We love Phoenix. This is where we live, the place we call “home.” This is where we gather with old friends and make new ones. It is where we raise our families. It’s where our kids graduate from high school and matriculate at Phoenix College, South Mountain Community College, or Arizona State University.
Phoenix beats steadily at the heart of our busy lives, just as it does for you and your family. At Stewart Law Group, the strong ties we have to the community enhance our ability to do good work for the clients we represent. Valley of the Sun – this is where our caring legal team has the greatest impact on people’s lives. We want the best for our clients and their families, and for the Phoenix neighborhoods where they reside. Whether they have homes in Agritopia, Woodlea Melrose, Medlock Place, Willo Historic District, or nearby.
Do you have a pressing legal question? Is this something you should discuss with an experienced attorney? We would like to hear from you. Our principal areas of practice are divorce and family law; estate planning and probate; DUI and general criminal defense, as well as family defense representation.
Whenever a client needs legal advice, our goal is to assist him or her in overcoming legal obstacles in a positive and meaningful way, with the best possible outcome and with what promises to be a brighter future. Accomplishing this requires productive attorney-client communications, honesty, and trust.
We cannot make assurances that the judge will rule favorably on every issue or that every result will be a sure thing. What our Phoenix family law attorneys do promise is to provide outstanding legal representation in everything we do. Each member of our legal team is wholly dedicated to the client’s case. Regardless of whether the matter at hand is a difficult civil appeal from the family court’s property division in divorce, for instance, or a challenging probate litigation, or even a complex trust matter. We are all in.
Strolling through the Desert Botanical Garden on Galvin Parkway, from appearances, it may seem that everyone but you is happy, successful, and doing just great. What appears on the surface to be an easy life without worry, or happy marriage without conflict, does not necessarily make it so. We know from decades of combined legal experience that many people are struggling silently, trying to keep up appearances. You are not alone.
With personal matters, particularly, people become expert actors. In our Phoenix practice, we have seen award-winning performances intended to mask the sadness, grief, anxiety, anger, frustration, and genuine hurt people feel inside. You or someone you care about may also be masking serious legal concerns, too. Put your trust in our abilities. Consult an experienced Phoenix family attorney with Stewart Law Group who can guide you through the legal process of resolving the disputed issues for good. Regain control over day-to-day circumstances and start living your life again. Get your career, your Phoenix lifestyle, and your personal relationships back on track. The sooner the better.
When there is domestic violence, unless the victim (a spouse or other family member, or someone in a current or past romantic relationship with the defendant) seeks help, the painful reality can remain hidden from outsiders. Until the victim obtains an order of protection (OOP) and can contact police should the defendant violate the OOP, the pattern of abuse often continues unmitigated or, worse, escalates. Attending a concert in public at Herberger Theater Center, a victim’s new bruises get covered-up with heavy makeup; long-sleeves hide marks and scratches on arms; and large sunglasses hide black eyes.
If there are allegations of child abuse or child neglect, then Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) may get involved. DCS may remove the child from an unsafe environment and place him or her in foster care. In some situations, proceedings to terminate parental rights may follow, allowing the child to be adopted. Talk to a Phoenix attorney about the seriousness of such allegations.
Emotions can run high in the Arizona divorce or family law case. Our legal team is sensitive to the anguish spouses and parents feel. We skillfully assist our clients in negotiating parenting plan agreements and separation agreements.
Mediating issues, such as spousal maintenance in Arizona military divorce, as an alternative to litigation is always an option in divorce. Mediation will be ordered by the family law judge in a child custody dispute, often in conjunction with a forensic child custody evaluation by a mental health professional. Parents can agree on a parenting time schedule, making good on promises to take the kids to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix on 7th Street or to the Arizona Science Center on Washington Street.
A divorce lawyer at our Phoenix office location will guide the client through all family court proceedings. From petition for dissolution of marriage and responsive pleading, to the discovery of facts and information, testimony and legal argument at trial, and final decree of dissolution. For some clients, attorney representation will continue beyond the decree, through review of the trial court’s final judgment in the Arizona Court of Appeals.
Many of our clients return to us for help a year or more after their divorce was final; or if unwed parents, then a year or more after their permanent parenting plan was ordered following paternity establishment. Parents sometimes need to consult their trusted family lawyers about modifying child custody or child support orders.
A client may have plans to relocate with the child. For example, a job promotion along with transfer could mean moving away from Phoenix (where the other parent lives) to a new home in Sierra Vista near Fort Huachuca. The parent’s job transfer could involve relocation out-of-state, too. In either instance, the other parent may object to the move away.
Objections to relocating the child out-of-state or over 100 miles away from Phoenix, in this example, often stem from the burden relocation can place on parenting time. Frequently, relocation reduces the frequency and quality of parenting time and increases travel expenses. The objecting parent may seek a hearing on the proposed relocation away from Phoenix. Because modified parenting time or legal decision-making authority are possible, if in the child’s best interests, discuss options with a family law attorney who has substantial practice with child relocation cases.
Post-decree modification of child custody orders may be raised for other reasons, too. There could be an emergency situation where, for example, the current environment is harmful for the child because of the parent’s drug abuse. In all other cases, the court will consider modification only upon a showing that there has been a continuing and substantial change of circumstances. One example of that might be a parent’s desire to increase parenting time from every weekend to nearly equal time. An example of changed circumstances? Perhaps the parent finished his or her degree at University of Phoenix and has a new full-time job with weekends off.
With a change in parenting time schedule, or the added restriction of supervised parenting time for the parent convicted of drug possession or other offense, then the court may recalculate child support obligations, too.
As children develop, especially into the teenage years, their needs and expectations change and, well, they can cost more. As the educational and personal needs of the children change over the years, your attorney can assist with child custody and child support modifications. For example, the child who exhibits extraordinary vocal talent may need private music lessons to continue to excel. If the obligor parent does not volunteer to pay more in monthly child support, then a motion to modify child support under the Arizona Child Support Guidelines could be filed.
Consulting an attorney with Stewart Law Group means getting helpful information that applies to your specific situation. It is an opportunity to ask questions and learn about the court process involved, whether it be in family court, probate court, or drafting complex estate plans. The attorney you meet will explain the specific legal issues raised in the case. (For example, a probate attorney will explain how a Last Will and Testament is probated after the testator’s death.) Other issues may arise after additional information, records, and evidence obtained during discovery comes to light. (For example, in a military divorce where mandatory financial disclosures are made, along with uniform and non-uniform interrogatories.)
The initial confidential consultation with the lawyer puts a road map on the table, so the client understands the direction the case must take, the forks in the road, the costs anticipated, and how long it may take for the case to settle or go to trial.
Our Phoenix attorneys are trained to quickly grasp the situation and begin strategizing essential elements of the civil case. They envision potential solutions early in the process and are skilled at negotiating creative solutions to the most challenging legal issues. When a client’s lawsuit does not settle completely, which could happen in any civil case, the outstanding issues must be resolved by the judge at trial. Each of our attorneys has substantial trial experience in the Superior Court in Maricopa County.
Life in the Valley is great, until it isn’t anymore. Don’t let your legal rights slip through your fingers. The first step is to call us at 602-548-3400 and schedule a confidential consultation with an attorney right here in Phoenix. (If you’re wondering “are you guys located near me”, we have other office locations throughout the Valley, too, should that be easier or more discreet for you.) Another option is to email us at email@example.com, we’ll respond to your inquiry right away. It is all up to you now.
Just one more thing. Here’s what one former client said about the passion our attorneys have for their work:
“Thank you so very much for all of your hard work! You did a fantastic job and I can’t thank you enough for getting me through a very difficult time in my life … You are a fantastic attorney … keep your passion for what you do.”
– G.W., Former Client
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In early 2017 I was having a living trust put together by another law firm specializing in trusts. During that work the trust attorney told me I needed to get a financial situation with my ex-wife finalized before the living trust could be completed. I asked the trust attorney if she had a recommendation for an attorney in family law, she said she had worked with a number of family law attorneys and that Fred Ruotolo with the Stewart Law Group was the one she would recommend because she had gotten excellent feedback time after time regarding Fred.
I hired Fred. We discussed what I was willing to settle monetarily for with my ex-wife. Within 2 weeks she had signed off on an agreement that was fully 25% below what I was willing to write a check for. Fred did a wonderful job. I not only had Fred's email address but I also had his direct office line and his cell phone number. I never had a problem reaching Fred or his assistant Erica.
I am very happy my trust attorney was familiar with Fred.