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.


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.

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.

Important Questions to Ask Your Family Law Attorney

Arizona divorce lawyerLife is full of ups and downs, and divorce is just one aspect of it. When you are looking for a family attorney, it is important to remember that you don’t have to choose the first lawyer you meet. This is true even if you have received a referral from a family member or friend; remember to do your homework. You need to choose the lawyer that is best for your situation. Here are a few questions to ask your potential attorney.

  • What is their specialty? You will want a lawyer that specializes in what you need, whether it be divorce, etc.
  • What is your strategy for my case?
  • How long do you take to return phone calls? You want your counsel to be accessible as often as possible.
  • How long will it take to resolve my case? Times can vary, but your lawyer should be able to give you a general idea of how long it will take.
  • How will you charge me? You should find out if there will be an hourly rate, retainer, or other fees.
  • Do you allow me to negotiate directly with my spouse? This is important since you always want to have a say during the divorce process.
  • What’s your estimate of the total cost of this divorce?
  • Will anyone else in your office be working on my case? If you will not be working directly with your lawyer, you should know who you will be dealing with on a day-to-day basis.

There are many lawyers that specialize in family law. However, in all reality family law is a subspecialty that involves a lot of legal knowledge and an intricate understanding of complex legal principles.

When it comes to family law there are even deeper specialties, such as international custody law, special orders, and guardianship. There is no substitute for experience, so make sure you hire an attorney that has dealt with similar cases in the past. At The Sampair Group we guarantee to work with you and your specific circumstances to make sure your rights are protected. Visit for a free consultation.

Married in One State, Divorced in Another (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

What If Both Parties File at Once?
Sometimes you may file for divorce as soon as you gain residency in your new state, only to find out your spouse filed for divorce at the exact same time. However, odds are extremely slim that both parties would submit their paperwork to the court at the exact same moment. Therefore, the courts will evaluate the time and date of each filing and the case will be given to the state in which the papers were first filed. This can lead to frustration but is the fairest way for the courts to proceed with the case.

Hiring a Lawyer
When you are facing an inter-state divorce case, you will need a lawyer just as much, if not more than, you would need one for a local case. Unfortunately, because the laws vary so widely by state and lawyers are only licensed to practice in certain states, you need to hire a lawyer in the state in which the case is filed. Fortunately, many lawyers conduct phone interviews and you may even be able to meet via webcam and video conferencing. This can help you get through your case from afar. Having a lawyer in the local area of the case will also keep you from having to travel back and forth too often. You will still need to appear for court hearings, but your lawyer can handle much of the footwork.

Special Considerations for Out of State Divorces
Getting divorced across different states can create new problems for couples. One of the most important aspects of a divorce that requires special attention is child custody. When two parents live closer together, the options for child custody are virtually endless. Any configuration that works well for both parties can be used. However, when you are dealing with longer distances between states, these situations are more limited. In most cases, one person must be the custodial parent and keep the children throughout the school year. The other parent will often alternate holiday breaks and receive a large portion of time during the summer months. Younger children may visit more frequently for shorter periods until they reach school age.

Another special consideration that is required for out of state divorce is travel expenses, especially when children are involved. Even local custody orders dictate which parent is responsible for transportation at given times. For instance, having the receiving parent pay for a plane ticket is a common agreement. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to pay for airline tickets several times a year. When you are considering your custody and divorce agreement, it is important to address who is responsible for travel costs. In many situations, the person who moved is the one who will be responsible for travel expenses, especially if the other party can’t afford them.

Getting divorced when you reside in different states can be a difficult process. Because most people don’t see themselves getting a divorce when they initially get married, it can come as a shock when they are facing divorce in the future. Living in different states compounds the issue, requiring individuals to meet residency requirements and to look into the intricacies of filing when the spouse lives elsewhere. It can be more difficult to serve the other individual and to travel for the hearings. However, the difficulties don’t end there. It is also difficult to deal with the distance after the divorce, especially when children are involved. With the right help, you can handle your case more easily. Contact a Glendale divorce attorney at The Sampair Group today by visiting and schedule a free consultation.

Married in One State, Divorced in Another (Part 1)

When most people get married, they do so without really considering that they may find themselves ready to get a divorce someday. In many cases, individuals who are going through a divorce will do so in the same state in which they were married. However, not everyone remains living in the same place. Whether one of you is involved in the military, you followed a job or you simply were looking for a change of pace, you may find yourself looking at a divorce in another state, while your spouse stays behind in the previous state. So what happens when you need to get divorced in a different state than the one you were married in?

Residency Requirements
One of the biggest concerns in regard to getting divorced in a different state is the residency requirement. Most states require you to live in that state for at least six months before you file for divorce. Without residency, your former state will still maintain jurisdiction over your court case. This is one of the most difficult aspects of filing for divorce in a different state, causing you to wait longer than you want in cases where you have recently moved.

Waiving Residency Requirements
There are actually some situations in which the court can waive residency requirements. However, it can be difficult to obtain this waiver in most situations. Before you begin your divorce process, contact a local lawyer to find out if there are any loopholes that may apply to you. In some situations, a legal separation can also be a reason to waive residency requirements, allowing you to move forward with your divorce, even if you haven’t been living there for the required amount of time.

Can Your Spouse File First?
Many people think it is best to file first when getting a divorce. While filing first does not provide you with any clear benefits, it does put you on the offensive, which many people find to be the best place to be in a divorce. However, when you are dealing with residency requirements, you may wonder if your spouse can file first. If your spouse still lives in the original state from which you recently moved, he or she can file in that location first. When this happens, your divorce will fall under that state’s rules and you will need to travel back and forth to go to your court hearings.

Can You Change Jurisdiction?
Once a court case is filed, you may find it is an inconvenience, especially if your spouse filed first and you have to travel back to your original state to attend hearings. While you may be able to appear via phone for some hearings, you may not always be able to do this. In these situations, you may wish to change jurisdiction to bring your case closer to home. Unfortunately, many states will not release jurisdiction over a case as long as one party still lives in that state. This means you may be forced to continue to deal with the original state unless the other party moves to another location.

Read more in Part 2

Should I Change Back To My Maiden Name After Divorce? (Part 1)

A divorce brings about many changes, from residence and free time to parenting changes and new financial situations. There is no right or wrong decision to make when it comes to deciding if you should change your last name back to your maiden name after a divorce, but there are some factors to consider:

1. Make Sure You Can Change Your Name
The first and biggest thing to determine is that you divorce decree allows for you to change your name back after the divorce if you choose. Some people do not change their last name not because they don’t want to, but because their attorney’s did not assure that this would be an option available to them in their divorce agreement. At The Sampair Group, we will explain to you all of your options when it comes to your divorce decree and the different guidelines involved with it.

2. A New Name, A New Life
Changing your name back to your maiden name could be a symbol of a clean break and a new life. During your marriage, one of the many attachments you had to your spouse was sharing a name and constantly being associated with them. Changing your name back may give you the option to get back to living your own life, with your own name back. This could symbolize your independence and completely disconnect you from your ex through not just a name, but also legally, financially and emotionally.

3. Consider Your Children
If you had children as a result of your marriage, it is likely that they have their father’s last name, just as you do. Many people do not change their last name back to their maiden name after a divorce because they don’t want to have a different last name than their children. This shouldn’t necessarily be a deciding factor in your decision to change your name or not, but is definitely something that is considered.

Read more in Part 2

Changing your name after a divorce is your own personal decision. Surprise divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group will look at the circumstances of your case and your life to help you determine what would be the best decision for you. Contact us today at for a free consultation.