blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

10 Things To Do Before You File For Divorce and Realities of the Divorce Process

10 Things To Do Before You File For Divorce and Realities of the Divorce Process

Here are ten actions to take if you believe that your marriage is beyond repair and that divorce is inevitable.

Speak with a lawyer.

Find out what your legal obligations and rights are. Consider the scenario where you decide to relocate to your parents’ home with the kids while you wait for the divorce to be finalized. Moving in with your parents, even for a short time, could be a grave legal error.

Copies of documents.

Make copies of everything you can find by going through household files, including tax returns, bank statements, check registers, investment statements, retirement account statements, employee benefits manuals, life insurance policies, mortgage papers, financial statements, credit card statements, wills, Social Security statements, car titles, etc. It’s crucial to learn as much as you can about the company’s finances if your spouse runs a self-employed business. If you have financial information on your home computer, make copies of it.

List the belongings in the home and in the family.

The major possessions should be listed, including furniture, jewelry, art, appliances, and cars. Don’t forget to search your home’s storage spaces and your safe deposit box for valuables.

(Knowing all of the marital assets is crucial when it comes to dividing the property.)

Understand the household budget and costs.

Write down each monthly expense for utilities, a mortgage, and other living expenses as you go through your check register for the previous year, if you can. Keep track of the money you spend every day so you can figure out your monthly cash outlays as well.

Choose a family debt management strategy.

Determine the family debt, if any, and think about settling it before filing for divorce. One of the most challenging issues to settle during a divorce is how to divide the marital debt. When assessing debt, consider whether any of it was racked up by one spouse or the other before the wedding. The spouse who incurred it would be responsible for paying off this “non-marital debt,” which belongs to them.

Find out the exact salary of your spouse.

If your spouse receives a regular paycheck, it is simple to check a pay stub; however, if your spouse is self-employed, owns a business, or receives any portion of income in cash, you should try to keep track of the money coming in over the course of several months.

Analyze your earning potential in a realistic manner.

Perhaps you have been focusing solely on raising children while you have been out of the workforce for a while. Analyze your current employability and whether pursuing more education before getting divorced would be advantageous for you in the long run.

Look at your credit report.

If you don’t already have credit cards in your name, apply for them right away, use them, and build your credit. If you have a bad credit history, try to pay your creditors now so that you can raise your credit score before the divorce.

Make your own “nest egg” by yourself.

You ought to have access to your own money at all times. You will be responsible for paying bills if your spouse leaves and stops doing so until temporary support orders can be put in place. You will require funds for a retainer if you plan to initiate the divorce. Start putting money aside now, and when you have a sizeable nest egg of your own, consider starting divorce proceedings.

Prioritize spending time with your children.

Keep your kids’ schedules as regular as you can throughout the divorce process. If you and your partner can’t be with the kids together without fighting, schedule separate times for you both to be with them. Participate in your children’s school, sports, and extracurricular activities. Don’t speak poorly of your spouse in front of your kids. Put your kids first in everything you do.

The Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group handle complex divorce cases throughout Arizona, California, Nevada and New York. Their skilled litigation team provides no-nonsense legal counsel for family law cases at the highest level possible.

The law team at Canterbury thoroughly prepares clients while understanding that all cases have unique circumstances and laws vary by state and local jurisdiction. The Scottsdale divorce attorneys also prepare clients for the constant surprises that inevitably arise during the divorce process:

Length of divorce – Depending on your unique situation, divorce can take few months to well over a year, leaving issues that still need to be settled. The vast majority of matters resolve within one calendar year. More complex dissolutions with large asset bases and children, can take up to two years. At Canterbury Law Group, we help clients work out many divorce issues before entering court in attempt to eliminate or reduce long cases. The longer the case, the more expensive it is for both sides.

Court TV is not reality – Court TV may have constructed an unrealistic image of what court is like for the majority of divorce cases. In fact, most cases reach a settlement before needing to see a judge, or if you see a judge, it might only be for a few preliminary hearings and no trial if you elect to settle later.

Rescheduling is common – Expect your court dates to be rescheduled for other cases that take priority in your jurisdiction, such as criminal trials. You cannot insist upon a court date just because the court issued it. Rather, be prepared for rescheduling. Change is constant in a divorce proceeding.

Patience is needed – In most courthouses, your case will not be the only case scheduled for a hearing. Be prepared to sit and wait for other cases to be heard before yours. However, you must always be on time in the event the court is on time.

Everyone has an opinion – When you are going through a divorce, you will realize that everyone has an opinion. Ignore most of them because each case is unique, and no one can give you divorce advice better than your divorce attorney. Don’t rely on what you ‘hear’ or ‘read’ on the internet. Secure top legal counsel and let them steer you successfully to the resolution of your case so you can move on with your life. For more on divorce legal services, go to www.canterburylawgroup.com or call 480-744-7711.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Does it Matter Who Files for Divorce First?

It’s a strategic decision whether to file for divorce before your spouse does, and one you might be able to avoid if you can file an uncontested divorce.
Is it important who files for divorce first when it’s time to end your marriage? It may be able to: When it comes to deciding some issues in a divorce, the non-moving spouse (the spouse who does not file for divorce) may be at a disadvantage.

Why Is It Important to File for Divorce First?

One (or both—more on joint filing later) spouse must file a divorce petition with the court to begin the divorce process. The petitioner is typically referred to as the “petitioner,” while the non-filing spouse is referred to as the “respondent.”

If you know there’s no way to reconcile, filing first may provide you with some strategic advantages, such as:

The location of the court is your choice. The petitioner gets to choose the jurisdiction (place) for the divorce procedures as long as the petitioner follows state and municipal regulations about where a divorce can be filed. Many states have a residence requirement in place to prevent either spouse from filing for divorce in a state or county that favors one spouse over the other. In Michigan, for example, the filing spouse must have lived in the state for at least 180 days and in the filing county for at least 10 days before the court will consider the divorce petition. (Michigan Comp. Laws, Section 552.9 (2021)) If your spouse files first and lives 100 miles away, you’ll have to travel to their courtroom for any divorce-related matters, which will take more time and money than if you filed first in the court closest to you.

Control over the divorce’s progress. The spouse who files for divorce usually has a little more say in how quickly the divorce proceeds. By filing first, you’ve started the process at your leisure, while your husband is forced to answer according to the court’s schedule. You’ll then have time to plot your next move while your spouse is working on a response.

The opportunity to make a good first impression. The petitioner’s statement concerning the grounds (reasons) for the divorce is included in the original divorce filing. The claims in the petition will be the court’s first exposure to information about the case—and if you file first, it’s up to your spouse to change the court’s first impression.

The first chance to place a temporary order. Before notifying the other spouse of the initial divorce petition, the spouse who files first might seek the court for temporary orders. These orders may place restrictions on what each spouse can do with marital finances or property, provide protection for one spouse against the other, award temporary child custody, or provide temporary child or spousal support. Non-filing spouses will have the opportunity to respond to any requests for orders, but they must do so before or at the same time as their petition response. Non-filing spouses can’t get their own temporary orders until they’ve responded to the petition.

Furthermore, the petitioner will be the first spouse to submit their case at trial in many courts. Being the first to speak at a trial isn’t always advantageous: it allows the opposing side to hear your arguments and prepare a rebuttal.

Should I Hire a Lawyer?

In some circumstances, both spouses can come together and make difficult divorce-related decisions without the assistance of an attorney or going to court. There’s no need to hire an attorney if you know you won’t be able to work things out with your husband. However, you may wish to employ an attorney to assist you in negotiating with your spouse or his or her counsel.

Even if you opt to handle your divorce on your own, you can still seek legal advice. An attorney can assist you evaluate if filing first would be advantageous in your instance during a consultation.

Is it always the case that one spouse files first?

Depending on your state’s rules, you may be able to file a “joint” divorce petition (also known as an uncontested or collaborative divorce in some jurisdictions), which implies that both spouses agree to the divorce as well as all divorce-related matters. The couple drafts a divorce settlement agreement and attaches it to their petition. In many states, an uncontested divorce is more efficient than a contested divorce, saving time, money, and relationships.

The following details must be included in your divorce settlement agreement:

  • the reason for the divorce (grounds)
  • each spouse’s portion of the filing fees at the court
  • how you’ll split up your marriage assets and debts
  • whether one spouse will pay spousal support, and if so, how much and for how long

Which spouse will be the primary caregiver for any young children (custodial parent)?

  • a timetable for the non-custodial parent’s parenting time or visitation, and
  • the amount of child support to be paid by the non-custodial parent

In most states, the court will approve a divorce if both spouses agree to all of the terms in writing. When minor children are involved, the court may ask the judge to carefully scrutinize the terms before approving them. Nonetheless, the court will allow the custody and support arrangements as long as they are in the best interests of the children.

Mediation Can Assist You in Filing a No-Fault Divorce

Divorce mediation is one option to avoid the headache of deciding whether or not to file for divorce before your spouse. You and your spouse meet with a neutral professional mediator to resolve the issues in your divorce, either in person or online. You will have a written settlement agreement to present to the court at the conclusion of a successful divorce mediation, and you will be able to proceed with an uncontested divorce.

If either spouse disagrees with any of the divorce terms, the case becomes contested, and the pair must follow the state’s contested divorce procedures.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Arizona Breastfeeding Laws & Visitation Rights Breastfed Babies

blank

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.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

5 New Year’s Resolutions for a Happier Marriage

A new year means a fresh start for many. It’s a chance to begin something new, whether or not you have been working at it for years before.

A new year can be just what some couples need, especially if the word divorce has come up in the past. There are New Year’s resolutions you can make that focus on you and your spouse to work at your marriage and fix any issues that have been bothering you.

Even after working at your resolution to help your marriage and it’s still not working, there is always your divorce lawyer in Scottsdale to help you evaluate your next path. Before that though, try some of the following New Year’s resolutions for couples who want to work at a happier marriage.

Have More Date Nights

A healthy marriage is one in which the couple spends time together with just the two of them. Regular date nights are a way to ensure that you have that quality time.

Date night could be anything from sending the kids off on a sleepover and having a movie night at home, to going away for the weekend to your favorite destination. Either way, the purpose is to spend alone time with your spouse.

Turn the Phone Off

Smartphones can quickly become an issue in a relationship. If you spend more time browsing your phone than you do talking with your partner, there’s a good chance an issue will come up, if it hasn’t already.

Have times during which you turn your phone off so that your attention is on your spouse and family. Don’t think that you can multitask and talk with your spouse while on your phone. It just doesn’t work that way.  The phone will alienate your spouse and your children.  Put it down for the night and focus on your spouse and kids.

Show How Much You Care

Sometimes, all a marriage needs to keep it on track is for the partners to show each other that they still care. It’s easy to forget that we still need that attention and affection after many years of marriage. We may know that our spouse loves us, but if they don’t ever say it and show that they do, that confidence can quickly fade away.  We’re all vulnerable and need affirmations of love and respect from our spouse.

Work on Communication

Communication is key in any relationship, especially in a marriage. Many fights could be avoided if the couple would properly communicate with each other.  Good communication should include when things are negative as well as when they are good. Your partner should be able to sit down and talk through any problems he or she may have, and vice versa.

Grow Your Passion

The longer you’re together, the easier it is to let the passion between the two of you fade away. Not only that, many start to lose their passion for their everyday activities in general. When that passion fades, it’s hard to be happy.  The average healthy couple who does not divorce is romantically together only 11 times a year! That is not a lot for most couples, but consider making a mutual goal to be together at least once a month to stay the course and make the marriage last for 20, 30 or 40 years or more.

Make 2019 a year that you and your partner grow your passion between the two of you, and with life. Remember why it is that you are with each other and focus on that. Take trips that will boost your passion and reignite that connection all over again. Fuel your passion for your own life by getting back into the things that you love.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Leading Reasons for Divorce in New Marriages

If you’re in a marriage that’s less than three years old, you’ll likely experience any of the following signs that, of course, may not seem like such a big deal, to begin with.  Over time, these signs can emerge to more serious family issues.  Pay attention.

During the onset of a marriage, you may still be infatuated with each other or may be too deeply in emotional love to see any signs of things going south. Having said that, divorce attorneys in Scottsdale recommend paying attention to the following red flags in order to avoid a potentially catastrophic situation.

You Think You’re Too Good

While it may seem like a funny thought that you think you’re too good for your spouse, dissatisfaction over time will lead you to make mistakes that you may end up regretting. Take another look at your spouse’s great qualities instead of only focusing on the negative.

You Feel Constrained

Do you feel like your marriage is holding you back from achieving your potential? If you feel like you’re being tied down, chances are you’ll seek out opportunities to break out of the cage when your spouse’s back is turned.

Lack of Communication

Communication isn’t just about speaking with one another. Communication is also about understanding each other clearly and learning more about what makes each person tick. Take some time to understand the difference between talking and truly communicating.

Expectations From Each Other

For many people, marriage is the next step in the great cycle of life. Having said that, this is not the case for everyone. When two individuals get married, they have expectations from each other and the relationship. Sometimes, these expectations aren’t mutual and end up distancing two people. This goes back to our previous point about the utmost importance of communication.

Difference in Cultural Backgrounds

Differences in family members, friends, and religious beliefs may seem cute at first. However, all it takes is a few months of suppressed ideas and opposing thoughts to create real problems in a marriage.

Trust

Think about whether or not you really trust your spouse. If you find their behavior suspicious, that could be a serious red flag. Trust is an integral part of any marriage. If you can’t trust your spouse, your marriage will not survive in the long haul.

Incompatible Personalities

Both of you and your spouse may be two perfect individuals who are just entirely imperfect for each other. If you have nothing in common, it may be a better option to date other people and cut your losses.  You only can get one journey on this planet, make the best of it while you’re still healthy, attractive and have other options.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Grandparent Rights in Arizona

Grandparents form an important part of extended families. In some families, grandparents are like another set of parents to children. Most grandparents care deeply for their grandchildren. If a child’s parents or guardians are failing in their duties, the grandparents might wish to step in and help.

In Arizona, grandparents can legally seek custody of grandchildren or visitation rights under the statutes A.R.S § 25-409. A grandparent must go to family court for these rights, and these petitions are carefully reviewed by a judge. The court decision will be based on what’s legally called the “best interests of the child.” Therefore, grandparents who want legal custody, visitation rights, or seek to adopt a grandchild should consult with Family Law help in Scottsdale.

How Can Grandparents Get Visitation Rights?

If a child’s parents deny the grandparents visitation rights under any circumstance, the grandparents can file a petition in court in Arizona. The court will consider the petition if the following conditions are true:

  • The child’s parents were never married.
  • The grandparent is the parent of a deceased or missing (for at least 3 months) parent of a child.
  • The petitioning grandparent is the parent of a non-custodial parent of a child, where the child’s parents are divorced and have been for at least three months.

If the above conditions are not met, it’s unlikely the court will consider the petition. Exceptions may be granted in the case of extraordinary circumstances, such as abuse. These considerations fall under the child’s best interests category.

Eligibility of the Grandparent

Grandparents petitioning for custody are required to meet certain eligibility criteria as set by Arizona law. The requirements go as follows:

  • The child’s legal parents should be deceased, in the process of getting divorced or legally separated, or were never married
  • For the grandparent to get custody of a child, then remaining in the parent’s custody must be detrimental to the child’s well-being.
  • The grandparent must be able to be “in loco parentis” to the child, meaning that the grandparents will provide the same care and support as a parent.
  • The custody of the child should not have been decided in the previous year (exceptions are granted in cases where the child could be harmed).

If the above eligibility requirements are not met, then the petition will be dismissed.

How Does an Arizonian Court Determine the ‘Best Interests of the Child’?

Under Arizona law, a court must consider “all relevant factors” when determining the best interests of the child. In family law, there are actually five statutory factors that courts always consider when approving a petition. Here are those factors as follows:

  • The relationship the grandparent has with the child in historical terms
  • The reason that the grandparent is petitioning for visitation rights
  • Why the parents may have denied the grandparent visitation rights
  • The impact of visitation on the child’s life or activities if the court grants the grandparent visitation rights, depending on the amount of visitation the petitioner seeks
  • If a parent, or both, are deceased, the benefit grandparent’s visitation will have on other extended members of the family

When Can Grandparents Petition for Visitation Rights

Grandparents can go to the family court directly for visitation rights. If the parents are getting a divorce or are in the middle of a custody battle, then a grandparent can sometimes file the petition as part of the divorce or custody proceedings. Consult with a lawyer for more specifics on when to file.

Grandparents can also formally adopt a child, but these types of petitions are subject to a different set of laws. Your family lawyer will be able to assist you in explaining these laws.

Grandparent Rights in Arizona

Grandparents form an important part of extended families. In some families, grandparents are like another set of parents to children. Most grandparents care deeply for their grandchildren. If a child’s parents or guardians are failing in their duties, the grandparents might wish to step in and help.

In Arizona, grandparents can legally seek custody of grandchildren or visitation rights under the statutes A.R.S § 25-409. A grandparent must go to family court for these rights, and these petitions are carefully reviewed by a judge. The court decision will be based on what’s legally called the “best interests of the child.” Therefore, grandparents who want legal custody, visitation rights, or seek to adopt a grandchild should consult with Family Law help in Scottsdale.

How Can Grandparents Get Visitation Rights?

If a child’s parents deny the grandparents visitation rights under any circumstance, the grandparents can file a petition in court in Arizona. The court will consider the petition if the following conditions are true:

  • The child’s parents were never married.
  • The grandparent is the parent of a deceased or missing (for at least 3 months) parent of a child.
  • The petitioning grandparent is the parent of a non-custodial parent of a child, where the child’s parents are divorced, and have been for at least three months.

If the above conditions are not met, it’s unlikely the court will consider the petition. Exceptions may be granted in the case of extraordinary circumstances, such as abuse. These considerations fall under the child’s best interests category.

Eligibility of the Grandparent

Grandparents petitioning for custody are required to meet certain eligibility criteria as set by Arizona law. The requirements go as follows:

  • The child’s legal parents should be deceased, in the process of getting divorced or legally separated, or were never married
  • For the grandparent to get custody of a child, then remaining in the parent’s custody must be detrimental to the child’s well-being.
  • The grandparent must be able to be “in loco parentis” to the child, meaning that the grandparents will provide the same care and support as a parent.
  • The custody of the child should not have been decided in the previous year (exceptions are granted in cases where the child could be harmed).

If the above eligibility requirements are not met, then the petition will be dismissed.

How Does an Arizonian Court Determine the ‘Best Interests of the Child’?

Under Arizona law, a court must consider “all relevant factors” when determining the best interests of the child. In family law, there are actually five statutory factors that courts always consider when approving a petition. Here are those factors as follows:

  • The relationship the grandparent has with the child in historical terms
  • The reason that the grandparent is petitioning for visitation rights
  • Why the parents may have denied the grandparent visitation rights
  • The impact of visitation on the child’s life or activities if the court grants the grandparent visitation rights, depending on the amount of visitation the petitioner seeks
  • If a parent, or both, are deceased, the benefit grandparent’s visitation will have on other extended members of the family

When Can Grandparents Petition for Visitation Rights

Grandparents can go to the family court directly for visitation rights. If the parents are getting a divorce or are in the middle of a custody battle, then a grandparent can sometimes file the petition as part of the divorce or custody proceedings. Consult with a lawyer for more specifics on when to file.

Grandparents can also formally adopt a child, but these types of petitions are subject to a different set of laws. Your family lawyer will be able to assist you in explaining these laws.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Common Misconceptions about Divorce in Arizona

We all have our own ideas about divorce. When it comes to the legal aspects of divorce, most people have significant misunderstandings. The legal process to divorce in Arizona is straightforward, but cases that go before a judge can become really complicated. If you are considering a divorce, it’s very important to realistically understand the legal process and consequences. Here is a list of common misconceptions about divorce most Arizonians have:

Does Filing a Court Petition Equal a Divorce?

When you file for a divorce in a court, you are required to file a petition. Some people believe this petition to be equal to a legal divorce. It is not. You are legally divorced when a judge says so and issues a ruling which recognizes the formal Date of Separation. From that day on, your civil status will be officially divorced and single, but not a day before. This date is very important because your income and property ownership (that you retain after the proceedings) only become non-marital property after this date is set by the court.

Can Child Custody be Arranged According to a Prenup?

This is an absolutely inaccurate idea. Prenups can set provisions for things like asset division in a divorce. However, child custody is solely up to a family court to decide. Child custody is largely a matter of public policy that ensures the well-being of a child. That requires judicial assessment of a child’s current living situation. Therefore, having provisions for child custody is highly improper in a prenup agreement. It could possibly render the whole agreement void. To make sure your prenup agreement has no chance of being voided by a court, consult with a divorce attorney in Scottsdale.

Can A Spouse be Ordered to Pay My Attorney’s Fees?

In Arizona, the laws allow for a divorce court to order one spouse to pay the legal fees of the other in whole or part. However, this is very much subject to a judge’s independent review. The aim of these laws is to eliminate any income disparity between the spouses from hindering access to similar legal representation (going to court on “a level playing field” so to speak). However, the judge will see how “reasonable” both parties are. In other words, your spouse will be ordered to pay your legal fees if only the request is evaluated as reasonable and that your positions are in fact reasonable as presented in court.

Is Alimony is Forever in Arizona?

Courts in Arizona typically set alimony for a specific period of time, such as until a child comes of age. The purpose of alimony is to provisionally support a spouse in need. But alimony is not financial life support. If the receiving spouse dies, remarries or cohabits with another, then alimony can be terminated.   Generally speaking, the longer the duration of the underlying marriage, the longer the potential duration of payout on spousal maintenance.

Creditors will Only Go After the Spouse for Debts He or She Agrees to Pay Off

Arizona is a “community property” state. That means that any debts incurred during a marriage become the presumptive responsibility of both spouses. The actual person who signed the loan agreement may not always matter. This status applies even after a divorce. Your spouse could agree to pay off a credit card loan or the home equity line of credit in the divorce agreement, but you won’t be completely off the hook. If the spouse fails to pay, the third party creditors could come after you. Any agreement in a divorce is between you and the spouse, not the creditor.

Hopefully, now you are a bit more enlightened about what getting a divorce means in Arizona.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce Tips from Attorneys

Getting a divorce can be a messy affair, financially and emotionally speaking. Contested divorces can be particularly hard on both parties, as experienced divorce attorneys will quickly point out. Divorce has a way of bringing out the worst in even the nicest people. While emotions can play a role, it’s critical to maintain clear emotions when dividing assets in a divorce and reaching a custody agreement if there are any children. Here are several tips for Arizona divorcing couples from divorce lawyers who have seen it all:

Keep Your Feelings out of the dispute

Divorce can be a very emotional affair, no matter how hardened one tries to be during the process. It’s very important to keep personal feelings out of it when dividing assets and negotiating during divorce proceedings. Emotions can unnecessarily complicate the process. You must aim to get the best out of divorce proceedings to ensure your long-term well-being. Getting caught up in petty fights in the moment will not go well for either party.  Let your lawyer do their job, stand back and watch, and ideally everything will be handled.

Pick Your Battles Wisely

According to a divorce lawyers in Scottsdale, some people pay attorneys a lot of money to recover assets that do not matter. For example, it makes no financial sense to get your divorce attorney to send a letter to retrieve a $100 piece of furniture from the ex, especially when attorney letters can cost as much as $500. Divorce can be costly. So wise petitioners pick battles that are worth spending money to win.

Assets in One Spouse’s Name Can be Divided

In divorces, basically everything can be divided between the spouses. This includes assets that are specifically under either spouse’s name. Debt, extra income, royalties, a lottery win—all of these and much more can be divided in divorce proceedings. Divorce attorneys warn clients not to assume that assets under one’s own name are not up for grabs. The only protection against dividing assets is a prenup or a postnup agreement. But these agreements should be handled early on in the marriage.   Even if you signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it could be deemed void by the court depending on the circumstances during which you signed such paperwork. Consult an experienced lawyer to determine your rights. 

Be Careful of Generous Income Reporting Before Divorce

It’s common for people to overstate incomes in credit card or loan applications. A spouse that discovers such generous disclosures of income can present these documents in court in a divorce case. Under those circumstances, the court could assume that you make as much money as you boasted in your loan application under penalty of perjury in a prior loan application, warns a divorce attorney in Scottsdale. On the other hand, if you find similar overstatements by your spouse, you can be the one to use them in court against them.

Take Time to Gather Evidence for the Divorce

Divorce lawyers advise clients not to walk out the door before proceedings begin, unless an abusive situation is present. It’s highly advantageous to stay behind and gather evidence for the divorce, such as photographing assets, property and gathering documents. Make copies of account statements of the spouse as well to present your case with solid evidence once the proceedings begin.

Divorcing is not easy on anyone. But following the above suggestions will help you present the best case in court.  Hiring a seasoned legal professional to guide you through this complex process is self-evident.

blank
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.

blank
Written by Canterbury Law Group

Preparing for Divorce in the New Year

The Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group have represented hundreds of clients in Scottsdale divorce cases.  Although every case is unique, there are certain steps that every potential divorcee should take:

  • Do not try to hurt your soon-to-be ex –   Do not let your emptions get the best of you.  Especially if you and your spouse have children together, you need to try to take the higher road and attempt to part on decent terms. The court may frown upon any type of negativity or drastic misconduct against the other spouse. 
  • Confidently know your joint finances – It is estimated that 40% of divorce proceedings are about money. Be well informed in advance about your shared accounts.  Specifically, you should know all online passwords to bank accounts, which accounts have automatic payments and where money is invested, including the names of all accounts, the account numbers and the investment advisors.  Many times one spouse knows everything and the other spouse knows nothing about finances.  The law provides that both spouses be provided 100% financial disclosures while the divorce is pending. 
  • Find a trusted legal team – A lawyer who is knowledgeable in family law in your state can likely get you a better settlement because they understand the state-law nuances and understand local judges’ tendencies and opposing lawyers. If you and your spouse have complicated family assets, you likely need a legal team with additional expertise.  Take into consideration every possible avenue and plan accordingly.
  • Know your future living expenses – Your future financial well-being should be your top priority.  Thoroughly understand your current cost of living before the divorce proceedings start, so you can ask for a fair amount in the divorce settlement.
  • Also remember that anything written online about an ex-spouse will exist forever—when the children are old enough to read.  Although you may be hurt now, you don’t want to hurt your children even more in the future.  Texts and emails can also be used against you at trial.  Think twice before hitting ‘send’ on that nasty message to your spouse. 

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

1 2 3