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Arizona Guide to Hybrid Child Custody Orders

Struggling with a child custody dispute can lead to serious disharmony within the family unit. When working with a former spouse regarding child custody, individuals are likely to learn about joint custody and sole custody. While these limited options imply black-and-white solutions, the reality is anything but.

If you are negotiating a custody order within the state of Arizona, make sure you have legal representation to guide you through the process. Experts at The Sampair Group have decades of industry experience working in complicated custody scenarios.

Today, we are going to highlight the reality of hybrid child custody orders.

Legal Custody vs Physical Custody

Before the courts determine which type of child custody is right for your family, it is pivotal that we better understand the two forms of custody in general. Custody references the legal parenting and decision-making over a child. Family law judges will often opt to have joint custody to allow the child access to both family members. If the judge doesn’t think seeing both parents is in the best interest of the child, other custody options may be considered.

Parenting Time is also referred to as physical custody. Working with a judge, parents will lay out a parenting plan that shows when the child will spend time with each member of the family. One parent may have legal authority while the other parent has physical custody or even supervised parenting orders.

So, what exactly is a hybrid child custody order?

Hybrid Custody Scenarios

Hybrid custody orders are often decided upon in situations where amenable agreements can be made. Hybrid custody orders are often done when both parents retain a positive relationship with one another as well as their child.

A few other examples of hybrid custody scenarios include:

  • One Parent Is In The Military –  A parent deployed for military service will often yield hybrid custody situations.
  • Injury or Illness – Parents may occasionally or temporarily cede their parenting rights or legal decision-making in the event of an injury or sudden bout of illness.
  • One Parent Is A Doctor – A medical professional parent may want to have the final say on choices made regarding their child’s health.

Every family dynamic is unique and that means taking a custom, you-first approach to your child custody scenario. For residents of Arizona, the team at The Sampair Group can help.

Contact The Sampair Group

The Sampair Group focuses on family law for clients throughout Maricopa County. Providing aggressive and affordable legal representation, The Sampair Group represents clients for complex legal matters including divorce cases, child custody, child relocation, and property and debt division.  With 39 + years of decorated legal experience, Attorney Patrick Sampair leads a distinguished team of attorneys with more than 60 combined years of experience in the field.

Other reasons to contact The Sampair Group for representation include

  • Free Consultation
  • Flat Fees
  • Pay As You Go Service (No Retainer or Deposit)
  • Limited Scope and Full-Service Representation

With locations in Glendale, Scottsdale, and Chandler, you can rest easy by contacting The Sampair Group, today!

What Is A Preliminary Injunction In A Divorce?

A preliminary injunction is a tool used in Arizona divorce law to ensure that both parties act in good faith during the legal process of finalizing a divorce. The injunction applies to both people and limits the things that they are able to do throughout the proceedings that follow so that neither person can commit an act that would preemptively undermine the final ruling by the court. It serves primarily to protect property, assets, and any children that the couple shares.

What Can be Protected by a Preliminary Injunction?

The following concerns can be addressed via the preliminary injunction, and both parties will be required to abide by the terms of the injunction.

  • The sale of property, such as the home, car, or personal belongings with value. This applies to assets that the couple shares and neither person may intentionally stop making mortgage or loan payments that would jeopardize these assets.
  • Traveling with children out of state. this injunction can make it a criminal offense for either person to take the children out of state. If either party wishes to take children out of state while the case is pending, they must obtain the written consent of the other parent or permission from the Judge.

  • Taking out new loans. Shared assets cannot be used as collateral on any new loans or mortgages. This protects both people from the potential negative financial impact of these actions.
  • Altering insurance policies. Any health, auto, life, or disability insurance coverage must not be allowed to lapse during the divorce proceedings.
  • Harassment. Any intimidation, violent behavior, or actions that can be construed as stalking or psychologically manipulative are included in this provision. If one of the parties violates the injunction, criminal charges can be brought separately.

Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-315(G)

In the state of Arizona, it is a crime to violate the terms of a primary injunction. It is important that both parties understand the terms of the injunction and how to seek an exception under special circumstances. If the terms are violated, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor that carries with it a jail sentence of up to six months. It can also result in separate criminal charges and additional legal fees and fines, depending on the circumstances of the breach.

In addition to preventing the sale or transfer of ownership of any property or assets that the couple shares, a preliminary injunction will make it a criminal act to conceal any property. Ways that people attempt to do this can include signing property over to relatives and friends or giving property to others in the form of monetary gifts.

Learn About Your Rights with a Free Consultation

The Sampair Group represents clients throughout Arizona, in the Chandler, Glendale, and Scottsdale areas. If you are facing or seeking a divorce, contact us to schedule a free consultation. Give us a call or fill out our contact form to learn more.

image of stock options

How to Deal with Stock Options in an Arizona Divorce

Stock options are an incredibly complicated subject in even the best of times, much less during a contentious divorce. To ensure that your assets are protected and properly divested, keep on reading to learn more about stock options, what they are, and how they are handled during a divorce in the state of Arizona.

What Are Stock Options?

In the world of finance, a stock option is a contract that gives the owner the right, but not the obligation, to purchase or sell an asset at a specific price-point.  In the typical employer-employee relationship, this stock option is known as a grant. An option will be exercised at the moment that the employee in the relationship purchases the stock by following the options granted in the contract.

Options are granted for a litany of different reasons, but they always break down into either Qualified or Non-Qualified stock options.

  • Qualified Stock Options — A qualified stock option is also known as a statutory incentive stock option, otherwise known as the ISO. Taxes due on qualified stock options aren’t to be paid until the sale of the stock, when it was sold, and its corresponding tax rates.
  • Non-Qualified Stock Options — Taxing non-qualified stock options occurs after the value has been discerned from the established market, creating the income tax that is due when the grant is optioned.

Grants that are given, received, or exercised during a marriage will become a stock that has been exercised and as such will be distributed as a part of the community assets during the divorce.  These stock options can then be realized due to several factors about employment, financial compensation, or in exchange for a raise.

Consider how this might affect Silicon Valley employees investing heavily in startups, and we can quickly see how this becomes a point of contention during a divorce.

Distributing Stock Options During an Arizona Divorce

Arizona falls in line with many of the same state laws regarding divesting assets and stock options during a divorce. Like many other states, Arizona will distribute property resulting from the marriage only if that property was acquired during the marriage. Property that is available after the divorce has commenced is beholden to far trickier conversations.

Generally speaking, Arizona will treat stock options in much the same way that they do pension plans. As addressed through Brebaugh v Deane, 211 Ariz. 95, stock options must be further looked at to see the terms of their execution as well as when the grant would be paid out for potential future efforts, thus throwing a wrench into the entire conversation.

Unfortunately, there are no clear-cut answers when it comes to how a stock option will be dispersed during divorce proceedings. Depending on the court’s decision, and the case presented, the answer can go one of many directions. There are ways to maximize your chances at properly protecting your assets and that is through professional legal help.

The Sampair Group Is Ready to Help

To learn more about stock options and how they are distributed during a divorce, contact The Sampair Group for same or next-day appointments by telephone and video conference. The Sampair Group is made up of acclaimed family law attorneys who have represented thousands of Arizonans in their time of need.

With almost 40 years of legal experience, Attorney Patrick Sampair is ready to stand for YOU during your next legal battle.

 

image of phone screen with social media apps

The Impact of Social Media During Divorce

Social media seems to be everywhere these days. Just about everyone has at least one social media profile they use to keep in touch with people and to share information about their lives. However, these types of sites are still relatively new and many people don’t think about the negative impacts of the things they post, particularly when it comes to relationships. Understanding the impact of social media in terms of romantic relationships, especially when it comes to divorce, is essential to ensure you’re protected.

Social Media’s Impact on Relationships

Whether you’re married or just dating at the moment, social media can be both positive and negative for relationships, but few people think about the negative effects. Some of the issues that can arise in relationships as a result of social media include:

  • Infidelity — Social media makes it much easier for individuals to stray from their current relationship. Many people, women in particular, often find their inboxes filled with messages from members of the opposite sex who are clearly in relationships based on their profiles. These messages are often framed as a way to cheat without getting caught as easily.
  • Unrealistic Expectations — Many people these days are well-versed in using Photoshop, image filters and others methods of altering their pictures. It’s easy to forget this when you’re scrolling through social media and find yourself attracted to someone. If you do start a relationship with someone you meet on social media, you may have unrealistic expectations of how they look and how they live their life.
  • Distractions — Most people have gone onto social media at some point to quickly respond to someone, only to find themselves sucked into reading articles, browsing pictures or watching videos. Rather than spending time with their partner, they end up with their nose to their phone for far longer than they intended.
  • Insecurity — Social media is a breeding ground for insecurity. Whether you don’t feel your significant other is posting enough about you or they are commenting or liking too many posts from a member of the opposite sex, it’s easy to begin feeling jealousy when there’s no reason to.

How Social Media Impacts Divorces

Attorneys today are now using social media as a tool to help them win divorce cases for their clients. They can be used to prove income if you claim you can’t pay child or spousal support or may even contain evidence of cheating. It’s important to remember that anything you post can, and most likely will, be used against you, so it’s essential to be careful about what you post, especially if you’re going through a divorce case. Never post anything illegal, such as drug use, even if you’re just joking around with your friends. If you do spend money, keep it off social media. The last thing anyone needs is to be painted as a reckless spender. Never bad mouth your ex, even if you have good reason to. The key in child custody cases is to be diplomatic and present yourself as capable of being neutral for the children’s sake. Finally, if you do have a new significant other, hold off on making an announcement and posting pictures until after your divorce is finalized.

image of divorced couple splitting property

How Does Community Property Get Split Up During a Divorce?

An Introduction to Community Property Division

Divorce can prove a remarkably traumatic and messy experience even when everything goes about as smoothly as you might realistically hope. The division of property that you and your spouse have shared for years, however, can seem especially tricky, often introducing fresh grievances or re-igniting old ones in the process. You may have additional problems dealing with Arizona’s adherence to the principle of community property division. Let’s examine this method of divvying up assets between divorcing spouses so you can gain a better understanding of how it works, what problems it might entail, and how to ensure the most satisfactory possible outcome.

Community Property vs. Equitable Distribution

Most U.S. states use a method known as equitable distribution to determine who gets what in a divorce case. In equitable distribution, the court has full power to distribute assets based on its interpretation of what’s fair to each party. Depending on such variables as which spouse earns the lion’s share of the household income, spends more time looking after the children, or both spouses’ potential earning power, the court may then award a spouse anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of the overall marital assets.

Nine states, including Arizona, currently break this trend by dividing marital assets according to community property rules. (In Alaska, however, community property is treated as an option, not a requirement.) This means that the marital assets are divided 50/50 regardless of the roles played by each spouse in the marriage. The court has far less power over the awarding of assets, although it does retain some say over what constitutes an equal split. Your share of the community property may include assets that you don’t especially want while depriving you of others that you genuinely prize.

Separate Property vs. Community Property: What Counts as Which?

Community property doesn’t place everything you and your spouse own into a single lump — instead, it applies specifically to items that you purchased during your marriage. Exceptions to this rule include property acquired separately as a gift or inheritance, as well as any property acquired following a petition for divorce that results in an actual divorce decree.

Certain assets are considered separate property, placing them outside the bounds of the divorce settlement. These include any real estate or other property you acquired before getting married, as well as any rent or other additional value generated by that property.

The First Step: Complete Disclosure and Initial Assessment

You and your spouse (with the aid of your respective attorneys) can iron out much of the confusion over your community property division before the matter ever goes before the court. First and foremost, both of you must disclose everything you own, from pets and jewelry to cash, cars, and homes. Attempting to shield any of your assets by excluding them from the community property inventory will only introduce costly, upsetting complications to your divorce. Once you and your spouse have listed every asset you can think of, you’ll need to figure an estimate of value to help the court decide what makes for an equitable division.

Business, Home, and Debt Division 

If you started your own business or purchased a business before your marriage, that business remains wholly yours as separate property. However, the court may decide to award your spouse a percentage of the business’s appreciation in value, or even an outright percentage of the business itself, if your spouse contributed to the business’s success either financially or through hard work.

A home purchased before marriage, with the deed in your name alone, remains your separate property, giving you the right to ask your spouse to vacate it. However, if you both hold joint title to the home and your spouse serves as your children’s primary caregiver, your spouse may actually be the one who continues to live on the property.

Community property includes debts as well as assets. Debts are typically considered the problem of both spouses equally, regardless of who incurred the debt or whether the debt was incurred before the marriage.

Don’t go it alone when pursuing a community property divorce. Contact our firm to speak to a skilled Arizona divorce attorney.

 

Woman preparing to testify from home

How to Prepare to Testify in Court from Home

With all the restrictions that have been put into place due to the Covid-19 pandemic, more things can be done from home. While most people think about working from home, courts have also turned to at-home sessions, particularly in the areas of divorces. It’s relatively easy to allow individuals to appear from their homes, providing the same testimony they could provide in a courtroom. The same is true for having lawyers in attendance. However, before you appear in court from home, there are a few things you should do to prepare.

Ensure a Quiet Environment

Distractions abound when you’re at home, and it’s essential to eliminate them as much as possible before you testify in court to ensure everything goes smoothly. For instance, in the case of a divorce, make arrangements for your children to be out of the home. Not only will this greatly minimize noise and distractions, but it’s best they can’t hear what goes on in the case. You should also turn off the TV or anything else that makes noise. Wearing headphones can help reduce the noise you hear, but it’s also essential to make sure there aren’t any sources of noise, including other people, because you are in a professional setting and even with your headphones on, your mic will pick it up and transmit it to the other parties on the call.

Understand Screen Sharing

Evidence can be an important part of a case. However, since you won’t be there in person to hand a sheet of paper to the judge or the other party, you will need to share it in other ways. Most video conferencing software offer simple screen sharing tools you can use, but you need to be familiar with them. Set up a mock call using the software you’ll use so you can practice ahead of time. This will ensure the process goes smoothly and there are fewer delays during the call.

Use a Computer, Not the Phone

Most video conferencing software allows you to call in from your phone if you don’t have access to a computer, but when you’re testifying in court, whether for a divorce or any other type of case, it’s best to have a monitor in front of you. Not only does it allow you to see the other people in the call, but if anyone shares their screen to present evidence or other documents for your review, you need to see them clearly. You can’t do that when you’re using your phone to participate in the call.

Testifying in court can be a nerve-wracking experience. While you may feel more comfortable testifying from the comfort of your home, it’s still important to maintain a more professional setting so you’re sure the case will proceed smoothly.

Consider These 4 Things Before Divorce

Deciding to divorce your spouse is a significant decision that should never be made without taking the time to think through all of your options. While divorcing is a very stressful time, it is critical to not move forward in haste. Before moving forward with the divorce paperwork, there are some important considerations and actions you should take ahead of time.

Divorce vs. legal separation

As a couple, you may want to consider doing a legal separation before filing for divorce. Filing for divorce will legally end your marriage, while a legal separation keeps the marriage intact while recognizing through legal agreements that you will be living apart. There are many reasons a couple might consider a legal separation over a divorce.

The main reason to consider legal separation is if you believe there is a chance to reconcile in the future. Legal separation will allow you to live separately with separate bank account etc. while still leaving the opportunity for you to work through your differences.

Health care is also another reason one might choose legal separation over divorce. In a legal separation, a spouse will be able to remain on the spouses’ healthcare because legally, they are still married.

Religion is another reason a couple may choose legal separation. Because many religions have strong beliefs when it comes to divorce, the couple can remain part of the church even though they are separated.

If one of you is in the military, you may want to legally separate until after ten years of marriage. After ten years of marriage, you or your spouse will benefit from the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act.

Similarly to military service, if you remain married for ten years, you will gain certain social security benefits that you would lose in the event of a divorce.

By separating legal, you will also be able to retain the tax benefits that you are eligible as a legally married couple.

Pull together important legal documents

The divorce process is stressful and will require a lot of paperwork. Before moving forward with the divorce,  it is best to gather all of your legal and financial documents together and make copies of everything. If you are prepared with the paperwork in advance, it will help streamline the process and remove some of the stress.

Make a plan for your finances Many people make the mistake of not understanding the cost of a divorce. You will need to hire an attorney, and if your divorce is complicated, you w

ill have a large amount of legal bills to pay. Also, you will need to adjust your spending to adjust to life as a one-income household. Putting a financial plan in place will make sure you are prepared when it comes time to file for divorce.

Put a plan in place to help the children through the process

If you have children and are planning on divorcing, it is critical that you put a plan in place to help them through the process. In addition to coming up with a custody plan that has the best interest of the child at heart, you may want to consider providing them with a counselor. Divorces are a very emotional process for kids, and speaking to a professional about their feelings can help them adjust.

Social Media And Your Divorce

In today’s culture, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media and professional networking sites and applications have become a big part of how people interact with each other. Profiles are constantly being updated with shared information about our lives, jobs, etc. When a husband and wife going through a divorce are sharing this information on social networks without considering the potential consequences, it can be detrimental to the already existing stress that comes with the breakup of a marriage. The divorce process is full of stressors including legal, financial, and emotional battles between both parties, and the use of social media doesn’t make it any easier.

Be careful about who you trust on your social media profiles. Not every “friend” is a friend, and sometimes a message you thought to be private turns out to be public information that can be used against you. When posting on your social networking profiles, keep in mind the mutual friends of you and your former spouse. Some of these friends might be on your side, but some of them can easily turn on you or use information on your profile against you when taking the side of your ex, all because of something you may have posted on Facebook.

Information exchanged via technology such as emails or text messages can possibly be subpoenaed and picked through as admissible evidence in court. In many cases, one or both parties of the divorce process will claim to not have enough money for child support, spousal support, or other payments, but their Facebook profile picture of them with a new boat or on a fancy vacation may prove otherwise. The credibility of any parties that do this can be called into question immediately.

Take a few minutes to reflect on the nature of your social media posts. It would be wise to not post anything on these profiles that you wouldn’t say in person to the whole world. Information on the Internet doesn’t ever just go away immediately if it’s deleted. Exercise caution, discretion and good judgment when updating your profile. Don’t be malicious or talk poorly about your ex, as this information can quickly be used against you.

Have a discussion with your former partner to formulate a sort of social media agreement. Such issues should be addressed like what kind of information should not be posted by either of you, can you post pictures of your kids, etc. Establish one kind of communication between the two of you, such as email, to create a lower risk of impulsive comments on various types of networks. One tweet or wall post can quickly generate irreversible damage and lead to much more conflict in a divorce proceeding than you expected. Many family law attorneys will also recommend to clients that it would be in the best interest of all involved in the divorce to shut down social media profiles at the start of the divorce process.

Divorce is hard enough, and a frequent online presence can cause big problems. It is important to discuss your online presence with a legal professional. Phoenix divorce lawyers at The Sampair Group will help you understand which information is worth protecting as you battle the issues in a divorce process. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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.

How To Spot An Excellent Divorce Attorney

More often than not, divorces can be overwhelming, complicated and emotional. On top of all of the stress and emotion that comes with a divorce, you will need to find an expert Phoenix divorce lawyer that is reliable and knowledgeable enough to help through the process to win your case and continue with your life. Here are 5  traits to look for when searching for the best divorce attorney:

1. Expert in the Field
A good divorce attorney knows more than just the basics of matrimonial law and divorce. You want to find a lawyer whose knowledge goes further than just the cookie cutter basics of two people separating. They should know all laws regarding divorce including child custody, domestic abuse/violence laws, basic tax laws, property division, alimony, and real estate laws. It is very important that they know the judges, legal system ad workings of the court where your case is occurring. Every jurisdiction is different. A good family attorney is one that has courtroom experience and is familiar with the specifics of your case so that they can adapt their legal strategy specifically to your needs.

2. A Negotiator and a Listener
It is important that your divorce lawyer is someone that can help with the negotiation and problem solving aspects of your divorce. They should work well with people, be able to help you reach a compromise with your spouse and make you feel comfortable that they are helping you. A good family attorney has an understanding of psychology and human relationships in order to help their client(s) keep a positive outlook throughout the proceedings.

3. Personal Referrals
While you don’t want to rely solely on the recommendation of others without doing your own research, referrals are always a good thing to start with. Talk to people in your community who have experience similar problems as yours in divorce hearings. Ask them who their lawyers are and how they feel about how they handled their case. Chances are you’ll end up with several good connections if you ask around.

4. Affordability and Quality
When it comes to most divorce attorneys, you get what you pay for. If you don’t have much money to spend on legal assistance for your divorce proceedings, you may have to hire a newer attorney who isn’t as experienced as a lawyer who has been practicing law for a while. However, if the attorney you can afford is a up-and-coming divorce lawyer, there is an advantage in that they may work a little harder for you in order to build up a good reputation.

5. Trustworthiness
Your divorce lawyer is someone you will be sharing a lot of confidential information with, and it is important that they prove to you that they are someone you can trust and feel comfortable sharing such things with. An ideal family attorney is kind, compassionate and reassuring. A divorce is a trying time, and you are going to be going through a rollercoaster of emotions, and an excellent divorce lawyer will not rush you or be aggressive in their approach. They should also share and support your basic philosophy or attitude toward divorce when it comes to their methods.

Family law covers many issues that involve a range of emotions. A good family law attorney knows that he or she is helping someone through one of the most difficult times in their lives. At The Sampair Group, our high conflict resolution attorneys take the time to get to know you and the circumstances of your case. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.