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What Rights Do Fathers Have in Arizona Family Law Cases?

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Fathers’ Legal Rights in Arizona Family Law Cases

Fathers’ rights in Arizona family law cases have evolved significantly. 

Today, Arizona family courts strive to ensure that parents are treated equally regarding child custody, parenting time, and child support. 

At De Novo Law, we are committed to ensuring that fathers are well-informed and adequately represented in family law matters.

Table of Contents:

According to recent statistics, approximately 20% of custodial parents in the United States are fathers.

This reflects a significant increase from previous decades and underscores the growing recognition of fathers’ roles in their children’s lives​. 

Fathers have the same legal rights as mothers in Arizona regarding custody, parenting time, and child support.

State laws emphasize the importance of parents being actively involved in their children’s lives.

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 25-403 outlines the factors that the court considers when determining the child’s best interests, ensuring that decisions are made fairly and without gender bias.

Custody and Parenting Time

Arizona law recognizes two types of custody: legal decision-making and physical custody.

Legal decision-making refers to the authority to make significant decisions about the child’s life, including education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.

On the other hand, physical custody pertains to where the child resides.

  • Joint Custody: Courts often favor joint custody arrangements, where parents share legal decision-making responsibilities.
  • Parenting Time: Courts strive to ensure children have substantial and meaningful contact with both parents. This can result in shared parenting time schedules.

When determining custody and parenting time, the court considers various factors, including the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s adjustment to home and school, and the parent’s ability to cooperate in decision-making

Establishing Paternity

Establishing paternity is crucial for biological fathers who are not married to the child’s mother.

In Arizona, paternity can be established in several ways:

  1. Voluntary Acknowledgment: Both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity form.
  2. Court Order: If there is a dispute, either parent can petition to establish paternity in court.
  3. Genetic Testing: The court may order genetic testing to determine paternity.

Completing a paternity test is essential for securing parental rights and responsibilities, including custody and child support​

What Rights Do Unmarried Fathers Have in Arizona?

Unmarried fathers in Arizona have specific rights, but these rights often hinge on the establishment of paternity.

Without legal recognition as the child’s father, an unmarried man has no inherent rights to custody or parenting time.

To establish paternity, a father can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity with the child’s mother or seek a court order, which may involve genetic testing.

Once paternity is established, an unmarried father has the same legal rights and responsibilities as a married father, including rights to custody, parenting time, and child support​. 

Once paternity is established, Arizona courts operate on the principle that both parents should be actively involved in their child’s life.

Under A.R.S. § 25-403, the child’s best interests are paramount in custody decisions, and courts strive for arrangements that allow both parents to maintain meaningful relationships with their child.

Like married fathers, unmarried fathers can petition for joint legal decision-making and parenting time. The courts consider various factors, such as the child’s relationship with each parent, the ability of the parents to cooperate, and any history of abuse or neglect​. 

Moreover, establishing paternity also obligates unmarried fathers to support their children financially.

Child support is determined based on the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, which consider parents’ incomes and the child’s needs.

This ensures that the child’s financial requirements are met, promoting their well-being regardless of the parent’s marital status.

Unmarried fathers must understand their rights and responsibilities to ensure they can play an active role in their child’s life and provide the necessary support​

Child Support Obligations

Fathers in Arizona have a legal obligation to support their children financially.

Child support is calculated according to the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, which take into account factors such as both parents’ incomes, the child’s needs, and the amount of parenting time each parent has.

The goal is to meet the child’s financial needs, regardless of the parents’ relationship status​. 

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

Hiring De Novo Law for Your Family Law Needs

At De Novo Law, we understand the complexities of family law cases and the unique challenges that fathers may face.

Our experienced legal paraprofessionals are dedicated to providing comprehensive support and representation to protect your rights.

We offer personalized legal services tailored to your situation, helping you achieve the best possible outcome for your family.

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

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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

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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

What Does Best Interest of the Child Mean in Arizona

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 Best Interest of the Child 

When it comes to matters of child custody and support in Arizona, the best interest of the child is always the top priority for family courts.

Under section 25-403 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, the court considers various factors to determine what is in the best interest of the child when making decisions regarding custody and support.

We will cover the following topics

The legal definition of “best interest of the child” in Arizona is primarily outlined in Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) §25-403. This statute provides a framework for judges when making decisions about parenting time and custody.

The law requires that all court decisions concerning children must prioritize the child’s best interests above all else, ensuring decisions promote their emotional and physical health, and overall welfare.

 

Best Interest Factors 

Under ARS §25-403, several factors contribute to defining the best interest of the child in Arizona, including, but not limited to:

  • The emotional and physical health of the child.
  • The child’s relationship with each parent.
  • The adjustment of the child to home, school, and community.
  • The wishes of the child if of suitable age and maturity.
  • The mental health of each parent.
  • Any evidence of domestic violence or child abuse.

These factors help the court assess what will best serve the child’s needs and how each parent supports those needs.

 

In Arizona, the principle of the “best interest of the child” critically shapes legal decision-making in family law, especially in matters concerning custody (legal decision-making authority) and parenting time. 

 

Legal Decision-Making Authority and Parenting Time

When determining legal decision-making authority, which encompasses decisions about the child’s education, health care, and religious practices, Arizona courts strive to place the child in an environment that promotes their best interests.

For example, consider a case where one parent has significantly more stable living conditions and a supportive community network than the other. The court may award this parent primary legal decision-making authority, believing it better supports the child’s educational and emotional development.

Similarly, in deciding parenting time, the court examines which arrangement will most benefit the child.

If a child has been raised in a neighborhood all their life, maintaining stability might involve granting more parenting time to the parent who continues to reside in the same area. This minimizes disruptions in the child’s social and educational environment, a key component of their best interest.

 

Modifications and Dispute Resolution

Modifications to existing orders also hinge on the best interest standard. A parent requesting a change in parenting time must demonstrate not only a significant change in circumstances but also that the new arrangement serves the child’s best interests.

For instance, if a parent needs to relocate due to a job change, the court will consider how the relocation impacts the child’s access to education, community, and the non-moving parent.

Disputes between parents are particularly challenging. Courts prioritize minimizing the child’s exposure to conflict because of the recognized impact parental conflict can have on a child’s psychological well-being. A solution often employed includes detailed parenting plans that specify exchange times and locations to reduce potential conflicts.

 

Practical Examples in Court Decisions

In practical terms, if a parent or parents show a history of coercion or inability to resolve conflicts, the court might favor an arrangement that limits the child’s exposure to such disputes. For example, the court might decide that the parent more likely to allow peaceful and meaningful contact with the other parent should have greater decision-making authority.

Additionally, considerations such as the person who may significantly affect the child’s development are taken into account, especially in cases involving new partners or extended family members.

In sum, the “best interest of the child” standard fundamentally guides all aspects of legal decision-making related to children in Arizona’s family law system. Judges meticulously apply this standard to ensure that each decision promotes the best possible outcome for the child, taking into account a variety of factors from the child’s current and future needs, the parents’ capabilities, and the family’s overall dynamics

Role of Child’s Preference in Legal Decisions

In Arizona family law, a child’s preference is a significant factor under the “best interest of the child” standard, particularly in decisions regarding custody and parenting time.

According to Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) §25-403, the court considers the wishes of a child along with other critical factors, but the weight given to these wishes can vary greatly depending on the child’s age and maturity.

While there is no specific age at which a child can decisively choose which parent to live with, generally, the preferences of older and more mature children are given more consideration.

Judges evaluate whether the child understands the implications of their preference and ensure that this preference is free from parental coercion or manipulation.

Children’s preferences are typically gathered through interviews conducted by court-appointed specialists who ensure that the child’s voice is heard without direct involvement in courtroom proceedings.

In summary, while children in Arizona do not have the unilateral right to decide their living arrangements, their preferences are increasingly influential as they grow older and demonstrate maturity. 

Evaluation Process for Determining Best Interest

The process of determining the “best interest of the child” in Arizona involves a structured and detailed evaluation, primarily centered around comprehensive assessments conducted by professionals such as child psychologists, social workers, or independent evaluators.

These experts are tasked with gathering extensive data on the family’s dynamics, the child’s environment, and the interaction between the child and each parent. Here’s a closer look at how this process unfolds:

Expert Assessments:

  • Home Visits: Evaluators conduct visits to the residences of both parents to observe the living conditions and the child’s well-being in each setting.
  • Interviews: Structured interviews with the child, each parent, and sometimes other family members help assess the nature of relationships and the emotional and psychological impact of each parent on the child.
  • Observations: Evaluators observe interactions between the child and each parent during scheduled visits to understand the dynamics of their relationships.

Analysis of the Child’s Integration:

  • Community and School Adjustment: The child’s adjustment to their school and community is evaluated to determine how changes in custody might affect their social and educational development.
  • Mental and Physical Health: Evaluations include an assessment of the child’s and parents’ mental and physical health, crucial in making informed custody decisions.

Review of Parental Interaction:

  • Encouragement of Contact: A significant factor is which parent is more likely to encourage a positive relationship and frequent contact with the other parent.
  • Parental Involvement: The extent of each parent’s involvement in the child’s educational activities and daily needs is closely examined.
  • History of Abuse or Neglect: Any evidence of past child abuse or neglect is critically important and heavily influences the outcome of the custody decision.

Comprehensive Reporting:

  • Expert Recommendations: After completing their assessments, evaluators compile detailed reports that outline their findings and provide recommendations for the custody arrangements that best serve the child’s interests.
  • Legal Considerations: These reports are integral to the judicial process, helping the court make informed decisions that focus on the child’s best welfare.

This evaluation process ensures that all decisions related to custody and parenting time are made with a deep understanding of the child’s needs, the parental abilities, and the overall family situation.

 

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

Get Help From Our Family Law Legal Paraprofessionals 

At De Novo Law, our team of legal paraprofessionals specializes in handling a wide range of family law cases that hinge on the “best interest” standard as set forth by Arizona law. This includes intricate matters such as child custody, parenting time, and child support, all of which are assessed under the guidelines of ARS §25-403.

Our licensed legal paraprofessionals offer a cost-effective solution for families needing expert guidance without the expense of full attorney representation. They provide comprehensive services, including the drafting of legal documents, negotiation of parenting plans, and court

For more information about our services or to schedule a consultation, please visit our website at De Novo Law. 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

School Disagreements With Your Ex? De Novo Law Can Help

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School Disputes- How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

When it comes to co-parenting, disagreements are bound to arise, especially when it comes to making major decisions for your child. One common conflict that can arise is deciding which school to enroll your child in. In a situation where you and your ex partner have different opinions on what school would be the best fit for your child, it can create a difficult and emotionally charged situation.

 
In cases where parents share joint legal custody, both parties have an equal say in making major decisions for their child, including where they will receive their education. This can lead to a stalemate and the need for outside intervention, such as legal advice or even a court order.

 
If you find yourself in this situation, it may be beneficial to seek the assistance of a legal professional such as De Novo Law Legal Paraprofessionals who can help guide you through the process of working out a solution that is in the best interest of your child. 

We will cover the following topics:

Understanding Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Time

In Arizona, “legal decision-making” and “parenting time” are key concepts in how parents decide about their child’s education following a divorce or separation. Legal decision-making can be sole or joint, determining whether one or both parents have the authority to make major decisions, including school choice.

Parenting time, on the other hand, outlines the schedule for the child’s time with each parent, influencing daily involvement in the child’s educational activities.

Disagreements over school enrollment necessitate an understanding of these terms. Joint legal decision-making requires parents to collaborate on significant decisions, while sole decision-making grants one parent the final say, subject to the court’s review for the child’s best interests.

The court considers various factors, including the child’s adjustment to their school and community and the child’s relationship with each parent.

Can My Co-Parent Make a Decision Without Me

In Arizona, the ability of a co-parent to make unilateral decisions about a child’s education hinges on the type of legal decision-making authority awarded by the court.

Under ARS §25-403, parents can have either joint or sole legal decision-making.

In a joint arrangement, both parents must agree on major decisions, including those regarding their child’s schooling, preventing one parent from deciding without the other’s consent.

Sole legal decision-making allows one parent to make significant educational decisions independently, although such decisions can be challenged in court if believed not to serve the child’s best interest.

Negotiating a Parenting Plan That Works

A comprehensive parenting plan in Arizona should cover various aspects, including legal decision-making, parenting time, and how educational decisions are made. These plans serve as a roadmap for co-parenting, setting clear expectations and mechanisms for resolving disputes.

Example Parenting Plans for Education Decisions:

  • Joint Decision-Making Example: The plan might specify that both parents need to agree on the choice of the child’s school. It could outline steps for decision-making, such as requiring both parents to attend school open houses or meet with teachers before making a decision. For instance, “Both parents shall discuss and agree upon the child’s enrollment in either public or private schooling by attending at least two school open houses together each academic year.” 
  • Conflict Resolution Example: In cases where parents cannot agree, the plan might include a mediation clause. “If the parents cannot reach an agreement on the child’s educational needs, they agree to attend mediation with a qualified family mediator to resolve the dispute.”
  • Educational Involvement Example: The plan could detail each parent’s involvement in school activities, ensuring the child’s academic life is supported by both parents. “Each parent is responsible for attending parent-teacher conferences, and both shall share equally in the child’s homework and project responsibilities during their respective parenting times.”

A well-crafted parenting plan not only anticipates and provides solutions for potential conflicts but also reinforces the commitment of both parents to support their child’s education and well-being.

Arizona law encourages parents to work collaboratively in creating these plans, focusing on the child’s best interests.

When parents cannot agree on the appropriate school for their child, Arizona law provides several legal avenues to resolve these disputes. Understanding these options can help parents constructively get through disagreements, ensuring decisions align with the child’s best interests.

How Can the Family Court Help 

The family court plays an important role in resolving school enrollment disputes when parents are unable to reach an agreement. Through a variety of mechanisms, the court seeks to determine the most beneficial outcome for the child’s educational and overall well-being.

  • Court Intervention: If parents have joint legal decision-making authority but cannot agree on a school, either parent can petition the court to decide. The court will consider factors such as the child’s academic needs, the quality of the schools under consideration, and any special needs or extracurricular interests of the child that one school might better accommodate.

     

  • Mediation: Before making a decision, the court often encourages or requires parents to undergo mediation. This process involves a neutral third party helping parents reach a mutually acceptable agreement regarding their child’s education. Mediation aims to foster a cooperative decision-making environment, prioritizing the child’s needs and minimizing conflict.
  • Appointment of a Special Master: In some cases, the court may appoint a special master or educational consultant to investigate and recommend the best educational placement for the child. This individual would consider the child’s educational history, each parent’s concerns, and the potential impact on the child’s well-being before making a recommendation to the court.
  • Modification of Legal Decision-Making Authority: If ongoing disputes about schooling and other major decisions indicate that joint legal decision-making is not in the child’s best interest, the court may consider modifying the legal decision-making arrangement. This could involve granting one parent sole authority to make educational decisions if it’s determined to benefit the child’s academic and emotional development.

Engaging with the family court system can be a daunting process, but it serves as an avenue for resolving disputes that parents cannot settle on their own. The court’s interventions are designed to ensure that educational decisions are made in the best interests of the child, with the goal of providing them with a stable, supportive, and enriching learning environment.

Impact of School Enrollment Decisions on Child Support

In Arizona, school enrollment decisions can significantly influence child support calculations.

Child support, intended to address a child’s basic needs, may be adjusted based on educational costs.

This adjustment is particularly relevant when decisions involve private school tuition, special education needs, or extracurricular activities that require additional funding.

  • Private School Tuition: Enrollment in private school can lead to an increase in child support obligations to cover tuition fees, especially if the decision aligns with the child’s best interest or was made jointly by the parents.
  • Special Education Needs: Costs associated with special education programs for children with specific needs can also impact child support, covering expenses like specialized tuition, transportation, and accommodations.
  • Extracurricular Activities: The costs of extracurricular activities, linked to the school and contributing to the child’s development, may be factored into child support adjustments.

Parents should maintain clear records of educational expenses and communicate openly to facilitate adjustments in child support. The aim is to ensure the child’s educational and developmental needs are met without causing financial strain. 

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

Contact a Family Law Legal Paraprofessional

In family law, particularly when handling disputes over school enrollment decisions and their subsequent impact on child support, the guidance of a Family Law Legal Paraprofessional (FLPP) can be invaluable. FLPPs offer a cost-effective alternative to traditional legal services, providing expert advice and representation in family law matters within Arizona.

At De Novo Law, our team of FLPPs specializes in family law, including issues related to divorce, child custody, child support, and school enrollment decisions. Our paraprofessionals are well-versed in Arizona family law, ensuring that your case is handled with the utmost care and professionalism. 

Our FLPPs can help you:

  • Understand your legal rights and obligations concerning your child’s education and support.
  • Navigate the complexities of modifying child support due to changes in school enrollment.
  • Draft or review a parenting plan that includes provisions for educational decisions.
  • Represent you in family court, if necessary, to resolve disputes regarding school enrollment and ensure that the outcome serves your child’s best interests.

If you’re ready to take action and want expert help, contacting De Novo Law Firm is easy. De Novo Law offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case and can be reached 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

International Travel and Child Custody over the Holidays

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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.

De Novo Law Blog

2023 Guide to Filing for a Divorce with Minor Children in Arizona

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Divorce with a Minor Child in AZ – How a Paraprofessional Can Help

Divorce is never an easy process, especially when it involves children.

As parents, your top priority is the welfare and happiness of your children, and navigating the complexities of divorce with a minor child can be challenging and emotional.

 

At De Novo Law, our licensed legal paraprofessionals specialize in Arizona divorce and family law, and we are here to help you through this challenging time in Phoenix, Arizona.

We have the expertise, compassion, and dedication to guide you through the divorce decree process and ensure your children are well cared for.

In the state of Arizona, some specific laws and procedures govern divorce with minor children, such as to be eligible to file a petition for dissolution of marriage, you or your spouse must have lived in Arizona for at least 90 days.

These laws are designed to protect the child’s best interests and ensure that both parents have a fair chance at custody and parenting time.

We will cover the following topics:

According to recent statistics from the Arizona Department of Health Services, there were approximately 23,000 divorces in Arizona in 2019.

Of those divorces, approximately 12,000 involved children under 18 years old.

These numbers highlight the importance of having a knowledgeable and experienced legal paraprofessional on your side during a divorce with a minor child.

Arizona Revised Statutes Governing Divorce with Children Involved

The state of Arizona has a comprehensive set of laws known as the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), which along with the Arizona Supreme Court, govern filing for divorce cases involving children.

Some of the key statutes include:

  • ARS 25-312(1): This statute requires that either spouse is required to be an Arizona resident for a minimum of 90 days.
  • ARS 25-402: This statute defines the different types of custody in Arizona, including legal decision-making authority and parenting time.
  • ARS 25-403: This statute outlines the factors courts consider when determining the best interests of the child in custody cases.
  • ARS 25-403.01: This statute provides guidelines on joint custody and
    the development of parenting plans.
  • ARS 25-403.08: This statute discusses how to modify custody orders in the event of changed circumstances.
  • ARS 25-501: This statute establishes the child support guidelines in Arizona, including the obligation of both parents to provide financial support and what they need to pay.

Understanding these statutes and their implications is essential for getting a divorce with a minor child in Arizona.

A legal paraprofessional from De Novo Law can help you understand your rights and responsibilities under these laws and ensure that your child’s best interests are protected.

Understanding Child Custody and Parenting Time 

In Arizona, child custody encompasses legal decision-making authority and parenting time.

Legal decision-making authority refers to the right and responsibility to make important decisions about a child’s upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.

Parenting time and custody, on the other hand, refers to the physical custody of the child and the time each parent spends with the child. 

Types of Legal Decision-Making Authority

Arizona courts can award either sole or joint legal decision-making rights, depending on the circumstances of the case:

  • Sole Legal Decision-Making Authority: One parent is granted the exclusive right to make significant decisions regarding the child’s upbringing. The other parent, while still having parenting time, does not have the same
    decision-making authority.
  • Joint Legal Decision-Making Authority: Both parents share the right and responsibility to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing. This arrangement requires a high level of cooperation and communication between the parents. 

Parenting Time Arrangements

Parenting time arrangements and visitation can vary greatly depending on the child’s needs and the family’s specific circumstances.

Some standard arrangements include:

  • Equal Parenting Time: Both parents share parenting time equally or as close to equal as possible. This arrangement typically works best when both parents live close to each other and can maintain a cooperative relationship.
  • Primary and Secondary Parenting Time: One parent is designated as the primary caregiver, with the child spending most of their time with that parent. The other parent, designated as the secondary caregiver, regularly schedules time with the child.
  • Supervised Parenting Time: In cases where a parent’s ability to care for the child is questioned, the court may order supervised parenting time. This requires the presence of a third party during the parent’s time with the child to ensure the child’s safety and well-being.

Factors Considered in Determining Custody and Parenting Time

When determining custody and parenting time, Arizona courts  consider what is best for the children, taking into account factors such as: 

  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
  • Each parent’s ability to provide a stable, loving, and nurturing
    environment
  • The child’s wishes, if they are of an appropriate age and maturity level
  • The willingness of each parent to foster a positive relationship between the child and the other parent

Developing a Parenting Plan

In cases where joint legal decision-making authority is awarded, the parents must create a parenting plan that outlines the specifics regarding custody of children and parenting time arrangements.

The plan should address the following: 

  • A schedule for parenting time, including holidays, vacations, and special occasions
  • A method for making important decisions about the child’s upbringing
  • A process for resolving disputes related to the child’s care
  • Provisions for reviewing and modifying the parenting plan as needed

A legal paraprofessional from De Novo Law can help you understand the various aspects of custody and parenting time, develop a comprehensive parenting plan, and advocate for your interests in court proceedings.

Uncontested Divorce with Minor Children vs. Contested Divorce in Arizona

Divorces in Arizona can be either uncontested or contested, depending on whether the parties can agree on key issues such as custody, parenting time, and child support.

In an Uncontested Divorce, each spouse must agree on all aspects of the divorce, including the division of assets, marital property and debts, spousal support, and parenting arrangements.

This type of divorce typically results in a faster, less expensive, and less adversarial process.


Fictional Scenarios of an Uncontested Divorce.


Example 1: Sarah is a 35-year-old mother of two children living in Tempe, just outside Phoenix. She works as a high school teacher and has an amicable relationship with her soon-to-be ex-husband, Tom.

Sarah and Tom want to keep the divorce process as smooth and stress-free as possible for their children.

They aim to agree on all aspects of their divorce, including custody and child support, without needing court intervention.


Example 2: Mike, a 42-year-old father of one, lives in Scottsdale.

He runs a small business and has decided to end his marriage of 12 years with his wife, Emily.

Mike and Emily want to avoid a prolonged and expensive legal battle.

Their goal is to negotiate the terms of their divorce, including child custody and support, cooperatively and avoid unnecessary conflict.

In a Contested Divorce, however, the spouses cannot agree on one or more issues regarding the children or other areas.

The court must intervene to make determinations on their behalf.

Contested divorces with children involved can be more complex, time-consuming, and costly.

They may involve court hearings, mediation, or even a trial to resolve disputes related to the children’s best interests. 

Fictional Scenarios of a Contested Divorce with Minor Children.

Example 1: Jennifer, a 28-year-old mother of a young child, lives in Chandler.

She is a stay-at-home mom with a strained relationship with her husband, Daniel, who has a demanding career.

Jennifer and Daniel cannot agree on custody, parenting time arrangements, or the division of marital
assets.

She aims to assert her rights and achieve a fair outcome in the divorce process, ensuring her child’s best interests are protected.


Example 2: Steven, a 45-year-old father of three, lives in Glendale. He is a police officer and has been married for 20 years to his wife, Laura.

Steven and Laura have deep-rooted disagreements regarding child custody, support, and the division of their marital property.

Steven’s goal is to protect his rights and achieve a fair resolution in the divorce process that addresses the best interests of his children.

A legal paraprofessional from De Novo Law can help you understand the differences between uncontested and contested divorces, guide you through the necessary steps, and advocate for your interests in negotiations or court proceedings to help finalize a dissolution of marriage.

Arizona Child Support Laws 

In Arizona, both parents are required to provide financial support for their children.

The state has established child support guidelines, which consider factors such as each parent’s income, the number of children, and the amount of parenting time each parent has.

These guidelines help ensure that child support payments are fair and appropriate for each family’s unique circumstances.


The non-custodial parent typically pays child support to the custodial parent to assist with the costs of raising the child, such as housing, food, clothing, education, insurance coverage, and medical expenses.

It is important to note that child support payments are separate from spousal maintenance (alimony) and are specifically intended for the child’s needs.


Fictional Scenarios of a Child Support.

Example 1: Olivia, a 29-year-old mother of a young child, lives in Gilbert. She is a part-time retail employee and struggles to make ends meet.

Olivia needs to ensure that her child’s father, Nathan, fulfills his financial obligations to their child after the divorce.

Her goal is to establish an appropriate child support arrangement that takes into account both parents’ incomes and their
child’s needs.


Example 2: Jason, a 36-year-old father of two, lives in Surprise. He works as a construction worker and is concerned about his ability to financially support his children after the divorce.

The challenge is that Jason wants to ensure that his child support payments are fair and consider the financial circumstances of both him and his ex-wife, Jessica.

He wants to work with a legal paraprofessional who can help him through Arizona’s child support guidelines and establish an equitable child support arrangement that reflects both parents’ financial situations and their children’s needs.

A legal paraprofessional from De Novo Law can help you understand Arizona’s child support guidelines and calculate appropriate support payments that ensure that the support order is properly enforced. 

A licensed legal paraprofessional from De Novo Law can provide invaluable support and guidance throughout the divorce process, particularly when minor children are involved.

They can help you navigate the complexities of Arizona family laws, advocate for your interests, and ensure that your child’s
best interests are protected.


Some of the ways a legal paraprofessional can assist you include:

  • More affordable than traditional attorney’s fees at a family law firm
  • Explaining your rights and responsibilities under statewide Arizona law
  • Assisting with the preparation and filing of necessary documents and forms
  • Advising on custody, parenting time, and child support arrangements
  • Representing your interests in negotiations, mediation, or court hearings
  • Ensuring that custody and support orders are adequately enforced and modified when necessary
Stephanie Villalobos, LP

By working with a certified legal paraprofessional from De Novo Law, you can have peace of mind knowing that you have an experienced advocate on your side, helping you navigate the challenging divorce process with a minor child in Arizona.


If you are filing for a divorce with minor children in Arizona, contact De Novo Law today at (480) 725-2200 to schedule a free consultation.

Our legal paraprofessional can provide the support, guidance, and advocacy you need to protect your child’s best interests throughout the divorce process.

With over 30 years of experience and dedication, licensed legal
paraprofessional Stephanie Villalobos can help you navigate this difficult time and secure a brighter future for you and your children.

We are here to help you through this challenging time to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. 

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

How Does Parenting Time Work when Step-Children are Involved?

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Child Custody and Parenting Time Can Be Challenging to Navigate

Learn how different circumstances can impact child custody and parenting time. Choose from any of the topics below.

  • Caring For Step-Children Can Pose a Challenge
  • What are the Rights of Step-Parents in Join Custody Arrangements?
  • Who Should Come First in a Blended Family
  • What if My Ex-Spouse and I Can’t Agree About the Custody of Our Children?
  • Speak With a Legal Paraprofessional Regarding Parenting Time

Caring for Step-Children Can Pose a Challenge

When step-children are involved, parenting time can be a tricky situation. Both biological parents and stepparents must share the responsibility of parenting, but it is important to establish clear boundaries.

Each parent should be given equal opportunities to spend time with the children while allowing them to maintain their individual relationships with both parents. 

Parenting time should be tailored to each family’s unique needs, considering the child’s age and any special needs they may have. It is also important that all relevant parties are included in parenting plans, such as grandparents or other family members who may play a role in the child’s life.

With open communication and mutual respect among all parties involved, parenting time can work successfully when step-children are involved.

 

 

 

What are the Rights of Step-Parents in Joint Custody Arrangements?

In Arizona, step-parents in joint custody arrangements have certain rights that are outlined by the state’s laws. These rights include the right to petition for legal custody or visitation of minor step-children and the right to be informed about any changes to a court order related to the child’s custody.

The step-parent also has the right to access records related to their step-children medical care, education, and other important information.

In some cases, the step-parent may be able to gain legal decision-making authority for their stepchild if both biological parents agree or if there is a court order granting such authority.

However, it is important to note that no matter what rights are granted, these rights will always be subordinate to those of biological parents.

 


 

Should a Stepparent Have Input in the Parenting Plan?

 

Regarding parenting, stepparents can be an important part of the equation to their step-children. They often have a unique and valuable perspective that can contribute to creating a successful parenting plan. Stepparents should be allowed to have input in the plan, as long as it’s done respectfully and with consideration for both biological parents and their wishes.

All involved parties must work together in a collaborative environment to develop an agreement that works best for everyone involved.

This means that stepparents should be given a chance to provide their thoughts, feelings, and opinions regarding how children are raised and what rules are put into place. Ultimately, having stepparents involved in the process can help create an atmosphere of trust and encourage sharing of responsibility between all adults involved in the lives of their step-children.

Who Should Come First in a Blended Family?

When it comes to blended families, there is no one-size-fits-all answer as to who should come first. Some believe that the parent’s biological children should be given priority over their partner’s children. In contrast, others feel that all family members should be treated equally regardless of biological ties.

Ultimately, each family needs to find what works best for them and decide how they want to prioritize their children.

It can be helpful to talk openly with each other about expectations and feelings to foster an atmosphere of understanding and respect.

Communication is vital in a blended family, and being able to discuss important topics together can help build strong bonds between parents and kids alike.

No matter who comes first in a blended family, it is important that everyone feels appreciated and valued for their unique contributions.

How Should Communication Work Between a Stepparent and the Other Parent?

Communication between a stepparent and the other parent should be respectful, honest, and transparent. Both parents should have an open dialogue about expectations for their relationship and the step-parent’s role in the child’s life. It is also important to understand that both parents are responsible for setting boundaries and routines for the children and should work together to ensure consistency.

Additionally, communication should focus on finding common ground rather than assigning blame or making assumptions about each other. Both parents must consider each other’s feelings, opinions, and values when making decisions about their children. Suppose communication breaks down between the two parents. In that case, it is best to seek professional help to ensure that all parties involved can find a way forward to create a healthy environment for everyone involved.

What if My Ex-Spouse and I Can’t Agree About Custody of Our Children?

If parents can’t agree on the custody of their children, it can be a difficult and emotionally draining situation. It’s important to remember that in all divorce situations, the child’s best interests are paramount. This means that any decisions made regarding custodial arrangements should be made with their needs in mind.

 It’s also wise to seek legal advice, as this helps ensure that both parties understand their rights and obligations under the law. If an agreement cannot be reached, then court intervention may be necessary.

While this is not ideal, it can provide both parties with a more impartial decision about the custody arrangements for the children.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

A step that can be taken if you see yourself facing challenges regarding parenting time is to contact an experienced divorce paraprofessional at De Novo Law. The team of legal paraprofessionals will be able to concentrate on the case at hand so that you can easily make major decisions concerning parenting time.

Call us today at (480) 660-4414 to schedule your consultation.

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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.

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Ways Social Media Can Affect Child Custody & Parenting Time

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Social Media in a Custody Case

Learn how social media can influence a court’s decision on child custody and parenting time. Choose from any of the topics below.


 

Going through a divorce is never an easy undertaking. In fact, it can be even more arduous when the divorce includes children. As these times become difficult, a spouse can easily behave in a foolish manner that can cause an adverse outcome to their legal custody case.

As a parent going through a divorce involving children, it is important to remember that before, during, and after the start of any proceedings, the entire behavior of both parents will be reviewed. Knowing this should encourage you to remain on your best behavior throughout this time.

In order for you to be prepared for your divorce and subsequent child custody hearing, it is important to know what a judge takes into account while coming to their decision.

You also need to be aware of what to avoid doing as the divorce proceedings continue.

The Child’s Best Interest is in Mind

In order for you to understand how to properly behave throughout a custody hearing, you should be aware of the standard that the court will instill in order to make proper custody order arrangements, develop parenting time, and create a visitation schedule based on the child’s best interest.

Factors to consider include the following:

  • How long has a child been cared for by individuals other than the actual parents and surrounding situations related to it.
  • The parents’ desires of living situation and agreeing on where to live are considered to be included in the best interest of the child custody.
  • The child’s relationship and interactions with any siblings and parents, as well as all others who could impact the best interests of the child.
  • How the adjustment of the child is turning out toward the community, home, and school.
  • Amount of ability and desire to show respect toward the child’s bond with the other parent and to permit a relationship to continue between the children and parent.
  • Spousal abuse allegation or evidence.
  • Child abuse allegation or evidence.
  • Any child abuse conviction

 

Keep Your Behavior in Check

If you are desiring to have legal custody, physical custody, or joint custody, your behavior will be fully evaluated, including on social media.

If you know that you have bad habits and your spouse has pointed them out, then they could be used against you.

However, when your behavior is on the straight and narrow, then you will be able to avoid any negative physical custody outcomes.

Some circumstances should also be considered throughout the child custody hearing, such as the children mimicking their parents. You also should understand that everything a child is told by one parent will more than likely be told to the other. With that, you need to keep things to yourself if they do not pertain to the child directly.

Having Conversations Online

When you have a conversation, it can be used as evidence. This means you should suspect that everything you say is being recorded throughout the child custody hearing. These conversations can include social media conversations that you take part in.

When words are spoken or written, they can be easily obtained by the court for review. When the conversations are in writing, such as on social media, they can clearly show that it was going to be known.

Our list of reasons how social media can affect child custody and parenting time should be avoided at all costs.

This is especially true when you are planning to avoid limited visitation.

Avoiding Alienation of a Child’s Affection from the Parent through Social Media or in Person

It is known that the best environment for a child is one where they have both parents. However, when a parent continuously criticizes the other, the result will be the child making the important decisions of who they prefer to live with in order to preserve the parent-child relationship.

The children will ultimately become confused and upset about this alienating behavior. Judges know that this behavior can be damaging and thus do not tolerate this behavior much.

Besides criticizing, it is also a bad idea to prevent the parent from being with the children. This behavior can be harmful to the children. It is important to remember that this alienation can be caused by both parents.

Raising your Voice Toward the Children or Parent

As we mentioned, everything that you say and how you say it will be remembered. This is also true for conversations taking place through social media. So when you decide to have a conversation where you end up yelling, it can be seen as abusive in nature by the words you choose to express.

Oftentimes, one parent is perceived as being the more dominating and more assertive half of the relationship. When this is perceived, the other person will often make it look like they live in fear. Regardless of this fear being authentic, the allegations that are made are taken seriously by the court.

The last thing that you want to do is allow her to make accusations. When accusations occur, the parent may be viewed in a negative manner, such as having no self-control.

Regardless of the difficulty, restraint needs to be shown instead of having an outburst. When restraint is utilized, then there will be no impeding bad behavior.

Making Threats of Physical Harm Towards the Children or other Parent

When you have a heated conversation through social media and self-control is lost, threats of physical harm may occur. Hopefully, these threats do not come into being, but if they do, then it will turn into a crime if physical contact takes place.

When a judge catches wind of this, then the parent causing the harm will ultimately lose any type of physical custody case, especially physical custody. When physical violence takes place, the children may become upset and confused.

When this occurs, the children may develop issues with their emotional state, which can last their entire life.

Living with a New Partner Before Divorce is Finalized

Children often have a difficult time with the divorce and even harder times when they see their parents no longer loving each other. When you add the fact that a new partner enters the scene, then it can be a complete game changer for the entire divorce and custody order.

To avoid any possible issues, it is a good idea to refrain from disclosing your new relationship through social media or sharing photos of you with your new love interest. You can expect the court to frown upon this until the divorce has been finalized.

Expose Other Parent’s Faults with Mutual Friends

The friends one parent has will likely be the friends both parents share. So you can expect that whatever you tell your mutual friend through social media or in person will likely be shared with the other parent.

When a couple going through a divorce share mutual friends, a lot of “he said/she said” can happen behind the scenes. This is never a good position for friends to be in, so it is a good idea to not express anything at all to those that share a common friendship.

Especially because social media fails to conceal the author’s identity, anything that is publicly shared with one friend, such as a comment on a friend’s photo, immediately exposes that same information to others that can view the photo.

Refusing to Provide Child Support

When you know that you have a court order to pay child support, but you decide to share photos of your new ride or new clothes around the same time that the support is to be made.

When a judge sees your online photos and status updates involving new purchases but no payments of child support, then the parent will be in contempt and possibly arrested for ignoring the court order that is binding through the enforcement act.

Posting photos of damage on social media

Posting Photos of Damage you Cause

When you post photos on social media showing the damage that you caused to property, the court will view this as aggression that has built up over time. Because of this behavior, you may be labeled as threatening.

Denying all Contact with Other Parent

Contact can come in many forms, including contact through social media. When your child has access to social media, they likely have a direct line to make contact with the other parent. However, if you deny your child access to social media, you could be denying them contact with their parents.

Your child needs to have the liberty to make contact with the other parent when they feel like it, as long as the time is appropriate.

Taking the Kids on Trips that the Other Parent is Unaware of

When you post photos of a weekend trip that you took the kids on that are away from home, it may give a bad feeling to the other parent. This can be a bad thing if there is no agreement in the parenting plan about vacations away from the home state.

When a parent does not communicate the whereabouts of the children, then it may be viewed as a kidnapping attempt. This could easily result in stripping of the parent’s rights of visitation or eliminating parenting time. This can be avoided if the other parent is notified well in advance in writing or is included in the parenting plan.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

A step that can be taken if you see yourself facing a lengthy legal custody hearing is to contact an experienced divorce paraprofessional at De Novo Law. The team of legal paraprofessionals will be able to concentrate on the case at hand so that you can easily make major decisions concerning custody arrangements.

Call us today at (480) 725-2200 to schedule your consultation.

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.