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Tips For Keeping Your Divorce Out Of Court

Getting a divorce doesn’t always mean that your case will go to court. Court should actually be seen as a very last resort if you and your spouse absolutely cannot sort out certain things in the divorce, such as dividing assets and child custody.

Keeping your divorce out of the courtroom is one of the best things you can do to make your divorce less costly, time consuming, and emotional. Even though there are certain documents that must be processed through a court, your entire case doesn’t always have to. There are many other steps you can take to lessen your chances of ending up in court:

Collaborative Divorce
This is when both parties will sign up to a non-confrontational approach to coming to agreements. Collaboratively trained lawyers will be assigned to each, and there are then a series of 4-ay meetings with each party and their legal representation. The purpose of these meetings is to go through the details and reach agreement by negotiation.

Mediation
Both parties meet with a trained mediator who’s primary role is to listen to the difference of opinion from each side and help the two of you find ways to resolve them. Once a solution has been found, the necessary legal documents will be drawn up so the agreement is legally recorded.

Don’t Fight Over Little Stuff
There are likely many things that you and your spouse argue about that are surely less important than some of the things in the big picture you could be paying more attention to. Stop fighting over who gets to keep the family dinner table and start worrying about how each of you will play a better role in your children’s lives after the divorce.

Put the Kids First
When you focus on what is best for the children, you can both try and put aside your own feelings of hurt or anger toward each other and remain calm in coming to a solution for what is best for your children, short term and long term.

Be Realistic
Be reasonable in what you expect from a settlement and don’t lose it if things don’t go exactly your way. Be willing to compromise.

Understand Your Options
Court is not the only answer, and a lot of people don’t understand this. Be clear with each other on what you are trying to achieve, and go from there.

Going through a divorce is an extremely difficult transition, especially with the added stress of how to settle things outside of court. The Phoenix divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group can help ease this stress by helping you find productive ways to get what you deserve out of your case, while keeping it out of court. Visit www.sampair.com today for a free consultation.

Child Relocation in Arizona

Following a divorce that involves a child or children, the custodial parents may wish to relocate with the children. By Arizona state law, the court cannot keep a custodial parent from relocating, but a compromise can be difficult to negotiate between parents when visitation rights will be affected. As a result, these cases are typically resolved in court.

Many child custody orders require that both parents live in the same state. However, the custodial parent has the right to request relocation for a child, as long as the reasons for relocation are legitimate and in the best interest of the child. Child relocation is often granted in situations that involve the custodial parent getting a new job or remarrying.

If both parents already live in the same state and share custody, the parent that wants to relocate with the child more than 100 miles from their current residence must provide written notice 60 days in advance of a projected move. The non-custodial parent then has a 30-day window to decline the request. If they object, they must file a formal objection with the court, where a judge will set a hearing with both parents present to decide if the move is in the best interest of the child. If there is no response to the written notice, the court will assume that there is no objection, and will grant relocation, given that all reasons for relocation are valid in opinion of a judge. During this process, child custody agreements, child support payments, and visitation will be re-litigated.

Before approving relocation, the court must make specific findings and relevant factors that solidify that the relocation is being decided in the best interest of the child. The parent who wants to relocate has the legal burden of proving what is in the child’s best interest.

Examples of factors that the court will consider include:

  • Reasons that the custodial parent wants to relocate (employment, family support, etc.)
  • How the move will impact the child educationally and emotionally
  • How the move will affect the other parent’s ability to visit the child

If you need representation in a family law dispute, contact an experience Phoenix Family Law attorney at The Sampair Group today to get a decision made in your favor.

Is Your Behavior The Reason For Your Divorce?

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What If I Don’t Want A Divorce?”

The decision to divorce is not always a mutual one. Ending a marriage isn’t usually a decision that is made overnight, and is instead a result of something that has been slowly building up. If your spouse has completely made up their mind that they want a divorce, it may not be in your best interest to attempt to legally fight or prevent the divorce if it’s not something you want. You do have the option of making a simple approach to saving your marriage. There are no guarantees that things will change and that the divorce will not happen, but if you have chosen to try and stop it by making drastic changes, now is the time to do it.

Understand and remember that you cannot control the decisions your spouse makes or how they respond to you and your attempts. The worst thing you can do is beg your spouse to stay. If your spouse has decided they want a divorce, chances are they have been feeling this way for a while and mentally preparing themselves to make a decision. The decision will be very fresh so it may not be the best time to grovel and apologize and push for marriage counseling if your spouse is resistant to the idea.

You can, however, try and slow down the process of divorce. In Arizona, you can file a petition for “Conciliation Court,” which puts the divorce on hold until you and your spouse have completed court mediation. Conciliation Counseling is offered by the Superior Court for married parties who are considering or are in the process of divorce. The brief counseling is geared toward assisting parties in making an informed and thoughtful decision regarding their marital relationship. If the couple expresses interest in community-based counseling services, they can continue with that option once the conciliation counseling is completed.

If your spouse accepts the Petition for Conciliation but has not yet filed for divorce, neither party may file for legal separation or dissolution of marriage for a 60-day period. If they have already filed for divorce before the Petition of Conciliation was submitted, the case may not be advanced until the 60-day “cooling off” period has expired.

The scheduled conferences for counseling are conducted by professional counselors and are held privately under confidence. The counselors use no coercion, and the couple makes any finals decisions regarding how to proceed with the divorce.

During and after this process, you must immediately stop pursuing the other person and give you and your spouse some space from each other. You must be willing to understand how you contributed to the breakdown of the marriage and what role you play in the problems between you and your spouse.

This is the time to start changing for the better and thinking about the things you have done that have led to your spouse feeling this way. Avoid blaming your spouse for everything if you want any chance at saving your marriage. Focus on their pain and loneliness.

Once you understand what you have done wrong, how you need to change it, made an attempt to change, and understand what your spouse is going through, you can prepare to apologize and discuss the matter further.

It is important to note that these kinds of approaches may not always put an end to a divorce. Once the divorce decision becomes final, it is important that you have legal representation from a spousal attorney in Glendale. Contact a professional attorney at The Sampair Group today to begin your case, whether you are the one filing for divorce or not.

How to Be An Excellent Divorce Client

How you are as a client is just as important as how your attorney is as representation for you during such a difficult time. The Phoenix Family Law attorneys at The Sampair Group know that there is rarely a ‘nice’ divorce, and proceedings can create a great amount of stress on all participants. Attorneys and clients usually have a love/hate relationship during the legal battles of divorce. To prevent high stress and tension, which could lead to a bad relationship between a divorce attorney and their client, there are some simple rules of behavior that you, as the client, can follow so that you can both come out of this case with enough financial and emotional resources to start a new life.

Be Organized and Keep Record
When meeting with your attorney, be sure to have all questions you have for them prepared ahead of time. Make sure you have a goal and agenda for each meeting with your Phoenix divorce lawyer so that all topics are covered and you leave the meeting feeling confident that your problems are being addressed and taken care of.

Despite the anxiety and stress you are experiencing during the divorce, it will only feel worse if you are unorganized. You will also feel more in control if you keep track of your own records and everything that is going on instead of depending fully on someone else to do it for you. Documents should be labeled, stapled and assembled in an orderly fashion before you give them to your attorney. This will save them time and money and give them more time to focus on you and your case.

Keep a detailed diary of all significant events that pertain to your case, and share copies with your attorney. These can be used in preparing testimony for your case and addressing issues in a more effective way.

Don’t Annoy Your Attorney
Continuously calling and emailing your lawyer for non-legal problems related to your case can end up costing you, and will also result in a very annoyed attorney. Most attorneys charge by the hour not just for physical visits but also for phone calls, emails, and other forms of communication. If you must call for legal assistance, have all of your questions prepared at once so you are not calling every day with a different question or concern any time one pops into your head. Also, any non-legal issues may want to be address with someone other than your lawyer such as a therapist or family member.

Be Realistic
Have reasonable expectations that not everything is going to go your way. Listen to your attorney and the advice they have for you to resolve the issues surrounding your case. A good divorce attorney will work with you as a team to make the process as fair as it can be, and to work effectively with them you need to determine your unrealistic goals up front so there are no disappointments. Also be sure to remember and constantly remind yourself that divorce is a long process, and results will not be reached immediately. Be patient with everyone involved, especially your divorce attorney.

At The Sampair Group, our high conflict resolution attorneys take the time to get to know you and the circumstances of your case. Contact an experienced divorce attorney today for a free initial consultation. 

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 www.sampair.com for a free consultation.

Divorce Mediation – Why It Works

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

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

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

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

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

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

Important Things To Consider When Served With Divorce Papers

divorce attorney Phoenix ArizonaIn the last blog post, we talked about what happens when you are served divorce papers and how to approach the process. There are also some important factors to consider and know about so you can remain protected in all aspects of the divorce and what is to come.

First, it is important to see an attorney immediately. Being served with divorce papers means your spouse has already hired a divorce lawyer to get those papers to you in the first place. At The Sampair Group, we will help you understand your rights and obligations in a divorce case. We will also help you learn the process of filing a response to the papers you were served with and how to do it in a timely matter so you are not at loss for any of your rights.

Gather all important and relevant information and documents, including financial information for both you and your spouse, such as bank statements, pay stubs, titles, retirement account information, loan agreements, etc. Having this information on hand will be helpful in determining how assets will be divided, and will help the judge determine spousal support and other issues. These documents should also include any documents regarding your children, such as medical records, school records, photos, and other documents that could help you prove that you are a fit parent.

Think before you act. Don’t do anything that could later hurt your case. This can include a range of things, including, but not limited to taking part in any domestic dispute, being charged with any kind of crime, post things on the internet that could later be used against you, or getting involved with someone else romantically before your divorce is final.

Keep a journal or record of events. In it, keep track of everything that you can use for your case, such as all activities, phone calls and other interactions you have with your children, any refusals from your spouse if you request to see or talk to your kids, and anything else that may be helpful to your case.

While you may be angry at your spouse, your children still need both parents, so it is important not to try and take your kids away from them unless there are dangerous circumstances in which the court finds that they are not a fit parent. If there is no history of abuse or neglect from your spouse toward the children, and you try and take your children away from them, the court will not look favorably on your side. The same aspects apply to your spouse as well if they try and take the kids away from you.

Do your best to not involve your children in the conflict between you and your spouse. Nothing that is happening between you two is their fault, and they should not see or hear about any of the negative parts of the process. It is not healthy for your kids to be involved in adult conversations or arguments. If a judge hears about this happening, it will not look good for either of you.

Always put your children’s needs first during the entire divorce process and afterward. More agreements and understanding between you and your spouse can result in lower divorce and custody proceeding costs. Being civil will help the process continue faster, but you should be basing most of your decisions on the best interests of your children.

For more information on divorce and how to take the best approach when served with divorce papers, contact a Glendale divorce attorney at The Sampair Group. Visit www.sampair.com for more information.

When You Are Served With Divorce Papers

Phoenix, Arizona divorce lawyerBeing served with divorce papers means that you have been formally informed with a notice that your spouse has filed for divorce action. Once you receive the papers, you should review them to assess the basis for the divorce and how long you have to respond to the papers.

The papers you are served with will usually detail the reasons for the divorce in accordance with state statutes.

Usually you will have 20 days from the date you were served the paper to file an answer. Your answer will inform the court on whether or not you agree or disagree with the action that your spouse wants the court to take.

If you agree with the request, a consent answer form should be filled out and filed with the court and you will proceed with an uncontested divorce. If you disagree, you can submit a contested answer and counterclaim form. A divorce that is contested will usually involve a lengthy court process.

Once you, the receiver of the papers, have filed a petition, the divorce process begins. You should immediately consult the help of a divorce attorney at The Sampair Group to ensure that your legal rights are being protected throughout the entire process.

Your attorney will help you file papers that present any arguments or defenses you may have. You can discuss at any length with your attorney how you should proceed to work out a settlement, including requests to review distribution of property and assets, alimony and child support issues.

If a mutual agreement cannot be made on these conditions, a trial may be necessary. At trial, both you and your spouse will have the chance to present each side of the argument, and you will both be required to provide evidence relating to the basis for the divorce and any other issues being presented.

If you are served with divorce papers and do not answer them, the court may think you do not want to participate in the case, and you will not be notified of a hearing, causing much trouble for yourself.

If you do not file an answer, your spouse will likely be unable to file for a no-fault divorce because both the husband and wife must sign an agreement that the divorce is being processed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. However, if your spouse can prove a fault ground for the divorce, they may still be able to go through with the process. All in all, not filing an answer means you are taking a big chance.

For more information on how to approach a situation where you are served with divorce papers, contact a Glendale divorce attorney at The Sampair Group. Visit www.sampair.com today.

Things to Consider If Divorcing After 50

Phoenix, Arizona divorce attorneyStudies show that about 1 in 4 divorces involve couples older than 50 years old. When it comes to older couples divorcing, especially if they have been married for many, many years, there are several financial considerations they should acknowledge when going through the divorce process.

Retirement
If you and/or your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are close to retiring at the time of the divorce, it can be difficult to rebuild your retirement investments after it is finalized. Before signing the final papers, get some things in order:

–          Make sure to identify all retirement assets that were earned during the marriage from all of your former and current jobs. Evaluate all individual retirement accounts or other annuities and research the benefits that each plan will provide.

–          Look at if you or your spouse is able to earn any additional retirement assets. The party who earns less should receive more retirement or other assets in the divorce.

Real Estate
If you no longer have any kids living at home, it may seem like a good idea to sell the family home. Research if the equity for the property can be split, which can be an important discussion especially if you are ready to retire and move somewhere else.

Spousal Maintenance
Many couple over 50 years old may still be working, but in some cases one spouse may not have worked for a while and instead was responsible for home and childcare. If you are the spouse that has been supporting your other half for a long period of time, you can expect to have to pay spousal maintenance. These payments may be permanent or may end once you retire.

Insurance
It’s important that each spouse has medical insurance after the divorce. If one spouse received the insurance from the other, it is possible that they continue their coverage through a senior benefits program. Another option is to look into coverage via the Affordable Care Act.

Children
It’s likely that older couples may have children in college, so it is important to determine the responsibilities of each parent when it comes to paying college costs. Look at the assets of yourself and the child. An issue for older children could also be which parent is responsible for paying for a wedding, which is not covered by any divorce statute.

For more information regarding divorce and family law, look to the Sampair Group. Contact our Glendale divorce attorney’s at www.sampair.com.