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.


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.


Keeping the Kids Busy While at Home

| Child Custody Family Law | March 20, 2020

Schools Closed and Kids are at Home

With the recent COVID-19 precautions, many of our children are home from school. This can cause some anxiety for children and parents alike. We will share with you some ideas to help in this uncertain time.

Your Parenting Plan

No matter your marital status, if you have children you need a parenting plan to handle emergencies and unexpected situations such as this. For separated and divorced parents this may be an especially trying time to balance work and finances, caring for your child(ren), the health and safety for you and your child(ren) as well as honoring specific child custody agreements and parenting plans. With regards to the legal and family law issues that may arise, we strongly advise you to speak with our attorneys to help guide you in this time and assist in matters if legal advise and action is necessary.

Keeping Your Child(ren) Busy While at Home

We will share with you some ideas on how to occupy your child(ren)’s time, focus and energy while they are now “stuck at home”.

  • The ever Infamous School Work

    • With kids out of school, during what would normally be considered a normal school schedule, many school districts and teachers are providing “at home learning” packets or study guides to assist in keeping the students up-to-date and help re-enforce what they have already learned.  Some schools and teachers are even working “virtually” with classes as well as providing online materials and resources.
  • “Spring Cleaning”

    • Your child(ren) could assist in cleaning and organizing around the house. This could be as simple as your child(ren) going through their room and cleaning, organizing and throwing away old and unimportant items. Creating a “Spring Cleaning Bingo Card” can help turn it in to a fun game.
  • In-Home Scavenger Hunts

    • This is good activity for young and old children alike. Whether the items are hidden or commonly found around the house, this can be a fun activity together or independently.
  •   “Recess Time”

    • If possible, go outside. Being cooped up at home can create a bit of anxiety for both adults and children. Some call this “Cabin Fever”. Be sure to schedule some “recess time” to get outside.

Share with us some of your Ideas on our Facebook Page

Let us and others know what is working for you and share your ideas on keeping yourself and your child(ren) busy during this time. Visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/duenasedenlaw/ to share your ideas.

If you are in need of Legal Advice or Assistance in this time, we are Available

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. 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.


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

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

| Child Custody Legally Speaking | February 18, 2020

Child Custody and School Enrollment

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

 

Child Custody; Sole or Joint

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

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

 

Talk with an Experienced Family Law Attorney

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

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

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

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

Kindergarten Taught Us All We Need to Know!

| Family Law Legally Speaking | January 16, 2020

“Affluenza”

“Affluenza.” Remember that catch phrase? For me, it’ll rank up there with twerking, photo bomb and selfies of new phrases that should be relieved of their duties as words. I will freely admit that I had to look up twerking on the Internet to find out what this meant and then watched in disgust the YouTube videos that popped up. But, I digress.

I’m [originally] writing this article days after Justin Beiber was arrested for driving under the influence and resisting arrest. My first question when I heard he was arrested was whether he is old enough to have a driver’s license. Then I heard allegedly his mother supplied him whatever it was he was under the influence of, and his father allegedly set up the roadblock for him to race.

Is affluenza present here? Remember the days when parents held their children accountable for their actions? I grew up in a time of kids being grounded, not being able to go to the movies and losing privileges to the family phone. Not parents giving their children narcotics or setting up a situation where the arrest of teenager is a likely outcome.

Then, in further reading of my quest to get the news from the Internet, I come across notes about parents behaving very badly during their children’s sporting events. Taken as a whole, maybe it is all starting to make sense. If parents behave badly in front of their children, their children will learn such behavior and repeat it. And, if someone is rich enough, they can buy their way out of criminal prosecution or a significant criminal penalty. Or, so says affluenza.

Simple Kindergarten Rules

Maybe what we learned in kindergarten really is all we need to know – treat others the way you want to be treated, share and have some time to run around outside every day. If we go back to those simple principles then maybe parents wouldn’t yell at each other at children’s sporting events and certainly wouldn’t yell at kids. Parents wouldn’t encourage or enable their children to break the law and children wouldn’t look at their role models – whomever they might be, and think that they can get away with “it” too.

Lawyers see a lot of negativity in their practices, especially lawyers who are engaged in any sort of litigation. We are trained to try to make things better for our clients, if possible. It should not matter if someone is wealthy or not, we should all treat each other the way we want to be treated.

I’ve reached my limit on allowable pontification. So one last point. Apparently born in 1994 makes the Biebster [then] 19 years old – old enough to drive and to know better.

Family Law Attorneys that Listen

Duenas Eden Law, PLC listens to your needs and your families needs and will offer advice to help in your family law matter. 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 March 2014 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

Happy Holidays. Think Child Support and Taxes

| Child Support Legally Speaking | December 11, 2019

Current Year’s Child Support Must be Paid in Full by December, 31st

Happy Holidays! This is an exciting time of year with many holidays, celebrations, and tidings of joy and goodwill. And if child support obligations are not paid in full by December 31, then a child likely cannot be claimed for the tax dependency exemption come April 15. While this may Vascular Surgeon, not fit into the spirit of the season, it remains a vitally important part of your annual tax planning.

Division of Child Tax Dependency Exemption

If there is an order for child support, issued by an Arizona court, then there is also an order regarding division of the child tax dependency exemption. There is also an order relating to how the parents are to share in non-covered medical, dental, vision and sometimes orthodontia expenses.

Although most family law attorneys (myself included) do not give tax advice, we do have to discuss some tax issues. The child tax dependency exemption is a big one. As you may know, there is an exemption that may benefit a tax payor upon filing. Typically, the dependency exemptions are divided in one of two ways: (1) equally or (2) following the child support percentages of income. Any tax questions on what this means or how this could affect you should be directed to a certified public accountant.

Child Support Arrearages

In order for a parent to be able to claim a child for the tax dependency exemption and receive this benefit, usually that parent must be current on child support for that tax year. That doesn’t mean if there are child support arrearages owed then all of the arrears must be paid in full as well. However, if there is an order for payment of arrearages, then the arrearages must be paid per the order for that tax year. Meaning, if someone is to pay $50.00 a month toward arrearages, then if $600 was paid toward arrearages by December 31, the arrearage is paid per the order for that tax year.

For a child support order that does not include arrearages, as long as the parent who is ordered to pay child support has paid the full amount owed for that year by December 31, then the payor parent is able to claim the child when taxes are filed.

A Wrongful Claim of the Child Tax Dependency Exemption

What happens if a parent wrongfully claims a child for tax dependency purposes – either because it is not their year to claim or because they are not current on child support or courtordered arrearages for that year? In that case, it is extremely important to consult with a certified public accountant to discuss what rights or obligations may exist. The family court may also step in to order a parent to reimburse the other parent for the loss of the value of the tax dependency exemption or modify the child support order regarding how the tax dependency exemption will be shared. In other words, it could mean money to the one who lost out or having to pay money to the one who wrongfully took the exemption.

Consult with an Experienced Family Law Attorney and CPA

The child tax dependency exemption has value. If you have questions about the tax exemption, please consult with an experienced family law attorney and also a certified public accountant. 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 December 2013 edition of Ocotillo Living

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