How Divorce Impacts Immigration

The United States is full of residents that are allowed to live here because they are married to a U.S. citizen. With the national spotlight on issues of immigration, and our State’s close proximity to the border, it is important to understand how immigration status might be impacted by divorce. Specifically, what happens to the immigrant when he or she is divorced from a citizen? Will the non-citizen have to leave the Country, and if so what happens to the kids? The concern is real, and the following summarizes some of the common issues that arise in cases where one party is not a U.S. citizen.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) monitors residents that are not also citizens. Some of the concerns about marriage between a citizen and non-citizen are:

  • Was the marriage solely so the non-citizen could remain in the Country?
  • Is the couple living together?
  • Were any children born of the marriage?

Once married, a non-citizen can begin the process of petitioning for citizenship. When divorce is imminent though, this may all change. The authorities may review the legitimacy of the marriage and thus the ability of the non-citizen to gain citizenship. If there are children involved your entire strategy may need an overhaul. For competent representation in this type of special case, contact a qualified family law attorney.

For more information about divorce and immigration, 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.

Five Questions To Ask Yourself Before Filing For Divorce

The decision to end your marriage does not come easy, and if you expect satisfactory results a lot of careful thought must be made before filing papers to dissolve your marriage. While discussing what leads to divorce might make for interesting conversation, it really only matters when it is relevant to your circumstances. Every couple that divorces would probably tell you a different story as to why their marriage did not last, but there is some common ground as far as preparing for the case.

Five questions to ask yourself before filing for divorce, which will help ensure you are ready to take this life altering step, include:

  • Are you emotionally ready for active participation in your divorce case? If the answer is no, you may want to wait. Sometimes taking steps to rehabilitate your relationship reveal a desire to stay with your spouse, and sometimes it helps to take a moment to re-evaluate your marriage because it confirms your decision to divorce.
  • What type of shape are your finances in, and can you support yourself post-divorce or will you require assistance? Division of assets and liabilities, including finances is one of the most hotly contested portions of a divorce proceeding. Taking stock of your financial picture before seeking a divorce will help to prepare you for what lies ahead.
  • Have you considered which issues will need to be resolved, and thought about what type of legal strategy will be necessary? Talking with a knowledgeable family law attorney about these things will give you an idea of what to expect during your case.
  • Are you ready to present a united front for your children on important issues such as discipline, education, and parental expectations? It is critical that parents continue to raise their children with common ideals, even after a divorce, because consistency in behavioral expectations will yield desired results. Kids also crave consistency as a way to adjust to their new family structure.
  • Have you made a list of questions about what concerns you most? Being prepared when you consult with a family law attorney will help to calm your nerves, and ensure the things that are on your mind are addressed.

Creating a new life for yourself after getting divorced starts early. Asking yourself these five things will lead to other important areas of concern, and with the help of a qualified family law attorney you will be in a good position to overcome the hurdles that can come with divorce.

For more information about marriage and divorce, call us today. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.



Child Support Modification for Children Who Are Graduating

Most child support orders are designed to help support a child and pay for their needs up until the point of their high school graduation. Beyond this point, parental support is typically voluntary, leaving many divorced and separated couples facing child support modification to change the amount they pay or stop payments altogether once a child reaches this point in their lives. Because this process can take a little time, it’s often best to start it before the graduation date to ensure it goes into effect at the proper time, rather than being delayed further. However, it all depends on the specific situation whether you will need to take action with the courts.

Automatic Termination

If the current support order covers only one child or the youngest child is graduating, the termination of child support is automatic under Arizona state law. This automatic termination takes place as soon as all conditions of the court order are met. This is typically once the child reaches the age of 18 and graduates from high school. If the child turns 18 prior to graduation or turns 18 after graduation, termination takes place at the time the second requirement is met. No specific action to end the child support is needed and there is no need to hire an attorney to file for this. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t have to take some actions related to the child support. In fact, if child support is currently garnished from your wages, you may need to file to stop the garnishment.

Changes to Child Support

In contrast, if you must still pay child support for younger siblings, there are no automatic changes that will be made to the child support amount simply based on one child turning 18 and graduating from high school. This means you will need to file a modification through the courts in order to adjust the amount appropriately. Under Arizona law, any requests to make changes to the existing child support order cannot be set retroactively. This means if you don’t file for the adjustment in a timely manner, you will likely end up paying the additional child support for a period beyond when you should. That’s why it’s best to talk to an attorney as soon as possible to determine the most appropriate time to file to ensure the changes go into effect at the right time. Changes can go back to the time the other party is served with the request.

Once you file for a modification of the existing child support order, the court will determine how much you should be paying for the number of children who still fall under the support order. The court will look at the number of children, the amount of money the parties in question make and other factors in accordance with the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. Contrary to what some people believe, the amount doesn’t simply go down by what would have been paid for that individual child. Because circumstances have likely changed since the order was set or even last reviewed, the court will look at all factors to make a determination. While child support may go down in many cases, this isn’t necessarily true. For instance, if you have gotten several raises and are making significantly more than you were when the order was set, there is a possibility you will be ordered to pay just as much as you were previously or perhaps even more. Be sure to talk to your lawyer about any potential factors that could change how much you owe so you are prepared for the outcome you’re most likely to receive.

Contact a Lawyer

Many people feel a child support modification is an easy process and won’t require the assistance of a qualified family law attorney. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. Even if you don’t end up using a lawyer to handle your case and end up filing on your own in the end, consulting with one can help you evaluate if it’s worth pursuing the modification or if it is best left alone. While it’s important to fulfill your financial obligations to your children, it may be best to leave the amount as it is, rather than pursuing a modification that could result in owing more.

Contact the professionals at the Sampair Group to discuss Arizona child support guidelines and how they apply to your case.

What Is A Covenant Marriage?

If you are newly engaged and concerned about the possibility of divorce, there are steps you can take to help safeguard your marriage from dissolution. One popular method for couples entering marriage to fend off divorce is to participate in premarital counseling. In fact, some churches and other organizations will require sessions prior to allowing a wedding to take place. Another option at your disposal is to apply for and enter into a covenant marriage. This type of marriage is different from a traditional marriage, and should therefore only be entered into after careful consideration and thought.

Arizona statutes help explain the concept of a covenant marriage. It works like this:

  • You must declare your intent to enter a covenant marriage and engage in counseling sessions prior to the marriage.
  • If the marriage does experience difficulty that leads to divorce, a no fault divorce proceeding is not an option.
  • Specific grounds for divorce must be cited in order to obtain a divorce from a covenant marriage. These grounds include abuse, infidelity, felony, abandonment, or an extended period of time spent separated.

The purpose of this law is to prevent parties from getting married without giving the marriage serious thought. The idea of a covenant marriage is also meant to reduce the rate of divorce, and provide the couple with a deeper understanding of the consequences of ending their marriage. Whether these goals are actually obtained is debatable, but one thing is for certain: if you have entered a covenant marriage and want to get divorced, you can do so. However, the divorce process for this type of marriage is more complex than with a non-covenant marriage, and requires artful legal argument. Contact our office for more information, and to learn what you will face when seeking a divorce from a covenant marriage.

For answers to your questions about covenant marriages, consult our office. Put our valuable experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

Common Temporary Orders In Divorce Cases

When a divorce case is filed there are many issues to be resolved. The parties will seek Court determination of things like property division, child custody, support, and visitation. These orders become final when the case ends, but also must be handled at the outset of the proceeding. This is accomplished by entry of a temporary order that sets forth the parties’ rights and responsibilities during the divorce, until the final decree is entered.

Arizona statutes allow for temporary orders to be made while the parties negotiate the terms of the divorce, or while awaiting a trial of their case. Common temporary orders include providing for the following things:

  • Which parent will have custody of the kids and what the parenting time schedule will be like until a permanent order for these issues is made.
  • Who pays child support, and in what amount.
  • Whether any temporary spousal support is warranted.

Temporary orders provide answers to some of the most pressing issues faced when a case is filed. It is important to make sure these provisions do not become permanent though, unless they make sense for your future. It is critical you take a hard look at what your needs will be down the road and make sure the final order entered takes those concerns into account. Our qualified team of family law professionals will examine your needs and help you forecast for the future. Once your needs are made known, negotiation for results that work for you can begin.

For answers to your questions about how temporary orders in divorce cases work and what you can do to reach final orders that meet your needs, 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.

Five Ways To Determine What Is “Best” For A Child Of Divorce

Nearly everyone has heard the phrase “best interests of the children”. This is the legal standard used by Courts across the country during divorce cases when issues about kids are involved. The idea is that when orders are entered that impact a child of divorce, the order will be what is “best” for the child. Not surprisingly, parties to a divorce have a different opinion about what is best for their kids so it can be confusing to understand what is included in this test. The ultimate decision is different in every case, because every case and every child is different, but there are some common themes that run throughout this legal standard and having an idea of what the Court will consider will help you to prepare for the case.

The “best interests of the child” test, as set forth in the state statutes, includes the five things:

  • How each parent is able to provide for their kids including the financial emotional, and physical needs of the children. A good example of how this part of the test is used in real life is to look at whether a parent earns enough to provide basics for their kids, such as food and shelter. Another example would be to examine whether a parent is fit to provide the emotional support kids need.
  • How old the kids are, and what their emotional needs are for their age. Being able to care for an infant is much different than being able to care for a teen child. Parents must be able to show they are able to tackle the issues their children face.
  • The level of communication between the parents and whether it is civil is also important. A parent that is unable to maintain some level of civility with their ex may not be the best choice for primary custodian.
  • As children age and mature them may express a preference of which parent to live with, and if that child expresses that preference the Court will take that into account when deciding what is best for the child.
  • The bond already form between the child and parent, and how involved the parent is in the life of their child. For instance, if mom always takes the kids to soccer and cheers them on at every game then it would be best to implement parenting plans and enter orders that allow that activity to continue..

Contact us today to discuss the specifics of your case. We will help to make sure your children’s interests are protected while aggressively advocating for results that are satisfactory.
For more information about divorce, contact our office today.

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 Are The Residency Requirements To File Divorce In Arizona?

We live in a mobile society, and in many cases a couple that splits up do not always continue to live in the same state. Or, it might be that one of the parties has only recently left the marital residence and moved out of state. If you have separated from your spouse in anticipation of, or in preparation of filing for divorce, it is important to know the residency requirements for filing your case in Arizona. This is especially true if you or your spouse have just moved either in or out of the State and are looking to dissolve your marriage.

The residency requirements for bringing your divorce action in Arizona include:

  • The requirement that at least one of the spouses lived in the state 90 days prior to filing the case.
  • You should file your case in the county in which you reside at the time the divorce is filed.

If you are able to establish residency for at least 90 days prior to filing, then you will be permitted to file a divorce in your county of residence. This is true even if your spouse does not live in that county, or even the State! However, it is beneficial to know that certain issues may be difficult for the Court to determine if your soon to be ex-spouse lives outside of the State of Arizona. To figure out how the residency requirement impacts you, contact a skilled family law attorney for more information. We will review the specific facts of your case, and provide you with options for your circumstances. In some instances it might be that you will have to wait a short time before filing your case, and if that is not an attractive option, you can consider filing in the state where you most recently lived. You might also think about seeing if your spouse, if they have been a resident of Arizona for 90 days, will initiate the case. These scenarios, while they do arise, do so infrequently and in most cases a person seeking to file divorce is able to do so right away.

For more information about divorce, contact 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.



Be in Charge of Your Divorce

Because divorce is such an all-encompassing process, if you don’t decide to manage your divorce, it could end up managing you. Taking control of your decisions, your emotions, and your future is the best way to get through this change in your life.

The first step is to find an attorney you are comfortable with. An attorney who listens to you, understands what you want, and explains things in a way you can understand is absolutely necessary and you shouldn’t settle for anything less. A solid legal partnership will set the stage for all of the decisions to follow and will help you feel confident in all your future choices.

When you are in court, divorce ends up being mostly about money (except when you are dealing with a custody case). The procedure focuses on financial affidavits and the value of assets. In your everyday life though, your divorce is mostly about your emotions and your family dynamics. You end up with two very separate types of divorce happening in your life at once. Trying to keep these two things separate will benefit you. Make decisions about money with a critical financial eye. Make decisions about your family by listening to your heart.

Be your own best advocate. If you don’t stand up and say what you want, what works for you, and what feels unfair, no one else will. Your attorney needs to hear from you about how settlement offers will really work for you. Don’t mindlessly agree to anything. Think it all through. Ask your attorney to help you understand long-term implications. Then speak your mind without apology.

The Sampair Group is ready to be your tireless advocate for your divorce or family law case in the Mesa or Glendale areas of Arizona. Pick up the phone and call us today.

Tips For Keeping Your Divorce Out Of Court

Getting a divorce doesn’t always mean that your case will go to court. Court should actually be seen as a very last resort if you and your spouse absolutely cannot sort out certain things in the divorce, such as dividing assets and child custody.

Keeping your divorce out of the courtroom is one of the best things you can do to make your divorce less costly, time consuming, and emotional. Even though there are certain documents that must be processed through a court, your entire case doesn’t always have to. There are many other steps you can take to lessen your chances of ending up in court:

Collaborative Divorce
This is when both parties will sign up to a non-confrontational approach to coming to agreements. Collaboratively trained lawyers will be assigned to each, and there are then a series of 4-ay meetings with each party and their legal representation. The purpose of these meetings is to go through the details and reach agreement by negotiation.

Both parties meet with a trained mediator who’s primary role is to listen to the difference of opinion from each side and help the two of you find ways to resolve them. Once a solution has been found, the necessary legal documents will be drawn up so the agreement is legally recorded.

Don’t Fight Over Little Stuff
There are likely many things that you and your spouse argue about that are surely less important than some of the things in the big picture you could be paying more attention to. Stop fighting over who gets to keep the family dinner table and start worrying about how each of you will play a better role in your children’s lives after the divorce.

Put the Kids First
When you focus on what is best for the children, you can both try and put aside your own feelings of hurt or anger toward each other and remain calm in coming to a solution for what is best for your children, short term and long term.

Be Realistic
Be reasonable in what you expect from a settlement and don’t lose it if things don’t go exactly your way. Be willing to compromise.

Understand Your Options
Court is not the only answer, and a lot of people don’t understand this. Be clear with each other on what you are trying to achieve, and go from there.

Going through a divorce is an extremely difficult transition, especially with the added stress of how to settle things outside of court. The Phoenix divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group can help ease this stress by helping you find productive ways to get what you deserve out of your case, while keeping it out of court. Visit today for a free consultation.

How To Protect Yourself During an Arizona Divorce

When a person files for a divorce, there is a chance the other party will contest the divorce. This is unfortunate, but it does happen. At this point, it is important that you and your children’s safely is not compromised. For this reason, there are some practical solutions to protecting yourself physically, emotionally, and financially during a divorce in Arizona. Read on to learn more.

How to Physically Protect Yourself During a Divorce

If you believe your spouse poses a physical threat to you or your children, you should seriously consider getting an Order of Protection from the court. This can be done through a municipal or Superior Court. With your lawyer, you complete a Petition for Order of Protection at one of the computers at the court house. From here, the petition is handed over to the Clerk of the Court who will then instruct you to which courtroom you should proceed.

In this courtroom, a judge will read your petition and either grant or deny an Order of Protection. When granted, the court prohibits your spouse from any having contact with you. This oftentimes includes going to your place of residence and place of employment. You can also ask the court to prohibit your spouse from contacting you by phone, email, or even social media. The Order of Protection will be served to your spouse by a law enforcement official. This order is in effect for one year from the date the judge signs it.

However, an Order of Protection is not a complete guarantee of your safety. Your spouse can still choose to break the law by contacting you via phone or showing up at your home or place you work. For this reason, it’s important to contact a personal security consultant to further explore how you can protect yourself during a divorce in Arizona.

How to Emotionally Protect Yourself During a Divorce

Going through a divorce can be an emotionally stressful time. That’s why it is important to remain as emotionally balanced as possible. It is always a good idea to seek out the help of a professional and qualified mental health counselor who can help you achieve this balance. He or she might recommend medication to help you through this tough time. Seeking out help for anxiety, depression or stress will in no way impact your court proceedings. There is no judgment by the court for pursuing this kind of help. On the contrary, this is seen as a responsible action on your part, and judges are very understanding when it comes to the stress that getting a divorce causes.

How to Financially Protect Yourself During a Divorce

Once your divorce is completed, you can expect to gain half of what you had before you filed for divorce. This means that all assets, debts, and money in the bank will be divided equally between you and your spouse. However, going from a two income household to a one income household means you will have less money, in general, after the divorce. There is also child support and spousal support to take into consideration. Depending upon whom is paying whom, this could help or hurt you. For this reason, it’s important to establish a budget that will break down how you will support yourself after the divorce is final.

You may have no issues when it comes to supporting yourself during or after a divorce, or you may need to seek out help from friends and family. It’s also important to finalize an agreement with your spouse to pay off all unsecured debt, like credit cards. In some cases, selling your home or another asset may be required to do this. Overall, your goal should be to eliminate all financial ties to your spouse during the divorce so there are no loose ends once the divorce is finalized. This will also help your financial future by protecting your credit score if your spouse does not meet financial obligations concerning shared debt.

To learn more about protecting yourself during a divorce in Arizona, contact the Sampair Group in Arizona at 623-777-3926 today.