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How to handle Prescription Drug Abuse and Divorce

Substance and drug abuse issues are especially impactful in your divorce, as it is one of the determining factors the Court takes into consideration in awarding Child Custody and Parenting Time. A parent who suspects substance and drug abuse by the other parent historically has relied upon the Court to initiate substance abuse testing through Court approved programs. However, what does a spouse do when they believe the other spouse is abusing prescription drug medications? Can the Courts standardized testing detect this abuse? How do you handle Prescription Drug Abuse and divorce?

Difficult to identify Prescription Drug Abuse

There are no clear or easy answers to the above questions. Courts, and indeed the medical community, have long recognized the dangerous and costly impact of prescription medication addiction, yet proving this addiction exists is not an easy task. This is because addictions to prescription medications are not as identifiable as addictions to illegal substances. Simply put, when a party is ordered to undergo a random hair follicle and/or urinalysis test, illicit substances are easily identifiable, however prescription medication is quite the opposite as most abusers have valid prescriptions by medical professionals. This makes it almost impossible for a Court to make a determination of abuse.

Get Proactive about Prescription Drug Abuse

While standardized substance abuse testing cannot accurately determine whether a person has been abusing their medications, it is important to note that there are additional testing and/or treatment options that can be requested through the Court. A party who suspects prescription medication abuse can, and should, contemporaneously with their request for the standardized substance abuse testing, request that the opposing party either terminate the use of any and all narcotic containing medications to accurately determine whether abuse is occurring, or seek the assistance of an addiction specialist who can conduct specific blood testing to determine abuse. These additional tests are not widely known throughout the Court system and as such, specific requests are necessary. In addition, if you believe the other party has been engaging in “doctor shopping” to attain their prescriptions, pharmacy records can be obtained through the use of HIPPA release requests and/or filing the appropriate motions to the Court.

If you believe your child’s parent is abusing prescription medication, consulting with an experienced attorney is paramount. The Cantor Law Group offers free consultations where one of our experienced attorneys will discuss your specific matter and provide valuable information and support. Feel free to call today at 602-254-8880 to talk with us about your case.

Keeping Lines of Communication Open During Child Custody Transition

parent child custody transitionFall is an exciting time for parents. When children head back to school, or start attending for the first time, it can bring major changes to those summertime schedules some parents get used to. It can also mean big changes in the amount of parenting time a non-custodial parent has with their children. Perhaps you have been with your children all summer and now it’s time for them to go, or perhaps you have been without your children all summer and now they are returning. Either way it can mean a major adjustment. The important thing to remember is always try and keep open lines of communication with the other parent, especially during difficult times of transition. Lack of effective communication during child custody transitions can put added stress into already stressful situations.

Communicate early to avoid litigation

Often times, people will approach me with concerns about their children or the other parent, which could be easily fixed if properly and timely addressed. When communication breaks down over children, parents will naturally become defensive. This can quickly and easily lead to expensive and sometimes unnecessary litigation. There are certainly times when court intervention is not only appropriate, but also the only option. However, even if you believe your situation is heading this way, maintaining, or at least attempting to maintain, open and productive communication with the other parent can make the process easier and more productive.

Court Intervention may be necessary

If, despite your best efforts, you find you are in a situation where the other parent will not effectively communicate, it is sometimes necessary to request Court intervention. This is especially appropriate to protect the best interests of your children. Court intervention can take different forms with varying degrees of cost and complexity. Some forms of court intervention can include:

  • Mediation
  • Alternative dispute resolution
  • Appointment of a parenting coordinator
  • Filing for a modification of parenting time
  • Change in custody

Get good legal council

Effective communication is critical to a joint custody agreement and successful co-parenting. If one parent is making unilateral custody decisions and failing to communicate, these actions could necessitate a change in custody. If you believe that a parenting time or custody modification is appropriate for your family law matter, it may be time to consult an attorney. The Cantor Law Group offers a free consultation where one of the experienced family law attorneys will discuss your specific matter and provide thorough information regarding your case, and answers to your family law questions. Feel free to call us today at 602-254-8880 so we can discuss your options.

Pregnant Man Thomas Beatie’s Divorce Judge Orders Expert Testimony on Marriage Legality

On August 15, 2012 the Honorable Judge Douglas Gerlach of the Maricopa County Superior Court in Arizona ordered an Evidentiary Hearing and Oral Argument on December 7th, 2012 to determine whether the Court has jurisdiction regarding the divorce of Thomas Beatie (FC 2012-051183) according to his lawyers, Cantor Law Group.

This is the latest change to what started off as a Divorce, between a transgender male and his wife, where both parties agreed that it was time to separate. In May of 2012 Judge Gerlach ruled that Mr. Beatie would gain sole custody of his children and he would pay alimony to his future ex-wife, according to court documents.
Then in June Judge Gerlach issued a Nunc Pro Tunc Order questioning if the Court even has jurisdiction over this Divorce, according to court documents. The issue for the judge was whether this Hawaii marriage is valid under Arizona law, based on Thomas’ sex change status and his retention of his female reproductive organs at the time of the marriage.
The Judge requested a memorandum “showing that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction” over this Divorce by July 30th, with an implication that his ruling would come by August 30th 2012 according to court documents. “This raised a few questions, especially in the media,” according to Thomas’ Lawyer David Michael Cantor of the Cantor Law Group.
Judge Gerlach has now altered course. On August 15th during a Telephonic Status Conference he ordered “setting Oral Argument [with an Evidentiary Hearing] on the issue of whether this Court has subject matter jurisdiction on December 7, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.”
“We filed our memorandum showing that under Arizona State Statute that a transgender man’s legal definition is set by certain medical operations, treatments, and finally a certified doctors approval.” states Thomas’ Lawyer David Michael Cantor of the Cantor Law Group “Since Arizona and Hawaii have virtually the same Sex Change Statue, in this case we will prove that under the law Thomas was a man at the time of his wedding. Sterilization is not a requirement of either State’s Statute. Under both Arizona’s and Hawaii’s law Thomas was a man at the time of his marriage, and therefore his three children born during the marriage are legitimate.”
For more information please contact Roger Williams of the Cantor Law Group at 602-380-2692 roger(at)rogerwilliamsmedia(dot)com

Same Sex Divorce in Maryland sets Precedent

In Arizona same-sex marriage is prohibited by both statute and the state constitution. Aside from the political and religious rhetoric surrounding the issue, if a gay couple gets married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage, can they get divorced in states that don’t? Gay couples are asking that very question as it is uncharted territory, at the moment.

Recently the state of Maryland weighed in on the issue and found that a gay couple could be divorced there despite state law prohibiting the recognition of same-sex marriage. The Maryland Court of Appeals said the trial court could withhold recognition of a valid foreign marriage only if that marriage is “repugnant” to state public policy. They found that the gay marriage before them did not meet that criteria.

The Maryland decision is likely to send shockwaves throughout the legal community as a precedent-setting case other states could look to for guidance and authority. Proponents for same-sex divorce are also likely to cite the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution (Art. IV, sec. 1) that commands states to recognize “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings, of every other state recognized in other states.” Proponents could argue that the public act of marriage and the recording of a marriage license in a state recognizing gay marriage should be recognized in states forbidding it.

At the Cantor Law Group, we recognize and follow these types of legal issues so that we can represent our clients to the best of our abilities. The law changes constantly. Therefore, as a professional family law firm, it is important that we are committed to aggressively pursuing all of our clients’ needs and finding distinctions wherever needed.

A Guide to the Child Support Calculator in Arizona 2012

The child support calculator is based off the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. The goal of the Arizona Child Support Guidelines is to determine the duty a person has to provide all reasonable support for that person’s natural and adopted minor, unemancipated children.
The child support calculator that is referred to in this article can be found at:

Using the Arizona Child Support Calculator

When first looking at the child support calculator there is a space for Petitioner and Respondent’s names, the Petitioner is the party who first filed the original matter. For the purposes of the child support calculation there is no advantage or difference between the two.

Our law firm can help you with Child Support Issues, get more information here.

The calculator next asks for Child Details. The first drop-down box asks about the time-sharing arrangement. One of the most important factors for child support is the amount of time each party has with the minor child. The more parenting time you have with the child the more expenses you incur and the guidelines take that into consideration. The parenting time arrangement can be agreed to by the parties in a stipulation or will be ordered by the Court after a final determination has been made. One of the many benefits of having an experienced family law attorney from The Cantor Law Group represent you in your family law matter is that the attorneys will aggressively advocate for the parenting time arrangement that is in your child’s best interest. The Courts in Arizona will consider a list of factors when determining parenting time and custody. Trying to navigate that path unrepresented can lead to unforeseen pitfalls, especially when the opposing party has retained an attorney who is familiar with procedures and relevant law. The matter before the Court will need to include Parenting Time, as a Petition to establish Paternity and Child Support will not determine parenting time.

After entering the time-sharing arrangement the calculator will ask you to input your children’s names and dates of birth that are common to you and the opposing party. You would not input children from another relationship; this will be accounted for later. The date of birth is relevant as there is a 10% increase in child support for a child over the age of 12, given the increasing costs of raising a teenager. In addition, this will consider that typically the support obligation will end when the minor child reaches the age of 18. There are some exceptions, including if the child is still in high school, but under the age of 19 or if the child has mental or physical disabilities.

The next factor to be considered on this calculator is the income of the parties. The first line will require real or estimated knowledge of both parties income. This can be calculated by hourly wage, monthly income, or yearly income and uses the gross income of the parties. Any Court-ordered spousal maintenance paid or received by the parties will affect the calculator, regardless if the maintenance is to or from the opposing party. The next factor the calculator will determine is if there are other child support obligations that have been court-ordered, or if there are other natural or adopted children for which there is no court-ordered support.

The calculator should now have the information needed to determine the adjusted gross monthly income of both parties, and what the basic child support obligation should be for the child or children. While inputting what you believe to be both parties gross income is one of the easier tasks in this exercise, determining the actual gross incomes of the parties and proving that to the court can be a much more difficult task. There are occasions where a party has a cash business and their tax returns do not accurately represent their income, or the person has recently quit a high paying job in an effort to thwart future obligations. The attorneys at The Cantor Law Group have had great success using the discovery process to determine the real gross income of opposing parties who are self-employed or have cash businesses. The Cantor Law Group will, where appropriate, aggressively advocate that the Court impute the income that the opposing party should reasonably be earning in the case they resign from a higher paying job, accept a lower paying position, or are currently unemployed.

Petition for a Modification of Child Support

There are currently a significant amount of child support orders from the past ten years that do not accurately reflect the financial situations of the parties. As the payor it is your responsibility to petition for a modification of child support. Given the current financial climate many people are earning significantly less than when their child support was ordered through no unreasonable conduct of their own. The child support order is modifiable if there has been a significant and ongoing change regarding the finances of a party. The attorney’s at The Cantor Law Group can help determine if you could qualify for a modification.

Our law firm can help you with Child Support Issues, get more information here.

How the parties’ gross income is determined is one of the most important factors in the child support you will pay or receive. Having an experienced family law attorney guide you through this process and advocate for you and your children can help ensure that all of the relevant factors will be addressed. The cost of incorrectly determining a child support obligation can be financially crippling.
The next set of factors the Court will use are the necessary additions to the basic support. This will consider the upward adjustment for any child over the age of 12, the cost of medical, dental, and vision insurance paid by either party, the monthly childcare costs for the children, extra educational expenses paid, and extraordinary expenses paid for children who are gifted or handicapped. It should be noted that the cost of the insurance premiums should be for the children in common only, not to include the parties themselves.
Finally, the calculator will account for any arrears payments, and will then determine the party to pay the child support and the amount.
A Court has the discretion to deviate from the Child Support Guidelines; however, historically a significant deviation is unlikely without a showing of good cause.

Get Legal Advice

The purpose of this calculator is informational and educational only and does not constitute legal advice. The amount of child support a court will order for any particular case may be different from the amount estimated by the calculator. The court has the final authority to determine the amount of child support awarded. The amount yielded by this calculator is only an estimate and is not a guarantee of the amount of child support that will be awarded. All of the factors listed above are relevant to the Child Support Calculations and this Summary is not meant to be an exhaustive list of the relevant facts or factors in determining child support in accordance with the guidelines. This summary is meant to inform parties of the major factors in determining child support and some of the complex issues that can arise, as well as a guide to using the child support calculator.

To determine the relevant factors for your matter, and to obtain legal advice regarding child support please consult one of the experienced Family Law attorneys at The Cantor Law Group. Call 24/7 602-254-8880.

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