Family Law Overview | Stewart Law Group

Family Law Overview

Your Arizona divorce and child custody case are certain to change life as you now know it. You need to be fully prepared for those changes. As the legal compass in this life-changing process, our job as divorce attorneys is to provide a strong hand in guiding clients through the divorce and child custody proceedings. We want to help you make reasoned choices and good decisions that work for you and your children. Divorce ends the marriage, yes. But divorce is also the beginning of your new life. A potentially much better way of life for you and your family. Our Arizona family lawyers are here to help.

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Arizona’s Family Law Team – Because Family Matters

Stewart Law Group is very proud to be recognized as among the top divorce and child custody law firms in Phoenix and the Valley. We are a dedicated, motivated group of divorce attorneys, known for our professionalism, trial preparation, litigation strategies, and attorney ethics. Our greatest source of pride, though, is in the happy faces of families we’ve helped over the years. We can help you, too.

We work very hard for our clients, every one of whom is important to us. You matter to us. The happiness and well-being of your children matter to us. We are Arizona’s family law team because, for each of our attorneys, family matters more than anything else. With our legal team securely on your side, you can be confident that we are doing absolutely everything in our power to obtain the best possible results in your divorce or custody dispute.

One of our Phoenix divorce attorneys can assist you in navigating the legal challenges ahead, so you can start building a new life for yourself and a better one for your children. Whenever you are ready to talk to someone about your situation, we are here to listen.

Child Custody in Arizona Law

Whether the Arizona case ahead is a divorce with young children or determination of custody between unmarried parents, court proceedings and discovery are designed to uncover relevant facts and circumstances. Very important decisions will be made. This can be a difficult, sometimes painful process as much as it can be one of self-discovery. Seldom is developing a parenting plan simple or easy. But the end result should be a permanent parenting plan (ARS 25-403.02) that withstands the test of time and your youngest child’s minority.

Evidence of good parenting from reports, documents, social media, testimony, and expert witnesses, and from other sources, is essential to a winning custody strategy. And is essential to fully protecting your right to co-parent (ARS 25-403.01) and enjoy equal access to your son and daughter.

Learn About Child Custody Proceedings

The whole notion of court-ordered legal control and physical possession of one’s own children is a strange concept for many parents, at first. But most people adjust to the new lexicon quickly and, with the assistance of good lawyers, come to understand why custody negotiations and custody mediation are so very important to a positive outcome. A parenting plan that is best for children and works well for both parents.

Prior to filing for divorce, few parents have reason to think of child-rearing as taking place in two households. However, that is precisely what occurs with most custody arrangements today. Many fathers are very involved in their children’s daily lives before divorce; and they hope to maintain and build those bonds after the divorce is over.

Other Child Custody Proceedings:

Arizona law has specific terms for two basic parental roles: legal decision-making and parenting time. Joint legal decision-making and equal parenting time is not at all uncommon, although your case may or may not follow that pattern. Every case is different.

Understandably, discussing these unfamiliar legal concepts with a lawyer and inserting your children’s names can be emotionally draining. It helps to share common ground; attorneys with Stewart Law Group are parents, too. When we say we understand how unsettling this may be for you, we mean it. We appreciate the deeply held values and intense emotions that accompany serious discussions about our children. As divorce lawyers, we will help with every legal aspect of your case. If you desire a referral for additional support, then we can also direct you to divorce counselors and other advisors who can help you manage the emotional turmoil and mental stress associated with divorce and child custody.

As part of the custody case, our legal team works with child custody evaluators, mediators, parenting coordinators, mental health professionals, and best interest attorneys, among others. All of whom may be involved, in one way or another, to help the parties resolve disputes and to assist the court in determining what parenting plan terms are in the children’s best interests. This is a tall order, but we do it every day and do it well. Also, if you have experienced an alleged violation of parenting time rights (ARS 25-414), we can help.

Child Support in Arizona Law

Child support will be ordered in conjunction with custody orders. Calculations are made under the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. Because we have such guidelines, child support tends to be one of the more predictable aspects of the case. Although the court may deviate from guidelines for good cause by increasing or decreasing the amount of child support to be paid by the obligor parent.

Child custody determinations can be among the most difficult cases, but there are ways to improve success. Experienced attorneys know best how to help clients negotiate agreement to a parenting plan. And if agreement is not reached, how to litigate the important remaining issues strategically and persuasively. Never do the child custody lawyers with Stewart Law Group lose sight of the need to always assist clients in choosing the path that is in the children’s best interests and, if anything changes, help with custody modifications (ARS 25-411).

Property Settlement in Arizona Divorce

With divorce comes property settlement, requiring identification of assets and debts, valuation of community property, and final division of the marital estate. This can be a complicated process as when, for example, there is a professional practice to value, real estate holdings to identify, offshore trusts to divide, and hidden assets to locate and bring to the table for division. Every divorce has its unique challenges.

Stewart Law Group has the talent, experience, and professional resources to handle settlement negotiations involving the most complex marital estates and to aggressively litigate when necessary. Our divorce attorneys work closely with private investigators, forensic accountants (certified public accountants), data retrieval experts, business valuators, analysts, and other experts who assist us in pulling together everything we need to present your strongest case. With over six decades of combined legal experience, we are skilled at preparing for every scenario including the need for an equalization payment. We never shoot from the hip or leave anything to chance. Visit our property information hub to learn how community assets and debts are divided in Arizona divorce law.

Spousal Maintenance in Arizona Divorce

In every Arizona divorce or legal separation, there may be an award of financial support for one spouse to be paid by the other. No, this is not alimony. Instead, such financial support is in the form of spousal maintenance which is ordered without regard to the recipient’s sex or gender. Visit our spousal maintenance information hub for more details.

For the economically dependent spouse, receiving regular support payments is often an integral aspect of a plan for that party’s financial stability and eventual economic independence. Spousal maintenance may be available to help with college tuition, job retraining, or employment rehabilitation. For older spouses who were married for many years, who lack the skills or education to become economically independent, long-term spousal support may be something to ask for. Perhaps paid until full retirement age under Social Security or until private pension benefits are received as part of the retirement division.

For the party who is asked to continue supporting a former spouse, a reasonable plan for how long payments should last, and what the money is intended to provide for, should be carefully investigated and negotiated. The obligor should not be so over-burdened with debt that his or her financial stability is jeopardized, especially when child support must also be paid. There is much to consider in determining what is fair and reasonable when it comes to spousal maintenance. Analysis from a vocational rehabilitation expert may be needed, along with other expert testimony.

What to Expect from Your Arizona Divorce Team

You can rely on us to expertly guide you through the divorce process, and to get you through it as quickly as possible. Arizona divorce can take a few months or up to a year or more, depending upon the issues and circumstances. Know that you will receive the one-on-one professional legal service you expect and deserve from a top-rated law firm. Our legal team will provide you with unparalleled representation designed to give you the best possible results in your case.

The firm’s founder, attorney Scott David Stewart, is AV-Rated by Martindale Hubbell. He is also rated 10-of-10 and “Superb” by Avvo, Inc. His standard of care, implemented by everyone at Stewart Law Group, translates into outstanding legal services for clients.

Here are a few more benefits you will appreciate about our law firm. We do not over schedule our attorneys, so they always have time available to address your legal concerns and are always fully prepared at every stage of your case. You will not be lost in the shuffle. You will not be just another divorce case. As a client-focused law firm, we believe:

  • You and your divorce are unique, presenting specific legal and personal issues for final resolution. Your life circumstances, your goals and expectations, your children’s needs and their futures, these are all uniquely your circumstances and should be respected as such. Never accept a boilerplate, fill-in-the blank divorce where your personal story is meaningless.
  • You need a legal strategy that resolves all outstanding issues in the most favorable manner possible for you and your children. Do not expect to stumble onto a winning legal strategy, that may work in the movies but seldom in real life. A positive outcome is a foreseeable consequence of your lawyer’s experience, intelligence, knowledge, and diligence in obtaining the best possible results.
  • You want excellent legal representation at a reasonable fee. You want to preserve as much money for your family as possible. We want the same for you. Our transparent rate structure will allow you to anticipate what your divorce expenses will be at each step in the divorce process, so you can manage your finances at all times.
  • You want the best that technology can offer you in your divorce. We leverage technology, constantly upgrading, to provide you with all the tools you need to make your divorce easier and the results better. Start with the divorce information hubs and child support calculator apps on this client-focused website.
  • Each divorce attorney with the Stewart Law Group has the expert resources necessary to handle your case, and to handle it very well. Whether you have a professional practice, substantial wealth, military pension, diversified portfolio, multiple residences, or young children from more than one marriage, you can put your confidence in us.

When Emotions Run High in Divorce and Child Custody

Divorce and custody matters are often emotionally charged. There is little about the process that is not “personal.” The case can require a delicate balancing act to protect your interests, today, while considering your future needs and the future needs of your children.

How you choose to work through sensitive issues now can have a profound effect on future relationships. At Stewart Law Group, we always put clients first. Family really does matter here. We understand the challenges our clients face. Reaching the decision to end a marriage is enormously difficult. Once that point is reached, we have found in our experience that it is usually in your best interest to approach the divorce process from as rational and practical approach as you can possibly manage. We know how extraordinarily difficult that can be given the emotional issues that you are also coping with. Keep trying, it will get easier with time.

Divorce Changes Everything

Have you already separated? Then you know that divorce changes everything. Are you both trying to remain in the same household? Then you know how much tension there can be in a broken marriage.

Sometimes we all need a pep talk. Please take this as the encouragement it is meant to be. Many people have made the difficult choice you are now facing and they are doing fine now. There are milestones in every person’s life. The day you were married. The day your child was born. The day a loved one passed away. The day you filed for divorce. Knowing that others have experienced these difficulties, too, can help keep matters in perspective. You will get through this.

One day you will look back on how your life was before the divorce. You will do so as a different person the man or woman who first sought legal representation. Divorce changes everything. It is important to us that we help you move forward with your life.

We have a great deal of experience in representing people who once stood where you stand now, on the threshold of a new beginning. They overcame challenges and have gotten on with their lives. With our help, you can, too.

Were You a Child of Divorce?

An adult whose parents divorced sometimes has difficulty accepting his or her own divorce, even when there is domestic violence (ARS 25-403.03) or substance abuse (ARS 25-403.03). Did you make a promise to yourself that your marriage would never fail like your parents’ marriage failed?

Moving on with life means letting some of the past go. Change is difficult for all of us. And leaving a marriage represents one of life’s biggest upheavals. Do not try to do this divorce on your own. Divorce proceedings are not something to be learned on the job. In fact, that could be disastrous for you. Instead, accept that you may need help from many different quarters. From friends and family. From pastors and mentors. From a trusted advisor who knows you and wants only the best for you. This is the time to hire the right divorce attorney to represent you, someone to protect your rights and advocate your case at every crossroad.

You must do what is best for you and your family. Seldom does that equate with existing in a marriage where there is no love, or where there is depression and sadness, constant bickering, anger and frustration, or hurtfulness. Let the past go. Do not hold yourself to a promise that cannot be kept without surrendering your very identity. Divorce is not failure. Divorce is the opportunity to fix something at the very heart of your life that does not work. We know divorce can be extraordinarily difficult given the emotional issues that you may also be coping with. We can help if you ask us.

Confidence to Move Forward After Divorce

Divorce is a life-changing experience for every Arizona family who goes through it. To be successful, you need confidence in the legal representation and in the court proceedings. Reaching the decision to end a marriage is enormously difficult, but once marriage counseling and other alternatives to breaking-up are exhausted, it is time to move on. With divorce pending, approach every proceeding rationally and practicably. Keep your cool. Be prepared.

At Stewart Law Group, we work as a well-trained team. Serving Maricopa County, Pinal County, and all of Arizona, each of our divorce attorneys is dedicated to helping every client secure a better future. We place special emphasis on helping each person make a successful transition to life after divorce. We work very closely with our clients to effectively evaluate their situations and give them useful options. We accomplish this while taking into consideration the financial, legal, and psychological impact divorce and child custody cases can have. We always put our clients first. At Stewart Law Group, the future of every Phoenix family and child matters to us.

Need a Family or Divorce Lawyer Near You?

Looking for a family lawyer near you or a divorce lawyer in Phoenix? Stewart Law Group has been serving Maricopa County, Pinal County, and all of Arizona since 2004. We have office locations in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, Peoria, Tempe, and Gilbert so please visit us at the location that is closest to you.