Posts

What If the Other Parent Won’t Comply With the Court Order?

Unfortunately, having a court order for child custody doesn’t always guarantee that things will be smooth sailing. This is often the case when the other parent fails to comply with a custody order that has been issued by a judge. If you’re going through this, you may be wondering what recourse you have and what steps you should take next.

Document Everything

First and foremost, try to remain calm; emotions naturally run high when child custody agreements are not being followed. However, you will want to keep your composure as much as you can. Focus your efforts on documenting each instance where the other parent is not complying with the court order. If the parent is late picking up or dropping your child off, for example, be sure to write down the date(s) and the time(s) that this occurred.

The more documentation you have of the parent not following your court order, the better your case will look in court.

File a Motion to Enforce Parenting Time

The next step you will most likely want to take is to file a legal motion with the court; this is known as a motion to enforce parenting time. When you submit this motion, a judge will review your original court order, as well as any documentation or evidence you have gathered. In some cases, the other parent may be fined for violating the original custody order. In other cases, the judge may change the original custody order to give you more time with the child or make other alterations to the original agreement.

Attend Necessary Hearings

In some cases, a judge may request additional information from each party. When this occurs, a court hearing will be scheduled. Typically, both parties will be required to attend. This is an important time to bring any additional evidence or documentation you may have of the other parent’s failure to follow the original court order. At this hearing, you should also be prepared to hear counter-allegations that the other parent may have against you (whether they are true or not).

At the end of the hearing, the judge will most likely reach a decision on whether to alter the original court order or to impose fines (or even jail time) on the other parent.

Get the Legal Representation You Need

Dealing with a parent who does not follow your child custody order can be stressful and frustrating. The good news is that there are steps you can take to help get your order enforced. Still, the best way to navigate this complex legal process is to work with an experienced family law attorney. At The Sampair Group, we offer the representation and guidance you need during this difficult time. Find out more about our attorneys or schedule your free consultation with us today!

image of father with two children

What to Do When Children Don’t Want to Go to Visitation

When a visitation schedule is set by a court order, following these orders should be pretty straight-forward…right? Well, not always. When a child no longer wants to attend a visitation with another parent, this can complicate matters significantly. By having a better understanding of why these issues arise and what your legal responsibilities are, you can handle this difficult situation properly.

Common Reasons for Visitation Hesitation

When a child seems hesitant or downright refuses to attend visitation with the other parent, the first step you’ll want to take is to determine why this is occurring. This is especially important is the hesitation seems to have come out of nowhere.

Some of the most common reasons that a child may not want to attend visitation include:

  • a poor relationship with the other parent’s partner/spouse or other children in the household
  • general resentment over a divorce or separation
  • a poor relationship with the other parent
  • a change in household rules or rituals that the child is uncomfortable with

Some less common (but more serious) reasons a child may be hesitant about visitation include:

  • substance abuse in the other home
  • physical/emotional abuse in the other home
  • sexual misconduct in the other home

Do You Have to Make Your Child Attend Visitation?

Unless you have a legal reason to withhold your child’s visitation from the other parent (such as evidence/claims of abuse or misconduct), it is generally your legal responsibility to follow your court-ordered parenting plan as closely as possible. This remains true even if the other parent is behind on child support payments.

If you suspect that your child simply doesn’t want to visit with the other parent due to other circumstances (like not wanting to be away from friends or having to conform to a different set of “house rules”), there are some strategies you can employ. The best course of action is usually to speak with the other parent and come up with a plan that will make everybody happier and more comfortable.

If visitation continues to be an issue, however, you can go back to court and request a re-working of the visitation plan. Before you do this, though, you’ll want to make sure the other parent is aware of the issues and that you have made an honest attempt to work through them. You’ll also want to start carefully documenting each instance where your child refuses or is hesitant to visit the other parent, as this documentation may come in handy in court.

Consult With a Family Lawyer for More Help

If you’re running into issues with your court-ordered visitation schedule, it can also be helpful to consult with a family lawyer who specializes in these types of cases. An experienced lawyer will be able to provide you with the personalized guidance and legal advice you need to move forward and challenge your current visitation arrangement in court if needed.

Ready to schedule your free consultation with our legal team? The Sampair Group is always here to assist you. Contact us today to find out more about what we can do for you.

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.

What can I do to get full custody?

Question:

What can I do to get full custody?

I have been separated from my husband for 10 months and want full custody. I am from Arizona and 12 months ago we moved to South Dakota to be closer to his family. After 2 months of being there he cheated on me and we have been separated ever since. Recently (under the advice of a lawyer) I moved back with the kids to Arizona. The kids are 2.5 and 5 years old. I now have an apartment, a job and have enrolled the oldest in school. All my family and support system is here in Arizona. The father is verbally abusive, but does not want to help with child care. I want full or sole custody of the children to ensure they stay with me. What kind of battle will I have to fight to ensure this happens. There is no family or friends for me in South Dakota and I absolutely do not want to go back there. I would give up any child support just to have full custody.

Answer:

You do not have the option of “giving up child support to have full custody.” At such time as you file for divorce, the court will address custody and support as well as other issues.

An important note is that the children must reside back here in Arizona for 6 months before the court will have jurisdiction over them.

You should seek a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney and probably not discuss the matter with your husband again until you do.

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/.

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.

What To Expect in a Child Custody Hearing

Arizona child custody attorneyAny kind of court appearance can be intimidating, especially if it is one surrounding your children and child custody. The ultimate goal of the court is to put the best interest of the child first and create an arrangement that serves their physical, mental, and emotional needs. But as a parent, you must be prepared before going into your child custody hearing.

Child custody matters are usually handled in a small setting. The typical courtroom may be much smaller and more intimate than you would expect, with very few people present. While the hearing is taking place, the judge wants to be sure that the child is in a stable environment where they can adjust to the changes. They will look at a number of factors before determining the final agreement.

During the hearing, the judge will look closely at each of the homes that the child may live in. This is to determine that the homes are safe and close to schools, health care and shopping. They will also take into consideration the room-to-people in the household ratio so they can be sure that the house the child is living in full time can accommodate all residents of the home appropriately.

If you want to be the sole custodial parent, there are some things you are going to have to prove. You must prove that you can provide the bulk of emotional support and guidance for your child. Doing this may include showing the judge your work and social schedule to show them that you have an adequate amount of time to take care of your child.

A child custody hearing may involve multiple testimonies from the parents, the child, and any witnesses such as family members, school officials, etc. Each of the parties will testify on their communication and experiences with the child and how they feel each parent benefits the child in which ways. They may present their opinion on who they feel should be the custodial parent of the child.

Child custody can be difficult to maneuver, so it is important to always seek the guidance of a Glendale child custody attorney. Visit www.sampair.com to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney at The Sampair Group that will fight for your parental rights.

Making the Most Out of Supervised Visitation (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Arizona child custody lawyerIf choosing a supervisor is an option made available to you, see if you can recommend a family member or close friend. This can make the situation a bit more comfortable rather than having a stranger in the room while you are trying to enjoy time with your child. Also, instead of having one or two supervisors available, see if you can have a pool of supervisors appointed to you. This allows for less risk of having your visitation cancelled if a supervisor cannot attend a visitation session.

During your visitation, do not discuss any problems between you and the other parent. This is time to be spent with your children and focus on them. Keep discussions to topics such as their schooling and activities they enjoy doing.

Use this time to strengthen your emotional bond with you children. Stay interested in what they talk about or what they play with, and use their interests to think of new ideas and things to do in future visitations.

Supervisors are appointed to not just ensure that parenting time is successful, but also to report back to the courts. Having a supervisor report back to the court about how strong of a relationship you are forming with your child can go a long way in counteracting any negative accusations from your ex.

Child custody can be tricky and complicated, but it’s important that you make the most of your supervised parenting time in such a way that you may eventually be able to get parenting time on your own terms without a supervisor. For more information regarding child custody and how your rights can be protected, contact a family law attorney at The Sampair Group. Visit www.sampair.com for more information.

Questions From AVVO: Court Ordered Visitation

divorce attorney Mesa ArizonaQuestion

My ex and I have been divorced for a year and have followed the visitation plan to a T. The plan states that I am to get our child for “at least seven weeks during the summer months”…I have requested my seven weeks through my ex-wife but she doesn’t agree with those dates. She is due to have a child during the summer and wants our daughter there…understandably. But I am getting married and chose the summer so that my daughter could be there. We cannot come to an agreement to verbally modify the summer visit. Can my ex refuse to send my daughter because she doesn’t agree with the dates I’ve chosen? They are in line with the same dates she visited last year.

Patrick’s Answer

If your ex is not obeying the Court Orders then she is violating them. Thus you have a right to file a Petition to Enforceme Parenting Time. However you will likely not be able to timely resolve this issue with such a filing as it will likely not be heard by the Court until sometime in the summer. That would be too late for both you and your ex. In that case she will do whatever she wants as there is no way to get the hearing sooner. However I think rather than a Petition to Enforce, you should file a Motion with the Court to resolve this issue on an expedited basis as the children will be negatively affected without a resolution. Typically the Court will give you a telephonic hearing on the matter. I believe that you may need to have an attorney help you in order to ensure this matter is heard before the summer.

Sharing the custody of a child can be challenging – especially when there are special engagements on the horizon. The experienced attorneys at The Sampair Group can help. Visit www.sampair.com to schedule a free consultation.

Stay-At-Home Parents Going Back to Work After Divorce

divorce lawyer Mesa ArizonaBeing a stay-at-home parent and then entering back into the workforce after a divorce can be one of the most challenging things you experience after the split. Going back to work by some people that are so used to being a stay-at-home parent is sometimes seen as a negative thing, but often it is absolutely necessary, especially when it comes to finances. Returning to a full-time or even a part-time job can be quite difficult, but there are some ways to make this transition easier.

Don’t Limit Yourself
You’ve been out of the work force for a while now, so this is a good time to think about what kind of job you have always wanted to have. Don’t base it just off of what you have done in the past. A job in a different field than what is directly related to your past experience or degree could be much better for your new life.

Update Your Resume
Your resume should include all life experiences that are relevant to the workplace. If you have been a full-time stay-at-home mom for a while, do not underestimate the skills you have acquired. List any volunteer jobs you have helped with for your children’s schools, or outside of the school. Think of what you CAN do, not just what you have done. As always, remember to check once, twice, three times over your resume for any spelling or grammatical errors, and ask a friend to take a look at it for a second pair of eyes and opinion.

Dress the Part
If you have been a stay-at-home parent for a pretty good amount of time, it’s likely that they don’t have the wardrobe needed for job interviews. If your budget permits, buy at last one nice outfit for the job hunt. If not, check out consignment stores or ask a friend or family to borrow some attire until you can afford to build your own professional wardrobe.

Network
Get the word out about your job search. Tell friends, family members, and former coworkers that are in the job market. Call former supervisors and let them know you are searching for a job and they can possibly provide a recommendation or reference.

Returning to the job market out of being gone for a while can be intimidating, but with the right amount of work and confidence you can feel confident selling yourself and your skills, talents and abilities. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself whenever the opportunity is there.