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

| 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

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