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What is a Presumption in Family Law?

When discussing presumptions concerning family law, misinformation and misunderstandings are easy to find. Simply put, a presumption is considered a legal conclusion that can otherwise be refuted by evidence to the contrary. As an example, a couple undergoing a divorce may come to terms with relation to their property that is different from Arizona’s traditional presumptions.

Let’s apply this definition and the context surrounding it to a few other aspects of Arizona law.

Presumption and Property Division

As a community property state, Arizona splits assets and debts down the middle between both spouses during their divorce. This translates to assets, gifts, pensions, and other intangible items. When divorcing spouses cannot find a way to agree on how their assets should be divided, the court will typically step in to make a ruling. Often, courts will rule as close to a truly 50/50 outcome as possible.

There are unique scenarios whereupon assets and debts are separated in more specific ways. Spouses can come to an agreement to establish separate assets and debts. This can be done through a pre or postnuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements detail how property division will occur in the event of a divorce, while a postnuptial agreement is the same thing, only signed after the fact.

Finally, there is the possibility that a judge will order debts or property to be handed out in an inequitable way. This is often due to reckless spending or some other aspect of marital waste. Other examples of marital waste include drugs, gambling, shopping, and spending money on having an affair.

Child Custody & Child Support

Outside of property, presumptions in family law may also determine who has custody of a child. Custody decisions are made while focusing entirely on the child’s best interest, pushing away misconceptions that mothers are always going to win custody. Sometimes, courts focus on dividing custody as evenly as possible, while other times this simply can’t happen, due to work or relocating out-of-state. Other concepts weighed during this decision include child support, ensuring that both parents can provide for the child full-time.

As a point of order, courts prefer to place children with parents that are not struggling with addiction, incarcerated, or otherwise incapable of the appropriate childcare.

Contact the Sampair Group Today

The Sampair Group is an Arizona-based Law Firm focused primarily on Family Law. Based in Glendale, the Sampair Group proudly serves clients throughout the region, from Paradise Valley to Ahwatukee. With an A+ BBB Rating and a Top Attorney Rating on Avvo, now is the perfect time to schedule a consultation with the Sampair Group.

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

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

Document Everything

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

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

File a Motion to Enforce Parenting Time

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

Attend Necessary Hearings

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

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

Get the Legal Representation You Need

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

Should We Stay Together For The Kids?

After many years of marriage, the stresses may seem to increase with each year passing. You and your spouse may be at the breaking point where you are pondering the idea of divorce, but knowing how it would impact the children may stop those thoughts. However, it is also important to wonder if staying together for the children is any better.

There is no clear answer to how to approach this situation, and each circumstance is different. It’s important to think about the children’s best interests. Are they better off in a home where their parents are constantly fighting and are unhappy most of the time or would they benefit more down the road if mom and dad were not together, but they were each happier?

Staying together “for the kids” certainly comes with risks. If you are miserable in your marriage, your family may be loaded with arguments, anger, frustration and pain. If you are a couple that cannot be civil or handle conflict rationally with each other, your child may learn these bad parenting skills and be negatively impacted by them.

Another risk that comes with staying married for the sake of the children is that your child may be neglected while you and your spouse are wrapped up in their own conflicts. It may be physical neglect, such as the parents completely check out of parenting, or it may be emotional neglect, and the parents may not show up together for the child’s important events or may try and alienate the child from the other parent.

If you and your spouse cannot co-parent effectively while living in the same household, you may want to rethink the situation and realize that co-parenting from separate homes may be what is best for your child.

There are times, however, when the child will benefit if the family stays intact, even if the parents are no longer in love with each other. Co-parenting under the same roof is better as long as each parent can stay civil and keep the children out of their arguments and conflict.

For more information on child custody and family law, look to the Glendale and Phoenix family law attorneys at The Sampair Group.

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. 

Annulment vs. Divorce (Part 1)

Both divorce and annulments are valid ways to dissolve a marriage, but there are many differences between the two. In this post, family law attorneys at The Sampair Group inform clients on the basics of annulment and the process to receiving one.

The definition of annulment is stated as an agreement that nullifies a marriage and disavows its existence, returning both parties to their prior single status as if they were never married. This agreement cannot be reached through mutual discussion, as the court must legally grant an annulment.

In order to validate the need for annulment, one of the parties in the marriage must show that there was an obstruction to the validity of the marriage at the time it was made official. Annulments usually take place after a few weeks or months of marriage, but can happen after longer periods of time.

In Arizona, there are several circumstances which would allow for an annulment and make a marriage invalid:

Void Marriage
A void marriage is considered invalid from its beginning. The reasons for a void marriage could be:

  • There is blood relation between spouses
  • The marriage is between two people of the same sex

Voidable Marriage
A voidable marriage remains valid until one spouse chooses to legally annul the marriage. In order for the annulment to be established, the court must confirm that at least one of the following factors applied to the marriage that would make it invalid:

  • A prior marriage was still in effect
  • One spouse was underage
  • Fraud and/or misrepresentation of religion
  • Inability to consummate the marriage
  • No valid license for the marriage exists
  • One spouse was coerced or threatened into the agreement
  • One spouse has concealed a criminal past or communicable disease
  • Lack of mental or physical capacity
  • Other grounds that are found by the court to be valid reasons for annulment

To begin this process, contact an experienced Phoenix divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group to get assistance in obtaining a petition and determining the legal ground for your desired annulment.

Legal vs. Religious Annulment
After an annulment is granted, the couple can then request a religious annulment if needed. This will allow for one or both people to remarry within a church or anyone else, and have this second union recognized by the church. The grounds for religious annulments differ from civil annulment guidelines, and are different within each church.

If you are seeking a divorce or annulment and need legal advice, the experienced divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group can represent you. Schedule a free initial consultation with a divorce lawyer in Phoenix, Scottsdale and Paradise Valley today.

Financial Consequences of Short-Term Marriage and Divorce

In most states, a short-term marriage is a length of approximately 1 to 5 years. If either spouse seeks a divorce after a short-term marriage, it is important to be aware of the financial agreements that do or do not apply to both parties involved.

Alimony, also called spousal support/maintenance, is financial support from one spouse to another based upon the financial situation of the supported spouse at the time of the divorce proceedings. Alimony awarded in a divorce decree can be temporary, assigned for a specific time length, or permanent.

In short-term marriages, the court rarely awards alimony, especially if the spouse that is requesting the divorce is employed or employable. Those involved in a short-term marriage might find themselves better off without a prenuptial agreement. Alimony is generally only granted in short-term marriages if agreed upon by the parties through a prenuptial agreement or some other financial agreement that states a right to maintenance after a divorce. In short-term marriages, each spouse will generally yield a relatively small award of maintenance, if it is given at all.

There is also a question of equitable distribution of marital property. People in short-term marriages usually have less time to acquire a significant amount of property. Marital property is defined as all property acquired by either spouse during the course of a marriage, even if the property is not listed in both names. Some exceptions include a property acquired by gift or inheritance, property acquired before the marriage, property acquired after a judgment of legal separation, or property excluded by an agreement between both parties.

In both long-term and short-term marriages, equitable distribution involves determining what is fair and just for both parties. In a short-term marriage, however, since less property is usually acquired in the short amount of time, the court will consider property value differences in evaluating division of property. This can include property ranging from personal items to real estate.

To determine how much property you and your spouse will be entitled to after ending a short-term marriage, it is important to speak to a Phoenix divorce lawyer about your legal options. Contact an experienced family law attorney at The Sampair Group today for a free consultation.

Patrick Sampair Volunteers for “Lawyers on Call”

divorce lawyer Glendale ArizonaOn Tuesday, April 8, the State Bar of Arizona, azcentral.com and 12 News hosted the “Lawyers on Call” public service program. During the program, volunteers answered calls from viewers who had questions or concerns about family law issues. Patrick Sampair of The Sampair Group was one of the volunteers.

148 calls were answered by volunteers and an additional 41 consumers were assisted via social media, bringing the total to 189 people that received assistance.

Some of the consumer questions that volunteers were answering at “Lawyers on Call” were:

  • How do I modify current child support payments?
  • How do I request/establish child support?
  • How do I modify custody and parenting time?
  • How can I request grandparent’s rights? What are my rights as a grandparent?
  • Can I travel outside of the country with my children?
  • What are the differences between a legal separation and a divorce? What are the pros and cons to each?
  • How do we divide assets?
  • Do I qualify for spousal maintenance?
  • Do I need to hire an attorney to file for divorce?

The “Lawyers on Call” program has found social media to be a very successful outlet for reaching consumers.

On Tuesday, May 6, more volunteer lawyers will be answering questions, but this time the topic will surround consumers’ bankruptcy and foreclosure concerns.

For more information about “Laywers on Call,” visit http://www.azbar.org/legalhelpandeducation/lawyersoncall.

How Social Media Can Be Used Against You and Your Family Law Issues

divorce attorney Glendale ArizonaSocial networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are some of the most popular places on the internet for people to share not only links to interesting or humorous articles, but also personal information, feelings, etc. These sites can be fun to use when sharing stories, comments or photos, but sometimes people take it a bit too far and the content and other information they share with their followers can end up being used against them. This can be a big problem if you are someone involved in a family law case.

Some things to take into consideration before posting anything that can be used against you are that social networking sites are NOT private, even if someone doesn’t have full access to your profile; posted information is still available for anyone that may know you and your former spouse or parent of your child, such as a mutual friend, and even if you delete a post, it’s possible that it can still be found; information on these kind of sites are being used against people in legal matters more and more, especially when it comes to family law cases.

Privacy
If you are a member of a social networking site such as Facebook, chances are you have multiple friends, maybe even hundreds, on the site. Even if a person is not your friend online, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have access to your information through anyone else. Don’t forget that anything you post can easily be printed off or taken as a screen shot by someone viewing your profile. This content can then be reproduced and shared with others that may be blocked from accessing this information previously.
Some of these sites also may have security breaches, and with any online site you always run the risk of getting hacked.

Deleted Content Isn’t Actually Gone Forever
Electronic archives are increasingly being used in family law cases. These archives show what a social networking site used to look like on a certain date, even after the site has been changed, and courts are allowing this archived information to be used as evidence in family law cases.
One of the first things a family law or divorce attorney is likely to do is an Internet search of all parties involved. This includes a search of social networking pages for both sides. There is a lot of evidence that can be gathered through this search that could be used against a parent and used against them in order to put them in a negative light.
Just because you have deleted content from your feed doesn’t mean it’s actually gone. So think ahead before posting something that could potentially be used against you.

Social Media Used In Court
Photos
In family law cases, attorneys may often do an online search of the opposing side to find photos of them practicing inappropriate behavior that could hinder their chance at getting the custody they want of their children. Photos of a parent excessively drinking and partying could be used to prove that a parent is unfit to have full custody of their child or children. Attorneys have also been known to use photos of a parent’s possessions or big purchases in court to show that the user is in a better financial situation than they may have asserted in court documents.

Comments About The Other Parent
Quite often attorneys will use the comments that a parent leaves on their social networking sites against them to put a better light on their client. If one side is making comments or statuses about how much they like or dislike the other parent, the court may consider this as an inability to encourage a healthy relationship between the children and the other parent.
Other comments that could be used against a parent could be anything about the different behavior they take part in while not watching the children, including partying, drinking or doing drugs.
One should be very careful about anything they post on Facebook, even small comments, as they could be used against you in many ways and you could lose the benefit of having physical care of your children.

How far opposing sides will go to use social networking against the other party is different in each case, but whether you delete content or not, it is on the web to stay. All social networking users should take all of the necessary steps to preventing this content from being used against them. Your content may not intend harm, but it could come back to haunt you if you are to find yourself a part of a family law case. For more information on family law and how to stay protected, contact a Glendale divorce attorney at The Sampair Group today. Visit www.sampair.com for a free consultation.

Glendale Family Lawyers on Divorce and The Holidays

The holidays are usually a time when families get together for bonding and happiness in sharing the joy of the season. For those going through a divorce, the holidays may serve as a heartbreaking reminder of what is happening around them and how their world is so drastically changing. The time of the year that is supposed to be the happiest may feel the loneliest for you right now. But there are ways you can relieve the sadness, anxiety and feeling of being overwhelmed when going through the holidays during or after a divorce.

Keeping your focus on the kids can help keep your mind off of the big changes in your lives. During a divorce, your focus should always be doing what it best for your children, and since their world is changing too, you want to make sure they are not negatively affected by it during what should be the happiest time of the year for children.

If your divorce involves joint custody, plan out the details with your former spouse ahead of time in order to keep an organized schedule that is in the best interests of the children. Decide in advance which parent will get which days and times with the children, allowing room for them to attend holiday parties for both sides of the family and have the chance to celebrate the holiday with both parents as equally as possible.

Keep with family traditions as much as you possibly can, such as places you visit on Christmas Day or dinner dishes you make during the holidays. Doing so will ease the awkward feeling your children may get from such changes in their lives this season.

Simplify your holidays to prevent becoming too overwhelmed. No matter the time of year, a divorce will usually make you look at ways that you can simplify your life and the things you do, especially since your lifestyle has drastically changed, from where you live to your income. Take a look at the things you have always become so busy with during the holidays and work hard to prioritize and simplify them.

Make a budget and do not overspend. Remember, your lifestyle has now changed drastically. Work on giving gifts of time and attention to your friends, family and children. Focus on others to take your mind off of your own problems for even just a short while. The holidays are about enjoying your time with those you love, so keep busy by sharing with others and showing your thanks for their presence in your life.

The holidays are no doubt a very difficult time for those going through a divorce, and the process can be overwhelming and stressful. At The Sampair Group, our Glendale family law attorneys will make the process about protecting your rights and well-being. Contact us today at https://www.sampair.com/contact-us/ for a free consultation.

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Glendale Divorce Lawyers Help You Navigate Visitation Disputes

Even after the court has implemented a custody agreement in divorce cases, there can still be stress and conflict between each parent. Phoenix family law attorneys at The Sampair Group know that it is common for this to happen, and there are many practical tips that those going through a divorce should consider when faced with this kind of conflict.

1. Always document any conversation, violations, or any other situations surrounding your custody or visitation disputes. If there are repeat violations, keeping them documented will show a pattern of this behavior and you will then be able to use court action to enforce the order. If there is any reason that you feel a child should not be attending visitation, you must document and justify these reasons (i.e. abuse, neglect) and contact your attorney, who will then help you handle the situation in the best way possible before involving the court.

2. If you are going to contact the police in regards to visitation interference, do so with discretion. Each time the police are contacted and respond to the situation, take note and documentation of the visit from law enforcement and keep in your records. Request a copy of all reports issues by law enforcement. In any case of calling the police, use discretion when doing so to minimize any harmful impact on the children.

3. Always have on you a copy of your visitation and child custody orders. Keep them readily accessible, as it is the first document a police officer will request from you if they are responding to a visitation conflict.

4. Whatever you do, do not involve your children in a way that they will be negatively affected by your visitation and child custody disputes. Avoid discussing the dispute in front of or with your children. As a parent, you should be shielding them from the conflict, not bringing them into it.

As with any custody dispute, you should try your best to remain civil and focused, as your goal should be to meet the best interests of the child. For more information about child custody and other family law conflict resolutions, visit The Sampair Group today at https://www.sampair.com/firm-overview/child-custody/.