Tips from Chandler family law attorney

Co-Parenting During Vacations and Holidays

As divorced parents plan the first holiday season under new family arrangements, there may be some tension from the divorce lingering around. Each parent will want to spend time with their children, and through formal arrangements may have been agreed upon, but may be hard to stick to. You should focus on creating a co-parenting plan that you both can agree to. The main focus should be your children and providing a happy holiday, which may also lay the basis for the New Year to come.

Co-parenting arrangements

Co-parenting arrangements come in all forms and are tailored for the unique needs of each family. A common arrangement is for parents to annually alternate each holiday. Sometimes parents may choose to split holiday time like Christmas morning is spent with mom and the evening is spent with dad. Another arrangement is to have children celebrate certain holidays the weekend before the actual holiday, and they can then spend the actual holiday with their other parent.

Regardless of the arrangement, there are certain actions parents can take, which could help ease some of the unwanted stress during this time of year:

  • Communicate:

    It is expected that during the holiday season that issues arise and make an impact to agree upon plans. Being able to communicate respectfully and directly with the other parent creates a positive atmosphere and alleviates frustration during an already stressful time of the year. We should all be mindful that nonverbal communication between parents creates just as much, if not more, of an impact than words that are spoken in the children’s presence. Parents that take a unified, respectful approach to parent arrangements and issues that may arise helps to foster a healthy environment for the children. Perhaps the weather has played a role in plans being canceled, or a family member’s visit has been moved to a different day/time. When parents are open to cooperation and flexibility, it helps to ensure that the children have the best holiday possible. While it may not always be possible (or expected) to adjust the schedule, being able to communicate possible problems allows alternate plans to be made.

  • Focus on the Children:

    Families celebrate various holidays and traditions that create lasting memories with the children. While being able to introduce the children to certain traditions is important, the main focus of any parenting arrangements should be to ensure that the children have the best holiday possible. Sometimes it seems there just aren’t enough hours in the day for everything a parent would like to do, and when the time is shared between both parents during one holiday, it can be even more difficult to fit in all the activities a parent would like. Perhaps some activities can be enjoyed either before or after the holidays, allowing the children to fully enjoy the time with each parent.  Taking a child-centered approach to the holiday and showing respect for each parent’s role creates a thread of continuity in families that are now in two homes.

  • New Traditions:

    One of the most stressful parts of the holiday season for newly divorced parents is that many elements of the holidays change due to physical separation. Sharing parenting time can be stressful as the children will be enjoying different activities with the other parent. By starting new traditions with the children, each parent can allow the children to create new memories, rather than focusing on how things “used to be.” The holidays tend to be stressful, regardless of specific family circumstances. The first holiday season after a divorce may be especially hard, as the whole family is adjusting to a new life. With careful planning and cooperation from both parents, the holidays can provide great memories and wonderful moments for the parents and children alike.

It is always best to be flexible during the holiday season. Even if you and your former spouse have an agreed-upon holiday arrangement, there are things that can pop up out of nowhere. There may be situations where something last minute pops up and it may require a change in plan. These are the moments where it is best to be flexible, so your children don’t end up having their holiday ruined. Don’t forget, just a holiday like Thanksgiving and Christmas, only occur once a year, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate it more than once. If your children won’t be with you on a specific holiday, you can celebrate the holiday during the weekend before or after. If you have any questions or if you are looking for representation for your divorce, give Shaffer Family Law in Chandler a call. We can help make sure that the holiday plan that is arranged is fair for all those involved. Call us at (480) 470-3030 today!

Social Media Habits During Your Divorce

Divorce is not easy and nowadays, there are a lot of people who readily use social media as an outlet to vent their emotions. Social media is great for staying in touch with family and friends, sharing experiences, and meeting people with similar interests. However, during a divorce, social media can be destructive and risky. This is why you should be careful of what you post on any social media outlet and tone down a few common bad habits.

  • Rantings: Although it may help release from stress to express your emotions to the internet. Though, many people seem to forget that anything they put on the internet is far more lasting than imagined. While may not having any bad intentions, sharing any information about your divorce, whether it is details about your spouse’s unfaithfulness or financial issues, should be avoided. Unfortunately, these types of posts could be used against you as evidence in the divorce – even if you’re no longer connected via social media. Remember, they may still find out what you’re posting through friends, relatives, or other common connections. The best thing to do is not to assume that your social accounts are private.
  • Sharing Your Location: Social media makes it easy for us to keep track of one another. It’s almost a natural instinct nowadays to share a picture of yourself on vacation or “check in” at a fancy restaurant or store on Facebook or Instagram. But, if you are going through any type of legal disagreement, you remember potential consequences. Sharing your location during your divorce could give your ex-spouse the information they need to use against you in court. If your post that you’re in Hawaii or that you’re shopping at Nordstrom, they could use that information as evidence that you don’t need as much alimony as you are asking for. In some cases, it could be used to argue that you don’t have enough time to share equal custody of your children. So, during this time, try to consider how sharing your location could negatively affect you down the road.
  • Images of Alcohol: Sure, posting a photo of you and your friends enjoying glasses of wine may be innocent, but again, it could somehow be used against you in court. Any image you post should be considered potential evidence that could be against you. It could negatively affected the outcome of a custody battle, property division argument, or any other part of your divorce. It is especially important because if you are caught drinking, even just one drink, on a night your children were with you, your ex could use it as evidence that you are an unfit parent. Of course, you can disprove this accusation, but it is better not to risk it. Don’t ever share images or posts about alcohol, drugs, or anything else that could be taken as dangerous or reckless behavior. Be sure to tell those friends or family members who like to tag you photos to avoid doing so.
  • Sharing Divorce Material: In any legal case, family law or otherwise, you should never share legal information with anyone excluding your lawyers. While it is tempting to vent about your frustrations online or with coworkers, or even in your journal, you should avoid sharing anything about your divorce plan, meetings with your lawyer, court appearances and more. If you really need support, be sure that the person you are talking to is a trusted friend or family member, someone you know will not leak information.

Remember, social media posts can and have been used in court as evidence against people. It is important to keep any sensitive information to yourself and especially away from online outlets. It not only affects your life but can also make things a lot more difficult on your children as well. If your kids see or hear you saying hurtful things about their other parent, it could leave them feeling guilt-ridden and unhappy. Instead of chancing this, it’s best just to keep any kind of sensitive information to yourself and check in with your children.

Child Support Calculations in Arizona

If you’re going to be trying to get someone to pay child support or will be paying it yourself, you’re probably wondering about child support calculations in Arizona. To find out how much child support is owed to the custodial parent, Arizona law goes by the amount of money that would have been used to support the child(ren) if the parents were still together. The state will take this projected amount of money then take into consideration the gross income of both parents and the amount of time they both take care of the child(ren) in a year to calculate child support. But there could be other factors that could impact the total amount, including medical expenses, educational expenses, extra costs for children with special needs, and more.

Arizona Child Support Calculations

It’s not always easy to figure out child support calculations in Arizona since each case is different. It’s best to go through an Arizona child custody lawyer if you’re unsure of the process, looking to get child support or need to pay it and can’t afford the current payment asked of you despite the calculations. Hiring an Arizona child custody attorney will give you the peace of mind that they’re fighting for your case so that you don’t have to worry about how you’ll support your child or how you’ll pay for them if you can barely support yourself.

Child support calculations in Arizona usually account for a maximum of 50% of an employee’s disposable earnings, when it comes to wage garnishment for such payments. Under Arizona law, the child support garnishments are a priority over other state withholdings. However, the court has the power to base child support on other factors and can deviate from the state’s usual model. This includes the needs of the child, their living situation before the separation or divorce, and the ability to pay by a parent.

spending your money wisely in an arizona family matter

The court will require each parent to fill out a financial statement in order to get an idea of the financial status of both parents. This helps them make an informed decision when it comes to child support for the child(ren). In this statement, parents must be very detailed on their monthly income and expenses in order for the judge to get a clear picture. Although, maintenance of the previous standard of living before the parents separated is the goal for the court. An Arizona child custody attorney can provide a better understanding of these calculations during a consultation.

If a parent is already paying child support for a child from another relationship, some states might allow them to deduct that amount from their net income figure, but that’s why it’s important to complete a financial statement that includes such an expense. Also, a judge in many states can look at a parent’s ability to earn in addition to their actual earning. A judge might order more child support if there is a discrepancy in earnings. Actual earnings are a huge factor in determining how much child support should be paid.

Can Existing Child Support Be Changed?

Despite agreeing on a modification to existing child support number, both parties must have that modification approved by a judged in order for it to be legally enforced. However, when one parent wants more money then they’ll need to hire an attorney that specializes in child custody to help them request the change in court.

An Arizona child custody attorney will help make a more successful modification by arguing the pros of the proposed modification, thus strengthening your case when you go to court. As a general rule, you can’t modify an existing child custody payment order unless the one proposing the modification can show a change of circumstances. This helps prevent frequent modification requests to the court. So in order to make sure that you get the extra money needed, a Chandler child custody attorney will plead your case for you in front of a judge.

Examples of changes that support modification orders in child support include:

  • The loss of a job
  • A job change that results in less money by the main parent
  • A medical emergency for the child
  • The payer’s inability to pay because of an illness or another financial burden.
  • Temporary economic hardship of the recipient parent
  • A medical hardship by the recipient parent
  • Cost of living increase in the state
  • If either parent becomes disabled
  • There’s a change in the needs of the child(ren)

How Custody Arrangements Affect Child Support

The parent awarded sole legal custody of the child is usually the one who receives payment from the other parent. If parents are granted joint physical custody, then their child support obligations will be based on the amount of money that each parent earns plus the percentage of time the child spends with them. If you’re still unsure about custody arrangements and child support, you can contact a child custody attorney in Arizona for more help.

To get an estimate of how much you might owe if you’re the parent paying child support, there are many child support calculators online to help. However, these calculator tools are only estimates and you won’t really know the exact amount the judge will make you pay until a ruling.

It’s best if you contact a Chandler child custody attorney to get more details and better estimates. Our attorneys will also be able to help you fulfill any legal formalities that the court requires in terms of custody support regardless if you’re the parent paying or receiving the money.

Choosing A Good Divorce Attorney

If you’re getting ready for a divorce, you’ll want to hire the best divorce lawyer in Chandler, AZ, to win your case. Facing a divorce can be a daunting and intimidating experience in your life, so you’ll want a knowledgeable, experienced and professional representing you and your best interests in a divorce. Finding a good Chandler divorce lawyer can make or break your case, so you want to make sure that you enlist the right one. But with so many Chandler divorce attorneys to choose from, finding the best one can be a complex decision.

Choosing the right Chandler divorce attorney matters for a number of reasons. Every lawyer has their own ways of doing things and their individual approach to divorce. You’ll want to find one that you believe will best represent your case.

Some lawyers are great in court, but can’t handle a collaborative divorce, while others are amazing negotiators, but aren’t up to par when it comes to taking it all the way to the trail.

Different Chandler divorce lawyers excel at different types of divorces. Some are great at handling financial backgrounds, while others are amazing when it comes to handling high conflict divorces. If you want to have a successful divorce, you’ll have to know how to go about choosing the best divorce lawyer in Chandler who is going to be perfect for you.  

To help you make the right choice, here’s how to choose the best divorce attorney in Chandler, AZ:


  • Deciding on what sort of legal help you’ll need


Anyone who is going through a divorce can benefit from legal advice, but not everyone can afford a bit shot Chandler divorce lawyer and their hefty fees. But you might not need a big law firm to represent your divorce if you don’t have a complicated situation, such as own a lot of companies, assets or have a complex financial situation. If you have no kids, a short marriage, no real estate, and easy financials, then you won’t need a huge Chandler divorce attorney and can simply hire a qualified lawyer to handle represent your case.


  • Figuring out what kind of divorce process you’ll want to use


Besides deciding on the sort of legal help you’ll need, you’ll also want to think about the type of divorce process you’ll want to use. This will also help dictate what sort of Chandler divorce attorney you’ll be on the lookout for. There are several types of divorce, including litigation, mediation, collaborative and a few others. Once you know which route you’d like to take, then you can go about choosing a lawyer that specializes in that type to represent you.

  • How much you can afford to pay

The best divorce lawyer in Chandler won’t come cheap, so you’ll need to check your finances to see what you can realistically afford to pay. Be honest with yourself since you don’t want to go broke just on divorce lawyer fees. Finding one that fits your budget is very important when trying to choose a good divorce attorney.


  • Do your research


Finding the best divorce attorney in Chandler won’t be easy if you don’t put in the work. Ask around for referrals from friends and family. If you don’t get any good leads, make sure to use the Internet wisely. Pay special attention to the site’s philosophy so to get a better idea of their abilities.

Now that you know how to go about finding the best divorce lawyer in Chandler, you’ll need to know what makes them the best choice. Here are some important qualities to look for when searching for a divorce lawyer:

  • Experience and Knowledge

You’ll want to find a divorce lawyer that doesn’t just represent you but can do it really well. To do so, the lawyer must be experienced and have extensive legal knowledge when it comes to various divorce processes. Your attorney should be knowledgeable of all the various complexities of your case so that the outcome is successful.


  • Great Communication


You’ll be dealing with your lawyer a lot as your divorce progresses, so it’s key that they communicate well. You’ll need to effectively communicate any expectations and concerns and then your chosen attorney will need to act on them in your best interest. If you feel that your attorney isn’t listening to you or doesn’t explain things in a way that you understand, it’s time to find another divorce attorney. The best divorce lawyer in Chandler will also need to effectively and passionately communicate in court so that your case is successful.

  • Vast Support and Resources

You most likely won’t be your attorney’s only client, so you might not have their undivided attention. But a good lawyer should have great support and lots of resources so that you never feel neglected. They should have a strong support staff and have other lawyers to help you in the case of an emergency. Since they’ll also be busy with other cases, resources will be very important so that your case is prepared in a timely manner and nothing falls through the cracks.


  • Great availability


When looking for the best divorce attorney, you’ll want to consider someone that will be readily available at important points in your case. They should be available when you have questions or respond in a timely manner. They shouldn’t be totally swamped with other cases so that you are still a priority

  • Work Well Under Pressure

There may be points in your divorce cases when things will get heated, so you’ll need a lawyer that works well under pressure. They should be able to maintain composure and have self-control in all circumstances, including in court, when dealing with your ex’s lawyer or when getting back bad news on a case. Surprises can happen in divorces, and your lawyer should be able to remain composed so that they put your best interests first.

Family Court Decorum

When going to an Arizona Family Court for a divorce or child custody proceeding, it’s important that you act in a respectful manner. Going to court is a very serious affair and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Visitors are required to follow a certain etiquette that not many are aware of. When in an Arizona family court for any reason, there are several stated, and undated, rules and regulations regarding conduct and demeanor for audience members, litigants, jurors, attorneys, and other attendees.

While legal professionals learn about courtroom proper courtroom etiquette while in law school, the general public has no clue as to what sort of Arizona family court manner is required and expected. No matter who you are, many of the same rules apply. You must show respect for the court’s rules and in doing so, you’re not only helping the court, but also yourself and your case if you’re there on a legal matter. If you need to appear in Arizona family court for any reason, here are some etiquette rules you’ll need to follow as specified by a Chandler family law attorney:

Preparing for Court

You should start following the court’s decorum regulations even before you show up. When you are preparing for court, it is important to make a good impression on the judge and anyone else involved in decision making for your case. You should always try to improve your chances for success in court despite the fact that your lawyer, court staff and judges are doing all the work. By preparing for court, you’re actually helping them do their jobs smoothly and efficiently.

Things to remember when preparing for court as advised by a Chandler family law attorney include:

  • Arriving early at the courthouse. Being late can cause a bad impression on the judge and the rest of the courtroom staff, which can negatively impact your case.
  • Always plan for delays in transportation, parking and the like. Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before you were told to be at the courthouse by your lawyer.
  • Know that parking can be a headache and can take a huge chunk of time so arriving at least an hour before a set time is highly recommended.
  • Know the time and location of where you need to be. Courts can be confusing and complex places, so research where you need to meet beforehand so that you know where you’re going the day assigned by your Arizona family law attorney.
  • Always review the documents your Chandler family law attorney has given you and know what you need to bring with you to court. The last thing you want to do is forget critical paperwork at home, which can derail the success of your case.
  • Dress appropriately for court, which includes a suit and ties for men and nothing too risqué for women. You want to look as professional and decent as possible, so taking careful consideration in what you’re wearing is necessary.
  • If for whatever reason, you can’t make it to court on the specified date and time, you’ll want to contact your Arizona family law attorney immediately to reschedule or make other necessary plans.

How to Act When You Appear in Court

Once you’re present at the courthouse, your conduct and appearance will matter. You don’t want to be rude, inconsiderate or emotional in front of the judge or the staff. Judges expect everyone in their courtroom to pay attention and be respectful. Once in the courtroom, it’s wise to follow your lawyer’s lead, be respectful and stay quiet. A court is a serious place of business, so acting in violation of its decorum will result in serious consequences.

In court, a judge represents the law and all important decisions about your case. You must treat them with the utmost respect and address them as “your honor.” Here are a few tips on how you should act when you appear in court:

  • Never eat or drink in a courtroom.
  • Children are not allowed in traditional courtrooms unless stated otherwise. There are certain family courtrooms that are less intimidating for children and specialize in cases related to children.
  • Turn off all mobile devices given the judge won’t tolerate any interruptions.
  • Stand when a judge enters the room. If you aren’t sure what to do, follow your lawyer’s lead.
  • Be attentive in court and listen to everyone talking.
  • Never interrupt anyone speaking, especially the judge. Only one person can speak at a time.
  • To not argue with anyone, even if you strongly disagree with what they’re saying. Ask for your lawyer’s help if anything.
  • If the judge asks you any questions, always answer truthfully. You do not want to compromise your case by lying in court.
  • Always turn to your lawyer if you need help or have any questions. They are there to represent you.
  • Don’t be rude to the judge or courtroom staff. Copping attitude with anyone can make you and your case look bad.
  • No matter what happens, always remain in utter control of your emotions and let your lawyer handle everything.

After Court

Once you’ve appeared in court, your lawyer will follow up and keep you informed of anything else, including necessary paperwork, follow up court dates and the like. Never try to attempt to contact the judge since your lawyer is your representative and will deal with any further court matters if necessary. Always speak with your lawyer if anything.

Making sure you know how to act in a courtroom can help make your case a success no matter what the legal matter is. Once you’ve visited a courtroom for the first time, you’ll come to understand why it’s important you act in a professional and respectful manner.

How to Plan for Your Arizona Divorce

If you’d like to have the best possible outcome for your Arizona divorce, you’ll need to plan effectively. The decision to end your marriage shouldn’t be taken lightly. However, once you’ve decided to separate from your spouse, you’ll want to have a plan in order to save you money, time and stress.  Plus, planning for your Arizona divorce will also help you avoid any potential challenges that might arise in the future so that you can facilitate the upcoming process as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Ending a marriage can be a very emotional time, which is why it’s best if you meet with a Chandler family law attorney. You might be feeling lost, upset, sad and other mixed emotions, so a Chandler divorce attorney can help put the entire process in perspective and help you during this difficult time. The Arizona divorce process can be hard to comprehend if you’re not sure what to do, which is why the Arizona divorce lawyer you choose to help you is important to your case.

You’ll want to hire the Arizona divorce attorney you feel most comfortable with for additional success. But as you go about finding the Arizona divorce attorney you mesh well with, you’ll also need to plan out a few things on your end. Here are a few things you’ll want to be aware of when thinking about the Arizona divorce process:

  •        Those who file for divorce in the state of Arizona must have lived there for at least 90 days before filling out a Dissolution of Marriage petition in an Arizona divorce court.

As you try and figure out which of the Arizona divorce attorney to hire, you’ll want to start planning for the divorce. Doing so will make you more prepared for when you finally hire the right Chandler family law attorney so that the entire process is as smooth as possible. Here are some steps to follow when planning your Arizona divorce:

  1. Prepare all documentation

The first step is preparing all your documents, pictures, records, account details, and more so that you can give it all to the Arizona divorce attorney you hire. Make sure that you’re mindful as to how you access these documents as the situation can quickly change as you file for divorce and serve your ex. Things might get heated afterward so taking full advantage of the relationship before they’re served it is vital to get all the required evidence for the divorce case. Once the divorce is in the process, it can be hard to obtain access to these documents.

  1. Talk to a Chandler family law attorney

You’ll want to seek legal advice on your divorce and talking to a Chandler divorce attorney will help answer any questions you have and provide you with further guidance on how to proceed with the Arizona divorce process. Even if you decide not to be represented in court, the Arizona divorce you meet with will go over your options and let you know about other alternative dispute resolution methods you can also use. Always consult a Chandler divorce attorney before signing any separation agreement (or anything in your divorce). Plan to talk about your specific situation and ask what the Arizona divorce law entails regarding your case. You’ll also want to know about your rights and obligations under Arizona law, what the division of assets and debts will look like, child custody if children are involved and what the laws are in Arizona regarding that.

  1. Get your financial disclosures ready

You and your ex will need to provide financial disclosures, which will be disclosed during the discovery phase of your divorce. To prepare for this, you’ll need to make copies of your bank statements, 401ks, investments, taxes, pay stubs and anything else related to your financials when you were married. This is essential and unavoidable. Don’t just rely on your ex to get everything ready since you’ll need to provide your own copies to your Chandler divorce lawyer. If you suspect that your ex might be hiding assets or concealing past income from you, talk to your Chandler divorce attorney! Also, you’ll need to organize all these files effectively so that your lawyer can go through them whenever needed efficiently. Since marital property needs to be divided when going through a divorce, you’ll need copies of all properties you own together, too.

  1. Get ready for the division of property

Under Arizona law, marital debts and assets are considered community property and must be divided by both parties. So, each spouse is entitled to half of the estate and also responsible for half of any debt accumulated in the marriage. Dividing property in an Arizona divorce usually begins with an inventory of what’s shared, so you’ll need to prepare for a valuation of all property that’s owned together, both personal and real estate. Go through your home and list all furniture, furnishings, electronics, art, collectibles and the like. Take pictures and create an itemized list. Also, write down all real property you own together and any assets at each location.

  1. Create an expense report for your household

Your Chandler divorce lawyer might have you create a monthly household expense report that will include all your bills. This will help them fight for any alimony you might be entitled to.

  1. Have a plan for the children

Divorces tend to get messy when they involve children. Make sure that you stay engaged in their life as you go through this divorce process. If they are old enough, ask what they’d like to happen at the end of the divorce and if they’d be okay with joint custody. Talk with your Chandler divorce attorney about custody issues and the like so that you are aware of all of your options when it comes to your shared children.

spending your money wisely in an arizona family matter

How to Save Money on Hiring An Arizona Family Lawyer

How to Save Money on hiring Chandler, Arizona Family Lawyer

There are several ways to save money during your divorce

Whether it’s a child custody case or a divorce, you’ll most likely want to hire a family lawyer in Chandler to help guide you through the process so that the outcome is successful. But many wonder how much is the cost of hiring a family lawyer and if they can really afford to hire one for their specific case. Worrying about how a family lawyer cost will affect your budget is normal. You don’t want to blow your entire savings on a family lawyer in Chandler after all! 

The Cost of Divorce Attorney in Arizona

Everybody knows divorce is costly—but if you ask, it seems few people are willing to tell you exactly HOW costly. One figure that’s been floated about as “average” for an Arizona divorce is $15,000-$20,000. Of course, every divorce is different. There are different types of expenses associated with divorce: filing fees and attorney fees are the primary categories, along with fees for the services of other professionals, such as accountants and appraisers.
As you might expect, the cost of a contested high net worth divorce will be the highest. You can think of this as the worst-case scenario. If there are significant assets in the marriage and the case is heavily contested, you can expect the costs to rise significantly. In such a case each attorney will likely be engaged in an extensive discovery process, and there will be a protracted period of litigation involved. In this kind of worst-case scenario, it is not unusual for legal fees to exceed $50,000 or even $100,000.
In cases where there is a primary earner and child custody issues are involved, the average cost of divorce generally trends lower. The costs associated with a divorce tend to be far lower in cases where there are no children and a more modest set of marital assets. Costs are generally lower for couples without children, but even if children are involved it is possible to keep costs down.
As of this writing in 2018, the filing fee for a divorce petition (whether individual or joint) is $234. A response to the petition carries a filing fee of $159. There may also be additional court fees, such as for the filing of motions during the case. There are additional expenses if experts are retained for some purpose during the course of your divorce proceedings.

Cost of hiring family lawyer vary by case condition

The reason it is hard to predict what an Arizona divorce will cost is that there are so many variables that go into determining the final bill. One is the attorney’s hourly rate. CBS News has reported that the average hourly rate for a divorce attorney is $402. Of course, the rate of an attorney you choose might be higher or lower. Although you need not retain the most expensive attorney, you probably also don’t want to go with the cheapest one you can find.
Why not? Well, to a certain extent, you get what you pay for. An attorney who charges a higher-than-average fee does so because he or she has a level of skill or experience that makes people willing to pay more than they would have to pay another attorney. An attorney who charges rock-bottom prices, on the other hand, may know that he or she can’t compete on skill or experience, so the only way to attract clients is to slash fees. Of course, an attorney who charges very low fees must then take on more clients in order to make money, which means individual clients get less time and less personalized attention.
Furthermore, because that bargain-basement attorney probably can’t compete with higher-priced attorneys in terms of skill, your outcome with a low-price attorney will likely be less favorable. You could end up paying more in spousal maintenance or having less time with your kids.
Of course, an attorney’s hourly rate is not the only consideration. Your total attorney fee is the rate multiplied by the number of hours the attorney works on your behalf. An experienced Arizona family law attorney may be able to resolve your case more quickly and favorably than an unskilled attorney. What that means is that even though one attorney’s rate is lower, your total fee paid could end up being higher than with a more experienced attorney.
Therefore, it’s hard to really know what a family lawyer cost will be initially since every case is different and each lawyer has their own fees. Most family lawyers in Chandler charge by the hour, so the final cost is something that’s hard to predict exactly. But the main predictor of the total family lawyer cost will be how soon you and your ex can reach an agreement on the divorce. The longer the entire divorce process takes, the more money you’ll end up spending. Plus, there are many other factors out of your control, such as if your ex is represented by a family lawyer in Chandler, too, and how aggressive that attorney is.
Many times, a child-custody case, divorce or other family law matter is more of a marathon instead of a sprint, which can make the family law attorney cost be more than expected. Since this is usually the case, many start strong and then taper off later in the process because of the lack of funds to cover the entire case. Many times, the most financial resources are needed for the trail and other evidentiary hearings and this can be months after you first file for a divorce.

spending your money wisely in an arizona family matter

If you think you can’t cover the cost of hiring a family lawyer, you might want to ask your family lawyer in Chandler about alternative dispute resolution options, which might be cheaper. These include mediation, arbitration, and collaborative law. These methods don’t require a lawyer, tend to be quicker divorce processes and are cheaper options than going to court. If you’re unsure of how much you can afford when factoring in at the family law attorney cost into your budget, these alternative dispute resolution options can still be successful ways to get what you want out of the divorce. Check out this article. We have explained alternative dispute resolution in detail.

Everything You Need to Know About Alternate Dispute Resolution

To offset the family law attorney cost, you can opt to do as much of the legwork on your own, which might make hiring an attorney more affordable. This means being your own private detective by finding copies of records, going through texts and emails, sorting through financial documents and all the grunt work that a lawyer’s staff might do. This way, you compile everything your lawyer will need for your case. Just make sure that you file all relevant information by subject matter or in chronological order. Label it all with short descriptions of what topics are covered, which will make it easier to review everything you submit. While you can easily create a binder for them, you might also want to send over everything electronically. This will allow your family lawyer in Chandler to spend more time on your actual case instead of the follow-up work needed to get it all together.

Keeping the Cost of Your Arizona Divorce Down

Aside from choosing an attorney with a reasonable rate, there’s not much you can do to affect an attorney’s hourly fee. There are, however, several things you can do to reduce the number of hours your attorney needs to put into your divorce.
One couple spent $5,000 in legal fees to figure out who would get a particular item worth about a hundred dollars in their divorce. Don’t be that couple.
Simplest (but not always easiest) is to minimize squabbling with your soon-to-be ex. The more you fight, the longer settlement negotiations take and the greater the likelihood of needing to bring your disputes before a judge. Appearing in court is sometimes necessary, but if it’s not, it is a very expensive way of resolving disputes. We’ve seen a couple spend $5,000 in legal fees to figure out who would get a particular item worth about a hundred dollars in their divorce. Don’t be that couple.
Another way to keep your costs down is to make it easier for your attorney to get the information he or she needs. If you have access to financial records, for instance, you can give your attorney copies and save the expense of your attorney having to track them down. Prepare for meetings with your attorney as you would any business meeting. Preparation saves time; saving time saves money.
Similarly, when you need to communicate with your attorney, think about when it’s important to speak directly versus writing an e-mail. A good attorney is happy to talk to you on the phone when that’s what you need, but if all you need to do is convey information or ask a brief question, you may be able to accomplish that in an e-mail rather than paying for your attorney’s time on the phone.
More ways to keep family lawyer costs down include:
  •        Finding people who could testify positively on your behalf so that the lawyer doesn’t have to do this.
  •        Looking for key documents that could be used by your lawyer as exhibits to help your case be successful.
  •        Putting together summaries of key arguments and facts, any timelines, and financial spreadsheets that will be relevant to your case.
  •        Talking with witnesses and asking them if the can testify for you
But before you start this entire process, it’s best if you speak to your family lawyer in Chandler before taking on these extra tasks. Be upfront with them about realistic family lawyer costs and ask about what you can do in order to make their services more affordable and within your budget.
A huge way to keep costs down is essentially being responsive to your lawyer when they ask for your help. The less they have to do, the more money you’ll end up saving. Make yourself available at a moment’s notice so that you save them from having to do extra work that’ll eventually be added to your fees. Respond to all information requests as complete as possible in a prompt manner and if you aren’t sure what you are being asked for, do not ignore the rest, but ask for more details.
You might also want to email questions or concerns rather than calling our attorney to keep family law attorney costs down. Calling the office all the time might make the attorney feel as if they have to review your file to respond to your inquiries, which means more time billed. But if you email the questions, they’ll be able to respond without having to look at your file.
It’ll also be less expensive if your attorney knows all the facts in the beginning. Take the time to get all that facts down since providing small snippets of information as the case progresses will only end up costing you more in the long run. This is because your attorney will need to go back and see where this new information fits best into the case, which will take more hours than if they knew all the necessary information in the beginning. They’ll then follow up with you regarding any additional questions they have.
Generally, it is possible to keep family law attorney costs low if you know what to do so that the lawyer has everything needed to win your case!
It might have occurred to you that the best way to keep your divorce costs down is just to hire an attorney. Before you choose this path, learn why you should have an attorney for your divorce. In short, sometimes you spend money, and it’s an expense. Sometimes, it’s an investment. We invite you to contact Shaffer Family Law online or call (480)-386-5362 today to schedule a free consultation. Our goal is to help you build the best possible future after divorce—and that means helping you conserve your resources beforehand.
Useful Resources:

7 Reasons to Hire an Arizona Family Law Attorney

reasons to hire an Arizona lawyer [infogrphic]

What are Benefits of Hiring the Arizona divorce lawyer?

The law is tricky and can be very confusing, complex and difficult to comprehend and fully understand. To help, you’ll need to hire the best divorce lawyer in Arizona! While many believe that they might be able to go about divorce, child custody, child support or alimony situation on their own, the truth is that they probably won’t be successful without the help from a qualified Chandler divorce lawyer.
While you can always represent yourself (also classified as “pro se litigants”), it’s always better to simply hire the Arizona divorce lawyer that you meet with in the end. Hiring a professional will make the entire process easier for you, especially if you’re going through a difficult time in your life. Here are some reasons why you’ll want to bite the bullet and simply hire the Arizona divorce attorney you initially wanted to go with:


  1.  Legal Advocacy and Protection 

Family law can be very complicated, which is why it’s better to leave it up to a professional who knows what they are doing. There are literally hundreds of different statues to know and stay on top of in the legal world, and you’d have to know all the outcomes of past court cases if you want to be successful. If one party is not represented and the other party is, you’ll easily get taken advantage of given your lack of knowledge. Hiring the Arizona divorce lawyer you feel the most comfortable with will protect your legal rights and fight for you. They’ll protect your rights throughout the entire process so that you aren’t taken advantage of. You’ll have a way better outcome if you have a professional Chandler divorce attorney on your side than if you don’t! They’ll know what you’re reasonably entitled to, what issues to properly prepare for and how to handle false allegations and evidence.
  1.    Bullying Prevention

Many times, one party will make crazy threats out of frustration or as a way to intimidate or bully. This happens quite often in divorce proceedings and the harassed party will end up in submission because they fear the threats are true. But having the best Arizona divorce lawyer by your side can eliminate this occurrence from happening, keeping the other party in check. Plus, if you have a Chandler divorce attorney handling the case, you won’t have to worry about getting harassed by the other party’s lawyer. You won’t have to talk directly to them or deal with them since your own attorney will handle communication at all times.
  1.    Peace of mind

Going through a divorce or a custody battle can take a lot out of you. You’ll most likely be stressed, emotional and frustrated by the entire situation. A lot of this stress might come from feeling as if you’re not in control of everything or fear of what’s going to happen next. Hiring a Chandler divorce attorney can help ease all that stress. They’ll be able to help you comprehend what’s happening every step of the way so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by it all. They’ll keep you in the loop of everything and will provide you with the best legal options to help increase your chances of winning the case. You’ll be able to fully understand everything so that you don’t sign or agree to something that you’ll regret later on.
  1.    Proper Fillings and Procedures 

The amount of paperwork involved with a divorce or custody battle can be intimidating. However, a Chandler divorce lawyer will help you fill out everything correctly, keep a calendar of important dates for you and file it all within the necessary time frame. In court, there are specific formats and ways to fill out documents, present evidence and speak to the judge. If the information is not presented correctly, your case can be thrown out, so it’s better if you have someone that knows what they’re doing to help you along the way.
  1.    An Objective Sounding Board

When it comes to a divorce, you might want to go to friends and family to be your sounding board, but it’s best if you hire a Chandler divorce attorney. They’ll be able to give you sound advice when it comes to your case. You’ll need a lot of support at this difficult time in your life and a lawyer will be an objective party who will give you the facts needed to be successful. Although you might get a lot of advice elsewhere, the best advice as it relates to your case will always come from your lawyer.
  1.    Better Efficiency

If you were to represent yourself in a divorce or custody hearing, you’d spend a lot of time researching what needs to be done. But by hiring a Chandler divorce attorney, you’d be saving yourself a lot of time given their expertise on the subject. So they’ll spend less time doing what will take you days to do. On top of researching family law and court proceedings, you’d have to stay on top of important dates, deadlines, paperwork and the like, which will only add to your already full plate. You might not have the energy or time to really devote to your case, but your family lawyer in Chandler, AZ, will!
  1.    Complete Closure 

They’ll make sure that all the issues are addressed properly so that you don’t have any problems in the future (which might end up in more litigation). Thanks to a quailed Chandler family law attorney on your case, you won’t have to worry about any loose ends at the end of your case. Plus, they can also bring up possible future scenarios now and discuss how to resolve them now so that they aren’t even an issue later.
You’ll need to ultimately do what’s best for your case and interests in the end. But many times, that means hiring a Chandler family law attorney so that you feel confident throughout the divorce or custody process. With all these reasons to hire a family lawyer, some people may still ask this question:

Do I Really Need a Lawyer for My Arizona Family Law Case?

Spouses couple signing decree papers getting divorced with alimony laeyer in Chandler, Arizona

One question we are often asked is: “Do I really need a lawyer for my family law case? Can’t I just get the forms from the court and represent myself?” The question on many people’s minds is what hiring a family law attorney will cost them.
The question they should really be asking is what not hiring an attorney will cost. After all, if you needed a leg amputated, you could do that yourself or with the help of a friend–but nobody does. Why? Because of the risk of bleeding out, infection, and excruciating pain outweigh the benefit of saving money. And chances are, if you survived such an operation, you’d need to go to a doctor anyway to fix anything that went wrong–if it could be fixed.
A do-it-yourself divorce doesn’t usually carry medical risk, but there is a fair analogy to the amputation scenario. Instead of hemorrhaging blood, you could find yourself bleeding money, in the form of paying more (or receiving less) spousal maintenance or child support than you would have with an attorney’s help. Over years of support payments, this loss of money might dwarf what you would have paid in attorney fees. Unrepresented divorces are painful, too–without an attorney to act as a buffer, hostilities can escalate quickly, causing emotional pain not only for you but for your children.
Here are more reasons you should strongly consider being represented by an experienced Arizona family law attorney:

1. You only get one bite at the apple.
When your family law matter is before the court, it’s critical to get the most favorable possible ruling the first time out. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to get a bad order modified later. Just as a do-it-yourself amputation could cause physical damage that can’t later be fixed, an experienced lawyer who could have helped you get a good result in the first place may not be able to help you correct a bad legal outcome.
For example: once a physical custody order has been made; where the court has ordered a specific parenting plan for your child or children, or where the court decides to award custody to one parent enabling them to make all major decisions concerning your child, it usually takes a significant change in circumstances to have such an order modified. Not only can the process to modify be difficult, but it can also be very expensive.
2. Little mistakes have big consequences.
If your pleadings and other paperwork for your family law case are incorrect or incomplete, the progress of your case may be delayed. Even more important, however, is that the outcome of your case could be altered, and not in your favor.
One common way this happens is in child support matters. Child support is determined by state-mandated guidelines, but the child support award that comes out of the guideline formula is only as good as the data that goes into it. An inadvertent omission can lead to an inappropriate award, which could cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars over time.
3. Experience counts.
A little knowledge, it’s often said, is a dangerous thing. This is very true in Arizona family law matters. Some people are unwilling to go the legal process on their own but are also unwilling to commit to hiring an attorney. They seek guidance from paralegals or non-attorney services. This is, at best, a gamble. These services may have experience in filling out forms, but if your legal matter wanders into deeper waters, they cannot give you the counsel you need. Only an attorney can represent you in court or in negotiations with another party. Only an attorney can help you explore all your legal options and advise you as to the likely outcomes of your choices. Knowledge of legal policies and court procedures matters and only an experienced family law attorney has the knowledge you need for the best possible resolution of your case.
Consider this as well: if your spouse or ex is represented by an experienced attorney, and you are not, who do you think is going to have a better outcome? That’s why the services of a family law attorney with years of experience should be viewed as an investment, not an expense.
In short, don’t just look at the cost of an attorney. Do a cost-benefit analysis. To learn more about how the attorneys at Shaffer Family Law can help you, contact Shaffer Family Law online or call (480) 470-3030 today to schedule a free consultation.

Additional Resources:

Child Custody Process in Arizona [Full Guide]

Arizona child custody process infographic

Arizona Child Custody Process

Attempting to get custody of a child can seem like a daunting and complicated process. However, don’t let this stop you from trying. It’s important to do what’s right for the child or children, even if that means filling for custody so that you are awarded guardianship. It’s good to know that child custody laws do differ from state to state in many notable ways, however, the process is usually the same.
If you live in Arizona, you’ll need to hire a reputable Arizona child custody lawyer to help you through the process, which can be lengthy depending on the circumstances. To help guide you down this path, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to the Arizona child custody process so that you understand everything that needs to be done so that you increase the chances of winning the case. As notable Arizona child custody attorneys, we have extensive experience and knowledge on the subject and hope this helps you fully understand what will happen during the entire legal process. This is a general idea and you’ll need to speak with an Arizona child custody lawyer in order to get better information as it deals with your specific background, intent, and case.

Meet with An Arizona Child Custody Attorney

First and foremost, you’ll want to meet with a well-known Arizona child custody lawyer about your case. This way you aren’t entering the process blindly and will have someone with experience in these matters guide you along the way. You’ll want someone well versed in Arizona child custody law to represent you so that you have better chances of winning custody of the child or children.
1. Filling Out Paperwork
To get the custody process in motion, you must first fill out extensive paperwork, which your Chandler Family law attorney will provide. Yes, this step will be tedious given all the paperwork that needs to be filled out, but it’s essential in starting the case. A few of the documents necessary include:
  •         A Notice of Appearance, which is filed with the court to declare that you’ll have an Arizona child custody lawyer representing you on the matter.
  •         The Family Court cover sheet/Sensitive Data Sheet that will require you to fill in sensitive information like birthdays, Social Security numbers and the like.
  •         A Summons to Respond/Appear letter
  •         A Petition to Establish Paternity, Child Support, Child Custody and so on, which will depend on your specific nature of the matter.
  •         A cover sheet
You will also have to submit a filing fee, which can differ depending on which county court you file your paperwork in. You’ll also need to certain paperwork notarized by a Notary Public. You might also need to file the forms in person at your local courthouse, but most likely, your Chandler Child Custody attorney will do this for you.
2. Serve the Other Party Involved in the Matter
Once the paperwork has been filed, it’s time to serve the other party involved in your custody matters. The best way (and the cheapest way) to do so is via certified mail, with restricted delivery and return receipt. You’ll definitely want to use restricted delivery if there’s someone else that lives with the other party and who might sign for the delivery (this could invalidate the service). This will cost between $10 and $20, depending on the weight of the documents. The fee will also depend on whether you want a physical postcard to be returned to you or electronic confirmation.
But if they refuse to sign for the certified mail, then you’ll need to hire a process server to do so, which can set you back up to $100. The cost will depend on the company you use, how far away they’ll have to go and how hard it will be to serve the other party. But if this doesn’t work, too, you can ask the court to be able to serve by alternative methods. However, you’ll need to prove that you ran out of all reasonable options or don’t know where they are.

Caring mother helping little daughter dressing for walk with dad, family talking getting ready to go out standing in house hall, divorced young couple shared parenting and joint custody concept

3.Register for A Parenting Class
More than likely, the court will ask that you register for a parenting class. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a bad parent. Know that it’s just part of the Arizona Child Custody law process. You’ll need to take a certified course within 45 days after you’ve served the other party. The fee for the parenting class will vary and you can find information on courses on Arizona’s Superior Court’s website. Check out this article for parenting class tips:

3 Essential Tips for Making a Parenting Plan Work

4. Wait Before Filing A Consent Decree
If you and the other party agree to all terms of the child custody matters, and then continue to do so, you’ll have to wait at least 60 days after service is affected to be able to file a consent decree that all parties have signed. It may take a while for a judge to sign it (they have up to 60 days to rule). However, you should get back the order no more than three months after starting the entire child custody process.
5. Wait for A Response
If all parties live in Arizona, then you’ll have to wait 20 days once they’ve been served to respond and 30 days if they live out of state.
6. File for Default Judgment If There’s No Response
If the other party doesn’t get responses back, you can now ask the court for a default proceeding against them for failing to appear or responding in a timely manner. Most likely, you’ll get everything you initially asked for in the petition (within reason), but still, need to wait about 90 days from the filing date before a judge signs off on a default decree.
7. Head to Court
If there is a response, then the case will be assigned to a judge’s division and a preliminary hearing will be set up. This is referred to as a Resolution Management Conference, where the judge wants to hear from both parties before they reach an agreement. If no agreement is settled upon, then the court will set a trial date, where you’ll need to be represented by an experienced Chandler Child Custody attorney.
Additional Useful Resources:
All steps for Arizona divorce process by Chandler family attorney

The Definitive Guide to Arizona Divorce Process

Divorce Process in Arizona infographic

Divorce Process in Arizona

If you’re thinking of getting a divorce or just decided that you and your partner will be separating, you’ll need to know what the divorce process entails before you go through with it. Knowing what to expect will make the process a lot easier and less overwhelming. When going through a divorce, that last thing you want it to be confused by the entire process, which is why many decide to hire a Chandler Divorce attorney for those living in Arizona.
Divorce, or the Dissolution of Marriage, as the courts call it can be a complicated process depending on if you have children, shared finances, property, and other complex situations. While some decide to go through an Arizona divorce court on their own, it’s best that you hire the Arizona divorce lawyer with the best reputation in the state! This way, you have professional help when it comes to making decisions about any children, pets, alimony, debt and property division and other issues needed to be reconciled during the divorce process.

The Complexity of Divorce Cases

The process can be different depending on what state you’re in, so it’s important to find the right Arizona divorce attorney to represent you in such a trying and difficult time.  When you’re working with the experienced Arizona divorce lawyer of your choice, you’ll find the process a bit easier since they’ll be helping you along the way. The amount of time it takes to divorce in Arizona will vary from case to case, but State law requires that you wait at least 60 days from the date of service before you can go ahead with the divorce.

One huge factor to consider in a divorce is children, which can prolong the entire process. Another important variable to consider when figuring out how long the process will be is whether you and the other party can work together to reach an agreement on things that must be decided in the divorce. The right Arizona divorce lawyer can help you with both these matters.

Here’s a helpful guide on what the Arizona Divorce Process usually entails:

All steps for Arizona divorce process by Chandler family attorney

1. Filling Out Paperwork

To get a divorce in motion, you’ll need to fill out all the necessary and required paperwork. This can be a tedious task given how much paperwork you’ll need to complete to start the divorce case. Here are a few forms you’ll need to fill out:
  • Summons to appear or respond
  • Preliminary injunction that will tell both parties what can be done or not done while the divorce is pending.
  • Family Court/Sensitive Data Coversheet with sensitive and private information that includes your Social Security, birthdates and the like.
  • Health insurance notice and Creditor notice
  • Petition for Dissolution of (Non-Covenant) Marriage With/Without Minor Children
  • Notice of Appearance if you’re going to have a Chandler divorce attorney represent you.
There will be filing fees associated with the paperwork, but the Arizona divorce attorney you choose might include this in their fees. They’ll also be able to submit the necessary paperwork to the court.
The person starting the divorce is called the Petitioner, while the other party is the Respondent. If there are children involved, you’ll need to go to a parenting class. This is for everyone and does not reflect that you’re a bad parent. You’ll need to find a certified course and that fee can vary. Your Chandler divorce lawyer will be able to help you sign up for a parenting class if needed, too.
It is also good to know about the child custody process if you are engaging in the divorce that involved children. Check out this guide below we explain it very clear:

Child Custody Process in Arizona [Full Guide]

2. Documents Need to Be Served

Once you’ve filled out all the paperwork necessary for Arizona divorce court, you’ll then need to serve the other party involved using a process server. This can be done with certified mail or hiring a process server to go out and serve them the paperwork. The Respondent now has 20 days to respond after being served if they are in Arizona, or 30 days if they are out of state.
3. If the Respondent Has No Response

If the Respondent doesn’t respond within that time frame, the Petitioner can now file for default. Now the Respondent only has up to 15 days to respond. If they still don’t respond, then the divorce will most likely be granted on the terms of the Petitioner.  If the case has defaulted, the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage might cover the following issues:
  • Termination of the marriage
  • Custody and parenting time for the children
  • Any child or spousal support
  • Alimony
  • Division of property
  • Determination of responsibility of debt accrued during the marriage
  • Determination of liability for fees
  • Restoration of the person’s last name for the Respondent
4. If the Respondent Responds

If the Respondent does respond to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, then now both parties have the option of settling all issues in their divorce. If they are able to settle the case, they can submit the agreement to the court with a proposed divorce decree. But they can’t submit these documents until 60 days from the date the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage was first served to the Respondent.
5. If the Parties Can’t Settle Their Case

If both parties can’t settle their case, then it will enter the discovery and disclosure phase of the divorce. According to the Arizona divorce law process, each party will accumulate and share information and documentation in the divorce proceedings. Things like income tax returns, copies of debt and the like will be turned into the court. Discovery is the process where both parties can ask for additional documentation that isn’t normally obligated, such as phone records if the Petitioner is trying to argue that the Respondent cheated.
If no resolution is agreed upon, then the case will go to trial in an Arizona divorce court. The judge will have up to 60 days to issue a decision after the trial is completed and the case is over.
This is the process in a nutshell, and each divorce will vary from case to case, which is why you’ll want an experienced Chandler Family law attorney on your side throughout the process!
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