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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Find a Family Law Attorney in Scottsdale

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

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

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Scottsdale Family Attorneys at Canterbury Law Group

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

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

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

Ultimately, we realize that hiring a Scottsdale family attorney can be a challenging task. Call the lawyers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule you consultation. 480-744-7711

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Obtain a Divorce When Your Spouse Won’t Agree

The Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group have represented hundreds of clients in Scottsdale divorce cases. Although every case is unique, often we see one spouse refusing divorce. No one can stop you from getting a divorce if you want one, with the possible exception of the court. If you don’t follow proper legal procedure, a judge can deny your divorce, forcing you to start over. However, your spouse can’t stop you, but she or he can complicate the process.

Here are steps in getting a divorce, even when your spouse will not agree:

  • 1. Any reason is sufficient to file for divorce. Contrary to popular belief, neither spouse needs an reason or grounds for seeking to terminate the marriage. As a “no fault” state, Arizona courts and judges are actually prohibited from inquiring into the romantic issues of either spouse during the trial or otherwise. Put another way, it does not matter how you got here, you have a legal right to divorce if and when you are ready.
  • 2. Research the rules for service of process in your state. Make sure you understand exactly what you have to do to ensure that your spouse legally receives a copy of your divorce petition after you file it. If you err, your spouse can say they were not properly served and block your divorce proceedings. You could still get a divorce, but you’d have to start the process all over again. Do it right the first time and have them served by a licensed process server.
  • 3. Wait out the period of time your spouse has to answer your divorce petition. If he/she files a response with the court, you’ll probably have to resolve your divorce by trial or mutual consent; some spouses won’t agree to a settlement if they don’t want the divorce in which case you are forced to trial and the judge makes all final decisions of equitable distribution.
  • 4. Prepare for a Default Judgment Hearing if your spouse does answer your divorce petition. Even assuming your spouse “no-shows” on the case, after a certain number of days have elapsed, and assuming you properly served your opponents, you can petition the Court in writing to procure a Default Judgment of Divorce wherein all items requested in your original petition and can and typically is granted by the Court assuming no defense or response is ever tendered by your opponent. In the end you’ll be divorced and he or she will have never set foot in a court of law.

The Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have represented women and men, young and old, in their complicated divorce cases. To discuss your options in a Scottsdale divorce, call today to schedule a consultation. 480-744-7711

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

4 American Trends that Affect Divorce

The divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have extensive industry experience and are authorities on the evolving trends in the divorce area. Similar to nearly everything in life and the law, divorce has changed with the times and will continue to do so.

Contrary to popular belief; the divorce rate in the United States is declining. After peaking in 1980 with 22.6 divorces per 1,000 married women, aged 15 and older in the U.S., the rate has been going down ever since. In 2009, there were 16.9 divorces per 1,000 married women. However, what’s really happening is that there are fewer marriages overall. Fewer marriages translate into fewer opportunities to get divorced—and that equals declining divorce rates.

Here are four trends in society that are affecting divorce rates:

1. The surge in cohabitation ended. The number of cohabiting couples grew from 400,000 in 1960 to 3.8 million in 2000. But since then, rates of cohabitation have leveled off. About 12 to 14 percent of never-married adults lived together with a partner in 2008-2010, essentially unchanged since 2000.

2. People are delaying marriage longer than ever before. The percentage of women aged 20 to 24 who have ever married declined from 31 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2008-2010. For men, the percentage dropped from 21 to 11 percent.

3. Americans are increasingly jumping on the “marriage-go-round.” More Americans are going from marriage to divorce to remarriage, sometimes multiple times. Among currently married men, those who are remarried increased from 17 percent in 1980 to 25 percent in 2008-2010. The changes for women are similar.

4. Who are most likely to have “traditional” families in America? Immigrants. Regardless of education and race or ethnicity, immigrants tend to be married at a higher rate, are less likely to cohabit (except for Hispanics), and divorce and remarry at a lower percentage when compared with their U.S.-born counterparts.

If you’re contemplating divorce, hiring a great divorce layer can be critical to your future. Call the Scottsdale divorce layers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule you consultation. 480-744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Tips for Fathers Trying to Get Custody

Many fathers assume they won’t have a fair trial when trying to obtain legal custody of their child. This is not true, although it is crucial to have experienced and trusted child custody help in Phoenix. The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have years of experience recognizing and building formidable cases that will protect your interests and maximize your parenting time.

If you’re a father hoping for custody of your child, we have tips that may help you and your case:

1. Pay Child Support: A father who wants custody of a child should prioritize making regular child support payments. If he has an informal arrangement with the child’s mother, it is crucial to maintain records such as check receipts or a written letter from the child’s mother detailing the support arrangements. If a father is struggling with child support payments, he should request a modification rather than sacrificing a payment.

2. Maintain a Strong Relationship: Even if the child is not in the custody of the father, a relationship can still consistent. The dad should call the child frequently and check in on their day, schedule a time to stop by the child’s school and introduce himself to the administration and ensure the child knows that he’s there to offer any assistance necessary. A father who wants custody should also attend the child’s social, educational, religious and other important events as evidence of a continuing relationship with the child.

3. Keep Precise Records: A father should maintain an accurate visitation schedule record to help obtain child custody. A father can capture accurate visitation records by developing and maintaining a parenting plan.

4. Prepare a Space for Your Child At Home: A father should make a special place in his home for the child, regardless of the size of the home. A court will inquire about adequate living accommodations during all child custody hearings, so a father should be prepared to respond to the judge’s inquiry.

5. Consider Mediation: A father who wants custody of a child should consider mediation or arbitration, prior to undergoing an adversarial court hearing. In mediation or arbitration, cases are decided by a neutral third party. For a father, custody proceedings in a courtroom may be difficult to handle, so he may prefer the smaller, friendlier setting associated with mediation or arbitration.

Our legal team has extensive experience in child custody help in Scottsdale. We help fathers get fair and equitable treatment by the courts. Recent changes to Arizona law mandate that the court treat both mothers and fathers equally in the eyes of the law. If a man fears that his wife may leave and take the children, it is his obligation to ensure he takes steps needed to protect his role as the father. That may mean consulting an attorney before his wife has the opportunity to file for a divorce. The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have significant expertise in father’s rights issues and can capably guide you through. Your children are counting on you to make the right decisions both before and after the divorce case has been filed.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Steps in the Scottsdale Divorce Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Crowdfunding Site Adds a Divorce Registry

The divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group are authorities on the evolving trends of divorce. Not only do the Phoenix divorce lawyers observe the progression of legal issues, but they have also witnessed the changes in perception of divorce.

Today, divorce holds less of a stigma in our culture than it has in the past. For example, divorce selfies, in which couples post happy photos of themselves on social media to celebrate their split, and divorce parties, where a newly single person either throws or is thrown a party to celebrate the end of their marriage, are a few of the popular divorce trends we see emphasized on social media.

The Phoenix divorce attorneys have also noted that crowdfunding site, Plumfund, has created a new, dedicated divorce registry for marriage break-up expenses. With online fundraising being such a popular option to raise funds in modern-day society, this is an area that we expect to see even further expansion in.

Plumfund’s simplified online fundraising and gift registry platform has made creating a divorce registry easier and more convenient than ever. Simply create a Plumfund divorce registry and spread the word to the divorcee’s friends and family. The registry allows people going through a divorce or their friends and family to raise money for expenses such as new furniture, legal fees and child custody. All of the gift money is easily accessed through PayPal or WePay. All personal information is kept private and safe, and is never sold or rented to a third party. The divorce category launched this March, and there are currently 114 active divorce registries on the site.

No matter what the newest divorce trends are, divorce tends to be a difficult process for all involved. The legal team at Canterbury Law Group is dedicated to diligently and compassionately solving clients’ life changing problems. If you are considering divorce, call us today to schedule your consultation.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Custody Tips for Summer Vacation

At Canterbury Law Group, our no-nonsense Scottsdale divorce lawyers fight to protect the future and well-being of children affected by divorce. We work diligently to secure a sound emotional and financial outcome for children of divorced parents.

Divorce can be a delicate and painful experience for all involved. Our Scottsdale divorce attorneys work tirelessly to ensure the children remain a priority throughout and after the divorce, and strive to remedy sensitive issues including custody arrangements and parenting plans with concern and attention, striving to reduce the possible future damage divorce can have on children and relationships.

If you have children that have been affected by divorce, it’s best to create a plan for summer parenting. You want your kids to enjoy summer rather than feeling the stress of divorce. Our Phoenix divorce lawyers offer tips to help with summer vacation arrangements:

1. Create a documented plan: Try to set a mutually agreed upon summer parenting schedule with your ex. If needed, a Court Order is a way to prevent problems that can occur due to co-parenting conflicts. The plan should specifically identify the summer vacation parenting schedule, as it may differ from the school year schedule.

2. Flexibility: While the Court Order can be an “emergency” plan for both parties, it is helpful if the parties can be reasonably flexible with each other regarding summer parenting time. This will allow your children to attend events and participate in activities that may fall outside of a parent’s court ordered parenting time. This also shows that the parents are willing to cooperate by being lenient and working together for the benefit of the children.

3. Plan for summer expenses: Parents should take into consideration the expense of summer activities that their children are involved in, such as summer camp. Refer to the original terms of your parenting time agreement regarding summer camp so you know the required financial contributions from either parent.

4. Eliminate the kids from any disputes: A proper parenting schedule is successful when the children don’t feel any tension between the parents. Although conflicts are bound to happen, this should be handled between the parents alone and away from the kids. Effective communication between the parents is one way to avoid disputes or conflicts altogether.

If you need assistance with your summer parenting schedule, contact the Phoenix divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group! We can help ensure the summer is enjoyable for all. 480-744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Determining the Value of your Marital Estate

The divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group often see a spouse beginning a divorce without any clue of knowing the true value of their marital estate. Many spouses do not even have account access or numbers to the earning spouse.Fear not. Even if you are completely unaware of your family finances, when you file for divorce the time to finally and accurately determine all marriage assets will have arrived. Your Canterbury lawyers will make sure this happens. It’s the law. It’s not up to him or her.

Because Arizona is a community property jurisdiction, generally speaking, spouses own equally almost all property and debt acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on it. Also, half of each partner’s income earned during the marriage is owned by the other partner, as well as debts incurred during the marriage are debts of the couple together. Do not let your spouse bully you—or suggest “they will leave you with nothing” if you challenge them in the divorce. They are not just bullying, they are plain wrong—under the law.

The “discovery” phase of your divorce case is used to determine information, including assets and values from the other side. In Arizona, court rules require mandatory disclosure by each side of any information that may impact their case. Therefore, your spouse must voluntarily provide you all such information, even without a specific request. However, relying on your spouse’s good will in adhering to this rule is not enough in many divorce cases. If informal requests for financial details go unanswered, or you do not feel confident you are receiving accurate information, you do have alternatives in gathering this information. Your Canterbury lawyers will be critical in unpeeling the complex layers of your family estate—and locating assets, by any means lawfully allowed—to maximize your recovery at trial.

1. Tax Returns. Personal, corporate and partnership tax returns can help in identifying property, accounts and assets sold during a given tax period. If your spouse is not forthcoming with copies of returns, or you believe the returns given to you are not the actual returns filed, you can request copies from the Internal Revenue Service.

2. Court Issued Subpoenas. A subpoena can be issued to a person or entity not a part of your lawsuit, including financial institutions and employers. The recipient of the subpoena legally has up to thirty days to physically produce the information requested. When issuing a subpoena to a financial institution, your spouse’s name and social security number is all that is needed in most cases to obtain information on accounts on which that social security number or name appears. Subpoenas to employers may work to obtain details including as history of pay, bonus information, employment terms and benefit information, such as retirement, pension, employee savings and stock option accounts. Bank statements and paystubs do not lie—your spouse can. By getting the documents up front, we can catch them in their lies.

3. Additional Legal Discovery Tools. If additional information is needed to determine the value of your marriage, there are other discovery tools that require responses given under oath:

  • Interrogatories – written questions to your spouse
  • Skip Trace investigations onto the “financial grid” to locate any assets linked to his or her social security number and date of birth. Assets at home, and abroad, can be located.
  • Requests for Production of Documents – written requests to obtain certain documents
  • Requests for Admissions – written questions to your spouse asking that he or she to admit certain facts as true
  • Depositions – oral question and answer sessions at which your attorney asks questions of your spouse while under oath, or an expert witness, or sometimes a third party in the presence of a court reporter, from whom a written transcript of the questions and answers can be obtained and the testimony is preserved for trial.

4. Outside Experts. In the unfortunate cases where a spouse is hiding assets or has engaged in pre-divorce planning, the hiring of third party specialists might be necessary in order to obtain the necessary information. Experts such as private investigators, asset location specialists and computer forensic professionals may be able to help you and your Canterbury team find the truth and get you paid.

When your family and livelihood are at stake in your divorce, it is critical to be prepared with a highly skilled team of litigation attorneys on your side. Canterbury Law Group was founded to provide no-nonsense legal counsel for Phoenix divorce cases at the highest level possible. We are an energetic and unified team of lawyers and paralegals deeply committed to your needs. Call now for an initial consultation. 480-744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Prenups in Scottsdale

Prenuptial agreements are very common amongst all ages and classes of Americans, as they can provide important advantages for both partners in a proposed marriage. Many people have an instinctively negative reaction when they hear the term “prenuptial agreement.” However, this is not reality. In fact, prenups are often used to plan for future affairs and arrange things legally in ways that are mutually beneficial to both spouses.

The attorneys at Canterbury Law Group typically suggest prenups for people in their 30s or older with any substantial assets, children or a former spouse. Prenuptial agreements are particularly useful for people who are entering into a second marriage. In the case of remarriage, one or both spouses may already have significant assets, and may want to arrange that blood related family members from the first marriage inherit property and assets in the event of divorce or death after the second marriage.

The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group work diligently to provide prenuptial agreement advice in Scottsdale. If you’re considering a prenup, here are four tips from our legal experts:

  • Plan ahead. Begin the prenuptial agreement process six months to one year before your wedding dates to ensure that both parties have ample time to review it. Last-minute contracts are harder to enforce.
  • Eliminate your emotions. The emotions of falling in love can alter reality, so be sure to work with trusted advisers on this legally binding agreement.
  • Make your agreement realistic and legal. The goal is to have a contract that is enforceable and provide each spouse with an understanding of what they will get if the marriage ends.
  • Research your state’s law regarding marriage and property. Marriage property laws are different from state to state. Ideally, you have a licensed attorney handle the entire process from start to finish so you can focus on the exciting wedding to come.

If you need prenuptial agreement help in Scottsdale, Arizona, then contact Canterbury Law Group today to schedule a consultation. 480-744-7711.

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