Written by Canterbury Law Group

Arizona Breastfeeding Laws & Visitation Rights Breastfed Babies

If you are searching for Arizona breastfeeding laws or visitation rights for breasfed babies, this article might help. A recent news article about a judge ordering a breastfeeding mother to switch to baby formula to facilitate visitation for the father has reinvigorated an old debate. In a custody hearing in Maine, a father petitioned that his visitation rights were being violated because the mother is still breastfeeding the child. The estranged couple has a six-month-old baby that the mother is still exclusively nursing. The father wants overnight visitation rights on the weekends, but the mother refused on the account that she needs to breastfeed the baby.

The mother claimed that she couldn’t pump enough breast milk to arrange bottle feeding the baby when the infant is the father. So she claimed that the baby should be with her on the weekends. The magistrate court disagreed.  In the custody hearing, the judge sided with the father and said that keeping the baby for breastfeeding is “not a reason to prevent [the father’s] visitation,” and it could be “considered deliberate alienation” of the father. The court recommended overnight visits that would have the baby fed formula milk.

There are some other details to the case, but the core argument involving nursing mothers’ and fathers’ visitation rights has been percolating for some time. Pediatricians recommend breastfeeding babies for up to 12 months. There’s ample scientific evidence to suggest that babies should be breastfed to ensure their health and psychological well-being. The court cannot dispute these biological factors. However, when arranging parenting time for estranged spouses with infants, breastfeeding could become a hot-button issue.

While the case was adjudicated in a different state, it’s a common question that pops up in family court in Arizona as well. Arizona does not have specific laws with regards to how to handle parenting time for a breastfeeding child. In most cases, babies are kept with mothers so they can nurse on time. If the father wants to visit, then the visits are arranged for two or three hours in a manner that doesn’t disturb nursing. However, these arrangements can change due to court recommendations on what’s best for the child.

Ideally, the best way to handle a father’s visitation with regards to a nursing baby is for the estranged parents to discuss parenting time civilly. It’s strongly advised to obtain Family Law help in Scottsdale to devise a sensible parenting time plan in accordance with court recommendations, parents’ wishes, and, above all, the well-being of the newly birthed child. Fathers who want to spend time with nursing babies should first discuss arrangements with the mother, possibly with the help of a third-party mediator.

Of course, not all estranged parents would be able to sit down together and come up with a neat parenting time plan. In that case, going to court will be the last solution. However, judges decide visitation rights for fathers with newborn babies on a case by case basis. It’s unlikely and rare that a mother would be ordered to switch to formula if she doesn’t want to or is somehow unable to. As the law is not clear on this, only your lawyer will be able to present you with the best legal solutions for the situation.  And you never know, the Arizona judge to whom your case is assigned may end up agreeing with the judge from Maine.

Arizona Breastfeeding Laws

Many mothers wonder about breastfeeding in public. First, it is perfectly legal to breastfeed in public. In Arizona, the law clearly says a mother is entitled to breastfeed her child in public and is not subject to indecent exposure laws.

A.R.S. 41-1443

A mother is entitled to breast-feed in any area of a public place or a place of public accommodation where the mother is otherwise lawfully present.

A.R.S. 13-1402

Indecent exposure does not include an act of breastfeeding by a mother.

Your baby has the lawful right to eat wherever you are. Having an upset, hungry, crying baby will call more attention to yourself than breastfeeding your baby!

What clothing do I need for breastfeeding?

Nursing in public is easy. You don’t need a special type of clothes. You can wear a loose fitting shirt or top that you can lift from the bottom. When the baby latches, let the bottom of your shirt cover your breast. Your baby’s head and body will cover the rest. You can practice in front of a mirror until you feel more confident about nursing your baby in public.

Do I need to use a nursing cover?

Some mothers are a little more comfortable nursing under a cover, but you don’t have to. You can breastfeed at your discretion without a cover as described above, but it is fine to use one if it is going to make you more comfortable. Your local WIC clinic may be able to supply you with a privacy cover, or a lightweight baby blanket is also perfectly fine.

If I’m in a public place, where am I allowed to breastfeed?

You can breastfeed anywhere you are, like the corner market, dentist’s office, or even the drug store. If you feel uncomfortable and need privacy away from home, you can find a dressing room, a fast food restaurant booth, or a nursing/ lactation room that will give you the privacy you want.

What if someone complains and doesn’t approve?

If you are in a public place and asked to stop breastfeeding your baby, ask for the supervisor or manager in charge of the establishment. A lot of people are uninformed, but the manager should be able to educate their employees about breastfeeding. You should feel confident that your baby’s needs are being met and be proud that you’re breastfeeding and providing your baby with the nourishment he or she needs!

Source

  1. “Breastfeeding in Public: Making It Work!” ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH SERVICES, Arizona Department of Health Services , azdhs.gov/documents/prevention/nutrition-physical-activity/breastfeeding/breastfeeding-in-public.pdf.

Family Law Consultations in Scottsdale

The Canterbury Law Group should be your number one choice for when you need a family law attorney. Our experienced attorneys will work with you side by side to achieve the best possible legal outcome. You can trust Canterbury Law Group to represent you fully, so you can get on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation!

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. You can contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your unique situation.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

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.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Keep Your Credit – Avoid Bankruptcy

Debt is scary. When you open up your account and see that you owe more money than you can spare, it can quickly become overwhelming. Sometimes, the stress leads one to believe that the only remaining option is to file for bankruptcy.

Although bankruptcy doesn’t have to be the end of the world, it is best to leave it as a last resort option. If you can no longer pay any of your debt and have done all that you can to try and get afloat, bankruptcy may be your only option and ironically, the best option.

Before you make your decision, see if there are any other things you can do before calling for bankruptcy help in Scottsdale.

Sell, Sell, and Sell Some More

When the word bankruptcy comes to mind when you look at your finances, that is when you know you need to take immediate legal action. See what you have that you can afford to live without and sell it. The more quick cash you can bring it, the more debt you can pay off and avoid filing for bankruptcy.  But do not do anything until you seek counseled advice from licensed bankruptcy lawyers.

Bring in More Money

See if there are ways that you can bring in more money each month. That additional income could go straight to your debt to pay it off quicker. There are many side-gig jobs available that will pay a decent wage. Whether it be a skill you have that you can teach to children, or are crafty and can sell items, there are lots of little things you can do for extra cash.

Crack Down on Your Spending

If you still have a bit of time before you have no choice but to file for bankruptcy, sit down and go through your spending habits. See where you can make cuts and by how much. Set up a budget based on your monthly income, and try to get as much money going into your debt as possible.  But do not do any of this until speaking to a licensed bankruptcy lawyer who can and will help you map it all out in advance—do not guess on the right steps, let your lawyer show you the actual steps to make as you go.  This feels better, a lot better, as you go.

Ask for Help

There is no shame in bankruptcy.  The President of the United States has done it. It is so easy to get ourselves into debt, and so hard to get out of it. Maybe all you need is a small loan from a family member to get your payments back on schedule. Asking for help from family, friends, and professional financial people can help keep you on track to avoid bankruptcy.  Your lawyers too will show a way out.

If you’ve done all you can and bankruptcy is your only hope, do not fret. Bankruptcy does not mean the end. Although it will affect your credit score, you can then get yourself back on your feet and start over.  Your bankruptcy attorneys will show you through the tunnel to the next and hopeful life phase beyond discharge.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Wanting to Be a Lawyer? These Qualities Will Help You

With every job, certain traits and qualities will help you succeed. Whether it be schooling, training, or having a natural position ability, the more merits you possess that are specific to your job, the better you can be.

A lawyer is no exception to this. There is more to just knowing the rules of law to be a successful lawyer. Your divorce attorney in Scottsdale has some advice for those who are wanting to become a lawyer.

Excellent Communication Skills

A lawyer must be able to deliver high-level communications. Good lawyers are also excellent listeners. Part of the job will be to stand up for your client, sometimes speaking for them. Public speaking skills will help aide any time you are in front of a judge, jury, or entire courtroom.

Your communication skills do not stop at verbal communication. Being able to clearly and persuasively write will be a strong asset too. There will come moments when you must draft challenging legal documents. Those documents must be as concise and easy to read.

Research Skills

There will be a lot of research happening behind the scenes before you really begin moving forward with your client. Why? Because you should know the ins and outs of the entire situation, including past examples from old cases.

The more research you can do, the better it will be for your legal clients. Having good research skills will help this process go quicker and smoother, and ensure you are getting accurate and concise information.

People Skills

No matter how much you excelled at school, you need to have people skills to be a successful lawyer. Your job revolves around people’s day to day lives. You may have to speak on behalf of a client, be face to face with the opposition, or just having to stand up in front of a large crowd.  Having good people skills will benefit you as a lawyer.

Problem-Solving Skills

Having excellent problem-solving skills is vital for a lawyer. There will come moments when you may need to be creative in finding a solution or the answer you need. Being able to think on your feet and quickly assess a situation and find a solution will be critical for a lawyer.

Perseverance

A good lawyer sticks with it until the end, no matter what, even if it ends up being a losing battle. The job can get exhausting after a while, but a successful lawyer is in it for the long haul.

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.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

What to Do When You are Being Sued for Arizona Credit Card Debt

If a credit card owner has incurred considerable amounts of unpaid bills, the bank or the card agency has the right to sue the cardholder also known as the ‘debtor’. If you are being sued for credit card debt in Arizona, you will first be served a “summons” for a state or federal court case. When you receive the initial notification for summons, the important thing is not to panic. Credit card debt lawsuits go through several phases and there are plenty of ways you can defend yourself effectively with the right attorney. Breathe deeply and relax.

Immediate Action Following Summons

When you have received a summons to court over a credit card debt lawsuit, don’t delay taking action. Most of all, do not ignore the summons. If you do, the suing party (the bank most likely) can obtain a judgment against you in your absence. By ignoring the case, you will not be able to argue your case in front of a judge. The judgment against you could allow the creditor to infiltrate your wages or savings to use as payment towards the credit card debt. Therefore, don’t wait to respond to the summons.  Even if you owe all of the money, you should respond in writing to the court.

If you were served the summons within the state of Arizona, you will be given 20 days to respond. If the summons were served when you were out of state, then you get 30 days to respond. Hire a bankruptcy attorney in Scottsdale during this time to file your case without missing the deadline.

How to Respond to Summons

Once you have an attorney, he or she will guide you through the process of responding to the summons appropriately. There’s a misunderstanding that responding to the summons means showing up in court on the given date. In fact, Arizona law requires defendants in debt cases to file a written response. You must write to the court before the deadline to avoid a default judgment as described above.

How Long will the Case Go On?

This depends on where the lawsuit is filed. In Arizona, there are two types of courts that handle debt-related lawsuits: the Justice Court and the Superior Court. Lawsuits for disputed amounts less than $10,000 go to the Justice Court while anything more than this will be taken to the Superior Court.

Justice Court is a small claims court where the lawsuits tend to move faster. Due to this reason, some creditors file lawsuits stating a limit of $10,000 but without including the interest and other costs. Lawsuits filed in the Superior Court can be complex so trials take longer to conclude. It’s worthwhile to check whether the creditor has filed the case in the right court as part of your defense strategy.

Formulating the Defense Strategy

There are several ways an experienced defense attorney can approach a debt collection lawsuit. Even if the case goes to trial, your lawyer can negotiate with the creditor for a debt settlement. The settlement may involve trying to reduce the total amount owed. If the debt is overwhelming, you might have to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which case a court may discharge credit card debt. This is not the ideal scenario for a creditor, so the settlement is always an option.

A skilled attorney would also consider more technical aspects of the lawsuit that may offer you relief. For example, an attorney may check whether the summons for the trial was properly served. Other aspects, such as double-checking documentation the creditor provides, will be part of the defense strategy aimed at getting you the best outcome.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Prenups are in Higher Demand Among Millennials

Millennials are a lot more likely than their parents to require a prenuptial agreement prior to walking down the aisle. This generation also has fewer qualms about getting a prenuptial than their parents’ generation, according to the latest survey data from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (“AAML”). The AAML found that more than half of attorneys polled recently said that more millennials have requested prenuptial agreements. Only a small 2 percent of lawyers said that they had seen a decrease in millennial prenups.

A Rising Trend

Unlike their baby boom parents, millennials are less likely to view marriage through rose-colored glasses. Millenials are getting married later in life on average compared to their parents. Not only are millennial soon-to-be-married couples older, they have also had time to accumulate significant assets that they will not want to lose in case of a subsequent divorce.

Interestingly enough, it’s the millennial women who are driving the rising trend among would-be spouses demanding prenups. In the past, a prenup involved an often-wealthy groom asking the bride-to-be to sign an agreement. Prenups were more common among families with money, but now individual wealth can be the deciding factor.  This is particularly true in technology and startup companies where one spouse-to-be has accumulated significant stock and stock options prior to marriage.

What Millennials Want to Protect with Prenups

It was the norm for prenups to once protect inherited wealth. Not anymore, at least not significantly with the millennial generation. What millennials want to protect the most with a prenup is intellectual property, according to Bloomberg. Rather than protecting the family farm against a divorce, millennial spouses want to protect software, apps, songs, films, or screenplays. Interestingly, most of these assets are not even in existence when the couple gets married. What millennials really want is to protect future assets, especially creative ideas, from divorce proceedings.

Millennials included in the AAML survey responded that the most common reason for getting a prenup is the “protection of separate property.” The other two factors that mattered the most were spousal support or alimony and the division of property.

After intellectual property, millennial couples also increasingly include real estate holdings in the agreements. The “millennial prenups” are rather new. However, millennials can specifically request a prenup agreement that includes potential assets from a divorce attorney in Scottsdale.

Taking Stigma Away from Prenups

As millennials start requesting more prenups from their partners, the stigma surrounding such agreements could soon largely disappear. It used to be that couples didn’t want to discuss assets before getting hitched. It’s possible that millennials are learning from the mistakes of their parents, who were more likely to divorce than their own parents. Perhaps getting married later in life makes couples cognizant that not all marriages last a lifetime, but sometimes only a decade, or less.  Moreover, for couples who do not have children, the property disposition during a divorce can be even more important.

However, millennials do not need to worry about divorces like their parents did. The divorce rates are actually in decline nationally. It’s definitely a sign of changing times, or rather, being aware of the facts when getting married.

Many experts do agree that prenuptial agreements in general can be healthy for couples getting married. These agreements can protect individuals against acrimonious and expensive divorce proceedings later in life.  It set’s the couple’s mutual expectations early in the marriage, and no illusions are in place about what happens years later in the event of divorce.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Deal with Debt Collection Companies

Most Arizonians don’t know what to do when a debt collection company calls. The law does allow creditors or collection companies to call debtors and attempt to retrieve money owned. However, there are state and federal laws regarding which practices are allowed and which are explicitly prohibited. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act both stipulate what some attorney’s call “debtor’s rights.” When a collection company calls you, it’s important to know what rights you have against creditor abuse and malpractice.

When a Collector Calls

When a collection company calls you, they cannot demand that you pay the debt without informing you of several fundamental things. After the first call, the collection company has five days to inform you of the amount of debt that you owe and the name of the creditor to whom you owe the debt. If a collection company calls you demanding “payment” without specifying either of these, you have a fair case you can make against the collection company. You should contact a bankruptcy lawyer in Scottsdale if a collection company keeps calling without specifying the debt.

You can Contest the Debt

Most debtors are unaware that they can call into question the validity of a debt. Once a collection company calls you notifying you of a debt, you have 30 days to dispute the debt. If you doubt the validity of the debt, you can make a statement disputing the collection company’s claim. Once you have written to the creditor or the collection company, the parties should issue a statement in return verifying the debt in another 30 days. If you don’t get this verification statement after you issue a dispute, then the debt is very likely invalid.

When Creditors Don’t Match

Sometimes creditors sell debt. So some of your debt could be owned by a different creditor than the original person or entity you borrowed from. If the current creditor is different, then the collection agency must issue a statement with the name and address of the original creditor. If you don’t recognize the creditor of a debt, you must issue a statement and have the collecting agency specify the creditor’s identity. It’s important to note that the collection company cannot call you or try to retrieve a debt before notifying you who the original creditor is. You must get the verification as a written statement too.

Don’t Let Them Verbally Advise You

Some collection agencies may try to verbally tell you who the original creditor is, what amount of debt is owed, and other such factors. This is an attempt by collection companies to avoid issuing written statements. Documents can be upheld in court. If you get a verbal statement, the collection company can always change the story if the case goes to trial. Therefore, you must have physical statements mailed to you. Debtors have the legal right to such.

Collection companies that don’t adhere to the rules can be taken to court. In some cases, your debt may be waived and the court may demand the collection company to pay your attorney’s fees as well.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Some Facts about Arizona’s Adoption Law

Arizona allows any adult to adopt a child. Parents, grandparents, step parents, or non-related individuals can file a petition to adopt a child in the state or from outside the state. Here are several legal facts about Arizona’s adoption laws:

Adoption Eligibility

Arizona allows married, unmarried, and legally separated adults to legally adopt children. A married wife and a husband can jointly adopt a child. However, an unmarried couple may face certain legal restrictions when jointly adopting. It’s recommended to consult with local family law help in Scottsdale if you are an unmarried person with a partner who wants to jointly seek adoption of a child.

Adoption for Same Sex Couples

In Arizona, couples in same sex marriages can adopt children either individually, or as step parents. The law is unclear on whether same sex marriage couples can jointly adopt a child. The law could change soon, so it’s highly recommended to seek legal help if you and a same sex partner are seeking joint adoption.

Child’s Eligibility for Adoption

A child must be below the age of 18 to be adopted in Arizona. Also, the child must not be an illegal immigrant alien in the state when the adoption petition is filed. Foreign children can be adopted as long as they are not present in the state as an illegal alien defined by state law. Importantly, the child has to be free in legal terms to be adopted. The term refers to custody arrangements. The child’s birth parents, if present, must formally give their consent for the child to be adopted. If the birth parents are deceased or if their rights have been terminated by a court order, then this consent form is not necessary.

Foreign Adoptions Follow the Hague Intercountry Convention

All foreign adoptions in the U.S., including in the state of Arizona, are conducted according to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The original country the adoptee comes from must also be a part of this Hague Convention for an adoption to take place. It should be noted that the U.S. bans adoptions from some countries, like Russia, even if these countries are party to the Hague Convention. Foreign adoptions can be a lengthy and expensive process. You should speak with a lawyer who knows immigration law to petition for a foreign adoption.

Non Relatives Require Court Certification

If the to-be adoptive parent is unrelated to the child, as an aunt or a stepparent, then the adult must obtain a court certificate to show eligibility. These certifications follow what’s called a “home study” carried out by an approved adoption agency in the state, an official from the Arizona Department of Economic Security, or a court officer. The study will involve an assessment of social, financial, and other qualifications of the prospective adoptive parents.

Birth Mother’s Husband’s Consent is Necessary

Arizona maintains that a married birth mother’s husband must give consent to the adoption. If the birth mother is married, her spouse must give consent even if he is not the biological father of the adopted child. If the biological father is not married to the mother, he must be notified of the adoption before it takes place. The biological father will be given 30 days to respond to the notification with paternity action.

Adoption, in general, is a straightforward process but some factors can complicate it. You must seek help from an experienced attorney to make sure the process goes smoothly.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Marriage Annulment in Arizona

Marriage annulment is a term many people have heard of, but only a few really understand. Forget about what you may have heard about annulment on TV. There are actually two types of marriage annulments: civil and religious. A religious annulment is granted by a religious institution like a church and its clergy. Civil annulment is granted by a court of law and affects your legal civil status. This article explains civil annulment.

What is Civil Annulment in Arizona?

Civil marriage annulment takes place when a court declares that a marriage is not valid but void. It means that the court legally declares that for legal purposes the couple was never married. It can be confusing, but if what was considered a marriage was not obtained in accordance with legal requirements for marriage in Arizona, the court can annul the marriage. It’s sort of like a court “erasing” a marriage. It is as if the marriage literally never happened.

The Two Types of Civil Annulment

Courts in Arizona classify annulments in two ways as voidable marriages and void marriages. A void marriage is a union that was not valid from the beginning. Arizona has a list of prohibitions for marriage, such as incest, which would make a marriage completely invalid. If a biological brother and a sister got married, this is not a marriage that the state recognizes as valid, and therefore would incur in a void annulment.   There are several other methods by which a marriage can be deemed void and you should consult a family law attorney for more details.

A voidable annulment is where one party can seek an annulment from a court. For example, if one spouse was deceived into marrying the other, the wronged spouse has the right to request a voidable marriage annulment.  Deception grounds can include, for example, failure to consummate the marriage by one partner refusing to ever have sex with the other spouse at any time after the ceremony.  Again, consultation with legal counsel is critical before you seek annulment.

Is an Annulment Any Different from Divorce?

Getting a divorce involves going through often-lengthy court proceedings to formally end a marriage. The important difference between divorce and annulment is that in the case of the former, the courts recognize the marriage as valid, and thus to end it there must be divorce proceedings according to the law. Annulments do not require going through lengthy court proceedings. Once a judge declares a marriage invalid, it’s no more.  It typically can occur far faster than a conventional divorce litigation.

It should be understood that not all annulments are quick and painless. There are very specific grounds under which a marriage can be annulled.  Absent qualification for such a remedy, your case will be diverted to a conventional divorce resolution like everyone else.

What are the Grounds for an Annulment?

Under Arizona law, there is a list of “void and prohibited marriages.” Any marriage that falls in this category is not recognized by the state as valid. Arizona prohibits marriage between parents and children, between grandparents and grandchildren, between whole or half-blood brothers and sisters, between first cousins (but only under certain conditions), and between uncles or aunts and nieces and nephews. Same sex marriage was also once considered “void and prohibited”. However, recent Supreme Court rulings have changed that. Same sex marriage is now legal and the law of the land.

There are other reasons a spouse can request an annulment, such as fraud, deception, coercion, intoxication (when getting married), underage marriages without parental consent, mental illness, “mock” marriages, inability to consummate the marriage, bigamy, and incest. To know for sure if your marriage can be annulled, get family law help in Scottsdale.

If the couple has children, the annulment proceedings will determine which party should be responsible for the children. The court may not recognize certain property as “marital assets” if the marriage is considered void. You should contact a lawyer with specifics to find out how annulment proceedings may affect children or assets. Annulment compared to divorce can generate a significantly different outcome in property allocations in any divorce or annulment scenario.

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