What’s a Parenting Plan? (Family Law, Child Custody)

| Child Custody Divorce Legally Speaking | March 4, 2020

Avoid Disputes

Don’t involve the police in parenting exchanges. Do not go to court every time there is a disagreement with the child’s other parent. A parenting plan is designed to try to do all of those things, and more. A well thought-out and well-drafted parenting plan will become a very helpful document to parents in a situation where a child spends time with both parents.

 

What Should a Parenting Plan Address?

Specifically, a parenting plan should address daily parenting time, such as when little Johnny or Susie will be with mom and when the child will be with dad. Details are important – such as the days of exchanges, times of exchanges and where exchanges occur. Things such as who may transport the child and who is supposed to drive for parenting time are things that people often spend a lot of time and money fighting over. Many people use school as the exchange location to avoid having to see one another.

 

Holidays

Holidays are another important issue to discuss. Each family has holidays that are more important to them than others. If a holiday or specific day is important, it should be addressed. This includes defining the time of the holiday – i.e., is Thanksgiving just on Thursday for a specific time or does it encompass the entire weekend from Wednesday after school until Monday morning when school starts again? If a holiday is not important, it does not need to be discussed. Many parents try to limit changes to the parenting schedule and may not include every federal or state holiday in their plan.

 

Extracurricular Activities

How are extracurricular activities going to be divided? It may seem like a great idea to share equally in all extracurricular activities until the other parent decides to sign a child up for an expensive activity or one to which the other party objects.

 

Take the Time to Talk with a Family Law Attorney

Time spent discussing parenting plans is usually well spent. Few relish in the thought of returning to court to address issues that were not appropriately described the first time. Although it may be very difficult to imagine the child spending a holiday or regular day with the other parent, it is worse to be arguing over a particular holiday days or hours before the holiday begins. Take the time to talk with a family law attorney to discuss the importance of a detailed parenting plan.

If you would like do discuss further, please contact the Family Law Attorneys at Duenas Eden Law, PLC. We are experienced and trusted lawyers focusing on Family Law including; Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. We are Family Law and Child Custody Lawyers servicing Ahwatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Dorian Eden Attorney at Law Duenas Eden Law Family Law Ahwatukee AZ
By Dorian L. Eden
Adapted from the original published article in the October 2012 edition of Ocotillo Living

The Downside of Social Media (Family Law, Divorce & Child Custody)

| Child Custody Divorce Legally Speaking | February 24, 2020

Facebook Leads to Bigamy Arrest

The headline read something like that a few years ago in the newspaper which, being a divorce attorney, caught my attention. A man had been married, separated from his first wife, changed his name, moved and a few years later married a second time. If you are on Facebook, you know that it will suggest people you may know based on location, friends, groups, etc. Apparently, Facebook suggested to wife #2 that she “friend” wife #1 because they may know each other. Somehow wife #2 realized this was wife #1 and then discovered it was not ex-wife #1! The police were called and husband now faces bigamy charges. Oh, the powers of the internet and social networking.

Facebook creates relationships and, apparently, destroys others. In this age of social media, people are finding long-lost loves and friends. I am hearing more and more people say, “Facebook ruined my marriage.”

Can Your Social Media be Used in Court?

Arizona is a no-fault state, meaning that under the law, a spouse does not need to prove that they are entitled to a divorce. Wrongdoing (such as an affair) during a marriage rarely is considered by the court, except in certain circumstances. However, Facebook entries are becoming increasingly relevant in child custody cases, such as when one parent is trying to prove the other has a drinking problem. What may seem like an innocent/ funny status update of “out with friends at the bar until 3 a.m., so drunk I forgot to take out my contacts before I passed out” or something similar may be used against that parent in court. Or, of your 500+ “friends” one may try to take advantage of an empty house when you say, “heading to the airport to leave for the Bahamas for 2 weeks!” Be careful of what you post and when you “check-in” places – it’s like leaving your garage door open with a big sign that says, “I’m not home, come take what you want!”

Bottom Line – Social Media is Not “Private”

Facebook [or any other social media] is not private. Even with privacy settings, if it’s posted online, what you post or who you friend may come back to haunt you!

 

When to Talk with an Attorney?

If you are facing a divorce or child custody case and have questions, contact the Family Law Attorneys at Duenas Eden Law, PLC. We are experienced and trusted lawyers focusing on Family Law including; Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Divorce and Family Law in Ahawatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Dorian Eden Attorney at Law Duenas Eden Law Family Law Ahwatukee AZ
By Dorian L. Eden
Adapted from the original published article in the May 2012 edition of Ocotillo Living

Child Custody Questions: Who Gets to Enroll the Kids in School?

| Child Custody Legally Speaking | February 18, 2020

Child Custody and School Enrollment

We know it may seem early for such a question, but with notices already going out to prepare for school enrollment for next year, we felt this is a very important question to get on early. We hear comments like: “She moved to a new district,” “I don’t like his home school,” “We have to enroll the child(ren) in school for the fall and I don’t know who gets to do that,” “I want to change schools.”

 

Child Custody; Sole or Joint

Generally, there are two types of custody – sole and joint. Sole means that one person has decision-making authority over big decisions that the court designates, such as education, nonemergency medical care and religion. Joint custody means that the parties share in that decision-making process, with the intention of the parties actually talking, listening, respecting one another and coming to a decision together that is in their child’s best interest. Do I sound cynical? Perhaps it’s because for many people, if they could talk, listen and respect one-another, they wouldn’t be involved in a custody battle to begin with!

Then there is a hybrid – joint custody with one parent having final decision-making. Here, the parties are supposed to talk, listen, respect, etc. and then one person ultimately has final say. So based on the above, who enrolls the child(ren)? It depends. Attorneys are famous for using those two words. It depends on the custody, primary residential parent, where have the children historically attended school, and where the parents live, among just some of the considerations. Again, the best way to determine your status is to contact a qualified family law attorney to discuss your individual circumstances.

 

Talk with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you are involved in a child custody dispute, are getting divorced or simply unsure of who has the legal authority to enroll your child or children in school for the upcoming school year, then you need to talk with an experienced family law attorney.

At Duenas Eden Law, PLC we are qualified and experienced attorneys focsing on Family Law including; Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Serving Maricopa County including Phoenix, Ahawatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Trust the Family Law Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Dorian Eden Attorney at Law Duenas Eden Law Family Law Ahwatukee AZ
By Dorian L. Eden
Adapted from the original published article in the July 2012 edition of Ocotillo Living

Sole Versus Joint? What Does Decision-Making Mean?

| Child Custody Legally Speaking | December 23, 2019

Custody Laws in Arizona

I wrote an article a few months back about the changes to Arizona Custody Laws. In summary, in family law cases “custody,” as it was formerly known, no longer exists. Now, divorced or non-married parents have either joint or sole decision-making about big decisions involving their minor children – typically things such as non-emergency medical care, education, religion and well-being issues. The family law judges start with the presumption that joint decision-making, meaning both parents are able to participate in making such important decisions, is in a child’s best interest. They do so because Arizona law requires such a presumption. See A.R.S. § 25-103(B)(2). But, there are exceptions to every rule and certainly cases where joint decision-making is not feasible and one parent is then granted sole decision-making authority. This is not common and typically limited to circumstances where there has been significant domestic violence or significant substance abuse issues, just to give a few examples.

Sole, Joint and Final Authority Decision Making

As family law judges and practitioners work on implementing the new laws (which really have been in effect since 2010), I am increasingly finding that judges are telling parents that sole decision-making does not mean that decisions are made to the exclusion of the other party. One judge recently stated that he views sole decision-making and joint decision-making with one parent having final authority to make decisions as meaning virtually the same thing. Other judges seem to be agreeing with this sentiment. This means that the parent with either sole or final authority to make decisions must first consult with the other parent and ask for his or her input on whatever the particular issue at hand. And only in the event of a disagreement may the parent with the authority to make the decision do so. For most parents, that probably seems like a no-brainer. You talk with the other parent of your children and try to come up with an agreement on how to handle a particular situation – just like people often do when they are together. Yet, in my line of work, I regularly see cases where judges have to tell parents that they have to at least make a good faith attempt to discuss the situation with the other parent because this is in a child’s best interest. It is these cases where parents are not thinking about what is in a child’s best interest, but rather, how are they to retaliate against the other parent. Judges see this too and generally are quick to spot when this is a problem.

Big Decisions

There are many examples of parents making big decisions about their children under the auspices of “sole” or “final” decision making authority. This inevitably causes the parent who was left out to feel as though the other parent does not value his or her input as a parent and if one parent does not value the other, then are they also expressing that to the children? There is, to some extent and in certain cases, validity to these concerns. This is quite possibly the reason why many judges order joint decision-making, even when it is clear the parents do not and cannot get along – because to give one parent authority will be to the other parent’s detriment. Judges get used to seeing essentially “repeat offenders” – those parents who will almost always have some issue pending before the court. They do not typically like making decisions about other people’s children, but if the

Consult with a Trusted Family Law Attorney

We understand that child custody and decision making is an important issue. The Lawyers at Duenas Eden Law, PLC listen to you and the decisions facing you and your children. We are trusted Family Law Attorneys focusing on Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Divorce, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Serving the Phoenix metro area including Ahawatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Family Law Attorney in Phoenix / Ahwatukee Dorian Eden
By Dorian L. Eden
Originally published in the June 2014 edition of Ocotillo Living

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