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Homeschooling and Child Custody

Homeschooling has become more and more popular in recent years. Some parents choose this option for religious reasons, others because they simply believe their child will be better served by education at home. Homeschooling can become an issue in a custody case in several situations. When a parenting plan is being created, the plan has to work with the schooling schedule. Sometimes one parent opposes homeschooling and would prefer a child attend public or private schools and will not consent to homeschooling.

In Arizona, the parent with legal decision-making authority makes the decision about how and where the child will be educated. If legal decision-making is being decided by the court and the parents have differing views on schooling, this may play a part in the decision the court makes. The custody decision is made based on what is in the child’s best interests. One of the factors considered by the court in this analysis is the child’s adjustment to school. If a child is currently homeschooled, the court will examine how the child is doing and if remaining in homeschooling would benefit the child. If the child is currently in a traditional school, the court will again examine the child’s progress and determine if remaining in the school or switching to homeschooling is best.

Homeschooling is legal and is considered an appropriate education as long as the parent providing the education meets the standards and requirements set by the state. In the past, homeschooling may have been a negative factor, but today it is considered acceptable.

If you are involved in a custody battle involving homeschooling, gather records and evidence that demonstrate your child’s progress (or lack of progress) in the current schooling environment. If your child was previously involved in a different kind of schooling, evidence of how well your child fared in that environment will provide needed contrast.

Call the Sampair Group for advice in your custody case in the Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix areas of Arizona. We are ready to help you with your case.

Prevent Co-Parenting Failures

Learning to co-parent after a divorce or separation involves a learning curve. Even though you’ve been parents together for your child’s entire life, your relationship and situation is different after a divorce. Avoid these common pitfalls as you create a co-parenting relationship that will hopefully work for many years.

  • Ignoring the terms of the agreement. You have an order that spells your parenting schedule. You and your ex need to be flexible and ready to make changes as both of you will need accommodations from time to time. However it’s important to respect the basic terms of the order and the overall split of time. The written order should be what you follow as much of the time as possible. The details matter, such as transfer times, and these should not be lost.
  • Misunderstanding motives. If you and your ex don’t actually talk about things, it’s easy to assume he or she is trying to make your life difficult or stick it to you. Try to avoid the blame game and simply assume good motives whenever possible. In the end, motivation doesn’t really matter – you need to deal with the actual situation itself, not the reasons behind it.
  • Incorrect focus. The point of your co-parenting agreement or order is to provide your child with meaningful contact with both parents. The order is not supposed to be about putting parent’s wishes first. The focus is supposed to be on the child. Staying focused on that will allow both of you to live the agreement more easily.
  • No partnership. To parent together you have to see yourselves as on the same team. People on the same team cooperate, root for each other, and share common goals and plans. It can be hard to get to the place where you are able to cooperate, but you will likely feel much more in balance if you can reach this point.

The Sampair Group is ready to represent you in your family court case in the Glendale, Mesa, and Phoenix areas of Arizona. Schedule a time to speak with one of our skilled attorneys.

Three Steps To Coming Up With A Workable Visitation Schedule

As every parent knows, you can’t split a child in half. This means when a couple divorces, a workable child custody and parenting time schedule must be put in place. Gone are the days where mothers were granted sole custody with fathers being given visitation every other weekend, a few holidays, and a couple of weeks during the summer break from school. In today’s world, parents are sharing time equally with their children and participating in co-parenting activities at an increasing rate.

The Arizona statutes set forth the rules and procedures that are used in every divorce case. There are provisions regarding property distribution, powers of the Court, and all things relating to your kids. The laws are long and complex, but a quick three steps to coming up with a custody and visitation schedule that works includes:

  • Considering the preference of the child. This is appropriate when dealing with older, more mature children.
  • Taking a look at the ability of the custodial parent to provide for the financial needs of the kids.
  • Accounting for any special needs of the children, whether physically or emotionally.

In some cases both parents are equally qualified to provide care for the kids so the Court might enter an order of joint custody. Doing so will eliminate the need for payment of child support, since both parents are giving equal time to the children. When joint custody is not a possibility, liberal visitation is typically granted. When the parties work together to make decisions regarding important issues for their kids’ welfare the result is a happier, healthier child and a more harmonious living environment for everyone.

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

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.

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.

Do Divorced Parents Spell Divorce For The Kids Too?

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

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

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

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

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.

Protecting Your Kids from the Impact of Divorce

As hard as divorce is for you, you know it is even harder for your child. As a parent, your instinct is to protect your child from the divorce as much as possible. Wanting to make life better for your child is a noble instinct, but you must first realize that it is impossible to completely shield your child from the divorce. He is going to be impacted by it and as a parent there is no way for you to stop that. What you can do is take steps to lessen the impact.

Continue to parent together. If you and your ex can work together as parents, show up at important events and functions, and communicate civilly in front of your child you will do a lot to make the divorce easier for your child. Co-parenting is essential as you move forward. It may not always be easy but it will always be worth it.

Listen to your parental instincts. If you think your child is having trouble, you are probably right. Step in early. If you see issues with school or grades popping up, get on top of them. If it seems your child is depressed or struggling emotionally, get him to a therapist.

Introduce new people gradually. While it is most definitely your right to build a new personal life after divorce, introducing dates to your kids can cause confusion and emotional turmoil. You don’t need to pretend you don’t have a life, but for the first year or so, it makes sense to be careful. Don’t introduce your children to new partners until the relationship has developed and become committed. And then don’t expect a ringing endorsement or any kind of attachment.

Call the Sampair Group for help with your divorce or family law case. We regularly represent clients in Mesa, Glendale, and Phoenix and are ready to provide the representation you need.

5 Things Not to Do During Your Divorce

Avoid making these mistakes as you are moving through the divorce process.

Getting pregnant. Having a baby with your spouse or anyone else will infinitely complicate not only your life, but your divorce.

  1. Refusing to see a therapist. There are lots of ways a therapist might be useful in your divorce. If either of you are on the fence about the divorce, marriage counseling can help you find clarity. A therapist can help you deal with the difficult emotions and decisions you face. A therapist can also be a crucial way to help your children find their way through the divorce.
  2. Making big purchases. Finances are an important issue in your divorce and most people find that divorce puts a bit of a squeeze on their wallet as they adjust to a new household budget. This is not the time to buy a brand new car, plan an expensive vacation, or buy an engagement ring for your new fiancé. Wait till things settle down and you have a good understanding of your new financial situation.
  3. Refusing to ask for what you are entitled to. Some people want a complete break with their spouse and don’t want to take any money from them in the future through child or spousal support. While it is understanding to want no financial ties, giving up these payments can cause you to struggle for many years to come.
  4. Keeping facts from your lawyer. To get the best representation possible, you need to be completely honest with your attorney. Everything you say is confidential and getting all the facts on the table will help you make the best decisions possible.

The Sampair Group provides divorce representation in Maricopa County, Arizona. Our attorneys offer years of experience and a welcoming attitude. Contact us today for an appointment.

Coping With the Other Parent’s New Relationship

Most people who divorce or go through a custody case at some point move on and enter into new relationships. As a parent, you may have concerns about how your ex’s new relationship is going to affect your children. It’s important to remember that in most cases, the new relationship just takes some adjustment and is usually not detrimental to your children. The best way to handle a new relationship is to set up some ground rules before either you or your ex get involved with anyone new.

–          Agree to wait to introduce your children to new love interests until the relationship is serious. It can be confusing and upsetting for children to meet a variety of dates. Waiting until the relationship has become serious also means the new partner has a vested interest in developing a healthy relationship with your kids.

–          Discuss overnights with each other. Some parents are comfortable with new partners staying overnight when children are in the home. Others are not. It’s important to discuss this before it becomes a problem. You may end up agreeing to disagree, but it is still worth having the conversation.

–          Agree to keep “Mom” and “Dad” names exclusive. If either of you should ever remarry or enter into a long-term committed relationship, it can be helpful to have an existing agreement that your child will never call a stepparent or live-in partner by your parenting names. It might seem inconceivable to you now, but if you ex remarries someone with children, there can be a tendency to encourage everyone in the house to call the stepparent by the same name.

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