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Phoenix Family Law Blog

Arizona Supreme Court Rules on "Maternity" Presumption

Family law attorneys in Phoenix and around the state have been eagerly awaiting the Arizona Supreme Court's decision of how to interpret and apply Arizona's presumption of paternity statute, A.R.S. §25-814. When the U.S. Supreme Court announced a decision in the Pavan v. Smith case this week, it looked like we wouldn't have to wait much longer.

Don't tell Mom...

One of the most destructive behaviors we see from divorced or divorcing parents is telling the child that he or she must keep secrets from the other parent. Sometimes it is done in an effort to conceal objectionable behavior ("I don't want Mom to know that I let you stay up until midnight") and other times, it is a misguided attempt to maintain privacy ("She doesn't need to know what we do when you're here"). Regardless of the reason, asking a child to keep secrets places stress on the child and sends the message that the child is teaming up with one parent against the other. Sometimes the offended parent even storms to his/her lawyer's office and demands that the lawyer "tell the judge make him stop telling the child to keep secrets." To be fair, we see this type of behaviors from both mothers and fathers; however, this article, which could also be titled Co-parenting Through Conflict - Doing it the Right Way!, focuses on a situation where Dad, for whatever reason, had asked his young son to keep a secret from Mom.

What to expect on Adoption Day

Adoption day. You won't experience contractions before your adoption hearing but that doesn't mean that the final step in becoming a forever family is entirely painless. Many clients get nervous before going into court partly because they don't know what to expect, but judges, attorneys and caseworkers will tell you that adoption hearings are almost always casual, happy occasions. So here is why you should just relax and enjoy adoption day:

Data Delegates: Who Speaks For Your Online Self?

Arizona Estate Planning attorneys are taking notice of new laws which define the rights of administrators over a deceased or incapacitated person's digital assets. For many people, digital assets, like email accounts, social media, and intangible assets like airline miles are an important and sometimes valuable part of their lives and until recently there was no clear mechanism for accessing those assets if the person was incapacitated or deceased. Many custodians of data had policies which conflicted with the user's wishes, or no policy at all.

When Courts Fight, Nobody Wins (Part 2)

As Part 1 of this article described, the family court in Tucson had a legal dilemma on its hands. On the one hand, as the trial court acknowledged, Mexico was the home state of this child and the highest court in Mexico had determined that the Baja court had correctly taken jurisdiction over the case. On the other hand, the reason that Mexican law gave jurisdiction to the Baja court was because Mauricio had claimed abandonment-a claim which does not exist in Arizona. If the exact same case had come before the trial court but the two parents had been living in two different U.S. States instead of two different Mexican states, the UCCJEA would have given jurisdiction to the state where the mother and child had been living-exactly what Elsa had been arguing for all along.

When Courts Fight, Nobody Wins (Part 1)

Arizona family law attorneys know that custody disputes are often contentious, complex, and costly. The issues are polarizing and emotionally charged, so perhaps it's no surprise that even well-meaning parents sometimes fight. Occasionally, the legal system itself joins in the tug-of-war, as in the recently decided case of Margain v. Ruiz-Bours (Ariz. App., 2016).

CALIFORNIA EXPANDS END OF LIFE OPTIONS

As Arizona Probate Attorneys, one of the most common requests we get is for Living Wills. Also known as Healthcare Proxies or Advance Healthcare Directives, these documents are important parts of Arizona Estate Plans because they provide a means for people to express their wishes about end of life treatment. A Living Will prepared by an Arizona Estate Planning Attorney usually contains several questions about such subjects as life support, pain management, and treatment for terminal illnesses. When discussing these matters with clients, Arizona Estate Planning lawyers are sometimes asked about euthanasia-physician assisted suicide. For now that has been a very short discussion for the very simple reason that euthanasia is illegal in Arizona as it is in most states. Recently, however, California created an exception in its law and a similar proposal has been made by Arizona lawmakers.

UNDUE PROCESS?

Arizona Family Law attorneys know that the rules can change when children are involved. The standard courtroom and litigation procedures that most of us are familiar with from practice or television are designed for the typical situation, where each party is a mature, reasoning adult, usually represented by an attorney. There are exceptions in any area of the law of course, but Arizona Family and Juvenile Courts see more exceptions than most. A recent juvenile case illustrates how even the right to cross-examine witnesses has to sometimes take a back seat to the special concerns for a child's welfare.

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