations, plays, and so on. In situations where she is purposefully preventing you from doing so, tell your attorney right away and handle it through the legal process.
  • Should your ex-spouse remarry she may want your child or children to be adopted by her new husband. You have the right to stop this. No judge is going to allow this to occur if the father is meeting the agreed obligations and sticking to his visitation or custody agreements.
  • It is vital to provide the needed financial support to your child or children in order to protect your rights through the process. It is documentable evidence that you are meeting the financial obligations you have towards your child or children. Your right will remain in place by ensuring you stay current on these payments.
  • You have the right to share custody of the child or children with your wife during the divorce proceedings unless the courts have decided custody may not be shared. She is unable to force your hand on this issue unless you allow her to do so.
  • You have a right to have full involvement in the parenting decisions on behalf of the child or children, as their father. This ranges from religion, schooling, health care choices and so on. Disagreements will need to be worked out and it will demonstrate to the court that the pair of you can work for a common goal…doing what is best for the child or children.

Minimizing Problems With The Mother of Your Child Or Children During Divorce

If both of you realize conflict will be of no benefit to the child or children or yourselves during the divorce process, things should go a lot smoother. Disagreements are inevitable but serious conflict should be avoided at all costs.

  • By respecting the plans of the other person, problems should be minimized especially when it comes to things such as special events or trips. Discuss in advance any changes to schedules or pick up and collection times of the child or children. Open lines of communication are key.
  • You must remain consistent in your efforts. Being reliable and turning up when you say you are going to do so and following through with what you have said you are going to do, often helps to minimize other issues in divorce proceedings. This is an area where there is really no room for excuses so do not give her a just reason to become upset or frustrated with the situation.
  • You need to be able to communicate, clearly and concisely with your ex. If that is difficult, think about using an online service that creates and organizes schedules and you can leave each other messages on there. However, remember words said in text form can often be misconstrued as it lacks the subtlety of human intonation.

Source:  Baker, Nicholas, et al. “Can My Wife Take My Kids Away From Me? Family Law Rights.” Family Law Rights, 24 July 2016, https://www.familylawrights.net/blog/can-my-wife-take-my-kids-away-from-me/.

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. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Moving Out of State with No Custody Agreement in Arizona

Moving Out Of State With No Custody Agreement In Arizona

Can a Parent Move out of state without a custody agreement in Arizona? The short answer is no.

Courts in Arizona deciding whether a parent can relocate with their child or children have a duty to investigate if the move will harm the relationship the child or children has with the parent who is not relocating.

One parent often moves to another state following a divorce, be it for a new partner a new career or just a chance to start over somewhere else. Regardless of the reason, the move of the parent will have a significant impact on custodial issues.

A judge will decide and look at many different issues to decide custodial arrangements, if the parents are incapable of handling custody issues following the move. Without question these decisions are complex and it is vital you understand the circumstances that may impact your case.

Overview of Arizona Child Custody Laws

In any custody decision, the interests and wellbeing of the child or children is given top importance. Some of the factors taken into consideration include:

  • The physical and mental health of each parent.
  • The relationship the child or children has with each parent.
  • The ability of each parent to provide stability.
  • If there is a history of abuse or domestic violence with one or both parents.
  • The adjustment required by the child or children to adapt to their community and home.

Based on this the judge will determine whether joint or sole custody should be granted to one of the parents for the child or children. Parents can share legal custody even when the one parent has lone physical custody of the child or children. But that parent may be in a better position regarding the relocation of the child or children.

Understanding Relocation Rules for Arizona Parents

A relocation is defined as a move out of state or a move within the current state they reside that is greater than 100 miles away from the current location of the child or children. When parents share legal or joint custody, the parent making the move must give 45 days’ notice of such a move. The parent who is not moving then can petition the court to prevent the relocation of the child or children. In circumstances where a judge refuses to allow the relocation, it means the parent cannot move with the child or children but may move without them.

How Will a Judge Decide a Relocation Case?

The primary factor a judge will consider in these cases is how the move may have negative consequences for the child or children. Each side will be required to submit a statement of evidence for the judge to consider. The judge will then hold a hearing to decide. At the hearing, the judge may hear live testimony from both parents, relatives, teachers, friends, as well as any others with relevant testimonies such as guardian ad litem. The judge will look primarily at these considerations:

  • The reasons for the move.
  • Is the move designed to limit the visitation of the other parent?
  • Will the quality of life improve for the child or children following the relocation?
  • The future as well as the past and present relationships of the child or children with both parents.
  • The impact of one parent having less time and ability to have visitation with the child or children.
  • The sibling relationships of the child or children.
  • The community and home adjustment of the child or children.
  • If the child or children are mature enough, what is their preference?
  • Any other factors thought of importance enough to be included.

A good example of this in Arizona is when a trial court decided on preventing the Mother from moving out of state with her child as there was not a good reason for the move. In these circumstances, the woman’s new husband was looking for a job as a welder in the northeast United States. As the stepfather had no training or experience as a welder and no job to justify the move, the court decided it was unreasonable. In the end the court of appeals had the trial court rehear the case to consider other determining factors such as the effects on the child the move would cause.

The burden of proof is squarely on the parent of the child or children to establish the move is in the best interests of the child or children. While courts acknowledge the right of each parent to further their career and understand that may mean traveling, it has to be measured against the other parents right to keep a meaningful relationship with the child or children.

Source: Otterstrom, Kristina. “Child Custody and Relocation Laws in Arizona.” Www.divorcenet.com, Nolo, 31 Mar. 2017, https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/child-custody-and-relocation-laws-arizona.html.

Speak With One Of Our Child Custody Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s child custody lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. We can help with legal guardianshipchild relocationfathers rightsgrandparents rights, and more. Call today for an initial consultation!

We are experienced family law attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

My Wife Cheated On Me And I Want A Divorce

My Wife Cheated On Me And I Want A Divorce

Law offices across America often hear the refrain of: “My wife cheated on me and I want a divorce!” Thankfully in most situations we can help. Read on to learn the best way to negotiate through this difficult transition.

One of the most mentally and psychologically painful experiences one can endure is when you discover your spouse has been cheating on you. The pain can endure for months as you come to terms with the situation. Understandably many men think the only option from this point is opting for divorce.

When Your Wife Cheats on You and You Want a Divorce

Your first port of call should be to speak to an experienced attorney. At this stage, you do not have to decide upon a course of action, but you should be aware of the options that are available. Similarly, just speaking to an attorney does not mean you will get a divorce, it just allows you the chance to obtain legal counsel regarding your current position. The attorney will explain the step by step process, should you decide on a divorce. They can also explain issues such as child custody and the division of property. You will also be made aware your divorce can go one of two ways, uncontested and contested. In short, a contested divorce is where the other party will not agree with the terms of the divorce you propose, and an uncontested divorce is when the other party does agree.

Does Infidelity Matter?

Since the advent of no-fault divorces, it means infidelity no longer has to be proven. However, the judge may take it into consideration if the acts of infidelity have had a negative financial impact on you. They may also consider the impact the infidelity has had on the child or children of the parents.

Property Division and Infidelity

Regardless of your wife cheating, it does not disqualify her from a property settlement. As Arizona is a state with a community property law, anything you acquired during marriage must be split evenly. The same applies to a division of debts, some will be considered separate and others will be considered community debts.

Alimony and Cheating

It is a fact, a wife who cheats will still ask for alimony in many cases. However, a court may offer her less alimony as it is based on financial need, if, for example, she has already moved in with her partner from the affair. You need to let your attorney know if the affair partner (or indeed any other party) is living with your wife before the divorce becomes finalized and of course, once the divorce is final.

Child Custody

A judge is always going to act in what they consider to be the best interests of a child or children involved in the divorce process. Sadly, courts will not always think your wife is a bad Mom, even if she has cheated on you. The only way something of this nature would come into play would be if her infidelity threatens the wellbeing of the child or children. For example, engaging in acts that can be described as sexual in nature around the children.

Sadly, many relationships can never bounce back after cheating. The damage is irreparable. But we are here to assist you in dealing with the relationship fallout following infidelity.

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 an Affordable Divorce lawyer in Scottsdale?

The Canterbury Law Group should be your first choice when you need the best divorce lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix, Arizona. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation.  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.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Arizona Breastfeeding Laws & Visitation Rights Breastfed Babies

If you are searching for Arizona breastfeeding laws or visitation rights for breasfed babies, this article might help. A recent news article about a judge ordering a breastfeeding mother to switch to baby formula to facilitate visitation for the father has reinvigorated an old debate. In a custody hearing in Maine, a father petitioned that his visitation rights were being violated because the mother is still breastfeeding the child. The estranged couple has a six-month-old baby that the mother is still exclusively nursing. The father wants overnight visitation rights on the weekends, but the mother refused on the account that she needs to breastfeed the baby.

The mother claimed that she couldn’t pump enough breast milk to arrange bottle feeding the baby when the infant is the father. So she claimed that the baby should be with her on the weekends. The magistrate court disagreed.  In the custody hearing, the judge sided with the father and said that keeping the baby for breastfeeding is “not a reason to prevent [the father’s] visitation,” and it could be “considered deliberate alienation” of the father. The court recommended overnight visits that would have the baby fed formula milk.

There are some other details to the case, but the core argument involving nursing mothers’ and fathers’ visitation rights has been percolating for some time. Pediatricians recommend breastfeeding babies for up to 12 months. There’s ample scientific evidence to suggest that babies should be breastfed to ensure their health and psychological well-being. The court cannot dispute these biological factors. However, when arranging parenting time for estranged spouses with infants, breastfeeding could become a hot-button issue.

While the case was adjudicated in a different state, it’s a common question that pops up in family court in Arizona as well. Arizona does not have specific laws with regards to how to handle parenting time for a breastfeeding child. In most cases, babies are kept with mothers so they can nurse on time. If the father wants to visit, then the visits are arranged for two or three hours in a manner that doesn’t disturb nursing. However, these arrangements can change due to court recommendations on what’s best for the child.

Ideally, the best way to handle a father’s visitation with regards to a nursing baby is for the estranged parents to discuss parenting time civilly. It’s strongly advised to obtain Family Law help in Scottsdale to devise a sensible parenting time plan in accordance with court recommendations, parents’ wishes, and, above all, the well-being of the newly birthed child. Fathers who want to spend time with nursing babies should first discuss arrangements with the mother, possibly with the help of a third-party mediator.

Of course, not all estranged parents would be able to sit down together and come up with a neat parenting time plan. In that case, going to court will be the last solution. However, judges decide visitation rights for fathers with newborn babies on a case by case basis. It’s unlikely and rare that a mother would be ordered to switch to formula if she doesn’t want to or is somehow unable to. As the law is not clear on this, only your lawyer will be able to present you with the best legal solutions for the situation.  And you never know, the Arizona judge to whom your case is assigned may end up agreeing with the judge from Maine.

Arizona Breastfeeding Laws

Many mothers wonder about breastfeeding in public. First, it is perfectly legal to breastfeed in public. In Arizona, the law clearly says a mother is entitled to breastfeed her child in public and is not subject to indecent exposure laws.

A.R.S. 41-1443

A mother is entitled to breast-feed in any area of a public place or a place of public accommodation where the mother is otherwise lawfully present.

A.R.S. 13-1402

Indecent exposure does not include an act of breastfeeding by a mother.

Your baby has the lawful right to eat wherever you are. Having an upset, hungry, crying baby will call more attention to yourself than breastfeeding your baby!

What clothing do I need for breastfeeding?

Nursing in public is easy. You don’t need a special type of clothes. You can wear a loose fitting shirt or top that you can lift from the bottom. When the baby latches, let the bottom of your shirt cover your breast. Your baby’s head and body will cover the rest. You can practice in front of a mirror until you feel more confident about nursing your baby in public.

Do I need to use a nursing cover?

Some mothers are a little more comfortable nursing under a cover, but you don’t have to. You can breastfeed at your discretion without a cover as described above, but it is fine to use one if it is going to make you more comfortable. Your local WIC clinic may be able to supply you with a privacy cover, or a lightweight baby blanket is also perfectly fine.

If I’m in a public place, where am I allowed to breastfeed?

You can breastfeed anywhere you are, like the corner market, dentist’s office, or even the drug store. If you feel uncomfortable and need privacy away from home, you can find a dressing room, a fast food restaurant booth, or a nursing/ lactation room that will give you the privacy you want.

What if someone complains and doesn’t approve?

If you are in a public place and asked to stop breastfeeding your baby, ask for the supervisor or manager in charge of the establishment. A lot of people are uninformed, but the manager should be able to educate their employees about breastfeeding. You should feel confident that your baby’s needs are being met and be proud that you’re breastfeeding and providing your baby with the nourishment he or she needs!

Source

  1. “Breastfeeding in Public: Making It Work!” ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES, Arizona Department of Health Services , azdhs.gov/documents/prevention/nutrition-physical-activity/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-in-public.pdf.

Family Law Consultations in Scottsdale

The Canterbury Law Group should be your number one choice for when you need a family law attorney. Our experienced attorneys will work with you side by side to achieve the best possible legal outcome. You can trust Canterbury Law Group 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 legal advice. You can contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your unique situation.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce in Arizona | Laws | How to File

If you are looking for information on divorce in Arizona, divorce laws in Arizona, or How To file for divorce in Arizona, this post should help!

What Is A Divorce?

Known legally as “dissolution of marriage,” and colloquially as divorce, it is a court procedure to terminate a marriage. The party who initiates the divorce is known legally as the petitioner and the responding party is known as the Respondent.

What Is A.R.S.?

A.R.S is an acronym of Arizona Revised Statutes. It refers to a specific Arizona law when it is followed by “§”and a number. They can be found in any county law library and at www.azleg.gov/ArizonaRevisedStatutes.asp

What Is A.R.F.L.P.?

A.R.F.L.P is an acronym for Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. Any county law library has these rules and they can be found at: http://www.supreme.state.az.us/rules/ramd_pdf/R-05-0008.pdf

Grounds For Divorce In Arizona

Couples divorcing in Arizona have a few a couple of different options if they would like to end their marriage. If you are facing this sensitive legal process, continue reading to learn more about the different legal approaches that may be available to you. Learn more about the grounds for divorce in Arizona.

When Can A Petition For Divorce Be Filed?

As per A.R.S. § 25-312. your spouse or you can file for a divorce once either you or your spouse you have continuously resided in the state of Arizona for a minimum of 90 consecutive days.

To Get A Divorce What Reasons Must I Give?

You do not need a reason. Arizona is what is known as a “no-fault state”. This means neither spouse has to proffer an explanation for the divorce. Merely, one party has to assert the marriage is broken irretrievably and file the case. Should the parties have chosen what is known as a “covenant marriage” when they tied the knot or latterly converted their marriage to a covenant marriage, A.R.S. §25-903. states the party seeking divorce must prove the grounds contained in the statute.

Do I Need A Divorce Lawyer To Represent Me?

Everyone has the individual right to represent themselves in a divorce court. But understand, the court will expect you to follow the correct procedures and applicable laws to your case without allowances for your choice not to engage the services of an attorney. If correct procedures are not followed you run the risk of permanently losing certain rights as the case progresses. If the case has to go to trial and you do not follow the correct procedures, the judge may prevent you from calling witnesses or presenting certain evidence. Judges and court personnel are unable to supply you with legal advice. If you do not understand court laws, it is probably wise to contact an attorney for further assistance. There may be situations where a judge orders your spouse to pay a portion of the total of the fees for your attorney.

What is the Divorce Procedure In AZ?

  • One party files a petition for a dissolution of the marriage (a divorce) and also files initial related documents.  There are a total of 7 different legal pleadings which are mandatory when commencing an action for divorce.
  • Once this is filed, copies of everything are then served upon your spouse, unless the service is waived in writing and then such a waiver is then filed with the court. Once served with the initial legal papers, the responding spouse has 20 days (if served in Arizona or 30 days (if served outside the state of Arizona) to respond to the divorce petition.
  • If after 20 days the spouse has failed to file a response, the other spouse may apply for a default. Once the request for default has been filed, the other spouse has only 10 days to file a response or the divorce may be granted entirely on the terms laid out by the petitioning spouse.
  • At the end of a 60 day “cooling off” period, if no response has been filed, the petitioner can then obtain a “Default Decree of Dissolution of Marriage”
  • Should a response be filed and both parties come to an agreement regarding all outstanding issues, they can jointly submit what is known as a “Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.” This document presents the complete terms of the agreement for the judge to sign as per A.R.F.L.P. Rule 45(B).What If My Spouse Does Not Agree To A Divorce?

What Happens if We Cannot Agree To A Divorce?

In the case where one spouse does not want a divorce, they may request the parties attend a meeting of conciliation with the court. The divorce will be held up for a period of up to 60 days while the mandator conciliation session takes place. If following the conciliatin meeting, no agreement has been reached to postpone or abandon the divorce, it will proceed. There are no additional charges to request an initial  meeting of conciliation.  The Court will assign an officer of the Court to referee your conciliation session.

What Happens if My Spouse And I Disagree During The Divorce Proceedings?

It may be that a judge will have to decide upon any issues your spouse and you cannot come to an agreement on, for example, spousal maintenance, division of property and child custody. In this case, you must request an actual evidentiary trial so your divorce can then be finalized.

Individual counties have different procedures for trials. it is worth checking with an attorney if you are not sure of how you can obtain a trial date. Many courts have forms and information either on their websites or in local law libraries.  Some courts also offer mediation services that are free.

How Long Does It Take To Obtain A Divorce in Arizona?

Following a 60 day “cooling off” period once your spouse has been served with the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the divorce may then be finalized and signed off by a judge. It cannot be finalized any sooner than this even if both parties are in total agreement. A trial date will be set if parties cannot come to a final agreement. The waiting time for this to take place will depend on the county, it can take as long as six to nine months before a divorce is finalized.  A trial can often require a year or more before conducting and attending the trial.

What’s Covered In A Decree of Dissolution Of Marriage?

  • Termination of the marriage.
  • Restoration of one’s prior maiden name (if wanted).
  • A determination of parenting, time, support and custody of minor children (if applicable.)
  • Spousal maintenance determination (if applicable.)
  • Responsibility assigned for debts incurred in the duration of the marriage and the affirmation of debts owed before marriage and who is responsible for them.
  • The division of property establishing property obtained during the course of the marriage and what was owned or owed prior to the marriage and by who.
  • A determination of the attorney’s fees and costs (if applicable.)

Can I Obtain Temporary Orders When The Case Is Still Pending?

In a pending divorce, you can apply for temporary orders for interim issues such as parenting time, child custody, spousal maintenance, child support, attorney’s fees, and costs as well as other matters. The procedures to do this are individual to the county where the action has been filed. Again, you will need to seek advice from an attorney if you are unsure of how to obtain hearings for your temporary order requests.

What’s A Preliminary Injunction?

This is a type of restraining order issued at the outset of every divorce proceeding. The preliminary injunction as it is known is issued against both parties and requires that neither party harasses the other, that community property is not sold or encumbered while the case is pending, that the minor children not be removed from the state without the other parents’ written permission or with consent from the court and it orders that all existing insurance policies are maintained (e.g. home, life, auto, healthcare coverages).

What If My Spouse May Become Violent or Has Committed Domestic Violence?

If violence from a spouse is a risk or if they have already become violent you can separately apply for an Order Of Protection. The forms to do this are free of charge and available at any Superior Court, City Court or from a Justice of The peace court. On the day you submit the Petition For Order Of protection Form, you will see a judicial officer. There is no charge to apply for an Order Of Protection. In an violent emergency call 911!

Is There a Court Mandatory Parent Education Program?

Yes, if the parties have a minor child or children together there is a court-mandated compulsory education program instructing on the impact divorce has on children. You may be eligible to have your service of process fees and court filing fees deferred or waived are available at no charge at the Clerk Of The Court office for each county.

Once you have filled out the forms, a judge will make a determination if fees will be deferred or waived. If fees are deferred you must make payments towards those fees as your case proceeds. If your fees are waived, you are not responsible for the payment of those fees.

Speak With One Of Our Divorce Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s divorce attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, divorce mediationcollaborative divorce, and more.

We are experienced divorce attorneys and will fight for you to get you the best possible outcome for your situation. Our firm will represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call us today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Grounds For Divorce In Arizona

Wondering what the grounds for divorce in Arizona are? This post should help!

Learn more about the different options for divorce for couples in Arizona.

Couples divorcing in Arizona have a few different options if they would like to end their marriage. If you are facing this sensitive legal process, continue reading to learn more about the different legal approaches that may be available to you.

What Are Grounds for a Divorce?

Before a court grants your petition for divorce, you must have a legally acceptable reason for your request. Each state’s grounds will vary, but typically, if you and your spouse have tried to work things out without a positive result, sometimes it’s enough reason for a judge to agree to your divorce petition.

Courts consider this as a “no-fault” divorce, which just means that neither spouse is responsible for the collapse of their marriage. In Arizona, couples only need to appease to the court that their marriage has suffered an “irretrievable breakdown” and the marriage is irreparable.  One cannot force the other spouse to remain married.

The only stop to a dissolution of marriage petition is that the marriage is not irretrievably broken. Unless your spouse can persuade a judge that you both want to still be married, even though you filed for divorce, the judge will grant your petition for divorce.

Fault and No-Fault grounds for divorce in Arizona include:

  1. The marriage is irreconcilably broken (the No-Fault ground) or, if the marriage is a covenant marriage (Arizona identifies what is deemed a “higher” form of marriage called a “Covenant Marriage”) the probable grounds for a Covenant Marriage are as follows:
  2. Either partner committed adultery.
  3. Either spouse is lawfully imprisoned.
  4. Desertion or Abandonment.
  5. Physical and/or Sexual Abuse.
  6. The spouses have been living separate and apart continually without reconciliation for at least two years prior.
  7. The spouses have been living separate and apart continually without reconciliation for at least one year from the date the order of legal separation was entered.
  8. Alcohol or Drug Abuse.
  9. Both parties agree to a termination of the marriage.

Fault-Based Divorce in Arizona

In the past 50 years, nationally each state has adopted some type of no-fault divorce, but some states continue to let parties to allege particularized grounds as a reason for divorce. However, Arizona only authorizes fault-based divorce if the spouses have a legally binding “covenant” marriage.

Covenant marriages are uncommon, and only three states—Arizona, Arkansas, and Louisiana —allow this option. Unlike traditional unions, which will enable couples to marry and divorce with very few restrictions, couples who wish to enter a covenant marriage must:

  • take part in premarital counseling
  • when petitioning for a marriage license, decide how they will handle divorce, and
  • agree to participate in pre-divorce counseling.

If the spouses demonstrate a valid covenant marriage to the court, a judge can only grant the divorce if the filing spouse confirms any of the subsequent grounds:

  • the at-fault spouse cheated on the other during the marriage
  • the at-fault spouse was involved in a felony, and the courts sentenced the spouse to imprisonment or death
  • either spouse deserted the marital home for at least 1 year before the requesting spouse filed for divorce
  • the at-fault spouse sexually or physically abused the petitioning spouse, a child, or relative of either spouse, or
  • the at-fault spouse has chronically abused alcohol or drugs.

What if My Spouse and I Agree to a Divorce?

Divorce is sensitive and can be complex, but it doesn’t have to be. If you and your spouse can start the divorce process agreeing on the more significant legal issues, like child custody, alimony, and property disbursement, you can request the court grant you an uncontested divorce.

Uncontested divorces don’t require a trial, so it typically means less time and a lot less money, even if both spouses hire lawyers.

Before a court can agree to your petition, both spouses will need to agree that the marriage cannot be salvaged. Also, you will need to present a mutual settlement agreement to the court that clarifies how you will divide your marital assets and debt, and whether either spouse will support the other with alimony, also known as spousal maintenance.

If you have children, you will have to determine which spouse will care for the children, how you will divide visitation times, and who will pay the child support.

Uncontested divorces only work if both spouses agree on each and every issue, if you disagree on any issue during the process, the court will proceed as if it’s a contested divorce. Contested divorces usually require a drawn-out divorce trial where a judge will decide on the major issues. A divorce trial often results in increased legal fees and more time in court.

What Are the Requirements for a Divorce?

Like a lot of states, Arizona has a residency requirement that you must satisfy before you file for divorce. Couples must show that at least one of the spouses has lived in Arizona for a minimum of 90 consecutive days before petitioning for divorce. In addition, there is a waiting period of at least 60 days from the time you file to the time when a judge can approve your final divorce papers. These requirements help prevent spouses from shopping around for states or judges they think will award a more suitable custody arrangement or property arrangement. Learn more about divorce in Arizona.

What Happens After a Divorce?

After you (or a judge) determine the final terms of your divorce, the judge will provide a signed copy of the judgment of divorce via a signed Decree. This legal document ends your marriage permanently, and will address the following issues:

  • parenting time, custody of the child and child support
  • alimony (spousal maintenance) payments
  • division of marital assets and debt
  • each spouse’s obligation for their attorney’s fees, and
  • any name change(s) (restoration of maiden name).

This final decree and judgment is a vital record, so keep it in a safe place and refer to it anytime you have any doubts about the details of your divorce.  You may also need the Decree in the future when refinancing mortgages or purchasing other assets insofar as a lender may want proof of your dissolution status.

Speak With One Of Our Divorce Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s divorce attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale will handle your case with personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, divorce mediationcollaborative divorce, and more.

We are experienced divorce attorneys and will fight for you to get you the best possible outcome. Our law firm will represent you fully in court, so you can get on with your life. Call us today for an initial consultation. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

How To Negotiate a Divorce Settlement With Your Spouse

If you are looking for information on the best ways to negotiate a divorce settlement with your spouse, this post should help! Here we show you what you need to know so you can get the best result possible from your divorce settlement.

Most lawyers will say it is very unwise to even attempt to negotiate a divorce settlement with your spouse, primarily as most lawyers think they can better negotiate on your behalf.

And they often can…but not all the time. When a lawyer becomes involved, the lawyer of your spouse also gets involved. The result is two lawyers playing games with your assets and your future life while you pay them for the pleasure of doing so.

Also, even if the “big stuff” is being taken care of by the lawyer, you will still have to negotiate the “small stuff” with your spouse, household items, etc. The best way to negotiate a divorce settlement with your spouse is to:

  1. Check your finances
  2. Learn how the divorce system works
  3. Determine your needs and wants
  4. Plan for best & worst case scenarios
  5. Cooperate & compromise
  6. Negotiate a fair agreement
  7. Leave emotions at the door
  8. Develop settlement scenarios
  9. Make agreements
  10. Create a plan
  11. Make the agreement official

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

1. Check Your Finances

Prior to starting a negotiation, you must have a very clear understanding of your financial situation meaning you need to understand what you owe and what you own.

A financial advisor, if needed, can explain your finances to you. Having done that if you still do not feel comfortable talking finance, do not negotiate for yourself. You will likely lose more by yourself than the cost of a lawyer guided divorce negotiation on your behalf.

2. Learn How The Divorce System Works

Judges have a duty to place the reasonable needs of the children above either parent so unless they are shown an extremely good reason, the Court will make you comply with the child support laws of the state. This means establishing a set parenting schedule, allowing a full relationship with both you and your children. The Court will also insist your divorce settlement is fair and equitable.

One need not possess a law degree to understands the basics of divorce settlement negotiation. You can spend an hour two with a lawyer or a divorce educator. Make sure you do your homework before you initiate negotiations.

3. Determine Your Needs & Wants

Simple to say but many people never consider what is “fair” when thinking of what they need when in divorce negotiation. Often, they can express what they do not want but are less sure at describing what they do need.

You must know what you want if you are going to do the negotiations yourself. You will need a balance sheet and a budget. Once you know your needs and wants, rank them in order of importance to you. You are going to have to compromise but at least this way you can negotiate for what you need.

4. Plan for Best & Worst Case Scenarios

Here are two acronyms you need to know:

BATNA = “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.”

WATNA = “Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement.”

In a divorce negotiation, BATNA and WATNA represent the best and worst things that may happen to you if the case cannot be settled and goes to trial.  Going to trial is expensive, unpredictable, and emotional.  Settlements are the contrary.

Ask your lawyer what will happen to your BATNA and WATNA should you go to trial. Once you have that information, you can decide if going to trial makes sense or not. If the WATNA of your spouse is worse than you could get at trial, there is little point to accepting their proposal.

5. Cooperate & Compromise

Knowing the wants and needs of your spouse is just as important as realizing your own wants and needs (Also helps if you can work out their BATNA and WATNA as well.)

The more insight you have into the above factors, the more you can negotiate in a manner ultimately satisfying both of you. Remember: Negotiation requires compromise and cooperation. The more win-win scenarios you create, the more likely you are to succeed in settling your case amicably and on the terms, you want!  Nobody walks away from a settlement in a divorce feeling happy, both sides must give to reach a fair and final result to enable both of your lives to resume.

6. Negotiate a Fair Agreement

You must be prepared to walk away if your spouse and you cannot settle on terms. This means you have to comprehend what you can and cannot live with before you commence negotiating. And if reject proposals fall short, you must have the courage to reject them and to proceed with litigation.  You must also ensure that you have the financial resources to wage that litigation if settlement cannot be reached.

A very important tactic of knowing your bottom line is reality testing it before it becomes your bottom line. When your bottom line is just not a realistic proposition, negotiating a fair agreement is near impossible. Clinging to desires that will never be met is ultimately futile and typically self-destructive.

7. Leave Emotions at the Door

Many people would rather a lawyer negotiate for them because you do need to keep your emotions in check when negotiating – it is also a reason why getting a therapist is a good idea when you are getting divorced.

Nothing is going to derail a good proposal quicker than resuming old arguments that have been had many times before. If things do become too heated, it is time for a break to let you and your spouse both cool down and resume your negotiations from there.  Perhaps break for the day and come back the following week, do whatever it takes to keep up the momentum towards settlement.

8. Develop Different Settlement Scenarios

With compromise being the key, remember if you can keep an open mind and be prepared to brainstorm alternatives, the likelihood leans towards settling your divorce amicably.

If you are not sure what alternatives and compromises you may have at your disposal, ask your lawyer. They can come up with multiple scenarios that might meet the needs of everyone concerned. Also, listen to the ideas of your spouse, the more options you have, the more likely you will find a settlement that works for everyone.

9. Make Agreements

Ideally, you and your spouse will negotiate in a neutral place. Set aside a couple of hours so no one is worried about missing an appointment should your negotiations overrun on time.

Your spouse and you also need to agree on who writes down what you agree on and whether agreements are subject to the approval of your attorney’s approval before they are finalized and signed.

There is nothing that will poison your relationship faster than if one party tried to change something after you were both under the impression the other party had agreed to previous terms.

10. Create a Plan 

Having goals is great but you need a plan to achieve your goals because if you do not the odds of you being successful go down dramatically.

A plan means knowing what you want from the outset and brainstorming different methods to get you where you want before you commence negotiation. It does not mean starting your negotiation with your bottom line. Start by asking for more, so you have something to give up. The best negotiations are where everyone feels as if they “won” something and they can live with what they lost in the process of reaching a mutually ratified and successful conclusion.

11. Hire a Divorce Mediator

If you haven’t already, consider hiring a divorce mediator or collaborative divorce lawyer to seal the deal and make the divorce final.   Many people attend mediation sessions with their own divorce lawyer in tow.

Why You Might Want To Negotiate With Your Ex (Or Soon To Be Ex)

You can save time and money by negotiating your own divorce settlement if you can do the negotiation.

Additional benefits lawyers often do not speak of using this method is known as “buy-in.”

If your spouse and you have been active in discussions from the outset regarding divorce negotiations, it is far more likely the divorce settlement will be ultimately accepted.

Family courts are full of people who have already divorced fighting with their former partners! If you think your divorce settlement was rammed down your throat, there is usually no issue trying to alter or modify it later, typically at high cost and fees for both parties.

The Dangers Of Negotiating For Yourself

Negotiating for yourself is full of pitfalls if you do not have the capability to negotiate or are unaware of what you must negotiate about – you can end up losing far more than you initially realized.

At least everyone fears that.  This where lawyers usually enter the picture, and for a reason.

However, negotiation with your spouse does not have to be tough. Plus, when your divorce is going slowly, the legal fees are racking up, you may have to negotiate with your spouse just to close the deal so you can both move forward with your lives and stop spending legal fees.

So even though you may think you would never negotiate with your spouse – you may find you have to, but do not worry, it happens all the time!

If you are still on speaking terms – it is worth the effort – but you need to know what you are doing.

Here are ten top tips to help with negotiating with your spouse or your ex.

Should You Negotiate Your Own Divorce?

Negotiating a divorce is not easy – it is not fun, but it is doable even if you lack a background in finance and you do not need a law degree.

So, if you and your spouse decided to give direct divorce negotiation a try, be prepared. Get some divorce advice from your attorney, go through the above ten tips and make sure you understand the basics of your finances and your legal options before you start. Know what you want and need, be flexible and have a plan. Know what the law does or does not allow for each disputed item.

if you do not wish to negotiate alone think about doing a collaborative divorce or hiring the services of a mediator. That way you have more backing when you must negotiate.

Be sure to analyze your options before you commence. Be honest with yourself about what you want to achieve. If you are incapable of standing up for yourself, it may be very foolish to negotiate a divorce settlement yourself.

If your spouse and you can remain civil and you are both ready to undertake the work to prepare and resolve your outstanding divorce issues, negotiating with your spouse will undoubtedly save you a great deal of time and money.

Read More About 

How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost?

How Much Does A Divorce Cost In Arizona?

How Much Does Collaborative Divorce Cost?

Collaborative Divorce In Arizona

Divorce Mediation Pros & Cons

Negotiate Divorce Settlements In Scottsdale & Phoenix

We have a network of Arizona attorneys, tax professionals, estate planners, financial planners, child specialists, real property appraisers, adult and child therapists and parenting coordinators who are here for you if you ever need them. Our divorce mediators and collaborative divorce lawyers in Scottsdale can help negotiate your divorce settlement, make your divorce less stressful, and keep you in control. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Much Does Collaborative Divorce Cost?

On average collaborative divorce costs $7,500. Collaborative divorce costs ranged from $5,000 to $10,000 per spouse in the US for 2019, according to Equitable Mediation. However, Canterbury Law Group has navigated many divorce collaborations for less than $10,000 in legal fees per spouse.  This is a far cry from the tens of thousands of dollars that other couples will inevitably spend in contested divorce litigation in a court of law, not to mention the high emotional cost in traditional divorce cases.

*Disclaimer – These collaborative divorce fees are always changing and this is not an actual quote. If you need an experienced collaborative divorce lawyer in Arizona, contact Canterbury Law Group today to start your initial consultation.

How Much Does Collaborative Divorce Cost in Arizona?

On average, Arizona collaborative divorce costs about $10,000 per spouse.

What is Collaborative Divorce?

Unlike traditional litigated divorce cases where both sides are dug in, and legal meters are running full bore each month, collaboration is quite the opposite.  A team of family law professionals is assembled and there is a group push towards resolution.  Usually completed after 3 or 4 group meditation sessions, and within 60 to 90 days, you will have your divorce in hand almost overnight compared to your friends and colleagues slogging their way through a multiyear litigated divorce costings them tens of thousands of dollars.  Do not be penny wise and pound foolish.  Society has evolved in all facets of life—including divorce, why keep doing things in a time consuming and expensive way, when instead you can go through a transformative process of collaboration where only you and your spouse make the big decisions, and not a stranger in a black robe.  Collaborate, do not litigate.

Learn more about Collaborative Divorce In Arizona

Affordable Collaborative Divorce Lawyers in Phoenix & Scottsdale, Arizona

Canterbury Law Group should be your first choice for when you need the best collaborative divorce lawyers in Arizona including Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona. Our experienced Arizona family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome.  You can trust us to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

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