Child Support in Arizona

| Child Support Family Law | September 28, 2020

What is Child Support?

In simple terms, child support is financial assistance paid or received by one or both of the parents for the custodial expenses and care for the child(ren). For a more detailed answer we will refer to: A.R.S. § 25-320(A): "In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance or child support, the court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a child, born to or adopted by the parents, to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for support of the child, without regard to marital misconduct."

How is Child Support Calculated?

There are forms and calculations that help determine the amount considered. Some people think that the child support calculation is based solely on the child(ren)'s need of care or expenses. In reality there are many factors that are considered. As we continue to examine A.R.S. § 25-320, subsection D states:

 

D. The supreme court shall establish guidelines for determining the amount of child support.  The amount resulting from the application of these guidelines is the amount of child support ordered unless a written finding is made, based on criteria approved by the supreme court, that application of the guidelines would be inappropriate or unjust in a particular case.  The supreme court shall review the guidelines at least once every four years to ensure that their application results in the determination of appropriate child support amounts. The supreme court shall base the guidelines and criteria for deviation from them on all relevant factors, considered together and weighed in conjunction with each other, including:

1. The financial resources and needs of the child.

2. The financial resources and needs of the custodial parent.

3. The standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the child lived in an intact home with both parents to the extent it is economically feasible considering the resources of each parent and each parent's need to maintain a home and to provide support for the child when the child is with that parent.

4. The physical and emotional condition of the child, and the child's educational needs.

5. The financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent.

6. The medical support plan for the child.  The plan should include the child's medical support needs, the availability of medical insurance or services provided by the Arizona health care cost containment system and whether a cash medical support order is necessary.

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

8. The duration of parenting time and related expenses.

Are Child Support Orders only Valid for Minor Children?

Although it is typical that child support orders are valid until a child is 18, there are other factors that may prolong the order beyond the child's 18th birthday.  This may include a child that is still in high school past the age of 18 as well as children with disabilities. Subsections E and F delve specifically into this matter:

E. Even if a child is over the age of majority when a petition is filed or at the time of the final decree, the court may order support to continue past the age of majority if all of the following are true:

1. The court has considered the factors prescribed in subsection D of this section.

2. The child has severe mental or physical disabilities as demonstrated by the fact that the child is unable to live independently and be self-supporting.

3. The child's disability began before the child reached the age of majority.

F. If a child reaches the age of majority while the child is attending high school or a certified high school equivalency program, support shall continue to be provided during the period in which the child is actually attending high school or the equivalency program but only until the child reaches nineteen years of age unless the court enters an order pursuant to subsection E of this section.  Notwithstanding any other law, a parent paying support for a child over the age of majority pursuant to this section is entitled to obtain all records related to the attendance of the child in the high school or equivalency program.

Can Child Support be Retroactive?

Yes, and once again the statute shares specific information regarding this matter. A.R.S. § 25-320 (B)(C):

B. If child support has not been ordered by a child support order and if the court deems child support appropriate, the court shall direct, using a retroactive application of the child support guidelines to the date of filing a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance or child support proceeding, the amount that the parents shall pay for the past support of the child and the manner in which payment shall be paid, taking into account any amount of temporary or voluntary support that has been paid. Retroactive child support is enforceable in any manner provided by law.

C. If the parties lived apart before the date of the filing for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance or child support and if child support has not been ordered by a child support order, the court may order child support retroactively to the date of separation, but not more than three years before the date of the filing for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance or child support. The court must first consider all relevant circumstances, including the conduct or motivation of the parties in that filing and the diligence with which service of process was attempted on the obligor spouse or was frustrated by the obligor spouse. If the court determines that child support is appropriate, the court shall direct, using a retroactive application of the child support guidelines, the amount that the parents must pay for the past support of the child and the manner in which payments must be paid, taking into account any amount of temporary or voluntary support that has been paid.

So Where do I Start?

We often suggest that it is always good to start by speaking with an experienced divorce and family law attorney first. This will allow for the lawyer to assist you in the next steps including the gathering of any necessary information and paperwork as well to help in preparing petitions or other legal items.

At Duenas Eden Law, we are experienced and trusted divorce and family law attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona. Our Office in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and we serve the communities of Chandler, Tempe, Laveen, Mesa, Gilbert and San Tan Valley in child support and other family law matters. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Duenas Eden remains open and available to help during these trying times. We are back in the office and offering videoconferencing appointments as much as possible. Per CDC guidelines, we are wearing masks and request that anyone visiting our offices do so as well. If you feel ill, please let us know and we will be happy to reschedule your appointment.

Sources:
https://www.azleg.gov/ars/13/01302.htm


Top Rated Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell®

| Attorneys at Law Family Law Firm News | September 15, 2020

Martindale-Hubbell®   The Gold Standard in Attorney Ratings

Since 1887 “Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ recognize lawyers for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards. Individuals seeking legal counsel, as well as attorneys looking to refer a colleague, use these ratings to identify, evaluate and select the most appropriate lawyer. An elite group of approximately 10 percent of all attorneys holds an AV Preeminent Rating, a designation trusted worldwide by buyers and referrers of legal services.”1

AV Preeminent®   The Highest Peer Review Rating

An “AV” rating by Martindale-Hubbell® means that “the attorney had reached the highest of professional excellence and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity.” The rating description continues, “This is given to attorneys who are ranked at the highest level of professional excellence for their legal expertise, communication skills, and ethical standards by their peers.”2 This rating is given only to an elite group of approximately 10 percent of all attorneys, and is trusted worldwide.2

Dorian L. Eden Rated AV Preeminent®

Attorney Dorian L. Eden, Partner of Duenas Eden Law PLC, has been awarded this highest peer review mark by Martindale-Hubbell® for 8 years in a row (2012-2020).3 What this means for you as a client of the law firm of Duenas Eden is that you receive the highest attention, dedication and communication in your family law matter. Whether it be divorce, child custody, adoption, child support, spousal maintenance, same-sex legal matters or any other family law issue, our attorneys will work with you directly and stand by you in court for the best outcome in your situation.

At Duenas Eden Law, we are trusted and experienced family law attorneys serving the Chandler, Tempe and Phoenix area. Our Office in the Ahwatukee. Whether you live in Laveen, Ocotillo, Chandler, Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert or San Tan Valley we can assist you in your family law case Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Duenas Eden remains open and available to help during these trying times. We are back in the office and offering videoconferencing appointments as much as possible. Per CDC guidelines, we are wearing masks and request that anyone visiting our offices do so as well. If you feel ill, please let us know and we will be happy to reschedule your appointment.

 

 

Sources:
1 https://www.martindale.com/ratings-and-reviews/
2 https://www.martindale.com/marketyourfirm/
3 https://www.martindale.com/attorney/ms-dorian-l-eden-2725295/

The service marks used in this article are used in accordance with the licensing description of Martindale-Hubbell®.
Martindale-Hubbell® is the facilitator of a peer review rating process. Ratings reflect the anonymous opinions of members of the bar and the judiciary. Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ fall into two categories – legal ability and general ethical standards.


Custodial Interference

| Child Custody Family Law | September 1, 2020

Custodial interference can simply be annoying to downright criminal and dangerous. This article will share with you some of the examples of custodial interference as well as the legal statues.

What is custodial interference?

A.R.S. § 13-1302 (A) states:

A. A person commits custodial interference if, knowing or having reason to know that the person has no legal right to do so, the person does one of the following:

1. Takes, entices or keeps from lawful custody any child, or any person who is incompetent, and who is entrusted by authority of law to the custody of another person or institution.

2. Before the entry of a court order determining custodial rights, takes, entices or withholds any child from the other parent denying that parent access to any child.

3. If the person is one of two persons who have joint legal custody of a child, takes, entices or withholds from physical custody the child from the other custodian.

4. At the expiration of access rights outside this state, intentionally fails or refuses to return or impedes the return of a child to the lawful custodian.

Some examples regarding the above would consist of:

  • A parent refuses the other parent to see or have access to the child, prior to the official custodial court order.
  • A parent refusing to bring a child back from allotted and scheduled parenting time.
  • Refusing court ordered parenting time to the other parent.
  • Taking the child when it is not that parents time and specifically without permission of the scheduled parent.
  • Constant issues with bringing the child back in a timely manner after scheduled parenting time is over.

Who has custody when the child is born out of wedlock?

Pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-1302 (B):

B. If a child is born out of wedlock, the mother is the legal custodian of the child for the purposes of this section until paternity is established and custody or access is determined by a court.

Is custodial interference punishable under the law?

The answer is an emphatic "yes". As mentioned in A.R.S. § 13-1302 (E):

E. A violation of this section is:

1. A class 3 felony if committed by a person other than the parent or agent of the parent or custodian or agent of the custodian.

2. Notwithstanding paragraph 3 of this subsection, a class 4 felony if the child or incompetent person is taken, enticed or kept from lawful custody out of this state by the parent or agent of the parent or custodian or the agent of the custodian.

3. A class 6 felony if committed by a parent or agent of the parent or custodian or agent of the custodian.

4. A class 1 misdemeanor if the child or incompetent person is voluntarily returned without physical injury by the parent or defendant or the agent of the parent or defendant no later than forty-eight hours after the parent or defendant takes, entices or keeps from lawful custody the child or incompetent person.

Is there any defense regarding custodial interference?

Yes, and once again the statute shares when there may be defensible actions in a custodial interference case A.R.S. § 13-1302 (B):

C. It is a defense to a prosecution pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 2 if both of the following apply:

1. The defendant has begun the process to obtain an order of protection or files a petition for custody within a reasonable period of time and the order of protection or petition states the defendant's belief that the child was at risk if left with the other parent.

2. The defendant is the child's parent and has the right of custody and the defendant either:

(a) Has a good faith and reasonable belief that the taking, enticing or withholding is necessary to protect the child from immediate danger.

(b) Is a victim of domestic violence by the other parent and has a good faith and reasonable belief that the child will be in immediate danger if the child is left with the other parent.

D. Subsection A, paragraphs 2 and 3 do not apply to a person who is the child's parent if both of the following apply:

1. The person has filed an emergency petition regarding custodial rights with the superior court and has received a hearing date from the court.

2. The person has a good faith and reasonable belief that the child will be in immediate danger if the child is left with the other parent.

So when do I need to speak with an attorney?

We often suggest that it is always good to speak with a family law attorney regarding any custodial action that may require legal or court action. So no matter which side you may fall under, if there is any evidence that custodial interference is taking place we urge you to contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss the best course of action.

At Duenas Eden Law, we are experienced and trusted family law attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona. Our Office in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and we serve the communities of Chandler, Tempe, Laveen, Mesa, Gilbert and San Tan Valley. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Duenas Eden remains open and available to help during these trying times. We are back in the office and offering videoconferencing appointments as much as possible. Per CDC guidelines, we are wearing masks and request that anyone visiting our offices do so as well. If you feel ill, please let us know and we will be happy to reschedule your appointment.

Sources:
https://www.azleg.gov/ars/13/01302.htm


Attorneys Amy Duenas and Dorian Eden

| Attorneys at Law Family Law | July 20, 2020

Attorney Amy Duenas

Amy Duenas is an Arizona native, born and raised in the East Valley.  Upon graduating from high school, sh attended the University of Arizona, where she received a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration, with a major in Business Economics. Amy then attended the University of Denver College of Law where she received her Juris Doctorate. She also had the opportunity to serve the Denver community by working in the University of Denver College of Law Student Law Office, Family Law Clinic. Upon graduating from law school, Amy returned home to Arizona to be near her family and to take the bar exam. Attorney Amy Duenas was admitted to the practice of law in 2003, and since that time has devoted her practice to Family Law, as she feels that is where she is best able to help others with difficult transitions in their family lives.

Amy loves living in Arizona, and enjoys all that the State has to offer and to balance to her life she explores the State, and spend time with her family.

Areas of Practice
Dissolution of Marriage • Legal Separation • Legal Decision Making and Parenting Time • Child Support • Juvenile Guardianship • Adult Guardianship • Adoption

Litigation Percentage
100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions
Arizona, 2003 • U.S. District Court District of Arizona, 2004

Attorney Dorian L. Eden

Originally from the Chicago area, attorney Dorian L. Eden graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During college, she decided to explore and expand beyond my Midwestern roots, spending summers working as an intern in Washington, D.C. and clerking for judges in Phoenix and Sacramento. Dorian returned to the Midwest for law school, attending Case Western Reserve University School of Law where she graduated cum laude. As an attorney, Dorian is AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; per rated for highest level of professional excellence. After shoveling one too many driveways in the Midwest, Dorian packed up the day after graduation and began driving to Phoenix, where she has lived ever since. Dorian began her legal career at Tiffany & Bosco, P.A., first as an associate and then as a partner. She then moved to The Law Offices of Scott David Stewart, PLLC. In 2012, Dorian decided her clients would be better served if she had her own firm. For five years, Eden Law Office, PLLC operated in Ahwatukee. Duenas Eden continues to provide exceptional service to their clients.

Dorian loves Phoenix, the desert and all the great outdoor activities Arizona has to offer. She enjoys hiking and running and is very active in the community and has served on the Ahwatukee YMCA Board of Managers since 2013.

Areas of Practice
Family Law • Divorce • Spousal support • Guardianships/Conservatorships • Personal Injury

Litigation Percentage
100% of Practice Devoted to Litigation

Bar Admissions
Arizona, 2002 •  U.S. District Court District of Arizona, 2002 •  U.S. District Court District of New Mexico

Together we are the Family Law Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC

Our entire practice emphasizes a successful, personalized attorney-client relationship. To that end, it is important for you to feel comfortable with your attorney. We spend time learning about your goals and your concerns.  That way we can create a strategy together to help you through this process.  Family law is a difficult area of law to navigate and often what seems fair or right is not realistic in Arizona. Our Office is located 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.


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.


Post Divorce Issues and Changes

| Alimony / Spousal Maintenance Child Custody Child Support Divorce Family Law | June 26, 2020

Divorced…Now What?

If you have gone through the divorce process, we are sure you are ready for it to be “over”. For some, the final signing and filing of the divorce papers mean that chapter can now be closed and you can move on. For others, the legal needs and issues will still continue. This may be regarding child custody issues and support changes or even spousal maintenance (alimony) matters, among other modifications and provisions.

Child Custody Issues

Even after the initial child custody agreements or court orders have been issued, there may be a need to review and update those agreements throughout the dependents life. Sometimes the updates are simply, but other times you may need to speak with an attorney and have representation for the best outcome. This may involve updates as the child(ren) get older or even extra provisions for special needs children.

On the other hand there may be updates to you or your ex-spouse’s life that may require post-divorce changes regarding child custody. These issue range drastically; everything from moving out of state, to the parent’s mental health and criminal/legal behavior. But the most common in post-divorce child custody issues is the “enforcement” of child support and/or custody schedules. With these we will consult with you and advocate in court on your behalf if the need arises.

Spousal Maintenance

Depending on your post-divorce situation, you may receive or even have to pay spousal maintenance (alimony). As with all legal matters, the specifics of your case will be different than others. No matter which side of the equation you are on, there is always the inevitable variable of “life”. Disability, significant income increase or decrease, business ownership income, general economic and job related instability and turmoil, among many other factors may require further updates, changes or advocacy.

 

Continued Relationship and Guidance

Things change; sometimes for the better and sometimes for worse. Having a continued relationship with your family law attorney is paramount to navigating though the many diverse post-divorce issues that you may face. We, are the family law attorneys of Duenas Eden Law. We will consult with you, assist and continue to advocate on your behalf for the best outcome in your “post-divorced life”. 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.


Top Rated Attorney in Phoenix, AZ Ahwatukee - AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubble