Choose Page

De Novo Law Blog

The Impact of Domestic Violence on Child Custody Cases in Arizona

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

How Does Domestic Violence Impact Child Custody Determinations?

Domestic violence is a critical factor in child custody cases in Arizona.

It can significantly affect the decisions made by family courts, prioritizing the safety and well-being of the child. 

Table of Contents:

Domestic violence is a factor in approximately 25-50% of disputed child custody cases in the U.S., emphasizing its significant impact on custody determinations​. 

Contact De Novo Law today to protect your rights and children’s best interests.

What Defines Domestic Violence in Arizona?

Domestic violence in Arizona is defined under A.R.S. § 13-3601. It includes various abusive behaviors such as physical violence, threats, intimidation, harassment, and emotional abuse.

These actions must occur between individuals with specific relationships, such as spouses, former spouses, individuals in a romantic or sexual relationship, persons related by blood or court order, and individuals residing or who have lived in the same household.

Understanding this definition is essential as it forms the basis of how domestic violence is treated in child custody cases.

The scope of domestic violence in Arizona is broad, covering not only physical acts but also emotional and psychological abuse, which can have profound effects on both the victim and any children involved.

This comprehensive approach ensures that all forms of abuse are considered when determining the best interests of the child.

Arizona’s laws aim to protect victims of domestic violence by recognizing the various forms it can take and the relationships within which it occurs.

This broad definition helps to ensure that all victims, regardless of the nature of their relationship with the abuser, receive the protection and legal recourse they need.

Establishing the Existence of a Significant History of Domestic Violence in an Arizona Child Custody Case

In Arizona child custody cases, establishing a significant history of domestic violence involves providing substantial evidence.

What Evidence is Needed to Prove Domestic Violence in a Custody Case?

Proving domestic violence requires substantial evidence, including:

  • Police and incident reports
  • Medical records and photographs of injuries
  • Testimonies from witnesses, such as neighbors, friends, and family members
  • Documentation of any prior restraining orders

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof is on the parent alleging domestic violence, and the evidence must be compelling to influence custody decisions significantly.

According to A.R.S. § 25-403.03, when there is credible evidence of domestic violence, the court must consider it a severe factor in custody decisions.

This means that the court will closely scrutinize any claims of domestic violence and will likely favor the non-abusive parent when making custody determinations.

Gathering and presenting this evidence can be challenging, especially for those who have suffered significant trauma.

However, it is crucial to establish a history of domestic violence and ensure that the court has all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

Legal support from experienced professionals can be invaluable in this process, helping victims to compile and present the evidence effectively.

Can Parental Rights Be Terminated for Domestic Violence Offenders?

Parenting rights can be terminated if domestic violence is severe and ongoing.

Under A.R.S. § 8-533, grounds for termination include chronic abuse or neglect, felony convictions demonstrating unfitness to parent, and severe and repeated acts of domestic violence.

Violating parental rights is a drastic measure, reflecting the state’s commitment to protecting children from harm.

The termination process is complex and requires a high burden of proof.

The court must be convinced that the parent’s behavior poses a significant risk to the child’s well-being and that terminating parental rights is in the child’s best interest.

This is not a decision that courts take lightly, and substantial evidence of severe and ongoing domestic violence is required to support such a decision.

In cases where parental rights are terminated, the child may be placed in the other parent’s custody or another suitable guardian.

This ensures that the child is protected from further harm and can grow up in a safe and stable environment.

The primary concern in these cases is always the child’s best interest, and the court will carefully consider all available evidence before deciding.

What About Visitation Rights?

Visitation rights can be restricted or supervised in cases involving domestic violence.

Courts may order supervised visitation to ensure the child’s safety, set specific conditions for visitation, such as requiring attendance in a batterer’s intervention program, or suspend visitation if the risk to the child is deemed too high.

The court’s decisions aim to balance the child’s need for a relationship with both parents against the imperative of ensuring their safety.

Supervised visitation is often used to allow the abusive parent to maintain a relationship with the child while ensuring that the child is protected. This typically involves a neutral third party present during visits to monitor interactions and ensure the child’s safety.

In some cases, the court may require the abusive parent to complete specific programs or counseling before unsupervised visitation is considered.

In more severe cases, the court may decide that visitation poses too significant a risk to the child’s safety and well-being. In these instances, visitation may be suspended altogether, or the court may impose stringent conditions to minimize the risk of harm. The court’s primary concern is always the safety and best interests of the child, and all decisions regarding visitation will reflect this priority.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

How a Legal Paraprofessional from De Novo Law Can Help

Domestic violence has a profound impact on child custody decisions in Arizona, with courts prioritizing the child’s safety above all.

Understanding the legal definitions, evidence requirements, and potential consequences for offenders is crucial for those involved in such cases.

If you are facing a child custody dispute involving domestic violence, seeking the assistance of a skilled legal paraprofessional from De Novo Law can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. 

For more information about our services or to schedule a consultation, you can also reach us directly at (480) 725-2200 .

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

Modifying Spousal Support in Arizona: When and How to Seek Changes in Alimony

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Modifying Alimony-How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

Spousal support or spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, is designed to provide financial assistance to a spouse following a divorce.

However, life circumstances can change, necessitating a modification of the initial spousal support order.

Understanding Arizona’s process and legal grounds for modifying spousal support can be crucial for those who either pay or receive alimony.

Table of Contents:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 15% of divorced individuals receive spousal support. 

Contact De Novo Law today for expert guidance and modification of spousal support. Our experienced Legal Paraprofessionals can provide the support and advocacy you need.

Circumstances for Modifying Spousal Support

Under Arizona law, spousal support can be modified when circumstances change significantly and continue.

This means that the change must be substantial enough to warrant a revision of the original support order, not just a temporary or minor fluctuation.

The Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S. § 25-327) govern the modification of spousal support and outline the criteria the court considers when evaluating modification requests.

Some common circumstances that may justify a modification include changes in employment status, significant income fluctuations, or substantial changes in either party’s financial needs or resources.

For example, if the paying spouse loses their job or experiences a significant decrease in income, they may seek a reduction in spousal support payments. Conversely, if the receiving spouse’s financial situation improves significantly, the paying spouse might request a modification to reduce or terminate the support.

Changes in health or unforeseen medical expenses can also constitute valid reasons for modification.

Suppose either party experiences a severe health issue that impacts their earning capacity or incurs substantial medical costs. In that case, the court may consider these factors to modify the spousal support order.

Requesting a modification of spousal support involves a legal process that begins with filing a petition in family court.

The petition must detail the substantial and continuing change in circumstances that justifies the request for modification.

It is crucial to provide comprehensive and accurate documentation to support the claims made in the petition.

The legal process typically includes the following steps:

  • Filing the Petition: The requesting party must file a petition for modification with the family court and serve it to the other party.
  • Response: The other party has the opportunity to respond to the petition, either agreeing or contesting the proposed modification.
  • Hearing: If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the court will schedule a hearing where both parties can present evidence and arguments.
  • Court Decision: The judge will evaluate the evidence and decide based on the case’s merits and the criteria outlined in A.R.S. § 25-327.

Examples of Situations Warranting Change

Understanding the situations that justify modifying spousal support is essential for anyone considering such a request.

The court looks for significant, ongoing changes in circumstances that impact the financial dynamics between the ex-spouses.

Below are some common scenarios that illustrate when and why a modification might be warranted:

Employment Changes

If the paying spouse becomes unemployed or experiences a significant reduction in income due to factors beyond their control, such as layoffs or medical issues.

Cohabitation or Remarriage

If the receiving spouse cohabitates with a new partner or remarries, potentially reducing their financial needs.

Significant Financial Changes

If the receiving spouse’s financial situation improves significantly, such as through receiving a large inheritance, a substantial increase in income, or winning a lottery.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

Modifying alimony in Arizona requires a clear understanding of the legal criteria and a thorough presentation of evidence to support the request.

Whether you seek to increase, decrease, or terminate spousal support, navigating the process with care and expertise is essential.

De Novo Law, an Arizona family law Legal Paraprofessional, can provide legal guidance to help you achieve a fair and equitable outcome. For personalized legal assistance in modifying Arizona spousal support, contact us today. 

 

For more information about our services or to schedule a consultation, you can also reach us directly at (480) 725-2200 .

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

What Happens When Divorced Parents Disagree on Where to Send Their Child to School?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Education Decisions and Disagreements-How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

Disagreements over educational choices can be a significant source of tension for divorced parents.

In Arizona, child custody agreements often mandate parents’ involvement in such decisions.

This article will explore what happens when divorced parents disagree on where to send their child to school, providing guidance and potential solutions to help resolve conflicts amicably and legally.

Table of Contents:

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, nearly 60% of divorced parents have disagreements about the school their child should attend.

De Novo Law can help you navigate these conflicts when one parent disagrees with professional guidance and support.

In Arizona, joint legal custody, also known as joint legal decision-making, means that both parents share the authority to make decisions regarding their child’s life, including education.

This custody arrangement requires parents to collaborate and agree on essential choices.

Joint legal custody ensures that both parents remain involved in their child’s upbringing, reflecting the child’s best interest as outlined in A.R.S. § 25-403.02.

This statute emphasizes the importance of parents having parenting time and a voice in their child’s life, including decisions about schooling.

When parents cannot agree, they must find a way to resolve their differences without compromising the child’s well-being.

Reasons Why Parents May Disagree About School Choice

Parents may disagree about school choice for various reasons, each rooted in their own perspectives and priorities.

Some common reasons include:

  • Differences in educational philosophy or values
  • Proximity of the school to each parent’s home
  • The child’s unique needs, such as special education requirements
  • Preferences for private school versus public schooling

Understanding the root cause of the disagreement is the first step toward finding a resolution that prioritizes the child’s needs.

These disagreements can stem from genuine concerns for the child’s best interests or lingering conflicts between the parents.

What to Do When Disagreements on School Arise?

Parents have various options to consider when disagreements arise to resolve the conflict.

Review Your Custody Agreement

The first step in resolving a disagreement about school choice is to review your custody agreement.

A custody agreement often includes provisions for how educational decisions should be made.

It may also outline a process for resolving disputes, such as through mediation.

Put Your Children’s Needs First

When parents disagree, focusing on what is best for the child is crucial. This involves considering factors such as the quality of education, the child’s social environment, and their emotional and developmental needs.

Parents should set aside personal differences and prioritize their child’s well-being.

File to Modify Your Custody Order

If parents cannot reach an agreement, they may need to file a petition to modify the custody order.

Under A.R.S. § 25-411, a court can modify a custody order if it finds a change is in the child’s best interests.

This step should be considered when all other efforts to resolve the disagreement have failed.

Work Out Your Disagreements With a Mediator or Parent Coordinator

Mediation can be an effective way to resolve disputes without going to court. A mediator is a neutral third party who helps parents communicate and reach a consensus.

Similarly, a parent coordinator can assist in implementing and enforcing agreements related to the child’s upbringing. These professionals can help parents find common ground and develop a mutually acceptable plan.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

Disagreements about a child’s education can be challenging for divorced parents, but there are legal avenues and professional resources available to help resolve these conflicts.

Understanding your custody agreement, prioritizing your child’s needs, and seeking assistance from a Legal Paraprofessional can make the process smoother and more effective.

For professional guidance, contact De Novo Law, a legal paraprofessional specializing in family law, to ensure your child’s educational needs are met while respecting parental rights.

For more information about our services or to schedule a consultation, you can also reach us directly at (480) 725-2200 .

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

Tips for Handling Parenting Time and Custody Schedules Over Summer Vacation

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Child Custody and Planning for Summer Vacation-How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

Navigating child custody and parenting time during summer break can be challenging for many families.

As the summer months approach, parents often face the task of coordinating schedules that ensure the best interests of their children while accommodating each parent’s time.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 20 million children in the United States live with one parent while the other parent lives elsewhere, making effective summer custody arrangements crucial for many families.

At De Novo Law, we understand the complexities involved in these arrangements and are here to help. Contact a Legal Paraprofessional today for personalized assistance with your summer parenting plan.

We will cover the following topics

Summer Vacation and Child Custody: 8 Tips for Parenting Time

Managing child custody during the summer can be tricky, but with careful planning and communication, it can be a rewarding time for both parents and children.

Here are eight tips to help you navigate summer parenting time:

  • Plan Early: Discuss summer schedules well in advance to allow both parents to make necessary arrangements.
  • Be Flexible: Understand that plans may need to change and be open to negotiation.
  • Prioritize the Child’s Interests: Focus on what is best for them, considering their activities, interests, and comfort.
  • Communicate Openly: Maintain clear and respectful communication with your co-parent to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Document Agreements: Write all agreed-upon plans to ensure clarity and avoid disputes later.
  • Consider Travel Plans: Discuss potential plans and how they might impact the custody schedule.
  • Account for Special Events: Be aware of any special events or holidays that may require adjustments to the schedule.
  • Seek Legal Advice if Needed: Consult a family law Legal Paraprofessional if you encounter any disputes or legal concerns.

By following these tips, you can create a summer schedule that works for everyone involved and ensures a smooth and enjoyable experience for your child.

Common Summer Visitation Schedules

Families in Arizona utilize several summer visitation schedules to manage parenting time effectively.

The schedule choice often depends on the children’s and parents’ needs and preferences.

What is the Most Popular Schedule for Child Custody in Arizona?

In Arizona, one of the most popular summer visitation schedules is the “week-on, week-off” arrangement.

This schedule allows each parent to have the child for alternating weeks, providing extended periods of quality time. This arrangement helps balance the time children spend with each parent and minimizes transitions, which can be especially beneficial during the summer when school is out.

Another common schedule is the “two weeks on, two weeks off” plan, which gives each parent two consecutive weeks with the child.

This longer period can be ideal for planning vacations or special activities, allowing children to enjoy uninterrupted time with each parent.

Which Types of Custody Arrangements Tend to be Best for Children?

The best custody arrangements prioritize the child’s stability, comfort, and needs.

Joint physical custody, where the child spends significant time with both parents, is often beneficial as it promotes strong relationships with both parents.

Consistency and routine are key in these arrangements, providing children with a sense of security.

Parents should consider the child’s age, temperament, and special needs when determining the best arrangement. 

Collaborative co-parenting, where parents communicate and cooperate effectively, produces more positive outcomes for children.

Do Parents Who Live Far Away From Each Other Impact What The Ideal Summer Custody Schedule Should Be?

The distance between parents’ residences significantly impacts the ideal summer custody schedule.

When parents live far apart, longer blocks of parenting time, such as month-long visits, can reduce the stress of frequent long-distance travel for the child.

This approach allows the child to settle into a routine and spend substantial time with each parent.

In these cases, it’s essential to plan ahead and consider the child’s travel needs and any logistical challenges.

Parents should also discuss maintaining communication and involvement with the non-custodial parent during extended stays.

How Summer Parenting Plans Can Change Based on Age

Children of different ages have varying needs and abilities to handle changes in routine.

Therefore, summer parenting plans should be tailored to the age and developmental stage of the child.

Infants & Toddlers

For infants and toddlers, maintaining a consistent routine is crucial.

Frequent, shorter visits are recommended to help young children feel secure and maintain strong attachments to both parents.

 During the summer, this might mean maintaining the regular visitation schedule with slight adjustments to accommodate any special plans or activities.

Key considerations are consistency in caregiving and minimal disruption to their routine. Parents should communicate about nap times, feeding schedules, and other essential aspects of care.

School-Aged Children

School-aged children can handle longer visits and may benefit from more extended time with each parent during the summer.

Week-on, week-off schedules or two-week blocks are common and allow children to enjoy different activities with each parent.

It’s also important to consider any summer camps, extracurricular activities, or special events the child may want to attend.

Parents should collaborate on creating a summer schedule that balances fun activities, family time, and any educational opportunities that might be available during the break.

Teens

Teenagers often have their own preferences and schedules, including social activities, summer jobs, and college preparation.

Flexibility is essential when planning summer custody arrangements for teens.

Parents should involve their teenage children in planning to accommodate their preferences and commitments.

A month-on, month-off schedule or a flexible arrangement that considers the teen’s activities and interests can work well.

Open communication and respect for the teen’s growing independence are crucial.

Can My Ex Stop Me From Taking My Child On Vacation?

If you share joint legal custody in Arizona, you generally have the right to take your child on vacation during your designated parenting time.

However, your ex can raise objections if the proposed vacation poses a significant risk to the child’s safety or well-being or if it interferes with their scheduled parenting time.

To avoid conflicts, provide your ex with detailed information about the vacation, including travel dates, destinations, and contact information. If your custody agreement includes specific provisions about travel, be sure to follow those guidelines.

Consider seeking mediation or legal advice to resolve the issue amicably if disagreements arise.

Do I Need Permission From My Ex to Travel With My Child?

Whether you need permission from your ex to travel with your child depends on the terms of your custody agreement and the nature of the travel.

Arizona courts typically require that both parents consent for international travel, and you may need to provide a notarized travel consent form.

 Domestic travel usually does not require explicit permission if it falls within your scheduled parenting time, but it is courteous and often recommended to inform your ex of your plans.

Ensure you check your custody agreement for any specific travel-related clauses.

If your ex unreasonably withholds consent, you may need to seek a court order to allow the travel.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

Contact a Legal Paraprofessional from De Novo Law Today

Summer vacation presents a unique opportunity for parents to spend quality time with their children, but it also requires careful planning and communication to ensure smooth transitions and happy experiences.

Parents can create effective summer custody arrangements by understanding the legal aspects and considering the child’s best interests.

For assistance with your custody plans or any family law matters contact De Novo Law for expert guidance and support.

For more information about our services or to schedule a consultation, you can also reach us directly at (480) 725-2200 .

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

Navigating Custody Orders and Contempt When Children Refuse Visitation With a Parent

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

When Your Child Refuses to Visit the Other ParentHow a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

When your child refuses to visit the other parent, it can create a complex and emotionally charged situation.

Navigating these challenges while adhering to custody orders is crucial to avoiding legal complications and maintaining a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Understanding Arizona’s legal obligations and potential remedies is essential for parents facing this issue.

According to a study by the American Psychological Association, approximately 20-25% of children experience parental resistance during custody transitions.

At De Novo Law, we are dedicated to helping families navigate these challenges while ensuring compliance with Arizona’s family law. Contact us for expert legal guidance to safeguard your family’s well-being.

We will cover the following topics

What Can I Do if My Child is Refusing Visitation?

Communicating with the other parent is the first step when a child refuses visitation. Try to understand the root cause of the refusal and address your child’s concerns. Open and respectful dialogue between co-parents can often resolve minor issues and reduce the stress on the child.

If communication does not resolve the issue, it is essential to document the refusal and any reasons the child provides.

Arizona law requires parents to comply with court-ordered visitation schedules.

Non-compliance without a valid reason can lead to legal consequences, including modifications to the custody arrangement.

Consulting with a Legal Paraprofessional from De Novo Law can clarify the appropriate steps to take and help ensure that you remain in compliance with court orders.

Why Does a Child Not Want to Spend Time with a Parent? 

Several factors can contribute to a child not wanting to spend time with a parent.

Understanding these reasons can help address the issue more effectively:

  • Emotional distress: A child may feel anxious or stressed about the transition between homes.
  • Parental conflict: Ongoing disputes between parents can create a hostile environment, discouraging the child from visiting the other parent.
  • Lifestyle differences: Different household rules or routines can cause discomfort for the child.

Identifying the specific reason behind the refusal is crucial. Once the issue is recognized, parents can work together, possibly with the assistance of a family therapist or counselor, to address the child’s concerns and foster a more positive relationship with both parents.

How to Avoid Custody Order Contempt When Your Child Refuses to Visit with the Other Parent

Avoiding custody contempt is essential when a child refuses visitation.

Arizona courts take violations of custody orders seriously, and failure to comply can result in penalties.

Here are steps to avoid custody contempt:

  • Document the refusal: Keep a detailed record of each instance when the child refuses visitation, including the child’s reasons and any attempts to encourage compliance.
  • Communicate with the other parent: Inform the other parent about the situation promptly and work together to find a solution.
  • Seek court intervention if necessary: If the refusal persists, consider seeking a modification of the custody order through the court. This demonstrates your commitment to complying with legal obligations while addressing your child’s needs.

Following these steps, parents can demonstrate their good faith efforts to adhere to custody orders and avoid potential legal repercussions.

Should I Force My Child to See the Other Parent if They Don’t Want to Go?

Forcing a child to visit the other parent can harm their emotional well-being.

However, Arizona law requires compliance with custody orders, making it a delicate balance for parents.

It is crucial to approach the situation sensitively and prioritize the child’s feelings while fulfilling legal obligations.

Parents should encourage their children to communicate their concerns and seek to address them constructively. If the child’s refusal is rooted in legitimate fears or discomforts, a mental health professional may be necessary.

Sometimes, the court may consider modifying the custody arrangement if it is in the child’s best interest.

What Age of Child is Most Likely to Resist?

Children of different ages react differently to custody arrangements, and certain age groups are more likely to exhibit resistance to visiting the other parent.

Adolescents and teenagers, in particular, often express their preferences more strongly due to their developmental stage, increased desire for independence, and more complex social and emotional needs.

Various factors can influence this resistance, including peer relationships, school commitments, and a stronger awareness of family dynamics.

Younger children, typically those under 10, are generally more adaptable to visitation schedules.

They rely heavily on routine and stability provided by both parents, making it easier to facilitate their transition between homes. While younger kids may express some reluctance, they are usually more amenable to guidance and encouragement from their parents.

Parents can draw a parallel between encouraging younger children to visit both parents and the necessity of promoting healthy habits, such as eating vegetables.

Just as parents might “force” their children to eat nutritious foods for their well-being, they may need to encourage or insist on visitation to ensure the child’s emotional health and stability.

For example, explaining the importance of spending time with both parents in a positive, supportive manner can help younger children understand and accept the visitation schedule, much like describing the benefits of eating vegetables, which allows them to develop healthy eating habits.

By recognizing children’s developmental needs and capabilities at different ages, parents can adopt appropriate strategies to facilitate a smoother and more positive visitation experience and ensure that the child’s best interests are always at the forefront.

The Role of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation occurs when one parent undermines the relationship between the child and the other parent.

This behavior can significantly impact the child’s willingness to participate in visitation.

Courts in Arizona recognize the damaging effects of parental alienation and consider it when making custody determinations.

If you suspect parental alienation, document any negative behavior or communication from the other parent that may influence your child’s refusal to visit.

Presenting this evidence to the court can support a case for modifying custody arrangements to protect the child’s best interests.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

Get Help From a Family Law Paraprofessional

Navigating situations where a child refuses to visit the other parent requires a careful balance of legal compliance and sensitivity to the child’s emotional needs.

Arizona law mandates adherence to custody orders, but understanding and addressing the underlying issues constructively can foster a healthier co-parenting relationship.

At De Novo Law, we specialize in family law and are committed to helping you resolve these complex challenges. 

For more information about our services or to schedule a consultation, you can also reach us directly at (480) 725-2200 .

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

Common Law Marriage in Arizona

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Common Law Marriage- How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

Common law marriage is a concept that has been around for centuries and continues to be a topic of interest in family law.

In Arizona, however, common law marriage is not recognized

which can lead to some unique legal challenges for couples who consider themselves to be husband and wife without a formal marriage certificate.

Whether it’s understanding the legal implications of not being recognized as a married couple in the eyes of the state or seeking affordable legal services to protect each other’s rights and assets from a common law marriage originating in another state, a legal paraprofessional can provide much-needed guidance and support. 

We will cover the following topics:

What Is a Common Law Marriage? 

A common law marriage is a non-ceremonial form of marriage that can be recognized as legally valid without a formal wedding or marriage license,

based primarily on the couple’s cohabitation, intention, and presentation as a married couple.

This concept originated in England and was transported to many states in the U.S. However, its recognition varies significantly across different jurisdictions.

In Arizona, common-law marriages are not legally recognized. This means that regardless of the duration of a relationship or how a couple may present themselves publicly, they are not considered legally married without undergoing the formal process, including obtaining a marriage license and having a marriage ceremony.

In What States Are Common Law Marriages Legal?

Common law marriages are legally recognized in a select few states within the United States.

Each state has distinct criteria for what constitutes a common-law marriage. 

  1. Colorado: No minimum period of cohabitation required; couples must hold themselves out to the public as married.
  2. Iowa: Requires a minimum period of cohabitation and public declaration of the marriage.
  3. Kansas: Recognition based on cohabitation and public representation as a married couple.
  4. Montana: No formal requirements for a specific period or public declaration, but couples must meet certain criteria to be recognized.
  5. New Hampshire: Recognizes common law marriage only for the purpose of inheritance.
  6. South Carolina: Requires proof of cohabitation and a mutual agreement to be married.
  7. Texas: Known as “informal marriage,” requiring declaration and registration at the local county clerk’s office.
  8. Utah: Requires a petition to the court to establish a common law marriage.

It’s important to note that the recognition of common law marriage and the associated rights and responsibilities vary from state to state.

Couples in these states are typically granted the same legal rights as those in ceremonial marriages, including in areas of property division, inheritance, and spousal support. 

Will Arizona Recognize My Common Law Marriage From Another State? 

Arizona acknowledges common law marriages established in other states, adhering to the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution.

While the state itself does not permit the formation of common law marriages, it recognizes them if they are legally valid in the state where they were formed.

  • Interstate Recognition: Arizona respects out-of-state common law marriages, provided they meet all legal requirements of the state in which they were established.
  • Proof of Validity: Couples must demonstrate their relationship met the criteria for a common law marriage in the originating state, including aspects like cohabitation and public recognition as a married couple.
  • Equal Legal Standing: Once recognized, these marriages have the same legal rights and responsibilities as traditional marriages in Arizona, covering areas like property rights, inheritance, and spousal maintenance.
  • Legal Challenges: Proving a common law marriage can be complex without formal documentation, so maintaining detailed records is crucial.

In summary, Arizona will recognize a common law marriage from another state, but couples need to be prepared to provide evidence of the marriage’s validity according to the laws of the state where it was established.

Common Law Marriage and Divorce: How Does It Work?

While Arizona does not establish common law marriages within its borders, it does recognize those validly formed in other states due to the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution. 

Consequently, if an Arizona resident was part of a common law marriage formed in a state like Colorado or Texas, Arizona courts will treat the dissolution of this marriage similarly to any other divorce proceeding.

This process will involve the equitable division of assets, determination of spousal support, and, if applicable, decisions regarding child custody and support. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1: Can my partner and I be considered legally married under common law if we live together in Scottsdale, Arizona?
A1: In Arizona, including cities like Scottsdale, the state does not recognize common-law marriages, regardless of how long a couple has lived together. While the concept of “marriage by habit and repute” or common-law marriage is recognized in some states, Arizona is not one of them.

Q2: As a surviving spouse in a common-law marriage from another state, what are my inheritance rights in Arizona?
A2: If your common-law marriage is recognized by the state of Arizona, you would have the same inheritance rights as a surviving spouse in a traditional marriage. This includes rights related to community property and other estate matters, subject to Arizona state probate laws.

Q3: Is it possible for my partner and I to file joint tax returns in Arizona if we have a common-law marriage from another state?
A3: If you are in a common-law marriage recognized by the state of Arizona because it was contracted in a state that allows such unions, you may file joint tax returns as a married couple.

Q4: If my partner and I have a common-law marriage in another state, how does the State of Arizona handle our marital contract for legal matters?
A4: When a couple with a common-law marriage from a state that recognizes such unions relocates to Arizona, the State of Arizona will uphold their marital contract for legal matters. This includes recognizing rights related to property disputes, probate proceedings, and other family law matters under Arizona state law.

Q5: Can I use my spouse’s last name in Arizona if we are in a common-law marriage recognized by another state?
A5: Yes, if your common-law marriage is recognized by Arizona because it was contracted in a state that recognizes common-law marriages, you can legally use your partner’s last name. However, it’s advisable to keep documentation proving the validity of your common-law marriage.

Q6: Are there family law firms in the 480 area code that specialize in cases involving common-law marriages?
A6: Yes, there are family law firms in the 480 area (Scottsdale and surrounding areas) that specialize in cases involving common-law marriages recognized by other states. These firms can provide legal advice and representation in various family law needs, including those unique to common-law marriages.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

How a Family Law Legal Paraprofessional Can Help 

De Novo Law offers specialized assistance through their family law legal paraprofessionals for couples moving to Arizona with a common law marriage established in another state.

A legal paraprofessional, like those at De Novo Law, is a licensed professional who can perform many of the same functions as an attorney but at a more affordable cost.

This includes offering guidance on how Arizona laws might affect your common-law marriage and handling associated legal matters like property division, child custody, and support.

For individuals seeking advice in this area, De Novo Law’s free consultation offer is an excellent starting point to better understand your situation. You can contact them at (480) 725-2200. to schedule this consultation and discuss the specifics of your common law marriage and how it may be treated under Arizona law.

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

Arizona Divorce by Default

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Default Divorce- How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

When going through a divorce in Arizona, the process can become more complicated if one party fails to respond or participate in the proceedings. This can lead to what is known as a Divorce by Default.

If your spouse fails to file a response to your divorce application and affidavit of default, you may be able to move forward with the divorce without their participation.


In the state of Arizona, default divorce decrees can be obtained through a legal process that involves requesting a default hearing. However, handling the legal complexities of default divorces can be overwhelming and confusing. This is where a family law legal paraprofessional, such as De Novo Law, can help.


A family law legal paraprofessional can provide valuable assistance throughout the default divorce proceedings, from helping you understand the process to ensuring that all required documents are properly filed. Additionally, they can also facilitate divorce mediation if both parties are open to resolving their issues outside of court. 

So, if you find yourself in a situation where your spouse fails to engage in the divorce process, know that there is professional help available to guide you through the Divorce by Default process. 

We will cover the following topics:

What is a Divorce by Default 

A divorce by default in Arizona occurs when one spouse (the respondent) fails to respond to the divorce petition filed by the other spouse (the petitioner) within a specified timeline.

If the respondent resides in Arizona, they must respond within 20 days; if outside Arizona, the timeframe extends to 30 days.

Failure to respond within these periods allows the petitioner to seek a default judgment from the court.

How Does the Divorce Process Work 

The process for a default divorce in Arizona follows a specific legal pathway, beginning with the filing of the divorce petition and potentially concluding with a default judgment if one party does not respond.

Here’s an overview of the steps involved:

  1. Filing the Divorce Petition: The process begins when one spouse (the petitioner) files a petition for the dissolution of marriage with the appropriate Arizona court. This petition outlines the petitioner’s terms for the divorce, including aspects like property division, child custody, and spousal support.
  2. Serving the Divorce Petition: The petitioner is required to serve the divorce petition to the other spouse (the respondent). This service must be carried out according to Arizona’s legal requirements, often through a process server or by certified mail.
  3. Waiting for the Response: After being served, the respondent has a specific timeframe to respond. If residing in Arizona, the respondent has 20 days to file a response; if outside Arizona, the timeframe is 30 days. This response should address the claims and terms laid out in the petition.
  4. Filing for Default: If the respondent fails to respond within the given timeframe, the petitioner can then file an application for default with the court. This application signifies that the respondent has not participated and the petitioner seeks a default judgment.
  5. Additional Waiting Period: Upon filing for default, the court typically allows an additional 10 days for the respondent to respond. This is a final opportunity for the respondent to become involved in the divorce proceedings.
  6. Default Divorce Hearing: If the respondent still does not respond, the court may schedule a default hearing. At this hearing, the petitioner may be required to provide evidence or testimony to support their requests in the divorce petition.
  7. Issuing the Default Decree: Based on the information presented, the judge can issue a default decree of divorce, which legally dissolves the marriage and typically grants the requests made by the petitioner in the absence of any contest from the respondent.

Throughout this process, it’s important for both parties to be aware of the timelines and requirements set by the Arizona Revised Statutes to ensure their rights and interests are adequately represented and protected.

Consequences of a Default Divorce in Arizona

In Arizona, when one spouse fails to respond to a divorce petition, it leads to a default divorce, which has considerable consequences.

The petitioner often obtains their requested divorce terms, including property division, spousal support, and child custody. 

In this community property state, property division in a default divorce may favor the petitioner. Child custody and support decisions are made in the children’s best interests but often go uncontested in default cases. Spousal support is typically awarded as per the petitioner’s request if uncontested.

A default judgment is binding and final, leaving the non-responding spouse with limited options to contest.

This can lead to unfavorable financial and custody outcomes for them. While courts aim for fairness, they may adjust excessively unfair demands.

It’s beneficial to respond timely to divorce proceedings and consider seeking legal advice for a clearer understanding of the process.

Setting Aside a Default Judgment in Divorce

In certain circumstances, it is possible to set aside a default judgment in a divorce case in Arizona.

This action involves asking the court to nullify the default decree and reopen the case, allowing the previously non-responsive spouse to participate in the divorce proceedings.

Here are key aspects to understand about this process:

  1. Grounds for Setting Aside a Default Judgment: The most common grounds include showing that the default was a result of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect. For example, if the respondent did not receive the divorce papers due to an error in service or had a significant reason that prevented them from responding, these could be valid grounds.
  2. Timeliness: The request to set aside a default judgment must be made promptly after the default judgment is entered. Arizona law generally requires that this motion be filed within a reasonable time, in no case exceeding six months after the decree is entered, except under extraordinary circumstances.
  3. Filing a Motion: The process begins by filing a motion to set aside the judgment with the same court that issued the default judgment. This motion should clearly state the reasons why the default judgment should be set aside, supported by relevant legal arguments and, if possible, evidence.
  4. Hearing on the Motion: After the motion is filed, the court typically schedules a hearing to allow both parties to present their arguments. The petitioner (the spouse who obtained the default judgment) will have the opportunity to contest the motion.
  5. Court’s Decision: The decision to set aside a default judgment rests with the court and is based on the specifics of the case. The judge will consider the reasons for the non-response, the promptness of the motion, and any potential prejudice to the petitioner.
  6. Legal Representation: Given the complexity and the strict timelines involved, seeking legal advice from a qualified divorce attorney or a family law paraprofessional is highly recommended. They can help in preparing and presenting a compelling case to the court.

How Mediation Works in a Default Divorce

In the context of a default divorce in Arizona, the role of mediation can be limited, but it still holds potential value.

Mediation typically involves both spouses working with a neutral third-party mediator to negotiate and resolve issues amicably.

However, in a default divorce, since one party is non-responsive, traditional mediation as a tool for mutual agreement is not feasible in its standard form.

Despite this, if the non-responding spouse becomes active in the process after a default has been filed but before it’s finalized, mediation can be introduced to resolve any pending issues.

This scenario allows for a more collaborative approach to finalizing the divorce terms, potentially leading to a more mutually satisfactory resolution than a court-ordered judgment.

It’s important to note that while mediation can offer a platform for negotiation and compromise, its effectiveness in a default divorce scenario largely depends on the participation and willingness of both parties.

In cases where the non-responding spouse remains uninvolved, the divorce process continues toward a default judgment without the benefits of mediation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce by Default in Arizona 

  1. FAQ: What happens if I move out of state after my spouse files for divorce but before a default judgment is issued?
    • Answer: Moving out of state does not automatically prevent a default judgment. If you were served with divorce papers and did not respond within the legal timeframe, the court in Arizona can still issue a default judgment. It’s crucial to file a response or consult with a legal professional regardless of your relocation.
  2. FAQ: Can a default divorce be contested after the judgment if I was unaware of the original divorce filing?
    • Answer: Yes, under certain circumstances. If you were not properly served or genuinely unaware of the divorce proceedings, you might have grounds to contest the default judgment. This typically involves proving that you were not properly served and filing a motion to set aside the judgment.
  3. FAQ: How does a default judgment affect my credit score?
    • Answer: A default judgment itself does not directly affect your credit score. However, if the judgment involves financial obligations like spousal support or debt division and you fail to meet these obligations, it could negatively impact your credit.
  4. FAQ: What is the impact of a default divorce on joint business assets?
    • Answer: In a default divorce, the court may allocate business assets according to the petitioner’s request if it seems fair and within legal guidelines. 
  5. FAQ: How does a default divorce impact immigration status if my residency is based on my marriage?
    • Answer: A default divorce can affect immigration status if your residency is conditional based on your marriage. 
  6. FAQ: Is it possible to negotiate the terms after a default divorce judgment in Arizona?
    • Answer: Once a default judgment is entered, the terms are generally considered final. However, if both parties agree, they may be able to modify certain terms post-judgment, especially those related to child custody or support. Legal advice is recommended for such modifications.
  7. FAQ: Can default divorce proceedings address retirement accounts and pensions?
    • Answer: Yes, retirement accounts and pensions can be divided in a default divorce. However, without a response from the non-filing spouse, the court may allocate these assets based on the petitioner’s requests and legal guidelines, potentially without consideration of the non-filing spouse’s interests.
  8. FAQ: How does a default judgment impact child visitation rights?
    • Answer: In a default divorce, child visitation rights may be determined solely based on the filing spouse’s petition. If the non-responding spouse wishes to have visitation rights, it’s important to respond to the divorce petition to ensure these rights are considered.
  9. FAQ: Is it possible to recover attorney’s fees in a default divorce case?
    • Answer: Yes, in some cases. Arizona courts may order one party to pay the other’s attorney fees, especially if there is a significant disparity in financial resources. However, this is not automatic and depends on the specifics of the case.
  10. FAQ: What if I was serving in the military and could not respond to the divorce petition in time?
    • Answer: The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides protections for military personnel who cannot attend court proceedings, including divorce cases. If you were on active duty and unable to respond, you might be able to have the default judgment set aside under SCRA provisions.
Stephanie Villalobos, LP

How an Arizona Family Law Paraprofessional Can Help 

An Arizona family law paraprofessional, such as those at De Novo Law, offers essential support in default divorce cases. They ensure clients understand legal procedures and deadlines, reducing the risk of a default judgment due to procedural errors.

Their role includes preparing and reviewing documents to comply with legal standards, and providing strategic advice on responding to divorce petitions or proceeding with default divorces.

For those seeking the assistance of a family law paraprofessional for default divorce cases in Arizona, you can reach them by phone at (480) 725-2200. They offer a free initial consultation with a legal paraprofessional to discuss your specific concerns.

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

Get a Divorce Without Going to Court in Arizona

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Divorce Without Court- How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

If you have considered getting a divorce in Arizona, you may dread the idea of a lengthy and expensive court battle. However, there is a way to end your marriage without the need for a court appearance.

With the help of a legal service, you can handle the divorce process without ever stepping foot inside a courtroom.

In Arizona, couples have the option to pursue a collaborative divorce or mediation instead of going through a traditional court process. This can save time, money, and emotional energy. In a collaborative divorce, both parties work together with their respective representation to negotiate a fair settlement, including spousal support and custody decisions.

We will cover the following topics:

Understanding Arizona’s No-Court Divorce Process

To qualify for a no-court divorce in Arizona, certain conditions must be met. These generally include agreement on major issues such as asset division, child custody, and support.

Couples must be in a mutual understanding that the marriage is irretrievably broken and are willing to negotiate terms amicably.

Overview of the Legal Framework

Arizona law, detailed in the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), provides the legal basis for a no-court divorce, known as an uncontested divorce or dissolution of marriage. This process is governed by ARS §25-312, which outlines the requirements for dissolving a marriage, including residency requirements and grounds for divorce.

Additionally, ARS §25-318 addresses the consensual division of property and debts, which is a crucial part of the no-court divorce process.

In a no-court divorce, the primary focus is on negotiation and agreement. Couples work together, often with the help of legal counsel or mediators, to reach a mutually acceptable divorce settlement.

This approach contrasts with the traditional contested divorce, where disputes are resolved in court, often leading to a more adversarial and lengthy process.

Filing for Divorce Without Court Intervention

Filing for a divorce without court intervention in Arizona, known as an uncontested divorce, is a more straightforward process compared to a traditional contested divorce.

This option is ideal for couples who agree on all major issues, including property division, child custody, and support.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand the process:

  1. Determine Eligibility: Ensure that you meet Arizona’s residency requirements for divorce. At least one spouse must have lived in Arizona for a minimum of 90 days before filing.
  2. Agree on Key Issues: Both parties need to agree on all aspects of the divorce, including asset division, debt division, child custody, visitation, and support, as well as alimony (if applicable).
  3. Prepare and File Divorce Papers: Complete the necessary forms, which can be obtained from the Arizona Judicial Branch website or your local court. The primary form is the “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.” The forms vary depending on whether you have children.
  4. Serve Your Spouse: Once filed, you must legally serve your spouse with the divorce papers, following Arizona’s rules for service of process. Your spouse will have a set period to respond.
  5. Submit a Consent Decree: If your spouse agrees to the terms, you both can submit a Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. This document outlines all the terms of your agreement.
  6. Final Review and Decree: After submitting the Consent Decree, a judge will review it. If it meets all legal standards, the judge will sign it, making your divorce official.
  7. Address Post-Divorce Considerations: After the divorce is finalized, follow through on all agreed-upon terms, such as transferring property titles and updating legal documents (like wills or beneficiary designations).

Remember, while an uncontested divorce can be simpler and less expensive, it’s important to ensure that all agreements are fair and in line with Arizona law. 

Financial Aspects of a No-Court Divorce

When undergoing a no-court divorce in Arizona, it’s important to understand and appropriately handle the financial aspects.

These include the division of assets and debts and considerations for child support and alimony.

Proper management of these elements can lead to a smoother divorce process and ensure a fair outcome for both parties.

Managing Assets and Debts in an Amicable Split

In a no-court divorce, couples have the advantage of working out the division of assets and debts themselves.

This requires full disclosure and an honest assessment of shared and individual assets and liabilities. The key steps involve:

  • Listing All Assets and Debts: Both parties should compile a comprehensive list of all assets (like real estate, vehicles, savings accounts) and debts (such as mortgages, car loans, credit card debts).
  • Valuing Assets and Debts: Accurately assessing the value of assets and the amount of debts. This may require professional appraisals or valuations for certain assets.
  • Agreeing on Division: The couple should agree on a fair division. Arizona is a community property state, which generally means that any assets and debts acquired during the marriage are to be divided equally. However, couples can agree on a different division if they both consent.
  • Consideration of Tax Implications: Be aware of potential tax implications of asset division, especially for items like retirement accounts and real estate.

It’s often beneficial to work with financial advisors or legal professionals to help with the process, ensuring that the division is equitable and complies with Arizona law.

Child Support and Alimony Considerations

Child support and alimony are significant considerations in any divorce, including no-court divorces.

  • Child Support: In Arizona, child support obligations are determined based on the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, which consider various factors including the income of both parents, the number of children, and the time each parent spends with the children. The goal is to ensure that the children’s financial needs are met post-divorce. 
  • Alimony (Spousal Maintenance): Alimony, known as spousal maintenance in Arizona, is not guaranteed in every divorce. It depends on factors like the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial resources, and the standard of living established during the marriage. Unlike child support, there’s more flexibility and negotiation involved in determining alimony.

In summary, addressing the financial aspects of a no-court divorce in Arizona requires careful consideration and often professional guidance. By managing these aspects effectively, you can ensure a fair and sustainable outcome for both parties and any children involved.

Frequently Asked Questions: No-Court Divorce in Arizona

Q: Can I get a divorce in Arizona without going to court? A: Yes, you can get a divorce without appearing in court if both parties can reach an agreement on all terms of the divorce. This is known as an uncontested divorce. Once the divorce petition is filed with the court and all necessary documents are served and agreed upon, you may not need to attend a hearing if everything is in order.

Q: What is a default divorce in Arizona? A: A default divorce occurs when one spouse files for divorce (the petitioner) and the other spouse fails to respond to the petition within the stipulated time frame. In such cases, the court has discretion to grant a decree of dissolution of marriage based on the terms set forth in the petition.

Q: Do I need to be a resident of Arizona to file for divorce in the state? A: Yes, Arizona law requires that at least one of the spouses be a resident of Arizona or be stationed in Arizona (in the case of military personnel) for at least 90 days before filing the divorce petition.

Q: What happens if we have minor children involved in the divorce? A: If there are minor children involved, Arizona courts look into the best interests of the children regarding custody and support. The process may involve an early resolution conference and both parties may need to come to an agreement on child-related issues. This can be done through mediation or negotiation, avoiding the need for a court hearing.

Q: How does the division of property work in an Arizona divorce? A: Arizona is a community property state, which means that any assets and debts acquired during the time of marriage are generally divided equally between the parties. It’s common to think that this split is always 50/50, but the actual division may vary based on the circumstances. Couples are encouraged to reach an agreement on property division, possibly with the help of a qualified financial adviser or family law expert.

Q: What if my spouse and I cannot agree on the terms of our divorce? A: If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own, the case is considered contested and may require intervention from the court. In this scenario, both parties may need to attend a hearing, and the court will make decisions on the contested issues.

Q: Can I file for divorce in Arizona if my spouse is not willing to? A: Yes, you have the option to file for divorce even if your spouse does not want to divorce. If your spouse fails to respond after the papers are served, the procedure is done as a default process where the court may award the petitioner the terms set forth in their petition.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

In cases of no-court divorce, a legal paraprofessional can offer substantial help. They can guide clients through preparing and filing divorce documents, ensuring that all paperwork is correctly completed and submitted.

This includes drafting and reviewing documents such as the petition for dissolution of marriage, financial affidavits, and agreements related to child custody and support, if applicable.

Their knowledge of Arizona’s family law allows them to provide clients with accurate information on their rights and obligations, ensuring that the legal aspects of the divorce are handled properly. 

Additionally, they can assist in the negotiation and mediation processes, helping clients reach amicable agreements on various aspects of the divorce, thus avoiding the need for court intervention.

This support can significantly streamline the divorce process, making it less stressful and more efficient for the clients involved.

To contact De Novo Law for assistance with family law matters including uncontested divorce, you can reach them by phone at (480) 725-2200. They offer a free initial consultation with a legal paraprofessional to discuss your specific concerns.

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

Understanding Arizona Paternity Laws: Effective Ways to Establish Paternity in Arizona

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Paternity- How a Paraprofessional Can Help

When it comes to the paternity of a child, the state of Arizona has specific laws and procedures in place to determine and establish legal paternity. In the state of Arizona, paternity may be established through various methods, and it is important for both parents to understand their rights and obligations in the process.


In Arizona, a father may establish paternity by voluntarily acknowledging the paternity of a child. This can be done by signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity form, which can be filed with the court or the Arizona Department of Health Services. Additionally, paternity may also be established through a DNA test, court order, or the parents’ marriage after the child’s birth.


To pursue legal rights and responsibilities as a father, individuals must first establish paternity in Arizona. This process can be complex and requires a clear understanding of Arizona’s paternity laws. In this article, we will explore the effective ways to establish paternity in Arizona and the rights and benefits that come with it. 

We will cover the following topics:

The Basics of Paternity Establishment in Arizona

Paternity establishment in Arizona is a legal process that determines the legal father of a child. This process is important for various reasons, including child support, inheritance, and access to family medical history. 

Understanding Arizona Paternity Laws

Arizona paternity laws are governed by the Arizona Revised Statutes, particularly Title 25, which deals with family law. Under these statutes, paternity can be established in several ways:

  • Voluntary Acknowledgement: Both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form, usually at the hospital at the time of the child’s birth. This form is legally binding and is equivalent to a court order of paternity (ARS § 25-812).
  • Presumption of Paternity: In Arizona, a man is presumed to be the father of a child if he was married to the mother within ten months of the child’s birth or if the child is born within ten months of the marriage’s termination (ARS § 25-814).
  • Court Order: If paternity is disputed, either parent can file a petition with the court to establish paternity. The court may order genetic testing and will issue a judgment of paternity based on the evidence (ARS § 25-803, § 25-804).

Genetic testing is a cornerstone in the legal establishment of paternity, especially when paternity is under dispute in Arizona. This type of testing, which can be requested by either the involved party or mandated by the court, offers a highly accurate method for determining paternity, often with more than 99% certainty.

The procedure for genetic testing is straightforward and non-invasive. It typically involves collecting DNA samples from the child, mother, and the alleged father using a simple cheek swab.

These samples are then analyzed to compare genetic markers that indicate paternity. Various types of genetic tests, such as STR (Short Tandem Repeat) analysis, which looks at specific areas in DNA, and SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) testing, which examines variations in the DNA sequence, are used to establish a biological relationship with a high degree of accuracy.

When a genetic test confirms paternity, it carries significant legal implications. The court, acknowledging the test results, is likely to issue an order of paternity. This legal declaration is pivotal, as it forms the basis for determining child support, custody, and visitation rights, establishing a clear legal connection between the father and the child.

Legal Procedures to Establish Paternity in Arizona

In Arizona, when paternity is in question or disputed, legal procedures are in place to ensure a definitive and legally recognized determination of fatherhood. These procedures are vital for both the child and the parents, impacting child support, custody rights, and the child’s right to inherit.

Filing a Petition for Paternity in Arizona Courts

Filing a petition for paternity is a key step when parents cannot agree on paternity or when paternity is in doubt. This process is outlined in the Arizona Revised Statutes and involves several steps:

  1. Petition: Either parent can file a petition in the family court of the county where the child, the mother, or the alleged father resides. The petition should detail the relevant facts and request the court to determine paternity (ARS § 25-803). 
  2. Service of Process: The alleged father must be served with the petition and notified of the court hearing. This ensures that he has an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
  3. Hearing and Evidence: During the court hearing, both parties can present evidence. This may include testimony, documentation, and results from genetic testing.
  4. Court-Ordered Genetic Testing: If the alleged father denies paternity, the court may order genetic testing. The results of these tests are typically conclusive and greatly influence the court’s decision.
  5. Legal Representation: Both parties may have attorneys to represent them during the process. A family law legal paraprofessional can provide guidance and support.

The Role of Birth Certificates in Arizona Paternity Cases

In Arizona, when a child is born to unmarried parents, the biological father’s name does not automatically appear on the birth certificate.

To establish paternity and have the father’s name included, both parents must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form.

This process is typically facilitated in the hospital at the time of the child’s birth but can be completed later as well.

  • Legal Implications: Signing this form is a significant legal act. It establishes paternity without the need for a court order, granting the father legal rights and responsibilities, including child support obligations and parental rights (ARS § 25-812). 
  • Presumption of Paternity: Once signed and filed with the Arizona Department of Health Services, this acknowledgment creates a presumption of paternity. This presumption can be rebutted only under specific circumstances, such as through genetic testing proving otherwise.

Correcting or Amending Birth Certificates in Paternity Matters

There are situations where a birth certificate may need to be corrected or amended in relation to paternity:

  • Paternity Established After Birth: If paternity is established after the child’s birth, either voluntarily or through a court order, the birth certificate can be amended to include the father’s name. This typically requires submitting the proper form and the documentation proving paternity (such as the acknowledgment form or court order) to the state’s vital records office. 
  • Disestablishing Paternity: If paternity is disproved (e.g., through genetic testing), steps can be taken to remove the father’s name from the birth certificate. This usually requires a court order.

Child Support and Parental Rights in Paternity Cases

In Arizona, the legal recognition of paternity is closely linked to child support responsibilities.

State laws mandate that both parents contribute to their child’s financial upbringing, and this duty becomes enforceable with the establishment of paternity.

  • Child Support Calculations: The state adheres to specific guidelines for child support calculations, which consider factors like parental incomes, the child’s necessities, and the custodial arrangement. Once paternity is legally recognized, these guidelines are used to ascertain the father’s contribution (ARS § 25-320).
  • Enforcement Mechanisms for Child Support: Arizona has effective and well-established methods for enforcing child support to ensure that financial responsibilities are met. The state’s approach includes a variety of measures such as withholding income, placing liens on property, and taking legal action when necessary. These methods are designed to maintain consistent support payments for the welfare of the child.
  • Adjustments to Child Support: Recognizing that circumstances change, Arizona law allows for modifications to child support orders in cases of significant changes in parental income, employment, or the child’s needs.

Securing Parental Rights Following Paternity Establishment

Beyond financial implications, establishing paternity is critical for defining and protecting parental rights.

  • Custody and Access Rights: With paternity established, the father gains legitimate rights to pursue custody or visitation. Arizona courts prioritize the child’s best interests in these decisions, fostering a balanced relationship with both parents.
  • Involvement in Key Decisions: Legal paternity endows the father with the authority to participate in major decisions affecting the child’s life, encompassing aspects like education, healthcare, and cultural upbringing.
  • Guarding Parental Relationships: The establishment of paternity safeguards a father’s right to remain actively involved in his child’s life. It also serves as a legal barrier against potential adoptions or custody changes initiated without his consent.

The affirmation of paternity in Arizona carries profound implications for child support and the enforcement of parental rights. It guarantees financial responsibility for the child’s upbringing and ensures the father’s active involvement in his child’s life. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Paternity Establishment in Arizona

  1. Refusal of Paternity Test by a Mother in AZ: Under Arizona paternity laws, if a paternity action is filed in an Arizona court and a DNA genetic test is ordered by the judge, the mother must comply. Refusing a court-ordered paternity test can result in legal consequences. However, if there is no court order, a mother can refuse a paternity test. In such cases, the father of the child or another interested party may need to establish paternity through legal proceedings.
  2. Father’s Absence and Loss of Rights in AZ: There’s no set period after which a father automatically loses parental rights in Arizona due to absence. However, if a father is absent for an extended time, this can influence paternity proceedings, especially in cases concerning the child’s welfare and best interests. An Arizona court may consider the absence as a factor in custody or parental rights cases.
  3. Filing Costs for Paternity in Arizona: To file a petition to establish paternity in an Arizona court, costs can vary. Typically, court filing fees range between $200 and $300, though it’s important to check with the specific court for accurate fees. Establishing paternity can also involve additional expenses, such as attorney fees and costs for a DNA paternity test.
  4. Mother’s Participation in Paternity Tests: In paternity establishment, including the mother’s DNA in the test can often provide a more complete genetic picture. While it’s possible to conduct a DNA test with just the alleged father and the child, involving the mother can enhance the accuracy of establishing the child’s biological father.
  5. Signing Birth Certificate and Paternity in Arizona: In Arizona, an unmarried father signing the birth certificate at the child’s birth does not automatically establish legal paternity. For paternity to be legally recognized, the unmarried father must sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form, filed with the appropriate state agency.
  6. Time Frame to Establish Paternity in Arizona: In Arizona, there is no strict deadline for a father to establish paternity. However, it’s advisable to address paternity issues promptly after the child’s birth, as this can impact rights to child support and other benefits. Paternity proceedings can be initiated anytime during the child’s minority.
  7. Presumption of Paternity in Arizona: Presumption of paternity is a legal concept in Arizona where a man is presumed to be the father under certain conditions. This presumption applies if he was married to the mother during a specified period around the child’s birth or if both parents sign the birth certificate within a certain timeframe. This presumption can be a critical factor in paternity proceedings and can be contested through legal means, such as a paternity lawsuit or genetic testing.
Stephanie Villalobos, LP

At De Novo Law, the first Arizona firm to employ licensed Legal Paraprofessionals (LPs), they provide affordable legal services in family law matters, similar to those offered by family law attorneys. Their team, including the pioneering LP Mrs. Stephanie Villalobos, specializes in various aspects of family law.

This includes handling paternity cases, where they offer expert legal advice and representation. Their services cover guidance on voluntary acknowledgment of paternity, assistance in filing paternity petitions, and navigating legal presumptions of paternity under Arizona law. 

To contact De Novo Law for assistance with family law matters including paternity cases, you can reach them by phone at (480) 725-2200. They offer a free initial consultation with a legal paraprofessional to discuss your specific concerns. For more details and to schedule a consultation, please visit De Novo Law Contact Page.

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

International Travel and Child Custody over the Holidays

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 

International Travel- How a Paraprofessional Can Help

As the holiday season approaches, many families begin to plan for travel, but for divorced parents sharing custody, this time can bring additional considerations. At De Novo Law, we understand the complexities that arise when coordinating international travel with shared custody agreements.

 This article aims to shed light on the important implications and legal requirements that parents need to be aware of when planning international travel with their children during the holidays. From ensuring compliance with custody agreements to understanding the necessity of mutual consent and the legalities under Arizona law. Our goal is to help families enjoy their holiday travels while maintaining legal compliance and upholding the best interests of their children

We will cover the following topics:

Understanding Arizona’s Legal Framework for International Travel with Children

Understanding Arizona’s legal framework for international travel with children requires consideration of various custody arrangements, including sole custody, joint custody, and situations where parents have specific visitation rights. Here’s how the law applies in these different scenarios:

  1. Joint Custody: In joint custody situations, Arizona law, specifically ARS 25-408, necessitates at least forty-five days’ advance written notice before one parent can relocate the child outside the state or more than one hundred miles within the state. This requirement ensures that both parents have adequate time to discuss and potentially contest the relocation, with the child’s best interests as the central focus​​. 
  2. Sole Custody: For a parent with sole custody, the legal process may be less complicated, but the non-custodial parent still has rights that must be respected. Even in sole custody scenarios, the custodial parent is often required to provide notice to the non-custodial parent, especially if the non-custodial parent has visitation rights and the travel might interfere with these rights. The court will consider the child’s best interests and may require additional legal steps if the non-custodial parent objects to the travel plans​​.
  3. Non-Custodial Parent’s Rights: Non-custodial parents have the right to be informed of and consent to international travel, especially if it affects their visitation schedule. The custodial parent must provide details about the travel and obtain consent from the non-custodial parent, particularly for extended trips or those involving significant distances.
  4. Case Law Precedent: The case of Lehn v. Al-Thanayyan provides a pertinent example where the court had to balance the rights of both parents in an international context. The decision to require a substantial cash bond as a deterrent to potential child abduction in a non-Hague Convention country illustrates how Arizona courts approach these sensitive issues, prioritizing the child’s welfare and safety​​.
  5. Compliance with Court Orders and Agreements: Whether in joint or sole custody situations, any existing custody agreements or court orders must be respected. These may contain specific clauses about international travel. The court generally upholds these agreements unless there’s a compelling reason to alter them, always with the child’s best interests in mind​​.
  6. Best Interests of the Child: In all scenarios, the court’s primary consideration is the child’s best interests. Factors include the reasons for travel, the impact on the child’s stability and development, and the ability to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents​​.

International Treaties and Their Impact on International Travel

International treaties, particularly those concerning child protection, have a profound impact on international travel involving children in shared custody scenarios.

The most significant of these is the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. This treaty provides a legal mechanism to ensure the prompt return of children wrongfully removed to or retained in another country.

It seeks to protect children from international abduction by a parent or guardian and ensures that custody rights established in one member country are recognized and respected in others.

For parents in shared custody arrangements, this means that international travel with their children requires careful legal consideration.

They must ensure that their travel plans do not violate custody agreements or the legal rights of the other parent as established in their home country.

Failure to adhere to these stipulations can lead to serious legal consequences, including international legal disputes under the Hague Convention.

The Convention also mandates that both parents typically need to consent to a child’s international travel.

This safeguard is designed to prevent one parent from unilaterally removing the child to another country, which could be deemed as international child abduction under the treaty. 

Legal Considerations for Emergency Situations Abroad

In shared custody situations, being prepared for emergencies during international travel is essential. Key considerations include:

  • Documentation Preparation: Ensure all legal documents like passports and consent forms are in order, and understand the destination country’s legal framework for emergencies.
  • Health Emergencies: Know your medical decision-making rights for your child and familiarize yourself with the local healthcare system and laws.
  • Dealing with Travel Restrictions: Stay informed about potential travel restrictions or political instability that could affect your return plans. Maintain contact with your home country’s embassy or consulate.
  • International Child Abduction: Be aware of the legal procedures under the Hague Convention for addressing wrongful child retention abroad.
  • Communication with the Non-Traveling Parent: Keep the non-traveling parent informed during emergencies, facilitating collaborative decision-making for the child’s welfare.

Effective preparation and understanding of these legal aspects can help navigate unexpected situations while prioritizing the child’s safety and well-being.

Can My Ex-Spouse Deny International Travel 

Yes, your ex-spouse can deny international travel with your child, especially in shared custody situations, and there are several reasons why this might happen:

  1. Custody Agreement Stipulations: If your custody agreement or court order includes specific clauses regarding international travel, your ex-spouse has the right to enforce these clauses. For instance, the agreement might require mutual consent for international travel, and if your ex-spouse does not consent, you would be unable to legally take the child abroad. 
  2. Safety Concerns: Your ex-spouse might have legitimate concerns about the child’s safety, especially if the travel destination is considered unsafe or if there are health concerns like a pandemic.
  3. Interference with Parenting Time: If the proposed travel interferes with the other parent’s scheduled parenting time or major life events, they may object to the travel.
  4. Risk of Abduction: In cases where there’s a fear of international child abduction, particularly if one parent has strong ties to another country, the other parent may legally deny permission for travel.
  5. Lack of Communication or Agreement: If the traveling parent fails to provide adequate information or disregards the importance of mutual agreement and communication, the non-traveling parent might deny consent.

If your ex-spouse denies consent for international travel and you believe the decision is unreasonable or not in the best interest of the child, you have legal options.

You may seek mediation to reach an agreement or, as a last resort, go to court to have a judge decide. The court will consider the child’s best interests, the reasons for the travel, and the reasons for the denial before making a decision.

Best Practices for Planning International Travel with Children in Shared Custody

Effective communication and proper documentation are essential components when a parent plans international travel with a child, especially in shared custody situations.

Firstly, communication should be open, clear, and initiated well in advance of the planned travel.

This allows both parents ample time to discuss, negotiate, and address any concerns related to the trip. The traveling parent should provide the non-traveling parent with a detailed itinerary, including flight schedules, accommodation details, and contact information for the duration of the trip. This transparency builds trust and ensures that the non-traveling parent is informed and comfortable with the travel arrangements.

Regarding documentation, several key pieces are necessary.

The most important is a notarized letter of consent from the non-traveling parent.

This document should explicitly state their permission for the specific travel plans, including the destinations and duration of the trip. It’s a crucial piece of documentation that may be required by airlines, immigration authorities, or in case of any legal disputes.

Additionally, the traveling parent should ensure that all travel documents, such as passports and visas for the child, are current and in order. If the custody agreement or court orders have specific clauses regarding international travel, it’s advisable to carry copies of these documents as well.

Parental Rights and Responsibilities During International Travel

In the context of international travel with children during shared custody, it’s essential for parents to comprehend and adhere to their rights and responsibilities as stipulated by Arizona law.

Parental Rights and Responsibilities:

  • Consent and Communication: The non-traveling parent generally has a right to be informed and consent to the travel plans. The traveling parent must obtain this consent, ideally in writing, to avoid legal issues such as allegations of child abduction.
  • Custody Agreement Compliance: Travel arrangements should align with the existing custody agreement or court order, respecting the other parent’s rights.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Open communication lines, including sharing travel details and contact information, are vital. Parents should also have a plan for emergencies.

Key Considerations:

  • Documentation: Carrying a notarized letter of consent from the non-traveling parent and ensuring all travel documents are in order is crucial.
  • Legal Implications: Traveling without the required consent can lead to serious legal repercussions, including accusations under international treaties like the Hague Convention.
  • Legal Advice: Consulting a family law attorney before traveling can provide valuable guidance and help ensure all legal requirements are met.

Understanding and respecting these aspects ensures that international travel with children in shared custody situations is conducted legally and smoothly, focusing on the children’s best interests.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

How a Legal ParaProfessional Can Help?

Legal Paraprofessionals (LPs) at De Novo Law, such as Stephanie Villalobos with her extensive 30-year experience in the legal field, provide vital services in family law matters.

They are authorized to offer legal advice, represent clients in court for divorce, legal separation, child custody, and support issues, and negotiate settlements. Their role bridges the gap between a paralegal and an attorney, focusing on affordability and accessibility.

De Novo Law encourages individuals facing family law challenges to utilize their services, offering free one-on-one consultations.

For assistance, you can contact De Novo Law at (480) 725-2200 to arrange a consultation with a qualified legal paraprofessional.

 

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.