Archive for December, 2012

Last Month For Custody

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Arizona Divorce Lawyer Says Goodbye to Custody

Submitted by Attorney Douglas C. Gardner

I mentioned this in my blog last month, but this is so huge I wanted to address it once more.  Goodbye Custody.  In a recent seminar, where most of the top divorce and family law attorneys and many of the family law judges were gathered, the primary topic was the end of “custody.”

One attorney suggested a marketing campaign of “Last Chance to Get ‘Custody!’”  Most people have no idea that they will no longer be able to go to court to get custody beginning January 1, 2013.

While this may sound like a big change, it is primarily semantics.  Sole Legal Custody and Joint Legal Custody are being replaced with the terms “Sole Legal Decision Making” and “Joint Legal Decision Making.”

At least initially, not much changes except for the wording.  There are several other changes to the law that will over time alter the trajectory of the family law changes that have been happening for decades.

If you need to establish “custody” or “legal decision making” for the first time, or if you have a custody order and you are returning to Court, beginning in January the Courts will be required to put into effect orders for “legal decision making.”  Existing “custody” orders will remain valid, but as each case returns to court, the new replacement orders will no longer include the “custody” terminology.

Do not let this scare you.  While this is your last month to get Custody, very little has actually changed in the short term with this new law. Over time, we will continue to see important changes and you will want to ensure that you are represented by an attorney that is aware of these changes and in tune with the ever-changing law.

If you are involved in a divorce case or other parenting time case involving “legal decision making” (the new word for legal custody), or other simple or complex issues and want experienced legal representation, please call 800-899-2730 and ask to speak with Douglas C. Gardner, or visit our website at yourarizonadivorcelawyer.com.

Arizona’s New Family Law Changes

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

GILBERT, TEMPE AND MESA ARIZONA DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW LAWYER DISCUSSES SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO FAMILY LAW STATUTES

Submitted by Attorney Douglas C. Gardner

                       

As of January 1, 2013, Arizona Courts will no longer decide custody cases.  Parents will no longer receive visitation with their children in divorce and other child related cases.  There are several significant and important changes to Arizona statute that will go into effect on January 1, 2013.  I hope I have your attention.

Many of these new changes are semantics, and simply a change in the words we use and the definition of those words.  Courts will still undertake the same issues, but rather than entering orders for sole custody or joint custody, the Court will enter orders regarding which parent will be the “legal decision makers.”

Also, by definition, a parent will no longer have “visitation” but will have “parenting time.”  Only grandparents and other non-parents can get court ordered “visitation.”

While peripherally, these changes will simply make it difficult for attorneys and judges to remember what the new jargon is, the real change will come as time marches on.  These new changes are intended to dramatically further the co-parenting and the joint involvement of both parents.

Up through the late 1970s and  early 1980s, the Courts were legally to consider the presumption that a mother was the parent with whom children of “tender years” were to reside with.  This was legally eliminated some 30 years ago, but has continued to linger while slowly going away.

Over the last few years, there has been a dramatic additional shift towards having father’s more significantly involved.  More and more judges are starting with the presumption of an equal parenting time plan rather than the presumption that mom will have the children except on alternating weekends.

Another big change is the elimination from the list of items for the Court to consider in custody cases of “which parent has been the primary care provider.”  This often favored mothers, as mothers more often provide the primary care for younger children.  This has been replaced with “the past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and the child.”  This more future looking consideration may have a very significant impact on many child related cases.

The long term effects of these changes are yet to be determined.  The clear intent of the legislature is to ensure that there is no bias based upon the gender of the parents.

If you are involved in a divorce case or other parenting time case involving “legal decision making” (the new word for legal custody), or other simple or complex issues and want experienced legal representation, please call 800-899-2730 and ask to speak with Douglas C. Gardner, or visit our website at yourarizonadivorcelawyer.com.