Written by Canterbury Law Group

Same Sex Divorce in Arizona

Same sex marriage has finally become possible in Arizona, after the landmark Oberfell vs. Hodges Supreme Court ruling in 2015. Arizona’s prior definition of marriage as “between a man and a woman” was struck down by the courts as unconstitutional. In another two cases, U.S. District Court Judge John Sedgewick gave favorable ruling recognizing rights of same sex couples as the same as rights of heterosexual couples.

While this is all good news for the LGBTQ community in the state, not all marriages survive, and that includes same sex marriages. Some marriages inevitably end in divorces.  If you are seeking to divorce your same sex spouse in Arizona, you can discuss legal options with our firm.

In September 2017 the Arizona Supreme Court handed down its landmark ruling in McLaughlin v. Jones which now mandates that same sex female co-parents be granted identical legal and custodial rights in a divorce between a same sex female couple.

Rights of Divorcing Same Sex Couples

In Arizona, same sex couples now have the same rights as heterosexual  couples when divorcing. The separating couple will also have the same obligations when dividing property and paying alimony or child support. Child custody will be determined the same as in the case of hetero couples, with priority given to the child’s health and wellbeing.  It no longer matters which Mother “carried the baby to term” when allocating rights to both Mothers in a divorce.   This is a significant shift in the legal landscape as of late 2017.

Residency Requirements

Arizona’s residency requirement applies to same sex couples just like any other couple. At least one party of the divorcing couple must have resided in the state for 90 days at least before filing the divorce papers. This can be a somewhat difficult requirement to fulfill for same sex couples who may have recently moved. Because federal law now recognizes same sex marriage in all 50 states, you will have to check with your local divorce attorney on the jurisdictional time limits in your state.

Grounds for Divorce

Arizona does not require couples in non-covenant marriages to provide any grounds for divorce when filing a case. As same sex couples fall into this category, the only ground required is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. One spouse can successfully claim so even if the other doesn’t want to divorce. In case either one of the spouses wants to live apart, it’s possible to file for a legal separation as well.  Some people pursue legal separation so that they can remain on each other’s health insurance after the fact.

Child Custody

Determining child custody in a contentious divorce can be as difficult for a same sex couple as it is for any couple. Because of the 2017 McLaughlin decision, the requirements, rules, and the family law that apply to hetero couples apply equally to same sex couples.  As always, it’s strongly recommended for the couple to resolve custody disputes amicably with the aid of a mediator if possible. It’s best to negotiate shared parenting time in advance with the help of lawyers instead of going to battle in front of a judge.

Same sex couples in Arizona have no reason to believe that a divorce case will be handled much differently than divorce cases for heterosexual couples. If the divorce is particularly contentious, then getting advice from an experienced attorney will be a must. You will have to consult with a family law expert to learn more about child custody.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce Tips from Attorneys

Getting a divorce can be a messy affair, financially and emotionally speaking. Contested divorces can be particularly hard on both parties, as experienced divorce attorneys will quickly point out. Divorce has a way of bringing out the worst in even the nicest people. While emotions can play a role, it’s critical to maintain clear emotions when dividing assets in a divorce and reaching a custody agreement if there are any children. Here are several tips for Arizona divorcing couples from divorce lawyers who have seen it all:

Keep Your Feelings out of the dispute

Divorce can be a very emotional affair, no matter how hardened one tries to be during the process. It’s very important to keep personal feelings out of it when dividing assets and negotiating during divorce proceedings. Emotions can unnecessarily complicate the process. You must aim to get the best out of divorce proceedings to ensure your long-term well-being. Getting caught up in petty fights in the moment will not go well for either party.  Let your lawyer do their job, stand back and watch, and ideally everything will be handled.

Pick Your Battles Wisely

According to a divorce lawyers in Scottsdale, some people pay attorneys a lot of money to recover assets that do not matter. For example, it makes no financial sense to get your divorce attorney to send a letter to retrieve a $100 piece of furniture from the ex, especially when attorney letters can cost as much as $500. Divorce can be costly. So wise petitioners pick battles that are worth spending money to win.

Assets in One Spouse’s Name Can be Divided

In divorces, basically everything can be divided between the spouses. This includes assets that are specifically under either spouse’s name. Debt, extra income, royalties, a lottery win—all of these and much more can be divided in divorce proceedings. Divorce attorneys warn clients not to assume that assets under one’s own name are not up for grabs. The only protection against dividing assets is a prenup or a postnup agreement. But these agreements should be handled early on in the marriage.   Even if you signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it could be deemed void by the court depending on the circumstances during which you signed such paperwork. Consult an experienced lawyer to determine your rights. 

Be Careful of Generous Income Reporting Before Divorce

It’s common for people to overstate incomes in credit card or loan applications. A spouse that discovers such generous disclosures of income can present these documents in court in a divorce case. Under those circumstances, the court could assume that you make as much money as you boasted in your loan application under penalty of perjury in a prior loan application, warns a divorce attorney in Scottsdale. On the other hand, if you find similar overstatements by your spouse, you can be the one to use them in court against them.

Take Time to Gather Evidence for the Divorce

Divorce lawyers advise clients not to walk out the door before proceedings begin, unless an abusive situation is present. It’s highly advantageous to stay behind and gather evidence for the divorce, such as photographing assets, property and gathering documents. Make copies of account statements of the spouse as well to present your case with solid evidence once the proceedings begin.

Divorcing is not easy on anyone. But following the above suggestions will help you present the best case in court.  Hiring a seasoned legal professional to guide you through this complex process is self-evident.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Preparing for Divorce in the New Year

The Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group have represented hundreds of clients in Scottsdale divorce cases.  Although every case is unique, there are certain steps that every potential divorcee should take:

  • Do not try to hurt your soon-to-be ex –   Do not let your emptions get the best of you.  Especially if you and your spouse have children together, you need to try to take the higher road and attempt to part on decent terms. The court may frown upon any type of negativity or drastic misconduct against the other spouse. 
  • Confidently know your joint finances – It is estimated that 40% of divorce proceedings are about money. Be well informed in advance about your shared accounts.  Specifically, you should know all online passwords to bank accounts, which accounts have automatic payments and where money is invested, including the names of all accounts, the account numbers and the investment advisors.  Many times one spouse knows everything and the other spouse knows nothing about finances.  The law provides that both spouses be provided 100% financial disclosures while the divorce is pending. 
  • Find a trusted legal team – A lawyer who is knowledgeable in family law in your state can likely get you a better settlement because they understand the state-law nuances and understand local judges’ tendencies and opposing lawyers. If you and your spouse have complicated family assets, you likely need a legal team with additional expertise.  Take into consideration every possible avenue and plan accordingly.
  • Know your future living expenses – Your future financial well-being should be your top priority.  Thoroughly understand your current cost of living before the divorce proceedings start, so you can ask for a fair amount in the divorce settlement.
  • Also remember that anything written online about an ex-spouse will exist forever—when the children are old enough to read.  Although you may be hurt now, you don’t want to hurt your children even more in the future.  Texts and emails can also be used against you at trial.  Think twice before hitting ‘send’ on that nasty message to your spouse. 

The Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have represented women and men, young and old, in their complicated and simple divorce cases.  To discuss your options in a Scottsdale divorce, call today to schedule a consultation.  480-240-0040.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Scottsdale Divorce Lawyers Look at Jolie – Pitt Divorce

Recently, the news of Angelina Jolie filing for divorce from Brad Pitt has made headlines around the globe. Together for twelve years and married for two years, this Hollywood couple had become known for their extra-large brood of children, international travels, worldwide philanthropy and being “Brangelina.”

Although the Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group have not worked with the couple, we can acknowledge some important factors in this upcoming divorce.

Community Property – Most states, except those listed as community property states, use the “common law” system of property ownership. In these states, it’s usually easy to tell which spouse owns what. If only your name is on the deed, registration document, or other title paper, it’s yours. If you live in a community property state, including both Arizona and California, the rules are more complicated. Generally, in community property states, money earned by either spouse during the marriage and all property bought with those earnings are considered community property that is owned equally by husband and wife. Therefore, both starlets may have to divide all assets they’ve acquired since being married.

Child Custody – When initially filing for divorce, Jolie asked for physical custody of the couple’s six children and asked that the judge give Pitt visitation. News sources have since reported that Jolie was granted full physical custody of the couple’s children. Pitt will reportedly have visitation rights, the first of which will be monitored by a therapist who then has the authority to allow or deny unmonitored visits. In addition, Pitt will have to submit to random drug and alcohol testing, as Jolie reportedly accused him of having a drinking problem. No matter what your divorce situation is, the transition can be exceptionally difficult on the children. It’s always suggested to try to compromise out of court to avoid tolling legislation with your children.

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 your children.

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. 480-240-0040

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. 480-240-0040.

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. 480-240-0040

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. 480-240-0040 or www.canterburylawgroup.com

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. 480-240-0040.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Steps in the Scottsdale Divorce Process

The Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group have represented hundreds of clients in Scottsdale divorce cases. It is common to discuss the first steps in the divorce process during the initial legal consultation. Although every case is unique, there are certain stages in divorce that everyone can expect:

1. File a Petition – One must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, which is a public record that includes basic facts about you, your spouse and your children.

2. Spouse is “Served” – Once the Petition is filed with the Court, due process requires that the Respondent be “served” with the Petition along with a Summons to Appear. Once served, your spouse has 30 days to file a Response to the Petition.

3. Financial Support – Representing lawyers discuss if financial support is needed during the divorce case, including child support, maintenance and marital expenses.

4. Agree on Estate – Both parties partake in financial investigation, which involves determination of the value of the marital estate or “discovery,” which includes depositions, subpoenas, interrogatories and review of financial documents by accounting experts. If the assets and debts are agreeable by both parties, they may choose to waive formal discovery. If both parties cannot reach an agreement, the attorneys may choose to submit the issues in controversy to the Judge during a pretrial conference. Pretrial conferences are conducted in the Judge’s chambers.

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.

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