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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Child Custody Questions in Scottsdale

There is typically an increase in divorces in the New Year. The Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group know that divorce often brings about child custody concerns. A popular question in Scottsdale divorce cases is whether or not a parent can take a child away from the other parent if there is currently no legal decision-making and parenting time orders in place.

In Arizona, a person can be charged with the crime of custodial interference even before there is a court order regarding legal decision-making and parenting time or if he/ she takes, entices (persuades) or withholds any child from the other parent and denies that parent access to any child. If the parent takes the child(ren) to another state, the penalties are even more severe.

However, there are some exceptions in the law, which involve a case where the parent has filed an emergency petition regarding custodial rights with the superior court and has received a hearing date from the court. The law is complicated and the risks are high, so the best option is to get the advice of a lawyer before leaving with your child if at all possible. You should never leave the state with your children without first speaking to a licensed attorney.

If a domestic violence victim is accused of wrongfully absconding with the children, he/she can seek to counter these allegations by:

  • He / she has begun the process to get an order of protection or files a petition for legal decision-making within a reasonable period of time and the order of protection or legal decision-making petition states his/her belief that the child was at risk if left with the other parent

The parent either:

  • has a good faith and reasonable belief that the taking, enticing or withholding of the child is necessary to protect the child from immediate danger; OR
  • the parent is a victim of domestic violence by the other parent and has a good faith and reasonable belief that the child will be in immediate danger if the child is left with the other parent.

However, it is still best to get legal advice before leaving to make sure that your planned behavior would not violate the law.

The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have significant expertise in child custody issues and can capably guide you through the legal process. Your children are counting on you to make the right decision both before and after the divorce case has been filed. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Child Custody Tips for the New Year

During the New Year, many parents strive to improve child custody situations. As authorities in Scottsdale child custody, the lawyers at Canterbury Law Group can offer suggestions to help ensure your success:

Be Actively Involved – Make sure you are able to demonstrate that you are significantly involved in your child’s life by taking an active role in the care, development, and discipline of your child. If the child is young, participate in feeding, bathing, walking, reading, napping and medical care. As they grow older, take part in their educational development and extracurricular activities. Get to know your children’s teachers, doctors, counselors, and coaches. Your ability to demonstrate the extent and quality of time with your child prior to and post separation is critical. If the other parent is interfering with your involvement, document your attempts and the resistance that you are receiving.

Establish a Physical Custody Schedule – If you live separately from the other parent, it is critical that you negotiate a physical custody schedule that accurately represents your long-term goal of shared parenting, ideally before a custody petition or court complaint has been filed. If you currently have a visitation agreement, make every effort not to miss any of your scheduled time.

Promote Involvement of the other Parent – Show that you encourage the contact and active involvement between your child and the other parent. Unless clear evidence shows the child is in danger while in their care, the Family Court will frown upon your interference with the child’s relationship to their other parent.

Provide a Healthy, Stable Environment – Present a safe, nurturing and stable environment. Demonstrate that you provide a healthy environment by maintaining a steady, clutter free home with a bedroom for your child and a safe play space. Provide regular, nutritious meals and keep a record of your grocery receipts. Get those kids to bed early and to school on time.

If you need assistance with your custody or joint parenting plan, contact the Phoenix divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group! We can help ensure the New Year is enjoyable for all.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Tips if Divorce Is Your Resolution in the New Year

If you are considering filing for divorce in the near future, you are not alone. The month of January has long been marked down in the calendars of family law attorneys, including the Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group, as “Divorce Month.” In fact, many firms see an increase in the number of consultations upwards of 30 percent beginning the Monday after New Year’s.

While contributing factors vary, the fact remains that many couples will begin this year with a resolution to end their marriage. No matter the reason, there are many things that anyone looking into divorce for the first time needs to know that will help them get through the process smoothly while protecting their rights:

1. Do not move out of the marital home – If you wish to keep yourself in a good position to obtain a fair custody arrangement and also want to mitigate potential financial burdens, do not pack up and move out of the marital home. This is one of the top mistakes that many spouses continue to make, and it can start you off at a disadvantage out of the gate.

2. Research divorce laws for your specific state – There are very few, if any at all, states that have identical laws regarding the various aspects of divorce. You will want to do plenty of research over areas that you know may come up if you and your spouse decide to split specific to your local jurisdiction.

3. Set up a consultation with an attorney – Even if you aren’t certain you will need to retain an attorney or that you will even end up filing for divorce at all, it is a really good idea to meet with an expert familiar with your state’s divorce laws. Many attorneys and firms offer initial consultations, though even when there is a charge, it is well worth the fee to get accurate information you can trust as you plan your next move.
If you’re looking for a Scottsdale divorce attorney and / or family law attorney, contact us today. Any delay can affect your future and the wellbeing of you and your children.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Tips to Avoid Losing Money in the New Year

The Scottsdale lawyers at Canterbury Law Group are authorities in bankruptcy matters. As we enter the New Year, we realize that many Scottsdale residents are trying to improve their financial affairs. Unfortunately, the world is full of opportunities for you to give up your hard-earned money unwisely. Becoming an informed consumer is a big step toward avoiding these minefields—and developing the financial power that will keep you out of debt troubles.

Here are some tips for today on how to avoid money traps.

Avoid the “Free” Trial Offer – Ever wonder why businesses are willing to offer that free trial? Sure, it may build customer loyalty and maybe you’ll happily become a repeat buyer. But companies know that many of us will never read the fine print and the vendors typically make no attempt to remind us when the free period is over. Instead your “free” subscription or service converts to a paid one. You are left with an unwanted monthly expense and now they have a steady revenue stream. It is often challenging, if not impossible, to terminate these subscriptions.

Skip upgrades and add-ons – Upgrades at fast food, electronics, retailers and car dealerships make for huge profits so companies really push them. To avoid this trap, do your homework. Know ahead of time what you really want. For example, quiz your insurance agent about how much your own insurance covers you in a rental car. If you later decide an extended warranty or other add-on is appropriate, fine. If not, just say NO. And stick to it.

Don’t co-sign for others – Remember, your best friend or family member can lose their job, and when they do that car will be repossessed and the bank will be coming after you—for the entire unpaid balance.

Filing bankruptcy can seem overwhelming. However, at Canterbury Law Group, we will represent you through the entire process and fight diligently to secure your fresh financial start. Call us today to schedule your consultation. We can put you on the path to reach financial success!

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Technology Used in Shared Custody

The Scottsdale custody attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have seen firsthand that technology is an invaluable tool for parents dealing with shared custody. In fact, it has become so commonplace in divorce arrangements that technology has even become part of the formal legal process, a development that both divorce lawyers and judges applaud.

Here are some technologies that are being applied to custody cases to help ensure success:

Email and Text Messages – E-mail and texting alone have practically revolutionized post-divorce family relationships. Sending a message can be a great option for communication amongst co-parents, especially for couples who may not yet feel comfortable with the divorce or separation. Necessary information can be relayed to the other party with the ability to review the message before sending it, something that talking face-to-face communication does not offer.

Cell Phones – Parents are often required to buy a cell phone for their child, and call times are recorded to ensure an adequate amount of time is spent talking to each parent. In addition, with a parent calling children directly on their phone, there’s no possibility of a bitter intermediary exchange between parent and parent. It’s also important that parents identify rules associated with the phone, such as times it may be used and which parent is paying for the device, to eliminate any potential problems.

Video Chat – Many joint custody arrangements will stipulate weekly video chat sessions between parent and child while they are apart. Apple’s Facetime, Google’s Hangouts, and Skype are some of the more popular video chat options that are free and can be conveniently accessed on a smartphone. It’s often suggested to add these video chat sessions to the calendar so they’re accounted for.

Custody Communication Tools – When relationships weaken to the point of legal action, courts are now ordering ex-couples to work out their differences via technology. New online custody tools are emerging that have been specifically designed to regulate the communication between both parents. For example, online tool called Our Family Wizard has been utilized by Judges around the country. The program’s goals include easing custody matters and helping parents increase the opportunity to have a healthy and harmonious relationship not only with their child but also with their former spouse. With this program, lawyers supervise e-mail exchanges between the ex-couple, ensuring that each party responds to the other in a timely manner. All e-mails are time dated and tracked.

Interactive Online Calendars – Using online calendar programs can help parents keep up with the day-to-day activities of their children and as a way to keep track of visitation times. For example, 2Houses is an app that was created to help divorced parents schedule and better organize their children’s activities. One of the main features that the app offers is the Calendar, which enables everyone to view an online schedule to ensure that every family member is always on the same page.

If you’re looking for a Scottsdale divorce attorney and/or family law attorney contact us today. Any delay can affect your future and the well-being of your children.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Obtaining Alimony in Arizona

In Arizona, alimony is still awarded in divorce cases.  However, it is crucial to find a well versed Scottsdale divorce lawyer who can help you get what you deserve.

Alimony in Arizona is typically called “spousal maintenance.” When spouses separate, one person may be unable to pay for regular living expenses after the divorce is final, in which case a judge may require the higher earner—whether that is the husband or the wife—to assist the lower earner financially for at least some period of time.

To award spousal maintenance, a court must find that one spouse has the financial need and the other has the ability to pay after first paying their own personal expenses. An Arizona court may determine that need exists if one spouse:

  • does not have enough property—even after the marital distribution—to provide for their reasonable needs
  • contributed to the other spouse’s educational opportunities, or
  • is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment post-divorce.

The courts will typically award alimony at a rate which usually ranges from 16% to 33% of the higher earning spouse’s gross monthly income for a term of years which is usually between 1/4 to 1/2 the duration of marriage.  For example, if the husband has an income of $10,000 per month and the wife works part-time and earns $1,400 per month, the wife should expect $1,600 to $3,300 per month.  A 10-year marriage would equate to 2.5 years to 5 years of spousal maintenance.  Again, every case is fact specific and no result can be assured, but these ranges have been witnessed in many previous litigated cases.

Couples may enter into their own private agreements either waiving maintenance entirely or providing that neither will seek any changes to maintenance in court. Unless they make such an agreement or unless the final divorce order says otherwise, either spouse may request a court to modify or terminate periodic payments due to a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. Payments end when the term of an award expires, when the recipient spouse remarries or upon the death of the recipient spouse.

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Scottsdale Bankruptcy Options in the New Year

The Scottsdale bankruptcy attorneys at Canterbury Law Group are authorities in bankruptcy. For those struggling with their financial affairs, there are laws that provide for the reduction or elimination of certain debts, and can provide a timeline for the repayment of non-dischargeable debts. It also permits individuals and organizations to repay secured debts with more favorable terms to the borrower.

During December and January, we have many clients looking at options to refresh their finances in the New Year. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, there are four types of bankruptcy cases to choose from:

Chapter 7 is commonly referred to as “straight” bankruptcy or “liquidation.” It requires a debtor to give up property which exceeds certain limits called “exemptions”, so the property can be sold to pay creditors.

Chapter 11, also known as “reorganization”, is used by businesses and a few individual debtors whose debts are very large.

Chapter 12 is used only by family farmers.

Chapter 13 is called “debt adjustment”. It requires a debtor to file a plan to pay debts (or parts of debts) from their current income.

Most people filing bankruptcy will file either chapter 7 or chapter 13 and either type of case may be filed individually or by a married couple filing jointly.
It is no surprise that filing bankruptcy can become tedious and overwhelming. At Canterbury Law Group, we will represent you through the entire process and fight diligently to secure your fresh financial start.

Call us today to schedule your consultation. We can put you on the path to reach financial success!

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

3 Reasons to Skip Mediation in Your Divorce

Depending on individual divorce circumstances, the Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group may or may not suggest mediation in divorce. For a divorce mediation to be successful and end in a fair and equitable settlement, several factors need to be present. First, both of the parties should have similar financial circumstances, including equal earnings and relatively equal separate assets. Second, both parties should be equally agreeable to the divorce, and they should have an amicable relationship with one another. Third, both parties should have an excellent understanding of the other party’s income and finances, and have equal access to the other’s financial statements. Finally, both parties need to be equally competent negotiators and be in equal negotiating positions. If any of those factors are not present, the divorce is not a good candidate for mediation. Thus, you should proceed with caution before electing mediation.

If you are considering mediation, here are reasons you should think twice before proceeding.

1. No one is looking out for your interests – it is not the job of the mediator to look out for your interests. Rather, the mediator’s job is to act as a neutral party to facilitate the parties reaching their own agreement. In fact, since a mediator is legally bound to be neutral, he or she cannot alert or advise you if an agreement is unfair. Worse yet, some mediators will subtly push the parties into accepting an unfair agreement simply so they can claim that the mediation was a “success.” This is why you are supposed to retain a divorce attorney to advise you in the background during the mediation process.

2. Mediation can cost as much or more than a traditional divorce – People often choose mediation because they think it will be less expensive than a regular litigated divorce. While it can be, this is frequently not the case. People entering mediation are almost always surprised to hear that they should hire their own attorneys to represent them in the background during the process. Once they hear that advice, much of the appeal of mediation disappears. That is why most people ignore that crucial advice, and proceed with mediation without representation. Another, frequently overlooked aspect of mediation that can end up making it more expensive than traditional divorce is the high risk of an unfavorable marital settlement agreement. Lack of knowledge about your spouse’s financial assets, ignorance of the law, and poor negotiating skills can easily cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars when you end getting less than you otherwise would have if you had retained a divorce attorney. You have not saved money if you negotiate a poor marital settlement agreement.

3. There is no guarantee you will settle your case in mediation – If you do proceed with mediation correctly and hire a divorce attorney to represent you in the background, mediation will likely cost you and your spouse anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 — and you may not succeed in reaching an agreement with your spouse. If you don’t reach an agreement, you may have to start the process over again with traditional divorce litigation. And any money you have spent on mediation will have been wasted, sent down the drain.
To discuss your options in a Scottsdale divorce, call us today to schedule a consultation.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Gray Divorce After 50: The Increasing Importance of a Spouse Finding Employment

At Canterbury Law Group, the lawyers work with leading industry professionals in the Valley and beyond. Not only do we help our clients form impactful relationships that assist in their continued success after case resolution, but The Firm stays abreast of all matters that impact our client’s legal matters before, during and after the case is resolved.

Emerging trends have recognized that Americans aged 50+ and older are getting divorced at a higher rate than younger people. This trend, coupled with increasing life expectancy is leading to more emphasis being placed on the employment of dependent spouses to contribute to their income stream after a divorce.

People 50 and older comprised 25% of all Americans who got divorced in 2014, up from 8% in 1990, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. Those who quit their marriage late in life can substantially reduce their standard of living and sacrifice their retirement security due to a number of factors. It’s a lot more expensive to live in separate households, and when retirement savings must be divided. Both spouses’ income sources need to be maximized before and after retirement when a divorce occurs.

One Arizona expert witness, Bradford H. Taft, MBA, CMF, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CFLC, Managing Director of Taft Vocational Experts and Chief Career Strategist of Taft Career Group, has provided valuable information for adults choosing to divorce later in life both during and after a case has resolved.

The traditional role of a divorce vocational expert is to evaluate a spouse’s earning capacity, conduct a labor market analysis, and opine on a spouse’s employability and earning capacity for consideration in determining spousal maintenance and/or child support. By providing these analyses and conclusions, vocational experts play a valuable role in the divorce process.

Vocational evaluators who have a strong understanding of the career transition process including how to plan and implement effective job search campaigns, post-divorce, can bring a high level of efficiency in helping a spouse find a new job. This is especially valuable to a spouse who has been out of the job market for an extended period of time and needs to locate employment as soon as possible. No parent or spouse wants to start over—however, a seasoned vocational expert witness can help bridge that gap.

Here are three steps from Taft Vocational Experts to planning and implementing a “Job Search Campaign” that a vocational expert can assist with:

1. Career Assessment and Objective Setting – In the vocational evaluation during divorce proceedings, an expert gathers information and then evaluates a spouse’s education, interests, skills, knowledge, and experience to determine what career options are the best fit. Then they conduct a labor market analysis to assess the likelihood that an individual can get a job, and what they can expect to earn, both immediately and in the long-term. By continuing to work with the individual to focus on career objectives that match their talents and interests, a vocational expert helps the individual to effectively concentrate on a realistic career direction.

2. Written and Verbal Communication – Once the career objective has been established, it’s time to write a resume along with creating other communication tools to broadcast one’s talents and interests to the job market. A vocational expert can help the job seeker create a strong message that shows how their talents can contribute to the success of organizations.

Verbal communications include brief (30 and 60 second) personal branding statements to effectively introduce themselves in networking situations. Preparing for job interviews includes anticipating what questions a prospective employer will ask as well as creating a list of questions that the candidate wants to ask the employer.

3. Effective Sources of Job Leads – After career objectives have been set and communications tools have been developed, the job seeker is ready to use a number of sources to identify job leads. Surveys show that networking to develop referrals into perspective employers is still the best way to find a new career opportunity, so specific emphasis is placed on how to identify referral sources, develop relationships and get introduced to hiring managers. The Internet has revolutionized the job search process, so learning how to use it effectively to research companies, support networking strategies, identify job postings, and submit applications is also important.

By following through to support a spouse in planning and developing an effective job search campaign, the vocational expert can assume an expanded role in ensuring a positive outcome to the divorce process.

If you or a friend are contemplating divorce or going through a divorce case now, consider our lawyers and staff as your top resource to help you garner your best results in such a challenging life transition. Email the firm today at [email protected] or call 480-240-0040 for a complimentary consultation.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Simple Tips to Help Avoid Post – Holiday Bankruptcy

The annual gift-giving season is swiftly approaching and the Phoenix and Scottsdale bankruptcy attorneys at Canterbury Law Group know that this can sometimes lead to serious repercussions after the holiday cheer wears off.

To combat any decisions that may lead you to bankruptcy, the law team at Canterbury suggests treating your holiday spending like a business. Below are suggestions to help you stay on track during the most expensive season of the year.

1. Strategize. Begin by creating a holiday spending plan. Decide how much you can afford to spend this season, including gifts, travel, parties, decorations, and any other holiday expenses. Make a shopping list for whom you want to purchase gifts for. Determine how much you’ll earn between now and the holidays and decide how much you’ll need to set aside each paycheck to save the amount you will need. Also, consider your charitable gift intentions and budget.

2. Track your spending. If you realize you do not need to spend as much as you planned in some categories, move the extra funds to other categories. Or, save the money for your debt stockpile when the bills start to arrive in the New Year.

3. Shop without your credit cards. Yes, leave them at home unless you know you need them for a specific purchase and you already have a specific plan to repay the debt. Use cash.

4. Shop smart. Shop online first so you can price compare multiple retail locations. It’s also wise to ignore most of those “big” sales. In reality, deals such as “Buy 2, Get 1 Free” often leave you spending more and acquiring items that aren’t needed. Stores will often mark up items before “cutting” the price and you end up paying the same-or more.

5. Avoid purchasing on impulse. Instead, make a note of the product, where you saw it and how much it was. Consult your spending plan, and, if there’s room, return for the purchase. If you are married, consult your spouse. Do not hide your spending; you are a family and a team.

If your credit card debt truly gets to the point of seeming to reach the point of no return, no matter how much you save or earn—you might consider bankruptcy to flush out all the debt and start fresh and new.

It is no surprise that filing bankruptcy can seem like an extreme option but it does offer a way out. At Canterbury Law Group, we will represent you through the entire process and fight diligently to secure your fresh financial start. Call us today to schedule your consultation. [email protected] or 480-240-0040 or www.canterburylawgroup.com

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