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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Explain Child Custody to a Child

In Arizona family courts, judges often do everything in their power to keep divorce proceedings from negatively impacting children’s emotional well-being, especially when there are contentious custody proceedings taking place. Most judges discourage parents from even speaking to the children about custody disputes. However, at some point parents getting a divorce will eventually have to explain the divorce and custody arrangements to the children. It will have to be done regardless of the type of custody arrangement the court ultimately orders.

Explaining custody to a child can be a bit difficult if the child is still quite young. The process may be easier for an older teen, but they are still emotionally vulnerable as well. You can always ask for family Law help in Scottsdale to get pointers in explaining custody arrangements to children. Here are several tips from divorce experts who have navigated these waters before you:

Tell Them the Important Facts of the Custody Arrangement

You don’t need to explain the intricate legalities of joint or sole custody to children. However, you will have to explain terms of the custody arrangement as simply as possible, because it will affect them more profoundly than you. Here are the things you should tell children:

  • With which parents the kids will stay, or how much time they will have to spend at each parent’s house. These courts ordered parenting time allocations are not optional and must be followed by both parents, and the children.
  • The parent who will drop them off and pick up from school.
  • The parent who will handle transportation.
  • Repeatable schedules with each parent.
  • Living arrangements for the summer or annual vacation times (e.g. Spring or Fall Break).

Avoid Distressing Subjects

You don’t have to explain to children why the custody arrangement is the way it is, or why the parents went through a divorce. Do not bad mouth the other parent in front of the children, either. Doing some of these things may even land you in trouble with the court. Do not discuss child support, alimony or other money issues with the children either. If something is not of immediate concern to the wellbeing of the child, avoid the subject.  Money and property and other adult issues should remain discussed between counsel and the parents, not the minor children.

Let Them Know They are Loved

Children of divorced parents may experience a host of negative emotions, including feelings of abandonment or guilt. Some children feel like it is “their fault” that Mom and Dad split up.  It’s important to let the children know that both parents love them even if the parents are now divorced. Don’t leave any room for them to be alarmed about the custody arrangement. Show them that it is in their best interest. If the children have to spend time at two locations, tell them it is so because both parents want to take part in both their lives. Explain custody in a positive note so children are not unnecessarily distressed and worried with the new realities post-Decree.

Let them Feel Comfortable with Lawyers and Mediators

Children in the middle of contentious divorces may have to put up with strangers whom they keep encountering like lawyers and court-appointed advisors or interviewers. It’s important that children become familiar with these people and this process and not feel ambushed.  If explaining custody is too much for you, you can ask your lawyer to gently break the news to them. The lawyer will be familiar with what information is allowed by the court and what is not, to tell directly to the children.

It’s never easy to discuss divorce or custody with children. Hopefully, the above suggestions will help.  Regardless, you should rely on your chosen legal professional to help you navigate these critical and choppy waters.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Family Law and Child Custody Information

Determining the custody of a child when divorcing is not easy. Child custody and the related laws are largely determined by state law, though certain federal policies may apply. Here are some basic facts to know about child custody if you are filing for a divorce:

Working out the Custody of a Child

There are two ways to decide which parent gets custody: by trial or private mutual negotiation outside of court. Some parents who divorce amicably can discuss among themselves regarding with whom the child may live after the divorce, and who can visit and when. Divorcing couples can also hire a third party mediator to ensure that these discussions go well. If the parents are unable to reach a mutual agreement, then the case would go to trial where a judge (not a jury) will decide custody and visitation rights.

Types of Custody

There are different types of custody family courts grant.

Physical custody: Also known as “parenting time”, this is the type of custody that decides which parent the child lives with majority of the time. Courts usually grant physical custody to both parents on a joint and equal basis absent parental fitness issues. 

Legal custody: Also known as “legal decision making”, if the court has already appointed a physical custodian, then the other parent might get legal custody. It’s the right of a parent to make decisions about the child’s welfare, education, health, religion even when the child is not living with him or her.

Joint custody: This is an arrangement where the child spends equal amounts of time with both parents following a divorce. There are both proponents and detractors of this type of custody. It’s ultimately something the divorcing parents have to decide. Getting joint custody requires showing cooperation between the divorcing couple and the willingness to make decisions about the child’s welfare together.

Split custody: If the divorcing parents have multiple children, the court may decide to “split” up the custody of the children among the parents. For example, if there are two children, the court may grant custody of one child to only one parent. Courts, however, do not usually separate siblings in this manner.

To determine the type of custody best suited for your case, you will need an attorney’s help. Hire a local attorney from your county, for example family Law help in Scottsdale if you live in Arizona.

Unmarried Parents

Not only divorcing parents need to decide the custody of the child. There are different laws that determine the custody of the child if the parents are unmarried. Most states have laws requiring the granting of physical custody to the biological mother of the child as long as the mother is fit to be a good parent. Unmarried fathers often do not get custody of the child, but Fathers are typically preferred for custody over other relatives like grandparents, or prospective foster or adoptive parents.  Unmarried parents can sometimes be awarded 50/50 custody.  Every case is different. 

How Custody is Granted

The courts take into account various factors when granting custody. Mainly, the court will decide which parent is best suited to be a child’s main caretaker. The child’s wellbeing is always considered above the desires of the parents or others who have filed for custody.

Different states evaluate the “best interest” standard differently. But, most take into consideration the mental and physical fitness of the parents, the child’s relationship to parents or others in the household, the need for a stable home, religious or cultural issues at play, the child’s treatment at the hands of parents, possible history of abuse, and so on. If the child is old enough, his or her wishes will also be taken into consideration.  Each state has different rules of how old a child must be before his or her ‘wishes’ regarding custody will be heard by the Court. 

The parents in any case should hire a good attorney to prove to the court that they are the most fit to be the child’s primary caretaker. It will be up to you to protect your parental rights, as the courts will prioritize the child’s.

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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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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Scottsdale Family Attorneys at Canterbury Law Group

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

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

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

Ultimately, we realize that hiring a Scottsdale family attorney can be a challenging task. Call the lawyers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule you consultation. 480-240-0040

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Tips for Fathers Trying to Get Custody

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Custody Tips for Summer Vacation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you need assistance with your summer parenting schedule, contact the Phoenix divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group! We can help ensure the summer is enjoyable for all. 480-240-0040.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Child Custody During Summer Months

Canterbury Law Group handles various family law matters, including divorce and child custody. Family law is a complex legal area requiring measured and detailed strategy and execution as well as constant upkeep. If you have children with an ex, it’s time to consider future summer vacations and your custody agreement. At Canterbury Law Group, we have many ways to help you keep the legal peace with your ex and enjoy a great summer vacation with your kids.

1. Set Up a Vacation Schedule, And Stick to It. With the kids off from school, there’s plenty of time to plan for vacations and trips. However, it is essential to discuss you plans with your ex. It is typically beneficial to create a vacation schedule with your child custody lawyer, have your ex sign off on it and submit it to a family court judge. By doing this, both parties are clear on where the kids will be and it’s in writing with the court.

2. Be Sure You Don’t Violate Your Custody Agreement. Often, custody and / or visitation agreements have geographical limits, such as your kids can’t leave the state or country. If you’re planning a summer vacation abroad, you may need to have your agreement modified. If you and your ex have already created a vacation plan, it shouldn’t be too difficult to have your ex agree to a custody modification that allows for travel.

3. Use Open Communication. If you have to alter your vacation schedule, notify your ex spouse immediately. In fact, it is always a good idea to notify the other parent of your vacation plans or any change in plans. If you do not inform your ex of your travel plans, be prepared for possible legal action against you. The courts will want a detailed explanation as to why you wouldn’t give up the information and a judge will typically order a parent to divulge vacation plans for safety reasons.

4. Let Kids Communicate With Your Ex While on Vacation. Summer vacation doesn’t mean a communication ban from the other parent. Video calls with Face time or Skype may be a great way to allow your ex “virtual visitation”.

If you need assistance with modifying your child custody agreement for the summer, call us today to schedule a consultation. 480-240-0040. www.canterburylawgroup.com

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Child Custody After Divorce

At Canterbury Law Group, our Scottsdale divorce lawyers fight to protect the future and well-being of children affected by divorce. While winning your case, we also work diligently to secure a sound emotional and financial outcome for children of divorced parents.

If you are starting to consider a divorce or if you were recently served with a divorce petition, the Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group suggest immediately consulting with a trusted attorney to assess and protect all of your legal rights. Delays may limit your child custody options.

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

If you have children that will be affected by divorce, here are some important custody arrangements you should understand. The standard types of Legal Decision Making (child custody):

  • Parenting Time (physical custody) — Determines which specific days of the week that the minor child will be in the physical custody and control of the parent or his or her agents
  • Legal Decision Making — Grants one parent or both parents the right to make important decisions about how a child will be raised with regard to religion, medical care, education, etc.
  • Joint Legal Decision Making — Grants joint legal decision making to both parents assuming the parents can jointly agree on all issues of their child’s upbringing, if disagreements arise, the parties can divert to a court appointed Parenting Coordinator or return to Court to litigate.
  • Sole Custodial Parent — Grants one parent both legal decision making and full parenting time (custody) rights over the child (rare).

Divorce can be tolling on all involved so be sure to guard your kids and preserve their future. For more information on divorce and child custody, contact the Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group. We are here to protect you and your children: (480) 240-0040.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Understanding Divorce and Custody Terms in Arizona

A component of any Arizona divorce when children are involved is a court enforceable parenting plan. When parents cannot mutually agree on a child plan, the court will often establish a plan that the parents must follow for the children’s health and welfare. In some situations, unmarried parents, relatives or other court approved persons can obtain custody or parenting time. Regardless of the facts presented, Arizona law requires that the best interest of the child be the lead consideration above any other.

The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law provide legal strategies throughout the Phoenix area to protect what matters most in divorce – the long-term welfare of the children. Here are common custody terms that one can expect to hear when children are involved in divorce.

Sole Custody – This term is used when one person has sole legal custody of a child. In this situation, the court orders that one parent be responsible for making the major decisions regarding the child’s care or welfare. Although both parents may discuss these matters, the parent designated by the court has authority to make final decisions in the event the parents do not agree.

Joint Custody – Often referred to as joint legal custody or joint physical custody, this type of custody requires that both parents submit a parenting plan to the judge. Canterbury Law in Phoenix can guide you on all the steps in your divorce and custody needs.

Legal Custody – Legal custody is the status where one or both parents are responsible for making the major decisions regarding the child’s care or welfare. When legal custody is awarded to one parent, it is called “sole legal custody.”

What is “Joint Legal Custody”? – When the court grants joint legal custody, each of the parents has the same rights to make decisions about the child’s care and welfare and neither parent’s rights are superior to those of the other parent.

Joint Physical Custody – When the court grants joint physical custody, the place where the child lives (the child’s physical residence) is shared between the parents in a way that the child will have essentially equal time and contact with both parents. Joint physical custody may be granted in situations where parents share joint legal custody or when one parent is granted sole custody.

Let our dedicated family law team help with protecting the security of your children. Contact us today for a consultation.