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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Tips if Divorce Is Your Resolution in the New Year

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

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

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

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

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Technology Used in Shared Custody

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

3 Reasons to Skip Mediation in Your Divorce

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

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

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

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

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you or a friend are contemplating divorce or going through a divorce case now, consider our lawyers and staff as your top resource to help you garner your best results in such a challenging life transition. Email the firm today at [email protected] or call 480-744-7711 for a complimentary consultation.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Scottsdale Divorce Lawyers Look at Jolie – Pitt Divorce

Recently, the news of Angelina Jolie filing for divorce from Brad Pitt has made headlines around the globe. Together for twelve years and married for two years, this Hollywood couple had become known for their extra-large brood of children, international travels, worldwide philanthropy and being “Brangelina.”

Although the Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group have not worked with the couple, we can acknowledge some important factors in this upcoming divorce.

Community Property – Most states, except those listed as community property states, use the “common law” system of property ownership. In these states, it’s usually easy to tell which spouse owns what. If only your name is on the deed, registration document, or other title paper, it’s yours. If you live in a community property state, including both Arizona and California, the rules are more complicated. Generally, in community property states, money earned by either spouse during the marriage and all property bought with those earnings are considered community property that is owned equally by husband and wife. Therefore, both starlets may have to divide all assets they’ve acquired since being married.

Child Custody – When initially filing for divorce, Jolie asked for physical custody of the couple’s six children and asked that the judge give Pitt visitation. News sources have since reported that Jolie was granted full physical custody of the couple’s children. Pitt will reportedly have visitation rights, the first of which will be monitored by a therapist who then has the authority to allow or deny unmonitored visits. In addition, Pitt will have to submit to random drug and alcohol testing, as Jolie reportedly accused him of having a drinking problem. No matter what your divorce situation is, the transition can be exceptionally difficult on the children. It’s always suggested to try to compromise out of court to avoid tolling legislation with your children.

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Find a Family Law Attorney in Scottsdale

Family law is a complex legal area requiring measured and detailed strategy and execution, and the courtroom is ultimately where many significant and life changing decisions are made. The dedicated Scottsdale family attorneys at Canterbury Law Group will ensure thorough preparation for every public hearing appearance all the way through trial. Your lawyer, like you, will know the facts, the law and position you to achieve the highest degree of success the law allows.
If you are considering hiring a family law attorney in Scottsdale, Canterbury Law Group has tips for you:

  • Identify the potential need for as attorney early on – If you think a legal battle may be on the horizon, it is worth your time to meet with a Scottsdale lawyer so that you are familiar with one that you like before you are in a high-pressure situation. Otherwise, your selection may be driven by who has the time to meet with you rather than who the best fit is.
  • Talk to trusted sources – There is no substitute for word of mouth when it comes to hiring an attorney. Financial advisors, therapists, attorneys practicing in other areas and CPAs usually know good family attorneys, as do people who have been divorced in the last couple of years. Ironically, some recent divorcees may refer you to their former spouse’s attorney because they were more effective.
  • Appoint a seasoned litigator – Attorneys that focus highly in family law are usually best situated to assess your case properly because they know the judges’ patterns and nuances and the other attorneys and have the most relevant knowledge and exper, they are familiar opposing the other lawyers in the industry and can handle your case efficiently. They also are more up-to-date on changes and trends in the law.
  • Ask questions of the attorney – At your initial consultation, bring a list of questions. A good attorney will appreciate your thoroughness. Suggested questions to ask include:
    • How long have you practiced family law?
    • What is your approach to a new case?
    • What percentage of cases do you settle?
    • What is your approach to settling a case?
    • What retainer do you require up front? Although the retainer should be within your price range, keep in mind that cheaper is not always better.
    • Is any unused portion of the retainer refundable?
    • Who in your firm will work on my case and how much will I pay for their time? Ask to be introduced to others who will work on your case.
    • How often will I receive an accounting of my retainer? The answer should be at least once a month.

Hiring a qualified Scottsdale family attorney can be critical to your future. Call the lawyers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule you consultation. www.canterburylawgroup.com

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Back to School Tips for Divorced Parents

Back to school season can be quite stressful for children, especially if their parents got divorced over the summer. In an effort to ease your child’s transition back to school, we have tips that can promote a healthy shift. At Canterbury Law Group, our legal team works diligently to ensure children are the top priority in every divorce case.

  • 1. Split costs of back to school necessities – From backpacks and lunch boxes to calculators and uniforms, sending your kids back to school can quickly become an expensive event. When possible, split the costs with your ex. Keep your receipts.
  • 2. Meet the teacher together – Attend the new teacher meeting together. Let him/her that your child’s family is separated and relay the custody arrangements. Be sure to keep the line of communication open with your child’s teacher throughout the school year.
  • 3. Share contact information – Both parents should provide their contact details to the school. It’s also great to have formal correspondence from the school sent to both parents.
  • 4. Make the transition as easy as possible – See this as the time to focus on your child rather than your divorce. From split custody time to financial adjustments, try to move forward in a positive way.
  • 5. Discuss school routines – It is important that ex-spouses keep the lines of communication open. It is also important to discuss any changes to schedules with your ex and not in front of the children.
  • 6. Listen to your child – What your child has to say is very important, so ask questions that relates to their new life. How will your child explain the divorce to classmates and teachers? Let your children know it is normal and help him or her to decide ahead of time what they will say to others.

Divorce can be one of the most challenging times of your life. If divorce has become a reality for you, hiring a qualified divorce lawyer can be critical to your future. Call the Scottsdale divorce layers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule you consultation. 480-744-7711.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Obtain a Divorce When Your Spouse Won’t Agree

The Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group have represented hundreds of clients in Scottsdale divorce cases. Although every case is unique, often we see one spouse refusing divorce. No one can stop you from getting a divorce if you want one, with the possible exception of the court. If you don’t follow proper legal procedure, a judge can deny your divorce, forcing you to start over. However, your spouse can’t stop you, but she or he can complicate the process.

Here are steps in getting a divorce, even when your spouse will not agree:

  • 1. Any reason is sufficient to file for divorce. Contrary to popular belief, neither spouse needs an reason or grounds for seeking to terminate the marriage. As a “no fault” state, Arizona courts and judges are actually prohibited from inquiring into the romantic issues of either spouse during the trial or otherwise. Put another way, it does not matter how you got here, you have a legal right to divorce if and when you are ready.
  • 2. Research the rules for service of process in your state. Make sure you understand exactly what you have to do to ensure that your spouse legally receives a copy of your divorce petition after you file it. If you err, your spouse can say they were not properly served and block your divorce proceedings. You could still get a divorce, but you’d have to start the process all over again. Do it right the first time and have them served by a licensed process server.
  • 3. Wait out the period of time your spouse has to answer your divorce petition. If he/she files a response with the court, you’ll probably have to resolve your divorce by trial or mutual consent; some spouses won’t agree to a settlement if they don’t want the divorce in which case you are forced to trial and the judge makes all final decisions of equitable distribution.
  • 4. Prepare for a Default Judgment Hearing if your spouse does answer your divorce petition. Even assuming your spouse “no-shows” on the case, after a certain number of days have elapsed, and assuming you properly served your opponents, you can petition the Court in writing to procure a Default Judgment of Divorce wherein all items requested in your original petition and can and typically is granted by the Court assuming no defense or response is ever tendered by your opponent. In the end you’ll be divorced and he or she will have never set foot in a court of law.

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

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Trends Between Age and Divorce Rate

Divorce rates for couples who marry in their teens and after their early 30s are on the rise, while couples who marry in their late 20s and early 30s have the greatest chance of a successful marriage, according to a recent study by a University of Utah professor.

The report, published on for the Institute for Family Studies, showed people who marry at 25 are more than 50 percent less likely to get a divorce than people who wed at age 20. And until age 32, each additional year of age at marriage reduces the odds of divorce by 11 percent. After age 32, the odds of divorce increase by 5 percent each year.

This data has been a considerable surprise and appears to be something that’s just developed over the last 20 years. The data leaves little indication as to why divorce rates are changing for people who marry in their mid-30s or later. The trend also remains constant across a variety of other factors, including gender, race, education, religious participation, sexual history and the size of the metropolitan area they live in.

  • In 1995, the five-year divorce rate for newlyweds younger than 20 was 29 percent, with a rapid decline to 19 percent for couples ages 20 through 24. Divorce rates continued to shrink the older couples were when they got married, with couples ages 35 and older having a divorce rate of 14 percent.
  • An analysis of data from 2006 through 2010, however, showed a 32 percent divorce rate for couples younger than 20. That rate went down to 14 percent for 30- to 34-year-olds, but increased by 5 percent for couples older than 35, creating an upward trend from previous years.
  • In 2011, the median marriage age for men was 29 — the highest in decades — and 27 for women — the highest it’s ever been, according to the report.

No matter what your age, going through a divorce can be one of the most challenging times of your life. If divorce has become a reality for you, hiring a qualified divorce lawyer can be critical to your future. Call the Scottsdale divorce layers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule you consultation. 480-744-7711 or www.canterburylawgroup.com

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

4 American Trends that Affect Divorce

The divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have extensive industry experience and are authorities on the evolving trends in the divorce area. Similar to nearly everything in life and the law, divorce has changed with the times and will continue to do so.

Contrary to popular belief; the divorce rate in the United States is declining. After peaking in 1980 with 22.6 divorces per 1,000 married women, aged 15 and older in the U.S., the rate has been going down ever since. In 2009, there were 16.9 divorces per 1,000 married women. However, what’s really happening is that there are fewer marriages overall. Fewer marriages translate into fewer opportunities to get divorced—and that equals declining divorce rates.

Here are four trends in society that are affecting divorce rates:

1. The surge in cohabitation ended. The number of cohabiting couples grew from 400,000 in 1960 to 3.8 million in 2000. But since then, rates of cohabitation have leveled off. About 12 to 14 percent of never-married adults lived together with a partner in 2008-2010, essentially unchanged since 2000.

2. People are delaying marriage longer than ever before. The percentage of women aged 20 to 24 who have ever married declined from 31 percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2008-2010. For men, the percentage dropped from 21 to 11 percent.

3. Americans are increasingly jumping on the “marriage-go-round.” More Americans are going from marriage to divorce to remarriage, sometimes multiple times. Among currently married men, those who are remarried increased from 17 percent in 1980 to 25 percent in 2008-2010. The changes for women are similar.

4. Who are most likely to have “traditional” families in America? Immigrants. Regardless of education and race or ethnicity, immigrants tend to be married at a higher rate, are less likely to cohabit (except for Hispanics), and divorce and remarry at a lower percentage when compared with their U.S.-born counterparts.

If you’re contemplating divorce, hiring a great divorce layer can be critical to your future. Call the Scottsdale divorce layers at Canterbury Law Group today to schedule you consultation. 480-744-7711.

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