CONTACT US:
623-748-3338

Posts Tagged ‘Phoenix family law attorney’

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.  

Factors That Guide Child Support Modifications

Posted on: May 30th, 2013 by Scott Law

As a part of the divorce process, many states necessitate separate child support proceedings to ensure that the minor gets the same level of support that he or she would have enjoyed had the parents been together. During the court hearing, each parent is required to present evidence to support his/her ability to make the child support payments.

The parents may submit documents like pay stubs and tax returns as evidence in this matter. Depending on the evidence, the court specifies the amount that each parent is supposed to pay. Oftentimes, due to changes in personal circumstances, one of the parents may seek Arizona child support modifications.

The Factors

Decreased income: The noncustodial parent may lose his/her job and find it tough to make the child support payments. On the other hand, if the parent with primary custody has lost their job, the noncustodial parent might be asked to contribute more towards child support.

Increase in requirements of the child: The child may need some medical treatments or could be participating in extracurricular activities that demand money. The custodial parent, in these cases, might seek child support modification Arizona to meet these financial obligations.

Large inheritance or considerably increased income: In such cases, the custodial parent may ask the court to reevaluate child support payments as the noncustodial parent may be able to afford more due to their new economic status.

Increased family responsibility: If a noncustodial parent remarries and has children out of that marriage, he or she can ask the court that child support responsibility be decreased as the parent would have to financially support additional children.

If you have questions regarding child support or child support modifications contact Scott Law Offices to learn about your options.

 

Divorce Mediation and Its Advantages

Posted on: May 30th, 2013 by Scott Law

Divorce mediation is a way of finding solutions to issues like spousal support and child support payments. The mediation occurs out of the courtroom where both parties and their divorce attorneys in Arizona meet the court-appointed third-party who acts as the mediator. The mediator is a neutral person who assists the parties involved in reaching a settlement. The divorcing couple gets an opportunity to sort out issues and come to an agreement on various issues. The mediator can only offer an opinion during the process and cannot force an agreement on the parties.

Advantages of  Divorce Mediation

A successful divorce mediation saves both time and money. Through mediation, a couple can sidestep the long divorce court process saving their time as well as the family court’s time and resources. The fees paid to the lawyer would also be relatively less. Since the mediator is a third-party who has absolutely nothing to gain from the outcome of mediation, it is fair to all. Also, the objectivity with which the mediator views the issues enables him/her to come up with solutions that the divorcing couple often cannot.

The entire mediation process is confidential. There would be no court reporter recording everything that is said during the process. Essentially there would be no “airing dirty laundry” in public as this is a settlement of divorce out of court. If the entire process goes smoothly, you would hopefully be able to maintain a cordial relationship with your former spouse after divorce. Mediation also helps reduce the tension often involved in court proceedings.

Scott Law Offices is committed to working with clients to negotiate the best possible resolution in every case and is prepared to litigate to protect the rights of our clients.  Contact our office for a free consultation.

Negotiating Divorce Settlement Agreements – Factors to Consider

Posted on: May 2nd, 2013 by Scott Law

Maintaining financial security is the top consideration for any person who is faced with a divorce. So, the aim must be negotiating a divorce settlement that will keep you financially viable throughout your life. Before you separate, you, your spouse, and your attorneys must get together and decide how to divide the marital assets.

Retirement plans

If retirement has been accumulated during the marriage by either spouse, the amount accumulated would need to be divided equitably.  This can often be done by agreement of the parties and in working with the plan administrator.  Sometimes, however, a specialist is required to accomplish the division of retirement and to draft the appropriate orders.   If retirement is going to be a major source of income for you, it must be taken into consideration during the divorce settlement.

Health insurance

If you have children and also have health insurance, the court would ask you to extend the coverage to them. If neither parent currently has access to health insurance, the parents need to determine what the cost of insurance would be in order to factor it into the child support payments.

Marital home

The court takes into account the kind of life the child is accustomed to and ensures that the lifestyle is maintained. So, the parent who gets the parenting time with the child most often may also be awarded the marital home as it plays a huge part in maintaining the pre-divorce lifestyle of the child.  In negotiating a divorce settlement, marital home must be addressed as well as any equity, negative equity and debts.

Child Care and Extracurriculars

The parents should consider how to divide child care costs and extracurricular activities for the child. These expenses may be factored into the child support payments.   They may also be agreed upon as expenses divided outside of child support.  The parents will determine what works best for them and utilize the resources of a Phoenix family law attorney to assist

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.

Child Support Guidelines in Arizona

Posted on: March 28th, 2013 by Scott Law

In Arizona, child support is continued until the child turns 18.  However, if the child has turned 18 and has not yet graduated from high school, child support will extend until graduation or the child’s 19th birthday, whichever comes first. There are several criteria that determine a child support order during a support hearing. To tackle this efficiently, you would need a professional Arizona child support attorney. Below are some of the elements that are considered when a judge determines child support.

Income

Courts in Arizona calculate child support payments on an income share model. In other words, the child support is calculated based on what the child would have been entitled to if the parents were not divorced. The court considers salaries, wages, commissions, severance, bonuses, pension, retirement funds, disability payments, and gifts when determining a parent’s income.

Income-based factors

Arizona courts also factor in certain things, which determine the support, like the total number of children the parties have, whether the parties have children from prior relationships that they support with or without a court order, whether one of the parties will be receiving spousal maintenance or alimony.  The court essentially considers the standard of living the child would have enjoyed with the joint income had the parents not separated.

Non-income-based factors

Apart from income-based child support, parents may also be asked to include the child in the medical, vision and dental plans, contribute to any out-of-pocket medical expenses, and share in any child care expenses. The court will also consider any costs that the parents may have for any special needs or gifts that a child has.

To ensure that your child support payments are no greater than they should be under the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, hire an experienced Phoenix child support attorney.  Scott Law Offices offers free consultations for all child support matters.

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.