Child Custody is Like Fashion

| Child Custody Family Law Legally Speaking | June 17, 2020

Child custody is only like fashion in that old styles are rearing their heads.

Joint-Custody

Historically, some divorced parents shared joint custody, and some had sole custody over the children. In 2010, the laws were amended to create a presumption that parents sharing joint custody was in a child’s best interest. This became the norm with virtually all co-parenting relationships involving joint custody (now called legal decision-making). One parent having final decision-making authority in the event of a parental disagreement. Sole legal decision-making was typically reserved for cases involving significant domestic violence or substance abuse issues.

Sole Legal Decision-Making

Fast forward to March 2018, when the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled that final decision-making authority was essentially the same as sole legal decision-making. Now, in the event of significant parenting disagreements, parents are facing the possibility of one parent having the full authority to make all decisions about the children.

What Changes?

For parents that can get along well enough for their children’s sake, this change doesn’t mean much. However, for parents who are repeatedly in conflict, they face the very real possibility that one parent is going to lose out on being able to decide such things as children’s schooling, medical care, and religious upbringing.

This is not the only major change to the laws. It seems almost weekly that a new appellate case ruling is issued impacting at least one aspect of family law. This is in addition to new limitations on issues judges are able to address, the significant tax changes regarding child tax dependency, and the taxability of spousal maintenance.

Consult with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

An experienced family law attorney helps protect legal rights involving important things like children and money. At Duenas Eden, the bulk of our practice is family law. Have questions about your particular situation? Call us for a consultation (480) 285-1735. Our knowledge and experienced family law attorneys can discuss the recent changes that may have a significant impact on you. 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.

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 February 2019 edition of Ocotillo Living

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

Considering Dissolution (Divorce) or Reconciliation?

| Divorce Legally Speaking | February 10, 2020

Marriage in General is Hard Work

If you’re reading this article and are married, have been married, or are getting married, you know (or should know) that marriage is hard work! Between juggling schedules, working, paying bills, raising children, it’s sometimes hard to remember why a couple became “they” in the first place.

Divorce

It is relatively easy to file for dissolution of marriage (divorce). Do people sometimes choose that over trying to work on a marriage? Absolutely. Should some people be getting divorced? I firmly believe it should be available to those whose marriage is just not working, for whatever reason. I recently read an article in a family law journal that suggested people should be required to wait 60 days to get married from the date they obtain their marriage license. Currently, the opposite is true. No time limit exists between obtaining a marriage license and getting married, yet people have to wait, at a minimum, 60 days from when the dissolution action is started in court and served on the other party, before submitting a decree of dissolution of marriage for the judge to sign.

But the idea of making people wait, at least for a short time, before getting married, is not a bad one. The hope is that people will enter into marriage having given thought to the person they are marrying and what marriage means. Will it stop divorces? Absolutely not. Would it stop some people from marrying? Probably. If someone is really committed to the other, then 60 days should not make a difference.

Alternatives

Consider the alternative. Marriage counseling can be very helpful for people. It is probably more common than you realize and can either help couples rekindle their relationship or affirm that a divorce is the best option. Either way, couples often talk of or think about divorce for years before filing. I’m not advocating that people be required to try marriage counseling before filing for dissolution, because I see too many potential problems for the person involved in an abusive relationship. But if it’s not an abusive relationship, then don’t you, your spouse, and your children, deserve at least an attempt to make it work?

I suppose the ultimate message is, don’t rush into marriage and, unless your safety is at risk, don’t rush into divorce. If you have questions about divorce or want to discuss options, please call an experienced family law attorney.

Duenas Eden Law is Here to Help

At Duenas Eden Law, PLC we are experienced, qualified and trusted attorneys in 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
Originally published in the May 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

Who do you turn to? Divorce & Family Law

| Attorneys at Law Divorce Legally Speaking | February 4, 2020

Turn to the Professionals (An Attorney)

If the “check engine” light comes on, you take your car to a mechanic for service. If you need a root canal, you go see your dentist. If you have a legal issue, do you go see an attorney? You are probably thinking lawyers are expensive. However, just like your car or tooth, it is usually more costly to fix errors down the road, as opposed to dealing with the issues correctly the first time.

Family Law

Case in point, my favorite topic – family law. People oftentimes think that using the self-service center through the court is the best option for them. For some, that is accurate. For others, their situation is a little more difficult. A lawyer will help identify those more complicated areas, the potential pitfalls and advise when it is important to include other professionals.

Divorce – When to Include other Professionals

What? You’re probably wondering who else would need to be included? Going through a dissolution of marriage is an emotional process, even if you are the one requesting the dissolution. It is always a good idea to talk with a counselor or other mental health professional to discuss the emotional side – the things a lawyer is not usually equipped to help resolve. If there are children involved who are old enough to understand what it means that their parents will now be living in different households, then it may be helpful for the children to be able to talk with a counselor as well. Children may not want to or be able to open up to a parent and no matter what the age, children should never be involved with the dissolution process by either parent. Although it does not happen very often, parents can go to family counseling together with their children during the process to ensure the children realize both parents love them and that the dissolution is not because of the children.

Many times it becomes important to talk with a financial planner as well. Financial planners can help create budgets, run projections and help the less financially savvy parent protect their money after the dissolution.

Accountants are also often necessary and helpful to offer tax advice or potential tax consequences on such things as dividing accounts, carry-forward losses or simply the taxes associated with spousal maintenance for either party.

If there is a business to be divided, then it may be important to have the business appraised to determine the value. A business can have value even if the business is based primarily on reputation. Of course, real estate appraisers may also be necessary to determine the current value of a house or other real property.

Speak with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer at Duenas Eden Law

A dissolution of marriage, or any legal proceeding, is not something that most of us experience regularly. Having the right professionals involved in your case can make an enormous difference. If you have a legal question, an experienced attorney can help you sort through these issues.

At Duenas Eden Law, PLC we are qualified, experienced and trusted attorneys in Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Serving the Valley 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
Originally published in the February 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

When “Legal” Matters?

| Family Law Legally Speaking | January 29, 2020

For a lawyer, it always does!

However, “normal” people (nonlawyers) often have differing views. The two most often confused areas are whether Arizona recognizes common law marriage (it does not) and whether a period of physical separation counts as a legal separation (it does not).

It is increasingly common for parties to live together for a period of time before getting married. Many times they will purchase homes or vehicles together and will open joint bank accounts or incur debt together. Under Arizona law, the marriage is not recognized as starting until the parties are actually married – with the marriage certificate signed. Therefore, if one person purchased a home prior to marriage and the other contributed to making the mortgage payments, there is not a community property claim for reducing the balance on mortgage principal. There may be another claim, but that’s a topic for another article.

Cohabitation

In the future, there may be changes to the laws concerning cohabitation, but they have not occurred as of yet. Fair or not, there is no common law marriage in Arizona. It’s like the old saying “buyer beware.” That old adage also applies to cohabitating couples. Before you join bank accounts, loans and assets, it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney to delineate your rights in the event of a later separation. Otherwise, you may hear in the future that what you thought you were entitled to, you’re really not. That can be a tough one for clients to hear.

Legal Separation

The other area of confusion arises when married parties separate. When I initially meet with a potential client to discuss their dissolution of marriage, I ask if the parties are still living together. I am often told that they are legally separated. What they actually mean is that they are physically separated. A legal separation only occurs when a court enters a decree of legal separation. As with a decree of dissolution of marriage, in a legal separation case, the court has to enter rulings and orders related to any minor children, child support, spousal maintenance, division of assets, debts and attorney’s fees.

Legal separations are not as common as dissolutions of marriage. For one thing, if you are legally separated, neither person can remarry. There are potential differences for taxes and health insurance for people are who are legally separated versus divorced.

Under Arizona law, if parties are still legally married, then community property law still applies. That means that even if they are living in different households, they are potentially liable for debts the other incurs and potentially able to share in increases in assets during the period of physical separation.

Protect Yourself

As always, there are exceptions to every rule and ways to protect yourself. If you find yourself in a cohabitation arrangement or physically separating, it may be a good idea to consultwith a family law attorney to discuss the risks and options available to protect yourself.

Speak with a Qualified Family Law Attorney at Duenas Eden Law

Let us protect you! At Duenas Eden Law, PLC we’d be glad to discuss the facts of your particular case and work with you in your Family Law case. We are qualified and trusted attorneys in Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Serving the Phoenix metro area including Ahawatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Trust the Family Law Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Family Law Attorney in Phoenix / Ahwatukee Dorian Eden
By Dorian L. Eden
Originally published in the November 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

The Dreaded “A” Word: Alimony

| Alimony / Spousal Maintenance Divorce Legally Speaking | January 21, 2020

“Alimony” in AZ is called “Spousal Maintenance”

One of the most common questions I am asked as a family law (divorce) attorney is about “alimony” – will someone have to pay, how much will they have to pay, will someone receive alimony? Their neighbor “got” thousands in a divorce, why can’t they?

Luckily in Arizona, we don’t have alimony. Well, not entirely true. We don’t call it alimony in Arizona. Family law practitioners, judges and our legislature refer to it as “spousal maintenance.” Perhaps a better title would have been “The Dreaded SM words” but it doesn’t have the same ring.

Why spousal maintenance you might ask? Because the idea is if someone qualifies (and yes, they must qualify initially), it allows the lesser earning spouse time to become self-sufficient. Spousal maintenance provides a vehicle for that to occur.

Qualifying for Spousal Maintenance

There are specific factors that the court must consider when determining if someone qualifies for spousal maintenance. Then if they do, further factors to consider to determine the amount and duration of the award. There is no set formula to calculate or predict spousal maintenance in Arizona. This leads to difficulties in determining what is an appropriate amount because, as I always tell people, if you give ten different judges the same set of facts, you will probably receive ten different rulings.

With that in mind, what are the factors? The court must determine if someone has sufficient assets to be self-sufficient. Or, do they have the ability to be self-sufficient through employment? The court can also determine a person’s qualification if s/he contributed to the other party’s education or if the marriage was of such length that the party may not be able to become employed to a sufficient level to provide for his/her reasonable needs. A person’s age may preclude their ability to achieve self-sufficiency through employment.

13 Qualification Factors

Once the court determines qualification, then the judge has to examine each of the following:

  1. the standard of living during the marriage;
  2. the length of the marriage;
  3. each party’s age, health and employment history;
  4. the ability of the payor spouse to meet his/her own needs while paying spousal maintenance;
  5. comparative earning abilities;
  6. the contributions of the lesser earning spouse to the payor spouse’s earning abilities;
  7. has the lesser earner reduced career opportunities in order to advance the payor spouse’s career;
  8. ability of both parties to contribute to the education costs of their children after dissolution;
  9. financial resources of the lesser earner;
  10. time necessary to obtain adequate employment;
  11. excessive or abnormal expenditures during the marriage;
  12. cost of health insurance for the lesser earning spouse;
  13. actual damages and judgments from conduct resulting from a criminal conviction following child or spousal abuse.

“Reasonable Expenses”

One of the biggest arguments that arise in spousal maintenance cases is what constitutes reasonable expenses for both parties? This varies on a case-by-case basis and generally the parties have differing thoughts as to how the other should be living. Judges also may disagree.

Speak with a Qualified Divorce or Family Law Attorney and other Professionals

Spousal maintenance not only affects financial security, but also child support and has tax implications for both parties, thus parties should also consult with their tax advisor. You should be very cautious if an attorney ever guarantees you a spousal maintenance amount. Because, unlike death and taxes, an amount of spousal maintenance is never certain. If your case involves a request or award of spousal maintenance you should consult with an experienced family law attorney. At Duenas Eden Law, PLC we’d be glad to discuss the facts of your particular case. We are trusted attorneys in Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Serving the Phoenix metro area including Ahawatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Trust the Family Law Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Family Law Attorney in Phoenix / Ahwatukee Dorian Eden
By Dorian L. Eden
Originally published in the October 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

New Year, New You?

| Divorce Legally Speaking | January 7, 2020

Happy New Year! Have you made your new year’s resolution?

I think I usually hear people listing getting in shape, losing weight or paying debt at the top of their resolutions. But there are other things that should be considered as well. The beginning of the new year presents a great time to review homeowner’s, automobile and life insurance policies. A change in incomes or values of property may warrant a modification of insurances. It is a great time to examine your entire estate plan – wills, trusts, powers of attorney, living wills, etc., and a meeting with your estate planner may be appropriate. If you have a financial planner and/or certified public accountant, you may want to discuss the new year and what you hope to accomplish. It is a good time to schedule a complete physical and manage your mental and physical health. Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your time management skills or work/life balance.

Some people determine that it is time to make a change to their marriage. Before someone files for a dissolution of marriage, s/he may consider if it is possible to work on the marriage through marriage counseling. A dissolution of marriage case may be long and can be extremely emotionally and financially exhausting. A minimum of sixty (60) days must pass before a married couple can get divorced from the time the petition for dissolution of marriage is filed and served. Most family law practitioners use a rule of thumb of 64 days to make sure that the time limit is met. A case may actually not be resolved for four, six, ten months or a year if there are disputed issues.

Gather Financial Statements

Before a party files for dissolution of marriage and if there is not domestic violence, s/he may want to gather current financial information such as bank statements, credit card statements, pay stubs, tax returns and any other financial information. Knowledge of assets and liabilities is very important for both parties in a dissolution case.

Whatever your goal for the new year, remember there are people who can help you.

I have said this before in these articles, but reach out and seek assistance from professionals. Don’t try to navigate uncharted waters alone. If you need legal or other professional assistance, please call our Office. If we can’t help you, most of the time we will refer you to people who can. Happy New Year! I hope this year is your best ever!

Speak with a Qualified Divorce Attorney in Arizona

The Divorce Layers at Duenas Eden Law, PLC understand you needs in this trying time. We are trusted attorneys in Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Serving the Phoenix metro area including Ahawatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Trust the Family Law Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

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

I’M MOVING OUT…. What Can I take?

| Divorce Legally Speaking | January 1, 2020

It’s a new year and a time for resolutions

While that may mean losing the inevitable holiday weight gained over the last two months, it may be more serious and involve a decision that a relationship just is not working. If you have decided to end a marriage and separate, you will quickly realize that it’s not as easy as saying, “I’m leaving.” There are couches and televisions to divide. There are household bills that still need to be paid. There may be bank accounts to separate. And who has to pay those credit card bills from the holidays?

Arizona is a Community Property State

Because Arizona is a community property state, assuming the parties are legally married, then generally, each person is entitled to one-half of the accumulated assets during the marriage. There are some exceptions to this rule, but in general, this is the presumption. Typically, if the parties are able to communicate somewhat, they can discuss who will take the couch, the table, etc. But, if that’s not possible or safe, leaving and taking one-half of the furniture can be done. It’s a good idea to take before and after pictures of each item and room, and to create a list of items taken and left. Te same is true for money in bank accounts (although bank statement will suffice in lieu of pictures). If an agreement can’t be reached, then the court is there to decide.

Debts and Bills

Paying debts and bills is a different issue. In a community property state, both parties are obligated to pay ongoing bills and debts, even if the parties are no longer living together. If the parties agree on which each person is going to pay what obligation, then ideally each party would honor that agreement. If there is no consensus, then it may be necessary to seek court involvement for allocation of debt payment. It may be difficult to protect one’s credit during the process, but obtaining a copy of your credit report and monitoring ongoing activity is important. If one person fails to pay debts and other bills and your credit becomes negatively affected, there may be remedies that the court can implement.

No two cases are exactly the same. So, before taking action, you should consult with a family law attorney to discuss the specifics of your particular situation.

Speak with an Experienced Divorce Attorney

We understand that separations and divorce can be difficult. Duenas Eden Law, PLC listens to your needs to resolve your case. We are trusted attorneys in Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Serving the Phoenix metro area including Ahawatukee, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Trust the Family Law Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Family Law Attorney in Phoenix / Ahwatukee Dorian Eden
By Dorian L. Eden
Originally published in the January 2013 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

I Want to File for Divorce… Now What?

| Divorce Legally Speaking | December 17, 2019

Dissolution of Marriage

In Arizona, proceedings to end a marriage are called a dissolution of marriage. Arizona is a no-fault state, meaning that one person does not need give a reason why the marriage is over, but must simply state that it is irretrievably broken and there is no likelihood of reconciliation.

Most people do not get married without at least some planning and forethought. But a number of people say to their spouse, “I want a divorce,” without knowing what that means other than they will no longer be married.

The case is initiated by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. But, before ever getting to that point, it is important to have a good idea of your finances, debts and how you envision life after divorce.

Many Things to Consider in Divorce Filings

Dissolving a marriage is a complicated process that involves children’s issues, financial ramifications, tax implications, dividing assets and debts. It may involve someone paying or receiving spousal maintenance. Do you have current copies of all investment and bank account statements? Have you carefully reviewed the last several, or more, months of statements for any suspicious activity? Do you have a current credit report and copies of all credit card statements? Do you know what your house is worth and what you owe on your mortgage? Do you own a business? Where do you intend to live after the dissolution is granted? If you have children, how would you want to divide custody and parenting time? These are all important questions to ask yourself before beginning this process.

Seek a Qualified Attorney

A qualified attorney can assist you with this life-changing event. Knowledge and a frank discussion about possibilities builds a good foundation for the process. Trying to handle everything associated with a divorce on your own, without any legal assistance, can be costly because you may be agreeing to things that you otherwise would not have to or want to. You may give up assets to which you are otherwise entitled or parenting time with your children. Some mistakes can be corrected. With others, there may not be anything that can be done.

If you are considering a divorce or your spouse has said the D word to you, please call to schedule a consultation to make sure you are as prepared as possible for the process.

Duenas Eden Law, Divorce Attorneys in Phoenix – Ahwatukee – Laveen

The Lawyers at Duenas Eden Law, PLC  listen and focus on helping you successfully manage your legal issues. We are experienced trial attorneys that focus on Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Child Support, Spousal Support, Same-Sex Legal Issues and other Family Law matters. Offices located in Ahawatukee and serving Phoenix, Laveen, Tempe, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. Trust the Family Law Attorneys of Duenas Eden Law, PLC. Call today: (480) 285-1735.

Family Law Attorney in Phoenix / Ahwatukee Dorian Eden
By Dorian L. Eden
Originally published in the April 2012 edition of Ocotillo Living

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