Why Can’t You Just Get Along? (Divorce, Child Custody & Family Law)

| Child Custody Divorce Family Law | May 14, 2020

I would like to take my child(ren) out of state to Disneyland

“The Court is in receipt of Mother’s Motion for Permission to Travel Out-of-State with children. It is sad that such a motion has to be written, let alone ruled upon…. The Court cannot think of any good reason why any parent would refuse to agree in writing for his or her children to go to Disneyland…It just got a little more expensive to get happy. If in fact Father has refused Mother’s travel requests, then Father’s refusal for the sake of refusal is nothing more than a Mickey Mouse litigation tactic, and just plain Goofy.” In re the Marriage of McCreery FC2012-093275, Minute Entry dated 06/06/2013, page 1.

This ruling is funny. The Judge, clearly annoyed with the situation, makes numerous references to a parent’s refusal to allow his minor children to travel to Disneyland – presumably just to “get back” at the other parent. The Judge in this case attempted to inject some humor in a situation. The ruling went viral. It’s been all over Facebook. My paralegal told me she saw it before I showed it to her. I’ve shown it to multiple networking groups, my husband and anyone else I think could use a good laugh. But, it’s also a serious and sad reminder of the issues family law attorneys and judges deal with every day.

Are you really thinking about the child(ren)?

I’ve heard eloquent speeches by judges, mediators, attorneys and even clients and the gist of it is “Why can’t [you/he/she] just think about the child[ren]? It’s not about [us/him/her]. It’s about the child[ren]!”

Parents frequently say that to me. But, is it really? Are parents really putting their children’s best interests ahead of whatever animosity exists between the parents – that led to the breakdown of their relationship?

Children should not be involved in a relationship breakdown. They want to love both parents. They deserve to love their parents without hearing how bad the other parent is. Judges do not like to hear people badmouthing the other parent. Are there some really bad parents out there? Of course! There are people who make us all think – there’s no requirement, no class, no license required to become a parent?! But, for most of us, we try our best, we’re pretty good on most days although could use some improvement on others. When you start thinking of how to “get back” at someone though, you’ve lost sight of a child’s best interest. It’s just plain “Goofy.” Id.

So remember, the next time you want to object or fight the other parent, a judge may someday issue a ruling in your case. And it may go viral. Do you want the world to read that you’re engaging in a “Mickey Mouse litigation tactic?” Id.

Duenas Eden Law, PLC Experienced Family Law Attorneys

If you are involved in a decision making (child custody) or parenting time dispute with someone, call an experienced family law attorney to discuss your case.

The lawyers of Duenas Eden Law we are trusted and experienced attorneys focusing on family law including; child custody cases, divorce, child support, spousal support, same-sex legal issues other family law matters. Office in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and servicing the Ocotillo Community and the entire Chandler area, Laveen, Tempe, 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 August 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

When Should I Create an Estate Plan?

| Attorneys at Law Family Law | May 6, 2020

The answer to this is you should have one already.

Most people put off the creation of an estate plan. Obviously it’s uncomfortable to think about passing away. Although, if you ask those same people they will likely have fairly strong thoughts about what should happen to their assets when they die!

Life-Changing Events

From a lawyer’s perspective, when should you create an estate plan? I suggest whenever you have a life-changing event: getting married, having a child, getting divorced. Why? Because big events are what make us think about “what ifs.”

Marriage is generally a happy time. Having a child is generally a happy event. But what about events that might not be so happy, such as a divorce or a partner break-up?

Divorce

If you are in the middle of a dissolution of marriage proceeding that is not the time to make changes to your will, trust, or beneficiaries. You can do so before filing a petition for dissolution of marriage or after the decree is entered, but not during.

Once a dissolution is finalized the last thing you want is to potentially leave your ex-spouse the portion of your estate you fought so hard to keep. This is when you need to look forward and think about the future. Do you have children you want to name as beneficiaries? Parents? Siblings? Working with an estate planning attorney is an important “loose end” to tie up after the decree of dissolution of marriage is filed. After the divorce you followed through on dividing up the retirement accounts. Shouldn’t your heirs receive the same attention?

Duenas Eden Law, PLC Attorneys at Law

The attorneys of Duenas Eden Law we are trusted and experienced lawyers focusing on family law including; divorce, child custody cases, child support, spousal support, same-sex legal issues other family law matters. Office in the Ahwatukee area of Phoenix, AZ and servicing Ocotillo and the entire Chandler area, Laveen, Tempe, 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 2012 edition of Ocotillo Living

I Do… (But I want to protect my assets!) – Pre-Nuptial / Post-Nuptial Agreements

| Divorce Family Law | April 30, 2020

Protecting Assets in the Event of a Divorce

Considering that many people are waiting to get married or getting married for a second (or third or fourth) time, there may be assets that someone has that s/he wants to protect in the event of a divorce. I doubt that most enter into a marriage thinking it will not last. Applying logic and the odds, it is a good idea to define in advance, when the couple is happy and in love, how assets and liabilities will be handled both during the marriage and in the event of a dissolution.

Arizona is a Community Property State

In the absence of a premarital or post-nuptial agreement, community property law applies in Arizona, which generally provides all assets accumulated during the marriage are presumed to be for the benefit of the community consisting of the husband and wife. Arizona Revised Statute 25-201, et seq. are the laws that allow couples to abrogate or limit the applicability of community property law and define how income, assets and debts will be paid. Not all couples want to eliminate community property law and instead want to set pre-defined limits about spousal maintenance, such as whether any will be paid and if so the amount, and division of assets and liabilities. This is permissible as well, provided that pre-marital or post-nuptial agreements regarding spousal maintenance do not result in one party needing to utilize state assistance.

Rules for a Pre- or Post-Nuptial Agreement

There are fairly straightforward rules for a pre- or post-nuptial agreement to be valid. The parties must be entering into the agreement freely and voluntarily and without any undo threats or coercion. Timing of the agreement may be considered, but is not necessarily going to invalidate an agreement. The agreement must be in writing and signed by both parties. If one party has an attorney, then both parties should have attorneys, and one attorney cannot represent both people. For some reason there is a common misconception that one attorney is able to represent both. Despite the relationship status at the time an agreement is entered, the parties have differing interests and it is a conflict of interest for one attorney to represent both.

In addition to those requirements listed above, each party must make a fair and reasonable disclosure to the other of all known assets and liabilities. The agreement must not be unconscionable at the time that it was entered, meaning that it is to be fair and equitable and not punish one party or completely deprive one party of assets and liabilities.

I mentioned post-nuptial agreements earlier in this article. There is not a lot of law in Arizona concerning the validity of post-nuptial agreements. Generally, attorneys follow the same requirements for a pre-marital agreement, but there is no guarantee that a post-nuptial agreement will be valid at this time.

Family Law, Divorce and Same-Sex Legal Matters

If you are considering a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, it is important to talk with an experienced family law attorney. At Duenas Eden Law, PLC, we regularly assist clients with such issues. The attorneys of Duenas Eden Law we are trusted and experienced lawyers focusing on family law including; pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, divorce, child custody cases, child support, spousal support, same-sex legal issues 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 July 2014 edition of Ocotillo Living

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

Health (and other insurance)

| Divorce Legally Speaking | November 25, 2019

Yikes! There was a rush of people filing for dissolution of marriage just after the first of the year – as there is every
year. Once someone files, they can change health, automobile and other insurance and even beneficiaries, right?

Hold on for a second! I’m sure you read the preliminary injunction that was issued when the petition for dissolution was filed, didn’t you? Or you read it when you received the documents from your spouse? If not, I won’t chastise you, but you need to go read it. You were ordered not to make any modifications to any insurance – meaning you were not allowed to remove the other person from your insurance just because you filed. (If you did, then you need to talk with someone about the potential implications for you.)

If a spouse disobeys the court’s instruction and removes the other from an insurance policy before the decree of dissolution of marriage is entered, a judge can order one person to pay the entire cost of a medical procedure that would have otherwise been covered had the medical insurance not been canceled. If you think that sounds harsh, the court can also fine or potentially incarcerate someone for violating the preliminary injunction – if the violation is severe enough.

The same is true for automobile insurance policies. You can’t take your spouse off of any insurance policy. I understand the argument that one person continues to pay for it while the other benefits. But, wouldn’t you rather pay the premium as opposed to taking your wife or husband off of a policy and then s/he gets in a car accident – with no insurance coverage? If you’re still married, then you both are liable and you’ll likely end up paying more to resolve the case than you would spend on the insurance premiums.

But what happens after the decree? Once people are legally divorced, then they cannot remain on the same health insurance policy. To do otherwise and mislead the insurance company is generally considered a very bad thing. So don’t do it!

Once the policyholder spouse notifies his/her human resources or the insurance company of the dissolution of marriage, usually the other spouse is provided notification of eligibility to enroll in COBRA. This can be expensive and it is usually worth checking into other insurance policies to determine the best, and most cost-effective coverage.

After a dissolution, both spouses should also obtain their own automobile and other insurance policies.

The idea behind the preliminary injunction is that assets, liabilities, insurance, etc. are to remain status quo during the dissolution of marriage. In essence, they are to be “frozen.” The courts don’t like people who ignore court orders. Are there things you can to do protect yourself before filing, absolutely! And, if you’re considering dissolution of marriage, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney to discuss what can, and cannot, be done.

Contact a Trusted Attorney

Duenas Eden Law, PLC provides Proven Judgement in Difficult Matters in Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody Cases, Same-Sex Legal Issues. 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 April 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

How does someone qualify for alimony in Arizona?

| Family Law | May 25, 2017

We’ve all heard the term before: alimony. Also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance in some states, alimony payments oftentimes mean a temporary — or sometimes permanent — tie between spouses long after the last divorce document has been signed.

Just like its cousin child support, alimony isn’t always ordered in every divorce. That’s because there are certain requirements judges in Arizona consider before ordering one spouse to pay the other. So what are these requirements? Let’s take a look. Continue reading…


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