Legal Thoughts by Thomas A Morton

caring, family law attorney in Phoenix, AZ

Thursday, 28 August 2014 15:56

Arizona Child Support Enforcement Basics

Child support is an important obligation.  Arizona courts make child support orders in order to give children a stable standard of living and to meet all of the child’s needs.  Therefore, Arizona courts take child support seriously. An experienced family law lawyer has several ways to cause the courts to enforce a child support order.  The Division of Child Support Enforcement Child Support Evader program will only help when a parent owes more than $5,000.00 in child support, has failed to pay child support for six months, and has a child support arrest warrant.  However, parents have a variety of other ways to enforce a child support order. Income Withholding.  The court may issue an income withholding order directing a…
The Superior Court's website in Maricopa County has many useful forms for people representing themselves in court.  The family law category of forms is the most impressive, with forms for divorce, annulment, legal separation, child support, spousal maintenance, alimony, temporary orders, custody/legal decision making, parenting time, and many other topics.  I do not particularly like the forms because they are too long, sometimes don't make much sense, and lack flexibility, but they are far better than the alternative of not submitting anything at all, or someone with no legal background or training attempting to write court filings.  If you decide to use the court's forms, my advice is to do so with the advice of an experienced lawyer.  However, if…
The distinction between sole and separate property and community property could have significant consequences in a divorce in Arizona.  Arizona law defines community property as most property acquired by either spouse beginning the day they marry and ending the day one spouse serves the other spouse with a petition for dissolution of marriage.  The significant exceptions are an inheritance to one spouse, a gift to one spouse, and pain and suffering damages from a personal injury claim.  Arizona law defines sole and separate property as property acquired prior to the date of marriage, after the date of service in a divorce, gifts to one spouse, one spouse’s inheritance, and pain and suffering damages. This sounds like a simple distinction, but…
Thursday, 07 August 2014 11:33

When Does Arizona Child Support End?

In Arizona, parents have a legal obligation to provide basic support to their children.  Typically, the parent in whose home the children reside most of the time receives child support from the other parent.  Arizona courts typically base child support on a formula that includes each parent’s income, the time the children spend in each home, the number and age of children, the cost of medical/dental/vision insurance, and the cost of child care.  The court will not scrutinize how parents spend the child support money. So when does the obligation to pay child support to the other parent end?  Keep in mind that child support is a separate issue and the obligation to pay it does not end because the…
Thursday, 31 July 2014 11:54

What to do When Someone Dies

This is a basic outline of the legal steps and steps that are not legal but have an impact on possible legal issues that you should take when a person dies.  Unfortunately, many of these steps can be very important and you must take them at a very sad and emotional time. 1. Consider the emotional impact of the death on the surviving spouse, children, and close relatives.  Act accordingly. 2. If the decedent had dependant children, decide how to provide care for them.  If the person left an incapacitated surviving spouse, do the same for the surviving spouse. 3. Decide what security the person’s home needs.  At a minimum, you should cancel deliveries and credit cards and notify the…
Thursday, 24 July 2014 15:03

Arizona Community Property Basics

Arizona law divides a married couple’s property into two groups: community property and separate property.  Community property is the property that belongs to the husband’s and wife’s marital community.  Simply put, it belongs to both the husband and the wife.  Separate property is property that belongs to one spouse only. Arizona law presumes all property acquired by either spouse or both spouses from the date of marriage until the date that one spouse serves the other spouse with a petition for divorce or legal separation to be community property (except for property that was a gift to one spouse only, an inheritance by one spouse only, and most of a personal injury settlement or award).  Upon divorce or legal separation,…
Parties to a family law dispute and their lawyers often struggle with the quesiton of what is child support.  For example, I once had to argue with a lawyer who tried to convince the court that meals out for the entire family (which included his client, his client's new spouse, his client's step-children, and the parties' other children) were support for the parties' disabled child and my client should therefore pay for them.  Naturally, my client prevailed.  The Arizona Court of Appeals recently issued a decision on a similar issue.  In that case, the parties had previously divorced and had one child.  Mother wanted to travel to Japan with the child to visit her family.  Father objected that Mother was…
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Thomas A. Morton, P. L. L. C.
2916 N. 7th Avenue, Suite 100
Phoenix, Arizona 85013
(602) 595-6870

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