What is “family law”?

Generally, the phrase “family law” refers to the field of law which involves family relations, one usually involving the breaking up of a family unit. Therefore divorce, separation, annulment, paternity, child custody, parenting time, support and pre-and/or post nuptial agreements all fall under the umbrella of “family law.”

What is the difference between divorce and legal separation?

“Divorce,” also known in Arizona as “Dissolution of Marriage,” involves the actual breaking of the marriage bond and the dissolving of the “community.” Legal separation leaves the actual marriage intact, but dissolves the “community,” permitting the parties to remain married for purposes of insurance, benefits and the like. A legal separation may also satisfy the religious needs of a party who might otherwise have filed for divorce.

What is “community property?”

There are currently nine community property states in the United States: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. Although each state has its own unique laws on the subject, the essential elements are that, during a lawful marriage, all property and debts incurred are presumed to be “community.” This means that the parties own their property and debts jointly, and that upon dissolution of marriage those debts and property are divided “equitably.” The term “equitably” essentially means “fairly,” not necessarily “equally.” In Arizona the filing of a petition for dissolution stops further increases to the community debts and property, but does not terminate the community nature of property and debts already accumulated.

Will I be required to pay child support?

Child support is an amount of money that one parent pays the other for the support of their minor child or children. The amount of child support is determined based on the incomes of the parties, the number of children involved and whether there are any extraordinary expenses incurred by one parent but not the other. Where the parties equally share their time with the child or children and earn substantially the same amount of money, little if any child support will be ordered. Where the child or children spend more time with one parent than the other and/or one parent makes significantly more than the other parent, a child support order will probably be entered. I will thoroughly discuss with you all of these issues and together and we can create a plan for the support of the children.

How is child custody determined?

In Arizona, the term “custody” really defines a situation where one parent has the child or children with them more than does the other parent. Where the parties cannot come to an agreement concerning a “Parenting Plan,” the judge will weigh the relationships between the child and the parents, the ability of each parent to provide a stable and nurturing home environment and the likelihood that one parent will be more likely to cooperate with the other in determining which parent should have the child residing with them the majority of the time. Where all such considerations balance the law in Arizona is that the children should have the greatest amount of contact they can have with each of the parents, which basically means equal parenting time. These are serious discussions and considerations and I will guide you through the process to achieve an equitable result.

Who makes the final decisions regarding the child?

Where the parties are unable to jointly make decisions regarding the child’s welfare, the court may appoint one or other of the parties to have final decision-making authority regarding particular issues, for example education issues, religious issues and the like. I will guide you through the discussions and negotiations required to achieve a just and equitable result.

I lost my job and can’t afford my child support payment. What do I do?

Any change to a court-ordered child support payment requires a court order. This can be accomplished through negotiation or by application to the judge for a modification. You will need to demonstrate that your financial situation has changed, rendering you unable to uphold your obligation under the existing order. Contrariwise, where your opponent is paying child support and their income has increased, you may wish to apply to the court to increase the amount of child support. In either event, you and I will discuss the issues and the procedures required in order to achieve a just result.

My tenant owes me a significant amount of rent. What are my options?

When a tenant is in default of the rental agreement, whether by nonpayment or other default, you should immediately contact a knowledgeable real estate attorney. The Residential Landlord and Tenant Act has specific, detailed provisions for how to handle eviction procedures, and failure to follow these procedures to the letter can have dire results. Together we will explore the options available to you under this circumstances and the actions you can take to secure your position.

My landlord has not maintained the safety of the apartment complex where I live. Can I do anything about this?

Absolutely. Your rental agreement contained specific provisions concerning the rights and responsibilities of both the tenant and the landlord in the event of a violation of its provisions. Should you believe that your landlord has violated the provisions of the agreement, is a negligent in his management of the property are simply is not a pulled their responsibilities, I will discuss with you your options and together we will find a solution.

I am a business owner, and someone still owes me a significant amount of money. Do I need an attorney?

Depending upon the nature of the debt, whether it is based in a promissory note or other writing or upon other actions by the offending party, your options may include litigation or some form of self-help. You should contact an experienced attorney to discuss these options, and together we can successfully navigate what filings and procedures are necessary for you to obtain the compensation you are owed.

What do I do if I have been named the personal representative of an estate?

If someone you know passes away and you discover you have been named the personal representative of the estate of that person, you should immediately contact a knowledgeable attorney regarding the probate of the estate. I will discuss with you what you know of the estate and about the decedent, and whether or not an actual court action will be required. In the event a will needs to be probated through the courts, you will need to proceed to have yourself appointed as the personal representative, and then you will be required to collect and assess the value of the estate, notify the beneficiaries and ensure that the estate assets are distributed according to the terms of the well. We will discuss all of these issues and take steps to fulfill the deceased persons desires.

The Law Office of Joubert W. Davenport is here for you when you need  real estate or family law assistance.

Make an appointment with an experienced and dedicated attorney by calling our Tucson office today.

(520) 750-1298