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Failure to Include an Issue in a Pretrial Statement in Arizona | Voted “Best of the Valley”

Posted on : December 22, 2015, By:  Christopher Hildebrand
Failure to Include and Issue in a Pretrial Statement

Failure to Include an Issue in a Pretrial Statement

Failure to Include an Issue in a Pretrial Statement in Arizona.

Failure to Include an Issue in a Pretrial Statement in Arizona.

In Arizona, a divorced individual with a spousal maintenance obligation can ask the court for a modification if there are significant changes to their circumstances and their ability to cover the agreed upon amount financially. If the individual responsible for paying spousal maintenance obtains a court order for modification, the former spouse can appeal the court’s decision. Appeals regarding court ordered spousal maintenance changes in Arizona should be based upon apparent errors in interpreting the law in regards to the situation at hand. Lanny D. Leathers and Carol A. Leathers were married in May of 1962. They divorced after forty-three years of marriage in July 2005. The husband, Lanny, was the breadwinner and the wife, Carol, was a homemaker and stay-at-home mother.

Both parties are of similar age – early sixties. The wife, Carol, experienced a stroke five years prior to the couple’s divorce. The husband, Lanny, testified as to his own health stating, he should start “slowing down” and that traveling for his work was beginning to become more difficult. He also noted that he had recently experienced accelerated heart rate and issues with his breathing that took him to the emergency room. Before the trial, the two parties were able to reach an agreement settling the division of property including a division of their home, their personal property, and three separate pieces of real estate that were valued at approximately $125,000-135,000.

Hildebrand Law, PC | Voted Best of Our Valley in Arizona Foothills Magazine.

Hildebrand Law, PC | Voted Best of Our Valley in Arizona Foothills Magazine.

The agreement was to sell the home and real property allowing them to divide the proceeds from the sale equally. Issues considered by the trial court in this case included spousal maintenance, a life insurance policy on husband in which wife was the named beneficiary, attorney fees and distribution of additional assets and debt.s Upon receiving the trial court’s ruling, Lanny D. Leathers (husband) filed an appeal. Lanny D. Leathers (husband) asserts on appeal that the trial court abused its discretion when determining spousal maintenance due to the wife; both in the amount and the duration. He also asserts that there was an err on the part of the trial court in regards to the order that he pay his wife 50% of his future Social Security benefits.

Issues in a Pretrial Statement Control the Issues at Trial.

Issues in a Pretrial Statement Control the Issues at Trial.

Leathers also stated that the trial court abused its discretion when ordering him to be held solely responsible for a line of credit and not requiring the wife to divide the $24,000 that she withdrew from a joint money market account prior to the proceedings. Leathers feels that the trial court exceeded its own authority by ordering him to maintain a life insurance policy benefiting his former wife. Lastly, Leathers insists that the trial court abused its discretion by ordering the husband to pay attorneys’ fees on behalf of the wife in relation to the case. In regards to the amount and duration of spousal maintenance, the appellate court finds that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ordering that spousal maintenance last indefinitely or in determining that any potential income wife could be expected to earn would be minimal. However, the appellate court did find that the trial court abused its discretion in determining the amount of the spousal maintenance.

In determining the amount of the spousal maintenance, the nature of the husband’s work must be considered in addition to the financial statements submitted and testimony provided by the parties involved. The estimated annual income the trial court arrived at and used for spousal maintenance calculations was higher than the estimates of income provided by both the husband and the wife involved in the case. The variability of the husband’s income and the unavoidable lags between jobs must be taken into account when calculating the spousal maintenance. The award was reversed for further proceedings.

The appellate court found no err in the portion of the order requiring the husband to provide wife with half of his Social Security earnings, so long as the wife’s potential Social Security earnings were also taken into consideration. The trial court should reconsider the issue during recalculation of the spousal maintenance award. The trial court was reversed on the matter of life insurance due to the fact that the issue of life insurance was not listed as a contested issue in the pretrial statement and was not mentioned in closing arguments. It was simply included in the post-trial proposed decree provided by the wife and, as such, the trial court was reversed on the issue of life insurance policy ordered maintained for benefit of wife.

In regards to property settlement, the appellate court supports the trial court’s decision. In regards to attorney’s fees, in consideration of the decision regarding spousal maintenance above the trial court should reconsider their decision on this matter. Per the discussion above, the Court of Appeals of Arizona reversed and remanded on issues of spousal maintenance, Social Security, attorney’s fees and life insurance. They affirmed regarding the distribution and division of community assets and debts.

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Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
A Google User
A Google User
20:31 20 Sep 17
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
A Google User
A Google User
21:41 07 Nov 17
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
Google User
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14:58 04 Oct 17
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
A Google User
A Google User
16:03 22 Nov 17
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
A Google User
A Google User
22:14 28 Jun 17
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
A Google User
A Google User
18:16 18 Sep 17
Kevin Park of Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
A Google User
A Google User
19:22 23 Aug 17
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
A Google User
A Google User
17:44 23 Jun 16
I retained Hildebrand Law after interview a number of firms in the valley. Working with Michael C. was incredibly easy and informative. My case progressed in such a organized and thought out way to ensure that my needs were met. Michael was incredibly proactive and was able to see far ahead into my case to steer clear of some roadblocks. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael Clancy, and Hildebrand Law in general, to anyone.
Bassam Ziadeh
Bassam Ziadeh
21:20 02 Apr 18
I have worked with Hildebrand law for about 8 years. They are always ready to serve, provide guidance and give you a few options. When they provide you options they also take the time to walk you through the pros and cons of each and give you a recommendation of what is best, but will listen to you and support whatever course you choose after making and educated choice. I’d recommend them to my closest friends and feel Chris Hildebrand is now a friend to me.
Larry Flint
Larry Flint
21:53 27 Feb 18
Despite the unfortunate situation I found myself in, Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law helped me maneuver every step with professionalism, expertise, and even a sensitivity that was an added bonus.Chris and his staff helped me even when I didn't know I needed the help. In other words. . . they made sure we did not leave anything undone. And in the rare instance we needed the expertise of another professional, Chris knew exactly who to recommend.Chris also knew, because of his experience, what to anticipate down the road of litigation. That meant we were better prepared to meet the challenges head on, which lead to a more equitable and fair outcome. I appreciated that Chris did his best to meet my every need in a timely fashion, even if I had a simple question that required only a phone call or e-mail or if we needed to talk face-to-face.I highly recommend Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law, PC.
Sam Franchimone
Sam Franchimone
22:09 12 Sep 13


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