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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce Consultation Checklist

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Nearly all attorneys offer an initial consultation when you are about to embark on the divorce process. Here is a checklist of things to consider and items you may want to bring for that initial meeting. Download the Divorce Consultation Checklist PDF

  1. ❒ Get together a list of your assets and debts with the necessary documents showing the status of your assets and liabilities. Include individual and community assets and debts as well as all supporting documents.
  2. ❒ Get together a list of your expenses and income including community income and expenses as well as a copy of supporting documentation.
  3. ❒ Prepare a list of questions you want to ask the divorce lawyer. Making the most of your time with the lawyer on the first visit is of paramount importance.
  4. ❒ Bring in your tax returns, both individual and joint, if you filed jointly. Ideally, try to bring in the last two years of federal and state tax returns.
  5. ❒ If your spouse or you are self-employed bring all the documents you can regarding expenses, income, and documentation pertaining to the operations of the business or businesses. An up to date profit and loss statement and a balance sheet would be very relevant as would the previous years Schedule A tax return.
  6. ❒ Make a list (bullet pointing it is a good idea) of important facts and statistics about your family. Names of children, birth dates, anniversary dates and so on.
  7. ❒ Get a copy of the attorney intake sheet ahead of the meeting. This can allow you more time to concentrate on what you want to talk about and give your attorney a little extra time to consult with you live in person.
  8. ❒ Bring as much information about your spouse as you possibly can. For example, where they are employed, and pay stubs as well as facts regarding their persona. if your spouse has a history of mental health issues, raise these when you have the meeting.
  9. ❒ If you are already at the stage where a divorce case has been filed bring a copy of the documentation you have to the meeting, together with an additional copy of all the documentation for your attorney so it can be examined during the course of the meeting.
  10. ❒ Important and evidence and documents you may have are worth bringing. if you have social media info, emails, text messages and photos that contribute to the reasons why you are getting a divorce, bring all the documentation with you.

Source:

“10 Things to Bring to Your Initial Consultation with a Divorce Lawyer.” Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLP, 6 Feb. 2017, www.orangecountydivorce.com/10-tips-prepare-initial-consultation-divorce-lawyer/.

See Also

Divorce Checklist

Divorce Mediation Checklist

Amicable Divorce Checklist

Need a Divorce Lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix?

We have a network of Arizona mediators, attorneys, tax specialists, 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 lawyersdivorce mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys in Scottsdale are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-240-0040 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce Checklist

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Divorce is one of the most stressful and complex events one goes through during their lifetime. it is vital to not allow important matters to be overlooked. The following divorce checklist should help you to make sure you are on track to complete your case as efficiently as possible. Download the Divorce Checklist PDF

  1. ❒ Obtain a copy of your current credit report. Years after your divorce is over, you do not want to find out there is an overdue credit card statement in your name the divorce did not take into account. Of course, you still have a responsibility to pay debts you may have accidentally overlooked or forgotten. Consider getting a credit report at the outset and the end of the divorce process, too.  You should likewise ask for a copy of your spouse’s credit report.
  2. ❒ Have your U.S. mail redirected by getting a P.O. Box as soon as you commence divorce proceedings. Soon, you will start getting individual mail (attorney letters for example) you will not want your spouse to have access to. Keep in mind though, your spouse does have a right to mail addressed to both of you.
  3. ❒ Change passwords on your most visited websites, social media and other accounts you have online, for example, Amazon. You will also want to open up a new email address you have not had before.
  4. ❒ Find a good checklist for the documents you will need for divorce. Make sure you get copies of all the documents on the list ideally before starting the divorce process. Remember, before the divorce starts, it is far easier to get all your financial information. It is very important going forward, to have all your ducks in a row so you can proceed quickly and with the best possible information.
  5. ❒ Obtain a yearly calendar and record the dates of the parenting schedule. Mistakes are easy to make with schedules or incorrectly handling important dates unless you have it written down.
  6. ❒ Make a list of parenting issues so you can recall what is most important as you now have to deal with these important issues before the divorce. Some things to consider would include (first refusal for babysitting) how your spouse can access the information they may need to know regarding the child or children and so on.
  7. ❒ It is likely time to make a new will and decide upon new beneficiaries for your retirement accounts, investments, and insurance policies following the divorce process.
  8. ❒ When possible, deal with any outstanding health and medical issues before your divorce and that includes exploring options for your own health insurance policy for the future. The former is especially important if you have health issues needing regular attention and you are currently on the health insurance policy of your spouse.
  9. ❒ Before you start the divorce process, take items and personal property you consider to be invaluable and secure them safely in a place that is outside the home and ensure you get any remaining leftover possessions from your ex-spouse as soon as you can once the divorce has been finalized.

Source:

Covy, Karen, and Karen Covy. “How a Simple Divorce Checklist Can Keep You From Making These 10 Common Mistakes.” HuffPost, HuffPost, 12 Oct. 2016, www.huffpost.com/entry/how-a-simple-divorce-checklist-can-keep-you-from-making-these-10-common-mistakes_b_8271322?guccounter=1.

See Also

Divorce Consultation Checklist

Divorce Mediation Checklist

Amicable Divorce Checklist

Need a Divorce Lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix?

We have a network of Arizona mediators, attorneys, tax specialists, 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 lawyersdivorce mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys in Scottsdale are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-240-0040 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce Mediation Checklist

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Divorce mediation is a great way to reduce the pain of the divorce process but both spouses have to be honest and of course, it requires full disclosure from both parties to be successful. Although there may be many issues to tackle, some of which may seem overwhelming, this checklist will help you through the divorce mediation process. Download the Divorce Mediation Checklist PDF

Listing Your Assets

  • ❒ Gather relevant bio info for both parties. For example, the names, addresses and contact info for both parties. As well as the date of marriage, employment records and the gross annual income for each party.
  • ❒ The names and dates of birth of all the children you have together and whether they are over the age of eighteen or not.
  • ❒ Up to date statements for all bank, savings, checking, money markets, and CD accounts. Figure at least 12 to 24 months of statements.
  • ❒ Up to date statements for all bank accounts relevant to your child or children such as 529 plans, CD’s or college saving accounts.  The most recent statements are usually sufficient.
  • ❒ Up to date statements for all bond and stock investments.
  • ❒ List all your vehicles with their Kelley Blue Book value as well as the model and year of the vehicle.
  • ❒ List any lawsuits you have pending where you and/or your spouse are listed as plaintiffs.
  • ❒ Outstanding loan statements or a list of verbally made promises to repay loans where one or both parties are creditors.
  • ❒ Outstanding statements listing all the retirement accounts owned by each party. Examples would include 401 (K)’s, 457’s, 403(b)s, company pension plans, traditional and Roth IRA’s. SEP IRA’s and TIAA-CREF. In certain circumstances, they may need a valuation performed by a professional actuary to ascertain their current market value.
  • ❒ A statement listing employment-related benefits. For example incentive, stock options, golden parachute plans, and cash balance.
  • ❒ Appraisals stating the current market value of real estate individually or jointly owned. This would include, vacation homes, the primary residence, investment properties, timeshares, vacant real estate.
  • ❒ A list of personal properties in the home (or homes) as well as artwork, jewels, antiques or other objects that have a large financial value. It may be the case that special professional appraisals are needed if the value of items cannot be agreed upon.
  • ❒ The current market value of any businesses owned by one or both parties.

Listing Your Liabilities

  • ❒ Statements showing the current balances for all the mortgages, lines of credit or home equity loans for any properties that are individually or owned by both parties.
  • ❒ Motor vehicle loan balance statements held by both parties.
  • ❒ Student loan balance statements held by both parties.
  • ❒ Outstanding loan statements or a list of verbally made promises to repay loans where one or both parties are debtors.
  • ❒ Credit card balance statements for both parties.
  • ❒ All the information regarding civil lawsuits that are pending where one or both of the parties are named as defendants.

Income Details

  • ❒ Six months of income statements and/or pay stubs for both parties including 1099 and W-2 employment details.

Tax Details

  • ❒ Three years of federal and state tax returns and all of the relevant 1099 and W-2 statements.
  • ❒ If one spouse or both together had or have a business, three years worth of corporate tax returns.

Insurance Details

  • ❒ Life insurance policy declaration sheets for all of the policies held by both parties, including a statement expressing the value of cash surrender of any universal life or whole insurance plans.
  • ❒ Disability policies listed with their declaration sheet held by both parties.

Other Needed Documents

  • ❒ Marriage certificate copy.
  • ❒ Trust document copies.
  • ❒ Copies of wills that have been executed during the course of the marriage.
  • ❒ Copies of statements regarding pre-marital agreements, marital agreements or statements regarding pre or post-nuptial agreements.

If you have reasons to question the validity of the information the other party has provided you can raise those issues during the divorce mediation sessions. Rest assured it will be handled in a manner that is not confrontational, fair and will take into account the viewpoint of everyone. By collaboration and mediation, both parties would have pulled together all the information regarding your estate, usually in just a few weeks – as long as the information provided to the mediator is complete and accurate as it can be.

Source:

Pastore, Cris. “Get Ready for Divorce Mediation – A Complete 30-Item Checklist.” Get Ready for Divorce Mediation – A Complete 30-Item Checklist, www.mainlinedivorcemediator.com/healthy-divorce-blog/bid/107374/get-ready-for-divorce-mediation-a-complete-30-item-checklist.

See Also

Divorce Checklist 

Divorce Consultation Checklist

Amicable Divorce Checklist

Need a Divorce Mediator in Scottsdale?

We have a network of Arizona mediators, attorneys, tax specialists, 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 are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-240-0040 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Divorce Peacefully

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If you are searching for “how to divorce peacefully”, “how do I end my marriage peacefully”, or “how to divorce amicably”, this post should help!

What is an Amicable Divorce?

Amicable divorce is a type of civil divorce where both spouses agree to the conditions and terms of property division, child and spousal support, custody, and visitation. In other words, an amicable divorce is a peaceful divorce or uncontested divorce.  There is little or no need for Court involvement or risky or expensive lawyers and litigation.

Peaceful Divorce Options

The best options for a peaceful divorce are divorce mediation or collaborative divorce. Both types of divorce avoid the stress and other issues brought about by conventional court house divorce litigation.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a process you and your spouse decide to go through to determine what is best for both of you and your children (if applicable.) You both meet with a third party mediator who helps you both work to resolve issues enabling you to amicably end your marriage without the large costs and prolonged court battles of hiring lawyers and going through extensive legal proceedings. Some of the issues covered may include (but are not limed to) the distribution of property (liabilities and assets,) retirement, tax. child maintenance/support, parenting time and child custody.  The mediators are usually lawyers or retired judges with deep familiarity with family law in your state.

Learn more about, “What Is Divorce Mediation?

What Is Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is the process of taking a problem and troubleshooting approach to disputes as opposed to dealing with them through the fight and win processes of the court room. Couples choosing this option use a combination of negotiations and mediation to settle the terms of their divorce. Indeed, some courts even insist divorcing parties seek either mediation or collaboration before permitting litigation in the court room. This process also saves money compared to having to pay out fees for attorneys as well as saving time and allows you to negotiate to reach the best possible result.  Many collaborative divorce lawyers will offer fixed-fee rates so you know precisely how much the case will cost from the start.

Learn more about, “Collaborative Divorce

How To Divorce Peacefully With a Mediator or Collaborative Lawyer

The steps to a peaceful divorce include:

  1. Make a mutual decision to get divorced
  2. Decide whether divorce mediation or collaborative divorce is right for you
  3. Contact a mediator or collaborative lawyer to begin the process
  4. Agree on divorce terms and conditions with your spouse through a series of mediations or collaborative divorce group sessions.  Most collaborations resolve by the 3rd or 4th session, which can range from 2 to 3 hours per session.
  5. Sign the final binding agreements
  6. Have your mediator or collaborative lawyer file the final legal paperwork with the Court to sign.

How to File for Amicable Divorce?

  1. Select the appropriate court.
  2. Download and print the uncontested divorce petition papers
  3. Complete the petition
  4. Make 3 copies, sign, and date all copies in front of a notary
  5. File one cope with state district court
  6. Serve one copy to your spouse through intermediary such as professional process server or county constable, pay filing, fee and wait 30-90 days
  7. Prepare divorce settlement agreement
  8. Prepare divorce decree, sign it and have your spouse sign it in front of a notary
  9. File proposed order and divorce settlement agreement with the county clerk after statutory waiting period expires

Or, you can hire a Divorce Mediator to do all the leg work for you. Check out our Amicable Divorce Checklist.

Source

  1. “Amicable Divorce Facts and Tips – Divorce Source.” Divorcesource.com, www.divorcesource.com/ds/uncontested/amicable-divorce-facts-and-tips-4523.shtml.

Need a Divorce Mediator in Phoenix or Scottsdale?

We have a network of Arizona mediators, attorneys, tax specialists, 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 are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-240-0040 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Is Amicable Divorce?

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Amicable divorce is a type of civil divorce where both spouses agree to the conditions and terms of property division, child and spousal support, custody, and visitation. In other words, an amicable divorce is a peaceful divorce or uncontested divorce.

How to File for Amicable Divorce?

  1. Select the appropriate court.
  2. Download and print the uncontested divorce petition papers
  3. Complete the petition
  4. Make 3 copies, sign, and date all copies in front of a notary
  5. File one copy with the appropriate court
  6. Serve one copy to your spouse through intermediary such as professional process server or county constable, pay filing, fee and wait 30-90 days
  7. Prepare divorce settlement agreement
  8. Prepare divorce decree, sign it and have your spouse sign it in front of a notary
  9. File proposed order and divorce settlement agreement with the county clerk after statutory waiting period expires

Or, you can hire a Divorce Mediator to do all the leg work for you. Check out our Amicable Divorce Checklist.

How to Divorce Amicably

  • Step 1: Decide to divorce without blame
  • Step 2: Focus on what’s important
  • Step 3: Don’t hide anything whether assets or liabilities
  • Step 4: Place the needs of your children first, your own needs second
  • Step 5: Work through the divorce with mutual respect, without involving attorneys and out of court, or even with attorneys, but keeping things level headed and out of court.

Learn more about How to Divorce Amicably

How to Have an Amicable Divorce with Children

If you have children, you can still file for amicable divorce. The amicable divorce process with children is only a little more complex. Children add issues to divorce in terms of child support, custody terms, and parenting responsibility. Having children that are minors may impact the way the cars, family home, and other assets become divided. This can create opportunities for parties to disagree or for spouses to be too far apart on issues to reach an agreement. A divorce mediator or collaborative divorce attorney can provide objective insight into possible solutions that would work best for children and spouses.

Parental issues involving minor children and divorce include:

  • Child Custody: Which spouse will have physical custody of the child(ren)?
  • Living Arrangements: What location will the child(ren) live?
  • Visitation Rights: How often will a non-custodial parent be able to see their child(ren)?
  • Child Support: How much will a non-custodial parent have to pay to the primary caregiver?

Amicable Divorce Advantages

The biggest advantages of amicable divorce are fast speed and low cost. Since both parties agree to the divorce, the process happens more quickly and cost less since you need fewer services from a lawyer.

  • Fast Divorce
  • Low Cost Divorce
  • Easier on Children
  • Better Relationship with Spouse After Divorce
  • Faster resolution, means your single again sooner and on with your new life.

How Much Does Amicable Divorce Cost?

On average amicable divorce costs about $7,500 per spouse. Costs ranged from $5,000 to $10,000 per spouse for the US in 2019. This estimate includes hiring a divorce mediator or collaborative divorce attorney. Most attorneys charge anywhere from $300 to $700 an hour for their time.

Source

  1. “Amicable Divorce Facts and Tips – Divorce Source.” Divorcesource.com, www.divorcesource.com/ds/uncontested/amicable-divorce-facts-and-tips-4523.shtml.

Need a Divorce Mediator in Scottsdale?

We have a network of Arizona mediators, attorneys, tax specialists, 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 are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-240-0040 or [email protected].com. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Grounds For Divorce In Arizona

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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.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Is Divorce Mediation & How Does It Work?

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You may benefit from divorce mediation if you and your spouse can overcome feelings of resentment and anger and want to avoid finger-pointing, needless discovery, court hearings and a costly trial you may benefit far more from pursuing divorce mediation. This posting can help you decide which path your divorce should take from here.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation allows couples who are divorcing a process to meet with neutral third-parties serving as specially trained mediators to resolve common divorce issues out of court.  Mediation is far less stressful and expensive than a divorce trial. it also is usually a far faster route because your spouse and you have the last say over the matters of your divorce as opposed to asking a judge to decide.  Most couples “mediate out” of their divorce cases in less than half the time and expense typically incurred in a conventional court house litigated divorce case.

When there was a lack of communication, perhaps partially responsible for the demise of the relationship, mediation gives you both the chance to rebuild your skills of communication. Even the most trained professional can help couples with poor communication skills achieve a successful negotiation.  Most mediations start and wrap up in one day.  The Rule 69 agreement you sign at the end of your mediation is 100% binding the instant you walk out the door.  There is no “do over” or second chances to mediate again the following day if you both sign a final agreement.

How Do Parents Choose A Mediator?

Undoubtedly when children are involved, divorce becomes more complicated. The parents will have to find a mediator who can deal with issues like:

  • Child custody.
  • Divorce.
  • Child support.
  • Visitation.

Your divorce mediator will need to have well-developed skills in conflict resolution and have extensive knowledge of the divorce laws in your state. The mediator can also help to facilitate meaningful conversations between the spouses and minimize the drama that can come with a divorce. A mediator can keep the conversation on track and point you towards a resolution for outstanding issues. Nonetheless, the mediator cannot make decisions on your behalf or insist on any partner signs a contract or accepts a certain term. Nobody is forced to sign a final agreement at mediation, you can “Sleep on it” if you so choose.

How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

In most states, mediation is voluntary and once the mediation process commences a spouse can bring it to a close if they want or continue to proceed with the litigation instead. Should they bring the mediation to a close the traditional divorce route is usually followed as a court will not force a spouse to take part in mediation if they do not have the desire to do so. However, in some states, the court wishes the couple to demonstrate they have made good faith efforts to go through the mediation process before proceeding with further hearings at the court.  To that end, some judges will divert you to mediation prior to giving you a formal trial date.

Mediation can only work if both spouses are willing to negotiate the terms of the divorce. Usually, there will be an initial meeting between the mediator and the spouses. At the first meeting, each spouse will then have the chance to express their expectations for the most common divorce-related issues, such as:

  • Division of property.
  • Visitation and child custody.
  • Child support.
  • Spousal maintenance or alimony.

The mediator will gain an idea from the initial discussion of how far apart the spouses are and what areas will need further development before resolution.

Mediation does not have a time limit except for legal statutory limitations of divorce. Put another way, mediation can continue for as long as required to reach a compromise. Obviously the longer it takes, the more expensive it becomes. Whether you meet weekly, monthly or other times. Most couples can complete the process in one or a few sessions costing thousands of dollars less than having to go to the court and litigate.

Once the outstanding issues have been agreed, the mediator will draft a settlement of divorce agreement for both spouses (and their attorneys) to sign, review and present to the judge.  Typically judges will “rubber stamp” and approve 99% of mediated agreements brought to them.

Will Divorce Mediation Work For Me?

There is no doubt many spouses find mediation helpful in the divorce process and allows them to obtain a divorce with as little pain as possible. However, mediation can only work if you and your spouse agree to compromise. You are far more likely to have a mediation that is successful if most or all the following statements are true.

Your Spouse & You Agree To Divorce

Divorces are not always contentious and if the decision to divorce is one that has been mutually agreed, a petition for divorce can be filed together or one spouse can file with the other spouse’s advance knowledge. This makes the process far easier to negotiate and work together to find solutions for outstanding issues in the mediation process.

There Is No History Of Domestic Violence

During divorce mediation, it is essential for frequent meetings between the two spouses, the mediator, and possibly attorneys. If there is a history of domestic abuse between spouses, many mediators will not accept the case as it is tough to keep both spouses working together and presents a challenge to the mediator if they must determine if the victim of the settlement because of intimidation or fear from the abuser. In the states where mediation is a requirement, if a history of physical violence can be demonstrated, the court will excuse you from these mandatory mediation sessions.

Both Spouses Are Forthcoming About Finances

Finances are one of the most complicated parts of any divorce process. Both spouses must be happy to provide the other with complete financial information, including sensitive information, relating to pensions, stocks, retirements, bank accounts, and other debts and assets. In many marriages usually, one partner is more familiar with family liabilities and assets than the other. You will need all the relevant financial info or must investigate and understand marital estate before you agree to the terms of a proposed property settlement.  This process standing alone, can take several months to complete, before a meaningful mediation session can occur.

You Agree On Custody Terms

Next to finances, visitation and child custody can be the most challenging aspect in divorce cases. For the sake of the children, most parents can set aside their differences – however, sometimes even the best of intentions are met with other complications and further issues.

Divorce mediation is a great way to work with your future co-parent when deciding who should care for the children daily, who should be responsible for the payment of child support and the frequency and type of visitation the non-custodial parent will have.

Undoubtedly, parents know what is best for their children and the most effective way of ensuring your divorce judgment to protect the best interest of the children and to negotiate the terms for custody with your spouse. If a roadblock is reached in the discussion of custody, the mediator will be able to offer suggestions or advice on how to resolve the issues without asking the court for help.

You will need the intervention of the court if your spouse and you disagree on custody, especially when there are allegations of neglect or abuse. The court can determine the arrangement that will be in your child’s best interests by utilizing the custody process of your state before the judge makes a final decision.  There will be a winner and a loser when parties force cases back into the court room.

Need a Divorce Mediator in Scottsdale?

We have a network of Arizona mediators, attorneys, tax specialists, 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 are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-240-0040 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Different Types Of Family Law Cases

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Family law cases are unique from civil cases and only involve issues concerning or between parents, children, and spouses and their assets and liabilities.

Family courts handle many different varieties of cases regarding domestic issues. The most common cases handled in a family court include:

Marriage Dissolution

When either spouse wants to terminate a marriage, either party can commence a divorce case through a family court requesting a court order to end the marriage. Marriages can be terminated either through annulment or divorce. Legal separation is another resolution a court may grant, where the court issues orders allocating the property, debts, child custody issues, and spousal maintenance, but the parties remain married legally thereafter.  Legal Separation has the benefit of allowing both parties to likely remain on the family health care coverage post-Separation.

Paternity and Child Custody

Not all parents are married when having children.  When a man needs to be legally declared the father of a child, either parent can determine paternity by commencing a paternity action with the family court that will establish the permanent rights of both the father and mother of the child. Unmarried parents can also ask the court to order physical custody, legal custody, child support, and visitation schedules.

Protective Orders Against Domestic Violence

In situations of domestic violence, the family court can issue protective orders to keep the abuser away from the victims and the children, including homes, work places and other areas frequented by the victim(s).

Lawful Name Changes

In any divorce action, a name change to restore one’s maiden name is easily obtained.

Guardianship

Guardianship involves a determination of who is responsible for the personal, financial and medical decisions over an adult or a child who cannot take care of themselves because of mental or physical impairments, or both.

Termination of Parental Rights And Adoptions

If there are serious reasons why a parent should not continue to have a parent relationship with a minor child, (such as neglect, abuse, abandonment, and so on) that parent’s custodial rights may be terminated by the family court. The family court can grant (and legally create) an adoption when someone else wants to become a legal parent of a child and “step into the shoes” of the original birthing parent.

Juvenile Matters

Allegations of child neglect, child abuse or where minors are accused of participating in illegal behavior are all matters overseen by the juveline court and largely handled by the District Attorney Juvenile Division. Work permits for minors under the age of 14 may also be granted by the juvenile court.

Emancipation and Approval of Underage Marriages

Those under 18 who wish to be emancipated (legally free from their parent’s control) or wishing to marry can petition for approval from the family court.  These are not necessarily easy to obtain.

Need a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale?

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce Mediation Pros & Cons

Wondering if divorce mediation is right for you? We’ve put together a list of pros and cons of divorce mediation so you can decide for yourself.

Divorce Mediation Pros

1. Costs Less

Divorce mediation almost always costs less than conventional divorce litigation.

2. Split Pay

Divorce mediation allows both parties to pay for the mediation professional which makes it even cheaper.

3. Divorce Peacefully

Allows parties to work amicably together to find a common resolution vs parties going after each other in court, the mediator has seen many cases like yours and helps work through the disputes.

4. Divorce Without Court Appearance

With divorce mediation, you will never have to step foot in a courtroom, ever.

5. Private Divorce

Divorce Mediation is private, unlike litigated divorce which is public.

6. Keeps you in control

Don’t let the court make decisions for you. With divorce mediation, you can take your future into your own hands and make decisions that fit your individual situation better.  Who is better at shaping your future, you and your spouse or a stranger in a black robe.

7. Is easier on your child(ren)

Divorce mediation is much easier for your children since you aren’t fighting each other in court and you’re preserving resources for the children’s future.

8. Better Long-Term Relationships

You have a better chance of a long-term co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse since you aren’t fighting each other in court.

However, divorce mediation does have a few cons as well, including:

Divorce Mediation Cons

1. Negotiations Can Fail

If you and your spouse can’t come to a formal signed agreement at the conclusion of mediation, you have to start all over again which wastes time and money.

2. Assets Could Be Hidden

If assets are being hidden from you, you or your mediator may never find out. In contrast, during a litigated case, a divorce attorney can perform an independent investigation and use the discovery process to find out if your spouse is hiding cash or assets.

3. Doesn’t Work for Aggressive Spouses

Divorce mediation may not work if you are trying to mediate a divorce with an aggressive spouse as mediation requires actual compromise from both spouses.

5. Mediators Can’t Give Legal Advice

Divorce mediators cannot give legal advice, rather, they help you come to an agreement that is reasonable for both parties based on their experience.

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

How To Negotiate A Divorce Settlement With Your Spouse

*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]

Speak With Our Divorce Mediators In Scottsdale

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 are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How To Negotiate a Divorce Settlement With Your Spouse

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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]

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