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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.

The Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement

When you get married, the last thing you want to think about during this happy time of your new life is the “what if’s” of if the marriage doesn’t work out. But for many couples, a prenuptial agreement can be a wise decision to make. If you and your significant other decide to formulate a prenup before tying the knot, it is important that you each seek legal advice. The family law and divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group know the benefits of a prenuptial agreement and will guide you through the process to make sure that your agreement is consistent with state laws and is fair to both parties. There are many benefits to a prenup agreement, and it can often be a win-win for everyone involved if the marriage were to not work out.

Preserves Property and Assets
Through a prenuptial agreement you can preserve property and assets that you attained prior to the marriage. This could also include the obligation to support children from a prior marriage, and for many other reasons.

Certainty
A prenuptial agreement lays out all of the arrangements and understandings that the spouses can agree upon before marriage. This formal agreement helps both parties know what to expect so they won’t have to worry about what will happen in terms of assets, finances, etc. in the event of death or divorce.

Protecting Debt
A prenuptial agreement can protect the assets of one spouse from being used to satisfy the debts of the other party that they may have built up prior to the marriage.

Minimize Divorce Drama and Costs
When you sign a prenuptial agreement, it leaves less room to fight about assets and other aspects of the divorce. It has all already been set out by you beforehand and agreed upon between your spouse and yourself, resulting in less stress if anything happens to the marriage. Divorce can be costly, and a prenup can also help minimize the monetary damage.

Family Members
Family members of each spouse can also be protected through a prenuptial agreement. It will ensure that family members receive (or don’t receive) marital property in the case of death or divorce. This is commonly used to protect the interests of children from a previous marriage.

Protect Family Business, Heirlooms
When there are children from a previous marriage, keeping family heirlooms out of the marital estate can be important. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that they are kept out of the marriage and provided to the person(s) they are intended for. A prenup can also keep control of property that belongs to a family business.

Divorce paperwork and agreements can be difficult and messy, so it is important to seek legal guidance when deciding if one is right for you and your spouse. Contact the divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group today for more information.

Child Custody Battles: Factors Considered by the Court

Arizona Divorce AttorneyChild custody laws are implemented to maintain relationships between divorced parents and their children in a way that meets the best interest of the child. Going through the steps of child custody hearings can be difficult for everyone involved, but a judge will determine the outcome based on what is best for the child in many different factors of their lives. Here are some common factors that will determine the outcome of your child custody hearing:

What The Child Wants
The child’s personal preference is one of the biggest things taken into consideration when a judge is determining child custody. However, the weight that this factor holds depends on the child’s age and if they are old enough to make a sound decision based off of what they wants. In most states, it is usually between ages 12 and 14 that a child’s opinion will receive more consideration.

Medical and Educational Needs
If the child has important medical or educational needs, the judge will consider the abilities of each parent to provide the necessary means for the child on a day-to-day basis. Under this consideration is discussion of each parent’s work schedule, physical limitations, emotional state, and how well they understand the child’s needs and how to take care of them.

Relationship Between Child and Parent
This is also another very important factor. If one parent is present in the child’s life more often than another, the parent who is around more will have a better chance at being awarded more custody. Emotional ties are looked at strongly by a judge during a child custody hearing.

Safety
The court will often send a certified evaluator to the home of each parent in order to assess the living space that the child would be spending most of their time with. The job of the evaluator is to ensure that the child has a safe place to eat, sleep and play, but they may also put negative marks on the visit if it doesn’t meet certain standards of cleanliness and safety.

If you are experiencing a custody battle, seeking professional assistance is important to ensure that the rights of your child are protected. A child custody attorney at The Sampair Group will advocate for you and your child’s best interest. Visit www.sampair.com for more information.

What To Expect in a Child Custody Hearing

Arizona child custody attorneyAny kind of court appearance can be intimidating, especially if it is one surrounding your children and child custody. The ultimate goal of the court is to put the best interest of the child first and create an arrangement that serves their physical, mental, and emotional needs. But as a parent, you must be prepared before going into your child custody hearing.

Child custody matters are usually handled in a small setting. The typical courtroom may be much smaller and more intimate than you would expect, with very few people present. While the hearing is taking place, the judge wants to be sure that the child is in a stable environment where they can adjust to the changes. They will look at a number of factors before determining the final agreement.

During the hearing, the judge will look closely at each of the homes that the child may live in. This is to determine that the homes are safe and close to schools, health care and shopping. They will also take into consideration the room-to-people in the household ratio so they can be sure that the house the child is living in full time can accommodate all residents of the home appropriately.

If you want to be the sole custodial parent, there are some things you are going to have to prove. You must prove that you can provide the bulk of emotional support and guidance for your child. Doing this may include showing the judge your work and social schedule to show them that you have an adequate amount of time to take care of your child.

A child custody hearing may involve multiple testimonies from the parents, the child, and any witnesses such as family members, school officials, etc. Each of the parties will testify on their communication and experiences with the child and how they feel each parent benefits the child in which ways. They may present their opinion on who they feel should be the custodial parent of the child.

Child custody can be difficult to maneuver, so it is important to always seek the guidance of a Glendale child custody attorney. Visit www.sampair.com to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney at The Sampair Group that will fight for your parental rights.

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.

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.

Telling Your Spouse You Want A Divorce

Glendale, Arizona divorce attorneyIf a couple becomes unhappy in their marriage, sometimes the final decision, while a very tough one to make, is to file for divorce. In some situations, however, it may only be one spouse instead of both that wants to take the route of divorce, and telling your partner that you want to file for one can be intimidating. Avoiding your feelings and the situation altogether are only going to make things worse, and it is important to take some important and proper steps to telling your partner you want out of the marriage.

Timing is Important
Timing is everything in this kind of situation. This isn’t a conversation you want to bring up in the middle of dinner or right when your spouse walks into the house after a long day of work. And you definitely shouldn’t bring up this kind of topic during an argument, as it will only fuel the fire and make the situation much, much worse. Choose a time when both of you are calm and relaxed and make sure there is plenty of time for the conversation – you have no idea how long this is going to take. Turn off your cell phones and make sure there are no distractions.

Know What You Want To Say
Have a pretty solid idea of what you want to say before the conversation happens. How you tell your spouse you want a divorce and what you say can make all the difference in a conversation like this. Be calm, direct, kind and confident in your decision and don’t give your spouse any false hope that you may change your mind. Be sure to not blame your spouse or point out any of their perceived failures or deficiencies.

Give Your Spouse Room For Their Feelings
You have no idea how your spouse is going to react. So it is important to stand your ground in the face of what could very well be some intense emotional attacks toward you. They may try and talk you out of your decision, but it’s important to give them time to talk and discuss their feelings without your interruption.

Keep The Door Open For More Discussion
A discussion about divorce isn’t going to be easy, and it certainly isn’t going to get completed in just one session. Give your spouse some space and time to absorb the information they have just gotten from you and discuss the details of the divorce at a later date, not on the first time. Reassure your spouse that you want a fair divorce and you want it to be as peaceful as it can be, especially if there are children involved. Their best interest should always come first.

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

Breadwinning Mothers Risk Losing Custody After Divorce

Recent figures show that 42% of marriages end in divorce. In most cases of divorce, it is the mother that gets custody of the children, and the father receives visitation and parenting time rights. However, recent cases show that to be different, especially if the mother is the breadwinner in the family.

Many recent divorce cases have shown that professional women whose marriages are ending have lost custody to their ex husband. When the mother is a successful businesswoman and makes most of the money in the family, courts will often consider the children to be better off living with the father full-time, while receiving financial support from the mother.

While female breadwinners shouldn’t expect to be treated any differently than their male counterparts, it surely is difficult for any parent to know they do not have full custody of their children mostly because of their career and success.

When a couple gets married, it’s likely that both spouses have a job. Oftentimes, when children are born into a marriage, the workload for one of the parents decreases so there is more room for childcare at home.  Other family dynamics will often change, including priorities for each parent when it comes to balancing home and work.

It’s likely that many hardworking women predict how their situation would turn out if they were to go through a divorce, and they are often ill prepared for the potential outcomes of a divorce, especially when they factor in custody of their children.

If you are a hardworking mother with a very time consuming career, the best way to avoid losing custody of your children is to come up with a efficient working arrangement that allows time and attention for your children from you.

At The Sampair Group, we will work with you and the conditions and specifics of your divorce case to get you the results you want, including child custody agreements. Visit us at www.sampair.com for a free consultation today.

Proposed Law Could Create Big Changes in Arizona Child Custody Laws

Divorced parents may soon find new legal battles to face due to legislation awaiting action by the Arizona Senate. SB1038 is a proposed bill that would eliminate the existing laws that allow a parent that has custody of a child to move up to 100 miles away. SB1038 could result in swift court action before any move of any distance is considered.

There is an already existing 20-year old law that allows a court to consider whether or not a move would be in a parent’s best interest – a law that SB1038 would eliminate. Instead, a judge would be limited to only considering what is best for the child.

Those in support of the proposed bill claim that the current law allows a parent to move unchecked, as long as it is within 100 miles, but some parents may move less than 100 miles away, but multiple times, putting them beyond the limit with no court interference. They say that the change will eliminate any kind of “sneaking away” from a noncustodial parent, thus allowing the noncustodial parent to spend more quality time with the child.

This who oppose the bill are concerned that the chance will make things difficult in a legal sense for custodial parents. If passed, SB1038 would require a 45-day notice of any potential move. This could result in the custodial parents finding themselves in a position where they are forced to break the law if they are unable to find adequate housing for them and their child in an area that fits the law’s parameter allowance. This could especially happen if they must be out of their current residence within a 30-day period.

This law is the first legislation to update Arizona child custody and parenting laws in 20 years. If you have children and are divorced and are concerned about how the new law may impact your situation, consult with a Glendale child custody attorney at The Sampair Group. Visit us at www.sampair.com for more information.