Archive for January, 2011

Mesa/Gilbert Arizona Attorney Discusses Parental Alienation Syndrome

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

I recently stumbled across an old law review article pertaining to recognizing Parental Alienation Syndrome ( While the article is 10 years old, and out of Florida, the issues remain present in many contested custody issues.

The article points out that the typical parental alienation includes four criteria, 1) one parent begins working to block the child’s access to the other parent; 2) Often there are allegations of abuse; 3) the child’s relationship with the other parent suddenly begins to deteriorate; and 4) the child is caused to feel fear, often fear of the alienating parent’s reaction if the child shows affection towards the other parent.

If you are involved in a high conflict custody case, and would like to speak with an attorney about Parental Alienation Syndrome or other issues in your case, please contact our attorneys at (480) 829-9081 or

Gilbert Arizona Attorney Answers Common Questions Regarding Termination of Child Support

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

As a family law attorney in Arizona, I frequently encounter cases involving the question of when child support ends. The answer is found in Arizona statute, which states:

25-503. Order for support; methods of payment; modification; termination; statute of limitations; judgment on arrearages; notice; security

. . .

O. For the purposes of this chapter, a child is emancipated:

1. On the date of the child’s marriage.

2. On the child’s eighteenth birthday.

3. When the child is adopted.

4. When the child dies.

5. On the termination of the support obligation if support is extended beyond the age of majority pursuant to section 25-501, subsection A or section 25-320, subsections E and F.

25-501. Duties of support; exemption

A. Except as provided in subsection F of this section, every person has the duty to provide all reasonable support for that person’s natural and adopted minor, unemancipated children, regardless of the presence or residence of the child in this state. In the case of mentally or physically disabled children, if the court, after considering the factors set forth in section 25-320, subsection D, deems it appropriate, the court may order support to continue past the age of majority. If a child reaches the age of majority while the child is attending high school or a certified high school equivalency program, support shall continue to be provided while the child is actually attending high school or the equivalency program but only until the child reaches nineteen years of age unless the court enters an order pursuant to section 25-320, subsection E.

25-320. Child support; factors; methods of payment; additional enforcement provisions; definitions

. . .

E. Even if a child is over the age of majority when a petition is filed or at the time of the final decree, the court may order support to continue past the age of majority if all of the following are true:

1. The court has considered the factors prescribed in subsection D of this section.

2. The child is severely mentally or physically disabled as demonstrated by the fact that the child is unable to live independently and be self-supporting.

3. The child’s disability began before the child reached the age of majority.

F. If a child reaches the age of majority while the child is attending high school or a certified high school equivalency program, support shall continue to be provided during the period in which the child is actually attending high school or the equivalency program but only until the child reaches nineteen years of age unless the court enters an order pursuant to subsection E of this section. Notwithstanding any other law, a parent paying support for a child over the age of majority pursuant to this section is entitled to obtain all records related to the attendance of the child in the high school or equivalency program.

If there is more than one child, child support does not end or automatically modify until the last child is emancipated. If a change in child support becomes necessary prior to the last child being emancipated, the parties must petition the Court for a modification of the child support order. Child support automatically ends then, when any of the following occur: 1) the child is married; 2) the child turns 18 (and graduates from high school); 3) the child turns 19 even if still in high school; 4) the child is adopted 5) the child dies. The Court may continue beyond 18 or 19 if the child has special needs, though this requires a court order and is not automatic.

Even if child support has ended based upon the above criteria, you may still need the Court to enter an order to terminate an order of assignment or wage assignment or garnishment for child support.

If you need help with establishing, modifying or terminating child support, or have other family law questions, please contact a family law attorney at McGuire Gardner by calling 800 899 2730.

Arizona Family Law Attorney Discusses High Conflict Custody Cases

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

When recently in Court, one of the Judges commented on the high conflict in a case I am currently working on. To the parties, he let them know that most parents finalize their divorce and never need to return to Court. Of those that do need to return to Court, most of them only need to return a single time. However, there are a small minority of cases, known as high conflict cases, where the parents do not learn to communicate and work together to resolve difficulties that inevitably arise while raising children.

Though divorced, parents must still continue to work together as business partners, in the business of raising children. While the emotional involvement of the past may be completely gone, both parents must work together to ensure the best interest of the children. This can be difficult when one parent or both parents are shortsighted, self-centered, or unwilling to compromise and negotiate. Such cases often return to Court every few years for adjustments to the prior orders.

More often, if adjustments are needed, an experienced family law attorney can assist you in drawing up amendments or stipulations to modify prior orders based upon agreements reached between the parties. Proceeding without significant involvement of the Court reduces the cost and the emotional toll of high conflict cases. If you need to make adjustments or changes to your parenting orders or parenting agreements, and whether or not your case is high conflict or an agreement has already been reached but needs to be properly documented in an appropriate legal format, please call the family law attorneys at McGuire Gardner, PLLC at 800 899 2730 for your free initial telephonic consultation.

For more information, please visit our websites: or


Monday, January 3rd, 2011

In Arizona, either party may ask the Court to change child support when there has been a significant and continuing change in the factors for calculating child support. This can be the increase or reduction of the income of either party, a change in medical insurance costs or availability, an increase or decrease in day care or child care costs, or the emancipation of one or more children.

Child support does not automatically change, and must be changed through the court process. A change can only become effective on the first day of the month following the commencement of a case to modify child support and service upon the other party.

If you need assistance modifying child support in your case, or if the other party has asked the Court to modify child support and you do not agree with the requested change, please feel free to contact the attorneys at McGuire Gardner for a free initial telephone consultation to discuss your case, by calling (800) 899-2730.