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Written by Canterbury Law Group

What To Look For In A Criminal Defense Lawyer

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Here is some helpful advice to what for look for when you are seeking a criminal defense lawyer. Read on to learn more.

The Difference Between Civil And Criminal Attorneys

Criminal defense attorneys usually work in small partnerships or may be solo practitioners covering a set geographical region. Conversely, those attorneys who handle civil matters tend to be part of larger law firms – often with multiple branches in varying locations.

It is important to understand they different kinds of work they do:

  • A civil attorney usually represents organizations and businesses who trade nationwide or internationally. On the other hand, criminal defense lawyers represent individual people whose problem usually have a local geographical base.
  • Civil lawyers are often at the beckon call of large organizations as they have an ongoing and regular need for legal advice to operate their businesses. Comparably, those who are accused of a crime normally only require legal counsel that is sporadic or non-frequent.

It is common to find a private defense attorney possessing many years, (sometimes even decades) of career experience in governmental fields before commencing their private practice career. Their experience often includes being a prosecutor (in a role such as city or district attorney) or that of a public defender, appointed by the courts for those who cannot afford legal representation.

It Helps To Make A Local Choice

When your case as a defendant is pending in the local courthouse, it can really help to have an attorney on you side who has a working knowledge and in-depth experience of working in that courthouse as procedures can be different in different courthouses. It may be the case the District Attorney in one location has a policy of no-plea-bargaining in certain circumstances, but a District Attorney is a neighboring jurisdiction has no such policy in place. It is also likely if your attorney is local, they may also have knowledge of how prosecuting attorneys work as well as relationships with local law enforcement and how they usually deal with juries in cases that go to trial. You can see from this it is paramount defendants choose an attorney who has experience in dealing with the workings of the local judicial system.

Asking The Attorney About Their Experience

Criminal law is extraordinarily complex so you should definitely ask an attorney before retaining them what kind of experience they have dealing with your kind of case. The attorney should be able to give you concise answers to your questions. For example, if a person has been charged with a DUI, here are some questions the person should ask of their prospective attorney:

  • What is your experience of dealing with clients who have been charged with a DUI?
  • How much of your practices business involves the representation of those facing DUI charges?
  • Do you have any certification as a specialist in DUI cases? (Some, but not all, states allow a certification)
  • As a percentage how often do people from your practice appear in the court where my case is going to be handled?

Clearly, a defendant should not be put in a position where they have to compromise obtaining the services of a competent attorney in return for one with local experience.

The Confidence Factor

The defendant must have every confidence in their lawyer as it is the lawyer who speaks on their behalf. The best experiences are where both take part in the decisions that need to be made and the lawyer sees them as individual partners as opposed to just another load of paperwork in a file. With that in mind, ask yourself the following when considering retaining a lawyer:

  • Is the attorney someone I feel at ease approaching, can speak with openly and feel comfortable working with?
  • Does the attorney explain issues to me in a manner I can comprehend?
  • Does the attorney express personal concern as well as a genuine desire to address my situation in a manner which is helpful?
  • Does the lawyer consider my personal circumstances as opposed to just the charges I am facing?
  • Does the attorney strike me as credible an can build trust with the judges, the prosecution as well as members of a jury?

Source: Bergman, Paul, and Ucla. “What to Look for in a Private Criminal Defense Attorney.” Www.nolo.com, Nolo, 9 May 2013, www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-look-a-private-defense-attorney.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! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Possession Of A Controlled Substance

Possession Of A Controlled Substance

When the federal government decides to apply regulations to particular drugs and associated materials they are known under the term “controlled substance.” Some of these substances are perfectly legal to have in your possession if certain criteria are met – for example if they are for medicinal or scientific purposes. It becomes illegal when there is no applicable legal justification, or its use can not be legitimized.

Defining Controlled Substances

The federal government has divided drugs into what it refers to as “schedules” There are five of them – from the most harmful and lethal drugs in Schedule I to the least harmful in Schedule V in that is known as the Controlled Substances Act. The majority of states have chosen to follow this scheme. See: 21 U.S.C. §§ 801 and following for further details.

Defining Illegal Possession Of A Controlled Substance

When an individual has possession of controlled substance or a drug without the authorization or justifiably legal reason for doing so they can be said to be in illegal possession of a substance that is controlled. Frequently this often applies to people who are found to be in possession of drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, or other various narcotics. For someone to be convicted of this, the prosecutor has to prove the defendant knowingly had possession of the controlled substance.

The Knowing Difference

A person must intentionally or knowingly retain control or possession of a drug for the possessing of a controlled substance to be considered a crime. It may be on their body, in a pocket or they may have control as to the whereabouts of the drug, for example, in a bag, a hiding place or one of the compartments of a car. The defendant may face a conviction for possession when the prosecutor establishes proof the defendant had at least some control over the drug. Just because two people who live together in the same residence, does not equal both as being in possession – the person responsible for control has to be established if the other person did not have control over the drug or substance.

Distribution and Sales

It is possible a person who is facing possession charges may also face up with and a charge of “intent to distribute.” This is far more serious situation. The charge is usually based on the quantity of drugs that have been discovered – usually when it exceeds what may be considered reasonable for personal use. Other evidence may be obtained as well to back up this accusation such as materials used for packaging, lists of clients and a large amount of cash.

Drugs And Vehicles

Many cases of possession come from police pulling over people for traffic stops. It is not uncommon for police to suspect and indeed, locate drugs in a car and the driver is then facing a charge of possession. This is especially the case when the driver or passengers are discovered to have drugs on their person. However, the emphasis is on the prosecutor to establish the driver and/or passengers had knowledge of the drugs in the vehicle. It is also frequently the case more than one individual had possession of the drugs and/or controlled substances.

Penalties

The penalties for possession of drugs and/or controlled substances can vary enormously from state to state or if the charges are federal charges or not. Many factors go into consideration but let’s look in general terms at some of the possible consequences:

  • Fines are very often levied with drug or controlled substance convictions and can vary from less than $100 to more than $100,000 depending on the severity of the situation.
  • Time in jail and prison sentences may also result following a conviction. Again, this can range from just a few days to sentences of greater than ten years.
  • Probational sentences are often consequences in accompaniment to the above and may include rehabilitation treatment as a condition. More than likely the convicted individual will have regular meetings with a probation officer and will have to agree to certain codes and conducts of behavior. It is within the power of a court to revoke an order of probation should the convicted person not meet the terms of their probationary agreement. In such cases, the convicted individual us usually returned to jail or prison for the outstanding duration of their sentence.
  • Diversion programs share some commonality with probation programs but are utilized normally for those who are offenders for the first time. In these programs, the prosecutor permits the offender to take part in a program of behavior modification as well as counseling, often over an extended period of time. Once this has been successfully completed, the prosecutor will consent to drop the charges. Should the offending not complete the terms of the diversion agreement, the prosecutor will then pursue the case against the offender.
  • A drug offender in many states may be offered the opportunity to partake in a rehabilitation course or a program of drug treatment as opposed to a custodial sentence. This may also be a condition when the person is on probation.

Speak With An Attorney

When you face a possession charge of a drug or controlled substance, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can be of great benefit. They can examine your situation, ensure the proper protocols and procedures were followed by police and can advise you on how best to exercise your rights as well as explaining the possible outcomes of your charges. It many have a great impact on your life and impact your ability to obtain a job, housing or licensing required for your profession.

Source: Theoharis, Mark. “Possession of a Controlled Substance: Drug Possession Laws.” Www.criminaldefenselawyer.com, Nolo, 28 Jan. 2020, www.criminaldefenselawyer.com/crime-penalties/federal/Possession-Controlled-Substance.htm.

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! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Much Does A Criminal Defense Lawyer Cost?

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 for 2020 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 WeSource.

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! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How To Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer

How To Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer

Your liberty is threatened when you have been either arrested or charged with a crime. It is crucially important to obtain an aggressive private criminal defense lawyer. Public Defenders likely don’t have the time necessary to devote to your case to play-to-win. A Private criminal defense attorney will help you navigate through all stages of the criminal court process you are encountering and can be key in reducing your sentence or negotiating a potential dismissal of your case. Read on to learn more.

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! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Much Does A Divorce Cost In Arizona? & Attorney Fees

On average, an Arizona divorce costs about $20,000. The average cost of divorce in Arizona without a Lawyer is $577. The average cost of divorce in Arizona with a Lawyer is $20,000. However, the average cost of divorce in Arizona can range from $15,000 to $100,000 per side when including expert witness fees.

Hiring a divorce lawyer in Arizona can cost as much as $550 per hour. The cost to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage Maricopa County is $349.  The responding party will be required to pay $279 when filing their Response, or if both parties have agreed to a Consent Decree, the $279 is still due and owing from the responding party when tendering a consent decree for the court approval. Want to find a cheaper way to get divorced in Arizona? Arizona collaborative divorce only costs about $10,000 per spouse.

*Disclaimer – These fees are always changing and this is not an actual quote. If you need an experienced divorce lawyer contact Canterbury Law Group to start your initial consultation.

These costs may include:

  • Monthly Child Support
  • Monthly Spousal Maintenance
  • The Division of Property and Debt
  • Attorney Fees
  • Waste Claims For Reimbursement
  • Claims for Breach of Fiduciary Duty
  • And more.

How Much Does a Divorce Cost in Arizona?

Getting an Arizona divorce can be costly. However, how much you spend will depend on the type of divorce. A contested divorce with protracted proceedings will definitely cost more than an uncontested one. While there are no set rates, it is possible to get an approximate cost estimate based on historical averages of what divorcees spend on their cases.

According to some estimates, the average divorce case can cost as much as a new car. However, people typically do not spend more than $10,000 per spouse.

While costs will largely depend on attorney’s fees, most people do not realize it right away, but there are other costs to consider as well. Divorces that go all the way to trial will incur third party expenses for such things as depositions, a child custody evaluator, a business appraiser, and forensic accountants to present financial data to court. If the couple is divorcing with children, then the divorced parents will have to attend a Parent Information Program class. If the divorce diverts to a private divorce mediator, then that will be an additional cost for the mediator who typically charges an hourly rate.

How Much Does A Divorce Lawyer Cost In Arizona?

Most of the expenses will come from the attorneys. Consider, for example, the average cost of a divorce lawyer in Scottsdale. Family lawyers in the Scottsdale area charge between $250 and $550 per hour on average. If you hire an immensely experienced lawyer in Arizona, the cost can be as much as $400 to $750 per hour. In addition to the hourly rate, some lawyers also charge extra for drafting letters, printing documents, travel time, mailing, stamps and so on. Divorce lawyer fees in Arizona can total a combined average of about $20,000 per divorce.  However, there is no assurance that fees come in higher or lower than this figure because every divorce is truly unique.

After attorneys, those filing for divorces should expect to pay for outside expert witnesses. The divorce case may require the services of a mental health expert, business accountant, real estate appraisers, and many others. Collectively, these expert witness fees can cost as much as the attorneys. Of course, not all divorces require experts to testify or issue expert reports. If two people with a shared business or significant real property get a divorce, the expert fees can be meaningful. So how much does a contentted divorce cost in Arizona? In some contested divorces, total costs can range from $25,000 to $100,000 per side when including expert witness fees.

Learn more about Divorce In Arizona

How Much Does An Uncontested Divorce Cost in Arizona?

Divorces do not have to go to trial if certain conditions are met. If the divorcing spouses agree on the material terms of the separation, or if one spouse does not participate in contesting the divorce, then the case does not have to go to trial. As a result, the costs will be considerably less.

The divorcing couple can go to the court and file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The court, depending on the county, will charge between $300 and $400 in filing fees. This makes the average court cost of an uncontested divorce in Arizona about $620. This does not include Arizona divorce attorney fees. If the two parties amicably divorce at this point, then only court fees will have to be paid assuming the parties are sophisticated enough to paper their own divorce.

If the divorcing couple needs legal assistance, for example, a divorce attorney in Scottsdale, legal fees at an hourly rate will have to be paid in addition to court fees. Some couples prefer to hire a mediator and legal counsel.  Mediators typically charge similar rates to attorneys. Overall, the fees of an uncontested divorce are far less in comparison to contested litigation.

If you are planning for a divorce, it’s best to talk to your spouse and amicably separate. Otherwise, you will have to be willing to pay a lot more for the lawyers to fight it out.

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. You can contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your unique situation. You can also check frequently asked divorce law questions at Romano Law.

Learn more about Uncontested Divorce In Arizona

How Much Does Collaborative Divorce Cost in Arizona?

On average collaborative divorce in Arizona costs about $7,500.  Arizona collaborative divorce costs ranged from $5,000 to $10,000 according to Equitable Mediation. However, Canterbury Law Group has navigated many collaborations for less than $10,000 in legal fees per spouse.  This is a far cry from the tens of thousands of dollars that other couples inevitably can spend in a contested litigation in a court of law. Collaborative divorce is one of the peaceful divorce options, also known as amicable divorce.

How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost in Arizona?

Divorce mediation costs about $7,500.  Divorce mediation costs in Arizona ranged from $5,000 to $10,000 in 2019.

What is the Average Cost of Divorce in Arizona?

The average cost of divorce in Arizona is $20,000. Arizona divorce costs ranged from $15,000 to $100,000 per side when including expert witness fees in 2019. The cost of hiring a divorce lawyer in Arizona can cost as much as $550 per hour.

How Much Does a Legal Separation Cost in Arizona?

The complete cost of legal separation can vary enormously, from as little as $1,000 to in excess of $100,000 when matters such as alimony, child custody and having to work through the disposition of a very complex marital estate are to be decided. So, you can imagine, there are many factors coming into play to determine the total legal separation costs. Read on to learn more about these factors.

Arizona Divorce Attorney Fees

In a divorce proceeding, a request may be made to the judge by one party that the payment of the attorney fees for that particular party should be covered by the other party in the divorce process. The court can order attorney’s fees paid when the party being asked to cover the cost was not represented by legal counsel or when both parties were represented by legal counsel. The importance of this is delays and errors that are unintentional yet caused by the pro se litigant can have on the outcome of the award of the legal fees of the other party that were incurred when these mistakes were being dealt with.

A.R.S. § 25-324 is an Arizona statute allowing the for the payment of fees due to an attorney in cases of marriage dissolution. The court does have the discretion to award the attorney fees against a specific party in some circumstances.

When it comes to making a decision regarding a fee award, the court is obliged to objectively make an evaluation of how reasonable the legal positions were adopted by the parties during the divorce proceedings. The subjectivity of a spouse’s intentions is not taken into account when it comes to the decision made by the court and neither is the party’s lack of knowledge regarding family law, divorce law, local rules and court procedures. The court will examine the available financial resources of both parties before making a decision. What is more, the court will also take into account the financial disparity between the two parties and compare the fees that are owed versus the assets of each party and so on. In three circumstances, though, the court shall award attorneys’ fees against a party:

  • The petition was filed by the party in bad faith
  • The petition submitted by the party was not grounded in fact or the law
  • The party’s petition was filed for some “improper purpose, such as to harass the other party, to cause an unnecessary delay or to increase the cost of litigation to the other party.”

Other costs that may be considered for award include but are not limited to the following:

  • Deposition costs and expenses considered to be reasonably incurred during the litigation process and any following appeal
  • If the court makes the decision that orders money to be paid directly to the attorney of the requesting party, that attorney will be responsible for the enforcement of the order

Sources:

  1. “Alona M. Gottfried, Esq.” Arizona Mediation, azmediator.com/uncontested-divorce-arizona/.
  2. “How Much Does A Divorce Cost In Arizona?” Arizona Legal Center, 12 June 2018, arizonalegalcenter.org/how-much-does-a-divorce-cost-in-arizona/.
  3. 25-324 – Attorney Fees, www.azleg.gov/ars/25/00324.htm.

Need an Affordable Divorce lawyer in Scottsdale?

The Canterbury Law Group should be your first choice when you need the best divorce lawyer in Scottsdale orPhoenix, Arizona. Our experienced family law attorneys will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation.  Proven trial lawyers in family court, you can trust the firm to represent you fully so you can get on with your life. Call today for your initial consultation.

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What Is Custodial Interference?

What Is Custodial Interference

What does Custodial Interference mean? In simple terms, when one parent attempts to create disruption to the custody rights of the other parent of the child or children, this is known as custodial interference.

Often a highly contentious issue, when custody orders are interfered with it can lead in some cases to consequences of a criminal nature. However, there are a very few situations where it may be legally permissible to temporarily interfere with the custodial rights of the other parent. The following are important facts you should be aware of regarding custodial interference and what can be done regarding it.

Types Of Custodial Interference

There are many ways custodial interference can happen. Here are some examples:

  • Making a visitation upon the child or children while the other parent is supposed to have custody of the child or children.
  • When the other parent has a planned and a scheduled visit, the refusal to release the child or children to the other parent.
  • Limiting the telephone or online contact the child or children has with the other parent.
  • Not returning the child or children on time for a planned exchange.
  • Using enticements to turn the child or children against the other parent.

However, in certain situations, custodial interference is not a violation of the law. For example:

  • When you are protecting a child or children from danger.
  • When previously made agreements disrupt custodial arrangements.
  • When outside events prevent a parent making a timely transfer of the child or children (bad weather being one example.)

What Can Be Done?

A parent can report to law enforcement and the courts any examples of custodial interference. Courts will often try to remedy the ongoing situation. Here are a few ways they try to achieve this:

  • Instituting revised and specific orders for visitation.
  • Instituting make up time for visitation purposes.
  • Family mediation or therapy.

Depending on the situation more severe intervention may be required – a parent may request greater relief. Examples include:

  • Third parties being present at supervised visits.
  • A neutral location being designated for the transfer of the child or children.
  • Reductions or loss of custody or visitation.
  • Fees and fines.

Many states consider custodial interference to be a felony or misdemeanor crime.

Source: “What Is Custodial Interference?” Findlaw, https://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2013/08/what-is-custodial-interference.html.

Speak With One Of Our Child Custody Attorneys In Scottsdale

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

We are experienced family law attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

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

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Custodial Interference By Grandparents

Custodial Interference By Grandparents

Child custody describes the legal relationships and status regarding a child or children and their legal guardians and/or parents. An individual with the custody of a child or children by default has all the responsibilities and rights of raising the child or children. This includes caring for the child or children and making choices and legal decisions for the child or children. The custody of a child or children can be granted by a court to anyone, meaning, a legal guardian can be the child or children’s, adoptive parents, biological parents, cousins, grandparents, siblings that are of legal age as well as friends, uncles and aunts. Read on to learn more.

In most custody cases for a child or children, grandparents are often not given consideration, when it comes to visitation and securing custodial rights. Even when the grandparents have been separated from the child or children from their parents because of causes like divorce, death or the breakdown of communication between a child or children and their parent or parents.

Primary Arguments For The Rights Of Grandparents

  • The child or children can suffer from trauma when they no longer have contact with the grandparents.
  • Divorce or the incarceration of a child or children or if a child or children should die does not give the parent who has custody the right to sever the relationship the children or child has with their grandparents.
  • Grandparents offer a stable role in the life of a grandchild or grandchildren. This is especially the case for a child or children following a death or a divorce.

Primary Arguments Against The Rights Of Grandparents

  • As long as the parents are competent, the state generally has no right to interfere in the decisions of how those parents raise their child or children – meaning a parent has the right to exclude a visit from a grandparent, even when supervised.
  • There can be good reasons to exclude a grandparent or grandparents. For example, if they have a history of child abuse or interfere with the process of the conventional decisions competent parents make on behalf of their child or children. Also, some grandparents will bad mouth the parents of the child or children in front of them.
  • Grandparents and parents often have conflicts but even when parents are being irrational or unfair, interference from a court can make the home of the child or children less stable than before.

Currently, a grandparent visitation law does not exist nor is it protected in any shape or form in common law or the constitution of the United States of America. In the last 40 years, any statutes or laws on the books regarding the rights of a grandparent of a child or children are not similar from state to state. It is true all 50 states have visitation laws for a child or children as well as who may be permitted to have visitation with them after a case of child custody has been determined. These laws can consider, stepparents, parents and grandparents.

Approximately forty percent of US states only allow grandparents of the child or children to have rights of visitation and not any other person. The consequences of this are cousins; foster parents, stepparents or other relatives cannot be granted rights of visitation. However, in all of the fifty states, Grandparents are able to file a lawsuit in court in situations when they have been told they are denied the right to visit or see their grandchild or grandchildren when there is apparently no reason for them not to be allowed access to the grandchild or grandchildren.

Grandparents Rights In Arizona

In Arizona, the custodial rights of Grandparents are defined by statute A.R.S. § 25-409. Therefore, Grandparents maintain the right to be involved in the lives of their grandchild or grandchildren and if needed, to seek safe protection for them, on their behalf. Grandparents can seek legal assistance when the relationship between a grandchild or grandchildren has become broken in cases where the grandchild or grandchildren may be in risk or danger. These rights can help Grandparents retain involvement in the lives of their grandchild or grandchildren as well as protect their own rights as Grandparents. Some examples of where legal advice may be required include:

  • Parents refuse Grandparents involvement or even access to their grandchild or grandchildren.
  • Adoption, permanent custody or guardianship of a grandchild or grandchildren.
  • In cases of parental abuse of a grandchild or grandchildren.

Furthermore, Grandparents are realizing they have rights and can exercise them, examples include:

  • The filing of court petitions with the purpose of requesting continued visitation and access to their grandchild or grandchildren.
  • The filing of child custody petitions with the purpose of care of a grandchild or grandchildren.
  • The filing adoption petitions with the purpose of care for a grandchild or grandchildren.

Grandparents often seek legal advice on their visitation rights regarding a grandchild or grandchildren. There are legal requirements that must be gone through and met including the fact Grandparents must provide evidence their contact with a grandchild or grandchildren is in the child’s best interests. Some factors that are taken into consideration include:

  • The historical bond the Grandparent has with the grandchild or grandchildren.
  • A parental divorce of at least a minimum of three months.
  • A parental absence of at least a minimum of three months.
  • When a child or children are born out of wedlock.

Custodial requests by Grandparents are considerably more complex as a vital key to success will be providing convincing evidence the parents are unfit.  Grandparents seeking such relief will very likely need competent legal assistance to advance their case.

Source: Phoenixdivorceattorney. “Grandparent’s Rights in Arizona (Ultimate Guide for 2019).” Cantor Law Group, https://cantorlawgroup.com/grandparents-rights-in-arizona.

Speak With One Of Our Child Custody Attorneys In Scottsdale

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

We are experienced family law attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

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

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Non-Custodial Parent Moving Out Of State Arizona

Non-Custodial Parent Moving Out Of State Arizona

When deciding if a parent will be allowed to relocate with a child or children, courts in Arizona conduct an investigation whether the relocation is likely to damage the relationship the child or children has with the parent who is not relocating. Following a divorce, it is not at all unknown for one parent desiring to relocate to another city or indeed, another state. It may be for a new spouse, a new career or just a fresh start in a new place. Regardless of the reason, it has a substantial effect on issues of custody. Following the move, if the parents are unable to come to an agreement regarding custody of the child or children, a judge will make the final and legally binding decision. The judge will consider many factors when assessing the most preferred custodial situation for the child or children. Therefore, as relocation custody can be a complex issue, it is vital to understand circumstances and situations that may impact your case.

Overview of Arizona Custody Laws

The center point of any custody dispute is what is in the best interests of the child or children. Let’s look at some of the factors court consider to be of paramount significance when deciding on the visitation and custody arrangements that will satisfy the physical and emotional needs of the child or children:

  • The physical health and mental health of each parent.
  • The relationship the child or children has with their parents.
  • The ability of each parent to provide a stable environment for their child or children.
  • If any of the parents have a history of child abuse or domestic violence.
  • The ability of the child or children to adjust to a new community and home.

The judge will then make a decision as to whether to award sole or joint physical custody as well as sole and joint legal custody of the child or children having undertaken a consideration of factors relating to the health and wellbeing of the child or children. It is worth remembering a parent with sole custody of the child or children may have more leeway when it comes to the relocation of the child or children.

Relocation Rules For Arizona Parents

A relocation is not a simple move to the other side of town. When parents share legal or joint custody, the parent who is relocating is obliged to give advance notice of at least 45 days regarding an intended move out of state or an in-state move in excess of 100 miles. The parent who is not moving may then make a petition to the court preventing the relocation. When a judge refuses the relocation request, the other parent may still move there, but will be unable to take the child or children with them to live.

How Judges Decide Relocation Cases

Primarily, the judge examines the negative consequences a potential move may have on the wellbeing of a child or children. Evidence will be submitted by each side and the judge will determine whether to allow the relocation and how custody arrangements will be adjusted. At the hearing, a judge may hear testimony from the individual parents, relatives, teachers, or friends. In particular the judge is looking at the following aspects:

  • The reason for the move.
  • Is the purpose of the move to interfere with the visitation of the other parent?
  • Will the quality of life and wellbeing of the child or children be impacted in a negative way?
  • The relationships the child or children have with both parents, looking at the past, the present day and the future potential of these relationships.
  • What are the possible effects of less visitation with one parent?
  • The relationship a child or children has with their siblings.
  • The adjustment to home and community the child or children will have to undertake.
  • If they are of mature enough years, the preferences of the child or children.
  • Any other circumstances the court deems to consider as important.

The burden of proof lies with the parent making the move to show it is in the best interests of the child or children to move with them. Courts understand the needs of a parent to move, travel and follow a career but the best interests of the child or children and the right of the other parent to maintain meaningful relationships with their child or children has to be balanced up against this.

Source: Otterstrom, Kristina. “Child Custody and Relocation Laws in Arizona.” Www.divorcenet.com, Nolo, 31 Mar. 2017, https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/child-custody-and-relocation-laws-arizona.html.

Speak With One Of Our Child Custody Attorneys In Scottsdale

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

We are experienced family law attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

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

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Custodial Interference In Arizona

Custodial Interference In Arizona

ARS 13-1302 is the Arizona statute governing custodial interference. An individual can face custodial interference charges when they knowingly act in a manner that contradicts an existing parenting plan or when they act in a way defying the legal rights of a parent. Custodial interference takes place when a parent makes a decision to purposefully hamper the custody rights of the other parent. Sadly, this is a frequently a contentious issue in cases of shared custody and can even result in charges of a criminal nature being filed because once they are established, custody orders are enforceable, more than that, they are also binding from a legal standpoint.

When Can You Claim Custodial Interference?

Court orders have to be in place because if rights of legal decision making and parenting time are yet to be adjudicated by the court, there are no outstanding orders to be broken and there are no meaningful legal actions you can undertake until the courts sign off on the orders.

Examples Of Custodial Interference Include:

  • When parenting time has been scheduled, refusing to bring the child or children.
  • When the other parent has company making a visitation to the child or children without at first obtaining permission to do so.
  • Not returning the child or children on schedule.
  • Purposefully limiting the contact, the child or children have with the other parent.
  • Using enticements on the child or children to isolate the parent holding custody.
  • Taking the child or children before court orders are in place.
  • Taking the child or children when it is not parenting time according to the schedule already in place.

These are common examples but as each situation is unique you should talk to a family law attorney and they can make a determination as to whether your rights have been violated.

When your child or children have been born out of wedlock, the law states the custodial rights go to the mother until brand new court orders becomes effective. It is vitally important you do not take any actions against the child or children or the mother. This law will be enforced and can result in criminal proceedings.

When The Other Parent Interferes With Custody

Custody agreements are often contentious but when you have a court order already in place, you are within your rights to call law enforcement when the other parent refuses to stick to the agreed parenting plan. Your actions should also be reported to the courts. Minor examples of interference will likely be met with a caution from law enforcement as well as the enforcement of the agreed, court order, plan of parenting. In cases when a parent continues to interfere in this way, the police will now have written documentation of the behavior and if needed can make an arrest. In situations when the custodial interference has become very extreme, the courts have the power to make the following changes to the established parenting plan:

  • Transfers at a preset location that is neutral (sometimes a police station.)
  • Visits that have to be supervised by a third party.
  • Loss or restriction of custody and rights of visitation.
  • Penalties and fines.
  • Criminal repercussions.

Custodial Interference Penalties

As custody is an agreement that is court ordered, when this agreement is not adhered too, it is enforceable by law. The court system has the best interests of children uppermost in their thoughts. As per ARS 13-1302, custodial interference can be penalized by:

  • Class Four Felony: Interference by a non-parent.
  • Class Four or Class Six Felony: When a child or children is taken outside of state boundaries depending on the parenting agreement and the circumstances.
  • Class One Misdemeanor: When the child or children are returned within a forty-eight hour timeframe and they are unharmed.

As you can see, the penalties are serious. That said, it is usually only in the most serious situations where criminal charges are filed. More than likely, the initial penalty will result in a loss of current parenting rights. Always remember, any action by the parent that is contrary to the interpreted best interests of the child or children will be taken very seriously indeed.

Custodial Interference Law Exemptions

In some situations, the court allows a parent non-adherence to the parenting plan if the following applies:

  • A parent is protecting the child or children from harm.
  • Disruptions to the parenting plan that have been previously agreed upon.
  • Events the parents do not have control over.

There is no question it is frustrating to deal with custodial interference. However, the courts will be on your side and will protect your rights. The courts just will now permit a parent to continually transgress a parenting agreement that has been court ordered. The wellbeing of your child or children will be of primary concern and your own concerns will be taken seriously.

Source: “Custodial Interference in Arizona: Laws for a Disruptive Divorced Parent.” Mesa Divorce Lawyers & Family Law Attorneys, 30 May 2019, https://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-family-law/custodial-interference-arizona/.

Speak With One Of Our Child Custody Attorneys In Scottsdale

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

We are experienced family law attorneys and will fight for you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. Our firm will rigorously represent you, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation! 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

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

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My Wife is Keeping My Child Away From Me? What to Do?

My Wife Is Keeping My Child Away From Me

The relationship between you and your wife has reached the point of no return. The wife says she is going to leave, and the kids are going with her. Legally, can she do this? Can you stop her from following through with these actions? What can be done legally to help you? What course of action do you take if she leaves with kids in tow having not obtained your permission to do so? Primarily, she just cannot take the kids and depart. She has no more rights to the child or children than the father, this is even more so when there is no custody or divorce agreement in place.

What To Do When Your Wife Leaves With The Children

  • As a father you have certain rights and they need immediate protection in these circumstances. If you allow this to go on without any action, you are at risk of losing the rights you have when the custody and divorce case goes to court. You should immediately contact a family lawyer who will safeguard your rights.
  • Your attorney will immediately contact the attorney your wife has retained to commence work on an agreement. Avoid legal ramifications by deciding not to just show up and attempt to take the children back. Leave it to the attorneys. This contact from the attorneys will be documented and the courts will be able to tell, you did not just allow this to go on and that you want to maintain your involvement in the lives of your child or children.
  • A schedule for visitation needs to be created and adhered too as there is no doubt the time spent with our child or children will be examined during the divorce proceedings. If you want custody, be sure to be involved with the parenting decisions for the child or children and ensure you are there for them when they are with you. Avoid having them babysat. Instead, be a Dad and make sure the time you spend with them is quality time. Make sure no scheduled visits are missed, so it cannot be held against you. These are all things the judge will be reviewing.

Father’s Rights During and Following Divorce

Throughout the divorce process, you have certain rights as a father and your wife is not able to stop you from using those rights unless there are circumstances such as a substance problem or history of abuse. Examples of these rights include:

  • You wife cannot keep you from your children. And any attempt by her to do so needs immediate attention. You have the right to attend activities, events, sports games, graduations, plays, and so on. In situations where she is purposefully preventing you from doing so, tell your attorney right away and handle it through the legal process.
  • Should your ex-spouse remarry she may want your child or children to be adopted by her new husband. You have the right to stop this. No judge is going to allow this to occur if the father is meeting the agreed obligations and sticking to his visitation or custody agreements.
  • It is vital to provide the needed financial support to your child or children in order to protect your rights through the process. It is documentable evidence that you are meeting the financial obligations you have towards your child or children. Your right will remain in place by ensuring you stay current on these payments.
  • You have the right to share custody of the child or children with your wife during the divorce proceedings unless the courts have decided custody may not be shared. She is unable to force your hand on this issue unless you allow her to do so.
  • You have a right to have full involvement in the parenting decisions on behalf of the child or children, as their father. This ranges from religion, schooling, health care choices and so on. Disagreements will need to be worked out and it will demonstrate to the court that the pair of you can work for a common goal…doing what is best for the child or children.

Minimizing Problems With The Mother of Your Child Or Children During Divorce

If both of you realize conflict will be of no benefit to the child or children or yourselves during the divorce process, things should go a lot smoother. Disagreements are inevitable but serious conflict should be avoided at all costs.

  • By respecting the plans of the other person, problems should be minimized especially when it comes to things such as special events or trips. Discuss in advance any changes to schedules or pick up and collection times of the child or children. Open lines of communication are key.
  • You must remain consistent in your efforts. Being reliable and turning up when you say you are going to do so and following through with what you have said you are going to do, often helps to minimize other issues in divorce proceedings. This is an area where there is really no room for excuses so do not give her a just reason to become upset or frustrated with the situation.
  • You need to be able to communicate, clearly and concisely with your ex. If that is difficult, think about using an online service that creates and organizes schedules and you can leave each other messages on there. However, remember words said in text form can often be misconstrued as it lacks the subtlety of human intonation.

Source:  Baker, Nicholas, et al. “Can My Wife Take My Kids Away From Me? Family Law Rights.” Family Law Rights, 24 July 2016, https://www.familylawrights.net/blog/can-my-wife-take-my-kids-away-from-me/.

Speak with Our Father’s Rights Attorneys In Scottsdale

Our Father’s Rightschild custody, and guardianship attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale address your case with concern and personal attention, and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

We are experienced family law attorneys and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. You can trust us to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

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