How to Write a Parenting Plan

Creating a parenting plan may feel like a daunting task, particularly if you and your ex don’t agree. The parenting plan is absolutely essential as it lays out your rights and responsibilities as you move forward and sets up a framework that allows your child to have a relationship and time with both of you.

Keep in mind that your parenting plan should detail all of your agreements about how you will share time with your child, so make sure everything is in writing.

When you first begin to consider how to organize your time, take a look at your schedules, where you live, where your child goes to school, and the activities your child has. It often makes sense to write out everyone’s schedule on a calendar so you can really see how it looks. You can maximize your respective time with your child by scheduling parenting time at times when you are each the most available. Having time while your child is at school or you are at work benefits neither you nor your child.

Try to minimize transfers if possible. Transporting your child back and forth becomes tiring for everyone, so longer times with each parent can help decrease that craziness. Make your lives easier by specifying exact transfer times and exactly how much leeway is going to be allowed. Set up a system for making changes to the plan and specify how changes must be requested and how far in advance.

Your parenting plan will affect your life and that of your child for many years to come, so it’s important to get it done right. The Sampair Group offers experienced help in creating parenting plans in the Glendale, Mesa, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Phoenix areas of Arizona. Call us now to make an appointment with one of our skilled attorneys.

Child Relocation in Arizona

Following a divorce that involves a child or children, the custodial parents may wish to relocate with the children. By Arizona state law, the court cannot keep a custodial parent from relocating, but a compromise can be difficult to negotiate between parents when visitation rights will be affected. As a result, these cases are typically resolved in court.

Many child custody orders require that both parents live in the same state. However, the custodial parent has the right to request relocation for a child, as long as the reasons for relocation are legitimate and in the best interest of the child. Child relocation is often granted in situations that involve the custodial parent getting a new job or remarrying.

If both parents already live in the same state and share custody, the parent that wants to relocate with the child more than 100 miles from their current residence must provide written notice 60 days in advance of a projected move. The non-custodial parent then has a 30-day window to decline the request. If they object, they must file a formal objection with the court, where a judge will set a hearing with both parents present to decide if the move is in the best interest of the child. If there is no response to the written notice, the court will assume that there is no objection, and will grant relocation, given that all reasons for relocation are valid in opinion of a judge. During this process, child custody agreements, child support payments, and visitation will be re-litigated.

Before approving relocation, the court must make specific findings and relevant factors that solidify that the relocation is being decided in the best interest of the child. The parent who wants to relocate has the legal burden of proving what is in the child’s best interest.

Examples of factors that the court will consider include:

  • Reasons that the custodial parent wants to relocate (employment, family support, etc.)
  • How the move will impact the child educationally and emotionally
  • How the move will affect the other parent’s ability to visit the child

If you need representation in a family law dispute, contact an experience Phoenix Family Law attorney at The Sampair Group today to get a decision made in your favor.

The Impact of Divorce On Your Career

Any big stress in your life can have a potential impact on your career. Divorce ranks high among life stressors but it also directly impacts your schedule and mental acuity. Your divorce requires not only emotional energy, but lots of time off from work to meet with your attorney or mediator and days off for court appearances. This can have a detrimental effect on your career success. Keep it all together by following these steps:

  • Minimize time off. Find out if your attorney or mediator can meet with you on weekends. Save your personal days for court appearances which are always scheduled during business hours.
  • Talk to your boss. Be up front about what you are going through and be clear that you are dedicated to your job. Make it clear you will go above and beyond your duties by working at night, from home, or by taking on additional responsibility once your case has concluded.
  • Look the part. Be particularly careful to present an outer appearance of success, clarity, and dedication to your job at all times. Dress well. Keep your office space organized.
  • Control what you can and let go of the rest. You can minimize the impact on your workplace by taking personal calls away from your co-workers and having breakdowns in the bathroom alone, but you have no control over your spouse showing up at your office or your company being notified that your wages are being garnished for child support. You can’t control everything and no one expects you to.

When you are facing a divorce, you have many questions. Talk with an attorney who understands your concerns and is available to answer your questions. The Sampair Group services all of Maricopa County and our attorneys are ready to discuss your options with you today.

Do Assets Need To Be Divided During a Divorce?

Divorce is so complicated because it involves complex financial calculations and formulas. The actual ending of your relationship to each is quite simple. Divorce takes so much time and money because the assets and debts of the marriage must be divided and often there are important issues regarding children. You may wonder then if it is possible to divorce without dividing up assets. Understanding what can happen to your assets during a divorce is important.

In general, with certain important exceptions, any assets or debts acquired during your marriage by either of you are community assets and debts.They belongs to both of you and must be divided in the divorce. The ownership of community propertymust be addressed in your divorce (the exception to this would be if you have had a marriage of very short duration and have not had time to acquire any community assets or debts).

You don’t need to go to court to have this division occur. You and your spouse can create a settlement agreement on your own.Decide how you want to split everything up. If you agree, it’s a fairly simple matter for your attorney to draft the divorce papers and move your divorce through the courts quickly without undue delay. Even if you can’t decide on your own, an attorney or mediator can help you quickly divide everything so that your divorce can move forward without contest.

Some spouses keep things completely separate throughout their marriage, never putting two names on any asset or debt. Although these items are legally community property, this can simplify your divorce if you agree that each will own or be responsible for assets or debts currently in the spouse’s own names.

The Sampair Grouphandles divorce and family law cases in the Mesa, Phoenix, and Glendale areas of Arizona. Our attorneys are uniquely qualified to handle your case with attention to detail. Call our office to schedule a convenient appointment today.

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.

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/.

How to Survive a Custody Battle

If you’re involved in a custody case that’s ugly or about to get ugly, it’s one of the most challenging things you will ever face. You will get through this though! Keep these tips in mind to keep your sanity.

  • Keep your kids out of it. As hard as it is to keep them uninvolved, it’s important. Hearing parents say negative things about each other is only going to hurt your child.
  • Keep a journal. A journal will help you not only track when parenting time is being exercised by you and your ex, but it also allows you to detail your involvement in your child’s life. This could be useful at your trial.
  • Find a way to blow off steam. You need an outlet for your emotions because there are going to be days when you’re going to feel very frustrated. Plan regular exercise, time with friends, and fun things to keep your head together through the tough times.
  • Try to find a settlement. Because custody trials are painful, work with your attorney or mediator to try to find a solution before you have to go to a trial.
  • Limit contact with your ex. Keep it all business – transferring your child and handling finances. Try to avoid confrontations and outbursts. They aren’t going to help since your situation is being decided in the legal arena, not in any blow up you might have with each other.
  • Stick to your temporary orders. Even if you think your temporary custody order is unfair, stick to it to show the judge you are reliable and law-abiding.
  • Don’t listen to well-meaning advice. Only you and your attorney know all the facts about your case. Friends and family may try to tell you what to do, but ultimately the case needs to be decided according to the law.

The Sampair Group is your choice for family law cases in Maricopa County. Call us for an appointment with one of our knowledgeable attorneys now.

Making a Fresh Start After Divorce

Surviving your divorce takes strength and determination. When you emerge on the other side, you are ready for a fresh start and a chance to create the life that will make you happy.

The most important thing to do is think about what you really want. What are your goals and dreams? What will make you feel happy? It takes time to come out of the divorce fog and really see what will make you feel good about your life, but it’s definitely worth taking the time to consider all of your options. You might be ready for a big change like going back to school, finding a new job, taking up an exciting new hobby, or losing weight. This is a great time in your life to make drastic changes and explore options and new avenues.

You will need to take into account some practical considerations, and money is at the top of the list. Create a reasonable budget for yourself that allows you to cover all of your monthly and recurring expenses with your new household income.  Figure out exactly how much you need each month to pay your bills, then set aside some money each month for savings or emergencies and finally review how much discretionary income you have left to play with.

Dating may be part of your fresh start or you might feel you just aren’t ready to jump in yet. Listen to your instincts and take the time to heal your heart. Allow your friends to slowly lead you into the dating scene when you are ready and don’t forget to consider online dating.

Keep in mind that if you have children, this is a time of great change for them as well. While it is important for you to find your own way and make big changes in your own life, make sure your kids don’t feel bewildered by too many changes all at once. Strive to create some consistency, while at the same time allowing yourself the space you need to figure out where your life is going from here.

The Sampair Group is available to help you with your divorce, custody case, or post-decree modifications. Our highly experienced attorneys represent clients in the Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix areas of Arizona. Make an appointment today.

Sharing Children’s Expenses After Divorce

Child support is ordered as a set amount, but most orders also include language about sharing children’s expenses, such as medical co-pays, school supplies, clothing, extra-curricular costs and equipment, music lessons, and more.

It can be difficult to keep track of these additional expenses if you are the parent seeking to be reimbursed. Follow these suggestions for staying organized.

  • Have bills sent directly to your ex. This is easiest to do with medical bills. This avoids the repayment problem and makes your ex legally responsible to the medical provider, keeping you out of it. The only problem is if you ex doesn’t pay, the provider may refuse to treat your child until the account is current. You may also be able to do this with extra-curricular fees or sports teams costs.
  • Get separate receipts. If you go to Target to buy school supplies as well as toilet paper and window cleaner, get a separate receipt for the items your ex needs to reimburse you for. It will make tracking expenses easier.
  • Scan in all receipts that need to go to your ex. Keep the originals. Send the scans with a cover letter showing the detailed breakdown of the expenses and the amount due to you.
  • Keep a spreadsheet of all expenses. Mark when you send them to your ex and when you are reimbursed. This will allow you to see at a glance what you have not been repaid for.
  • Get estimates when possible. When large costs are looming, such as braces or the cost of a new musical instrument, get an estimate of the cost in advance and send it to your ex. This allows him or her to plan and is a very courteous way to show you want to work cooperatively.
  • Consider using an app. There are now several apps specifically designed for co-parents that allows you to create entries and attach receipts. You and your ex use the app together and can track expenses this way.

Call the Sampair Group to discuss your child support case. We are located in Maricopa County, Arizona and are ready to work with you. Make an appointment today.