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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

4 Child Custody Tips to Incorporate Into The Holiday Season

A key driver of any divorce with children, after the dust settles, is a court enforceable joint parenting plan. Typically when parents cannot mutually agree on a child-rearing plan, the court will often establish a written plan and court order that both parents must follow concerning the children’s health and welfare. Arizona law requires that the best interest of the child be the lead consideration above any other.

At Canterbury Law Group, the family law attorneys in Scottsdale have helped thousands of parents achieve mutually agreeable custody road maps, and help navigate the changes needed when children’s schedules fluctuate as they grow and mature. Here are some common ways that parents divide and share holiday time under the law:

Alternate holidays every other year. You can assign holidays to each parent for even years and then swap the holidays in odd years. With this arrangement, you won’t miss spending a holiday with your child more than one year in a row. For example, this year she gets Thanksgiving and next year he gets it.

Split the holiday in half. You can split the day of the holiday so that your child spends part of the day with each parent. This arrangement requires planning and coordination because you don’t want your child to spend holidays traveling all day. However for longer holidays like Spring Break you can get the front 5 days and they get the other 5 days, and you reverse the time exchange the year after.

Schedule a holiday twice. You can schedule time for each parent to celebrate a holiday with your child. For example, one parent can celebrate Christmas with the child on Dec. 20th and the other parent on the 25th. The following year would reverse the order. Younger children, in particular may not even notice!

Assign fixed holidays. You can have each parent celebrate the same holidays with the child every year. If parents have different holidays that they think are important, each parent can have those holidays every year. For example, military spouses may want Veterans Day or Fourth of July every year and the other parent, in exchange would get Labor Day and Memorial Day every year.

The Scottsdale family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group can help you keep the legal peace with your ex and enjoy a great vacation with your kids. If you need legal advice, call us today (480-744-7711) to schedule your consultation.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Find a Family Law Attorney in Scottsdale

Family law is a complex legal area requiring measured and detailed strategy and execution, and the courtroom is ultimately where many significant and life changing decisions are made. The dedicated Scottsdale family attorneys at Canterbury Law Group will ensure thorough preparation for every public hearing appearance all the way through trial. Your lawyer, like you, will know the facts, the law and position you to achieve the highest degree of success the law allows.
If you are considering hiring a family law attorney in Scottsdale, Canterbury Law Group has tips for you:

  • Identify the potential need for as attorney early on – If you think a legal battle may be on the horizon, it is worth your time to meet with a Scottsdale lawyer so that you are familiar with one that you like before you are in a high-pressure situation. Otherwise, your selection may be driven by who has the time to meet with you rather than who the best fit is.
  • Talk to trusted sources – There is no substitute for word of mouth when it comes to hiring an attorney. Financial advisors, therapists, attorneys practicing in other areas and CPAs usually know good family attorneys, as do people who have been divorced in the last couple of years. Ironically, some recent divorcees may refer you to their former spouse’s attorney because they were more effective.
  • Appoint a seasoned litigator – Attorneys that focus highly in family law are usually best situated to assess your case properly because they know the judges’ patterns and nuances and the other attorneys and have the most relevant knowledge and exper, they are familiar opposing the other lawyers in the industry and can handle your case efficiently. They also are more up-to-date on changes and trends in the law.
  • Ask questions of the attorney – At your initial consultation, bring a list of questions. A good attorney will appreciate your thoroughness. Suggested questions to ask include:
    • How long have you practiced family law?
    • What is your approach to a new case?
    • What percentage of cases do you settle?
    • What is your approach to settling a case?
    • What retainer do you require up front? Although the retainer should be within your price range, keep in mind that cheaper is not always better.
    • Is any unused portion of the retainer refundable?
    • Who in your firm will work on my case and how much will I pay for their time? Ask to be introduced to others who will work on your case.
    • How often will I receive an accounting of my retainer? The answer should be at least once a month.

Hiring a qualified Scottsdale family attorney can be critical to your future. Call the lawyers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule you consultation. www.canterburylawgroup.com

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Scottsdale Family Attorneys at Canterbury Law Group

The Scottsdale family attorneys at Canterbury Law Group handle all types of Phoenix and Scottsdale family law matters including divorce, child custody, paternity, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, spousal maintenance, Decree enforcement, child relocation, father’s rights, mother’s rights and grandparents’ rights.

If you are not sure whether or not you need a family law attorney in Scottsdale, here is an outline of what our lawyers can likely help you with:

  • Divorce – 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. 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.
  • Prenups/Postnups – Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be smart financial planning tools for all marriages but are especially common in second and third marriages, for business owners and/or when one partner has a large inheritance (received or expected in the future
  • Father’s Rights – Our attorneys are experienced in helping Fathers get fair and equitable treatment by the courts in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Arizona.
  • Child Custody – Typically when parents cannot mutually agree on a child-rearing plan, the court will often establish a plan that both parents must follow concerning the children’s health and welfare. Arizona law requires that the best interest of the child be the lead consideration above any other.
  • Alimony – Spousal maintenance is where one spouse pays the other spouse monthly support payments for a defined term of months or years after the divorce is final to help the less wealthy spouse transition to the next phase of their life and ideally for them to be come self-sufficient.
  • Paternity – When a couple has children without being married, they should still legally establish who the lawful father of the child is, as well as determine what rights and obligations exist toward the child. Get your court orders now, while the child is young—do not wait until later.
  • Relocation – Out of state relocation by parents and children has become a common issue in family law and is taken extremely seriously as it often has a profound impact on all involved. As a result, Arizona has very detailed laws which outline specific requirements and guidelines for cases involving a parent who wishes to relocate the child or to prevent child relocation out of state.
  • Grandparents – Once a grandparents’ rights petition is filed, the court will consider several specific statutory factors to determine whether a court-ordered grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the child. These rights cannot be pursued unless at least one parent is dead or the parents are divorced.

Ultimately, we realize that hiring a Scottsdale family attorney can be a challenging task. Call the lawyers 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

Johnny Depp Hearings Shine Spotlight on Abuse

The legal problems between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard over her claims of spousal abuse have been making international headlines. The two sides are due to face off as Heard pursues an extension of a domestic violence restraining order that was granted last month. The court set a status conference for August and the judge extended the temporary restraining order that bars Depp from going within 100 yards of Heard.

This celebrity case has raised the importance of protection against domestic violence. At Canterbury Law Group, we know first hand that there are many misconceptions on abuse. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, here are some answers to common questions:

1. What is Domestic Violence? When you are in a relationship with someone who uses threats, harasses, molests, stalks, attacks, batters or strikes you, your family or your children, that person is committing Domestic Violence. If you are experiencing Domestic Violence, you have a legal right to seek relief from the courts by procuring a protective order.

In the State of Arizona, Domestic Violence includes a variety of abusive acts. You must be able to show the court that the person from whom you want protection has committed or may commit an act of Domestic Violence. You do not have to be physically injured or hurt to be a victim of Domestic Violence. Domestic violence occurs if the other person has done or attempts to:

  • endanger you threaten, intimidate, or harass you interfere with the custody of your children;
  • trespass on or damage your property;
  • restrain you, kidnap, or hold you prisoner;
  • assault you with his/her body or with a weapon;
  • display a deadly weapon or threaten you with a deadly weapon;
  • surreptitiously (without your knowledge) photograph, videotape, film or record you.

2. What types of protective orders are available in Arizona? A Protective Order is a document obtained from a court, to order the abusive person not to contact you and to prevent future abusive behavior. In Arizona there are five types of protective orders:

  • Order of Protection – An Order of Protection is a legal restraint used to prohibit a person from committing acts of domestic violence or from contacting people protected by the order. It also provides several kinds of protective relief, such as removing firearms from the home, adding other people to the protective order, and exclusive use of the home.
  • Emergency Order of Protection – An Emergency Order of Protection is also a legal restraint to prevent domestic violence. An Emergency Order may be granted by an authorized judicial officer in writing, verbally or by telephone for the protection of a person in “imminent and present danger of domestic violence.”
  • Release Order – In rural counties where it is not required that a judicial officer be designated to issue Emergency Orders when the courts are closed, emergency protection is available through a registered Release Order. Arizona law provides that, when a person arrested for an act of domestic violence is released from custody, any Release Order shall include pretrial release conditions necessary to protect the alleged victim and other specifically designated persons.
  • Injunction Against Harassment – The Injunction Against Harassment orders a person to stop harassing, annoying or alarming another person. Injunctions can be used for disputes against neighbors, strangers, and people who were not dating.
  • Injunction Against Workplace Harassment – The Injunction Against Workplace Harassment is the newest protective order available in Arizona. It allows an employer or an agent of an employer to file for relief on behalf of all employees at the workplace, against any person who enters the employer’s property and any person who is performing official work duties.

3. How and where can I get an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment? You may file a petition for an Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment in any superior, municipal or justice court regardless of where you live in Arizona. When you enter the court, go to the Clerk of the Court’s counter, Self Service Center, or protection order window and tell the clerk you are requesting an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment. The clerk will give you the proper Petition forms. Plan on being at the court house for several hours.

If you’re experiencing domestic violence, hiring a family law attorney can be critical to your future. Call the Scottsdale layers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule you consultation. 480-744-7711.

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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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