A Parenting Coordinator must be court-appointed. He/she assists parents with day-to-day issues that arise involving their children. These issues can include anything from interpreting the holiday parenting time schedule to assisting in determine which school is best for the child. A Parenting Coordinator is appointed for a term of 12 months at a time and is subject to reappointment. A Parenting Coordinator can only be appointed by agreement of both parties and they give all parties and the children, if they are mature enough, the opportunity to express their wishes on certain issues.
In deciding if a third party will be awarded visitation with a child, the opinion of the parents is given special weight. There are several statutory factors to consider, including the historical relationship between the child and the third party, the motivation of the party seeking visitation, the motivation of the party objecting to the visitation, the quantity of time requested, the potential adverse impact that visitation will have on the child’s customary activities and the benefit of maintaining a family relationship if one or both parents are deceased.
A Prenuptial Agreement is entered into before two people are married to determine what happens to their property in the event of death or divorce. It can also control what happens in a divorce case as far as property division and spousal maintenance is concerned. There are certain requirements to ensure the Prenuptial Agreement is valid and less likely subject to challenge at a later date. A Postnuptial Agreement is entered into after parties are married and has different requirements to be considered valid than a Prenuptial Agreement does. Both Prenuptial Agreements and Postnuptial Agreements allow parties to contract around Arizona’s community property laws if the requirements for entering into them are followed correctly.
Legal decision-making, parenting time, spousal maintenance and child support are just a few of the issues that are usually modifiable after a Court has entered a Decree. To do so, a showing of substantial and continuing changed circumstances is required. Oftentimes, this requires proving a change in a party’s income or a material change that is impacting the children’s best interests.
Parents will either be awarded joint legal decision-making or one parent will be awarded sole legal decision-making. In addition to considering best interests of the child, there are several statutory factors a Court considers when determining which form of legal decision-making to order. Just some of those factors include:
- The past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and the child.
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
- The child’s adjustment to home, school and community.
- If the child is of suitable age and maturity, the wishes of the child as to legal decision-making and parenting time.
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with the other parent.
Both parents are to have frequent and meaningful contact with the child if it is in the child’s best interests. Each case is unique and the Court will take into consideration that it may be in your child’s best interests to have a Parenting Plan which is different from the “standard” Plan.
Though Arizona has Guidelines to calculate child support, calculation of support can become tricky when it comes to calculating gross income of a party. The Arizona Child Support Guidelines determine how gross income is defined, how dependency deductions are divided between parties, how health insurance for the child is going to be paid, etc.
Spousal maintenance is one of the most litigated issues in family law cases. This is because there is no formula to calculate spousal maintenance, making each case different. Spousal maintenance requires determining (1) if a spouse qualifies (2) if so, for how much and (3) for how long. Spousal maintenance can be non-modifiable only if the parties agree to do so. Spousal maintenance requires looking at both parties’ reasonable needs to determine not only how much the receiving spouse needs but also to determine if the paying spouse can afford to pay.
At mediation, a neutral third party, who is usually an experienced attorney or former judge or court commissioner, assists the parties in resolving the disputed issues in their case. The purpose of mediation is to resolve the case without Court intervention, which oftentimes saves both parties considerable time, money and stress. Mediation is sometimes a requirement in post-decree matters before filing.
An Order of Protection is appropriate when there has been domestic violence, which can include such things as physical violence, threats of violence, harassment or stalking. Violating an Order of Protection carries serious consequences and it is important to know when a hearing may or may not be necessary.