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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Growing Trend of Prenups in 2017

The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group suggest soon-to-be married couples hire counsel and obtain a prenuptial agreement before saying “I Do.” Prenups are actually very common amongst all ages and classes of Americans, and they are set to increase in popularity even more through 2017.

Prenuptial agreements are a smart investment as they can provide important advantages for both spouses. Thanks partially to the drama in Hollywood, many people think negatively when they hear the term “prenuptial agreement.” However, this is not always an accurate portrayal. In fact, prenups are used by both parties in a marriage to plan for the future and arrange things legally that can be mutually beneficial to both spouses. Whether you have a business, inheritance or children to protect, a prenup is the best bet.

If you may be interested in getting a prenup, here are expert tips from our law team:

Do not wait until the last minute – Begin the prenuptial agreement process six months to one year before your actual wedding date to ensure that both parties have ample time to review it and to retain separate legal counsel. Last-minute contracts are much harder to enforce later. It may also make your soon-to-be spouse nervous if you wait too long to discuss these options.

Do not let your emotions lead. The emotions of falling in love can alter reality, so be sure to work with trusted legal advisers on the agreement. You must protect yourself and your future from possible hardships.

Make your prenuptial agreement realistic and legal. The goal is to have a contract that is enforceable and provide each spouse with an understanding of what they will get if the marriage ends. A good legal team will help you understand all aspects and options.

Research your state’s law regarding marriage and property. Marriage property laws are different from state to state. Canterbury Law Group can help you understand the laws in Arizona, Nevada and California for prenuptial agreements.

If you need prenuptial agreement help in Scottsdale, Contact Canterbury Law Group today to schedule a consultation. We can help you secure your future.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Child Custody Questions in Scottsdale

There is typically an increase in divorces in the New Year. The Scottsdale divorce lawyers at Canterbury Law Group know that divorce often brings about child custody concerns. A popular question in Scottsdale divorce cases is whether or not a parent can take a child away from the other parent if there is currently no legal decision-making and parenting time orders in place.

In Arizona, a person can be charged with the crime of custodial interference even before there is a court order regarding legal decision-making and parenting time or if he/ she takes, entices (persuades) or withholds any child from the other parent and denies that parent access to any child. If the parent takes the child(ren) to another state, the penalties are even more severe.

However, there are some exceptions in the law, which involve a case where the parent has filed an emergency petition regarding custodial rights with the superior court and has received a hearing date from the court. The law is complicated and the risks are high, so the best option is to get the advice of a lawyer before leaving with your child if at all possible. You should never leave the state with your children without first speaking to a licensed attorney.

If a domestic violence victim is accused of wrongfully absconding with the children, he/she can seek to counter these allegations by:

  • He / she has begun the process to get an order of protection or files a petition for legal decision-making within a reasonable period of time and the order of protection or legal decision-making petition states his/her belief that the child was at risk if left with the other parent

The parent either:

  • has a good faith and reasonable belief that the taking, enticing or withholding of the child is necessary to protect the child from immediate danger; OR
  • the parent is a victim of domestic violence by the other parent and has a good faith and reasonable belief that the child will be in immediate danger if the child is left with the other parent.

However, it is still best to get legal advice before leaving to make sure that your planned behavior would not violate the law.

The family law attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have significant expertise in child custody issues and can capably guide you through the legal process. Your children are counting on you to make the right decision both before and after the divorce case has been filed. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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Written by Canterbury Law Group

Child Custody Tips for the New Year

During the New Year, many parents strive to improve child custody situations. As authorities in Scottsdale child custody, the lawyers at Canterbury Law Group can offer suggestions to help ensure your success:

Be Actively Involved – Make sure you are able to demonstrate that you are significantly involved in your child’s life by taking an active role in the care, development, and discipline of your child. If the child is young, participate in feeding, bathing, walking, reading, napping and medical care. As they grow older, take part in their educational development and extracurricular activities. Get to know your children’s teachers, doctors, counselors, and coaches. Your ability to demonstrate the extent and quality of time with your child prior to and post separation is critical. If the other parent is interfering with your involvement, document your attempts and the resistance that you are receiving.

Establish a Physical Custody Schedule – If you live separately from the other parent, it is critical that you negotiate a physical custody schedule that accurately represents your long-term goal of shared parenting, ideally before a custody petition or court complaint has been filed. If you currently have a visitation agreement, make every effort not to miss any of your scheduled time.

Promote Involvement of the other Parent – Show that you encourage the contact and active involvement between your child and the other parent. Unless clear evidence shows the child is in danger while in their care, the Family Court will frown upon your interference with the child’s relationship to their other parent.

Provide a Healthy, Stable Environment – Present a safe, nurturing and stable environment. Demonstrate that you provide a healthy environment by maintaining a steady, clutter free home with a bedroom for your child and a safe play space. Provide regular, nutritious meals and keep a record of your grocery receipts. Get those kids to bed early and to school on time.

If you need assistance with your custody or joint parenting plan, contact the Phoenix divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group! We can help ensure the New Year is enjoyable for all.

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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

Obtaining Alimony in Arizona

In Arizona, alimony is still awarded in divorce cases.  However, it is crucial to find a well versed Scottsdale divorce lawyer who can help you get what you deserve.

Alimony in Arizona is typically called “spousal maintenance.” When spouses separate, one person may be unable to pay for regular living expenses after the divorce is final, in which case a judge may require the higher earner—whether that is the husband or the wife—to assist the lower earner financially for at least some period of time.

To award spousal maintenance, a court must find that one spouse has the financial need and the other has the ability to pay after first paying their own personal expenses. An Arizona court may determine that need exists if one spouse:

  • does not have enough property—even after the marital distribution—to provide for their reasonable needs
  • contributed to the other spouse’s educational opportunities, or
  • is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment post-divorce.

The courts will typically award alimony at a rate which usually ranges from 16% to 33% of the higher earning spouse’s gross monthly income for a term of years which is usually between 1/4 to 1/2 the duration of marriage.  For example, if the husband has an income of $10,000 per month and the wife works part-time and earns $1,400 per month, the wife should expect $1,600 to $3,300 per month.  A 10-year marriage would equate to 2.5 years to 5 years of spousal maintenance.  Again, every case is fact specific and no result can be assured, but these ranges have been witnessed in many previous litigated cases.

Couples may enter into their own private agreements either waiving maintenance entirely or providing that neither will seek any changes to maintenance in court. Unless they make such an agreement or unless the final divorce order says otherwise, either spouse may request a court to modify or terminate periodic payments due to a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. Payments end when the term of an award expires, when the recipient spouse remarries or upon the death of the recipient spouse.

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

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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

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 (480-744-7711) to schedule your 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

Scottsdale Domestic Violence: Civil Law and Criminal Law

The attorneys at Canterbury Law Group help clients obtain orders of protection in Scottsdale. We also assist in determining if your domestic violence case is a civil or criminal case.
In domestic violence situations, there may be both civil and criminal matters occurring at the same time as a result of the same violent act. You may want to pursue both civil and criminal actions for maximum protection. The major differences have to do with who takes the case to court, the reason for the case, and the possible penalties.

  • Civil Law – In a civil domestic violence action, you are asking the court to protect you from the person abusing you. You are not asking the court to send that person to jail for committing a crime. However, if the abuser violates the civil court order, s/he may be sent to jail for the violation. In a civil case, you are the person bringing the case against the abuser and (in most circumstances), you have the right to withdraw (drop) the case if you want to. A Scottsdale order of protection is requested in civil court. Once granted, they usually are valid for a period of one year and they sometimes can be renewed by the person originally obtained the order of protection.
  • Criminal Law – In stark contrast, the criminal law system handles all cases that involve violations of criminal law such as harassment, assault, murder, theft, etc. As such, only the government, via the local prosecutor or grand jury can make the final decision to “bring charges” against the bad actor who has engaged in bad acts.
    A criminal complaint involves your abuser being charged with a crime. In a criminal case, the prosecutor (also called the district attorney) is the one who has control over whether the case against the abuser continues or not. It is the county/state who has brought the case against the abuser, not the victim. It is possible that if you do not want the case to continue (if you do not want to “press charges”), the prosecutor might decide to drop the criminal charges but this is not necessarily true. The prosecutor can also continue to prosecute the abuser against your wishes and can even issue a subpoena (a court order) to force you to testify at the trial live under oath.

It is essential to contact an attorney to evaluate and invoke your rights when dealing with domestic violence either when allegations are brought against you, or where you bring them against another. Contact our Scottsdale lawyers today to schedule your consultation. www.clgaz.com 480-744-7711.

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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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