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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.

Making the Most Out of Supervised Visitation (Part 1)

child custody attorney ArizonaUnder certain circumstances, a non-custodial parent will receive visitation and parenting time with their child, but often this visitation is supervised under court order. Common reasons for supervised visits include fear of potential abuse, or to monitor the supervision if there has been a long gap since the parent and child have seen each other.

For many involved in the situation of supervised mediation, it can be constraining. But if you are a non-custodial parent with supervised visitation with your child, there are ways you can make the most of it.

In supervised visitation, someone is present during all of your visiting hours with your child. While this may seem restricting and uncomfortable at times, it means that someone is there to testify your good parenting skills and the bond you are forming with the children. These testimonials could show the court that you are not a danger to your children to establish your credibility in court.

One of the ways you can improve the outcomes of your parenting time is to be 15-20 minutes early for every visit. This proves that you have made your child a priority in your life and want to spend the maximum time available with your children. If transportation is an issue with getting to your visits, make sure you schedule all of this way ahead of time to be prepared.

Just as important as showing up early is attending every single visit. Sometimes, life happens and it may be impossible for you to attend a visitation. But don’t miss too many, as it looks bad on your part. Attending every visit shows that the child is your priority.

Use your visitations to correct any bad behaviors that may be presumed of your from the court’s concerns. If the court felt that alcohol abuse was a concern, show up sober and well-kept to every visitation. If you are taking prescription medication, make sure the supervisor is aware of this. If your temper was a concern during your child custody discussions with the court, keep your calm and do not get a temper with your children, the supervisor or the other parent.

Continued in Part 2

Questions From AVVO: Child Custody and Substance Abuse

child custody lawyer ArizonaQuestion

What types of proof are needed to show the judge about my ex’s alcoholism in order to limit visitation time of our newborn? My ex and I had been in a battle about his alcoholism’s effects on my first child (6 yrs old) for over a year. When we found out I was pregnant, his drinking increased to the point of leaving my daughter alone at home while he went to get more alcohol. (I was working). We are now separated and have a newborn. We are getting ready to enter the court system but I am nervous that he will be granted copious visitation. He currently lives with his alcoholic mother and has refused rehab. I’m nervous that our newborn will be neglected due to his inability to care for her while he is intoxicated. His mother also has unsafe & outdated parenting ideals that I’m worried he will implement. What can I do to show the court my concerns? I don’t mind him seeing his child, I would just rather me be there.

Answer

Obviously your child should not be exposed to substance abuse. There are many ways to address the issue: does he have a DUI; has he lost a job because of drinking; any photos of his house with liquor all over; any Facebook information available. Many of the Judges will have him drug tested for alcohol. These TASC drug tests are very good and usually go back about 4-5 days. Also you can request that he be assessed by an appropriate agency for signs of substance abuse. You should contact an attorney to discus the details of your case before filing anything with the Court, if you can.

Child custody battles can be a challenging time that can be made worse by a parent with a substance abuse problem. The Sampair Group is here for you. Visit www.sampair.com to schedule a free consultation.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Family Life

child custody, Arizona attorneyOppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is one of the most common behavioral disorders young children. Approximately 23% of children have the matching symptoms of a behavior disorder by the time they reach 16 years of age.

ODD can lead to worse disorders and can cause children to act increasingly angry and violent. It can even lead to sociopathic or criminal personality tendencies.

The Onset of ODD
ODD is mostly diagnosed during the ages of 6 to 10. However, symptoms may appear at a younger age, and may not show themselves until a child has reached puberty.

ODD is the consequence of anger that has accumulated in childhood that has never been resolved for one reason or another. Selfishness and a desire to control parents, siblings, and other children is also a factor in the development of ODD.

The Consequences of ODD
The consequences of ODD can be dire. Manifestations of the disorder can harm a child’s family life, friendships, and academic performance. There is a degree of overlap in the affects in ODD and can have drastically negative aspects in multiple areas in the life of a child.

A study with over 600 participants from the Department of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School found that children with ODD had trouble in social adjustment, and problems with peers at school. There is also a higher level of poor cohesion and higher levels of conflict within the family unit.

Anger in Children of Divorce
Divorce can take a toll on a child’s behavior, and conflict and excessive anger in divorced families may lead to ODD. Stepchildren may also develop resentment toward their biological parents which is difficult to channel. Children may hide or even deny this anger, but it will emerge in times of great stress. This is why it is so important that parents considering divorce do the best to keep children informed and nurtured.

For more information regarding how your divorce is affecting your children and how you can best approach the situation with minimal negative effects, contact the child custody attorneys at The Sampair Group. Visit www.sampair.com for a free consultation today.

The Pros and Cons of Collaborative Divorce

Arizona divorce attorneyGetting divorced is a huge decision, and it is never a pleasant experience. However, it is possible to walk away with peace of mind and a sense of closure. This is the goal of collaborative divorce, which combines mediation with amicable decision making.

The idea is that every party has the opportunity to decide what is best for everyone involved, instead of each party looking to get as much as they can out of the other person. This process enables couples who decide to end their marriage to work together with lawyers and other family professionals in order to avoid having their divorce end up in court. Collaborative divorce facilitates resolving other families’ issues as well, such as disputes between spouses.

There are some disadvantages to collaborative divorce, however. Critics have stated that it is unethical because each lawyer would have divided loyalty instead of acting in the interest of their party. However, the American Bar Association’s Ethics Committee has ruled that collaborative divorce is not unethical so long as each party is properly informed during the process.

Another drawback is price, as collaborative divorce is more expensive than mediation. Mediation costs about $6,6000, whereas a collaborative divorce will cost about $20,000. Settlements by rival lawyers cost $26,830 and full-scale litigation costs a much larger sum of $77,746.

Mediation is not always the best choice. Meditation can be tricky, to say the least, if you don’t have your lawyer at the table to guide you throughout the process. Moreover, it can be daunting to go through mediation without a lawyer.

Collaborative divorce is not for everyone, but it is a very sensible option. This is especially true for couples who aren’t especially anger but are just ready to part ways. Most of all, collaborative divorce fosters cooperation, and allows couples to get on with life. The Glendale divorce attorneys at The Sampair Group will help you through the process. Visit www.sampair.com for more information.

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.

Questions from AVVO: Emails as Evidence

divorce attorney ArizonaQuestion

How much regard is given to emails as evidence in court? My children’s father has this habit of sending me emails any time there is a dispute going on, he states the facts true to the most part but twists it just in the right way to make himself look great and try to make me look bad. He is a very manipulative person. How should I go about countering these emails…..should I reply with my version of the truth or should I just let them be. How much credit will those emails be given in court. We are headed to mediation next month in an attempt to modify our parenting plan.

Patrick’s Answer

It is very difficult to answer this question without actually seeing at least a sampling of the emails. Moreover, I cannot tell from your question whether you even have an action pending in Court or if the action involves Legal Decision-making (Custody) or parenting time with children. If there is no action pending you will have to determine which emails are relevant or which emails actually address relevant issues. Remember that if there are many emails the Court may never read most of them because it does not have time to do so. Only respond to those emails that address a specific issue and do not get in a fencing match over who did what. Just give your opinion on the relevant issue and do not argue about who did what. Best to just say “I disagree with your statement of the facts.” Keep your emails short and to the point. Frequently parents will write emails which are clearly designed for the Court rather than to address real issues. Usually the Court can figure that out. Lastly if the emails are out of control and the issues involve children, it may be wise to ask the Court for a Parenting Coordinator to help the two of you communicate better. That person “works” for the Judge and can make recommendations to the Court to improve communication, including the limiting of emails. However the Parenting Coordinator does cost money and generally both of you must share the cost.

Settling issues before finalizing a divorce can be challenging. The Sampair Group understands how difficult it can be. Visit www.sampair.com to schedule a free consultation.

Making Co-Parenting Work: Keeping Discipline Consistent

Mesa, Arizona divorce attorneyNo matter what kind of methods of discipline you use, nothing will be effective if it is not consistent. This is especially true when it comes to being a divorced parent that is co-parenting with another parent, meaning an entirely new set of challenges. Family law and child custody lawyers at The Sampair Group understand the importance of setting limits and giving effective consequences in not just one household, but both, in order for the child to grow up in a stable environment. Here are some tips for maintaining this disciplinary necessity.

It’s all too common for a parent to hear something along the lines of, “why can’t I eat ice cream after lunch? Dad let’s me do it!” After this response, you may immediately want to react with some choice words about the other parent and things can get out of hand, resulting in a very unproductive conversation. Before flipping the handle and making assumptions about how lenient your ex may be with your children, check with them first to confirm this. Kids may often try and play both ends against each other in order to bend the rules made for them. Communicating with the other parent may reveal that the child is making up some or the entire story.

Even if you don’t always see eye-to-eye with your ex, make an effort to identify what you do agree on when it comes to discipline, such as bedtimes and snacks they are or aren’t allowed to have. The way you each do things won’t always be exactly the same, and some things they do may not be what you want, and vice versa. But even if you don’t agree with the other parent’s view, do not contradict or undermine the authority they have over your kids, as they are still the parent.

Divorce brings about a lot of changes in the lives of parents and their children. But it is important to let them know that life is going to be okay and even though things may be different in the household, they should know what to expect when they are staying at each home. Sometimes using charts, calendars or other ways of organizing things can help keep your child stay on track and it will keep life predictable for them. This will make transition from one home to the other much easier.

Focusing on what you can control in your home instead of what you can’t control outside of your home will make the entire situation more positive for your child. For more information on family and child custody law, contact a Glendale family law attorney at The Sampair Group. Visit www.sampair.com for more information.

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.

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.