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Phoenix Family Law Blog

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.

A MODERN STATUTE FOR MODERN FAMILIES

As Arizona Family Law attorneys, we often like to keep up with developments in the laws of other states, so last fall when California approved a bill that will change several parts of that State's family code, it caught our attention. The bill's supporters believe it will address several unresolved problems under current state law for sperm donors, surrogates, and same sex couples.

THE LAW OF LARGE NUMBERS - Hamm, Nash, and Justice for the Jet Set

Family Law Attorneys in Arizona and across the nation have been watching the divorce of Harold and Sue Ann Hamm. It's a rare case where one party writes the other a check for $975,000,000.00, and rarer still when the other party refuses to accept it because it isn't enough. As a number of news sites have reported, an Oklahoma judge recently ordered oil tycoon Harold Hamm to pay his ex-wife Sue Ann Hamm $974,790,317.77 as part of the couple's divorce in addition to other assets worth millions by themselves. While she has since changed her mind about depositing the check, Ms. Hamm is still pursuing an appeal asking for several billion dollars, arguing that the original court order (about 6% of the estimated $18,000,000,000.00 total marital assets) is unfairly low.

WILL NEW KINDS OF FAMILIES LEAD TO NEW LEGAL BATTLES?

By now, many Arizona family lawyers have heard that the Arizona ban on same-sex marriages has been overturned by the courts. The recent District Court of Arizona decision acknowledges that the decision the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reached earlier this month concerning the bans in Idaho and Nevada applied to Arizona's laws as well. (Read the full opinion here: http://documents.latimes.com/arizona-opinion-1017-2014/) But even as same-sex couples are lining up to receive marriage licenses, there are still legal questions which remain unanswered.

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