blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Types of Child Custody Orders

Child custody orders determine the legal authority and responsibilities of parents or guardians regarding the care, upbringing, and decision-making for their children. These orders can vary depending on the specific needs and circumstances of the family, and they may include various types of custody arrangements. Here are some common types of child custody orders:

1. Legal Custody

  1. Joint Legal Custody:
    • Both parents share the authority to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing, including education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities.
    • Joint legal custody does not necessarily require equal parenting time or physical custody.
  2. Sole Legal Custody:
    • One parent has the sole authority to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing without input from the other parent.
    • Sole legal custody may be awarded if one parent is deemed unfit or if there is a history of conflict or inability to cooperate between the parents.

2. Physical Custody

  1. Joint Physical Custody:
    • The child spends significant time living with both parents, and they share physical custody of the child.
    • Joint physical custody arrangements may be equal (50/50) or substantially shared, depending on the specific needs and circumstances of the family.
  2. Sole Physical Custody:
    • The child primarily resides with one parent, and the other parent may have visitation rights or parenting time according to a schedule determined by the court.
    • Sole physical custody may be awarded if it is determined to be in the best interests of the child or if one parent is unable to provide a stable and suitable living environment.

3. Split Custody

  1. Split Custody:
    • In split custody arrangements, siblings are divided between the parents, with each parent having primary physical custody of at least one child.
    • Split custody arrangements are relatively rare and may be considered if it is deemed to be in the best interests of the children involved.

4. Bird’s Nest Custody

  1. Bird’s Nest Custody:
    • In bird’s nest custody, the child remains in the family home, and the parents take turns living with the child according to a set schedule.
    • This arrangement allows the child to maintain stability in their living environment while the parents rotate in and out of the home.

5. Temporary Custody Orders

  1. Temporary Custody Orders:
    • Temporary custody orders may be issued by the court during the pendency of a divorce or custody dispute to establish custody arrangements until a final decision can be made.
    • These orders are intended to provide stability and structure for the family while the legal process is ongoing.

Conclusion

Child custody orders are tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of each family and are designed to promote the best interests of the child. The type of custody order issued by the court will depend on factors such as the child’s age and preferences, the parents’ ability to cooperate, and any history of abuse or neglect. It’s essential for parents to understand their rights and responsibilities under the custody order and to work together in the best interests of their children

Fathers Rights During Pregnancy
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Fathers Rights During Pregnancy

The rights of fathers during pregnancy can vary depending on legal jurisdiction and the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy. In general, fathers typically have certain rights and responsibilities during pregnancy, including:

  1. Legal Paternity Rights: If the father is legally recognized as the child’s father, he may have certain rights regarding custody, visitation, and decision-making regarding the child’s upbringing. Establishing paternity can vary depending on the laws of the jurisdiction.
  2. Support Obligations: Fathers are typically obligated to provide financial support for their child, including during pregnancy. This can include expenses related to prenatal care and childbirth.
  3. Medical Decision-making: In some jurisdictions, fathers may have the right to be involved in medical decisions related to the pregnancy and childbirth, particularly if they are married to the mother or if paternity has been legally established.
  4. Emotional Support and Involvement: Regardless of legal rights, many fathers choose to be actively involved in the pregnancy and childbirth process, providing emotional support to the mother and participating in prenatal appointments and childbirth classes.
  5. Parental Leave: Some jurisdictions provide paternity leave or other forms of parental leave that allow fathers to take time off work to support their partner during pregnancy and to bond with their newborn child after birth.

Does A Father Have Rights To An Unborn Child?

The extent of a father’s legal rights to an unborn child can vary depending on jurisdiction and specific circumstances. Generally, fathers do not have legal rights to an unborn child in the same way that they do to a child who has been born. However, once the child is born, assuming paternity is established, fathers typically have rights and responsibilities related to custody, visitation, and support.

Before the child is born, fathers may have limited legal rights, but they may still have certain responsibilities, such as providing financial support for the mother’s prenatal care and childbirth expenses. Some jurisdictions allow fathers to seek custody or visitation rights before the child is born through legal processes such as paternity establishment or seeking court orders.

In cases where the father and mother are married or in a legally recognized partnership, the father may have more rights and involvement in decisions related to the pregnancy and childbirth. However, if the parents are unmarried and paternity has not been established, the father’s rights may be more limited.

Establishing Legal Parenthood For Fathers

Establishing legal parenthood for fathers typically involves a few key steps, which may vary depending on the jurisdiction:

  1. Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity: In many places, if the parents are unmarried, they can establish paternity voluntarily by signing a legal document called an Acknowledgment of Paternity. This document is typically available at hospitals, birthing centers, or vital records offices. Both parents must sign the document, and it is usually filed with the appropriate government agency to establish the father’s legal rights and responsibilities.
  2. Genetic Testing: If there is a dispute about paternity or if the mother disputes the father’s claim of paternity, genetic testing may be required. DNA testing can conclusively determine whether a man is the biological father of a child. Courts may order genetic testing if paternity is in question, and the results of the test can be used to establish legal parenthood.
  3. Court Order: In some cases, particularly if paternity is disputed or if one parent is unwilling to acknowledge paternity voluntarily, it may be necessary to seek a court order to establish legal parenthood. This typically involves filing a petition with the court requesting a determination of paternity. The court may order genetic testing and, if the results confirm paternity, issue an order establishing the father’s legal rights and responsibilities.
  4. Marriage: If the parents are married at the time of the child’s birth, the husband is typically presumed to be the legal father of the child. However, this presumption can be rebutted if there is evidence to the contrary, such as proof of infertility or evidence of another man’s paternity.

Once legal parenthood is established, the father typically has rights and responsibilities regarding custody, visitation, and financial support for the child. It’s important for fathers to understand their rights and obligations under the law and to seek legal advice if they have questions or concerns about establishing legal parenthood.

What Is A Father’s Financial Responsibility During Pregnancy?

A father’s financial responsibility during pregnancy can vary depending on factors such as legal jurisdiction, the relationship between the parents, and individual circumstances. However, some common financial responsibilities that fathers may have during pregnancy include:

  1. Medical Expenses: Fathers may be responsible for contributing to the costs of prenatal care, including doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, lab tests, and medications. This can also include expenses related to childbirth, such as hospital bills and delivery costs.
  2. Health Insurance Coverage: If the father has health insurance that covers dependents, he may be responsible for adding the mother and unborn child to his insurance policy to help cover medical expenses related to the pregnancy and childbirth.
  3. Supporting the Mother: Fathers may be expected to provide financial support to the mother during pregnancy to help cover living expenses and other necessities. This can include contributing to rent or mortgage payments, utilities, groceries, and other household expenses.
  4. Childbirth Classes and Other Preparations: Fathers may be responsible for sharing the costs of childbirth classes, prenatal vitamins, maternity clothes, and other expenses related to preparing for the baby’s arrival.
  5. Unforeseen Expenses: Fathers should also be prepared to help cover any unexpected expenses that arise during pregnancy, such as medical emergencies or complications that require additional financial resources.

It’s important for both parents to communicate openly about financial responsibilities during pregnancy and to work together to ensure that the needs of both the mother and unborn child are met. In cases where the parents are unmarried or separated, legal agreements or court orders may be necessary to establish financial obligations and ensure that both parents contribute appropriately to the costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth.

Can You Not Tell The Father You Are Pregnant?

Deciding when and how to share such news can be a deeply personal matter, and there might be various reasons why someone may choose not to tell the father about a pregnancy right away. It’s essential to consider the circumstances and implications carefully.

If you’re in a situation where you’re hesitant to tell the father, it might be helpful to reflect on why that is and whether there are concerns that need addressing. Keeping such news from the father could potentially lead to complications down the road, so it’s essential to approach the situation with care and honesty, whenever you feel ready. If you need advice or support, don’t hesitate to reach out to trusted friends, family, or professionals who can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.

Can You Have A Baby And Not Tell The Father?

Yes, it is possible for someone to have a baby and choose not to tell the father about the pregnancy or the child. There could be various reasons for this decision, such as concerns about the father’s involvement, personal safety, or other complex circumstances.

However, it’s important to consider the potential long-term implications of such a decision, both for the child and for the relationship between the child and the father. In many cases, maintaining open communication and transparency can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved, even if the situation is challenging.

If you’re considering not telling the father about a pregnancy or a child, it might be helpful to seek guidance from trusted friends, family members, or professionals who can offer support and perspective on your specific circumstances.

After the baby is born, you are not entitled to make decisions regarding the child if you are not the biological parent or do not have custody. However, if you have sole or joint legal custody, you are in a position to decide on important aspects of their upbringing. Create a newborn custody agreement to specify the responsibilities of each parent. Make use of a parenting plan template as a reference. It can be drafted while you are pregnant, and once the baby is born, the court can approve it.

Signing Over Parental Rights Of An Unborn Child

Signing over parental rights of an unborn child is a complex legal matter and the specifics can vary greatly depending on jurisdiction. In many places, it’s not possible to sign over parental rights to an unborn child because legal parental rights generally come into effect after the child is born. However, there might be options for relinquishing parental rights after birth through processes like adoption or termination of parental rights.

If you’re considering such a step, it’s crucial to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney who specializes in family law. They can provide guidance on the relevant laws in your jurisdiction and help you understand your rights and options. Additionally, it’s important to consider the potential emotional and practical implications of such a decision, both for yourself and for the child. Talking to a counselor or therapist can also be beneficial in navigating these complex issues.

Father’ Rights In Abortion

The topic of fathers’ rights in the context of abortion is complex and intersects with legal, ethical, and social dimensions. Here’s an overview of the key aspects:

Legal Perspective

  1. Current Legal Framework:
    • In most jurisdictions, the legal right to decide whether to have an abortion resides with the pregnant woman. This stems from the recognition of bodily autonomy and privacy rights.
    • The landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade (1973) established the constitutional right to privacy, which includes a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. This decision was modified by the 2022 case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which returned the power to regulate abortion to individual states, but did not explicitly grant fathers any decision-making power.
  2. Paternity Rights:
    • Fathers generally have rights concerning their children once they are born, including custody, visitation, and child support. However, these rights do not typically extend to decisions about abortion.
  3. State Variations:
    • Some states have attempted to introduce laws requiring that fathers be notified of or consent to an abortion, but these have generally been struck down as unconstitutional.

Ethical and Social Considerations

  1. Bodily Autonomy:
    • The principle of bodily autonomy supports the idea that individuals should have control over their own bodies, which includes making decisions about pregnancy.
  2. Parental Responsibilities and Interests:
    • Some argue that fathers should have a say in abortion decisions because they have a stake in the potential life of the child. However, this interest is often seen as secondary to the pregnant woman’s bodily autonomy.
  3. Relationship Dynamics:
    • The dynamics of the relationship between the parents can also affect opinions on this issue. In some cases, men may feel they should have a say, especially if they are in a committed relationship. Conversely, in situations involving abuse or coercion, giving fathers more rights could endanger the pregnant woman.

Advocacy and Movements

  1. Men’s Rights Groups:
    • Some men’s rights groups advocate for increased paternal rights in abortion decisions. They argue for equal say in the decision-making process or at least for fathers to be notified.
  2. Reproductive Rights Groups:
    • Groups advocating for reproductive rights typically emphasize the importance of protecting women’s autonomy and ensuring access to abortion without additional hurdles, including mandatory notification or consent from fathers.

The rights of fathers in the context of abortion remain a contentious issue. While fathers have significant rights and responsibilities regarding their children post-birth, the prevailing legal and ethical frameworks prioritize the pregnant woman’s right to make decisions about her own body. This balance reflects broader principles of bodily autonomy and privacy, even as debates continue about the appropriate roles and rights of fathers in these deeply personal and complex decisions.

Can A Father Stop A Pregnant Mother From Moving?

The ability of a father to prevent a pregnant mother from moving depends on various legal and contextual factors. Generally, it is difficult for a father to legally stop a pregnant mother from relocating, especially before the child is born. Here are key points to consider:

Legal Context

  1. Rights During Pregnancy:
    • Autonomy of the Pregnant Woman: During pregnancy, the legal rights of the mother over her body and movement are typically prioritized. Courts generally do not impose restrictions on a pregnant woman’s right to move or relocate.
    • Legal Status of the Fetus: In many jurisdictions, a fetus does not have separate legal rights independent of the pregnant woman. Consequently, the father does not have legal grounds to control the movements of the pregnant mother based on the unborn child’s interests.
  2. Post-Birth Considerations:
    • Custody and Visitation Rights: Once the child is born, both parents’ rights and responsibilities come into play. If the mother moves before the child is born, custody and visitation arrangements will be established based on the location of the parents at that time.
    • Impact on Custody: If a mother relocates during pregnancy and the father wishes to be involved in the child’s life, the distance may impact future custody and visitation arrangements. Courts generally consider the best interests of the child when making these decisions, which includes maintaining relationships with both parents.

Factors Influencing Court Decisions

  1. Best Interests of the Child:
    • Courts prioritize the best interests of the child when making custody and visitation decisions. They consider factors such as the child’s stability, the parents’ ability to cooperate, and the child’s relationship with each parent.
  2. Mother’s Reason for Moving:
    • If the mother’s relocation is motivated by valid reasons (e.g., employment opportunities, support from family, safety concerns), courts may view the move more favorably.
  3. Father’s Involvement:
    • The father’s level of involvement and commitment to the child can influence court decisions. Demonstrating a desire to be actively involved in the child’s life can be a significant factor.

Practical Considerations

  1. Communication and Cooperation:
    • Open communication and cooperation between parents can help manage the implications of a move. If possible, discussing and negotiating terms that consider both parents’ roles can lead to more amicable arrangements.
  2. Legal Advice:
    • Both parents should seek legal advice to understand their rights and obligations. Family law attorneys can provide guidance specific to their jurisdiction and circumstances.

Before the child is born, it is generally challenging for a father to legally prevent a pregnant mother from moving. The mother’s autonomy and the absence of separate legal rights for the fetus support her freedom to relocate. However, once the child is born, custody and visitation arrangements will consider the best interests of the child, which may include maintaining relationships with both parents. Communication, cooperation, and legal counsel are crucial in navigating these situations.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Custodial Parents & Noncustodial Parents Rights

One parent is designated as the custodial parent and the other as the noncustodial parent, based on the custodial rights granted to each in the final custody order. These titles have an impact on each parent’s rights and obligations, including who is responsible for paying and receiving child support, among other things.

There are states where terms with the same meaning are used differently. Ohio, for instance, employs the terms “residential parent” and “nonresidential parent.”

A custodial parent: what is it?

The principal caregiver for the child is the custodial parent. They frequently get sole custody, which grants them complete control over all decisions pertaining to the child (sole legal custody) and most or all of the parenting time (sole physical custody).

The custodial parent may be named in a joint or sole custody agreement that the parents come to. Should that not be feasible, the judge determines the appropriate party based on:

The child’s best interests

Who has more time to devote to the child? Who was the child’s primary caregiver when the custody case began? In certain states, the child’s wishes
The opportunity to spend a lot of one-on-one time with your child is one advantage of having custodial custody. There’s also the possibility that you won’t have to pay child support.

But you bear the majority of the parental load, particularly if you’re a single parent. All or most of your child’s growing pains and frustrations must be addressed as you are responsible for their daily care. In addition, you’ll have extra responsibilities that the other parent might be able to avoid, like driving the child to and from school.

Should you and your former partner get along well enough, you may be able to co-parent and divide these duties equally between the two of you.

A noncustodial parent is what?

In most cases, the noncustodial parent has less time with the child and is the one who pays child support, though they may still be eligible for assistance if the custodial parent earns a substantially higher income.

You may remain the noncustodial parent even if you share joint legal and physical custody. Perhaps the court decides you need to pay child support, or perhaps the other parent resides in a better school district.

Even though you might not see your child as much, you play an equally important role in their upbringing as the custodial parent does; children gain the most from having both parents involved.

Rights of noncustodial parents

Noncustodial parents are entitled to visitation privileges and decision-making power, unless the court rules otherwise. The court may mandate supervised visitation if there are worries about the child being with the parent alone.

The custodial parent’s refusal to permit visits does not absolve you of your child support obligations. If you want to make sure the order is enforced, you should bring the matter before a family court.

It is your right to be informed if the parent with custodial rights plans to move. The majority of states have deadlines for the custodial parent to notify the other parent when they are moving. The noncustodial parent now has time to object. If the distance is great enough to interfere with the visitation schedule, the custody order might need to be modified.

Both parents have the right to know where their child is during visits, if specified by the court order.

Working Together

For the purpose of raising your child, you and your ex-partner remain a team, despite your separation. Among the matters you ought to work together on are:

Important decisions pertaining to children, such as the child’s schooling
Significant costs for the child (such as medical procedures)

Reliability

Getting the youngster to and from appointments

Before going to court, think about attempting an alternative dispute resolution process if you’re having problems reaching a consensus on these issues. It might be more difficult to resolve conflicts amicably in the future if litigation is brought about right away.

Divorce can be tolling on all involved so be sure to guard your kids and preserve their future. For more information on divorce and child custody, contact the Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group. We are here to protect you and your children: (480) 744-7711.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Is The Average Retainer Fee For A Criminal Lawyer?

Criminal Lawyer Cost

The average cost of a criminal defense lawyer is $8,000 with average prices ranging from $1,000 – $15,000 in the US according to LegalMatch [1]. *Disclaimer – This is not an actual quote. If you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer contact Canterbury Law Group to start your initial consultation.

In criminal prosecution actions, the Constitution guarantees you a right to counsel. If you are unable to afford the services of a private attorney, the court will appoint an attorney on your behalf. Based on your assets and income, the court may decide you can afford an attorney, in that situation you can either represent yourself or hire a private attorney.

What Factors Cause Criminal Defense Costs to Vary?

There are many factors to consider when assessing the overall costs of a criminal case:

Investigators and Expert Witnesses – Very often criminal cases have multiple and complex issues that require expert witnesses and/or investigators. To demonstrate, a defense attorney may hire the services of someone who specializes in chemical testing to explain the results of a Blood Alcohol Content analysis in a DUI trial. Or the services of a psychologist may be required if the defendant is wishing to raise a defense of legal insanity. Expert witnesses and investigators require an average retainer fee of $2,500 and they may charge in excess of $300 per hour.

Attorney’s Fees – Attorney’s fees vary depending on several different factors. Here are some of the more important factors that will have an impact on the rate attorney’s charge:

  • Whether the case goes to trial.
  • Whether the attorney charges a flat fee or by the hour.
  • The skill of the attorney.
  • The number of years the attorney has practiced criminal defense.
  • The seriousness of the charged offense.
  • The complexity of the legal issues in the case.
  • The number of years the lawyer has appeared in criminal court in that particular jurisdiction.

How Much Will It Cost if the Lawyer Charges a Flat Fee?

If you face a misdemeanor charge and the lawyer charges a flat fee, expect to pay somewhere between $1,500-$3,500. If going to trial is a possibility, you can expect the fee to be between $3,000-$5,000. When the severity of the charge rises to a felony and when the lawyer thinks that he may be able to obtain a settlement that is favorable, the flat fee may range from $3,000-$6,000. But if it seems inevitable there will be a felony trial, flat fee costs ranging from $10,000-$20,000 are not uncommon. When you are facing serious charges where life in prison is a possibility, such as murder, for a lawyer working on a flat fee you can expect to pay upwards of $40,000.

Criminal Defense Attorney Fees Per Hour

Criminal Defense Attorney Fees Per Hour

You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $300 per hour to hire a criminal defense lawyer according to CostHelper. For example, Thumbtack says, “if an attorney has a $200 hourly fee, he or she may require a 10-hour retainer fee of $2,000

Some attorneys and those who are already well known in their practice area will often charge by the hour to their clients  as opposed to using a flat rate fee. Additionally, if an appropriate flat fee cannot be determined because or the complexity of a case, the attorney may decide to charge an hourly rate instead. The relative ability of the lawyer will cause the hourly rates they charge to greatly differ. For a highly experienced criminal defense lawyers time you can expect to pay $250-$750 per hour. It is worth noting that it is not uncommon for legal bills to quickly mount up into the $10,000-$15,000 range per month when an hourly fee structure is being utilized.

Attorneys.com says “Criminal lawyers who charge by the hour may break up the hour into 15-minute or 6-minute incrementsThe lawyer who charges $200 an hour in 15-minute increments would charge you $50 for that time, while a lawyer who charges the same but in 6-minute increments would only charge you $20.”

In addition, the payment of an up front retainer may be required by a lawyer who is charging you by the hour. This retainer will cover an agreed amount of the lawyer’s initial time. Once the retainer is exhausted, the client will be expected to replenish with new funds.

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for a Misdemeanor or Felony?

Lawyer Cost for a Felony

A lawyer costs about $2,000 to $3,000 for a misdemeanor. According to Nolo, “a defendant charged with a misdemeanor that goes to trial should not be surprised by a legal fee in the neighborhood of $2,000–$3,000; an attorney may want an advance of around $2,500, and $1,000 per day of trial in a felony case.”

A lawyer can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 for a felony. TheLawMan says, “most will agree that the cost for a first-degree felony is at least $10,000, often more. For the most experienced lawyers, you should expect to pay between $35,000 and $100,000 or even more.”

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for Drug Possession?

How Much Does a Lawyer Cost for Drug Possession?

If you are charged with misdemeanor drug possession you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000. If you are charged with felony drug possession you can expect to pay a retainer of $2,500 and pay a cost of $1,000 per day of trial.

According to CostHelper, You can expect to pay about $3500 for a misdemeanor drug possession charge. You can expect to pay about $10,000 for a felony drug possession charge. You can expect to pay about $25,000 for a serious felony drug possession charge.

Do I Need an Attorney to Represent Me?

It is vitally important to consult an experienced attorney before you respond to any criminal prosecution in writing or by direct contact with the prosecutor, even if think you have committed a particular crime and want to enter a guilty plea. At the very least, a skilled attorney can make sure the charges you face are appropriate for the facts of the case and they are capable of advocating on your behalf so you have the best chance of obtaining the lowest penalty possible. For example, say an individual is caught leaving a jewelry store with a necklace worth $100. The shop owner who is angry over the incident tells law enforcement the value of the necklace is $1,000. The difference in values means a charge of petty theft (misdemeanor) would become grand theft (felony). Even the most experienced criminal lawyers agree they would not want to defend themselves if charged so it is well worth speaking to a criminal defense lawyer even though you have the right to proceed alone in your own defense.

Is One Fee Structure Better than Another?

Obviously, the best billing structure is the one that works most effectively for the situation the client faces. Criminal defense lawyers certainly understand how stressful these events are and they try to make the financial aspects of your case as pain free as they can. Regardless, it is always best to know what it is you are paying for.

Learning how billing works is an ideal first step to initiating a discussion with your lawyer regarding their billing structure. Never feel afraid to ask why they are charging the way they do and how they are utilizing their time and planning to ensure your freedom. When you need protection from criminal prosecution you can look and contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer today.

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

Sources

Kirby, John. “How Much Will a Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost?” Attempted Murder Lawyers | LegalMatch Law Library, 20 Feb. 2018, www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/how-much-will-a-criminal-defense-lawyer-cost.html.

Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer In Scottsdale or Phoenix?

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation! We handle criminal defense cases in all areas of Phoenix including Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Maryville, Apache Junction, and more.

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, 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.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Child Custody Mediation: How It Works

Learn the basics of this dispute resolution tool for divorcing spouses and get pointers on approaching your own child custody mediation sessions.

Divorce is an inherently painful process that can be all the more challenging when children are involved. Fighting over child custody issues in court can intensify the pain for all those involved—not to mention the expense.

Fortunately, disagreeing couples can get help working toward solutions for their family somewhere other than court. Child custody mediation exists precisely so that parents who just can’t seem to agree don’t have to take on the financial and emotional costs of court battles.

What Is Child Custody Mediation?

Mediation is a method of “alternative dispute resolution” (ADR) that has become a mainstay in the world of divorce. When it comes to child custody, mediation is designed to help divorcing or unmarried parents reach an agreement on legal and physical custody of their children without the pain and expense of a traditional court contest.

In a mediation session, spouses meet with a trained mediator, usually in an informal setting (such as the mediator’s office), or sometimes online. Think of the mediator as a guide, navigating the couple through the maze of marital issues they disagree on. (Sometimes the spouses work with a mediator and otherwise handle the case themselves; other times, they each have an attorney who might help them prepare for mediation, provide coaching for the negotiation process, and prepare or review any resulting agreement.)

Unlike a judge or arbitrator, the mediator doesn’t make decisions on the disputed matters. Rather, mediators use their knowledge and skill to try to facilitate a compromise that both spouses can live with. In divorce cases, a successful mediation will normally lead to the preparation of a written settlement agreement.

Although many issues in a divorce can be contentious, child custody and parenting time are often the most emotionally charged and difficult for families to agree on.

Child Custody Overview

Child custody isn’t the all-or-nothing proposition it’s often thought to be—one parent gets the kids, the other doesn’t, end of story. It’s well established that children fare better when both parents are an integral part of their life, and that’s the goal the courts strive for in custody cases.

At its core, child custody includes two basic concepts: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody relates to who will make the decisions regarding the important matters in a child’s life, such as education, religious upbringing, and non-emergency medical treatment. Unless one parent is unqualified for some reason, courts prefer to have parents share legal custody.

Physical custody has to do with where a child will primarily reside. To a large degree, determining physical custody depends on where each parent lives, with the aim being to provide for an arrangement that best suits the child’s needs.

In all custody matters, doing what’s in the child’s best interest is the court’s guiding principle.

Child Custody Mediation Basics

Although many issues in a divorce can be contentious, child custody and parenting time are often the most emotionally charged and difficult for families to agree on. Child custody mediation is intended to help tone down the hostility, for the sake of both the parents and their children.

Court-Ordered vs. Private Child Custody Mediation

Child custody mediation can be either ordered by a court or private and voluntary. Court-ordered mediation is often free, low cost, or priced on a sliding scale based on the parents’ incomes. But even if a judge has ordered you to participate in custody mediation, you almost always have the option of choosing private mediation instead of the mediation program offered through the court.

If you can afford it, private mediation allows you to have more say in the process, and it tends to be more successful than court-ordered mediation (in part because of the time restrictions on most court-sponsored custody mediation). Because of that, private mediation might actually save you money because of the court costs and lawyers’ fees that come when there’s no agreement.

Child custody mediation is also typically more cost effective than going to court, because you’re paying one mediator to help you come to an agreement, rather than both of you paying hourly fees to separate attorneys. Also, you have a say in when the sessions will take place. That’s a luxury that is practically nonexistent in the court system.

Most states (and many counties) require courts to order parents to participate in mediation in any case that involves a custody dispute. So even when couples who can’t agree haven’t opted to pursue mediation before filing for divorce, they’ll usually have to attend mediation at some point. In light of this, it’s important to learn how to approach mediation.

How to Prepare for Child Custody Mediation

First and foremost, remember that custody in general, and mediation in particular, isn’t primarily about the parents. It’s about the children. You have to make a commitment to do whatever is best for them, and that starts with being prepared.

Here are some quick tips on getting ready for a mediation session:

Try to get plenty of sleep the night before. Mediation can be stressful, so be sure to take care of yourself. It’s much easier to stay calm and think clearly when you’re rested.

  • Resolve to keep an open mind. Remember, it’s not about getting everything you want. Your spouse may have a different perspective on what’s best for the children. Try to understand where your ex is coming from instead of immediately digging in. The mediator may also have suggestions for custody and parenting time that you haven’t thought of.
  • Sketch something out. Write out a proposal of what you believe would be a fair custody and parenting time arrangement. Sketching out a plan can help organize your thoughts and provide a starting point for discussion. Include a checklist so you don’t lose track of issues that are important to you. Remember to include things such as:
    • how to handle transitions, meaning picking up and dropping off the children when it’s time for them to be with the other parent
    • how to share the cost involved in travel if that’s a factor (such as when the parents live far away from each other)
    • how to divide holidays throughout the year (for example, whether the schedule will be the same each year or will alternate)
    • vacation sharing, for school breaks and summer
    • how to deal with minor changes to the agreed-upon schedules, like when a child or parent is sick
    • the best way for parents to communicate with each other (phone and/or email, for example), and
    • anything you feel could be a potential problem, such as a parent having substance abuse issues that need to be addressed.

Keep in mind that software programs and smartphone apps can help parents coordinate all aspects of custody and parenting time, including communications.

When Custody Mediation Might Not Be Appropriate

Custody mediation is generally not appropriate in cases involving ongoing domestic violence or emotional abuse. In many states that require mediation for custody disputes, you may get out of this requirement if you’re experiencing abuse or there’s a protective order in place. Other states, like California, won’t excuse you from participating in custody mediation, but you may request special procedures to protect your safety.

As long as you have the choice to participate in mediation (or not), you should be aware that custody mediation might not be the best option in some other circumstances, such as when

  • there’s a history of abuse in your relationship, or the other parent bullies or dominates you
  • you have such a high level of conflict in your relationship that cooperation and effective communication is basically impossible, or
  • the other parent has an untreated substance abuse disorder.

5 Tips for Your Child Custody Mediation Sessions

Even if both spouses come with the best intentions, mediation can hit rough patches. When that happens it’s important to take a breath and refocus your energy on what’s best for the children.

Here are some more tips to achieve a successful mediation:

  1. Don’t bring up marital issues unrelated to the children. Remember that this isn’t a general divorce mediation, so don’t muddy the waters by bringing up anything not specifically related to custody and parenting time. Reciting a laundry list of things you don’t like about the other parent is a prime example of what not to say in child custody mediation.
  2. Be thoughtful with your language. When you reference your children, talk about “our” kids, not “my” kids. It’s more inclusive and less confrontational. And try to couch your remarks in terms of what you as parents can jointly do to make the situation as positive and painless for your children as possible.
  3. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Expect that—despite everyone’s best efforts—there will be times when your discussion can become heated. Don’t use that as an excuse to unload on the other parent, which will only undo progress that’s been made up to that point. Mediators are adept at calming the waters, but if you feel your emotions are getting away from you, ask to take a short break.
  4. Don’t subject yourself to abuse. If you choose to mediate your custody dispute despite a history of physical or emotional abuse, you might consider online mediation, mediation with separate sessions for you and the other parent, or both (meaning that you’ll meet virtually with the mediator in separate “break-out” sessions). So-called “shuttle mediation” usually costs more—because it takes more of the mediator’s time—but it can help level the playing field by offsetting the imbalance of power that frequently exists in abusive relationships. A successful outcome is worth the additional cost, which is still likely to be considerably less than heading to court. Virtual or separate mediation sessions are also useful if the degree of hostility between you and the other parent is so high that you can’t be in the same room.
  5. Remember, you always have options. In the event mediation doesn’t work, you can still turn to the courts. Even in that case, your mediation sessions will probably have highlighted the issues you can’t agree on, which will show you what you need to focus on going forward.

Finding a Qualified Mediator

Mediation has become such a popular method of settling legal issues that there’s no shortage of qualified mediators. Your state court’s administration office may have a list of approved mediators. There are also mediation organizations that offer lists of mediators along with their training and experience.

When researching, be sure to pay particular attention to each mediator’s qualifications. You want one who’s taken mediation courses specifically geared to divorce cases, including custody and parenting time. Also, be aware that a child custody mediator doesn’t necessarily have to be a lawyer—many trained child custody mediators are licensed psychologists, marriage and family therapists, or social workers who have experience in child custody issues in their state.

Of course, firsthand knowledge and word-of-mouth referrals are always helpful. Recommendations from friends or family members who’ve been through custody mediation are often the best referrals you can find.

Source: https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/understanding-child-custody-mediation.html

Divorce can be tolling on all involved so be sure to guard your kids and preserve their future. For more information on divorce and child custody, contact the Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group. We are here to protect you and your children: (480) 744-7711.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

When Is a Bankruptcy Claim Contingent, Unliquidated, or Disputed?

The bankruptcy procedure requires you to categorize your debts or “claims” as contingent, unliquidated, or disputed. You’ll need to be familiar with these phrases in order to properly identify and categorize your debts on the various bankruptcy forms.

In a bankruptcy, You Must List All Debts or “Claims”

You describe your financial condition to the court, trustee, and creditors on your bankruptcy filings. Your financial information will be disclosed, along with your monthly budget, real estate and personal property holdings, debts or “claims” you owe, income, and recent real estate transactions.

When listing claims in your documentation, you must include the name, address, and amount owed to each creditor. Find out how to fill out bankruptcy forms.

Not Every Bankruptcy Debt Is Conditional, Unliquidated, or Contestable

Because the label is only necessary if it is unclear whether you owe the loan, the majority of debts won’t require a contingent, unliquidated, or contested label. There will almost always be no doubt that you owe the money. You won’t need to describe the claim as contingent, unliquidated, or contested if you don’t have a defense to use to avoid paying the debt.

Consider the scenario when you have a car loan that is past due. The claim would then be for the remaining sum. Other common responsibilities, like credit card debt, would follow the same rules.

Types of Creditor Claims in Bankruptcy: Secured, Unsecured & Priority explains additional claim classifications that you should be aware of.

When a Contingent, Unliquidated, or Disputed Debt Will Arise

Sometimes it’s difficult to determine how much money you owe a creditor. Each of the labels—contingent, unliquidated, and disputed—identifies a specific problem that must be fixed before the claim may be paid.

Maybe how much you owe will rely on what someone else does, or maybe it won’t. Alternatively, you and the creditor may differ on the amount you owe.

If there is an issue, you should note it when filing the claim on your bankruptcy papers under the relevant heading of contingent, unliquidated, or contested claim (the form provides checkboxes for these designations).

A contingent claim is what?

Payment of the claim is subject to a future occurrence that may or may not take place. For example, if you cosigned a secured loan (like a mortgage or auto loan), you aren’t liable for paying it until the other cosigner defaults. Your responsibility as a cosigner depends on the default.

An Unliquidated Debt Is What?

There are times when you owe money but are unsure of how much. Although the precise amount of the debt hasn’t been established, it might exist. Let’s take the example of a lawsuit you filed against someone for injuries you had in a car accident. Your attorney has accepted the case on a contingency basis; if you win, the attorney will receive a third of the recovery; if you lose, the attorney will receive nothing. The debt owed to the attorney is unpaid. The amount of the attorney’s fee won’t be known until the case is settled or won at trial.

A Disputed Debt Is What?

You will tick this box if there is a discrepancy between the amount you owe and what you owe, if anything at all. Consider a scenario in which the IRS has an involuntary tax lien on your property and claims that you owe them $10,000. On the other hand, you think you just owe $500. You should state that the claim is disputed and include the total amount of the lien rather than the amount you believe you owe (you can clarify how much you believe you owe in the notes).

In Bankruptcy, You Must List All Claims

For a variety of reasons, it’s typical for someone to desire to exclude a claim from the bankruptcy petition. You cannot succeed. All claims, including those you believe you owe and those that others think you owe, must be listed.

It’s ideal for you to do that. Even if it would typically be considered a dischargeable debt, if you don’t list a claim, it might not be eliminated or “discharged” in your situation.

Claims Payment in Bankruptcy

Following the payment of creditors, the following will take place:

Creditors will be notified by the bankruptcy trustee assigned to the case that it is a “asset case.”
In order to get a portion of the available funds, a creditor must submit a proof of claim form by a specific deadline.
The claims will be examined by the trustee, who will then pay them in accordance with bankruptcy law’s priority payment system.
But keep in mind that every circumstance is different. Consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer if you are unclear about what will happen to the claims in your bankruptcy case.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Differences Between Legal and Physical Child Custody

When you’re splitting up with your child’s other parent, you’ll need to address the issue of child custody, either as part of a divorce or in a separate custody proceeding. Whether you’re preparing for a custody case or hope to reach a parenting agreement, you should become familiar the basic principles of child custody.

The first thing to understand is that there are two elements to child custody: legal custody and physical custody. It’s not unusual for legal and physical custody to be set up differently. For example, parents might have joint legal custody but not joint physical custody. But with both legal and physical custody, judges base their decisions primarily on what would be in the best interests of the child, not necessarily what the parents want.

What Does Legal Custody Mean?

Legal custody refers to parents’ authority to make the important decisions about their children’s lives, such as:

  • medical and other health care, including the choice of doctors and whether the kids will get vaccinations or go to therapy
  • schooling and other educational resources like tutoring and special education
  • religious activities and instruction, and
  • whether they’ll take part in extracurricular activities like team sports, school band, or music lessons.

A few states use different terms for legal custody, such as decision-making or parental responsibility (in Colorado and Florida) or managing conservatorship (in Texas).

Joint or Shared Legal Custody

Most married parents make important decisions about their children together. And when they divorce or separate, judges usually prefer to keep this arrangement—generally called joint or shared legal custody. That preference is based on the longstanding recognition by courts that fit parents have a fundamental right to decide how their children are raised.

But even when both parents have the legal decision-making authority for their children, one of them—typically the primary residential (or custodial) parent—will often make routine decisions like scheduling doctor’s appointments or authorizing emergency medical treatment. Just as when they are still living together, it’s up to divorced parents to work out the practicalities of how to handle these decisions.

The best way to do that is to put it in writing ahead of time (whether in a separate custody agreement or as part of a complete divorce settlement agreement). For example, you may agree that you’ll follow the advice of your child’s pediatrician if there’s a dispute about vaccines, medication, or authorizing a medical procedure.

When Do Judges Award Sole Legal Custody?

Despite the built-in preference for giving both parents a say in how their children are raised, judges may grant sole legal custody to one parent when that would be best for the children, such as when the other parent:

  • has a history of domestic abuse (toward either a child or the other parent) or child neglect
  • has serious mental illness or a substance abuse problem that hinders the ability to make good decisions, or
  • isn’t involved in the child’s daily life.

Judges might also order sole legal custody in high-conflict cases where it’s clear that the parents won’t be able to agree.

Some judges may order joint legal custody while designating one parent as the tie-breaker in any disagreements. This isn’t that different from sole legal custody, but it does encourage both parents to be involved in the decision-making process.

Joint legal custody can sometimes turn into a constant battleground, with the parents going to back court to try to resolve disagreements. If this keeps happening—especially if one parent makes decisions about a child’s life over the other parent’s objections—the judge might modify custody by changing the existing arrangement to sole legal custody.

Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to where the children live most of the time. As with legal custody, some states have different names for physical custody, such as parenting time or time sharing.

Sole Physical Custody With Visitation

With sole physical custody, the children live with one parent while the other parent has visitation time. This traditional arrangement isn’t as common as it used to be. But it still might be the best solution for the children in certain situations, especially when:

  • the parents live far enough apart that it would be difficult for the kids to go back and forth frequently, or
  • one parent isn’t able to provide proper care for the kids because of housing instability, mental health issues, or substance abuse.

Even when one parent has sole physical custody, judges will usually try to make sure that the other parent can have frequent and continuing contact with the children—a goal that is explicit public policy in some states. For instance, noncustodial parents who live far away from the custodial parent might have the children during summer vacations and other long school breaks.

Joint or Shared Physical Custody

With shared physical custody or parenting time, children split their time between their parents. This way, they can have two engaged and involved parents, with two real homes.

Some states require judges to start out with by presuming that joint physical custody is better for the children. Then, any parent who disagrees must provide convincing evidence that shared custody wouldn’t be good for the kids.

Joint physical custody doesn’t always mean an exact 50-50 split. For instance, it often works best for the children to spend school nights with one parent (often called the primary residential parent) and weekends with the other parent. Of course, this kind of arrangement isn’t very feasible if the parents live far apart.

Shared Parenting Plans

Shared parenting plans usually involve detailed schedules, including provisions for issues like:

  • when, where, and how parents will pick up and drop off the kids
  • how the parents will communicate and deal with unforeseen changes to the schedule, and
  • where the children will spend birthdays, holidays, and other school vacations.

In most cases, parents work out their own parenting plan—either on their own or with the help of custody mediation, their lawyers, or both. In fact, many states and courts require parents to participate in mediation of any legal custody dispute. Once the parents have agreed on a plan, they’ll submit it to the court. Judges usually approve these agreements as long as they appear to be in the children’s best interests.

When Parents Can’t Agree on a Parenting Plan

If parents aren’t able to reach an agreement about physical or legal custody of their children, each of them will typically submit a proposed parenting plan to the court. A judge will then review those plans along with all the other evidence—which might include a report from a custody evaluation—before deciding on a custody arrangement that will be best for the children.

If you find yourself in this situation, you should speak with a family law attorney who can help you gather and present the kind of evidence you need to win your custody case.Source

https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/divorce/divorce-and-children/legal-and-physical-custody-children

Divorce can be tolling on all involved so be sure to guard your kids and preserve their future. For more information on divorce and child custody, contact the Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group. We are here to protect you and your children: (480) 744-7711.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Grandparent Rights in Arizona

Grandparents form an important part of extended families. In some families, grandparents are like another set of parents to children. Most grandparents care deeply for their grandchildren. If a child’s parents or guardians are failing in their duties, the grandparents might wish to step in and help.

In Arizona, grandparents can legally seek custody of grandchildren or visitation rights under the statutes A.R.S § 25-409. A grandparent must go to family court for these rights, and these petitions are carefully reviewed by a judge. The court decision will be based on what’s legally called the “best interests of the child.” Therefore, grandparents who want legal custody, visitation rights, or seek to adopt a grandchild should consult with Family Law help in Scottsdale.

How Can Grandparents Get Visitation Rights?

If a child’s parents deny the grandparents visitation rights under any circumstance, the grandparents can file a petition in court in Arizona. The court will consider the petition if the following conditions are true:

  • The child’s parents were never married.
  • The grandparent is the parent of a deceased or missing (for at least 3 months) parent of a child.
  • The petitioning grandparent is the parent of a non-custodial parent of a child, where the child’s parents are divorced and have been for at least three months.

If the above conditions are not met, it’s unlikely the court will consider the petition. Exceptions may be granted in the case of extraordinary circumstances, such as abuse. These considerations fall under the child’s best interests category.

Eligibility of the Grandparent

Grandparents petitioning for custody are required to meet certain eligibility criteria as set by Arizona law. The requirements go as follows:

  • The child’s legal parents should be deceased, in the process of getting divorced or legally separated, or were never married
  • For the grandparent to get custody of a child, then remaining in the parent’s custody must be detrimental to the child’s well-being.
  • The grandparent must be able to be “in loco parentis” to the child, meaning that the grandparents will provide the same care and support as a parent.
  • The custody of the child should not have been decided in the previous year (exceptions are granted in cases where the child could be harmed).

If the above eligibility requirements are not met, then the petition will be dismissed.

How Does an Arizonian Court Determine the ‘Best Interests of the Child’?

Under Arizona law, a court must consider “all relevant factors” when determining the best interests of the child. In family law, there are actually five statutory factors that courts always consider when approving a petition. Here are those factors as follows:

  • The relationship the grandparent has with the child in historical terms
  • The reason that the grandparent is petitioning for visitation rights
  • Why the parents may have denied the grandparent visitation rights
  • The impact of visitation on the child’s life or activities if the court grants the grandparent visitation rights, depending on the amount of visitation the petitioner seeks
  • If a parent, or both, are deceased, the benefit grandparent’s visitation will have on other extended members of the family

When Can Grandparents Petition for Visitation Rights

Grandparents can go to the family court directly for visitation rights. If the parents are getting a divorce or are in the middle of a custody battle, then a grandparent can sometimes file the petition as part of the divorce or custody proceedings. Consult with a lawyer for more specifics on when to file.

Grandparents can also formally adopt a child, but these types of petitions are subject to a different set of laws. Your family lawyer will be able to assist you in explaining these laws.

Grandparent Rights in Arizona

Grandparents form an important part of extended families. In some families, grandparents are like another set of parents to children. Most grandparents care deeply for their grandchildren. If a child’s parents or guardians are failing in their duties, the grandparents might wish to step in and help.

In Arizona, grandparents can legally seek custody of grandchildren or visitation rights under the statutes A.R.S § 25-409. A grandparent must go to family court for these rights, and these petitions are carefully reviewed by a judge. The court decision will be based on what’s legally called the “best interests of the child.” Therefore, grandparents who want legal custody, visitation rights, or seek to adopt a grandchild should consult with Family Law help in Scottsdale.

How Can Grandparents Get Visitation Rights?

If a child’s parents deny the grandparents visitation rights under any circumstance, the grandparents can file a petition in court in Arizona. The court will consider the petition if the following conditions are true:

  • The child’s parents were never married.
  • The grandparent is the parent of a deceased or missing (for at least 3 months) parent of a child.
  • The petitioning grandparent is the parent of a non-custodial parent of a child, where the child’s parents are divorced, and have been for at least three months.

If the above conditions are not met, it’s unlikely the court will consider the petition. Exceptions may be granted in the case of extraordinary circumstances, such as abuse. These considerations fall under the child’s best interests category.

Eligibility of the Grandparent

Grandparents petitioning for custody are required to meet certain eligibility criteria as set by Arizona law. The requirements go as follows:

  • The child’s legal parents should be deceased, in the process of getting divorced or legally separated, or were never married
  • For the grandparent to get custody of a child, then remaining in the parent’s custody must be detrimental to the child’s well-being.
  • The grandparent must be able to be “in loco parentis” to the child, meaning that the grandparents will provide the same care and support as a parent.
  • The custody of the child should not have been decided in the previous year (exceptions are granted in cases where the child could be harmed).

If the above eligibility requirements are not met, then the petition will be dismissed.

How Does an Arizonian Court Determine the ‘Best Interests of the Child’?

Under Arizona law, a court must consider “all relevant factors” when determining the best interests of the child. In family law, there are actually five statutory factors that courts always consider when approving a petition. Here are those factors as follows:

  • The relationship the grandparent has with the child in historical terms
  • The reason that the grandparent is petitioning for visitation rights
  • Why the parents may have denied the grandparent visitation rights
  • The impact of visitation on the child’s life or activities if the court grants the grandparent visitation rights, depending on the amount of visitation the petitioner seeks
  • If a parent, or both, are deceased, the benefit grandparent’s visitation will have on other extended members of the family

When Can Grandparents Petition for Visitation Rights

Grandparents can go to the family court directly for visitation rights. If the parents are getting a divorce or are in the middle of a custody battle, then a grandparent can sometimes file the petition as part of the divorce or custody proceedings. Consult with a lawyer for more specifics on when to file.

Grandparents can also formally adopt a child, but these types of petitions are subject to a different set of laws. Your family lawyer will be able to assist you in explaining these laws.

All states have recognized grandparent visitation rights for decades. Grandparent rights ensure that children have access to the benefits of having grandparents in their lives. Grandparents may exercise their custody rights when the child’s parents are unable to care for their child

Grandparent Custody Requirements

Statutory provisions for child custody are usually less specific than grandparent visitation. First, courts must consider the parent-child relationship with each parent.

If either or both parents are alive, courts in most states will presume that the parents of the child should retain custody. The court will always put the best interests of the child first. Ultimately, the court prioritizes the safety and well-being of the child.

The court will consider several different factors to make this decision. For example, the court might consider the child’s wishes if the child is old enough. The court will look at the physical health and mental health of each parent. They will also consider any history of domestic violence or substance abuse.

If the court finds one is an unfit parent, they might terminate their parental rights. This typically only happens when there has been severe abuse and neglect of the child and the parent has been given ample opportunity to change the situation. They might lose legal or physical custody of the child. The court also might order the parent who does not have primary physical custody to pay child support through a court order.

Grandparents must generally prove the parent is unfit to convince the court to award custody to them. It’s generally very difficult for a grandparent to get custody of their grandchild against the parent’s wishes. Other non-parents and family members might also petition the court for custody of a child.

Grandparent Visitation Requirements

Grandparents generally have to meet certain conditions before they can be granted court-ordered visitation. In a majority of states, courts must consider the marital status of the biological parents. Then, the court will evaluate the relevant factors to determine if visitation is appropriate.

Some states consider marital status only when the parents deny visitation rights to the grandparents. In other states, marital status is a factor if the grandchild has lived with the grandparents for a specific duration.

A minority of states require that at least one parent is deceased before a court can award visitation to the parent of the deceased parent of the child. For example, the court may award a maternal grandparent in one of these states with visitation only if the mother of the child is deceased.

In every state, grandparents must prove that granting visitation to the grandchild is in the best interest of the child. Several states also require that the court consider the grandparent-child relationship. They might also consider the effect of grandparental visitation on the relationship between the parent and child. They will also consider the possibility of harm to the grandchild if visitation is not allowed.

Effect of Adoption on Grandparent Visitation Rights

State statutes vary in their treatment of cases in which a grandchild has been adopted. In several states, adoption by anyone—including a stepparent or another grandparent—terminates the visitation rights of the grandparent.

In some states, adoption by a stepparent or another grandparent does not terminate visitation rights, but adoption by anyone else terminates visitation rights. In other states, adoption does not affect the visitation rights of grandparents as long as other statutory requirements are met.

Learn More About Your Rights as a Grandparent From an Attorney

Most grandparents would give anything to spend more time with their grandchildren. But family relationships can get complicated. Most state laws recognize the rights of individuals to visit with their grandchildren.

Find out how this could impact your family by talking to an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can provide valuable legal advice about your situation. Lawyers can help with child custody cases, resolve custody disputes, and represent you in family court.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Criminal Defense Strategies

How To Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer

Criminal defense lawyers assist their client (the defendant) in creating a criminal defense plan that will be applied throughout their whole criminal case. After being retained by their clients through a signed representation agreement, criminal defense lawyers start strategizing.

Criminal defense lawyers will guide their clients through the legal process, provide recommendations based on the case’s facts, and advise solutions. The client, however, ultimately decides the outcome of their case, including whether to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere, whether to testify in court, and whether to accept a plea deal. Although it is up to the defendant to make these choices, a criminal defense lawyer will offer support and advice.

In a criminal case, a criminal defense lawyer may make recommendations, which are covered in this article.

Overview of Criminal Defense

The identical set of factual circumstances can serve as the basis for two entirely distinct stories told by a prosecutor and a defense lawyer. Consider it in the same manner as you would a map of the United States. The states are shown on one map in their geographical regions, with state borders shown as dark lines. The United States is depicted on the opposite map instead using a gradient color scheme based on average income per population. Despite the fact that both maps are accurate, they won’t likely appear alike.

The best defense for the defendant’s circumstances must be developed by the defendant and the counsel. The conclusion should include elements like:

being supported by solid facts and data. Show that the defendant’s car was taken from them at gunpoint the morning of the offense, for instance, if it was being utilized as a getaway vehicle.
possessing the capacity to win over the jury or the judge through an emotional appeal. For instance, if at all feasible, demonstrate that the defendant made an effort to refrain from committing a crime before it was actually committed and even went so far as to inform the police of the potential crime.
elucidating and demonstrating the reasons why the events described by the defendant in his story actually happened. For instance, if the defendant asserts that they weren’t present when the crime was committed, their story must explain why they weren’t.
A criminal defense lawyer may also provide their client advice on how to approach lesser included charges, which are crimes committed while committing a more serious offense. The offender will receive a lighter sentence if they are found guilty of the lesser included offense rather than the more serious offence.

Developing a Criminal Defense Plan

The criminal defendant either hires a lawyer through a representation agreement or the court appoints one for them in accordance with their constitutional right to counsel as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment. The criminal defendant will then outline their case to the prosecutor.

It takes more than just speaking the truth in a way that establishes the defendant’s innocence or minimizes the severity of the charge. Instead, it will frequently include evaluating the reliability of the witnesses and determining how well-known they are among the public and the police. A “theory of the case” based on the defendant’s account and other verifiable facts will be developed after taking all of these factors into account.

Attorney-client privilege will shield any information shared by the client with the lawyer, whether it was spoken or written.

Attorney-Client Confidentiality

You are entitled to attorney-client privilege if you hire a lawyer under a representation agreement. Any correspondence between a lawyer and their client, whether verbal or written, is protected by this privilege. Since these discussions are exempt from disclosure requirements, any information you share with your lawyer regarding a legal matter will remain private.

The attorney-client privilege has several exceptions, such as when it’s necessary to stop certain death or serious damage. However, in most cases, this privilege is in place to encourage open, frank communication between clients and their attorneys without worrying about a third party discovering the information. In the best interests of their clients, criminal defense lawyers can develop a criminal defense plan with the aid of this confidential information.

Getting Ready for Trial

Criminal defense lawyers will start planning how to best represent their clients after hearing their version of the tale. This depends on the specifics of each instance. The defendant will have to decide on their legal defense in court.

The attorney will need to come up with a plan to convince the judge or jury that the client is, in fact, innocent. Alternately, the client may maintain an alibi, in which case the lawyer will need to devise a plan to demonstrate that the client was elsewhere when the crime was done. The client may also confess to the offense while claiming a justification for their behavior, such as self-defense. The lawyer will need to make an effort to compile enough proof to persuade the judge or jury of the client’s argument.

Frequently, a criminal defense lawyer might also:

If the defendant decides to testify, get them ready by conducting practice interviews to help them memorize the defense argument;
Escort defendants to significant crime scenes to jog their recollections;
Encourage the defendants to record their account of the events in writing.
In order for the defendant to understand what kind of evidence are required from them, defense attorneys also educate clients about the prosecution’s case.

A Private Criminal Defense Lawyer Is Vital To Your Future

Let’s briefly look at the ways your life can be impacted should you ever be charged with a crime:

  • Potential loss of relationships
  • Jail or prison time
  • A criminal record
  • Reduced career prospects
  • Expense of court fines

You need a private criminal defense attorney who can assist in getting the best possible outcome for your case – they can help you with:

  • Understanding the legal ramifications of the charges that have been filed
  • Explain strategies for your defense
  • Explore and explain what (if any) plea bargains are likely to be on the table
  • Discuss the post-trial and conviction process

Private criminal defense attorneys handle a wide range of cases and can help you by:

  • Reducing your criminal charge (an example would be from a felony to a misdemeanor)
  • Lessening the penalty for the crime
  • Reducing or eliminating potential jail time, for example, through probation
  • Developing a sound defense strategy with your best interests in mind

Your criminal defense lawyer should also have experience in the following areas:

  • Familiarity with crime scene investigations
  • Great knowledge of photographs, sketches, video and polygraphs
  • The interviewing techniques for police, victims and witnesses
  • The ability to effectively cross-examine your accuser

Finding A Criminal Defense Lawyer

While you can ask family and friends for a recommendation, it is understandable you may not want many (if any) people to know of your current circumstances and you may not have time to do a great deal of in-depth online research, so here are some questions to ask a criminal defense lawyer you are considering retaining:

  • What is your experience with cases similar to mine?
  • Will you be handling my case personally, or will an attorney I have not met be the point person?
  • Are you experienced in litigating trials involving a jury?
  • Are you knowledgeable regarding requesting a lesser charge or working on a plea agreement?
  • What is the fee and are payment plans available?

Fees

Many factors go into the determination of the fees a criminal defense lawyer will charge. Usually fees are either on a flat rate or billed hourly. Some attorneys will offer payment plans while others will want a retainer fee paid upfront before commencing the case. It is a good idea to shop around and seek out the best options for your circumstances. In situations where you cannot afford an attorney – it is possible you may be granted a government paid attorney who will represent you.

Source: “Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer.” Findlaw, 6 Feb. 2019, criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-law-basics/hire-a-criminal-defense-lawyer.html.

Speak With One Of Our Criminal Defense Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s criminal defense lawyers in Phoenix and Scottsdale will defend your case with personal attention and always have you and your best interests in mind when offering legal solutions. Call today for an initial consultation!

We are experienced criminal defense attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome. Our firm will rigorously represent you, 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.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

When Is it a Bad Idea to File Bankruptcy Without an Attorney?

Almost often, hiring legal counsel to represent you in bankruptcy is a wise decision. Here are two scenarios where legal counsel is always necessary.

You’ve Got a Difficult Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

You’ll probably want a lawyer if you operate a small business, make more money than the average resident of your state, have a sizable quantity of assets, priority debts, nondischargeable debts, or creditors who can sue you for fraud. This is why.

A Chapter 7 case cannot be automatically dismissed by the filer. The bankruptcy court may reject your case or liquidate assets you believed you could keep if you make a mistake. A bankruptcy case could potentially be brought against you to decide whether or not a debt should be dismissed. If you lose, the debt will still need to be paid after filing for bankruptcy.

What Are Nondischargable Debts and Priority Debts?

A great tool for many people who are drowning in debt to get back on their feet is bankruptcy. However, it might not completely discharge your debt. In addition to being non-dischargeable, many “priority” debts also have the advantage of being paid off first if funds are available to pay creditors.

Child support, spousal support, or another domestic support duty, fines, penalties, and restitution imposed as punishment for breaking the law, some taxes, and impaired driving obligations are among the top debts you’ll still be accountable for after filing for bankruptcy.

You’ll still be liable for the following debts:

Retirement plan loans can be utilized to pay off debts that were deemed non-dischargeable in a prior bankruptcy as well as non-dischargeable tax debt (for example, if you used your credit card to pay a tax bill).
Unless you can demonstrate that completing your payments would put you in difficulty, a student loan won’t be forgiven either. The majority of people, however, fall short of the requirement. The lawsuit that is required to establish the case may also be expensive to file and defend.
Additionally, any creditor may seek the court to identify a debt that shouldn’t be dismissed in your case by filing a nondischargeability complaint.
The creditor will have to demonstrate one of several scenarios in order to prevail.
You lied about your income on a credit application or wrote a bad check, for example, to commit fraud.
Less than 90 days before you filed for bankruptcy, you charged a luxury item.
You harmed or destroyed someone else’s property on purpose.
You stole money or embezzled money.
In your bankruptcy petition, you omitted a list of all your creditors.
It’s usually not a smart idea to represent yourself if you think you might have nondischargeable debts or that a creditor would sue you.
You must submit a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings are preferable than Chapter 7 filings for a variety of reasons. If you want to keep your home, you might wish to apply for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to pay off mortgage arrears. Alternatively, you might choose to pay off your second mortgage, “cram down” or reduce a car loan, or repay a debt over time that won’t be discharged in bankruptcy, such back taxes or support arrears.

Even if your main reason for filing for Chapter 13 is that your income is too high to qualify under Chapter 7, most Chapter 13 cases are too complicated for an individual to file on their own.

Why Filing a Chapter 13 Case Without a Bankruptcy Attorney Is Too Difficult

You must prepare a proposed Chapter 13 repayment plan outlining how you would pay creditors over a period of three to five years in addition to filling out the bankruptcy paperwork.

Without the pricey software that most attorneys use, it is difficult to develop a plan due to the numerous bankruptcy requirements you must follow. Additionally, particular measures like paying off a car debt in full or stripping your second mortgage will necessitate submitting additional bankruptcy motions and paperwork with the court.

The vast majority of Chapter 13 cases filed without counsel are dismissed by the court due to the complexity involved. Therefore, it is a good idea to hire an experienced attorney if you intend to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

1 2 3 9