Posts Tagged ‘Flagstaff Divorce Attorney’

Finding The Right Attorney: Finding an Appropriately Balanced Attorney

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Arizona Divorce Lawyer Discusses How To Find The Right Attorney

Submitted by Attorney Douglas C. Gardner

I have always found photos of the heavy built person with the bulldog on a leash next to the overly stylistic person with the overly dressed up French poodle to be hilarious.  People joke about other people finding dogs that most resemble them.  Throughout my law practice, I have often found that many clients seem to select lawyers who resemble themselves in many ways.  Specifically, people of low morals and ethics seem to be able to find attorneys with low morals and ethics.  Overly aggressive individuals seem to seek out attorneys who will be overly aggressive.

Such behavior can become quickly problematic, as it may be more advantageous to have an attorney who is appropriately balanced.  When I am representing clients in a divorce, I recognize and understand that my clients are normal people, but that they are going through what is most likely the most difficult time in their lives.  Generally clients in divorce cases are struggling financially (which usually occurs even before the divorce starts, and may be part of the cause).  Clients going through divorce cases have to juggle parenting duties that were historically divided between the other parent.  Clients going through divorce have strong emotions that they must work through including the hurt, betrayal, anger, etc.

I feel that when hired as a divorce attorney, my job is to recognize the emotion, but to not get pulled in or effected by the emotion.  I feel that as a divorce attorney I am the legal and logical “Jiminy Cricket” proverbially on my client’s shoulders whispering to them what the legal and logical choice would be and helping them see beyond their emotional choices.  Choices made during a divorce often have life-long lingering effects, and should be carefully considered from the emotional, legal, and logical perspectives before making any decision.

The problem with overly aggressive people seeking out overly aggressive attorneys, or less ethical people seeking out less ethical attorneys, is that instead of an advocate fighting to  help you understand what is best, you may hire a cheerleader that will simply encourage you to act out emotionally without considering the logical and legal ramifications.

Any divorce attorney who has handled more than a few cases has been “fired” by a client.  For me, it does not happen often, but does occur.  I have certainly been hired by many more clients who have fired prior attorneys than I have been fired from.  I have found it interesting that I am usually fired for one of two reasons:  1) being too nice, or 2) being too aggressive.  Whenever I have a client that indicates that he/she is not fully satisfied with my services, I explain to them how we can fix things to make it right, and I discuss with them that they have the option of representing themselves or hiring another attorney (within our firm or from another firm).  It is important for clients to have confidence in their chosen attorneys, so that clients trust the legal and logical advice given.  It is important for clients to have confidence in the strategy (for settlement and/or for trial) utilized by the attorney.

My general preference in any case is to come in nice, and to try and resolve cases amicably through settlement.  I have learned that when I come in too harsh and too strong that it may cause the case to go through litigation unnecessarily.  It is generally easier to get meaner and nastier as the case progresses than the other way around.  Some clients are looking for attorneys that will instantly be on the attack.  While there are certain cases where this is appropriate (such as an emergency cases where emergency orders are needed right away), in general, those attorneys who come on unnecessarily strong at the beginning of a case do so simply to ensure that the case costs much more than it would have otherwise needed to cost.

Even when taking the gloves off, it is important to have an attorney who remains ethical and professional at all times.

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.

 

Divorce Preparation- Part 2

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

Preparing for a Divorce Trial Part 2; Presenting Relevant Evidence.

By Attorney Karl Scholes

Preparing for a Divorce Trial Part 2; Presenting Relevant Evidence. 

Preparing for a divorce trial can be a daunting task. The difficulty comes in having so many issues to cover, and having so little time to cover them. Parties to a divorce (usually those who have opted to not hire an attorney) will commonly make the mistake of using up what little court time – and judicial patience – allotted to them by presenting the Court with irrelevant testimony. 

In Arizona, there are certain findings that the court must make to enter a decree of dissolution of marriage. Those findings are found in A.R.S. § 25-312, and are as follows: 

  1. That one of the parties, at the time the action was commenced, was domiciled in this state, or was stationed in this state while a member of the armed services, and that in either case the domicile or military presence has been maintained for ninety days prior to filing the petition for dissolution of marriage. 
  2. The conciliation provisions of section 25-381.09 and the provisions of article 5 of this chapter either do not apply or have been met. 
  3. The marriage is irretrievably broken or, if the marriage is a covenant marriage, any of the grounds prescribed in section 25-903. 
  4. To the extent it has jurisdiction to do so, the court has considered, approved and made provision for child custody, the support of any natural or adopted child common to the parties of the marriage entitled to support, the maintenance of either spouse and the disposition of property. 

Noticeably absent from the above factors is anything to do with marital infidelity, imbecility of newly acquired significant others, or annoying habits of the other party. If it is not mentioned in the findings above, then the court does not want to hear about it. 

Now, the issues of 1.) child custody; 2.) the support of any natural or adopted child common to the parties of the marriage entitled to support, 3.) the maintenance of either spouse, and 4.) the disposition of property involve a lot of relevant testimony. The relevant factors for each of these issues are covered by statute, and are the topic for another time. 

However, none of the pertinent statutes include factors that have anything to do with marital infidelity, imbecility of newly acquired significant others, or annoying habits of the other party. These are never mentioned. 

Not even once.

If you are in need of legal counsel and would like to speak with an experienced family law attorney, please call 800 899-2730  or visit our website at yourarizonadivorcelawyer.com. or www.davismiles.com

A Financial Benefit to Paying Child Support

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Submitted by Attorney Kirk Smith

 

There is a general discontent among those who must pay child support. The consensus among them is not that they are unwilling to financially support their children; but rather, that they seemingly overcompensate the primary physical custodian for the expenses of the children, as these expenses fall appreciably lower than the child support they owe. Notwithstanding this perceived inequity, there is some consultation for child support obligors, as their tax liabilities generally decrease due to paying child support.

 

When child support is calculated each parent will be obligated to pay a specific percentage of the total amount calculated. How this plays out typically is that the primary physical custodian will pay nothing directly to the non-custodial parent, but the non-custodial parent will pay a specified sum each month to the primary physical custodian. For the purpose of this discussion do not get caught up in the fact that the primary physical custodian typically pays nothing directly to the non-custodial parent despite being allocated a percentage of the child support obligation.

 

An example of how these percentages might be allocated is; the primary physical custodian would be obligated to pay 20% of the total amount of child support calculated and the non-custodial parent would be obligated to pay 80% of the total amount of the child support calculated.

 

The family law courts will use these percentages under Number 27 of the Appendix of Arizona Revised Statutes 25-320, to determine the allocation between the parties of the dependent tax benefit, for the years following the divorce or separation.

 

Number 27 of the Appendix of Arizona Revised Statutes 25-320 states;

 

All the federal and state tax exemptions applicable to the minor children shall be allocated between the parents as they agree, or, in the absence of their agreement, in a manner that allows each parent to claim allowable federal dependency exemptions proportionate to adjusted gross income…To implement this provision, the proportionate share of the combined adjusted gross income of both parents is rounded to the nearest fraction with a denominator no larger than 5 (i.e. 1/2, 1/3, 2/3, 1/4, 3/4, 1/5, 2/5, 3/5, 4/5).

 

Applying this statute to the above example, and assuming that the parties have only 1 child, the non-custodial parent would receive the dependent tax benefit 4 out of the next 5 years. Looking at the years following the divorce or separation, 80% of 5 years is four years. The percentage then used to determine each parent’s child support obligation is also used to determine who receives the dependent tax benefit each year.

 

Figuring out who receives the dependent tax benefit can become more complicated with multiple children between the parties, however, the aforementioned principles still apply. Child support obligors then can take a measure of solace that even though their finances will diminish due to their child support obligation; their finances typically increase when it comes to receiving their yearend tax refund. 

If you are in need of legal counsel and would like to speak with an experienced attorney, please call 800 899-2730  or visit our website at www.yourarizonadivorcelawyer.com. or www.davismiles.com

 

 

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY DAVIS MILES MCGUIRE GARDNER

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

 A customer is the most important visitor on our premises; he is not dependent on us. We are dependent on him. He is not an interruption in our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our business. He is part of it. We are not doing him a favor by serving him. He is doing us a favor by giving us an opportunity to do so. Mahatma Gandhi 

This June marks our one-year anniversary of merging two strong law firms, Davis Miles and McGuire Gardner.

Choosing to merge was not a difficult decision when you consider the benefits our clients now have available to them. The objective was and is to provide a convenient spectrum of legal services while maintaining our high standards.

Davis Miles McGuire Gardner now has over 50 attorneys in 27 practices including, Arbitration, Bankruptcy, Commercial Collections Corporate/LLC, Criminal & DUI, Estate Planning, Family Law, Immigration, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Mergers & Acquisitions, Real Estate, Tax Law, Trusts & Estates/Planning, and more.

A vital business practice is monitoring and measuring our success and recognizing what areas we need to improve.  At Davis Miles McGuire Gardner we are pleased that our commitment to professional standards of conduct was recognized by Martindale-Hubbell’s who awarded us the highest ratings.  Another litmus test is other firms and peers. In a peer review we ranked at the highest level.

As a result of our continued efforts to meet and surpass our clients expectations, DAVIS MILES MCGUIRE GARDNER continues to serve as the provider law firm for LegalShield (PrePaid Legal). Legal Shield continues to provide outstanding legal counsel to their growing clientele in New Mexico and Arizona.

The merger of these two firms is only part of the process in creating an all-encompassing firm for our clients and their needs. We will continue to seek out the best attorneys who are equally dedicated to serving our clients with integrity, consideration and respect. 

If you are in need of legal counsel and would like to speak with an experienced attorney, please call 800 899-2730  or visit our website at yourarizonadivorcelawyer.com. or www.davismiles.com

 

 

Arizona Attorney Discusses Jurisdiction Issues in Custody Cases

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Under Arizona law, Arizona courts typically have jurisdiction over new divorce, custody, paternity, and other cases involving children so long as the child has resided in the state of Arizona for the 6 months preceding the commencement of the case. Once Arizona obtains jurisdiction, the courts will generally continue to have jurisdiction so long as either parent continues to reside in the state of Arizona.

If both parents have relocated out of the state, a new state may have jurisdiction. Occasionally the parties can consent to jurisdiction in another state. Courts in Arizona or other states can get involved on an emergency basis when necessary, even when that court or state would not have ongoing jurisdiction.

Most states have similar or identical laws regarding jurisdiction over custody issues.

If a case has been filed against you in Arizona, and you do not believe that Arizona has jurisdiction, an attorney with McGuire Gardner, PLLC can file a Motion to Dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction. If you would like to file a case in Arizona and you are not certain if Arizona has jurisdiction over some or all of the pending issues, you should also speak with one of the family law attorneys with McGuire Gardner, PLLC. To contact an attorney with McGuire Gardner, PLLC to discuss your custody issues, you may call (480) 829-9081 or visit us online at yourarizonadivorcelawyer.com.

East Valley Family Law Lawyer Discusses Division Of Businesses In Divorce

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Arizona law requires the equitable division of community property and jointly owned property. Even in cases where the property is the sole and separate property of one spouse, the law in certain instances recognizes that the other spouse may have an equitable interest in the property for any increase in value attributed to the finances or effort of the marital community during the marriage. Generally, equitable division requires an equal division, though there are certain exceptions where an unequal division may be most equitable or fair.

In many divorce or legal separation cases, one or both parties own a business, medical practice, or other professional practice. Generally these businesses or practices were started and built during the marriage, though in some cases the business was started prior to the marriage and has increased in value during the marriage.

In each such case, both spouses have a legal and/or equitable interest in the business, and the value of the business must be equitably divided as part of the divorce case. Often, the business will need to be valuated or appraised. There are many issues that arise including the type of appraisal, the date of the appraisal, whether the appraisal includes the goodwill value of the business or only the tangible assets, etc.

These are complex cases, in which an experienced and knowledgeable attorney is imperative. If you are contemplating a divorce, or are already involved in a divorce, and you would like to speak with an attorney who has handled many complex divorce cases involving the division of businesses, please call McGuire Gardner today for a free initial telephonic consultation. Call us at (480) 829-9081, or visit us at YourArizonaDivorceLawyer.com.

Arizona Lawyer Discusses Effect of Wage Garnishment By Creditors When Child Support or Spousal Maintenance (Alimony) Is Paid

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

In all dissolutions of marriage entered after January 1, 1988, and in any modifications of orders entered after that date, where child support payments are ordered, a wage assignment is automatically entered in favor of the person or agency entitled to receive the support payments. A.R.S. § 25-504(A).

In a proceeding in which spousal maintenance is ordered, the court may enter a wage assignment on either party’s request, but the wage assignment is not mandatory. Id.

Wage assignments issued pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-504, for either child support or spousal maintenance, have priority over all other attachments, executions, garnishments or assignments. A.R.S. §§ 12-1598.14(B) and 25-504(P).

Where a judgment debtor’s earnings become subject to more than one writ of garnishment, and of spousal and child support priority a judgment creditor recovers no nonexempt earnings for two consecutive paydays, the lien on earnings of such judgment creditor is invalid and of no force and effect, and the garnishee shall notify the judgment creditor accordingly. A.R.S. § 12-1598.14(C).

Garnishment limits for creditors (except for child support or spousal support) is up to 25% of a person’s gross wages. For child support and spousal support, the limit is up to 50% of a person’s gross wages.

In some cases, it may be advantageous to ensure that child support or spousal support is being paid by a wage assignment. Because of the priority for child support and spousal support wage garnishments, your income deduction will be going to support your children or ex spouse, which is generally preferable to the money going to a credit card company or other debt collector.

If you would like to discuss child support, spousal support, or other family law issues with an attorney, please call McGuire Gardner, PLLC at (800) 899-2730 or visit our website at YourArizonaDivorceLawyer.com.

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:

www.mcguiregardner.com or

yourarizonadivorcelawyer.com

ARIZONA FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY DISCUSSES RETROACTIVE CHILD SUPPORT

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.