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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.

Is Your Behavior The Reason For Your Divorce?

In any marriage there are a number of things that could potentially hurt the relationship to the point of separation and divorce. Avoid the following behaviors to improve your chances of a long-term, healthy marriage.

Ignoring Issues
Unexpressed feelings will only eventually build up over a period of time, turning small annoyances into very big resentments, which then leads to very heated arguments. The bigger the problem gets, the more likely each partner is to stop trusting the other, and calm communication becomes very difficult to have. To avoid this from happening, bring up and deal with issues as they come up. Confront them in a calm manner and work on them together.

Not Spending Enough Time Together
In order for a marriage to work, you need to give yourselves times to connect with each other. The less you do this, the more disconnected and distant your relationship will become. Prioritize outside factors that may be affecting your relationship, such as a job, friends, hobbies, etc., and be sure that you are working hard to make time for your partner. Go for a walk, agree to a date night, or just spend a couple of nights a week sitting around talking to each other. You may be surprised at how parallel your lives had become if other things from your busy schedule were getting in the way of your marriage.

Communication Problems
Being able to resolve issues effectively is a big factor in making a marriage work. But if you can’t approach your problems in a mature way, it’s not going to help anyone. Being passive-aggressive or slamming the door and leaving as response to an argument is not the way to go. This will give your partner the feeling of abandonment and they will feel as if you don’t care enough about the marriage to effectively handle issues that come up, no matter the nature of the conflict. To avoid this, both partners need to work together to resolving issues in a way that will meet the needs of both of you.

Invalidation
When an argument gets intense, a spouse may fall into the terrible habit of discrediting or weakening their partner as a quick reaction. Oftentimes, they will objectify their spouse or focus on only their negative characteristics as a way to destroy their self-esteem. Most partners react this way without thinking first, but that is no excuse for how it can negatively affect a person’s emotions both long-term and short-term. To avoid doing this, try and stay calm during all arguments, no matter how angry you may be. Staying calm with help you stay rational under the heat of anger and intense emotions.

Sometimes even avoiding these behaviors isn’t enough to prevent divorce. At The Sampair Group, our high conflict resolution attorneys take the time to get to know you and the circumstances of your case. Contact an experienced divorce attorney today for a free initial consultation. 

How To Handle Your Child’s Healthcare After Divorce

The process of divorce can be particularly trying, but often the toll can be especially hard on the children. Generally both parents will be looking out for their child’s best interest, but it can be difficult to navigate the legal landscape that they find themselves in.

How to divide costs and provide or maintain healthcare coverage for your child can be difficult even in the best of situations, so it is important to have an experienced divorce lawyer to guide you through the process.

There are many factors to consider when choosing an attorney, such as experience, focus, and personal attention. As well, the thought of exorbitant legal fees can overwhelm you before the legal process even begins. The lawyers at The Sampair Group are well versed in Arizona family law and understand the needs that you may have during the difficult time of divorce. They also have flexible payment options to help reduce the stress on you and your family.

In Arizona, child support is based on the combined income of both parents, but there are many variables that can come in to play. Having a committed Phoenix family law attorney to explain the Arizona Child Support Guidelines will make the process easier for all parties, most importantly, the children.

Family law courts will order that a child’s medical and dental coverage is provided by the parents, but in many cases an arrangement between both parties can be made outside of court to arrange healthcare. A lengthy court process can draw out a healthcare agreement between parents longer than may be necessary, and there are many factors that weigh in when deciding how best to provide for children during a divorce. Consulting with a Phoenix child custody lawyer can help make the transition as smooth as possible and ensure that the needs of your child are met in the best manner available.

Divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through; in the Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Glendale area The Sampair Group has compassionate family law attorneys ready to guide you through the process as easily as possible.

Annulment vs. Divorce (Part 1)

Both divorce and annulments are valid ways to dissolve a marriage, but there are many differences between the two. In this post, family law attorneys at The Sampair Group inform clients on the basics of annulment and the process to receiving one.

The definition of annulment is stated as an agreement that nullifies a marriage and disavows its existence, returning both parties to their prior single status as if they were never married. This agreement cannot be reached through mutual discussion, as the court must legally grant an annulment.

In order to validate the need for annulment, one of the parties in the marriage must show that there was an obstruction to the validity of the marriage at the time it was made official. Annulments usually take place after a few weeks or months of marriage, but can happen after longer periods of time.

In Arizona, there are several circumstances which would allow for an annulment and make a marriage invalid:

Void Marriage
A void marriage is considered invalid from its beginning. The reasons for a void marriage could be:

  • There is blood relation between spouses
  • The marriage is between two people of the same sex

Voidable Marriage
A voidable marriage remains valid until one spouse chooses to legally annul the marriage. In order for the annulment to be established, the court must confirm that at least one of the following factors applied to the marriage that would make it invalid:

  • A prior marriage was still in effect
  • One spouse was underage
  • Fraud and/or misrepresentation of religion
  • Inability to consummate the marriage
  • No valid license for the marriage exists
  • One spouse was coerced or threatened into the agreement
  • One spouse has concealed a criminal past or communicable disease
  • Lack of mental or physical capacity
  • Other grounds that are found by the court to be valid reasons for annulment

To begin this process, contact an experienced Phoenix divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group to get assistance in obtaining a petition and determining the legal ground for your desired annulment.

Legal vs. Religious Annulment
After an annulment is granted, the couple can then request a religious annulment if needed. This will allow for one or both people to remarry within a church or anyone else, and have this second union recognized by the church. The grounds for religious annulments differ from civil annulment guidelines, and are different within each church.

If you are seeking a divorce or annulment and need legal advice, the experienced divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group can represent you. Schedule a free initial consultation with a divorce lawyer in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley today.

Types of Protection Orders in Arizona

If you are in a situation where you feel the need for protection from another person, you should consider filing for an Order of Protection. A protective order is a document issued by a judge to order a person to not have any contact with you in order to prevent any abusive or threatening behavior toward you, whether from a former spouse or another individual. If you feel you are being threatened or harassed, contact a Family Law attorney immediately. There are five general types of protective orders available in Arizona:

1. Order of Protection
In Arizona, an Order of Protection prohibits a person from having any contact with the individual who obtained the order. This order is designed to prevent addition acts of domestic violence or harassment, and may call for other means of protection including the removal of firearms from the home as well as granting the person seeking the order to have exclusive use of the marital home.

2. Emergency Order of Protection
A judge will grant this type of order in writing, verbal agreement or telephonically to protect a person who is in imminent danger of domestic violence. An Emergency Order of Protection is only valid until the close of the next judicial business day, where after further action for an order of protection must be taken.

3. Release Order
Following Arizona law, when a person that has been arrested for an act of domestic violence is released from custody, they are subject to Release Order conditions that are in place to protect the alleged victim and anyone else involved. Within 24 hours of the defendant’s arrest, the court must forward a certified copy of the Release Order to the county sheriff, who must keep the updated document on accessible record.

4. Injunction Against Harassment
Any Arizona court can issue an Injunction Against Harassment when a person claims that another is committing a series of harassing events toward them over a period of time. This order does not require any specific type of relationship between the plaintiff and defendant and cannot be used to claim exclusive use of a home. Injunction Against Harassment orders can often require the defendant to cease all contact with the plaintiff and stay away from their home, workplace, school, etc.

5. Injunction Against Workplace Harassment
If an employer operating a business in Arizona feels that a person in their same workplace has committed a series of harassing events toward others at the same place of business, they can request from the court an Injunction Against Workplace Harassment. It can be filed on behalf of any number of employees, anyone at the work site for business-relations or anyone that enters the business or work site.

At The Sampair Group, our experienced family law attorneys can help you file an Order of Protection if you feel you are being threatened or harassed. If you feel you have been wrongfully served with an Order of Protection, contact us immediately and we can help you fight the order.

Divorce Mediation – Why It Works

Mesa, Arizona divorce lawyerMany couples will try their best to dilute the drama that can come with divorce, but with so many issues to deal with (custody agreements, splitting assets, etc.), the stress can become overwhelming and unexpected, and this burden can continue even after the divorce is finalized.

Divorce mediation is one of the options during a divorce as an alternative to going to court. Many issues can be settled in mediation including division of property, child support and custody, and alimony. The parties will get together with a third party mediator who will assist them in settling the issues. There are many benefits to mediation and advantages it can bring to you and your family during this difficult time.

When a couple decides to take their divorce in front of a judge, there are substantial legal fees for both sides. Mediation is much less costly than what it would cost each spouse to pay for an attorney.

Time is also a factor that you can benefit from when you choose mediation. The amount of time it takes to mediate a divorce rather than go through court proceedings is much different. Mediation motivates both parties to get agreements settled as soon as possible since it is more likely that the couple will be able to compromise on more issues, rather than going through a heated court battle.

When a couple chooses mediation to settle their divorce, they have power over the outcome, whereas if a divorce is settled in court, all decisions are made by the judge. In court, the atmosphere over these decisions can be strict and cold, while the mood during mediation is more reasonable and calm. Both sides must sign the mediation agreement, and if a joint decision cannot be made, the couple can choose to continue negotiation or then take the case to a later date.

Mediation is great for sensitive and difficult issues such as creating a co-parenting plan and dividing important assets. Many issues are discussed in the process with a neutral mediator that helps to equalize the balance in a difficult time and create space for agreement and comfort. For more information on mediation during your divorce, contact a Glendale divorce attorney at The Sampair Group. Visit www.sampair.com for more information.

Pets and Divorce in Arizona

When it comes to the term “child custody,” most people will only think of human children. For some couples, their pets are their children, and there can be just as much of a battle over who gets the dog or cat after a divorce. Family and divorce law is designated to protect the rights and best interests of human children and divorce, whereas laws regarding who gets the family pet are placed toward the best interest of the owner.

Pets are considered personal and community property of a couple and the court can award custody of a pet to only one owner. If there are minor children involved in the divorce, the pet will usually be placed in the home where the children spend the most of their time. If there are no minor children, the judge will take into consideration the agreements that can possibly be made between each spouse regarding custody of the pet.

If the parties cannot come to an agreement or there is contest to the judges decision about where the pet will go, the judge can and may order the pet to be sold.

Just as it can be done in regular divorce proceedings over property, child custody, etc., mediation is also an option for divorcing couples that cannot agree on where the pet should go.

The court may also take into consideration the overall situation surrounding your pet, such as its health, training, and other needs. Both parties do have the option of formulating a sort of “custody agreement” about the pet, which will outline who will retain ownership of the dog, if there are visitation rights, financial responsibility for the pet, and who can make medical decisions for the pet, including euthanasia.

Any pet can quickly become part of the family. For more information on having your rights legally protected in a divorce, whether it be over a pet, child, or a piece of furniture, contact a Surprise divorce attorney at The Sampair Group. Visit us today at https://www.sampair.com/firm-overview/divorce/ for more information.

Types of Spousal Support

Alimony, also called spousal support/maintenance, is financial support from one spouse to another based upon the financial situation of the supported spouse at the time of the divorce proceedings. There are four main types of alimony that can be awarded.

Temporary Spousal Support/Alimony
Temporary spousal support is given when the parties are separated and the divorce is not yet final. This type of support is provided so that the spouse can maintain his/her lifestyle between the time of separation and divorce. It is necessary due to the length of time it could take before the final divorce decree is issues and a permanent alimony award is given. It is up to the discretion of the court as to whether an award of temporary alimony is warranted.

Rehabilitative Spousal Support/Alimony (Short-Term Support)
Rehabilitative spousal support is award for a short period and is used to support the spouse during a period of retraining or re-education for re-entry into an education or job experience, enabling them to become more self-sufficient. This kind of spousal support is normally set for a fixed period, and the parties can agree to a time line. If they cannot agree on one, the court will mandate one for them. If you are the one receiving the rehabilitative support, you want to be sure that your final divorce decree states that the need for spousal support is subject to later review, which allows the courts to look at the facts of a case and determine if the support should be continued, discontinued, or modified.
The courts are more compelled to award this type of alimony when a spouse seeking it has potential for establishing a viable career in the near future.

Permanent Spousal Support/Alimony (Long-Term Support)
After a long marriage, generally longer than 10 years, permanent support may be granted if the judge concludes that the dependent spouse will most likely not go back into the workforce and will need indefinite support. Permanent may end if either the recipient or payor dies, or if the recipient remarries. In some states, it ends if the recipient begins living with another person in a marriage-like relationship where the couple provides mutual support and shares financial responsibilities.
Permanent alimony becomes effective on the day of the final dissolution of the marriage. It can come in various forms:
– Periodic payments (monthly)
– Lump sum payments
– Annuity payments
– Trust payments
– In-kind payments (i.e. making direct payments for services)

Reimbursement Spousal Support
This is the only type of spousal support that is not fully based on financial need. It is instead a way to compensate a spouse who had sacrificed education, training or career advancement during the marriage by taking any job that would support the family, while the other spouse obtained a more profitable career. Reimbursement support ends whenever the agreement or court order says it does. The termination of this type of spousal support is generally not tied to an event such as the supported spouse finding work or remarrying.

If you are in the middle of divorce litigation and need guidance for spousal support, contact an experienced Glendale divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group today.

The Basics of Pro Se Divorce

Pro Se DivorceIn order to obtain a divorce, a lawyer is not always required. Pro Se (a Latin term meaning “his or her own”) divorce litigation means you are representing yourself in your divorce case without an attorney.

A do-it-yourself divorce is not always the wisest decision, but it is an option of money for an attorney is a concern, and if your divorce isn’t complicated.

The procedures in Pro Se divorce are the same as if you had hired a lawyer, except you will be responsible for filing and filling out all of the legal forms. It is important to discuss the option for Pro Se divorce with your spouse. If you both agree on the conditions of your divorce, then filing your own papers is an option. If you cannot agree, however, you should seek the assistance of a Phoenix family law attorney to legally protect yourself in the proceeding. You also have the option of hiring a lawyer solely for looking at the paperwork to make sure it is all correct and legal.

If the following are true, you may qualify for a Pro Se divorce:
– You haven’t been married more than a few years
– You have no children for which you have to work out custody, visitation and child support
– You and your spouse do not have a lot of money, community property or shared debt to divide.
– You do not suspect your spouse is hiding any financial assets and you’re not filing for bankruptcy
– Neither spouse is in the U.S. military
– You are able to support yourself after the divorce

In Arizona, a divorce is started when one party files a legal document titled a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with (or without) Children. Numerous other documents must be filed with this petition, including a Summon, various notices to the other party regarding creditors, health insurance, and parenting classes if applicable. In Arizona, the filing fee for the Petition is $236.00 to file and begin the divorce process. The other party will have to file a response fee if they file a response.

The Petition must state certain facts that are required for the court to determine if it has jurisdiction over the parties and for the court to grant the divorce, followed by any necessary orders regarding any children involved.

Every person has the right to be a Pro Se litigant, but the divorce process can be complex and very stressful. If you are choosing to represent yourself, it is very important to become familiar with your state divorce laws, the current version of your state’s Rules of Civil Procedure, the Family Court Codes and the rules that apply to you by your local county court. Contact an experienced divorce lawyer in Glendale at The Sampair Group today to learn more about the Pro Se divorce process and how to successfully represent yourself while staying legally protected.

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Common Mistakes People Make During Divorce (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Taking Legal Advice From Friends
Even if they have been through a divorce, or two, or even three before, you should never take the word of your friends over the advice of your lawyer or mediator. They’re basing their advice on their experience, which is alright, but everyone’s experience is going to be different, from how you handle it emotionally to how much money you will be getting in the settlement. There are laws that must be followed, and your lawyer is responsible for making sure your divorce proceedings respect the respective laws. Be sure to take everything that your friend or family say with a grain of salt, then speak to your lawyer.

Letting Your Lawyer Make All Decisions For You
No matter how experienced your divorce attorney is, this divorce still involves you and your emotional needs or wants. It is you that is going to have to live with the choices made in the proceedings for the rest of your life, not your lawyer. After taking the advice of your attorney, carefully weigh the different options of each road before deciding on which course you want to take.

Settling for Less Than You Want or Deserve
When you are settling all agreements, you want to be sure that you aren’t underestimating your expenses and what you will need in order to adjust to the new lifestyle of a single person and be comfortable within your means. If you are the spouse making payments, be sure you are not committing to paying more than you can afford, while still being fair to your ex-spouse and yourself. Both spouses need to make a diligent plan for how they are going to live separate lives, so be sure you never settle too low or commit too high.

Every divorce case is different. An experienced Glendale divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group will look at the unique circumstances of your divorce and work with you to reach the best possible outcome. Contact us today for a free consultation.