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Posts Tagged ‘child custody’

Divorce is for Adults

Posted on: June 6th, 2017 by Scott Law

Marriage……People meet, fall in love, get married, have children and often grow together from young adults into full-fledged grown-ups.  Whether the marriage is short or spans several decades, divorce is not something that anyone enters into a marriage anticipating.  When a marriage reaches a point where divorce is inevitable, emotions run high and mistakes are commonly made.  Divorce is for adults, and it is important to remember that adults make mistakes too and it is okay.  Some common mistakes attorneys see and hope parties can avoid are:

 

Bad Behavior on Social Media and Text

 

Your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media posts can be seen by your friends, family and oftentimes by others you are not even aware of.  So, before you post pictures of you and your friends out partying, remember that that the pictures could easily be screenshotted and provided as evidence in your case.  Any statements made on social media about the other party, your children, or anything relevant to your case can also be used.  If you want the court to take you seriously, to view you as a mature parent with good judgment, don’t post it.  If you do not want the court to know about it, don’t post it.  

 

Charge it!

 

I remember an episode from the Flintstones cartoon where Betty and Wilma go on a shopping spree racking up a huge credit card bill.  “Charge it!”  The two women were yelling.  This is definitely behavior to avoid.  Sometimes people think that they can create a huge debt just before the divorce is filed and cause the other party to have to pay.  What they don’t know is that the court can look at this behavior and the other party can allege waste and spending in contemplation of divorce.  It is highly possible that you will be stuck with all of those bills.  What is worse is that you are likely going to need the credit cards for divorce-related expenses like legal fees, moving expenses, and rent.  Be smart about your finances and utilize your accounts in a mature, adult way.  

 

Oops!

 

Mistakes are inevitable.  Adults are human and sometimes we do things we later wish we had not.  The problem arises when a party makes a mistake more than once.  A party who bad-mouths the other party over text will likely be admonished by their attorney.  They apologize and the matter is dealt with.  A party that fails to follow the advice of the attorney and continues to bad-mouth the other party over text, should not expect the same level of acceptance from their attorney or the court.  As an adult, when making a mistake, one should follow three simple rules:

  1. Own your mistake.
  2. Learn from your mistake.
  3. Move past your mistake.  

As an attorney, there is no better evidence in court than a party who is constantly repeating the same bad behavior.  A person who refuses to learn from their mistake shows instability and immaturity to the Court.  Remember, going through a divorce does not give you a free pass for making dumb mistakes.  The fact that you are going through a divorce gives you even more reason to be careful and on your best behavior.  Be the bigger person and go through your divorce as an adult.  

Why You Should Do Your Research Before Hiring A Family Lawyer

Posted on: June 27th, 2016 by Scott Law

If you are facing legal problems that are complex, you should think about hiring an attorney. Lawyers do more than represent their clients in the court of law. They offer strategic advice and even serve as a legal coach. To find the right person for the job, do your research before hiring a family lawyer.

Locating a qualified attorney can efficiently help solve your legal issues. Whether you are separating from your partner, or fighting for custody of your children, it will take more than a good lawyer to win your case. There are various ways you can find a family attorney, some of which are outlined below.

A good approach is to get referrals from people who have used the same attorney. This increases the chance of coming away with several good leads. However, try not to make a hasty decision solely based on the recommendation of someone you know. It is best to determine whether you feel completely at ease with the potential attorney before working with him or her.

Online websites offer connections based on your location and legal case. All you need to do is fill out the answers to some questions and obtain contact information of a local family law office. There is also the Web directory offering a comprehensive profile of the relevant attorneys.

Each profile reveals how much experience the lawyer has as well as his or her fees. Remember to check every listed attorney’s license to ensure they are in good standing. There is also the lawyer referral service that provides a full list of all the approved legal professionals by the state bar association. You can screen each attorney based on their qualifications and past experience.

Perhaps the only downside to a lawyer referral service is that no matter how much insight you get about the credentials of these legal professionals, you will not be able to determine how aggressive their personality is or how competent they are in their job. This is only possible if you spend a few hours with one of these professionals discussing the case in detail. Once you have gathered the names of several good prospects, the next step is to contact each one. Most attorneys are willing to arrange a free consultation to allow their prospective clients to make an informed decision about them.

When you meet up with the lawyer, pay particular attention to how comfortable you feel in their presence. No matter how experienced this person is, if you don’t feel at ease with them during the first meeting, it is best to move on. Always go with your instincts and seek an attorney whose personality is compatible with yours. Look for rapport and experience before making a decision.

Communication is another important factor that must be discussed on the first meeting. Ask the potential attorney how you will be able to contact them. Never assume that you can reach them any time you want as they may be involved in other cases. Just because the attorney is easy to talk to and friendly, it does not mean that they will be a good match for you if they are hard to reach when you need them.

Understanding Parenting Time and Visitation

Posted on: May 2nd, 2013 by Scott Law

For every parent, spending quality time with the child is very important. For divorcing parents, parenting time and visitation plans are what allow them time together with the child. Therefore, it is vital that a divorcing parent understands how to get visitation rights and looks to family law attorneys in Phoenix AZ as a source of great help. There are many kinds of parenting time and visitation plans, the following includes general information on a few common types.

Supervised Visitation

In certain instances, the court will order supervised visitation.  This means that in addition to the visiting parent, another responsible adult will be a part of the visit for the entire duration. Depending on the situation, the court may allow the parent who does not have the custody to choose a person to act as the supervisor, such as the grandparent of the child. In some cases, the parent might be asked to visit the child at a particular location to allow the court-appointed designee to supervise the visit or may require a supervising agency to conduct the supervision.

Unsupervised Parenting Time

A parent who has unsupervised visits with the child can take the child to his/her own home or any other appropriate location to spend quality time. However, this has to be within the parenting time or visitation schedule. In certain cases, restrictions are placed on the parent exercising their parenting time. For instance, if the baby is too young, the parent many not be allowed to have the child overnight until the infant becomes accustomed to bottle-feeding.

Virtual Visitation

When parents reside a long distance from each other, it is important for regular phone or video chatting to occur.  With Skype, FaceTime and other forms of video chatting available, the internet makes it easier for parents to visit with their children even at a great distance.

The Difference between Legal Separation and Divorce

Posted on: March 15th, 2013 by Scott Law

For many, divorce vs legal separation is a decision that is hard to make but understanding the difference between them can make the decision easier. The primary difference between the two is that legal separation will not end the marriage, but will enable the couple to live separately.   During the time that a couple lives apart, they can have an order from the court that serves as a guide about the rights and responsibilities of each spouse.

The Main Reasons Why Couples Opt For Legal Separation

There are 3 major reasons why couples will opt for a legal separation rather than a divorce, which are:

  1. The religion of the couple prohibits them from getting a divorce.
  2. The couple has been married for less than 10 years and wishes to get social security benefits.
  3. The couple needs to remain married to be eligible for medical and health benefits under the insurance plan.

Issues Addressed Through Separation Agreement

Some of the issues that a couple can address in the legal separation agreement are: child custody / legal decision-making, division of assets and debts, child support, spousal maintenance, and parenting time schedules. A separation agreement can protect your interests until you arrive at the decision to file for divorce. In essence, it can set precedence for a divorce.

If you file for divorce, the judge may look to your separation agreement to make a final determination in the case. This is because the judge may find that where the separation agreement was agreeable to the couple for separation purposes, it should, therefore, be agreeable for divorce purposes too. It is vital that you find a divorce attorney in Glendale or other city in which you reside who can assist you in drafting a legal separation agreement that you can live with long-term.

For advice on legal separation or divorce contact Scott Law Offices to schedule a consultation.

Understanding Family Law and Choosing Your Lawyer

Posted on: March 15th, 2013 by Scott Law

In the past, attorneys in the field of family law were called matrimonial or divorce lawyers. The primary focus was on marital relationships and nothing more. Most of the domestic cases were basically limited to setting spousal maintenance, dividing marital property, and establishing child support and custody. But over the last few decades, the scope of family law has changed drastically.

Family Law Today

A family law practitioner today must be knowledgeable about adoption, prenuptial agreements, interests of the child, child support responsibilities, parenting time and visitation rights, tax consequences etc. There is also Arizona family law that governs payment of family support obligations and domestic violence committed by parents. It is therefore not surprising that the field is now known as family law as it pertains to various aspects affecting families.

 Choosing a Family Law Practitioner

Prior to hiring an attorney for family law in Phoenix, you need to take time to interview the person thoroughly to be sure that your goals and working styles for the case are in alignment. Ensuring that the attorney you hire understands your goals and provides you with realistic expectations can be the key to a positive experience.

Another aspect that should be discussed beforehand is whether your Arizona family lawyers work on a retainer or flat rate. If they work on a retainer, you must discuss the attorney’s hourly rate and what happens when the retainer runs out.  A flat rate can make it simpler to financially plan for your family law case. Finally, keep the expectations from the family lawyer clear and understand what is expected from you as a client.

If you have family law questions contact Scott Law Offices today for your free consultation.

Arizona Changes Custody to Legal Decision-Making

Posted on: January 30th, 2013 by Scott Law

Child custody is often a very confusing and misunderstood area of family law for people facing a Phoenix custody or divorce case.  With the new year brings new changes to the laws on child custody in Arizona.  The first and most apparent change is that the term “child custody” has been replaced with the term “legal decision-making.”  A.R.S. §25-403 includes several other changes that may affect your Phoenix divorce or custody case.  The following are some examples of the changes made:

  1. The law eliminates any consideration of the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to custody.
  2. The fact that one, both, or neither parent has provided primary care for the child is no longer considered.
  3. The factor that permits the court to consider the wishes of the child has been modified to only require the court to consider the child’s wishes if that child is of suitable age and maturity.
  4. The law adds a requirement that the court must consider the past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and child.
  5. Where the law previously required the court to consider which parent would be more likely to provide frequent, meaningful continuing contact with the other parent, the new law seems to divide these into three separate factors, instead of two.  So, the court will consider which parent is more likely to provide 1) frequent, 2) meaningful, and 3) continuing contact with the other parent.

The law also includes the following new provisions:

  1. The court may consider whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause unnecessary delay, increase the cost of litigation or to persuade the court to give them parenting time or custody or to deny the other parent parenting time or custody.
  2. The court shall not consider either the parent or child’s gender when approving a parenting plan.
  3. The court shall consider the past, present and future abilities of the parents to cooperate in decision-making about the child as set forth in the orders for joint legal decision-making.

The foregoing are just some of the changes made to the Arizona laws on custody and legal decision-making.  If you have questions regarding a Phoenix, Glendale or Anthem divorce or child custody case contact Scott Law Offices for your free consultation.

Helpful Websites for Co-Parenting.

Posted on: January 10th, 2013 by Scott Law

We commonly rely on the internet for work, school, entertainment, and to keep in touch with friends and family.  When going through a divorce in Arizona or a child custody case, why not look to the internet to assist in co-parenting with your Ex?  There are many sites that provide tools for parents to assist with the sometimes difficult task of co-parenting.  Many of these sites also provide tools for divorce attorneys and custody attorneys to review communication and interact with the family.  Some of the tools available to parents on websites for co-parenting are:

  1. A shared calendar to coordinate any parenting time schedule or child visitation schedule.
  2. The ability to request changes to a parenting time or visitation schedule or to request a day swap.
  3. An expense log to keep accurate records and to allow for prompt payment of shared expenses.
  4. Stored information banks to keep up to date contact information on the child’s doctors, teachers, extracurricular activity providers, emergency contacts and to ensure that both parties have easy access to accurate immunization and health records for the child.
  5. Message boards for effective communication between parents and other family members.

At Scott Law Offices, we believe that communication is key.  These internet resources may provide many parents of divorce with a more simple, effective and low-conflict way of co-parenting.  Here are a few of the sites:

  1. Familywizard.com
  2. Jointparents.com
  3. Sharekids.com
  4. Parentingtime.net

For more information on Divorce, Custody or Visitation in Arizona, contact Scott Law Offices for your free consultation with a Phoenix Divorce Attorney.

Parenting Time and the Holiday Season

Posted on: December 6th, 2012 by Scott Law

Scott Law Offices is focused on family.  The holiday season is all about family.  Holidays can bring a certain amount of stress for many people.  When two people share child custody in Arizona, that holiday stress is often magnified.  Avoiding child custody and parenting time issues during the holidays can reduce stress for all involved.  By doing so, the children can enjoy a great holiday experience with both parents.  Here are some things to consider:

Check Your Paperwork

Your court orders for child custody and parenting time are binding.  Oftentimes there are specific orders regarding holiday parenting time set forth in your parenting time orders.  Stick to this schedule unless and until the orders are formally changed.  Most parenting time arrangements can be modified so long as the parties have a mutual agreement in writing.  Before making any modification to the parenting time schedule, be sure to follow the procedures for modifications set forth in your court orders.

Travel

Be sure to check your custody orders for limitations on travel.  It is often the case that advanced notice must be given to the other parent prior to traveling out of State with the children.  Sometimes permission must be obtained from the other parent to allow the children to travel out of State.  Plan ahead and give sufficient time for any necessary discussions related to travel.  Also, you may want to consider allowing some form of video chatting between the children and the other parent while you are travelling.  This may ease any stress that the children and the other parent may feel from being away from each other during the holidays.

Trade Time

If you find that you need to keep the children for extra time over the holidays or hope to have the children on a day that is not designated to you in your custody orders, consider trading time.  You could offer the other parent extra days at any time during the year or possibly offer them a holiday that would normally fall during your parenting time.  Flexibility is important in any co-parenting situation.

Be Nice

Though it may be difficult, try to be nice.  A little bit of compassion and tolerance can go a long way.  This can alleviate stress not only for you and the other parent, but for your children.  Communication is often the key to avoiding difficult holiday disputes.  Having effective communication and playing nicely with the other parent will set a good example for your children and may help them to have a happy holiday.

If you have questions about your parenting time schedule or child custody orders do not wait until last-minute.  Avoid the stress of last-minute holiday disputes by addressing potential holiday parenting time issues well in advance of the holidays and court closures.  Contact a Scott Law Offices custody attorney for your free consultation.

The Confusion About Child Custody

Posted on: November 5th, 2012 by Scott Law

Child custody has proven to be one of the most confusing and misunderstood areas of family law for people facing a Phoenix custody or divorce case.  So, what does the term “custody” mean?  Most individuals seeking the advice of a Phoenix family law attorney use this term to explain who they desire their children to physically reside with.  For example, a person wanting equal parenting time may often refer to this as having “joint custody.”  Or, someone who feels that the other parent should have no parenting time will refer this as “sole custody.”  What is important to understand is that when a court in Maricopa County speaks about custody, they are referring to each parent’s ability to make legal decisions regarding their children.  So, a person having sole custody would have the sole right to make important legal decisions with regard to the children.  Legal decisions include, but are not limited to, education, medical care and religion.  A person having joint custody would have an equal right to be a part of making these important decisions for the children.  That means that both parents would have to be consulted before these decisions are made and agree upon those decisions.

The court has the ability to add various specific terms into the final orders and to specify which parent has the final authority in making decisions regarding the children.  A Phoenix custody attorney can assist in exploring these options to ensure that the proper court relief is requested.  For more information on custody in Phoenix contact Scott Law Offices.