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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Long Is A Lawyer Retainer Good For?

How Long Is A Lawyer Retainer Good For

Typically, a lawyer retainer is good for the entirety of the legal matter for which it is paid. Learn more about retainer fees below!

What Is A Lawyer Retainer?

A retainer fee for a lawyer is a sum of money a client pays in advance to secure the lawyer’s services. The retainer is typically held in a trust account and used to cover the lawyer’s fees as they arise.

Clients must understand the terms of the retainer agreement prior to signing on with a lawyer. This will ensure all parties know how the retainer will be used and how long it will be good for. It’s a good idea for clients to discuss legal matters with their lawyer to get an estimate on how long it should take, overall. This will help the client plan and budget for the lawyer’s fees and expenses.

How Long Is A Retainer Good For?

As mentioned above, the retainer fee is generally good for the duration of the client’s legal matter. For instance, if a client pays a retainer fee for a personal injury case, this fee will cover the lawyer’s fees and expenses until said case is resolved. This could take several months or several years, depending on the severity of the case.

The duration of the lawyer’s retainer can vary based on specific terms agreed upon by the lawyer and client. Some agreements may specify the period during which the retainer needs to be used, while others can be open-ended, allowing the retainer to be used indefinitely.

If a client’s retainer runs out before the legal matter is settled, they will need to pay additional funds for the firm to continue with the case. This is referred to as “topping up” your retainer.

Conclusion

The duration of the retainer can change depending on the terms of the agreement and the legal matter for which the retainer is being used. It’s crucial for clients to understand the terms of the agreement and to discuss the legal matter to get a sense of how long the retainer is likely to last. It is possible that the client will have to pay additional funds to continue their case if the retainer runs out before the legal matter is resolved.

Source: “How Long Is A Lawyer Retainer Good For” The Manuel Firm https://theemanuelfirm.com/how-long-is-a-lawyer-retainer-good-for/

Speak With Our Divorce Lawyers in Arizona

Contact Canterbury Law Group today if you need an experienced child custody lawyer or guardianship lawyer in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona to help with your case. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711

Who Has Child Custody When There's No Court Order?
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Who Has Child Custody When There’s No Court Order?

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A court issues a document known as a custody order. It specifies when each parent should have the child, who is in charge of making choices regarding the child, and other matters pertaining to childrearing.

Custodial rights usually go to whoever the state acknowledges as the child’s legal parent when there is no custody decree in place. Whether or not the parents were married at the time of the child’s conception or birth determines this.

Remember that the laws in your state could differ slightly.

Make a schedule that you can see. Obtain a formalized parenting plan. Determine how much time you spend parenting.

When a married couple has children together—whether conceived, born, or adopted—states immediately acknowledge them as the biological parents. In certain places, this includes offspring via in-vitro fertilization and artificial insemination, provided that both partners consented to it.

Even though having equal rights can be advantageous, there is reason for concern because either parent has the legal right to take their child out of the state or nation without consent. Obtaining a custody order would stop a parent from acting in this way (more on that later).

Should the parents not be wed

When two parents are not married, the mother is the only one with legal and physical custody of the children. Until the law determines differently, she is the child’s only legitimate parent.

The woman can sign an acknowledgment of parentage with another person or of paternity with any potential father if she wishes to designate another legal parent. Either the mother or the purported father may ask for DNA testing in situations where paternity is unclear.

To get legal parent status, a person who is not the child’s biological parent may file a parentage case. In order to be named a legal parent, they must demonstrate in court that they are the child’s primary caregiver and that doing so is in the child’s best interests.

Equal custody rights are granted to the second-named legal parent in certain states. In any case, you ought to obtain a custody decree to guarantee that both parents are permitted to participate in the child’s life.

LGBTQ parents

The majority of states still haven’t changed their legal language to accommodate LGBTQ couples. But, the aforementioned guidelines normally apply to parents who are married and single, respectively.

The best course of action is to get advice from a lawyer who focuses on LGBTQ parental rights or locate a helpful legal aid office.

How a custody order is obtained

The first step is to complete and submit a petition to your local family court for custody, divorce, or separation. (Custody is a given in circumstances of separation and divorce.) You can obtain one of these petitions from the courthouse or frequently find them online.

If you fear the other parent may take your child out of the state or nation or injure them in any other way, you can ask for an emergency injunction even before filing a case. If there is substantial evidence that the kid is in danger, the court will only issue this order.

Once a case is opened, it is up to you to resolve it or allow the judge make the final decision. When you and the other parent arrange a settlement, it’s called settling. You will create a parenting plan and present it to the court for approval in order to resolve custody disputes. If the conditions of your plan are in the best interests of the kid, a judge will approve it and it will become the final custody order.

You will have to go through the legal system in your state if there is no settlement. A judge will make the ultimate court order based on the arguments and proof that were shown throughout the trial. But it can take several months for this to occur.

You can agree on a temporary plan or request that the court make one in order to obtain a custody arrangement sooner. The interim ruling is enforceable until the judge signs the final ruling.

Maintaining Order

Being prepared is essential to putting together a compelling case if you need to obtain a court order for custody or parenthood.

In addition to tracking your time with your child, drafting numerous custody schedules, creating a parenting plan, calculating expenses, and other tasks may be necessary.

Sole physical custody, also known as sole residential custody or sole parenting time, refers to a child custody arrangement where the child primarily lives with and spends the majority of their time with one parent, known as the custodial parent or residential parent.

Here’s a breakdown of key aspects:

  1. Primary Residence: The child’s primary residence is with the parent who has sole physical custody. This parent is responsible for the day-to-day care of the child, including providing food, shelter, clothing, and supervision.
  2. Decision-Making Authority: The parent with sole physical custody usually has the authority to make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, such as those related to education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. However, in some cases, major decisions may still require input from the non-custodial parent or may be subject to court approval.
  3. Visitation or Parenting Time: The non-custodial parent typically has visitation rights or parenting time with the child according to a court-approved schedule. This schedule may include specified times for the child to spend with the non-custodial parent, such as weekends, holidays, vacations, and other agreed-upon times.
  4. Child Support: In many cases of sole physical custody, the non-custodial parent is required to pay child support to the custodial parent to help cover the costs associated with raising the child. Child support payments are often determined based on factors such as each parent’s income, the needs of the child, and the custody arrangement.

It’s crucial to understand that:

  • Sole physical custody is not the preferred arrangement in most situations. Courts generally favor joint physical custody, where both parents share significant physical time with the child, as it is generally considered beneficial for the child’s well-being to maintain a relationship with both parents.
  • Sole physical custody is typically awarded only in specific circumstances, such as when:
    • There are concerns about the child’s safety or well-being with the non-custodial parent due to factors like abuse, neglect, instability, or substance abuse.
    • One parent lives a significant distance away, making frequent physical co-parenting impractical.
    • Both parents agree to this arrangement and believe it is in the child’s best interests.

It’s important to note that sole physical custody does not necessarily mean that the non-custodial parent is completely excluded from the child’s life. In most cases, courts recognize the importance of maintaining a relationship between the child and both parents, even if one parent has primary physical custody. However, sole physical custody may be awarded if it is determined to be in the best interests of the child based on factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the parents’ ability to cooperate and communicate, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse.

Speak With Our Guardianship Lawyers in Arizona

Contact Canterbury Law Group today if you need an experienced child custody lawyer or guardianship lawyer in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona to help with your case. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711

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Parallel Parenting: Making a Plan and Getting Started

Parallel Parenting: Making a Plan and Getting Started

Parallel parenting is a co-parenting approach designed for high-conflict situations where parents have difficulty communicating and cooperating with each other. It allows parents to disengage from each other and focus solely on the needs of their children. Here are steps to create a parallel parenting plan and get started:

  1. Understand Parallel Parenting: Educate yourself about parallel parenting and its principles. Recognize that it’s a temporary solution for high-conflict situations and focuses on minimizing direct contact between parents while ensuring the children’s well-being.
  2. Develop a Parenting Plan: Create a detailed parenting plan that outlines the custody schedule, decision-making responsibilities, communication protocols, and guidelines for resolving disputes. Specify how you will handle holidays, vacations, school events, medical appointments, and other important matters.
  3. Minimize Direct Contact: Establish methods for communication that minimize direct contact between parents. Consider using communication tools such as email, text messaging, or co-parenting apps that allow for asynchronous communication and provide a record of interactions.
  4. Set Boundaries: Define clear boundaries and expectations for communication and interaction. Agree on topics that are off-limits for discussion and commit to respecting each other’s privacy and personal space.
  5. Focus on the Children: Keep the children’s best interests at the forefront of your decision-making. Prioritize their emotional well-being and strive to create a stable and nurturing environment for them.
  6. Respect Court Orders: Adhere to any court orders or legal agreements related to custody, visitation, and parenting responsibilities. Follow the terms outlined in the parenting plan and seek legal advice if modifications are necessary.
  7. Seek Support: Reach out to professionals, such as therapists, mediators, or family counselors, who specialize in high-conflict co-parenting situations. Consider joining support groups or seeking guidance from trusted friends and family members.
  8. Practice Self-Care: Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Engage in activities that reduce stress and promote relaxation. Practice effective coping strategies and seek professional help if needed.
  9. Evaluate and Adjust: Regularly assess the effectiveness of the parallel parenting arrangement and make adjustments as needed. Be open to revisiting and modifying the parenting plan to address changing circumstances or concerns.
  10. Stay Committed: Commit to making parallel parenting work for the well-being of your children, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. Stay focused on creating a positive co-parenting environment that allows your children to thrive despite the conflict between parents.

Need a Family Lawyer in Scottsdale?

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

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

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Split Custody Defined

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Split custody is a custody arrangement in which each parent is awarded primary physical custody of at least one child. In other words, the children are divided between the parents, with each parent having primary physical custody of one or more children.

For example, in a split custody arrangement, one parent may have primary physical custody of one child while the other parent has primary physical custody of another child or children. This differs from joint custody, where both parents share physical custody of all the children.

Split custody arrangements are less common than joint custody or sole custody arrangements and may be considered in cases where it’s deemed to be in the best interests of the children, such as situations where the children have strong bonds with each parent or have expressed a preference to live primarily with one parent.

It’s important to note that split custody arrangements can have significant implications for co-parenting, scheduling, and child support, and they may require careful consideration and planning to ensure the well-being of all the children involved. Additionally, split custody arrangements may not be suitable for all families and should be evaluated based on the unique circumstances of each case.

Speak With Our Guardianship Lawyers in Arizona

Contact Canterbury Law Group today if you need an experienced child custody lawyer or guardianship lawyer in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona to help with your case. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711

Who Has Child Custody When There's No Court Order?
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How Long Do Custody Cases Take?

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The duration of custody cases can vary widely depending on various factors, including the complexity of the case, the jurisdiction in which the case is filed, the willingness of the parties to cooperate and reach an agreement, and the court’s docket and scheduling constraints. In general, custody cases can take anywhere from a few months to over a year to reach a resolution. Here are some factors that can influence the timeline:

  1. Type of Custody Dispute: The complexity of the custody dispute can significantly impact the duration of the case. Cases involving contentious issues such as allegations of abuse, substance abuse, or parental alienation may take longer to resolve than cases where the parties are able to cooperate and reach an agreement.
  2. Court Procedures: Each jurisdiction has its own court procedures and timelines for custody cases. Some courts may have expedited procedures for resolving custody disputes, while others may have lengthy waiting periods due to backlogs and scheduling constraints.
  3. Mediation or Alternative Dispute Resolution: Many courts require parties to participate in mediation or other alternative dispute resolution processes before proceeding to trial. The length of time it takes to schedule and complete mediation can affect the overall duration of the case.
  4. Evaluation or Investigation: In some cases, the court may order a custody evaluation or investigation by a mental health professional or social worker to assess the best interests of the child. The time it takes to complete the evaluation or investigation can vary depending on factors such as the availability of the evaluator, the complexity of the case, and the need for additional information.
  5. Court Hearings and Trial: If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on custody, the case may proceed to a trial where a judge will make a final decision. Court hearings and trial dates may be scheduled based on the court’s docket and availability of parties, attorneys, and witnesses, which can contribute to delays in the resolution of the case.
  6. Cooperation of Parties: The willingness of the parties to cooperate and negotiate in good faith can have a significant impact on the duration of the case. Parties who are able to communicate effectively, collaborate on parenting plans, and work towards a resolution outside of court may be able to expedite the process.

Overall, it’s essential to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can provide guidance on the specific procedures and timelines for custody cases in your jurisdiction. Additionally, understanding the factors that can influence the duration of the case can help parties manage their expectations and make informed decisions throughout the process.

Speak With Our Guardianship Lawyers in Arizona

Contact Canterbury Law Group today if you need an experienced child custody lawyer or guardianship lawyer in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona to help with your case. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711

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Defining Joint Legal Custody

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Joint legal custody refers to a custody arrangement in which both parents share the legal rights and responsibilities regarding major decisions affecting their child’s life, even though the child may primarily reside with one parent. Here’s what joint legal custody typically entails:

  1. Decision-Making Authority: Parents with joint legal custody have an equal say in important decisions regarding their child’s upbringing, including matters related to education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities. Both parents have the right to participate in making these decisions and must consult with each other before reaching a consensus.
  2. Communication and Cooperation: Effective communication and cooperation between parents are essential for successful joint legal custody. Parents must be willing to discuss and collaborate on important decisions, consider each other’s perspectives, and prioritize the best interests of their child.
  3. Parenting Plan or Agreement: Joint legal custody is typically established through a parenting plan or agreement, either voluntarily by the parents or by court order. This plan outlines the terms and conditions of joint legal custody, including how major decisions will be made, how disputes will be resolved, and the communication methods between parents.
  4. Residential Arrangement: In most cases of joint legal custody, the child resides primarily with one parent (the custodial parent) while spending scheduled time with the other parent (the non-custodial parent). However, both parents retain equal decision-making authority, regardless of the child’s primary residence.
  5. Equal Rights and Responsibilities: Parents with joint legal custody have equal rights and responsibilities concerning their child’s welfare and upbringing. This includes the right to access information about the child’s education, healthcare, and other important aspects of their life, as well as the responsibility to contribute to the child’s financial support and overall well-being.
  6. Dispute Resolution: In situations where parents cannot agree on a major decision, the parenting plan or court order may specify a dispute resolution process, such as mediation or arbitration, to help parents reach a resolution. If necessary, the court may intervene to make a decision in the child’s best interests.

Joint legal custody allows both parents to remain actively involved in their child’s life and ensures that major decisions are made collaboratively, taking into account the child’s best interests. While joint legal custody requires parents to work together effectively, it can provide stability and continuity for the child by maintaining meaningful relationships with both parents.

What Are The Basics of Joint Legal Custody?

Joint legal custody is a custody arrangement in which both parents share the legal rights and responsibilities regarding major decisions affecting their child’s life, even if the child primarily resides with one parent. Here are the basics of joint legal custody:

  1. Shared Decision-Making: Parents with joint legal custody have an equal say in important decisions concerning their child’s upbringing, including matters related to education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities. Both parents must collaborate and consult with each other before making significant decisions.
  2. Legal Rights and Responsibilities: Joint legal custody grants both parents equal legal rights and responsibilities regarding their child. This includes the right to access information about the child’s education, healthcare, and other important aspects of their life, as well as the responsibility to participate in decision-making and contribute to the child’s financial support and overall well-being.
  3. Communication and Cooperation: Effective communication and cooperation between parents are essential for successful joint legal custody. Parents must be willing to discuss important decisions, exchange information about the child’s well-being, and work together to resolve disagreements or conflicts in the child’s best interests.
  4. Parenting Plan or Agreement: Joint legal custody is typically established through a parenting plan or agreement, either voluntarily by the parents or by court order. This plan outlines the terms and conditions of joint legal custody, including how major decisions will be made, how disputes will be resolved, and the communication methods between parents.
  5. Residential Arrangement: In most cases of joint legal custody, the child resides primarily with one parent (the custodial parent) while spending scheduled time with the other parent (the non-custodial parent). However, both parents retain equal decision-making authority, regardless of the child’s primary residence.
  6. Best Interests of the Child: The overarching principle in joint legal custody is the best interests of the child. All decisions made by parents should prioritize the child’s well-being, safety, and emotional development. Parents should consider factors such as the child’s age, maturity, preferences, and special needs when making decisions.
  7. Flexibility and Adaptability: Joint legal custody requires parents to be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances. It’s essential for parents to maintain open lines of communication, be willing to compromise, and seek the child’s best interests, even in challenging situations.

Overall, joint legal custody allows both parents to remain actively involved in their child’s life and ensures that major decisions are made collaboratively, promoting stability, continuity, and the child’s overall well-being.

How is Joint Legal Custody Shared?

oint legal custody is shared between both parents in a collaborative manner. Here’s how it typically works:

  1. Equal Decision-Making Authority: With joint legal custody, both parents have equal decision-making authority regarding important aspects of their child’s life, such as education, healthcare, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities. This means that both parents have the right to participate in making major decisions that affect the child’s well-being.
  2. Collaboration and Communication: Parents are expected to communicate openly and collaborate effectively when making decisions about their child. This may involve discussing various options, sharing information, considering each other’s perspectives, and reaching a consensus on important matters. Effective communication is essential for successful joint legal custody.
  3. Consultation Requirement: Before making significant decisions regarding the child, both parents are typically required to consult with each other and attempt to reach an agreement. This ensures that both parents have the opportunity to provide input and participate in the decision-making process. If parents cannot agree, they may need to seek mediation or court intervention to resolve disputes.
  4. Parenting Plan or Agreement: Joint legal custody is often established through a parenting plan or agreement, which outlines the terms and conditions of custody, including how major decisions will be made. The parenting plan may specify communication methods between parents, procedures for resolving disputes, and mechanisms for sharing information about the child’s well-being.
  5. Flexibility and Cooperation: Successful joint legal custody requires parents to be flexible, cooperative, and willing to work together in the best interests of their child. This may involve compromising on certain issues, respecting each other’s opinions, and prioritizing the child’s needs above personal differences.
  6. Respect for Court Orders: If joint legal custody is established through a court order, both parents are legally bound to comply with the terms of the order and fulfill their responsibilities as outlined. This includes following the parenting plan, attending mediation or counseling sessions if required, and adhering to any court-imposed conditions.

Overall, joint legal custody requires parents to share decision-making responsibilities and work together to promote the well-being of their child. By fostering collaboration, communication, and respect, parents can ensure that their child’s needs are met and that major decisions are made in their best interests.

Pro’s and Con’s of Joint Legal Custody

oint legal custody, like any custody arrangement, comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons:

Pros:

  1. Shared Decision-Making: Both parents have equal input and decision-making authority regarding important aspects of their child’s life, such as education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. This allows the child to benefit from the perspectives and input of both parents.
  2. Continuity and Stability: Joint legal custody allows the child to maintain a strong relationship with both parents, even if they live primarily with one parent. This continuity of care and involvement from both parents can provide stability and emotional support for the child.
  3. Promotes Cooperation: Joint legal custody encourages parents to communicate and collaborate effectively for the well-being of their child. By working together to make decisions, parents can model cooperation and problem-solving skills for their child.
  4. Flexibility: Joint legal custody arrangements can often be flexible and adaptable to the changing needs of the child and the family. Parents can adjust schedules and decision-making processes as necessary to accommodate evolving circumstances.
  5. Shared Financial Responsibility: Both parents share financial responsibility for their child’s upbringing, including expenses related to education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities. Joint legal custody can help ensure that both parents contribute to the child’s financial needs.

Cons:

  1. Communication Challenges: Effective communication between parents is essential for successful joint legal custody. However, communication breakdowns or conflicts between parents can make decision-making difficult and lead to disagreements or disputes.
  2. Potential for Conflict: Differences in parenting styles, values, or priorities can sometimes lead to conflicts or disagreements regarding important decisions for the child. Resolving these conflicts may require mediation, counseling, or court intervention.
  3. Logistical Challenges: Coordinating schedules, sharing information, and making joint decisions can be logistically challenging, especially if parents live far apart or have busy schedules. This can create practical difficulties in implementing joint legal custody arrangements.
  4. Unequal Involvement: In some cases, one parent may be more actively involved in decision-making or may exert more influence over important decisions. This can lead to feelings of frustration or resentment if one parent feels marginalized or excluded from the process.
  5. Potential for Legal Battles: Disputes over major decisions or disagreements between parents can escalate into legal battles, leading to increased stress, time, and expense for both parents. This can create a contentious or adversarial environment that is not in the child’s best interests.

Overall, joint legal custody can be beneficial for many families, but it requires effective communication, cooperation, and flexibility from both parents to be successful. By focusing on the needs of the child and maintaining a child-centered approach, parents can navigate the challenges of joint legal custody and work together to promote the well-being of their child.

Speak With Our Guardianship Lawyers in Arizona

Contact Canterbury Law Group today if you need an experienced child custody lawyer or guardianship lawyer in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona to help with your case. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711

Who Has Child Custody When There's No Court Order?
Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Is Sole Physical Custody?

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Sole physical custody, also known as sole residential custody or sole parenting time, refers to a child custody arrangement where the child primarily lives with and spends the majority of their time with one parent, known as the custodial parent or residential parent.

Sole physical custody, also known as sole residential custody or sole parenting time, refers to a child custody arrangement where the child primarily lives with and spends the majority of their time with one parent, known as the custodial parent or residential parent.

Here’s a breakdown of key aspects:

  1. Primary Residence: The child’s primary residence is with the parent who has sole physical custody. This parent is responsible for the day-to-day care of the child, including providing food, shelter, clothing, and supervision.
  2. Decision-Making Authority: The parent with sole physical custody usually has the authority to make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, such as those related to education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. However, in some cases, major decisions may still require input from the non-custodial parent or may be subject to court approval.
  3. Visitation or Parenting Time: The non-custodial parent typically has visitation rights or parenting time with the child according to a court-approved schedule. This schedule may include specified times for the child to spend with the non-custodial parent, such as weekends, holidays, vacations, and other agreed-upon times.
  4. Child Support: In many cases of sole physical custody, the non-custodial parent is required to pay child support to the custodial parent to help cover the costs associated with raising the child. Child support payments are often determined based on factors such as each parent’s income, the needs of the child, and the custody arrangement.

It’s crucial to understand that:

  • Sole physical custody is not the preferred arrangement in most situations. Courts generally favor joint physical custody, where both parents share significant physical time with the child, as it is generally considered beneficial for the child’s well-being to maintain a relationship with both parents.
  • Sole physical custody is typically awarded only in specific circumstances, such as when:
    • There are concerns about the child’s safety or well-being with the non-custodial parent due to factors like abuse, neglect, instability, or substance abuse.
    • One parent lives a significant distance away, making frequent physical co-parenting impractical.
    • Both parents agree to this arrangement and believe it is in the child’s best interests.

It’s important to note that sole physical custody does not necessarily mean that the non-custodial parent is completely excluded from the child’s life. In most cases, courts recognize the importance of maintaining a relationship between the child and both parents, even if one parent has primary physical custody. However, sole physical custody may be awarded if it is determined to be in the best interests of the child based on factors such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the parents’ ability to cooperate and communicate, and any history of domestic violence or substance abuse.

Speak With Our Guardianship Lawyers in Arizona

Contact Canterbury Law Group today if you need an experienced child custody lawyer or guardianship lawyer in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona to help with your case. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711

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Does Guardianship Override Parental Rights?

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When a child has a legal guardian, the guardian’s role differs from the parent’s role. The parent should understand how the guardian serves the child’s needs. Teachers, doctors, extended family and babysitters may also need to know what the guardian can do. Have questions about obtaining legal guardianship in Phoenix or Scottsdale Arizona? Contact Canterbury Law Group’s Guardianship Lawyers today.

Guardianship versus parental rights

Guardians and parents have their own roles. The fact that the child has a guardian does not mean the parent has no rights.

Parental rights usually include the option to spend time with the child, as well as the authority to make major decisions and sign contracts for the child. Having a guardian does not generally change this.

After a guardian is appointed, the parent may continue to have custody. Even when the parent does not have custody, they may have a court order that allows them to visit their child.

In some circumstances, a court may suspend or terminate a parent’s rights. However, that is separate from appointing a guardian.

Legal guardian versus biological parent: Who has custody?

Guardianship and custody are distinct concepts. Usually, a parent continues to have custody even after a legal guardian is appointed. This is true whether the parent is biological or adoptive. The guardian may provide care for the child despite not having custody.

It is possible that a judge will later award custody to the guardian. This would be a new request and a separate legal process. Probate courts determine guardianship. Family courts determine custody.

Guardianship and parental visitation

Parents may have the right to visit their child while the child is living with the guardian. The details of a guardianship will depend on family circumstances.

Does the parent choose the guardian?

When a parent needs someone else to provide care for their child, they may consider a guardian. Appointing a guardian can be a responsible choice.

One way to tell the court in advance whom you want as guardian is to put this information in your parenting plan. This way your wishes are in a legal document signed by both parents, and the court can reference it if you die or become incapacitated.

If you are still alive and want to appoint a guardian, you can instead go to your court for the appropriate forms.

When a parent chooses to appoint a guardian, they can ask the court at any time to revoke the guardianship. They can also appoint a new guardian.

If the child’s well-being is at risk, the court may appoint a guardian against the parents’ wishes. The court order establishes the details.

A guardianship is temporary

Parenthood, whether biological or adoptive, is a permanent status. By contrast, guardianship is temporary. This is another way in which guardianship of a minor child is different from parenthood.

A court order begins and ends the guardianship. The order may set the guardianship to expire on a certain date. Otherwise, the order is valid until a judge updates it.

If a guardian cannot or will not continue to serve in their role, they must go to court to request a change. Sometimes the parent, too, has the right to bring an end to the guardianship. If the court approves, the guardianship can end.

Can the legal guardian parent the child, too?

Legally, a guardian is not a parent. As such, the guardian’s rights and responsibilities are not called parental rights. A guardian is a designated nonparent who protects the child’s interests.

The parent may keep their right to make long-term, major decisions. A court order specifies the unique details of each guardianship.

Despite not being a parent, the guardian often plays roles that are typical of parents. For example, a guardian may provide housing, oversee homework and take the child to the doctor. When considering the child’s daily care, the guardian may have the right to override the parents’ wishes.

Does the guardian pay for the child’s care?

Sometimes, a parent pays child support to the guardian. A child may also have their own income through government support or an inheritance. The guardian may be allowed to use this money for the child’s needs if they keep track of the spending.

In other situations, the guardian alone pays for the child’s needs. Just because a guardian spends money on the child does not mean they have more rights than the parent.

Does guardianship lead to adoption?

On its own, guardianship does not lead to adoption. In some circumstances, however, a guardian may apply to adopt the child. This is a separate process. Guardianship is not the same as adoption.

As part of the adoption process, a judge examines the biological parents’ statuses. Their parental rights (if any) are terminated when someone else adopts their child.

When the adoption is finalized, the guardian becomes the parent. This is a permanent status. Anyone who becomes an adoptive parent gains parental rights.

Speak With Our Guardianship Lawyers in Arizona

Contact Canterbury Law Group today if you need an experienced child custody lawyer or guardianship lawyer in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona to help with your case. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

The Differences between Guardianship and Custody

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Guardianship and custody are legal arrangements concerning the care and well-being of a minor, but they have distinct differences:

Who they apply to:

  • Custody: Refers to the legal responsibility for raising a child, typically awarded to biological parents, though it can also be granted to stepparents or other relatives through legal processes.
  • Guardianship: Applies when someone other than a biological parent or legal custodian needs to make decisions about a child’s care and welfare. This can be due to various reasons, like the parents’ incapacity, incarceration, or death.

Scope of responsibility:

  • Custody: Grants decision-making authority in various areas, including education, healthcare, residence, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing. In some cases, it also covers financial support.
  • Guardianship: The scope of responsibility can vary depending on the specific case and court order. It may encompass daily care decisions (food, clothing, shelter), medical care, education, and some legal decision-making, but not necessarily all aspects of raising the child.

Duration:

  • Custody: Typically intended as a long-term arrangement, aiming to provide stability and continuity for the child. However, custody orders can be modified if circumstances change significantly.
  • Guardianship: Can be temporary or permanent depending on the situation. For temporary guardianships, the goal might be to reunite the child with their biological parents once they regain capacity. Permanent guardianships may be necessary if long-term care is required.

Legal standing:

  • Custody: Legal custodians have legal authority to make decisions for the child and represent them in court.
  • Guardians: Have varying levels of legal authority depending on the specific court order. They may require the biological parents’ consent for certain decisions, especially if the parents retain some parental rights.

Here’s a table summarizing the key differences:

Feature Custody Guardianship
Applies to Biological parents, stepparents, relatives Non-biological parents
Scope of responsibility Broad (education, healthcare, residence, etc.) Varies depending on court order (daily care, some legal decisions)
Duration Long-term Temporary or permanent
Legal standing Full legal authority Varies depending on order

Remember:

  • The specific details of custody and guardianship agreements can vary depending on the individual case and state laws.
  • Consulting with a lawyer experienced in family law is crucial for understanding your rights and responsibilities and navigating the legal process related to either custody or guardianship.

Guardianship:

  1. Definition:
    • Guardianship is a legal relationship in which an individual (the guardian) is appointed by the court to make legal and personal decisions for another person, usually a minor (the ward) or an incapacitated adult.
  2. Court Involvement:
    • Guardianship is typically established through a court process. The court evaluates the need for a guardian, and if deemed necessary, it appoints a suitable person to act as the guardian.
  3. Decision-Making Authority:
    • The guardian has the authority to make legal, financial, and personal decisions on behalf of the ward. This can include decisions about education, medical care, and overall well-being.
  4. Termination:
    • Guardianship may continue until the ward reaches the age of majority (18 years old) or until the court determines that the guardianship is no longer necessary.
  5. Applicability:
    • Guardianship is often used when a child’s parents are unable or unwilling to care for the child or when an adult lacks the capacity to make decisions for themselves.

Custody:

  1. Definition:
    • Custody refers to the legal right and responsibility of a parent to care for and make decisions on behalf of their child.
  2. Court Involvement:
    • Custody arrangements can be established by agreement between the parents, but they may also be determined by a court order in cases of divorce, separation, or when parents cannot reach an agreement.
  3. Decision-Making Authority:
    • Custodial parents have the authority to make day-to-day decisions for the child, including those related to education, healthcare, and general upbringing.
  4. Termination:
    • Custody typically continues until the child reaches the age of majority, and it may be subject to modification by the court if circumstances change.
  5. Applicability:
    • Custody is primarily associated with the relationship between a child and their biological or adoptive parents. It may involve sole custody, joint custody, or visitation rights.

Key Distinctions:

  1. Legal Relationship:
    • Guardianship involves a legal relationship established by the court, while custody is a legal right granted to parents.
  2. Decision-Making Scope:
    • Guardianship often grants broader decision-making authority, including financial and personal decisions, while custody focuses on the day-to-day care and upbringing of the child.
  3. Origins:
    • Guardianship can arise in situations where there is no biological or adoptive parent available or suitable to care for the child. Custody is typically associated with parental rights.

Speak With Our Guardianship Lawyers in Arizona

Contact Canterbury Law Group today if you need an experienced child custody lawyer or guardianship lawyer in Phoenix or Scottsdale, Arizona to help with your case. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Enforcing Custody and Child Support Orders

Enforcing custody and child support orders can be a complex and frustrating process, but there are steps you can take to ensure your child receives the support and care they deserve. Here’s an overview of your options:

Before taking action:

  • Review the order carefully: Understand the specifics of your custody and child support agreements, including visitation schedules, payment amounts, and deadlines.
  • Document any violations: Keep detailed records of any missed visits, late payments, or other violations of the order. Include dates, times, and any witnesses or evidence.
  • Communicate with the other parent: Attempt to resolve the issue amicably through direct communication. Express your concerns and try to find a solution that works for both parties.

If communication fails:

For custody violations:

  • Contact local law enforcement: If the other parent refuses to return your child after a visit or interferes with your parenting time, you can contact law enforcement to enforce the order.
  • File a motion for contempt of court: This legal action requests that the court find the other parent in contempt for violating the custody order and impose penalties, such as fines, jail time, or changes to the custody agreement.

For child support violations:

  • Report the delinquency to the child support agency: Your state likely has a child support agency that can help with enforcement. They can take actions like wage garnishment, tax refund interceptions, and license suspensions against the non-paying parent.
  • File a motion for contempt of court: Similar to custody violations, you can ask the court to find the other parent in contempt for failing to pay child support and impose penalties.

Additional resources:

  • Family law attorney: Consulting with a lawyer experienced in family law can provide valuable guidance and representation throughout the enforcement process.
  • Online resources: Many government agencies and legal organizations offer online resources and information on enforcing child support and custody orders.

Remember:

  • Documentation is key: Maintain detailed records of your attempts to resolve the issue and any subsequent actions you take.
  • Be patient: Enforcing orders can take time. Be persistent and follow through on all steps.
  • Seek professional help: Don’t hesitate to consult with a lawyer if you need assistance navigating the legal process or protecting your child’s rights.

Handling Custody Violations

Handling custody violations can be emotionally charged and demanding, but taking the right steps can help you protect your child’s well-being and enforce the court-ordered custody agreement.

Before Taking Action:

  • Gather Information: Clearly understand the specifics of the custody agreement, including visitation schedules, communication protocols, and exchange procedures.
  • Document Violations: Maintain detailed records of each violation, including dates, times, circumstances, and any witnesses or evidence (e.g., texts, emails).
  • Attempt Direct Communication: Try to resolve the issue directly with the other parent. Clearly express your concerns and attempt to find an amicable solution.

If Communication Fails:

Severity of Violation:

  • Minor Violations: Consider the severity of the violation. Minor inconsistencies or scheduling mishaps might warrant a more informal approach like mediation before resorting to legal action.
  • Serious Violations: For serious violations like prolonged withholding of the child, interference with visits, or endangering the child’s safety, immediate legal action is crucial.

Legal Options:

Contempt of Court:

  • File a motion for contempt: This legal action requests the court to find the other parent in contempt for violating the custody order. If proven, the court can impose penalties like fines, jail time, makeup visitation, or even changes to the custody agreement.
  • Gather Evidence: Prepare a strong case with documented evidence of the violations, witness testimonies (if applicable), and communication attempts.
  • Consider Legal Representation: Consulting a lawyer experienced in family law can provide invaluable guidance and representation throughout the contempt proceedings.

Additional Actions:

  • Mediation or Collaborative Law: Explore alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or collaborative law to reach an agreement outside of court, potentially saving time and money.
  • Report to Child Protective Services: If the child’s safety is at risk due to the violation, contacting child protective services might be necessary to ensure their well-being.

Remember:

  • Document Everything: Maintain detailed records of all communication, actions taken, and legal proceedings for future reference.
  • Prioritize Child’s Well-being: Keep the child’s best interests at the forefront of your decisions and actions throughout the process.
  • Seek Professional Help: Don’t hesitate to consult with a lawyer for personalized guidance and representation, especially in complex or serious situations.

By understanding your options, gathering evidence, and potentially seeking legal support, you can effectively address custody violations and advocate for your child’s rights.

Handling Child Support Violations

Dealing with child support violations can be frustrating and stressful, but there are effective steps you can take to ensure your child receives the financial support they deserve. Here’s a breakdown of your options:

Before Taking Action:

  • Review the Order: Thoroughly understand the specifics of the child support agreement, including payment amounts, deadlines, and communication protocols.
  • Gather Evidence: Maintain detailed records of missed or late payments, including dates, amounts, and any communication attempts with the other parent.
  • Contact the Payor: Try to resolve the issue directly. Express your concerns and attempt to find an amicable solution, like a payment plan.

If Communication Fails:

Formalizing Enforcement:

  • Report to Child Support Agency: Most states have child support agencies that handle enforcement. They can initiate actions like wage garnishment, tax refund interception, and license suspensions against the non-paying parent.
  • File Motion for Contempt: This legal action requests the court to find the other parent in contempt for violating the child support order. If proven, the court can impose penalties like fines, jail time, or even changes to the child support amount.

Additional Strategies:

  • Hire a Family Law Attorney: Experienced legal counsel can guide you through the process, navigate complex situations, and protect your rights.
  • Consider Mediation: Explore alternative dispute resolution to reach an agreement outside of court, potentially saving time and money.
  • Credit Reporting: In some cases, reporting the delinquency to credit bureaus might incentivize payment.

Remember:

  • Documentation is Key: Maintain detailed records of your attempts to resolve the issue and any subsequent actions taken.
  • Be Patient: Enforcement can take time. Be persistent and follow through on all steps.
  • Seek Professional Help: Don’t hesitate to consult a lawyer, especially in complex situations or if significant amounts are owed.

Additional Resources:

  • Your State’s Child Support Agency: Find relevant information, resources, and online tools for enforcement.
  • National Child Support Enforcement Association: Offers informative resources and guidance on child support matters.
  • Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement: Provides information and resources on federal involvement in child support enforcement.

By understanding your options, taking proactive steps, and potentially seeking legal support, you can increase your chances of successfully enforcing the child support order and ensure your child receives the financial resources they are entitled to.

Dealing with child support violations can be frustrating and stressful, but there are effective steps you can take to ensure your child receives the financial support they deserve. Here’s a breakdown of your options:

Before Taking Action:

  • Review the Order: Thoroughly understand the specifics of the child support agreement, including payment amounts, deadlines, and communication protocols.
  • Gather Evidence: Maintain detailed records of missed or late payments, including dates, amounts, and any communication attempts with the other parent.
  • Contact the Payor: Try to resolve the issue directly. Express your concerns and attempt to find an amicable solution, like a payment plan.

If Communication Fails:

Formalizing Enforcement:

  • Report to Child Support Agency: Most states have child support agencies that handle enforcement. They can initiate actions like wage garnishment, tax refund interception, and license suspensions against the non-paying parent.
  • File Motion for Contempt: This legal action requests the court to find the other parent in contempt for violating the child support order. If proven, the court can impose penalties like fines, jail time, or even changes to the child support amount.

Additional Strategies:

  • Hire a Family Law Attorney: Experienced legal counsel can guide you through the process, navigate complex situations, and protect your rights.
  • Consider Mediation: Explore alternative dispute resolution to reach an agreement outside of court, potentially saving time and money.
  • Credit Reporting: In some cases, reporting the delinquency to credit bureaus might incentivize payment.

Remember:

  • Documentation is Key: Maintain detailed records of your attempts to resolve the issue and any subsequent actions taken.
  • Be Patient: Enforcement can take time. Be persistent and follow through on all steps.
  • Seek Professional Help: Don’t hesitate to consult a lawyer, especially in complex situations or if significant amounts are owed.

Additional Resources:

  • Your State’s Child Support Agency: Find relevant information, resources, and online tools for enforcement.
  • National Child Support Enforcement Association: Offers informative resources and guidance on child support matters.
  • Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement: Provides information and resources on federal involvement in child support enforcement.

By understanding your options, taking proactive steps, and potentially seeking legal support, you can increase your chances of successfully enforcing the child support order and ensure your child receives the financial resources they are entitled to.

Speak With One Of Our Child Custody Attorneys In Scottsdale

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

We are experienced family law attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Our firm will represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-744-7711 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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