Legal Thoughts by Thomas A Morton

caring, family law attorney in Phoenix, AZ

I frequently see questions in online forums regarding in which country a couple must seek a divorce.  The answer is you seek a divorce in the country in which you live.  In Arizona, the only requirement to get a divorce is that you lived in Arizona for the 90 days immediately preceding the day you file your petition for dissolution of marriage.  It does not matter whether you got married in another country, like Mexico, or you got married in Arizona, or you got married in another state in the United States.  In Arizona, you can get a divorce no matter where you were married.
Thursday, 21 June 2018 12:22

Adult Guardianships in Arizona

Sometimes people have to go through the sad task of obtaining an adult guardianship.  Sometimes they need a guardianship over an elderly parent or other relative because the parent or relative has a diminished capacity in his or her old age.  Sometimes, an adult child, parent, or other relative has had an accident with a brain injury, for example, that has left him or her unable to address daily needs.  Sometimes an incapcitated child becomes an adult.  In all three situations, someone, usually a parent or child of the proposed ward, must seek a court order in the Probate Court of the Arizona Superior Court in order to have a guardianship over the incapacitated person.   The guardianship will allow…
Domestic violence is a factor in divorce with children and paternity cases in Arizona.  It can have a big impact on legal decision making (custody) and parenting time orders.  Significant domestic violence can be the most important factor in the Family Court’s determination.   If the court determines that there has been significant domestic violence between the parents or if there has been a significant history of domestic violence, it will not award joint legal decision making.  The Family Court judge must consider any domestic violence as contrary to the children’s best interest and must consider the safety and well-being of the children and victim of domestic violence of primary importance.  The court will consider a party’s history of harming…
Arizona Family Courts have for many years resolved conflicts between parents who cannot agree on which school their children attend or which medical treatment their children receive.  Last month, the Arizona Court of Appeals put an end to the Family Court making legal decisions on behalf of children.   In Nicaise v. Sundaram, the father believed that the child was developmentally delayed and sought various treatments for the child.  The father also wanted to place the child in a public school with an IEP (Individualized Education Program).  Mother disagreed, opposed any treatment, and wanted to home school the child.  The mother and father had an extremely volatile relationship and were unable to agree on any of these issues.  The Family…
People always want to recover their attorney’s fees from the other side in a family law case.  Most judges are hesitant to make an award of attorney’s fees, but they do award fees sometimes.   The statute for attorney’s fees in Family Court in Arizona is A.R.S. § 25-324.  The statute provides two bases for a Family Court judge to award attorney’s fees and the judge must consider both of them.  The first basis is relative ability to pay.  If one party has a high income and a lot of assets, and the other party has a low income and few assets, then that is a basis to award attorney’s fees to the low-income party.  The other basis is if…
Every branch of the United States Armed Forces has a general order regarding family support.  Each order applies to service members until the civilian court enters an order for family support.  For example, if a service member separates from his spouse, and files for divorce, his branch’s family support order says what he must do or pay to support his spouse until the civilian court enters an order granting or denying spousal maintenance and determining child support if the couple has children.   The orders vary from service to service, but they are generally based on the service member’s Basic Allowance for Housing (“BAH”)and the number of dependants the service member must support.  For example, when I was on active…
Many people ask when they can stop worrying about their ex-spouse collecting child support.  The short answer: never.  Many other people ask if it has been too long to collect unpaid child support.  Arizona has no statute of limitation on child support that the court ordered a parent to pay.  Arizona also has no statute of limitation on a judgment for unpaid child support.   If a judge entered an order that a parent pay child support, there is no time limit on when the other parent may collect any unpaid child support.  Also, a court cannot retroactively change child support.  Therefore, if a parent loses his or her job and stops paying child support, that parent cannot get out…
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Thomas A. Morton, P. L. L. C.
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