The issues in this blog are provided for general informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice in your particular case, nor should it be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. Every Family Court case is unique. If you have a matter that appears similar to any of the scenarios that you read in this blog, you should be aware that: (1) even a slight difference in a factual situation can lead to a vastly different result; and (2) the laws are constantly changing and new laws are continually being enacted. Legal advice cannot be given without a full consideration of all relevant information relating to your individual situation. Therefore, if you have an important legal issue, you should obtain a consultation with a qualified attorney.
Too often, when divorcing couples become involved in a long, protracted litigation over property, the only winners are the lawyers. That’s why you need a strong lawyer, someone who is looking out for your best interests. A lawyer who knows how to fight, but is willing to help you explore the peaceful path.
Gary J. Frank is a Family Law Attorney, a litigator, and a mediator with over thirty years of experience in dealing with divorce, paternity, custody, and parenting issues. For many years he acted as a Judge Pro Tempore in the Maricopa County Superior Court, which gave him an insight into the inner workings of the courts that many attorneys lack. In addition to representing Family Law clients in litigation, we are also willing to help people by working with them on a Limited-Scope or Consultation-Only basis. Our office is located in the Biltmore area of central Phoenix, with satellite offices in Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, Arizona. We can be reached by telephone (602-383-3610); or by email at [email protected] You can also reach us through our website at www.garyfranklaw.com. If you are in need of a consultation regarding any area of Family Law, contact us today. We’d be happy to help.
For couples who are able to negotiate a resolution of their issues, the “Consent Decree” procedure can make divorce a relatively painless process.
This year is coming to a close. If you are in the middle of a divorce – or if you are getting ready to go through one – the next twelve months could be tough. So, here are some simple guidelines to make the journey less difficult.
1. Keep your children out of the middle of your dispute
When a marriage comes apart and emotions are at a boiling point, it is easy for a parent to make the mistake of voicing his or her displeasure with the other parent to the children. Sometimes this leads to a war of words, with each parent feeling the need to “defend” himself / herself by badmouthing the other. But here’s a warning: Clinical research shows that this type of behavior can cause serious emotional problems for children. They need to be able to love both of their parents. So give them your permission. You would probably place your life on the line to protect your children from a stranger who tried to hurt them. Then why wouldn’t you make every effort to protect your children from your own anger and toxic feelings toward their other parent?
Of course, it is important to be honest with your children – but giving them information that is not age-appropriate, or talking to them about details of your divorce that they are incapable of emotionally processing, can be harmful and destructive. Don’t talk to your children about the legal issues of your divorce. Don’t show them your court paperwork. Don’t share adult information with young children. If you need to vent or get your feelings off your chest, turn to a trusted friend, a family member, or a therapist. Keep your children out of the loop. Let them be children.
6. Choose a lawyer wisely
One of the most important decisions you will ever make is finding the right attorney. Many people who are embroiled in a family law dispute say, “I’m going to hire the meanest, most aggressive, attorney I can find.” That usually works – for the lawyer. If the lawyer is only mean, or only aggressive, then the result will probably be a long, contentious, and expensive litigation. That means more money for the lawyer. Your money! What you really want is a highly qualified attorney, one who is looking out for your interests. The best attorney is someone who is skilled and experienced; someone who will fight for your rights — but who is also looking for ways to resolve the matter peacefully, if at all possible. Most importantly, you should select an attorney who is a good match for you, and who makes you feel comfortable and confident.
Court litigation is, by nature, an adversarial process. It can take a long time and cost a lot of money – and in the end, the final decision will be made by a judge who is a stranger to both parties. Therefore, in any divorce or custody litigation, your goal should be to negotiate a solution that meets your needs and the needs of the children. You can save yourself a great deal of time and money, and avoid much stress, by being willing to make reasonable compromises. People who are able to negotiate a fair resolution of their dispute tend to be much happier with the arrangement in the long run.
8. Talk to someone you can trust
A person going through the turmoil of divorce or custody case can benefit from a strong support system. If you are struggling with a divorce, or if you are caught in a highly contested custody case, find someone to talk to. Whether it is with a family member, a friend, someone from your church, or a therapist, talking about your feelings is a healthy outlet. There are also many divorce and single-parent support groups in your community that will welcome you and help you understand that you are not alone.
It may not seem like it now, but rest assured that there is, indeed, life after divorce – and it can be great. It will certainly be an adjustment, and it will take a commitment on your part, but getting out of an unhappy marriage, making new friends, and taking control of your physical and mental health, can give you a new perspective and lead to a happier life.
It is not at all surprising that when one spouse files for a divorce, the other sometimes continues to hold out hope for a reconciliation, believing that the marriage is not irretrievably broken. But what may surprise you is that Arizona law gives that person an opportunity to make one last stab at fixing the relationship.
Arizona Revised Statutes, Section 25-329 provides that the Court shall not hold a trial, nor finalize a divorce, within sixty (60) days from the date that the divorce papers are served. Attorneys and judges often refer to this as a “cooling off” period, since it is intended to prevent people from angrily rushing into a divorce that they might later regret. This mandatory “cooling off” period allows the parties to take some time to reflect, to talk, and to consider other options, such as marital counseling. This sometimes leads to the parties getting back together and dropping the divorce action. Just today, in the news, was a report of basketball player Kobe Bryant and his wife putting their California divorce “on-hold” after having used the statutory “cooling off” period to work on their problems.
A spouse wishing to avoid a divorce has another alternative under Arizona law: A.R.S., Section 25-381.09, states that a person who wants to try to salvage his or her marriage may file “a petition invoking the jurisdiction of the Conciliation Court for the purpose of preserving the marriage by effecting a conciliation between the parties.” Filing a motion under this statute will result in the case being transferred to the Conciliation Court. The divorce case will be placed on hold for a period of time, and the parties will be required to attend what amounts to a marital counseling session.
Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. Thus, if one party to a marriage wishes to be divorced, there is little the other spouse can do to prevent it. However, the statutory “cooling off” period, and the ability to ask for a transfer of the case to the Conciliation Court for counseling, are ways in which a spouse can make one final effort to repair the relationship and put the marriage back together.
Gary Frank has practiced Family Law in the prestigious Biltmore area of Phoenix, Arizona for over thirty years. In addition to representing clients in divorce, custody, paternity, enforcement, modification, move-away, grandparent rights, non-parent rights, and other Family Law matters, Mr. Frank has also acted as a Mediator and a Superior Court Judge Pro Tem. If you are in need of a consultation, please give us a call today at 602-383-3610. You can contact us by email at [email protected], or through our web site at www.garyfranklaw.com. We’d be happy to help you.
Imagine walking up to bat in a baseball game – and you don’t know the rules. You don’t know the difference between a “ball” and a “strike.” You don’t know that three strikes is an “out,” or that three outs ends the “inning.” You are aware that you’re supposed to swing at the pitch, but once you hit the ball, you don’t know which way to run. No matter how hard you try or how athletic you are, the fact that you don’t know the rules of the game puts you at a huge disadvantage.
Gary Frank is a Family Law Attorney with over 30 years of experience in the areas of domestic relations, divorce, custody, division of property, support, modification actions, enforcement actions, Grandparents and non-parents rights, and all other matters pertaining to families and children. If you are in need of a consultation, please do not hesitate to call our office at 602-383-3610; or you can contact us by email at [email protected], or through our website at www.garyfranklaw.com. We look forward to hearing from you.