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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!

How do you file for divorce after 24 years of being separated?

Question:

How do you file for divorce after 24 years of being separated?

My mother has been seperated from my father for over 24 years. She doesn’t know where he lives. The last known residence was a prison in St. John’s, Arizona. She is looking to get remarried. How do you get a divorce without the other party present?

Answer:

In order to obtain a divorce in Arizona, the Petitioner must serve the filed documents on the Respondent. In a case such as this, where his whereabouts are unknown, once she has done a diligent search to locate the other party, such as Internet, etc., if she is unable to locate him, she can serve him by publication in a newspaper. She does not have to succeed in locating him to get divorced, but she must make a diligent effort to do so.

The entire process takes about 120 days and many law firms, such as The Sampair Group can complete the process for a flat fee.

Congratulations to your mom.

Patrick Sampair
The Sampair Group, PLLC

Offices Valley-wide:
Arrowhead: 17235 N. 75th Avenue, Suite E-100, Glendale, AZ
City North: 5450 E High St #300, Phoenix, AZ
East Valley: 1830 S. Alma School #114, Mesa, AZ

West Valley: 623.218.1000
Phoenix: 602.997.7717
East Valley: 480.636.1333

To read more of Phoenix divorce lawyer Patrick Sampair’s answers on Avvo and be sure to check out his divorce page, or if you have a question for Mr. Sampair ask him directly at: https://www.sampair.com/.

Making the Most Out of Supervised Visitation (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Arizona child custody lawyerIf choosing a supervisor is an option made available to you, see if you can recommend a family member or close friend. This can make the situation a bit more comfortable rather than having a stranger in the room while you are trying to enjoy time with your child. Also, instead of having one or two supervisors available, see if you can have a pool of supervisors appointed to you. This allows for less risk of having your visitation cancelled if a supervisor cannot attend a visitation session.

During your visitation, do not discuss any problems between you and the other parent. This is time to be spent with your children and focus on them. Keep discussions to topics such as their schooling and activities they enjoy doing.

Use this time to strengthen your emotional bond with you children. Stay interested in what they talk about or what they play with, and use their interests to think of new ideas and things to do in future visitations.

Supervisors are appointed to not just ensure that parenting time is successful, but also to report back to the courts. Having a supervisor report back to the court about how strong of a relationship you are forming with your child can go a long way in counteracting any negative accusations from your ex.

Child custody can be tricky and complicated, but it’s important that you make the most of your supervised parenting time in such a way that you may eventually be able to get parenting time on your own terms without a supervisor. For more information regarding child custody and how your rights can be protected, contact a family law attorney at The Sampair Group. Visit www.sampair.com for more information.

Questions from AVVO: Medical Coverage for the Children

Glendale, Arizona divorce attorneyQuestion

My ex is court ordered to provide medical coverage for the children yet their spouse is providing the coverage. I am to pay 34%, my ex is to pay 66% of both unreimbursed medical and travel cost. They provided me copies of medical bills without any proof of payment made, they have a payment plan with the companies, for a certain amount each month (I checked). I have asked my ex three times to provide me copies of any and all payments they have made towards the bills with no results. Would it be considered a gift if I was to pay the 34% medical expenses to my ex if it was through their spouses insurance, and is it also considered a gift since it is the spouse who is technically providing the actual medical insurance?

Patrick’s Answer

Your ex’s spouse providing health insurance coverage for your children meets your ex’s requirement to provide the health insurance. Any cost incurred is coming from her spouse’s income, which is community income, so technically, it is the same as your ex providing the coverage.

Once your ex provides you with copies of the medical bills, it is your obligation to make payment to your ex in a timely manner, generally within 30 days. The healthcare providers are not looking to you for payment; your ex is the debtor to them. The fact that she may have a payment plan worked out with the providers has no bearing on your Court Ordered obligation to pay your portion to your ex on receipt of the bills.

Failure on your part to pay your ex the required portion of the medical bills in a timely manner could cause a contempt issue on your part.

When it comes to medical costs of your children, it can get confusing who is to pay and how much they should pay. Our attorneys have over 30 years of experience in family law. Visit www.sampair.com to schedule a free consultation.

Questions from AVVO: Child Custody Documentation

Arizona child custody attorneyQuestion

If you submit the custody documentation to the court and need to make updates or revisions after the fact, is that possible? I am seeking joint parenting time and legal decision making for my oldest son. His mom and I were never married and my name was put on the birth certificate at the hospital. The last time I saw my son (3 weeks ago) he informed me his mom’s boyfriend just took a job in Pittsburgh so they are moving. He told me not until next year but I have a feeling they are in the process of moving already without telling me. Therefor I feel like I should get the paperwork started and have her served and get myself organized and obtain legal assistance immediately afterward. My concern is if I fill out something wrong on the first submission of documents that I will get stuck with what I wrote down. Since the documentation isn’t clear nor does it seem to apply to the new law I am uncertain how to proceed.

Patrick’s Answer

It is unclear how old your son is and how much time you have actually spent with him, both of which are factors, among other facts, that the court will take into consideration in determining Legal Decision-making and Parenting Time. Assuming there is no prior Custody/Legal Decision-making Order, the mother has no legal obligation to give you prior notice of her intent to relocate the child. Thus each day that goes by without action by you is a gamble. Likely if they are planning a move it will be after the school year is over (assuming your child is school age). The bottom line is you need to file the Petition for Legal Decision-making and Parenting Time ASAP. The filing and service of this paperwork will prevent her from relocating the child, without a Court Order, while the Petition is pending. If you are unsure how to fill out the initial paperwork, the case will only get harder for you as you proceed. Therefore I believe that you should contact a lawyer immediately and get an initial consultation. Many lawyers will give you a free initial consultation.

Child custody battles can be a stressful and traumatic time. Contact the experienced  attorneys at The Sampair Group today for more information. Visit www.sampair.com to schedule a free consultation.

Make The Most Of Your Initial Consultation at The Sampair Group

At The Sampair Group, our Glendale family law attorneys provide our potential clients with the benefit of having a free initial consultation regarding your family law case.

An initial consultation allows us to meet with our client and discuss information regarding their case and the legal issues that are involved. After going over all of this information, our attorneys will be able to let the client know their legal rights, and the options they have for moving forward with a divorce case.

Preparing for a divorce consultation is very important. This includes preparing for the meeting emotionally. You may have to discuss some things with your divorce lawyer that you don’t necessarily discuss with others, including very personal details regarding your marriage and family difficulties.

Organize all documents regarding any assets that are between you and your spouse. This includes bank accounts, retirement funds, businesses, automobiles, and homes or property. Also included with these documents should be any kind of debts that you and your spouse share, such as mortgages, equity loans, bank loans, student loans and importantly, credit card debt. Showing all of these documents and discussing them in your initial consultation will allow your attorney to get an idea of your financial situation and how they can legally approach it.

Income is also something that should be a topic of discussion in your initial consultation. For your attorney, knowing the income of you and your spouse will help them determine how much child support or spousal maintenance will be paid or received after the divorce.

Always bring to any meeting with your lawyer copies of legal documents that you already have. This may include prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, divorce summons, orders of protection or domestic incident reports that you may be able to present for your side of the case. Always make sure that you and your lawyer each have copies of these documents, but make sure you keep the original copies for yourself in a safe space.

Always be truthful with information and answers to the questions and discussions that your lawyer may have with you. Being truthful and upfront will help your lawyer to be able to help more effectively with your case when they better understand your situation.

Meeting with a divorce attorney for the first time can be an uncomfortable situation, especially considering the emotions you are going through already. Gather whatever you can for the initial consultation and your lawyer will assist you with anything else you need if you are unsure. All information that you disclose to the Glendale divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group in a consultation is confidential. Contact us today at www.sampair.com for more information on how to schedule a free consultation today.

When Is The Best Time To File For Divorce?

The decision to put an end to your marriage is one of the most difficult decisions you may have to make in life. But what is the best timing for making the final decision to divorce? There’s no exact answer that applies the same to every situation, but consider these factors when it comes to making the decision of when to file for divorce and begin the process.

Assets
In some situations, your spouse may be threatening or trying to hide secret cash assets, investments or other assets from you, especially if they suspect you are going to file for divorce. File for divorce and contact a Surprise divorce attorney immediately if you suspect this is happening in order to protect your assets during the divorce process.

Safety
If there has been any kind of domestic violence or threat of domestic violence toward you or your family from your spouse, you should act immediately. This kind of situation may require you to file for divorce in order to completely separate yourself and your family from the violence.

Dates
If there are holidays approaching, it may not be the best time to announce to your family and friends that you and your spouse are splitting, especially when there is children involved. You should also consider anything big going on in your child’s life – important tests at school, sporting events, and other extracurricular activities that could be negatively impacted if your child finds that mom and dad are splitting right around the same time.

Overall, the timing for your decision to file is all about when you want to file. There are many options to help you and your spouse discuss your marriage and the possibility of divorce, including counseling and mediation. Contact a Phoenix divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group today for more information. Visit us at www.sampair.com for free consultation.

Child Support Payments – Wage Garnishment

supportChild support can be collected with many different procedures, the most common method being wage garnishment.

Wage garnishment is similar to income withholding, where a portion of your wages from your employer is removed from your paycheck and deposited directly to the custodial parent receiving the payments.

Typically, law permits employers to garnish between 50-65% of your income for child support payments. The amount depends on many factors, including if the parent paying the child support is supporting another child or spouse.

When the garnishing of wages is ordered, the employer of the parent paying child support will receive a notice requesting their company to withhold the wages of one of their employees. This letter will include a copy of the court order outlining child support payments and amounts.

The employer is then required to send a letter to the employee informing them that explains the wage garnishment, how much money will be taken from their paycheck and how often.

If the parent wants to, they can content the wage garnishment with the court as long as they have grounds to contest the child support payments to present to the court, which could include changes in income, unemployment, or other life changes. You can contest the amount of payments that the court says you owe, or you can contest that the amount taken from your paychecks will leave you with too little to survive off of.

Eligibility to be excused from wage garnishment in child support cases depends on different federal and state laws that apply to your specific circumstances. In Arizona, wage garnishment laws offer the same protection for your wages that come from federal law, meaning that federal law governs Arizona’s wage garnishment laws.

For more information about child support and wage garnishment, visit the Surprise family law attorneys at https://www.sampair.com/firm-overview/child-custody/.

Image via: www.dentontexasdivorce.com

Common Mistakes People Make During Divorce (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Taking Legal Advice From Friends
Even if they have been through a divorce, or two, or even three before, you should never take the word of your friends over the advice of your lawyer or mediator. They’re basing their advice on their experience, which is alright, but everyone’s experience is going to be different, from how you handle it emotionally to how much money you will be getting in the settlement. There are laws that must be followed, and your lawyer is responsible for making sure your divorce proceedings respect the respective laws. Be sure to take everything that your friend or family say with a grain of salt, then speak to your lawyer.

Letting Your Lawyer Make All Decisions For You
No matter how experienced your divorce attorney is, this divorce still involves you and your emotional needs or wants. It is you that is going to have to live with the choices made in the proceedings for the rest of your life, not your lawyer. After taking the advice of your attorney, carefully weigh the different options of each road before deciding on which course you want to take.

Settling for Less Than You Want or Deserve
When you are settling all agreements, you want to be sure that you aren’t underestimating your expenses and what you will need in order to adjust to the new lifestyle of a single person and be comfortable within your means. If you are the spouse making payments, be sure you are not committing to paying more than you can afford, while still being fair to your ex-spouse and yourself. Both spouses need to make a diligent plan for how they are going to live separate lives, so be sure you never settle too low or commit too high.

Every divorce case is different. An experienced Glendale divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group will look at the unique circumstances of your divorce and work with you to reach the best possible outcome. Contact us today for a free consultation.