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Divorce Resources for Women

Regardless of whether the notion of a divorce arises suddenly or has been imminent for years, the event serves as a dramatic ending of an important chapter of a woman’s life. This major transition carries with it numerous obstacles and hardships but, with the aid of the right resources, it is possible to move on and to move forward in a life that is both full and happy after divorce.

Emotional Issues

When the person with whom you have shared some of your most intimate moments and most cherished memories is suddenly removed from your life, an intense emotional reaction is to be expected. Depending on the circumstances, the first feelings may include apprehension, fear, anger, guilt, sadness that leads to depression, denial and disbelief.

It is important to evaluate and recognize these emotions for what they are and to avoid masking them throughout the course of the divorce. Though difficult, admitting to yourself that you are experiencing these intense feelings is the first step to acceptance of the transition itself. Time spent with a counselor or psychologist can help immensely in this endeavor. Reach out to compassionate professionals who are eager to help, such as the experienced women of Women’s Divorce Resource.

While a divorce can certainly be carried out without the help of a divorce lawyer, often times seeking the assistance of an attorney is well worth the cost. During this emotional time an attorney can help take the burden of navigating the often complex legal system and allow you to focus on your own emotional well being during this time of change. All divorce lawyers are not the same, however so it is important to review numerous options before making your decision to hire. Brian Moskowitz, who is a divorced, single parent himself, understands “how important it is to protect, your assets, your dignity, and your children” while still being sensitive to the situation at hand.

 

Financial Situation

For many women, the financial burden of divorce is nearly as painful as the emotional separation from their spouse. Aside from the actual cost of the divorce itself, they worry about how they are going to support themselves and their children, as well as whether or not their current income source will be sufficient. Financial independence is crucial to long term happiness in life. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that this independence develops and is sustained, even during and after divorce.

If you’re in debt, as an alarming number of Americans are, addressing money owed to creditors should be a top priority. Improving your credit will enable you to obtain the things in life that you truly need, such as a vehicle and a place to live. Start by considering the lifestyle you lead and the purchases you make. For example, it may have been feasible to buy more expensive clothing or food while you were married, but the reduction in income generally calls for a reduction in expenses. A portion of money you will save by reevaluating your budget can be used to decrease your debt over time and thereby improve your credit score. Try to keep cash with you at all times to prevent overspending on a debit or credit card. Support groups and online forums can help divorcing women move past their financial problems through the compassion, empathy and experience of others.

 

Children

The inclusion of children in any case of divorce always complicates matters for both parents, but the emotional toll is often more heavily felt by women. It is important to remember to keep the well-being of the child or children at the forefront of your mind, even when difficult and emotionally charged circumstances make it hard to focus on anything other than the divorce. Depending on age, children will have different needs throughout the process. Be open, honest and understanding when your children ask questions. They may experience a wide range of feelings that surprise you, such as guilt, fear and shame. If possible, seek out counseling from a professional with experience in helping children of divorce, as these specialists may be able to offer you tips on how to communicate together more effectively.

Custody is a major issue for the majority of divorcing couples. In many cases, an amicable agreement can be reached before the divorce is even taken to court. If this is the case, be sure to get a signed copy of the agreement from your ex-spouse. Though this may seem harsh or unnecessary in a lot of situations, the amount and severity of the emotion experienced during the split should not be underestimated by either party.

If you are granted full custody of your children, your spouse may be required to pay child support. The amount will be decided at a hearing in which both of you are present and sign a decree. More information about child support and custody can be obtained through your state’s family court system.

Four Keys to Hiring The Best Lawyer for Your Case

This is a Guest Blog Post from Scott Morgan, a Texas Divorce Attorney.

Going through a divorce can be very difficult. Fortunately, things will go a lot smoother if you have a qualified lawyer who is working with you. Below are some tips for choosing a good divorce lawyer. If you would like to see a video on this topic here is one on picking the right divorce divorce lawyer.

Ask Your Family Members And Friends For A Referral

One of the simplest ways to find a good lawyer is to ask for a referral from your family members and friends. When you are asking for an attorney referral, you want to make sure that you are as specific as possible. What are some of the lawyer’s best qualities? What are some of the things that you did not like about your lawyer? Do you think that the attorney is a good listener? In your opinion, what is the one quality that every divorce lawyer should have? Those are just a few of the many questions that you should consider asking your friend or family member.

Interview A Couple of Lawyers

After you have gotten a couple of referrals, you should interview a couple of the lawyers. A good attorney is someone who listens to you, takes your needs into consideration and helps you feel comfortable during a very difficult ordeal. It is important to remember that a great lawyer for your friend may not be the right one for you. That is why you should interview several attorneys before you make your final decision.

Because divorce can be quite complicated, you want to hire an attorney who focuses mostly on family law. Furthermore, a good lawyer is familiar with social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.

After you have interviewed a couple of lawyers, you should ask yourself a couple of very important questions. Did the lawyer really believe that he or she could handle my case? Did the lawyer understand the concerns that I have? Did the lawyer communicate with me in a way that I could understand?

Do Some Research

After the interview, you should be able to narrow your choices down to two lawyers. Before you decide on the one that you will select, you should do some research on both. The internet makes it very easy for you to find information about lawyers. When you are researching, you should aim to find out more about the lawyers’ education, training and other credentials. You may also want to take a look at the reviews that have been given by previous clients.

About the Author

Scott Morgan is a board certified Texas family law attorney and the founder of the Morgan Law Firm. You can read more of his divorce articles on the firm’s divorce blog.

What is Termination of Parental Rights vs Legal Custody

David Cantor explains the Termination of Parental Rights versus Legal Custody in this short video:

Domestic matters of child welfare and adoption can complicate and dictate parental rights and child custody. Termination of parental rights refers to “termination of care or control of child custody” that’s often complacent and later coupled with challenges to the ruling on legal custody. The notion of terminating parental rights to the relationship of a child, then years later pursue to challenge that decision is a difficult road, but not impossible nor unheard of.

Termination of parental rights, hence terminating the care or control of child custody can occur during a lawful process of adoption, unwanted child births, and straightforward termination of custodial rights. Parents faced with terminating parental rights to child custody are often under some form of duress, which can lead to a legal challenge. Questioning the lawful termination of parental rights isn’t the same as questioning legal custody. The termination of parental rights is meant to lawfully or willfully remove challenging legal custody, but is further inclusive of a finer difference. “Lawfully” references those cases where parental rights had been terminated by court order, while “willfully” is referencing those parents who voluntarily terminated parental rights, to the relationship of a child.

If the termination of parental rights to child custody was willful, it’s unlikely the court would revisit a petition for vacating termination of parental rights. The cost, time, and psychological impact has an effect upon the responding parties. If evidence was provided that duress effected or influenced the decision for termination of parental rights, it could persuade the court to revisit the subject-matter, based upon that evidence. Cases where the court has ordered termination of parental rights, then petitioning to revisit and vacate that court order carries even a lesser chance of it happening. If the petitioner can provide evidence of duress, the case would eventually progress under statutes governing child custody. The petitioner in either scenario must prove regaining “parental rights” to the relationship of a child is essential, thus contributing to the well-being of that child.

The termination of parental rights to the relationship of a child, abandoning child custody and petitioning to regain those parental rights is an important decision. Local statutes may determine the length of time a case remains open or closed, but courts and child custody together amounts to legal hurdles and much expended time. These hurdles involve social workers, child custody investigators, guardian ad litems, and either background screenings or personal witnesses.

If you would like to speak with an attorney from the Cantor Law Group about the Termination of Parental Rights or Legal Custody, our offices can be reached 24 hours a day at (602) 254-8880. Or you can use our secure confidential email form.

Can I Overturn a Decree of Dissolution in Arizona?

David Cantor explains how to overturn or appeal a Decree of Dissolution in Arizona:

 

A decree of dissolution may end a marriage, but it does not necessarily mean all the divorce-related issues are settled.

If you have a dispute with a judge’s final ruling on such matters as monthly child support payments or marital property, for instance, then you can ask to have the decree of dissolution overturned. This can be done in three ways.

One way is to file a motion for reconsideration. This motion asks the judge to revisit an order made in the divorce case. This type of motion is usually filed when you believe the judge made a factual error or did not consider the evidence presented before making a ruling.

You must contact the court and have a transcript made of the judge’s order along with a written explanation stating the part of the order that is in question.

Then, you must file your motion with the judge and send a copy to your former spouse. The judge could deny your request and let the ruling stand or hear oral arguments on the request.

Another way to overturn a decree of dissolution is by filing a motion to set aside or modify the judgment. This motion is filed if you, for whatever reason, fail to respond to the petition for dissolution and a judge has already made a final judgment on the matter.

In filing the motion, you must state your reasons why the judge should set aside or modify the final ruling and give you the opportunity to respond and make changes to the dissolution petition.

You can also file an appeal to overturn a dissolution decree. When bringing a matter before the state courts, your attorney must be confident that there are legal grounds on which to appeal. Simply disagreeing with a county judge’s ruling will not be enough for the Court of Appeals to consider the request. An attorney that can present solid evidence may be successful in getting the appellate court to hear your case and reverse the lower court’s decision.

Under Arizona law, the methods to overturn a decree of dissolution all fall within a certain time period. It is important for your attorney to be aware of these deadlines so that you can find the best way to get your decree of dissolution request heard – and possibly overturned – by a judge.

If you are looking to overturn a Decree of Dissolution in Arizona and would like to speak with an attorney call our office at (602) 254-8880 to set-up a free consultation. You can also send us an email using our confidential secure email form.

What is the State of Arizona Definition of Legal Custody?

David Cantor explains the State of Arizona definition of Legal Custody:

Legal custody is a broad phrase that’s intended to define the boundary or jurisdiction by which a subject or object is held. Legal custody is a phrase combined of two terms: “legal” and “custody.” Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S) holds all codifications applied to the state boundaries of Arizona. What’s ruled legal or not is merely confirming the act with an A.R.S. Title, statute, and penalty (emphasis is on “penalty” because few statutes define the “rights” of the accused, except perhaps in affirmative defense cases). From here we’ll move to briefly examine what’s “legal custody.”

Understanding the U.S. Constitution, federal law, a state constitution, state laws, and municipal regulations essentially define the boundaries of civility. These doctrines and codifications determine what’s legal or illegal, but only as a matter of law. Each structure in scope applies only to U.S. citizens or those expatriates acting under the United States of America flag. “Legal” is thereby “lawful” in its lingo resulting to: “lawful custody.” Since the legalities must reference what’s lawful, in this instance, we’re merely discussing what defines “lawful custody” under A.R.S. codifications. “Custody” doesn’t always reference a person and can also apply to a place or thing, thus “subject” or “object” is used interchangeably. For instance, A.R.S. Title 25 Marital and Domestic Relations, one may deduce the title only references codes pertaining to marriage or divorce; while this is true and impartial, the title also codifies “lawful” child “custody” and “lawful custody” of property.

Keep in the mind that all codifications will reference a subject or object, but the subject or object must also exist in a definitive jurisdiction. Custody references the accountability and control by which a person, place, or thing is lawfully bound. Therefore, the definition of legal (lawful) custody in the state of Arizona is first codified under original jurisdiction, then subject-matter jurisdiction or personal jurisdiction relating to a “subject” as “people or a person” and “object” as “property.”

Click Here to Speak with an Attorney About Custody for Free.

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can reach us at (602) 254-8880.

In Arizona, How Long Does a Divorce take?

In this short video David Cantor explains how long a typical divorce in Arizona will take:

Plenty of marriages occur in Arizona rivaling the number of divorces and re-marriages in the state. The process of marriage and divorce is rather streamlined in Arizona. Nearly all state assisted services in Arizona require a period of domicile. This means the requester for state assisted services offered by the court system must be a resident. Arizona has strict requirements for the requester to utilize or needing recognition of the state. Couples should understand that “uncontested” and “rapid-divorce” must not be taken lightly. Let’s begin briefly examining the process of divorce in Arizona (A.R.S. Title 25 Marital and Domestic Relations).

Making the decision to begin the divorce process is separate from proceeding through the divorce process and just as emotionally draining! While we’ll focus upon the “uncontested” divorce, couples should also review any alternative dispute resolutions prior to divorce proceedings. Arizona state law require divorcing couples to have resided within state boundaries at least ninety days prior to filing for a divorce and both parties present proof of residency before Service of Process. Couples should note that Maricopa County Superior Court hears all family matters including divorce as originating jurisdiction.

Couples desiring the dissolution of marriage must initiate Service of Process, file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, and Divorce Decree. During this period, if Service of Process has been properly executed, an answer to the petition is required within thirty days. However, if there’s no answer then there’s no divorce. Arizona requires that both parties agree upon divorce. Service of Process will be considered vacated if there’s no answer from the Respondent unless proven abandonment or absence from bed and board. Upon successful Service of Process, the Clerk of Court will issue a Temporary Order or Preliminary Injunction that all matters and assets shall remain stable and in custody until final judgment has been decreed.

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Let’s review the time frames before concluding. There’s a ninety (90) day requirement for couples living in Arizona to prove residency. Service of Process will require thirty (30) days from the initial return service reminding, that an answer must be received from the Respondent. The period for the Temporary Order or Preliminary Injunction will cover ninety (90) days while the final Judgment of Decree is approved or denied. However, the court may discover opposing evidence and based on that evidence find the proceedings defrauded. If this happens, the dissolution proceedings are vacated, otherwise the court concludes all fact finding matters, and the Divorce Decree is authorized and issued.

If you would like more information about the divorce process in Arizona, please call (602) 254-8880 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney. You can also send us a confidential email using our form.

What is Guardian Ad Litem in Arizona?

A guardian ad litem acts on behalf of a child or a disabled adult during a lawsuit or court case. A guardian ad litem is charged with telling a judge what he or she believes is in the best interest of a child and act as a liaison between the parents, the child and other people who take care of the child, like teachers, other family members and family friends. The guardian ad litem can also speak to child protection services.

The guardian ad litem writes a report telling the judge what he or she thinks should happen with respect to the child. The report isn’t binding on the judge, but the judge must take the report into account.

Though many guardian ad litem are lawyers, they don’t have to be. The guardian ad litem can work with a lawyer in regards to the case.

In Arizona family court, the judge is compelled to name a guardian ad litem for a child if he or she believes the child is threatened in some way. In cases where the child isn’t under threat, it’s up to the judge whether he or she names a guardian ad litem or not. There must also be a guardian ad litem appointed for a child in juvenile court, a child in foster care, a child who’s neglected or is in need of protective services.

Watch David Cantor explain how to request guardian ad litem in Arizona:


The guardian ad litem is not the same as the child’s guardian, who is basically the child’s parent. The guardian ad litem doesn’t have custody of the child but helps the judge to determine what’s in the child’s best interests. The guardian ad litem learns about the environment in which the child lives, his or her background and his or her family life in order to make a recommendation to the judge.

A parent who wants a guardian ad litem for his or her child needs to speak to his or her attorney. The attorney can then fill out the forms needed to request a guardian ad litem. Or, the parent can file a motion at a courthouse requesting a guardian ad litem. The parent then pays a fee and makes copies for his or herself and other interested parties. The motion for a guardian ad litem is then given to a clerk of the court. The clerk will let the parent know how the papers are to be served to the other parties.

The date for a hearing is then set up. On this date, the judge either approves or denies the motion for a guardian ad litem. The parent needs to explain why he or she wants a guardian ad litem appointed. If the motion is approved, the parent can then chose a guardian ad litem.

If you have questions about guardian ad litem and would like a free consultation with an attorney, you can reach our offices 24 hours a day at (602) 254-8880. You can also send us a confidential email as well.

Click the following link if you have questions regarding the Adoption or Termination of Parental Rights in Arizona.

How to get Custody of a Child in Arizona

David Cantor explains How to get Custody of a Child in Arizona:


A question our family law firm gets a lot is “How to get Custody of a Child in Arizona?

Arizona recently changed the way they term ‘Custody‘. They now call custody ‘Parenting Time‘. We’ll still call it custody but will also start to use the new term of Parenting Time.

When getting custody of a child in Arizona, one of the first things that needs to be done is to file a Petition to Establish Custody.

Once you establish the petition for custody, the courts will go through several checklists that will determine what is in the best interests of the child in terms of the divorce.

Sometimes you may need to file a Petition to Establish Paternity if the child was born out of wedlock, usually the Father has to establish paternity.

When the Parenting time or custody is brought before the judge and all of the specifics are laid out. This would include parent work scheduled, educational needs of the child, religious needs of the child. The judge will look at a variety of factors before determining who gets the child and for how long.

As of Jan 1, 2013 we passed a law allowing father’s rights to get 50/50 custody of the child. Historically the mother of the child would get the benefit of the doubt and receive the bulk of the custody. So now, the father can more easily get 50% of the child’s time. For more information on that, see our blog post.

If you would like to schedule a free consultation or would like more information regarding Custody in Arizona, please call our offices at (602) 254-8880 to speak with an attorney. If you would like to send us a confidential email, please click here.

Why You Should Hire a Divorce Attorney

During a divorce, finances are at stake, so a person may believe that foregoing a lawyer is the best way to save money. This is not necessarily true. An attorney is almost always needed when issues need to dealt with, such as is the case with most divorces. Although some divorces can be worked out in a civil manner without legal assistance, most cases require the expertise of a divorce attorney.

Watch David Cantor explain why you should hire a good divorce lawyer:

 

There are many conditions that arise in a divorce where hiring a divorce attorney is especially helpful:

    • When the other spouse has an attorney – It can be difficult for someone without a lawyer to fight for his or her rights against a spouse with a lawyer. Not only is it intimidating, but the party with the lawyer will likely prevail.

 

    • When the other spouse lies or seeks revenge – Emotions during a bitter divorce can bring out the worst in people. If you are divorcing your spouse because of his or her dishonesty or are afraid that he or she will get back at you for initiating the divorce, having a divorce attorney on your side will protect your interests.

 

    • Abuse is involved – Domestic violence against you or the children or having a spouse struggling with substance abuse are instances in which a lawyer can help file the necessary documents to protect the spouse and children from the abuser.

 

    • Children are involved – Child custody battles are common when both spouses want to have custody of the children on their terms. The custodial parent may also want to seek child support, so in these cases, divorce attorneys will fight to preserve their clients’ wishes and legal rights. (See our post on 2013 changes for Parenting Time here.)

 

    • A large amount of money or other assets are involved – Divorce lawyers have experience dividing marital property fairly. This applies to not only assets but debt as well. See our blog post explaining Community Property, click here.

 

    • You wish to seek alimony – If you are currently unemployed or have a job that pays much less than your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you may want to seek spousal support, or alimony. The length of the marriage and your earning power, health and age are all factors that an attorney will look at when asking a judge to grant you alimony.

 

  • To handle paperwork – Having to keep on top of paperwork just adds to the stress of a divorce. A lawyer will take of it for you by completing and filing the required documents. In addition, a lawyer is up-to-date on all the laws regarding divorce, which can be a huge asset since laws are constantly changing.

 

If you are considering divorce, be sure to protect your assets, finances, children and other legal rights by hiring a divorce attorney. If you would like to schedule a free consultation call our offices at (602) 254-8880 or send us a confidential email.

Fathers in Arizona Can Now Get More Parenting Time Thanks to Changes in Arizona Law for 2013

Arizona Family Law Attorney David Cantor explains the new parenting time custody law in Arizona for 2013:

New laws have been recently put in place in the state of Arizona. These laws will have a large effect on parents’ decision-making authority, as well as the amount of time they can spend with their children. The term “Joint Custody / Sole Custody” has been replaced with “Joint / Sole Legal Decision-Making” under Arizona law. The fact that the term changed doesn’t change the principal outcome, which is making decisions related to medical, religious and educational issues for the children. Rather, Arizona has decided to recognize a presumption that offering the parents Joint Legal Decision-Making will be in the best interests of their children.

This allows both the mother and father to have an involvement in major decisions that will affect the child’s life. Furthermore, a greater burden of proof has been set if one parent alleges that this joint decision-making will not be in the child’s best interest. Fathers will now have the same ability to be involved in their child’s life as mothers.

When setting parenting time, courts in the State of Arizona will now use the presumption that offering both parents equal time with their children will be in the best interest of these minor children. This is certainly welcome news for fathers, many of who believed that courts in Arizona were biased towards mothers when it comes to issues related to child custody and parenting time. Under the new changes in legislation, courts will no longer be able to presume that younger children, like infants and toddlers will be better off being under the mother’s care due to their needs and young age. Now, both parents will be able to spend a large amount of time with their children. If one party argues that the court should reduce the other parent’s time with their children, it will be far more difficult for them to overcome the presumption on equal parenting time.

Have Questions about Parenting Time? Click Here to Speak with an Attorney

These changes don’t mean that equal decision-making authority plus parenting time will be awarded to both parents in each case. If there are serious issues, such as ongoing alcohol or drug abuse, domestic violence, etc., than the courts can consider the best interests of the children to create a parenting plan which will address specific issues brought forth in the case. This can also happen in cases where both parents sharing equal time isn’t possible due to the fact that they live a large distance apart.

If you would like to know more about these changes in the law, or you have certain questions about them, an experienced attorney can provide you with much needed help. Free legal consultations are given by the Cantor Law Group, where you can talk about matters that are specific to your case and learn important information. If anything about the new custody laws in Arizona is unclear, give us a call at 602-254-8880 or send us a confidential email to discuss your case.

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