Is Divorce the Answer?

It is not unusual to have doubt when the decision to get divorced is made. There may be lingering feelings for your spouse that make it difficult for you to go through with the case, or perhaps you were not the one who filed and did not want the divorce in the first place. Whatever your feelings, it is critical to be sure divorce is the answer. The time and effort required to reach resolution on important issues such as support payments and child custody should only be undertaken if you are sure divorce is right for you.

If you are unhappy, there are some things to consider before making the final decision to get divorced. Some things to think about when trying to figure out if divorce is the answer include:

  • Are both parties unhappy, or is there a possibility to fix issues that are bothering only one of the spouses?
  • Have you explored all your options before deciding to file? If therapy is something both parties would consider it might be a good idea to go to a few sessions to figure out if the relationship can be salvaged.
  • Make health choices, both physically and emotionally. If you are in an abusive relationship, get to a safe place. This includes both physical and emotional abuse.

When you are comfortable with your reasons for getting a divorce, it is easier to proceed with confidence. In some cases the decision is clear, in others it is less so. Not all decisions are black and white, and making sure divorce is what you want is critical. We can help you talk through your concerns and make a decision that works for you and for your family. Call our office today to speak with one of our trained legal professionals.

For answers to your questions about divorce, consult our office. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call the Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

What Is A No-Fault Divorce in Arizona?

Are you headed for divorce? Are you ready to file? If so, it’s important to know that in the state of Arizona, all divorce proceeding go forth as “no fault”. This means that no matter the circumstances, such as infidelity, the Arizona court does not take a side in the issue. Furthermore, this means that the judge won’t be hearing why you want a divorce, only that you seek one.

Sometimes an uncontested divorce gets confused with a no-fault divorce. The difference is that with an uncontested divorce, the other party does not object to moving forward with the divorce. In fact, the other party has 20 days to file a response. If they don’t, the divorce moves forward as uncontested, meaning the other party agrees to the divorce or has simply chosen to remain silent. Either way, the divorce will go through without fault blamed on either side.

No Fault Divorce Arizona

In the past, most divorces went forward with one party blaming the other’s actions as the cause of seeking a divorce. This is also referred to as grounds for divorce. However, in recent years, Arizona has become a no-fault state. As a no-fault state, a divorce in Arizona does not apply to a covenant marriage. This type of marriage makes up a small percentage of total marriages in Arizona and is defined by a legal obligation to agree to pre-marital counseling, along with a limited grounds for divorce, such as living apart for a year before filing for divorce. If your marriage does not fit under a legal covenant marriage, then your divorce will proceed as no-fault.

How Does No-Fault Divorce Work?

In the beginning, one party files a petition for a divorce and states the reason for the petition. Since Arizona is a no-fault state, the majority of these petitions are filed as stating the cause of divorce to be the fact that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” due to no fault by either party. From here, the other party will be served divorce papers and will be given 20 days to respond to the divorce petition. If the other party is served the papers out-of-state, they have 30 days to respond. If the other party does not contest the divorce, it will move forward in court.

Parties Agree to Divorce

In most cases, both parties will agree to move forward with the divorce. At this point, it is time to review settlement terms. This means that both parties must come to an agreement regarding the distribution of assets, child custody, debt assignment, child support, spousal support, and more. When both parties agree to a settlement, the divorce can move quickly. However, if the agreement in not sufficient for one side, the Arizona court will ultimately resolve this issue.

How Long Does a Divorce Take?

When both parties agree to a no-fault divorce and a settlement is reached, the divorce should only take a couple of months to complete. Although a no-fault divorce may seem simple, it is suggested you do not try to go through this time alone. Instead, use the reputable services of a divorce attorney to make sure your rights are protected during the entire process.

Contact a Divorce Attorney Today

If you are considering filing for divorce, contact The Sampair Group today at 623-777-3926. Our expert team of attorneys will help you file a petition for a divorce and help you reach a desirable settlement during the process.

Annulment Laws in Arizona

Having your marriage annulled is not the same as getting a divorce. A divorce ends a valid marriage while an annulment states that the marriage was never valid and, therefore, never existed. Annulments are not favored in Arizona and the case may be dismissed if there are no grounds for an annulment. While annulments are harder to get in Arizona than a divorce, they are not impossible.

There are several valid reasons for requesting an annulment: underage marriage, mental illness, bigamy, fraud, temporary insanity at the time of marriage, intoxication at the time of marriage, incest, duress, or one or both parties failed to consummate the marriage. While this list is not complete, these are the most common grounds for an annulment. Once the reason for annulment has been identified, it is recommended to utilize the resources of a family lawyer, like those at The Sampair Group, in order to properly complete the process.

Paperwork will need to be filed at your local courthouse before an annulment can continue. Your family lawyer will be able to help you correctly fill it out. A judge of the superior court will then review the case to decide if the reason for an annulment is valid. If it is, the marriage is then null and void. However, if the judge decides against an annulment, it’s not the end of the road. The party asking for the annulment can file a petition. Both parties will be summoned to court where testimonies will be heard in order to come to a conclusion.

Often, people think an annulment brings their paternity into question. In the eyes of the court, the child or children are seen as being born to two single parents if the marriage is annulled. Under Arizona law, the courts have decided that parents of children who are born outside of marriage have co-equal custody following the established paternity.

If you find yourself considering an annulment, the family lawyers at The Sampair Group can help. Any legal matter can be confusing and we would like to help you to better understand the annulment process. Visit www.sampair.com today for a free consultation.

Should We Stay Together For The Kids?

After many years of marriage, the stresses may seem to increase with each year passing. You and your spouse may be at the breaking point where you are pondering the idea of divorce, but knowing how it would impact the children may stop those thoughts. However, it is also important to wonder if staying together for the children is any better.

There is no clear answer to how to approach this situation, and each circumstance is different. It’s important to think about the children’s best interests. Are they better off in a home where their parents are constantly fighting and are unhappy most of the time or would they benefit more down the road if mom and dad were not together, but they were each happier?

Staying together “for the kids” certainly comes with risks. If you are miserable in your marriage, your family may be loaded with arguments, anger, frustration and pain. If you are a couple that cannot be civil or handle conflict rationally with each other, your child may learn these bad parenting skills and be negatively impacted by them.

Another risk that comes with staying married for the sake of the children is that your child may be neglected while you and your spouse are wrapped up in their own conflicts. It may be physical neglect, such as the parents completely check out of parenting, or it may be emotional neglect, and the parents may not show up together for the child’s important events or may try and alienate the child from the other parent.

If you and your spouse cannot co-parent effectively while living in the same household, you may want to rethink the situation and realize that co-parenting from separate homes may be what is best for your child.

There are times, however, when the child will benefit if the family stays intact, even if the parents are no longer in love with each other. Co-parenting under the same roof is better as long as each parent can stay civil and keep the children out of their arguments and conflict.

For more information on child custody and family law, look to the Glendale and Phoenix family law attorneys at The Sampair Group.

Custody and Your Child’s School

When you’re going through a custody case, you instinct may be to try to keep it quiet for as long as possible, in order to protect your child. It is a lot to deal with and if suddenly everyone your child knows is aware of it, it can be overwhelming. Although you might not be ready to tell the world, it is important to communicate with your child’s school about what is happening.

Because of the situation at home, your child’s behavior at school may be impacted. It’s a good idea to communicate with your child’s teacher so she is prepared to help your child should emotions surface at school. Children react in many different ways and your child’s teacher could be puzzled by a sudden behavior change if she doesn’t know what’s happening inside your family. It is also possible that your child may decide to open up to the teacher about the situation, so you want her to be in the loop. The school may also have resources for children going through divorce, such as counseling or support groups. Peer group meetings can be of invaluable help for your child so he can see that other kids are coping with the same issues.

Once you have a temporary or permanent order of custody, you will want to give a copy to the school, particularly if you want restrictions placed on whether your ex can pick your child up or take him out of school. They need to know who is the custodial parent and who has decision-making authority. If the non-custodial parents wants to stay informed with copies of notices, report cards, and parent-teacher conferences, the school may need a copy of the order to provide these as well.

When you need an attorney who will stand up for you, call the Sampair Group in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Glendale. We’re ready to take your call.

What Is Contempt of Court?

You may have heard the term “contempt of court” and wondered what it is or how it might apply in your divorce or family law case. Contempt of court happens when a person under the court’s jurisdiction (such as you or your spouse, or even one of the attorneys in your case) does something that defies the court’s authority or is severely disrespectful to the court. It’s up to the judge to decide that someone is in contempt of court and the judge has broad discretion about making this call. Examples of contempt of court actions might include failing to pay child support, refusing to follow a parenting plan, failing to pay spousal support, or insulting or defying the judge.

In family court cases, a hearing is held when a court chooses to invoke a contempt order, giving the person accused of contempt the opportunity to present a defense. If the person fails to appear, a warrant can be issued and the person can be held in jail for up to 24 hours.

A finding of contempt can result in jail time, fines, or seizure of property. If the person found in contempt in a family law case is sentenced to jail time, a hearing must be held every 35 days throughout the jail term.

To avoid a contempt order, it is essential that you exactly follow all court orders in your case, appear in court at all scheduled times, and remain polite and civil during all proceedings. If you disagree with an order or are having problems meeting its requirements you need to talk to your attorney immediately so that you can avoid facing a contempt of court charge.

When you need help with a family law case, call The Sampair Group. We regularly represent clients in Mesa, Glendale, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Phoenix in divorce and family law cases and are ready to provide the representation you need.

Can I refuse to sign the affidavit of paternity?

Question:

Can I refuse to sign the affidavit of paternity?

I am about to enter into a paternity case. I tested positive for a DNA test. What happens if I refuse to sign the affidavit of paternity at the court hearing?

Answer:

If you were confirmed to be the father of the child, the Judge will declare that you are the father. There will no longer be any need for you to sign an Affidavit of Paternity.

Good luck!

Patrick Sampair
The Sampair Group, PLLC

Offices Valley-wide:
Arrowhead: 17235 N. 75th Avenue, Suite E-100, Glendale, AZ
City North: 5450 E High St #300, Phoenix, AZ
East Valley: 1830 S. Alma School #114, Mesa, AZ

West Valley: 623.218.1000
Phoenix: 602.997.7717
East Valley: 480.636.1333

To read more of Phoenix child custody law attorney Patrick Sampair’s answers on Avvo and be sure to check out his child custody page, or if you have a question for Mr. Sampair ask him directly at: https://www.sampair.com/.

Do Divorced Parents Spell Divorce For The Kids Too?

Some things are just expected, like spotting a Starbucks on every corner. The coffeehouse chain has seemingly taken over the world, at least in the world of coffee and coffee-like whipped drinks. Whether you are a regular or not, there are those that would argue Starbucks is one of the best things to come out of Seattle in a long time. On the other hand, the town is well-known for some other pretty amazing things, like its music history and the band that led the grunge movement, Nirvana. It is no secret the life of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain was cut short by his own hand, and that it happened when his daughter with ex-wife Courtney Love was not even two years old. Ever since the news broke that Cobain had taken his own life, both Love and daughter Frances Bean have been in the spotlight. Part of the hype around the two centered on the tumultuous relationship between Cobain and Love during their short marriage.
While it likely comes as no surprise that Cobain and Love’s marriage lasted just over two years, given their celebrity status, it may also come as no surprise that Frances Bean is now in the middle of her own divorce just 21 months after tying the knot. This news raises a frequent question, whether you are a celebrity or not, and that is whether children of divorce are themselves more likely to get divorced as well. Here are some common schools of thought on the topic:

  • When kids see their parents split, the example that is set has lasting effects. The way you resolve conflict with your spouse during your divorce shapes the way your children view conflict resolution as adults. It is best to set a good example, and behave in a way that you would want to see your kids behave. If you are having difficulty accomplishing this goal, it is perfectly fine to seek the help of a trained counselor or therapist. When you are able to resolve your differences without fighting, your kids will learn that divorce does not have to be a dirty word and that just because their parents ended their marriage, they are not destined for the same ending.
  • Kids are resilient and regardless of how much conflict there is during their parents divorce, it is just as important to maintain a good relationship with your ex after the divorce is final. Just as there are those that encourage amicable resolution and then lives apart after divorce, there is also the thought that being able to include your ex in significate events without fighting is just as important. Showing your kids you can get along with your ex will show them that even though marriages end, friendships and mutual respect can remain. This could help your children when entering relationships of their own, and may allow them to find solutions that do not include divorce.

The truth is that everyone is different, and you have to find ways to work through your divorce case that make sense for you. That said, one of the most important parts of a divorce with kids is finding ways to make sure your children’s lives remain as normal as possible and that the kids are not put in the middle of the case. Our job is to help you reach results that work for you, but that also leave your family emotionally healthy. If you have concerns about how your divorce will impact your kids and their future, call us for answers.

If you have questions about divorce, consult a qualified legal professional. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

Dividing Property in an Arizona Divorce

If you are going through a divorce, there’s no question that it can be a difficult process that causes both financial and emotional challenges. These issues often get even more trying if you are unable to come to some type of agreement about the primary issues that need to be resolved – especially the division of your property. Read on to learn more about this here.

Understanding Community Property

According to Arizona law, any debts and assets that are acquired by a married couple from the beginning of their marriage until the divorce paperwork is served is considered community property. This means that each spouse is entitled to receive half.

Technically, there’s no requirement for the court to divide all the property equally. Instead, the court will divide property “equitably” or fairly based on the circumstances. Even with this being the case, unequal divisions are extremely rare. Debt or property that is brought into the marriage by one spouse or funds or assets that are received during the time of the marriage by inheritance or a gift, is the property of that spouse as long as it has been maintained separately.

Even though this seems pretty straightforward, trying to figure out separate property from community property can often present a challenge. In some situations, separate property is converted into community property when the single owner of a home opts to change the title to community property. Also, the community property may obtain an interest in the separate or sold property of one spouse if improvements or mortgage payments are made by both spouses.

How is Marital Property Divided in Arizona?

There are several ways that assets may be divided in Arizona during a divorce. The two people getting divorced can come to an agreement, assigning certain assets to the other person, or even buy out the other’s share. Additionally, they can opt to sell the assets and then divide the proceeds that are earned.

Also, all of the debts that are incurred, which include credit cards, car loans and mortgages have to be assigned to one of the spouses and each of the marital debts needs to be paid off after the divorce has become final.

While the classification of a couple’s property is something that takes place automatically after the couple is married, they do not have to follow the laws of community property if they agree to a post- or pre-marital agreement. This provides that each spouse will maintain their assets separate from the other.

Additionally, there are several exceptions based on Arizona law that require community property to be divided equally. For example, if one spouse’s behavior (i.e. gambling or drug use) wasted the community property.

In the end, due to the complexity related to issues of property division in Arizona divorce cases, one of the best things a person can do is to enlist the services of a divorce attorney. At the Sampair Group we can help ensure that the entire process is handled fairly, regardless of the asset or debt situation that may be present. Contact us today at 623-777-3926.

Good Divorce Decisions Take Time

When you begin the divorce process you most likely want nothing more than to get the case over and done with so that you can move on. The divorce process may seem like it takes a long time and you’re itching to just rip the bandage off and get on with your life. Because you may be anxious to move forward, it can be easy to make quick decisions and then later regret your choices. As you move through your divorce, you will have to make decisions about what you will ask for or settle for when it comes to spousal support, child support, parenting time and decision-making, and property division.  These decisions will impact the rest of your life, so it is very important that you take the time to think them through and decide carefully. Follow these tips to ensure your decisions are good ones.

  • Talk everything over with you lawyer and make sure you understand all the consequences of each decision. Ask about alternatives and always ask what your attorney recommends you do.
  • Take the time to think through all decisions you are presented with. If you want to go home and mull it over, do so. There are times when you may be asked to decide something in a split second, particularly in the midst of courtroom negotiations. If you need more time to think about something, say so.
  • Listen to your common sense. Everyone around you might advise you about the best way to handle something, but in the end you are the one who has to live with it. Do what feels right to you. Most decisions in divorce can be made with knowledge from your lawyer applied to your own common sense.

The Sampair Group is ready to help you work through all of the decisions involved in your divorce or family law case. Schedule an appointment with us in the Glendale, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and Phoenix area.