The dissolution of a marriage requires an understanding of the family relationships and financial intricacies that are a vital part of the marital relationship.
If the spouses have children, custody is the most important issue to resolve. When parents are going through a divorce, they will go to great lengths to protect them. These cases can be hard on everyone involved, especially the children.
Our goal is to help your family get to a better place than where you were when you first came to us and to make sure that any outcome represents the best interests of the children.
Child custody determinations occur in matters of divorce and go far beyond just where a child will physically spend time. In Arizona we separate the concept of custody into two separate categories. First we consider the residential “parenting time” agreement. In other words, the allocation of each parent's time with his/her child. Second we determine whether the rights and responsibilities to make major decisions concerning the child should be granted to one or to both parents. We call these rights “legal decision-making.” Such decisions include:
- Authorization for nonemergency health care
- Choice of school
- Choice of religious upbringing
- Consent to obtain a driver's license
- Consent to adopt, consent to marry, consent to enter the armed forces, and many others
The determination of whether these decisions are made by one parent with sole legal decision-making or by both parents with shared legal decision-making is based on the best interest of the child. Custody may be determined by the court or through the agreement of both parties.
The other half of the process of divorce is to identify and value the marital property. A key first step will be determining what property should be categorized as community property (in other words property acquired during marriage or titled as community property) and what property is the separate property of one of the spouses from before the marriage or by gift or inheritance. Ultimately, the community property of the marriage will need to be equitably divided between the spouses.
Support issues are also an important matter to resolve during a divorce. Will one spouse need spousal maintenance (alimony) following the divorce? Do the parties have equal financial footing in order to ensure their representation during the divorce, or does one spouse need to pay some or all of the attorney's fees of the other spouse? Are there children common to the parties, and if so, who will pay child support and in what amount?
In our experience, we have found that agreements reached amicably by parents is preferred, as it leaves them in control of these important decisions rather than relying on a judge to settle differences. However, we are skilled trial attorneys who have achieved great success in court on behalf of Arizona parents.
We are strong legal advocates who can provide attentive counsel for the complex issues of divorce. We are also a small law firm that strives to create as comfortable of an environment for our clients as is possible while they go through this difficult process.