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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Arizona Breastfeeding Laws & Visitation Rights Breastfed Babies

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If you are searching for Arizona breastfeeding laws or visitation rights for breasfed babies, this article might help. A recent news article about a judge ordering a breastfeeding mother to switch to baby formula to facilitate visitation for the father has reinvigorated an old debate. In a custody hearing in Maine, a father petitioned that his visitation rights were being violated because the mother is still breastfeeding the child. The estranged couple has a six-month-old baby that the mother is still exclusively nursing. The father wants overnight visitation rights on the weekends, but the mother refused on the account that she needs to breastfeed the baby.

The mother claimed that she couldn’t pump enough breast milk to arrange bottle feeding the baby when the infant is the father. So she claimed that the baby should be with her on the weekends. The magistrate court disagreed.  In the custody hearing, the judge sided with the father and said that keeping the baby for breastfeeding is “not a reason to prevent [the father’s] visitation,” and it could be “considered deliberate alienation” of the father. The court recommended overnight visits that would have the baby fed formula milk.

There are some other details to the case, but the core argument involving nursing mothers’ and fathers’ visitation rights has been percolating for some time. Pediatricians recommend breastfeeding babies for up to 12 months. There’s ample scientific evidence to suggest that babies should be breastfed to ensure their health and psychological well-being. The court cannot dispute these biological factors. However, when arranging parenting time for estranged spouses with infants, breastfeeding could become a hot-button issue.

While the case was adjudicated in a different state, it’s a common question that pops up in family court in Arizona as well. Arizona does not have specific laws with regards to how to handle parenting time for a breastfeeding child. In most cases, babies are kept with mothers so they can nurse on time. If the father wants to visit, then the visits are arranged for two or three hours in a manner that doesn’t disturb nursing. However, these arrangements can change due to court recommendations on what’s best for the child.

Ideally, the best way to handle a father’s visitation with regards to a nursing baby is for the estranged parents to discuss parenting time civilly. It’s strongly advised to obtain Family Law help in Scottsdale to devise a sensible parenting time plan in accordance with court recommendations, parents’ wishes, and, above all, the well-being of the newly birthed child. Fathers who want to spend time with nursing babies should first discuss arrangements with the mother, possibly with the help of a third-party mediator.

Of course, not all estranged parents would be able to sit down together and come up with a neat parenting time plan. In that case, going to court will be the last solution. However, judges decide visitation rights for fathers with newborn babies on a case by case basis. It’s unlikely and rare that a mother would be ordered to switch to formula if she doesn’t want to or is somehow unable to. As the law is not clear on this, only your lawyer will be able to present you with the best legal solutions for the situation.  And you never know, the Arizona judge to whom your case is assigned may end up agreeing with the judge from Maine.

Arizona Breastfeeding Laws

Many mothers wonder about breastfeeding in public. First, it is perfectly legal to breastfeed in public. In Arizona, the law clearly says a mother is entitled to breastfeed her child in public and is not subject to indecent exposure laws.

A.R.S. 41-1443

A mother is entitled to breast-feed in any area of a public place or a place of public accommodation where the mother is otherwise lawfully present.

A.R.S. 13-1402

Indecent exposure does not include an act of breastfeeding by a mother.

Your baby has the lawful right to eat wherever you are. Having an upset, hungry, crying baby will call more attention to yourself than breastfeeding your baby!

What clothing do I need for breastfeeding?

Nursing in public is easy. You don’t need a special type of clothes. You can wear a loose fitting shirt or top that you can lift from the bottom. When the baby latches, let the bottom of your shirt cover your breast. Your baby’s head and body will cover the rest. You can practice in front of a mirror until you feel more confident about nursing your baby in public.

Do I need to use a nursing cover?

Some mothers are a little more comfortable nursing under a cover, but you don’t have to. You can breastfeed at your discretion without a cover as described above, but it is fine to use one if it is going to make you more comfortable. Your local WIC clinic may be able to supply you with a privacy cover, or a lightweight baby blanket is also perfectly fine.

If I’m in a public place, where am I allowed to breastfeed?

You can breastfeed anywhere you are, like the corner market, dentist’s office, or even the drug store. If you feel uncomfortable and need privacy away from home, you can find a dressing room, a fast food restaurant booth, or a nursing/ lactation room that will give you the privacy you want.

What if someone complains and doesn’t approve?

If you are in a public place and asked to stop breastfeeding your baby, ask for the supervisor or manager in charge of the establishment. A lot of people are uninformed, but the manager should be able to educate their employees about breastfeeding. You should feel confident that your baby’s needs are being met and be proud that you’re breastfeeding and providing your baby with the nourishment he or she needs!

Source

  1. “Breastfeeding in Public: Making It Work!” ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES, Arizona Department of Health Services , azdhs.gov/documents/prevention/nutrition-physical-activity/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-in-public.pdf.

Family Law Consultations in Scottsdale

The Canterbury Law Group should be your number one choice for when you need a family law attorney. Our experienced attorneys will work with you side by side to achieve the best possible legal outcome. You can trust Canterbury Law Group 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 legal advice. You can contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your unique situation.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Four Tips to Help When You Want to Ask for a Divorce

No matter how much work you put into a marriage, some ultimately will end in divorce. You’ve done everything you can. The two of you have sought out help and done what is asked. In the end though, no matter what you do, the two of you can’t seem to get along.

If the word divorce is going through your mind, it can be a scary topic to discuss. How do you bring it up to your partner without causing a war? There’s no easy way to ask someone for a divorce. With a little bit of preparation and empathy, however, you can bring up the topic without causing too much stress on your partner.

Your divorce attorney in Scottsdale is here to help you with all of your legal matters when ending a marriage.

Prepare Yourself

The first thing you want to do is prepare yourself for the conversation. It would help if you were confident in your decision and that it is the best option for both of you.

Ask yourself why you want a divorce in the first place. Use this reason as a way to explain it to your partner. Then, try and put yourself in his or her shoes and come up with different questions he or she may have. The more answers you have, the better you can explain the situation clearly to your partner.

Talk in an Appropriate Environment

There are a time and a place for having a conversation about divorce. Timing is crucial when delivering this type of news. Of course, there is no perfect time for having a conversation about divorce. There are though, times that are more appropriate than others.

You wouldn’t’ want to bring up a divorce if your partner recently underwent a stressful situation or had some kind of trauma. That could make an already stressful situation even worse.

Choose a place that is private and where there are minimal distractions and stressors. The more calming and comfortable the environment is, the better chance you have for the discussion to go more smoothly.

Own Your Decision

Unless this isn’t the first time the word divorce has come up, your spouse is likely to feel caught off guard. How you deliver the message will determine the rest of the conversation.

You want to own your decision. Be clear that you have made up your mind and that this is what you want. Be firm as you talk, yet gentle and empathetic towards your partner. Being rude and getting upset will only make things worse.

Get Professional Help

After the divorce conversation, there will be many emotions between the two of you. The best way to handle them is for each of you to seek out professional help. Speaking with a divorce coach or a counselor will help you deal with your emotions and heartbreak so that you can move forward with the process in a healthy way.

There is no easy way to ask your spouse for a divorce. However, they cannot force you to remain married if you want out.  Either spouse can seek divorce at any time.  However, you can prepare yourself for the conversation. Keep your partner’s emotions in mind when delivering the news. Try and put yourself in his or her shoes so you can understand how they might react. The more peaceful the conversation, the better off everyone will be.  They deserve care and respect, they were once your life partner.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Reasons to Finalize Your Divorce and Save Money

If your marriage is in a rocky place, it would behoove you to be mindful of the timing of decisions; the government has recently enacted a few tax laws that impact divorcing couples, especially those with high net worth. Tax codes are perplexing in the best of times and now, quite frankly, does not constitute the best of times. This makes it more important that you understand how these new laws affect you.

How do you decide if it is in your best interest to settle this year? The first step is to take a deep breath. Second, divorce attorneys in Scottsdale recommend considering the three items below and what effect they will have on you. Third, work with a lawyer as well as a financial advisor experienced in divorce to minimize the impact of the new laws.

Move Fast To Control Taxes On Alimony

Alimony, often called spousal support or maintenance, will have a significant change on New Year’s’ Day in 2019. Under current laws, alimony has been deductible by the paying spouse and taxable to the receiving spouse. This benefited the family unit as the recipient paid tax at a lower rate than the payor deducted it at resulting in lower taxes. Going forward, however, alimony will no longer be deductible by the payor or taxable to the recipient.  Alimony will now be treated the same as child support: tax free.

Tax Benefits Of The Family Home Are Changing

 Your home. This is a popular item in many divorces. Is it a top priority to keep it? Are you itching to leave it behind with the past? How do you split the value? It’s important to focus on your home as a financial asset while factoring in the memories as well as the potential emotional stability it may provide. The new tax law reduced the deductibility of property taxes and the amount of mortgage that qualifies for interest deduction making it more expensive to own a home under the new tax laws.

Kids Are No Longer As Great A Tax Deduction

The new tax code also eliminated the personal exemption amount for tax years 2018–2025. This means that you don’t get a multiplier of kids as a deduction on your tax return. It’s still important, however, to negotiate who will claim the kids for other purposes. While the exemption amount is zero dollars, it may allow the parent to receive additional child tax credits, which are more generous under the new law.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Reasons Why People Make Divorce Overly Expensive

There is no question that it takes more money to run one household than two households after a divorce. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t doable or worth it to go through a divorce, if that’s what is necessary, you have little choice.

Sure, divorce is expensive. When all is said and done, costs can run close to $50,000 to $100,000 if both sides dig in and want to litigate. That is a lot of money.

While there are certainly ways to save money during a divorce, there are also many ways to increase costs, many of which are almost entirely unnecessary.

Divorce lawyers in Scottsdale see costs continue to grow as people exhibit the following behaviors.

Of course you want what you are entitled to. Having said that, are you willing to go to the brink on this one even if the amount that you fight for is not enough to cover attorney costs? Think about that one for a minute. Spending ten thousand dollars to win back five thousand dollars to “show up your spouse”—that’s bad math. Do not do it.

Refuse to Accept Your Settlement Proposal

Sure, your attorney wants what is best for you, even if that entails you spending all of your money on what’s right. Ultimately, you should get what you deserve, right? Demand That Your Ex Runs All Parenting Decisions By You If you and your spouse struggled to make parenting decisions during your marriage, what makes you think that it’ll go smoothly once you’re divorced? This will only result in wasted time, energy, and money.

Negotiate With Your Spouse

One of the most common reasons as to why people file for divorce is due to trouble communicating. Spouses constantly argue about budgets, schedules, and general decision-making. Things can escalate from there within a divorce.

Hire a Child Custody Evaluator

These professionals generally charge about $10k to $15k for a comprehensive custody evaluation, not including time spent as a witness at any hearings. — Sure would be cheaper to hammer out a compromise with the other parent compared to spending the time money and tears usually consumed in the child custody evaluation process.

If you want to decrease costs during a divorce, consider avoiding the aforementioned behaviors. They will save you time and money in the short-term and make you much happier in the long-term.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

3 Reasons You Should Get a Prenuptial

While prenuptial agreements are largely popular amongst the rich and famous, average people really ought to consider prenups as well.

Depending on your financial status and ongoing relationship, signing a prenup might be a very, very good decision. Divorce lawyers in Scottsdale recommend the following three reasons to sign a prenup before your wedding day.

CHILDREN

If either you or your spouse has children from a different relationship, it’s critical to sign a prenup to ensure that they will be taken care of in the event of divorce or death. As of 2013, 4 out of 10 marriages included at least one person who had been in a previous marriage.

With a prenup, assets are protected, and an estate plan is carefully laid out for children. Ultimately, you need to consider whether you’d want your assets going to the surviving spouse or directly to your children from a previous marriage. A will is not enough. You want a prenup to solidify the terms of the will.

DEBT

While prenups oftentimes protect wealth, they can also keep you free from your spouse’s debt. If one or both of you are entering the marriage carrying debt, a prenup will specify who is responsible for paying off the debt both during and after the marriage.

STAY-AT-HOME-PARENT

When one of the parents stays home with children, he/she is saving the family, on average, over $100,000 per year. This is a significant amount of money, considering that with the stay-at-home parent, the work would likely have to be contracted out, which can be costly.

If/when a marriage ends in divorce, there is no real way to identify those savings. This can put the stay-at-home parent in a tough situation. With a prenup, both parties are protected.

As a final note, take time to ensure that your prenup is mutually beneficial. Ultimately, it should be a way to show that you and your spouse truly care about each other.  For more contact our law firm at [email protected]

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Talk About Divorce Right After Engagement

It’s THE most exciting time in your life. You’re newly engaged and about to embark on an exciting life journey with the one you love.  You will soon marry!

But guess what? Now, and we mean NOW, is the best time to talk about divorce.

Why is that?

Well, divorce attorneys in Scottsdale see it all the time. Great people with high hopes and optimism for their relationship soon crumble before them with a relationship that ends in resentment and heartbreak. With affections and optimism at its peak during an engagement, talking about divorce is extremely productive.

Generally speaking, people end up filing a divorce because they don’t know their spouse or they don’t know themselves. By simply speaking with your significant other about divorce, you are taking a huge leap in the right direction to avoid this situation.

The only question that remains is, what should you talk about?

Let’s take a look.

Talk About the Why

That’s right. You should have a conversation with your fiancé about why you would get divorced in the first place. This is a very clear path to pinpointing your marital expectations. This includes non-negotiables such as fidelity and honesty in addition things that might change throughout the marriage like friendships and career details. You can take this one step further and discuss what you both feel are good and bad reasons to get divorced.

Discuss Prevention

Experiencing issues in a marriage is inevitable. A perfect marriage, with no problems, simply doesn’t exist. Having said that, it’s important to handle those issues properly and overcome them in the best possible manner. Be candid with your partner about how you would handle problems and what you would do if issues were to present themselves. Would you broach things head on? Would you wait it out? Would you seek counseling? These are all important questions to consider.

Share Obligations If You Were to Get Divorced

While prenuptial agreements may be tough to have at such an early stage of your long-term relationship, they provide a great of insight. They are raw, emotional, and passionate.

It’s important to discuss things like the space you share (your home), financial logistics/needs, professional life changes, family member involvement, and parenting.

While it’s important to discuss individual needs during a divorce, if you devote enough affection throughout your relationship and appreciate everything your fiancé has to offer, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to file those divorce papers.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Three Tips to Enduring Divorce

Divorces are difficult for everyone. While nobody wants to go through the process of divorce, it is, of course, can be necessary.

According to Psychology Today, nearly 40% of marriages ended in divorce in 2017. Think about that. That’s quite many people terminating their marriages.

When marriage trendy headed south, what should you pay attention to reduce overall stress and financial burdens in your life?

Divorce lawyers in Scottsdale recommend these three tips to make the divorce process as smooth as possible. Or you can choose not to file.  Either way, knowledge is power.

UNDERSTAND BOTH PARTIES’ FINANCIAL ASSETS

Before you can even begin negotiating marital assets, each spouse should seek to understand the others’ financial status. Too often, one spouse is in the dark about exactly what assets their significant other has/owns. It’s important to consider ALL financial assets: pensions, retirement accounts, bank accounts, properties, vehicles, etc. Having just a general understanding of these assets can lead to problems during divorce.

Here is the good news: If you file for divorce, your divorce attorney will seek and acquire all the “hidden assets” from your spouse through Court appointed rules and regulations.

AVOID EXPENSIVE LAWYERS

While many people feel the need to hire an “established lawyer” right away, you will be draining your finances more than you really need to. Since the system immediately starts generating work for the attorney (as soon as you submit your filing), you will be charged from the get-go. Things that will be set in motion include, but are not limited to, include financial relief for child support and counsel fees.

Sooner rather than later, you are thousands of dollars in the hole, and that may not even include a court appearance. Initiating the divorce in such an aggressive manner will not only prove to be costly but will also lead to greater tension and potential resentment.

Rather than rushing into the legal process, approach things amicably and have productive conversations. If both parties agree to work together in a civil manner, mediation may be a better option. Not only is this more affordable, but it can alleviate things quicker and more efficiently.

DETERMINE THE RIGHT TIME

Instead of rushing to make divorce official, consider all of the financial matters that come into play when deciding to file for divorce right then and there or at a later time. Timing can also largely impact the “equitable distribution of assets and liabilities.” Your house, amongst other assets, can be a huge factor in determining when you want to file.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce Settlement in Arizona

Divorce settlement via private mediation is common in some states, where some courts may require couples to settle their problems before contested trial. Arizona is not one of these states. Divorcing couples can directly go to trial without any legal obligation to negotiate via a mediator. But that does not mean divorce settlement is impossible or not worthwhile in Arizona. The state’s family courts are dealing with a massive backlog.   Six or twelve-month backlogs are not uncommon.  Therefore, if you want your divorce case to proceed faster, the settlement might be the best option through private mediation.

There are multiple ways to settle your divorce case with your soon-to-be-ex. The easiest path is to talk to him or her civilly with your divorce attorney in Scottsdale present. You can also hire a third party mediator, with your attorney attending such mediation, to facilitate talks. Divorce mediators are not attorneys, but impartial third-parties who help couples hold discussions. Mediators can help when spouses are not on speaking terms.  You can have your lawyer present, as can your spouse.

Some individuals may refuse to talk to their divorcing spouse and prefer to sort out differences in court. This, however, could be counterproductive to both parties. Here are several reasons why settling a divorce case can be to your advantage:

Save Money

The biggest motivator that drives many divorcing couples to settle via mediation instead of going to trial is the money and expense. Make no mistake, divorce is expensive in Arizona. When an attorney has to represent you at trial, the expenses can pile up because the trial prep is extensive and time-consuming. You will also have to pay documentation fees. Attorney fees and other costs are much lower when you settle.

Save Time

As mentioned above, state divorce courts in Arizona hear so many cases that you should not expect your case to sail through the court without a hitch. Even setting the initial trial date could take months if not a year or more.   If you don’t want the divorce to drag on for years, do consider talking things through and settling through private five-way mediation.

Make Your Priorities Clear

Settling the divorce with your spouse and attorneys is the best way to make your priorities clear. You will have plenty of opportunities to have your say before the final divorce decree is signed. When the case goes before a judge, it is the judge who ultimately gets the final say. The trial won’t go on forever either. The judge is under pressure to conclude the case within a limited amount of time. Therefore, it’s not unlikely that you may not like the judge’s final ruling. It’s possible that the judge may rule in a manner that neither party is satisfied with. It’s usually the case when it comes to decreeing property division and alimony. When you settle, you will have more control over the outcome.  It’s better to choose than to be chosen by a random person in a black robe.

Protect the Children from Unwanted Hostility

Most important, active divorces take the biggest toll on your dependent children. If your divorce involves kids, you do them a disfavor by dragging out a divorce case for years. If you don’t want your children embroiled in a nasty divorce fight, choose to settle with the spouse. Negotiations can also make co-parenting plans more bearable.  Private mediation can get you to the finish line far sooner and with less expense.

If you want the best outcome from your divorce, try to settle your differences and focus on practical issues. Negotiating a settlement civilly is the best case scenario for both parties and for children in most divorces. If you need more information, contact us to discuss options without charge.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Holidays and Parenting Time in Arizona

The end-of- the-year holiday season is typically the biggest time of the year for many families to get together. If the parents are divorced, the Christmas season could bring forth new disputes. It’s very important to protect children from any sort of drama during the holiday weeks, especially when they expect to spend their school vacation enjoying themselves. In Arizona, the divorce decree usually also includes a separate parenting time plan that lays out who time is shared over the holidays.

Holiday Parenting Time Under Arizona Law

The family courts in Arizona have a statutory requirement for divorcing couples with children to provide a holiday schedule. Under A.R.S. §25-403.02 (C), this plan must include a “practical schedule” for how parenting time is allocated during the holidays. There should be specifications for with whom the child would reside, how the child should be transported, and a reconciliation method in case disputes arise.

Parents should specifically arrange a parenting time plan for the year-end holidays. Unlike other vacation times, the November-December period involves many public holidays, seasonal celebrations, and family gatherings. The child might require transportation more so than during other long holidays like the summer vacation. It’s highly recommended that divorcing parents get family law help in Scottsdale to come up with a reasonable plan.

Organizing a Parenting Time Plan for the Holidays

Very generally speaking, parenting plans during the holidays can be developed in three primary ways. First, some parents agree to have the children for Christmas every other year. For example, mom could have the kids for Christmas and Thanksgiving during even years, and dad during the odd years. Some parents divide holiday time evenly during the day. For example, the kids would spend Christmas mornings with mom and the evenings with dad. Other parents designate certain holidays for themselves. For example, the kids may spend every Thanksgiving with mom and Christmas with dad.

Of course, parenting plans can be adjusted according to different religions and cultures. Adjustments can also be made depending on the vacation time the parent gets. However, it’s very important to have the holiday season planned ahead and in writing. The arrangements are ideally made months in advance unless it’s already specified during the finalization of the divorce. But practical concerns do arise every year, so ex-spouse’s with children should make arrangements early.

Be Specific with the Details

More importantly, divorcing parents must make sure the parenting plan is highly specific. For example, separating parents may decide to give mom the kids for Christmas during even years. But that’s a very basic provision. Is “Christmas” limited to just Christmas day? Will the children require transportation from parent to parent? On which day and at what time will the kids be dropped off and picked up again? These specifics should be handled in the parenting plan.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

The Role of Parenting Coordinators in Arizona Child Custody Cases

Arizona Rules of Family Law, under Rule 74, allows judges to appoint a parenting coordinator in divorce and child custody cases. So what exactly is a parenting coordinator? How will having one affect the case? Are parenting coordinators good for children? This article will touch on these questions and briefly explain how parenting coordinators could benefit (or not) from a family law dispute.

What are Parenting Coordinators in Arizona?

Recently, many states have begun to appoint parenting coordinators in child custody cases. Arizona has had a parenting coordinator rule since 2011, and it was amended in 2016. A parenting coordinator, in simple terms, is a third party appointed by a judge to resolve or alleviate disputes between parents fighting for child custody. Many types of professionals can be appointed as a parenting coordinator. Usually, a child psychologist, a therapist or even a family law attorney is appointed a parenting coordinator.

In Arizona, parenting coordinators have what’s called “quasi-judicial” authority. This authority is limited under the law. Parenting coordinators cannot actually change how legal decisions are made in the child custody case. However, parenting coordinators have the authority to step in and resolve some disputes arising from conflicts not specified in the court-approved parenting plan.  Both parents must agree to use a PC for each one year term assigned by the judge.  If at any time the other parent does not want the PC term to renew, the PC concludes their term and is no longer involved.   

What do Parenting Coordinators Do?

It’s important to understand that parenting coordinators cannot change any clauses in the parenting plan. But other things that parents disagree with, which are not explicitly stated in the plan, can be resolved with intervention from the parenting coordinator.   Think of a PC as a referee—hired by the court—to keep the case out of court ideally.  

Parenting coordinators, for example, can step in and help when parents disagree about pick up and drop off locations of kids when sharing joint custody. Parenting coordinators can also resolve other problems with regards to holiday scheduling, meeting dates and times, and after-school activities. The law allows parenting coordinators to resolve disputes related to personal care, health, school choice, discipline and managing problem behavior in children.

Parenting coordinators, however, are not judges and their authority to solve issues are limited by law. Therefore, it’s still highly recommended to get Family Law help in Scottsdale if you and your ex cannot civilly agree on how the kids are taken care of. It’s best to have a parenting coordinator and a lawyer present during the case. If you want to change the parenting plan, it will require the assistance of a family lawyer and go to court by formal motion to the judge.  

Why Have a Parenting Coordinator?

Divorcing parents can disagree on many things from serious issues like children’s health to minor problems like how to cut a child’s hair or ear piercings (it happens). Parenting coordinators can step in and restore sanity to a situation when parents are unable to negotiate peacefully.

The alternative to having a parenting coordinator is time-consuming litigation. When parents are fighting over an issue related to custody or the parenting plan, finding a court resolution to the issue involves modifying existing court orders. Doing so means that both parents have to undergo costly litigation that could take months or years.  Therefore, having a parenting coordinator is more cost and time effective—so long as both parties agree to the formal one-year appointment of a PC.  

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