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.
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.
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 480-240-0040.
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 480-240-0040.
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.