Grandparent Rights in Arizona

| Divorce Family Law | August 18, 2020

There are a few reasons for grandparents to seek visitation or custodial rights over grandchildren. In this article we will focus on two main areas pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute 25-409 regarding third party rights. These two areas will be "visitation rights" and "custodial rights".

Visitation Rights

Often times during a marriage that children are born into, the grandparents on both sides are typically welcomed in by both parents. This, for all intents and purposes, is a “visitation” to the minor grandchild. This is typically considered a normal event for most grandparents and is usually handled outside of the courts simply by the permission of the guardian(s) of the child(ren).

This permission of visitation may become strained or even revoked after the parents have divorced or by other events. At this point if it becomes necessary, the grandparent(s) can seek visitation rights by petitioning the courts. A.R.S. § 25-409 C states:

C. Pursuant to section 25-402, subsection B, paragraph 2, a person other than a legal parent may petition the superior court for visitation with a child. The superior court may grant visitation rights during the child's minority on a finding that the visitation is in the child's best interests and that any of the following is true:

1. One of the legal parents is deceased or has been missing at least three months. For the purposes of this paragraph, a parent is considered to be missing if the parent's location has not been determined and the parent has been reported as missing to a law enforcement agency.

2. The child was born out of wedlock and the child's legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.

3. For grandparent or great-grandparent visitation, the marriage of the parents of the child has been dissolved for at least three months.

4. For in loco parentis visitation, a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the legal parents is pending at the time the petition is filed.

Custodial Rights

Grandparents may also request custodial rights over the minor grandchild. This of course as well as much of A.R.S. § 25-409 is themed in the “child’s best interest” and the petitioning party must supply evidence of that statement. These custodial rights may include legal decision making for the minor grandchild and/or physical placement of the minor child.

A.R.S. § 25-409 A-B states:

A. Pursuant to section 25-402, subsection B, paragraph 2, a person other than a legal parent may petition the superior court for legal decision-making authority or placement of the child. The court shall summarily deny a petition unless it finds that the petitioner's initial pleading establishes that all of the following are true:

1. The person filing the petition stands in loco parentis to the child.

2. It would be significantly detrimental to the child to remain or be placed in the care of either legal parent who wishes to keep or acquire legal decision-making.

3. A court of competent jurisdiction has not entered or approved an order concerning legal decision-making or parenting time within one year before the person filed a petition pursuant to this section, unless there is reason to believe the child's present environment may seriously endanger the child's physical, mental, moral or emotional health.

4. One of the following applies:

(a) One of the legal parents is deceased.

(b) The child's legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.

(c) A proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the legal parents is pending at the time the petition is filed.

B. Notwithstanding subsection A of this section, it is a rebuttable presumption that awarding legal decision-making to a legal parent serves the child's best interests because of the physical, psychological and emotional needs of the child to be reared by a legal parent. A third party may rebut this presumption only with proof showing by clear and convincing evidence that awarding legal decision-making to a legal parent is not consistent with the child's best interests.

D. A petition filed under subsection A or C of this section must be verified or supported by affidavit and must include detailed facts supporting the petitioner's claim. The petitioner must also provide notice of this proceeding, including a copy of the petition and any affidavits or other attachments, and serve the notice pursuant to the Arizona rules of family law procedure to all of the following:

1. The child's legal parents.

2. A third party who possesses legal decision-making authority over the child or visitation rights.

3. The child's guardian or guardian ad litem.

4. A person or agency that possesses physical custody of the child or claims legal decision-making authority or visitation rights concerning the child.

5. Any other person or agency that has previously appeared in the action.

E. In deciding whether to grant visitation to a third party, the court shall give special weight to the legal parents' opinion of what serves their child's best interests and consider all relevant factors including:

1. The historical relationship, if any, between the child and the person seeking visitation.

2. The motivation of the requesting party seeking visitation.

3. The motivation of the person objecting to visitation.

4. The quantity of visitation time requested and the potential adverse impact that visitation will have on the child's customary activities.

5. If one or both of the child's parents are deceased, the benefit in maintaining an extended family relationship.

F. If logistically possible and appropriate, the court shall order visitation by a grandparent or great-grandparent if the child is residing or spending time with the parent through whom the grandparent or great-grandparent claims a right of access to the child.

G. A grandparent or great-grandparent seeking visitation rights under this section shall petition in the same action in which the family court previously decided legal decision-making and parenting time or, if no such case existed, by separate petition in the county of the child's home state, as defined in section 25-1002.

H. All visitation rights granted under this section automatically terminate if the child is adopted or placed for adoption. If the child is removed from an adoptive placement, the court may reinstate the visitation rights. This subsection does not apply if the child is adopted by the spouse of a natural parent after the natural parent remarries.

Speak with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you are a grandparent seeking visitation or custodial rights of your grandchild(ren) it is imperative that you consult with a trusted and experienced family law attorney. We are the family law attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, in Phoenix, Arizona. We will discuss with you the options and procedures to petition the court for your custodial or visitation rights. Our Office in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and we serve the communities of Ocotillo, Chandler, Laveen, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert and San Tan Valley. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

At Duenas Eden, the health and safety of our employees and clients is of utmost importance. We are currently working remotely, but are available to address your individual needs. We have added new telephone numbers to better assist you. Please call or text attorney Amy Duenas at (602) 492-5636, attorney Dorian Eden at (480) 269–1731, or paralegal Chris Esparza at (480) 269-2158.  Our main office number of (480) 285-1735 is still being monitored hourly. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time for all.

Sources:
https://www.azleg.gov/ars/25/00409.htm


Military Divorce in Arizona

| Divorce Family Law | August 4, 2020

Thank You for Your Service

First and foremost Duenas Eden Law, PLC would like to thank all military veterans and their families for their incredible sacrifice and service to protect our freedom. In general the military creates a significant dynamic for its members that is different than the standard private civilian. This includes moving to different bases, in and out of the country, separating from other family and resources, as well as active deployment. If the service member is married, it adds an additional layer to this setting. For some spouses this dynamic becomes too much and seek for a dissolution of the marriage.

Service Members and Divorce

Divorce is any situation can be challenging both emotionally and physically. For active military members, navigating all the legal details and emotions can seem daunting. A good first step is to contact your local Armed Forces Legal Assistance office; however it should be noted that the military considers divorce as a “private civil matter to be addressed by a civilian court”1. As a result it is important to contact an experienced divorce attorney.

Divorce in Arizona

It should be noted that wherever the divorce is filed that states marital and divorce laws apply. As a result Arizona is a no-fault and community property state. Meaning there is no need to prove grounds for a divorce filed in AZ and the division of property follows community property law respectively.

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

For service members the  Servicemembers Civil Relief Act provides protections and services such as providing a 90 day “stay” or postponement of civil court matters, in the which divorce proceedings apply. This allows for the uniformed member the time to prepare and arrange properly for proceedings. From the Military One Resource website it states: “Postponed civil court matters — If you cannot participate in a civil court action or administrative proceeding because of your military service, you can request a 90-day delay, or stay, in the proceeding. You are automatically entitled to this delay if you follow all of the requirements. The judge, magistrate or hearing officer can grant an additional 90-day stay. Proceedings may include actions for divorce, child paternity and support cases, and foreclosure proceedings. This protection does not apply to any criminal court or criminal administrative proceedings. “2

 

Speak with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Once again as divorce is considered a private civilian matter, having an experienced divorce and family law attorney representing you is very important. This becomes even more critical when children and assets, including military benefits and pensions, are involved. If you or your spouse is seeking a divorce in Arizona, contact us  to arrange a private consultation.

We are the Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, in Phoenix, Arizona. We will work with you one-on-one as your lawyer to help and guide you in your divorce. Our Office in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and we serve the communities of Ocotillo, Chandler, Laveen, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert and San Tan Valley. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

At Duenas Eden, the health and safety of our employees and clients is of utmost importance. We are currently working remotely, but are available to address your individual needs. We have added new telephone numbers to better assist you. Please call or text attorney Amy Duenas at (602) 492-5636, attorney Dorian Eden at (480) 269–1731, or paralegal Chris Esparza at (480) 269-2158.  Our main office number of (480) 285-1735 is still being monitored hourly. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time for all.

 

Sources:

1. https://www.militaryonesource.mil/financial-legal/legal/family-legal-issues/managing-the-divorce-process

2. https://www.militaryonesource.mil/family-relationships/relationships/relationship-challenges-and-divorce/servicemembers-civil-relief-act


Divorce

| Divorce Family Law | July 15, 2020

Dissolution of marriage, otherwise known as divorce, can be a complex matter in a seemingly simple request; to legally end a marriage. This complexity consists of many factors including emotional, financial and familial. In this article we will discuss these 3 main areas.

What is divorce?

As stated above, divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage contract. Arizona is considered a “no fault” state. This means that there is no need to prove fault, such as adultery or infidelity, to request a divorce. Since marriage is a legal agreement filed with the state, divorce also requires similar legal filings in order to officially and legally bring about the end to a marriage.

 

Emotions in a Divorce

It goes without saying in most divorce proceedings that there is a significant amount of emotion tied into the matter. Emotions on both sides such as anger, hate, animosity, guilt, jealously and even love can cause disruptions in the process. This is why it is imperative to have an experienced divorce lawyer represent you in your divorce. Not only will the attorney prepare and file all the necessary legal paperwork, they are able to be a clear minded and clear emotional advocate seeking the best outcome for you.

 

Financial Factors or Assets in a Divorce

Arizona is a community property state. This simply means that while the spouses are married all the “commingled” assets and debts belong equally to both. So in a dissolution of marriage these assets and debts are divided among the parties. Separate property, being considered as assets or debt acquired by a spouse prior and separate from the marriage, is still considered sole owned by one of the spouses and will not be considered for division. However this separate property can have liens placed on them by a judge in order to secure payment of assets that are not easily liquidated or disposed [A.R.S. § 25-319(e)].  Also one thing to keep in mind is that the division of community assets are not always an exact 50/50 split, many factors including valuations and debt may cause a slight shift one way or the other. In fact if an agreement is not met between the divorcing spouses regarding assets, the judge ultimately has the final say.

With regards to assets and other obligations in the event of a divorce, pre-planning with a pre or even post-nuptial agreement can ease the transition in a divorce especially among assets. But it should be noted that this is a set up well in advance and in agreement with both spouses prior to a dissolution of marriage on how the assets and other obligations will be handled in the event of a divorce.

 

Children in a Divorce

As with many marriages, children are often born and/or raised during this time. It is typically not even a consideration when couples begin their families that they may eventually divorce, and this is where the complexity enters. Most often both parents love and want “what’s best” for their children; however that idea may not always be the same in the minds of the individual divorcing parents. “Joint custody”, “sole custody”, “parenting plans” and “child support” now enter the conversation and for parents that have differing beliefs of “what’s best” for their child, this becomes forefront in much of the emotion and argument. This is prime example of the need for an experienced family law attorney. Your attorney will seek for the best outcome in the child custody proceedings and will help guide you through the best plans and course of action.

You Are Not Alone

For some, divorce is difficult and may feel like you are left all alone; you are not! We will be your attorney, advocate and friend in this difficult time. We are the Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, in Phoenix, Arizona. We will work with you one-on-one as your lawyer to help and guide you in your divorce. Our Office in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and we serve the communities of Ocotillo, Chandler, Laveen, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert and San Tan Valley. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

At Duenas Eden, the health and safety of our employees and clients is of utmost importance. We are currently working remotely, but are available to address your individual needs. We have added new telephone numbers to better assist you. Please call or text attorney Amy Duenas at (602) 492-5636, attorney Dorian Eden at (480) 269–1731, or paralegal Chris Esparza at (480) 269-2158.  Our main office number of (480) 285-1735 is still being monitored hourly. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time for all.


Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) in Arizona

| Alimony / Spousal Maintenance Divorce Family Law | July 9, 2020

What most understand as “alimony” or “spousal support” is called “spousal maintenance” in Arizona. Spousal Maintenance issues can form a roadblock for a divorcing couple, both before and after entry of the decree. In this article we will share a little regarding what spousal maintenance is as well as the necessity of having an experienced family law attorney on your side.

What is Spousal Maintenance?

Generally speaking, spousal maintenance is a legal obligation on a person to provide financial support to their spouse before or after marital separation or divorce.1 This financial support is to provide a "safety net" for the spouse unable to provide sufficient income for his or her needs after the divorce.2 It should also be noted that spousal maintenance is separate from child support payments and includes eligibility and computation factors.

What is the Eligibility for Spousal Maintenance?

In Arizona A.R.S. § 25-319 proposes factors that contribute to the eligibility and computation of the maintenance. Below are the factors directly from the statute as of the publication date of this article:

A. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, or a proceeding for maintenance following dissolution of the marriage by a court that lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse, the court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse for any of the following reasons if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:

1. Lacks sufficient property, including property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for that spouse's reasonable needs.

2. Is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose age or condition is such that the custodian should not be required to seek employment outside the home or lacks earning ability in the labor market adequate to be self-sufficient.

3. Has made a significant financial or other contribution to the education, training, vocational skills, career or earning ability of the other spouse.

4. Had a marriage of long duration and is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining employment adequate to be self-sufficient.

5. Has significantly reduced that spouse's income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.

B. The maintenance order shall be in an amount and for a period of time as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct, and after considering all relevant factors, including:

1. The standard of living established during the marriage.

2. The duration of the marriage.

3. The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance.

4. The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet that spouse's needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.

5. The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market.

6. The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse.

7. The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced that spouse's income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.

8. The ability of both parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children.

9. The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and that spouse's ability to meet that spouse's own needs independently.

10. The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and whether such education or training is readily available.

11. Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.

12. The cost for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought if the spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved.

13. All actual damages and judgments from conduct that resulted in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or a child was the victim.

C. If both parties agree, the maintenance order and a decree of dissolution of marriage or of legal separation may state that its maintenance terms shall not be modified.

D. Except as provided in subsection C of this section or section 25-317, subsection G, the court shall maintain continuing jurisdiction over the issue of maintenance for the period of time maintenance is awarded.

Seasoned Legal Representation Pursuing Your Fair Treatment

We will work with you to analyze your spousal maintenance situation. Among other things, we can help you with:

  • The 4-part spousal maintenance qualifying test
  • 13 factors considered how much spousal maintenance is awarded and for how long
  • Modifications
  • Enforcement

We are the Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, in Phoenix, Arizona. We will work with you one-on-one as your lawyer to help you get the fair treatment you deserve when spousal maintenance is at stake, whether you receive it or pay it. In doing so, we place the emphasis where it belongs: On resolving conflict. We will work together to find the best solution for your needs, whether that solution means negotiation and settlement (as it often does) or going to court where necessary to protect your rights. Our Office in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and we serve the communities of Ocotillo, Chandler, Laveen, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert and San Tan Valley. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

At Duenas Eden, the health and safety of our employees and clients is of utmost importance. We are currently working remotely, but are available to address your individual needs. We have added new telephone numbers to better assist you. Please call or text attorney Amy Duenas at (602) 492-5636, attorney Dorian Eden at (480) 269–1731, or paralegal Chris Esparza at (480) 269-2158.  Our main office number of (480) 285-1735 is still being monitored hourly. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time for all.

Sources:

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alimony

2 https://superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/llrc/alimony/

https://www.azleg.gov/ars/25/00319.htm


What is Family Law?

| Alimony / Spousal Maintenance Child Custody Child Support Divorce Family Law | May 28, 2020

Family law is an area of practice surrounding the legal actions and decisions within family relationships. These most often include divorce, child custody and adoption, child support matters, spousal maintenance (alimony) requests, pre-nuptial and post nuptial agreements, among others. The attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC focus only on family law matters. This is important when choosing an attorney, as this allows for all the experience and knowledge of the lawyer to be hyper focused on your specific family law need. We won’t go into great detail in this article regarding each of these individual cases, but we will share with you some of the common matters within the following areas.

Divorce

Marriage has been paramount in human relationships for a long time; however for many and diverse reasons, couples may seek to dissolve their marital union. This becomes much more involved when assets are mingled, children are born into the marriage, ownership of businesses are being considered, infighting and contention, etc. Currently Arizona is a “no-fault” state when it comes to a divorce. That means that there is no need to prove fault, such as adultery, to request a divorce. The main caveat to the “no-fault” stance in Arizona has to do with “Covenant Marriages”. A covenant marriage is considered in Arizona when spouses undergo special pre-marital counseling to help strengthen their marriage bond. As a result the courts may consider “fault” in these cases.

Child Custody & Adoption

Commonly child custody follows a divorce proceeding when the two parents simply cannot be able to act as the 100% custodial agents to the child(ren) together. When considering child custody it is important to speak to an attorney to help mediate and guide in the best result for the child(ren). Family law attorneys also assist in legal adoptions and parental rights not connected with divorce or even marriage for that matter.

Child Support & Spousal Maintenance

With regards to child support in Arizona, the financial needs and resources of the child as well as the financial resources and needs of the custodial parent, among other factors, are taken into account [A.R.S. § 25-320(D)]. With regards to spousal maintenance, the court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse and the term limit based on a list of qualifications as found in A.R.S. § 25-319.

Pre-Nuptial and Post-Nuptial Agreements

Pre-marital agreements, also know as “pre-nups”, are legal agreements drawn up between potential spouses prior to being legally married. Post-marital agreements, otherwise know as “post-nups”, are legal agreements between spouses after entering into a legal marriage. In both cases these agreements typically revolve around the rights to assets or property in the event of the dissolution of a marriage. Often assets in the agreements can include; investments, inheritances, debts, spousal maintenance and high value assets.

 

Consult with the Experienced Family Law Attorneys at Duenas Eden Law, PLC

There are other specific matters and cases within the discipline of family law. Consult with the experienced family law attorneys of Duenas Eden Law to see if we may be able to assist you. We will listen and help guide you for the best outcome possible. We will then stand by you and advocate on your behalf. Our Office in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and we serve the communities of Ocotillo, Chandler, Laveen, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert and San Tan Valley. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

At Duenas Eden, the health and safety of our employees and clients is of utmost importance. We are currently working remotely, but are available to address your individual needs. We have added new telephone numbers to better assist you. Please call or text attorney Amy Duenas at (602) 492-5636, attorney Dorian Eden at (480) 269–1731, or paralegal Chris Esparza at (480) 269-2158.  Our main office number of (480) 285-1735 is still being monitored hourly. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time for all.


Parenting Plans and Older Children (Divorce & Child Custody)

| Attorneys at Law Child Custody Family Law | May 21, 2020

Congratulations to the Graduating Class of 2020!

Truly 2020 is a year for the history books and for years to come school children will be studying the events that you and your children have been apart of. Although for many, the traditional graduation ceremonies this year will be completely different than years past, but one thing to remember is that those graduating this year have accomplished something wonderful and should be celebrated. A caution we often share with parents is that this time is about your child, not you or your ex-spouse. Let them shine in their moment, especially during this historic era.

From Teenager to “Adult”

Depending on the age of your child(ren) when you first implemented your parenting plan, many things and situations may have changed for your child. Often times when those that divorce with younger children, parenting plans and support needs focus on the relatively near future. A good parenting plan looks deep into the future, but sometimes those plans, formal or informal, miss certain things with your child’s future activities, aspirations or even health.  The teenage years of a child, help mold and guide their adventure into adulthood, and proper support and communication, mediated or unmediated, between parents make a big difference in the success of the child in those formidable years.

Consult with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Whether you are considering a divorce or need to discuss options regarding a parenting plan or child support, contact the trusted and experienced family law attorneys of Duenas Eden Law. We will listen and help guide you for the best outcome for you and your children. We will then stand by you and advocate on your behalf. Our Office in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and we serve the communities of Ocotillo, Chandler, Laveen, Tempe, Mesa, Gilbert and San Tan Valley. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

At Duenas Eden, the health and safety of our employees and clients is of utmost importance. We are currently working remotely, but are available to address your individual needs. We have added new telephone numbers to better assist you. Please call or text attorney Amy Duenas at (602) 492-5636, attorney Dorian Eden at (480) 269–1731, or paralegal Chris Esparza at (480) 269-2158.  Our main office number of (480) 285-1735 is still being monitored hourly. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time for all.


Pregnant Man Denied Divorce…

| Divorce Legally Speaking Same-Sex Marriage | April 22, 2020

Did I catch your attention with the title and lure you in? Keep reading…

This is an interesting case! It is not often that there are rulings from a family law case in Maricopa County that leads to national headlines. However, on March 28, 2013, the Maricopa County Superior Court did just that when it ruled that a man, who was born a female and gave birth three times after receiving a birth certificate declaring him to be a man, could not divorce his wife.

In a very detailed and lengthy opinion, the court found that the parties failed to prove that they had a legally recognizable marriage under Arizona law. The full case opinion is In Re the Marriage of Thomas Beatie and Nancy J. Beatie, FC2012-051183.

 

The Details

Thomas, as stated above, was born a female. He began undergoing hormone treatments as part of a sex change to become a man, but abandoned such treatment before it would have eliminated his ability to bear or carry a child in his womb. He underwent a medical operation as part of his sex change, but it was revealed that the surgery was a double mastectomy. Thomas obtained a new birth certificate listing his sex as a male, but the court noted that Thomas never disclosed he would still have the ability to become pregnant. While Thomas presented an affidavit from one of his doctors explaining that he had undergone medical procedures, no discussion of the extent of those procedures was provided to the state issuing the new birth certificate.

After obtaining a new birth certificate listing his sex as a male, Thomas and Nancy married. They then went on to have three children, all carried by and born to Thomas.

 

The Findings

The Maricopa County Superior Court denied the dissolution of the parties’ marriage, finding that they were never legally married and thus there was nothing to dissolve. In Arizona, a marriage [was] legally defined as being between a man and a woman [prior to October 17, 2014].  In deciding that Thomas was not a man, under a plain meaning of the term man, the only decision the court could make was that the marriage was not valid because it was not between a man and a woman.

Where does this leave Arizona? Almost certainly with the Arizona Court of Appeals hearing the case. In fact, there has already been a notice of appeal filed with the Arizona Court of Appeals. Will this case have an impact on same-sex marriages or cases involving couples cohabitating? In my opinion, it likely will not. This case involved a very narrow legal issue asking whether the marriage between Thomas and Nancy was valid under Arizona law. In deciding it was not, the court declined to accept either party’s arguments of social policy, instead focusing solely on interpreting the laws of Arizona. This begs the question then – had Thomas not born a child, would anyone have questioned the legitimacy of the birth certificate?

 

Family Law, Divorce and Same-Sex Legal Matters

Although the above case was a unique one, with the current recognition of same-sex marriage in the state of Arizona many still have questions regarding such matters. Consult with an experienced family law attorney that listens to your case and your needs. The attorneys of Duenas Eden Law we are experienced and trusted lawyers focusing on Family Law including; Same-Sex Legal Matters, Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support and other Family Law matters. We are Family Law Lawyers servicing Laveen, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

At Duenas Eden, the health and safety of our employees and clients is of utmost importance. We are currently working remotely, but are available to address your individual needs. We have added new telephone numbers to better assist you. Please call or text attorney Amy Duenas at (602) 492-5636, attorney Dorian Eden at (480) 269–1731, or paralegal Chris Esparza at (480) 269-2158.  Our main office number of (480) 285-1735 is still being monitored hourly. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time for all.

Dorian Eden Attorney at Law Duenas Eden Law Family Law Ahwatukee AZ
By Dorian L. Eden
Adapted from the original published article in the June 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

A Pet-Sharing Agreement? (Divorce & Personal Property)

| Divorce Legally Speaking | April 14, 2020

 
 
These days it is common to know someone who shares time with his or her children. We call it a Parenting Plan in Arizona. It defines when the children will be with mom and when they will be dad.

What about the non-human members of our family?

What about our dogs, cats and other animals that hold such special places in our hearts? These may be the kids before we had kids,or the kids after the kids grew up and moved away, or maybe they are the “kids.” Regardless of the circumstances, pets move into our hearts and don’t leave. When a relationship fails, the idea of not seeing a pet again can be gut wrenching.

Pets are considered personal property in Arizona. That means that just like a couch or car or flat-screen television, in a dissolution of marriage case, someone will receive the dog or cat and someone won’t. I recently was involved in a case where one of the biggest hurdles to resolution was the dog. The husband and wife did not have a lot of money or assets, but they each spent a lot of money and time arguing over the dog. I kept reminding my client that from a financial standpoint it was not worth the money spent in attorney’s fees to argue over the dog. As a lawyer, that is the cost-benefit analysis we have to go through with our clients. As a person, I was the one who kept making an appointment to euthanize my dogs, and then canceling it, because even though I had two very sick near-death dogs, I couldn’t bring myself to actually say it was time. It is the classic logic versus emotion pull that family law attorneys have to deal with on a daily basis.

 

Time-Sharing with Pets

I have negotiated and argued on behalf of my clients for a petsharing arrangement. I have seen more people share time with pets when they have human children and the pets go back and forth with the kids. But, it does happen where parties ask for a time-sharing arrangement for the pets.

Any time-sharing arrangement for pets should be clearly defined. Specific days and times should be delineated. Clarity is necessary if someone wants to be able to enforce the timesharing. With pets, in my personal (not legally backed by anything other than my opinion) view, they don’t need to see the other person as frequently as children. Thus, it may be easier on the parties to have fewer exchanges. It may not be necessary to exchange a couple of times a week. Once a week or less may be sufficient for exchanges.

 

Pet Expenses?

The other consideration is sharing the pet’s expenses. Pet food is one thing, and in and of itself isn’t cheap. But what about medical expenses? Are the parties going to equally share in those expenses? Are the parties going to agree to communicate and consult with each other regarding the animal’s emergency and non-emergency medical care? What about the end of life decision? The parties have to have a clearly written contract between them to address these issues. As with human children, addressing those difficult topics before a disagreement arises is key.

 

Listening to Your Needs to Resolve Your Case

Part of any dissolution of marriage case involves dealing with dividing personal property – even those things that you may not consider to be personal property. If you are going through a dis- solution of marriage or have questions about personal property items, please contact an experienced family law attorney.

At Duenas Eden, the health and safety of our employees and clients is of utmost importance. We are currently working remotely, but are available to address your individual needs. We have added new telephone numbers to better assist you. Please call or text attorney Amy Duenas at (602) 492-5636, attorney Dorian Eden at (480) 269–1731, or paralegal Chris Esparza at (480) 269-2158.  Our main office number of (480) 285-1735 is still being monitored hourly. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time for all.

The attorneys of Duenas Eden Law 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 Attorneys servicing Laveen, Ahwatukee, 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 February 2014 edition of Ocotillo Living

How to Talk to your Children about Divorce

| Divorce Legally Speaking | April 8, 2020

Children are very Inquisitive

“Does Timmy have two dads?” “Does he have two moms?” Have you heard these questions from the mouths of young children? If so, perhaps you have struggled with how to discuss a dissolution of marriage with your children and explain about friends’ families. Or, maybe you are concerned about discussing your own situation with your children. Maybe the question you’re getting is “Why doesn’t mommy live with me all the time?” or “Why do I have two homes?”

Little children are great at asking questions about anything and everything.  Sometimes parents have the answers, but oftentimes they don’t.

 

The So-Called “Non-Traditional” Family

While, I am not a child psychologist or counselor, I see this situation over and over as a family law attorney. If this is your situation, meaning if you are the one with a so-called “non-traditional” family, generally children will respond to the situation as it is presented to them. If this is the new norm and they are okay and loved by all, they will usually be okay. If one parent complains to the child about the child having to go to the other parent’s house, the children are likely to respond in kind.

Most children’s counselors that I talk with discuss that the parents, whether they are together or not, need to present a unified front to the child. A child should not ever be told why the parent’s marriage ended. Children do not ever need to know and should not be involved in their parent’s dissolution of marriage. Children need to know that there is a team of people working to create the very best situation for them – whether it is a team comprised of just the parents or a team of parents and a counselor or psychiatrist. In discussing with counselors, most also opine to me that children should never be told to decide where they want to live. A child’s view of the world is very different than an adult’s. If a child says that s/he wants to live with mom or dad, is it because they think they won’t have to attend school or do homework at that parent’s house? Is it because one parent has more video games than the other? Or, in cases of teenagers, is one parent more lenient with curfew than the other?

 

Having concerns about what is okay to say?

Talk with a child counselor. They are a wealth of information, even if your child does not ultimately see that counselor.Having concerns about what is okay to say? Talk with a child counselor. They are a wealth of information, even if your child does not ultimately see that counselor.

And if it’s your child’s friend who has the blended family, then in my humble opinion, it’s fine to say, “Yes, Timmy has two mommies, two daddies and two houses. Everyone is different and let’s remember that Timmy loves all of his parents!”

 

Consult with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

If you have questions about talking with your children about your particular situation, consult with an experienced family law attorney.

At Duenas Eden, the health and safety of our employees and clients is of utmost importance. We are currently working remotely, but are available to address your individual needs. We have added new telephone numbers to better assist you. Please call or text attorney Amy Duenas at (602) 492-5636, attorney Dorian Eden at (480) 269–1731, or paralegal Chris Esparza at (480) 269-2158.  Our main office number of (480) 285-1735 is still being monitored hourly. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time for all.

The attorneys of Duenas Eden Law 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 Attorneys servicing Laveen, Ahwatukee, 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 March 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

Someone Always Has It Worse Than You – Divorce

| Divorce Legally Speaking | April 1, 2020

There is little I hear in a divorce case that surprises me anymore.

After more than a decade of practicing family law I have heard horror stories of multiple affairs, people hiding money, people giving money away to hide it from their spouse, parents refusing to pay child support, parents refusing to return children to the other parent, parents making completely outlandish allegations against the other parent, charging up thousands of dollars of debt without the other person’s knowledge and so on.

But, even I had to laugh when a link circulated Facebook from Huffington Post titled “9 Divorce Stories Too Ridiculous to Make Up.” It was originally posted on the Huffington Post website on 3/21/14 (www.huffingtonpost.com).

Some of my favorites include a couple taking two hours with two attorneys and a mediator all billing to decide who should receive the approximately $40 worth of groceries in the fridge; Jewish parents arguing for three hours over who has the children on Christmas Day; and a couple arguing over a massage chair. Does this sound absurd to you? Rightly or wrongly, to the people who were arguing, these issues were not absurd. Sometimes one (or both) parties to a dissolution will argue just to be difficult, to take a contrary position to the other person,just to cost the other person money.

 

Improper Purposes

There are people who use the legal process, including a dissolution of marriage case, for improper purposes. If the judge assigned to the case believes that one party has taken unreasonable positions in the case, the judge may order that party to pay for the other person’s attorney’s fees. However, there are no guarantees, in any case, that a judge will issue this order. The more egregious the position taken or action taken, the higher the likelihood of obtaining an order. However, this may not immediately help the person who is forced to defend against false allegations or absurd positions. And, the judge may always find that the other party has also taken unreasonable positions on things.

Although as I said at the beginning of this article that there is little that surprises me in dissolution of marriage cases, that doesn’t mean that I still don’t shake my head when I hear certain things that a party has done. I may not be surprised, but I always hold out hope for basic human decency by the parties (and attorneys) in cases. Most of the time I am correct, but every now and again I’m disappointed. My clients repeatedly hear me advise them to take the high road. They’re much better off that way and hopefully sleep better at night.

 

Have an Experienced Family Law Attorney on Your Side

Going through any type of family law case is stressful – emotionally and financially. It is important to have an experienced family law attorney on your side to help you navigate through the case and bring it to resolution in a timely and without breaking the bank. At Duenas Eden Law, PLC we focus primarily on family law cases and resolving a case quickly, easily and cost-effectively. Your attorney should have experience with whatever issue arises in your case. And, hopefully your case doesn’t end up on The Huffington Post!

At Duenas Eden, the health and safety of our employees and clients is of utmost importance. We are currently working remotely, but are available to address your individual needs. We have added new telephone numbers to better assist you. Please call or text attorney Amy Duenas at (602) 492-5636, attorney Dorian Eden at (480) 269–1731, or paralegal Chris Esparza at (480) 269-2158.  Our main office number of (480) 285-1735 is still being monitored hourly. Thank you for your patience during this difficult time for all.

The attorneys of Duenas Eden Law 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 Attorneys 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 May 2014 edition of Ocotillo Living

Challenging Times and Family Law (Divorce, Child Custody, Assets)

| Attorneys at Law Family Law | March 25, 2020

In Times of Challenge

Sometimes couples are pushed to their limits in times of crisis. Many times, we are glad to say, they come out stronger and better together in the end. However not every couple does well under pressure, whether it be financial struggle and uncertainty, health problems or social challenges. Unfortunately with the current pandemic, we are starting to see all of those challenges coming together at once.

Financial Struggle

Let’s face it, the current financial situation in the country, and world, hit us like a ton of bricks with relatively little warning. Governments and the private sector needed to act swiftly and as a result some of us got caught in the mix without warning. Working from home, reduced hours, furloughs, and yes even permanent closures of businesses resulting in workers being laid off, have rapidly increased the financial uncertainty and stress on families. With congress announcing “stimulus packages” and what to do to come out of this financial crisis, many of us remember vividly the last time we, as a county, were in a similar situation financially. We strongly encourage couples to seek advice from professionals at this time. Financial professionals such as financial planners, CPA’s and even other legal professionals that have seen and been through this before can offer advice to hopefully allow couples and families to come out of this stronger. We also encourage those that have recently been through a divorce, child custody, spousal maintenance proceedings or other family law related issues to contact a family law attorney to discuss and review the financial arrangements and obligations in this current financial atmosphere and to make sure you and your assets are protected.

Health Problems

Please let us be clear, we are not medical doctors and we are not offering any medical advice in this article. However, we are sharing with you that health problems within a family sometimes rise to the level of the need for family law legal advice. Health concerns, whether it be personal or regarding a spouse or family member, can cause stress and friction within a relationship. As with the preceding paragraph, we strongly encourage you to seek out advice from licenced professionals and counselors regarding this matter. Medical doctors, therapists and counselors can help give better clarity regarding theses matters.  If there are legal questions that arise, please seek out the advice from an attorney to help guide and direct you with regards to the legal matters.

Social Challenges

With the term “Social Distancing” entering into our common vernacular, along with “stay-at-home” orders and “self quarantines”, we are entering a time that can challenge the very nature of what makes us human. It has become natural for us to socialize and gather with like-minded individuals. Without social interactions, courtships and gatherings the very idea of “coupling” or marriage may not have even formed. Even after family relationships are forged, we are still naturally social beings and we seek direct and close social engagement not only with our spouses and families, but others as well. As a result of some of the directives in social distancing and self quarantining, some may now feel “trapped” or “cut off” from their normal lives. And even as this opportunity gives us a time as couples and families to be together, some may feel overwhelmed. A spouse that is “always there” may not be the most ideal family situation and may lead to further discord. Once again seek advice from professionals that can assist in this regard and if there is a need for advice from a family law attorney, please reach out and gain insight and direction.

What We can All Agree on

We’re sure what we can all come to an agreement on is that we would like this current pandemic to end. As we all do our part we know that we will become stronger in certain regards and that the current situation will not be “forever”. We want you to know that we are here for you in this trying time. If you have any legal questions regarding your current family arrangement or are seeking advice for the future, please call our office at (480) 285-1735. We are Duenas Eden Law, PLC and we are trusted family law attorneys focusing on family law related issues including; divorce, child custody cases, child support, spousal support, same-sex legal issues and other family law matters servicing Ahwatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Call today: (480) 285-1735.


Something Has Changed…Modifying a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage (Maybe) – Divorce

| Alimony / Spousal Maintenance Attorneys at Law Child Support Divorce Legally Speaking | March 11, 2020

What is a Divorce Decree?

In the ever-changing society we live, people are filled with reasons why they want to modify some portion of their divorce decree. There are things that can be changed and things that cannot.

Perhaps I should back up and explain what is in a divorce decree. When two people get divorced or dissolve their marriage, they are supposed to divide their assets (house, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, etc.) and their liabilities (credit card debt, student loans, vehicle loans, etc.) between them. There must also be orders about their children, child support and spousal maintenance.

Can I get a “Do-Over” in Division of Property or Debt?

Usually, after the divorce decree has been signed, the court will not modify property and debt division. There may be certain circumstances when these things may be revisited and modified, but generally speaking, a party does not get a “do-over” if they received or negotiated a bad property deal.

Decree Changes Regarding Children

Unlike property and debt division, anything related to children – custody, parenting time and child support are always modifiable upon a showing of a substantial and continuing change in circumstances or a showing that it is in the child’s best interest. Which one depends on the situation? Why are people able to change these orders? Because children and their needs are ever changing, orders must be as well.

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) Changes

Spousal maintenance or alimony may be modified depending on the situation, such as if a spouse has changed employment, finished schooling or something else which results in a change in income. If the parties agree, they may make the spousal maintenance unable to be modified.

Modifying a Court Order

So how does one go about modifying a court order? If it relates to children, the parties can participate in mediation through the court and if an agreement is reached, oftentimes the mediator will prepare the necessary paperwork to reflect the agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, then one person has to file a request to modify through the court. It is a lengthy process that may take a few months or more to resolve. Emergency modifications are usually limited to very narrow and discrete situations, which would have to be the topic of another article.

The failure of one parent to plan accordingly does not create an emergency situation – i.e., if a parent wants to modify a child’s school, the time to request such a modification is not right before school starts.

Questions? Consult with a Family Law Attorney at Duenas Eden Law

If you have questions about whether you are able to modify an existing family court order, you should consult with a family law attorney.

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 September 2012 edition of Ocotillo Living

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

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