Family law disputes typically present legally and emotionally challenging issues. If you are dealing with a divorce or another family law matter, it is vital to retain an attorney who will be an assertive advocate on your behalf. The family law attorneys at Stromfors Law Office will provide you with diligent representation during what can be one of the most stressful and emotional times of your life. We are mindful each case presents unique challenge and we will work with you to develop a strategy to optimize a favorable result. We have compiled over 20 years of experience helping residents of Maricopa County deal with family law matters.
Arizona is a “no-fault” divorce state. As a result, a party seeking a divorce does not need to prove that his or her spouse was responsible for the demise of the marriage. Instead, a divorce petition must merely allege that the marriage is irretrievably broken. For the court to consider a divorce petition, one or both of the parties must have lived in the state for at least 90 days prior to when the petition was filed. A court will enter a divorce decree if it finds that the marriage is irretrievably broken with no reasonable hope of reconciliation.
Under Arizona law, a court may order either parent to pay child support. The Arizona Supreme Court sets forth guidelines to calculate the amount of support to be awarded. Our family law attorneys help Mesa residents understand how the Arizona Child Support Guidelines may apply to their situation. The guidelines are based on relevant factors, which include the financial resources of the child and each parent and the standard of living to which the child is accustomed. The court will also consider the child’s physical and emotional health and educational needs. A parent may be ordered to pay child support regardless of whether he or she has joint legal decision-making rights or equal parenting time. Child support obligations typically extend until a child reaches the age of 18 or graduates from high school, but they can be imposed for longer durations in some cases.Child Custody
Custody in Arizona is comprised of two parts: legal decision-making and parenting time. Legal decision-making is the right of a parent to make important decisions regarding a child’s health care, education, and religious practices. A court may grant one parent sole legal decision-making rights or may grant both parents joint legal decision-making rights. Parenting time refers to a parent’s right to access the child. In determining an appropriate parenting plan, the court will consider what is in the best interest of the child. Factors weighed in determining if an arrangement is in a child's best interest include the child's relationship with each parent, the physical and mental health of the child and the parents, and the child's wishes if the child is of suitable maturity.Post-Decree Modification / Enforcement
Our Mesa family law lawyers can help Maricopa County residents pursue a modification of an order defining child support, spousal maintenance, legal decision-making rights, or parenting time. An order may be modified if the party seeking the modification demonstrates a significant and material change in circumstances. Examples of a change in circumstances that may warrant a modification include a change in the income or the health of either party. Additionally, if a person is not complying with the terms outlined in a divorce or custody order, the other party to whom the order applies can petition the court to enforce the order.Third Party / Grandparent Rights
Under Arizona law, a third party may petition the court for legal decision-making authority, parenting time, or the right to visitation with a child. In many cases, the third party will be a grandparent of the child. The court will deny a petition for legal decision-making authority or placement of the child unless the petitioner stands in the place of the parent, it would be detrimental for the child to remain in the care of either parent, and no court order regarding legal decision-making or parenting time was issued within a year before the petition. Additionally, the person filing the petition must show that one of the child's parents is deceased, or that the parents are not married or are in the process of obtaining a divorce or legal separation. The law allows third parties to seek visitation rights in certain situations as well.Spousal Maintenance
Our family law lawyers advocate for Mesa residents and other clients who are seeking or opposing an award of spousal maintenance. A court may issue an order granting maintenance if it finds that certain factors are met. For example, if the party seeking maintenance lacks sufficient resources to provide for his or her needs and is unable to obtain gainful employment that would allow him or her to be self-sufficient, the court may award maintenance. In determining what constitutes appropriate maintenance, the court will consider factors such as the length of the marriage and the standard of living established during the marriage.Juvenile Law (Guardianship, Severance, Adoption)
In cases in which a parent of a child is not fulfilling his or her parental duties, a third party may institute legal proceedings to protect the welfare of the child, which may include petitions for the severance of parental rights, guardianships, and adoptions. Any person or agency that has a legitimate interest in the welfare of the child can file a petition to terminate the parent-child relationship. The petition will only be granted if the court finds that certain factors are met and that the termination of the relationship is in the best interest of the child. Subsequently, the court will appoint a guardian for the child. The guardian may then seek a permanent guardianship or try to adopt the child. Our Mesa family law attorneys can guide you through the guardianship or adoption process.Property Division
Under Arizona law, all property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be community property, with certain exceptions. If a couple divorces or obtains a legal separation, the court will divide any community property equitably, which does not necessarily mean equally. The court is not permitted to consider the marital misconduct of either party in dividing the property. The court may consider any liens or debts on the property in determining an appropriate distribution, however. Separate property that belongs solely to one spouse will remain the property of that spouse.Pre-Marital and Post-Marital Agreements
In Arizona, parties can enter into a pre-marital agreement that defines their separate property and the rights and obligations of each party if they should divorce. It is important to note, however, that the right to child support cannot be modified via a pre-marital agreement. Pre-marital agreements must be reduced to writing and must be signed by both parties to be enforceable. The agreement is effective when the parties are married and can only be revoked or amended by a written agreement. A pre-marital agreement will not be enforced if it was not voluntarily executed or if it is unconscionable. Similar to a pre-marital agreement, a post-marital agreement is a contract into which the parties enter after they are married, which also defines their rights and obligations.Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney in the Mesa Area
At Stromfors Law Office, our attorneys are dedicated to helping you pursue your desired outcome. We have the experience, knowledge and skills required to navigate family law cases in the Arizona courts. Although our office is located in Mesa, we represent people in family law matters throughout Maricopa County and, on occasion, statewide. You can reach us at (480) 237-1276 or complete our online form to schedule a meeting to discuss your case.
Mesa Family Law Attorney | Maricopa County Divorce Lawyer | Stromfors Law Office