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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Child Custody Questions in Scottsdale

There is typically an increase in divorces in the New Year. The Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group know that divorce often brings about child custody concerns. A popular question in Scottsdale divorce cases is whether or not a parent can take a child away from the other parent if there is currently no legal decision-making and parenting time orders in place.

In Arizona, a person can be charged with the crime of custodial interference even before there is a court order regarding legal decision-making and parenting time or if he/ she takes, entices (persuades) or withholds any child from the other parent and denies that parent access to any child. If the parent takes the child(ren) to another state, the penalties are even more severe.

However, there are some exceptions in the law, which involve a case where the parent has filed an emergency petition regarding custodial rights with the superior court and has received a hearing date from the court. The law is complicated and the risks are high, so the best option is to get the advice of a lawyer before leaving with your child if at all possible. You should never leave the state with your children without first speaking to a licensed attorney.

If a domestic violence victim is accused of wrongfully absconding with the children, he/she can seek to counter these allegations by:

  • He / she has begun the process to get an order of protection or files a petition for legal decision-making within a reasonable period of time and the order of protection or legal decision-making petition states his/her belief that the child was at risk if left with the other parent

The parent either:

  • has a good faith and reasonable belief that the taking, enticing or withholding of the child is necessary to protect the child from immediate danger; OR
  • the parent is a victim of domestic violence by the other parent and has a good faith and reasonable belief that the child will be in immediate danger if the child is left with the other parent.

However, it is still best to get legal advice before leaving to make sure that your planned behavior would not violate the law.

The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have significant expertise in child custody issues and can capably guide you through the legal process. Your children are counting on you to make the right decision both before and after the divorce case has been filed. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Child Custody Tips for the New Year

During the New Year, many parents strive to improve child custody situations. As authorities in Scottsdale child custody, the lawyers at Canterbury Law Group can offer suggestions to help ensure your success:

Be Actively Involved – Make sure you are able to demonstrate that you are significantly involved in your child’s life by taking an active role in the care, development, and discipline of your child. If the child is young, participate in feeding, bathing, walking, reading, napping and medical care. As they grow older, take part in their educational development and extracurricular activities. Get to know your children’s teachers, doctors, counselors, and coaches. Your ability to demonstrate the extent and quality of time with your child prior to and post separation is critical. If the other parent is interfering with your involvement, document your attempts and the resistance that you are receiving.

Establish a Physical Custody Schedule – If you live separately from the other parent, it is critical that you negotiate a physical custody schedule that accurately represents your long-term goal of shared parenting, ideally before a custody petition or court complaint has been filed. If you currently have a visitation agreement, make every effort not to miss any of your scheduled time.

Promote Involvement of the other Parent – Show that you encourage the contact and active involvement between your child and the other parent. Unless clear evidence shows the child is in danger while in their care, the Family Court will frown upon your interference with the child’s relationship to their other parent.

Provide a Healthy, Stable Environment – Present a safe, nurturing and stable environment. Demonstrate that you provide a healthy environment by maintaining a steady, clutter free home with a bedroom for your child and a safe play space. Provide regular, nutritious meals and keep a record of your grocery receipts. Get those kids to bed early and to school on time.

If you need assistance with your custody or joint parenting plan, contact the Phoenix divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group! We can help ensure the New Year is enjoyable for all.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Tips if Divorce Is Your Resolution in the New Year

If you are considering filing for divorce in the near future, you are not alone. The month of January has long been marked down in the calendars of family law attorneys, including the Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group, as “Divorce Month.” In fact, many firms see an increase in the number of consultations upwards of 30 percent beginning the Monday after New Year’s.

While contributing factors vary, the fact remains that many couples will begin this year with a resolution to end their marriage. No matter the reason, there are many things that anyone looking into divorce for the first time needs to know that will help them get through the process smoothly while protecting their rights:

1. Do not move out of the marital home – If you wish to keep yourself in a good position to obtain a fair custody arrangement and also want to mitigate potential financial burdens, do not pack up and move out of the marital home. This is one of the top mistakes that many spouses continue to make, and it can start you off at a disadvantage out of the gate.

2. Research divorce laws for your specific state – There are very few, if any at all, states that have identical laws regarding the various aspects of divorce. You will want to do plenty of research over areas that you know may come up if you and your spouse decide to split specific to your local jurisdiction.

3. Set up a consultation with an attorney – Even if you aren’t certain you will need to retain an attorney or that you will even end up filing for divorce at all, it is a really good idea to meet with an expert familiar with your state’s divorce laws. Many attorneys and firms offer initial consultations, though even when there is a charge, it is well worth the fee to get accurate information you can trust as you plan your next move.
If you’re looking for a Scottsdale divorce attorney and / or family law attorney, contact us today. Any delay can affect your future and the wellbeing of you and your children.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

3 Reasons to Skip Mediation in Your Divorce

Depending on individual divorce circumstances, the Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group may or may not suggest mediation in divorce. For a divorce mediation to be successful and end in a fair and equitable settlement, several factors need to be present. First, both of the parties should have similar financial circumstances, including equal earnings and relatively equal separate assets. Second, both parties should be equally agreeable to the divorce, and they should have an amicable relationship with one another. Third, both parties should have an excellent understanding of the other party’s income and finances, and have equal access to the other’s financial statements. Finally, both parties need to be equally competent negotiators and be in equal negotiating positions. If any of those factors are not present, the divorce is not a good candidate for mediation. Thus, you should proceed with caution before electing mediation.

If you are considering mediation, here are reasons you should think twice before proceeding.

1. No one is looking out for your interests – it is not the job of the mediator to look out for your interests. Rather, the mediator’s job is to act as a neutral party to facilitate the parties reaching their own agreement. In fact, since a mediator is legally bound to be neutral, he or she cannot alert or advise you if an agreement is unfair. Worse yet, some mediators will subtly push the parties into accepting an unfair agreement simply so they can claim that the mediation was a “success.” This is why you are supposed to retain a divorce attorney to advise you in the background during the mediation process.

2. Mediation can cost as much or more than a traditional divorce – People often choose mediation because they think it will be less expensive than a regular litigated divorce. While it can be, this is frequently not the case. People entering mediation are almost always surprised to hear that they should hire their own attorneys to represent them in the background during the process. Once they hear that advice, much of the appeal of mediation disappears. That is why most people ignore that crucial advice, and proceed with mediation without representation. Another, frequently overlooked aspect of mediation that can end up making it more expensive than traditional divorce is the high risk of an unfavorable marital settlement agreement. Lack of knowledge about your spouse’s financial assets, ignorance of the law, and poor negotiating skills can easily cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars when you end getting less than you otherwise would have if you had retained a divorce attorney. You have not saved money if you negotiate a poor marital settlement agreement.

3. There is no guarantee you will settle your case in mediation – If you do proceed with mediation correctly and hire a divorce attorney to represent you in the background, mediation will likely cost you and your spouse anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 — and you may not succeed in reaching an agreement with your spouse. If you don’t reach an agreement, you may have to start the process over again with traditional divorce litigation. And any money you have spent on mediation will have been wasted, sent down the drain.
To discuss your options in a Scottsdale divorce, call us today to schedule a consultation.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Gray Divorce After 50: The Increasing Importance of a Spouse Finding Employment

At Canterbury Law Group, the lawyers work with leading industry professionals in the Valley and beyond. Not only do we help our clients form impactful relationships that assist in their continued success after case resolution, but The Firm stays abreast of all matters that impact our client’s legal matters before, during and after the case is resolved.

Emerging trends have recognized that Americans aged 50+ and older are getting divorced at a higher rate than younger people. This trend, coupled with increasing life expectancy is leading to more emphasis being placed on the employment of dependent spouses to contribute to their income stream after a divorce.

People 50 and older comprised 25% of all Americans who got divorced in 2014, up from 8% in 1990, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. Those who quit their marriage late in life can substantially reduce their standard of living and sacrifice their retirement security due to a number of factors. It’s a lot more expensive to live in separate households, and when retirement savings must be divided. Both spouses’ income sources need to be maximized before and after retirement when a divorce occurs.

One Arizona expert witness, Bradford H. Taft, MBA, CMF, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CFLC, Managing Director of Taft Vocational Experts and Chief Career Strategist of Taft Career Group, has provided valuable information for adults choosing to divorce later in life both during and after a case has resolved.

The traditional role of a divorce vocational expert is to evaluate a spouse’s earning capacity, conduct a labor market analysis, and opine on a spouse’s employability and earning capacity for consideration in determining spousal maintenance and/or child support. By providing these analyses and conclusions, vocational experts play a valuable role in the divorce process.

Vocational evaluators who have a strong understanding of the career transition process including how to plan and implement effective job search campaigns, post-divorce, can bring a high level of efficiency in helping a spouse find a new job. This is especially valuable to a spouse who has been out of the job market for an extended period of time and needs to locate employment as soon as possible. No parent or spouse wants to start over—however, a seasoned vocational expert witness can help bridge that gap.

Here are three steps from Taft Vocational Experts to planning and implementing a “Job Search Campaign” that a vocational expert can assist with:

1. Career Assessment and Objective Setting – In the vocational evaluation during divorce proceedings, an expert gathers information and then evaluates a spouse’s education, interests, skills, knowledge, and experience to determine what career options are the best fit. Then they conduct a labor market analysis to assess the likelihood that an individual can get a job, and what they can expect to earn, both immediately and in the long-term. By continuing to work with the individual to focus on career objectives that match their talents and interests, a vocational expert helps the individual to effectively concentrate on a realistic career direction.

2. Written and Verbal Communication – Once the career objective has been established, it’s time to write a resume along with creating other communication tools to broadcast one’s talents and interests to the job market. A vocational expert can help the job seeker create a strong message that shows how their talents can contribute to the success of organizations.

Verbal communications include brief (30 and 60 second) personal branding statements to effectively introduce themselves in networking situations. Preparing for job interviews includes anticipating what questions a prospective employer will ask as well as creating a list of questions that the candidate wants to ask the employer.

3. Effective Sources of Job Leads – After career objectives have been set and communications tools have been developed, the job seeker is ready to use a number of sources to identify job leads. Surveys show that networking to develop referrals into perspective employers is still the best way to find a new career opportunity, so specific emphasis is placed on how to identify referral sources, develop relationships and get introduced to hiring managers. The Internet has revolutionized the job search process, so learning how to use it effectively to research companies, support networking strategies, identify job postings, and submit applications is also important.

By following through to support a spouse in planning and developing an effective job search campaign, the vocational expert can assume an expanded role in ensuring a positive outcome to the divorce process.

If you or a friend are contemplating divorce or going through a divorce case now, consider our lawyers and staff as your top resource to help you garner your best results in such a challenging life transition. Email the firm today at [email protected] or call 480-744-7711 for a complimentary consultation.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Back to School Tips for Divorced Parents

Back to school season can be quite stressful for children, especially if their parents got divorced over the summer. In an effort to ease your child’s transition back to school, we have tips that can promote a healthy shift. At Canterbury Law Group, our legal team works diligently to ensure children are the top priority in every divorce case.

  • 1. Split costs of back to school necessities – From backpacks and lunch boxes to calculators and uniforms, sending your kids back to school can quickly become an expensive event. When possible, split the costs with your ex. Keep your receipts.
  • 2. Meet the teacher together – Attend the new teacher meeting together. Let him/her that your child’s family is separated and relay the custody arrangements. Be sure to keep the line of communication open with your child’s teacher throughout the school year.
  • 3. Share contact information – Both parents should provide their contact details to the school. It’s also great to have formal correspondence from the school sent to both parents.
  • 4. Make the transition as easy as possible – See this as the time to focus on your child rather than your divorce. From split custody time to financial adjustments, try to move forward in a positive way.
  • 5. Discuss school routines – It is important that ex-spouses keep the lines of communication open. It is also important to discuss any changes to schedules with your ex and not in front of the children.
  • 6. Listen to your child – What your child has to say is very important, so ask questions that relates to their new life. How will your child explain the divorce to classmates and teachers? Let your children know it is normal and help him or her to decide ahead of time what they will say to others.

Divorce can be one of the most challenging times of your life. If divorce has become a reality for you, hiring a qualified divorce lawyer can be critical to your future. Call the Scottsdale divorce layers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule you consultation. 480-744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Obtain a Divorce When Your Spouse Won’t Agree

The Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group have represented hundreds of clients in Scottsdale divorce cases. Although every case is unique, often we see one spouse refusing divorce. No one can stop you from getting a divorce if you want one, with the possible exception of the court. If you don’t follow proper legal procedure, a judge can deny your divorce, forcing you to start over. However, your spouse can’t stop you, but she or he can complicate the process.

Here are steps in getting a divorce, even when your spouse will not agree:

  • 1. Any reason is sufficient to file for divorce. Contrary to popular belief, neither spouse needs an reason or grounds for seeking to terminate the marriage. As a “no fault” state, Arizona courts and judges are actually prohibited from inquiring into the romantic issues of either spouse during the trial or otherwise. Put another way, it does not matter how you got here, you have a legal right to divorce if and when you are ready.
  • 2. Research the rules for service of process in your state. Make sure you understand exactly what you have to do to ensure that your spouse legally receives a copy of your divorce petition after you file it. If you err, your spouse can say they were not properly served and block your divorce proceedings. You could still get a divorce, but you’d have to start the process all over again. Do it right the first time and have them served by a licensed process server.
  • 3. Wait out the period of time your spouse has to answer your divorce petition. If he/she files a response with the court, you’ll probably have to resolve your divorce by trial or mutual consent; some spouses won’t agree to a settlement if they don’t want the divorce in which case you are forced to trial and the judge makes all final decisions of equitable distribution.
  • 4. Prepare for a Default Judgment Hearing if your spouse does answer your divorce petition. Even assuming your spouse “no-shows” on the case, after a certain number of days have elapsed, and assuming you properly served your opponents, you can petition the Court in writing to procure a Default Judgment of Divorce wherein all items requested in your original petition and can and typically is granted by the Court assuming no defense or response is ever tendered by your opponent. In the end you’ll be divorced and he or she will have never set foot in a court of law.

The Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have represented women and men, young and old, in their complicated divorce cases. To discuss your options in a Scottsdale divorce, call today to schedule a consultation. 480-744-7711

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Trends Between Age and Divorce Rate

Divorce rates for couples who marry in their teens and after their early 30s are on the rise, while couples who marry in their late 20s and early 30s have the greatest chance of a successful marriage, according to a recent study by a University of Utah professor.

The report, published on for the Institute for Family Studies, showed people who marry at 25 are more than 50 percent less likely to get a divorce than people who wed at age 20. And until age 32, each additional year of age at marriage reduces the odds of divorce by 11 percent. After age 32, the odds of divorce increase by 5 percent each year.

This data has been a considerable surprise and appears to be something that’s just developed over the last 20 years. The data leaves little indication as to why divorce rates are changing for people who marry in their mid-30s or later. The trend also remains constant across a variety of other factors, including gender, race, education, religious participation, sexual history and the size of the metropolitan area they live in.

  • In 1995, the five-year divorce rate for newlyweds younger than 20 was 29 percent, with a rapid decline to 19 percent for couples ages 20 through 24. Divorce rates continued to shrink the older couples were when they got married, with couples ages 35 and older having a divorce rate of 14 percent.
  • An analysis of data from 2006 through 2010, however, showed a 32 percent divorce rate for couples younger than 20. That rate went down to 14 percent for 30- to 34-year-olds, but increased by 5 percent for couples older than 35, creating an upward trend from previous years.
  • In 2011, the median marriage age for men was 29 — the highest in decades — and 27 for women — the highest it’s ever been, according to the report.

No matter what your age, going through a divorce can be one of the most challenging times of your life. If divorce has become a reality for you, hiring a qualified divorce lawyer can be critical to your future. Call the Scottsdale divorce layers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule you consultation. 480-744-7711 or www.canterburylawgroup.com

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

4 American Trends that Affect Divorce

The divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have extensive industry experience and are authorities on the evolving trends in the divorce area. Similar to nearly everything in life and the law, divorce has changed with the times and will continue to do so.

Contrary to popular belief; the divorce rate in the United States is declining. After peaking in 1980 with 22.6 divorces per 1,000 married women, aged 15 and older in the U.S., the rate has been going down ever since. In 2009, there were 16.9 divorces per 1,000 married women. However, what’s really happening is that there are fewer marriages overall. Fewer marriages translate into fewer opportunities to get divorced—and that equals declining divorce rates.

Here are four trends in society that are affecting divorce rates:

1. The surge in cohabitation ended. The number of cohabiting couples grew from 400,000 in 1960 to 3.8 million in 2000. But since then, rates of cohabitation have leveled off. About 12 to 14 percent of never-married adults lived together with a partner in 2008-2010, essentially unchanged since 2000.

2. People are delaying marriage longer than ever before. The percentage of women aged 20 to 24 who have ever married declined from 31 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2008-2010. For men, the percentage dropped from 21 to 11 percent.

3. Americans are increasingly jumping on the “marriage-go-round.” More Americans are going from marriage to divorce to remarriage, sometimes multiple times. Among currently married men, those who are remarried increased from 17 percent in 1980 to 25 percent in 2008-2010. The changes for women are similar.

4. Who are most likely to have “traditional” families in America? Immigrants. Regardless of education and race or ethnicity, immigrants tend to be married at a higher rate, are less likely to cohabit (except for Hispanics), and divorce and remarry at a lower percentage when compared with their U.S.-born counterparts.

If you’re contemplating divorce, hiring a great divorce layer can be critical to your future. Call the Scottsdale divorce layers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule you consultation. 480-744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Tips for Fathers Trying to Get Custody

Many fathers assume they won’t have a fair trial when trying to obtain legal custody of their child. This is not true, although it is crucial to have experienced and trusted child custody help in Phoenix. The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have years of experience recognizing and building formidable cases that will protect your interests and maximize your parenting time.

If you’re a father hoping for custody of your child, we have tips that may help you and your case:

1. Pay Child Support: A father who wants custody of a child should prioritize making regular child support payments. If he has an informal arrangement with the child’s mother, it is crucial to maintain records such as check receipts or a written letter from the child’s mother detailing the support arrangements. If a father is struggling with child support payments, he should request a modification rather than sacrificing a payment.

2. Maintain a Strong Relationship: Even if the child is not in the custody of the father, a relationship can still consistent. The dad should call the child frequently and check in on their day, schedule a time to stop by the child’s school and introduce himself to the administration and ensure the child knows that he’s there to offer any assistance necessary. A father who wants custody should also attend the child’s social, educational, religious and other important events as evidence of a continuing relationship with the child.

3. Keep Precise Records: A father should maintain an accurate visitation schedule record to help obtain child custody. A father can capture accurate visitation records by developing and maintaining a parenting plan.

4. Prepare a Space for Your Child At Home: A father should make a special place in his home for the child, regardless of the size of the home. A court will inquire about adequate living accommodations during all child custody hearings, so a father should be prepared to respond to the judge’s inquiry.

5. Consider Mediation: A father who wants custody of a child should consider mediation or arbitration, prior to undergoing an adversarial court hearing. In mediation or arbitration, cases are decided by a neutral third party. For a father, custody proceedings in a courtroom may be difficult to handle, so he may prefer the smaller, friendlier setting associated with mediation or arbitration.

Our legal team has extensive experience in child custody help in Scottsdale. We help fathers get fair and equitable treatment by the courts. Recent changes to Arizona law mandate that the court treat both mothers and fathers equally in the eyes of the law. If a man fears that his wife may leave and take the children, it is his obligation to ensure he takes steps needed to protect his role as the father. That may mean consulting an attorney before his wife has the opportunity to file for a divorce. The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have significant expertise in father’s rights issues and can capably guide you through. Your children are counting on you to make the right decisions both before and after the divorce case has been filed.

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