Written by Canterbury Law Group

Arizona Breastfeeding Laws & Visitation Rights Breastfed Babies

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.

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]

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.

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.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Child Custody in Arizona

Custody in legal terms refers to the person a court has appointed as the parent or guardian of a child. The person retaining child custody manages the well-being of that child. The legal custodial parent will have the right to make decisions about the child’s education, religious teachings, and healthcare. There are different types of custody, but courts in Arizona do not favor one over the other. The decisions will be based on what’s ultimately good for the child. If you are a parent currently seeking custody of the child, or if you are already a custodial parent, here are answers to some of the questions frequently asked on the subject:

What is the different between “sole,” “joint,” and “legal” decision making authority?

These are three ways in which a court can grant custody of a child. Sole Legal Decision Making means that one single parent has complete legal custody of the child’s legal decision moving forward. The court has granted this parent the express authority to make major decisions regarding the child’s life. Parents can discuss these issues together, but the sole Legal Decision Making parent will always have the final say.

In contrast, in Joint Legal Decision Making situations, both parents have legal decision making authority over a child. However, in order to reach a final decision, both parent must agree—or divert the case to mediation or back to the court if no agreement can be reached. 

Can the court declare one parent’s rights superior to another’s in a Joint Legal Decision Making case?

No. Generally, when a court grants joint Legal Decision Making authority, both parents have equal rights to make decisions regarding the child’s well-being. No one parent is deemed superior to another. However, in special cases, one parent may get the sole right to make decisions regarding a certain aspect of the child’s life if the court decides it’s the best for the child. You should refer to an attorney to seek more family law and child custody information with regards to your situation.

Is there a difference between legal decision making powers and physical custody?

Absolutely yes.  Legal Decision Making authority relates to granting a parent the authority to make decisions about the child’s wellbeing, e.g. where the child goes to school. Physical custody, also called Parenting Time, determines where the child lives from day to day. A parent can have legal custody, but not physical Parenting Time, although this is rare. If a child is to live with both parents for equal amounts of time, then the court will have to grant both parents joint physical Parenting Time. Some parents may prefer for the child to live in one place without moving around, and have one parent with physical virtually all Parenting Time. But both parents, in this case, can have legal custody as well. Refer to Family Law help in Scottsdale, or your local area, for specific information.  Legal assistance is recommended to navigate these complex legal channels. 

Are court custody orders final?

The court decides custody when the parents cannot agree upon themselves, how to share custody of a child. A court may grant early custody orders when divorce or separation filings are in process. Once the divorce or a legal separation becomes final, the court may make modify prior orders which are dramatically changed at the time of trial. This custody decision by the court will stand, subject to certain exceptions, for at least one year, or upon a showing of a substantial and continuing change of circumstances thereafter.

If you want a custody ruling to be modified after trial, you can petition the court to make changes to the order. You will have to present strong evidence that the changes requested are in the best interest of the child. You are very likely going to need the able assistance of legal counsel at that time. 

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.

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.

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.

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

Written by Canterbury Law Group

4 Child Custody Tips to Incorporate Into The Holiday Season

A key driver of any divorce with children, after the dust settles, is a court enforceable joint parenting plan. Typically when parents cannot mutually agree on a child-rearing plan, the court will often establish a written plan and court order 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.

At Canterbury Law Group, the family law attorneys in Scottsdale have helped thousands of parents achieve mutually agreeable custody road maps, and help navigate the changes needed when children’s schedules fluctuate as they grow and mature. Here are some common ways that parents divide and share holiday time under the law:

Alternate holidays every other year. You can assign holidays to each parent for even years and then swap the holidays in odd years. With this arrangement, you won’t miss spending a holiday with your child more than one year in a row. For example, this year she gets Thanksgiving and next year he gets it.

Split the holiday in half. You can split the day of the holiday so that your child spends part of the day with each parent. This arrangement requires planning and coordination because you don’t want your child to spend holidays traveling all day. However for longer holidays like Spring Break you can get the front 5 days and they get the other 5 days, and you reverse the time exchange the year after.

Schedule a holiday twice. You can schedule time for each parent to celebrate a holiday with your child. For example, one parent can celebrate Christmas with the child on Dec. 20th and the other parent on the 25th. The following year would reverse the order. Younger children, in particular may not even notice!

Assign fixed holidays. You can have each parent celebrate the same holidays with the child every year. If parents have different holidays that they think are important, each parent can have those holidays every year. For example, military spouses may want Veterans Day or Fourth of July every year and the other parent, in exchange would get Labor Day and Memorial Day every year.

The Scottsdale family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group can help you keep the legal peace with your ex and enjoy a great vacation with your kids. If you need legal advice, call us today (480-240-0040) to schedule your consultation.

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