If you are living in Chandler, then you know what a great place it is. The Chandler Center for the Arts is but one case in point. This is a welcoming community for working, entertaining, raising a family, and retiring with your grandchildren nearby. From fall through spring, you can shop the Chandler Farmer’s Market for fresh produce and homemade goods, including the tastiest tamales ever. From there, take off for your next destination, wherever that may be. Off to your job at Intel, Chandler Regional Medical Center, Gold Canyon City, or other employer, small business or professional practice.
On your day with the kids, maybe you planned a visit to Chandler Museum to be followed by a swim at Arrowhead Pool. Or maybe the plan is simply for an easy afternoon chatting with other parents, watching the children play at Tumbleweed Park’s Playtopia, and picnicking. Chandler can be reliably pleasant – in weather, in friendship, in family. If only life was so predictable.
Are you needing legal representation? Attorneys Amy Dohrendorf and Carrie Cravatta with the Stewart Law Group have been assisting clients from our Chandler, Arizona, office location on South Price Road for over a decade.
Combined, our attorneys have more than 100 years of legal experience representing clients in various practice areas. The first being family law, divorce, and child custody representation. The second being DUI defense, general criminal defense, and family defense. The third being estate planning and probate. In these practice areas, we also represent the client in an appeal of the trial judge’s decision or final judgment. We can help you, too.
Do you know what must be proved to prevail in your case, as the petitioner or, alternatively, as the responding party or defendant? Do you understand what the standard of proof by which exhibits, testimony, and other relevant evidence must persuade the judge in order for you to prevail? Although there are a few exceptions, generally:
Appreciating the ease or difficulty of proving your case is an important aspect of legal strategy. Another important consideration is which court will have jurisdiction to hear and decide, for example, the petition for dissolution of marriage, modification of child support, appointment of a conservator for the vulnerable adult, or contentious probate litigation matter.
Every client’s concern involves unique circumstances. The understanding the depth of the legal issues to be addressed, having substantial courtroom experience litigating cases, and preparing successful legal stratagems – these are some of the things for which our Chandler legal team is known. We go above and beyond to bring our clients the best possible results in the case, whether it be a civil family law or probate action, or defense against criminal prosecution.
You may already know that Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. The only grounds in a no-fault divorce are that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Neither spouse is required to prove marital misconduct (adultery, for example, or abandonment) for the court to dissolve the marriage. If one party wants a divorce and the spouses do not reconcile, then the Superior Court Judge will dissolve their marriage. Marital misconduct can have an impact on child custody factors, though. And when coupled with marital waste, marital fault may influence property division factors, too.
Along with only a handful of states, Arizona also allows for creation of a covenant marriage. In the dissolution of a covenant marriage (unless the spouses are in agreement in wanting the divorce), fault-based grounds must be alleged and proved before the divorce can be granted.
For some couples, an alternative to divorce might be annulment, to void the marriage. Another alternative is a decree of legal separation which does not dissolve the marriage, but does determine the same issues raised in divorce. These possibilities should be discussed with an attorney.
Working toward a divorce settlement by negotiating a separation agreement with the assistance of your attorney is almost always an efficient and cost-effective process that can save on attorney fees. There are times, however, when litigation and trial are necessary to resolve outstanding issues. Your Chandler divorce attorney will discuss the legal issues presented in your case, in light of your goals, and the position of your spouse on those issues. We always recommend the strategy best-suited to protecting your rights and achieving your goals.
With every family law petition involving minor children – including cases following paternity establishment between unwed parents – a parenting plan in the best interests of the child will be required. And unless the parents agree on a plan, they may be ordered to give mediation a fair try. In every case, child custody will be ordered with a determination of legal decision-making (often shared) and scheduled parenting time.
Of course, child support will also be ordered. Although the Arizona Child Support Guidelines are used to calculate child support obligations, some factors can be negotiated. The court does have some discretion to depart from the Guidelines by increasing or decreasing the monthly support amount, depending upon the circumstances. Maybe include money to fund a college trust account or to cover the cost of summer camp. An experienced attorney familiar with the assigned judge’s proclivities can be a real asset.
At the initial consultation, legal alternatives are discussed so that the client can make an informed decision. Preparing for court proceedings, developing legal arguments, strategizing the case, litigating at trial, these are the things we routinely do at the Stewart Law Group. And we do them well.
Generally, court proceedings for our family law and divorce clients, including those seeking military divorce, will be heard in the Superior Court in one of Arizona’s 15 counties. Chandler parents who are involved in a dispute over child relocation, for instance, may have their petitions heard in the Superior Court in Maricopa County.
Our probate clients’ also have proceedings in Superior Court. An example would be the probate of a deceased spouse’s testate estate having died with a Will.
When you have a civil probate or family law matter, or need criminal defense representation, we are always prepared for every possible twist and turn the proceedings may take. This requires experience. Each of us takes our professional responsibilities to heart, including the promise to zealously represent our clients. Our job is to protect each client’s legal rights and obtain the best possible results. Just as we will for you if we accept the case.
Orders of protection and injunctions against harassment (OOP and IAH, respectively) may be obtained from a judge of the Chandler Municipal Court. In a pre-divorce situation where there is a threat of domestic violence, for example, one spouse (the victim) may obtain an OOP to keep the other spouse away and prohibit contact and communication. Violating the OOP can result in immediate arrest by Chandler police or other law enforcement.
In a vulnerable adult situation, for instance, an OOP may be obtained to keep an abusive person from contacting an elderly victim and from visiting that victim’s residence. This is definitely something to discuss with a knowledgeable estate planning and probate attorney.
Estate planning involves more than preparing a Will and focusing on benefiting the lives of others after your passing, although that is certainly an important purpose. And a wise one. Our estate planning practice spans business succession plans, inter vivos trust agreements, powers of attorney, planned gifting to reduce estate and gift tax, health care powers of attorney and living wills, along with the Will and other instruments.
If you, or someone you care about, needs to speak with an understanding professional about a specific legal matter, then call 480-813-4800 to schedule a confidential consultation with an attorney. You can email us at email@example.com with a question, too. We will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible with no strings attached. If you have a question, consider posting it anonymously to Ask a Lawyer and get your question answered by an Arizona family law attorney.
Don’t leave yet. Read what a former client had to say about us:
“When I walked into [SLG] … I was put at ease! Starting with [my case manager who] explained the process of my case in a way that I could understand, to my attorney Amy [Dohrendorf], who took me step-by-step at what was the best action to take for my case. I was always informed … and every time I called with a question [my case manager] answered the phone and was able to help me or find the help I needed….”
-R.A., Former Client