Fathers Rights in Arizona
Fathers rights in Arizona presents an interesting issue. Many fathers are not aware they have the same rights in an Arizona divorce or child custody case as a mother has. This misperception that mothers are afforded greater rights than fathers can sometimes lead to a father taking an overly and unnecessarily aggressive posture to protect his rights in his Arizona divorce or child custody case.
Mistakes to Avoid
We are going to address some of the biggest mistakes fathers can fall into in an Arizona divorce or child custody case. We are also going to provide ways to prevent a father from making these mistakes to provide a father the greatest chance of prevailing in his Arizona divorce or child custody case.
If you have already made these mistakes or want to avoid doing so, you should contact our experienced Arizona divorce and child custody attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC today. Our attorneys have over 100 years combined legal experience and have the knowledge and experienced to navigate fathers through the complex issues that arise in an Arizona divorce or child custody case.
#1 Waging a Financial War of Attrition
Some attorneys may encourage you to wage a financial war of attrition. This tactic involves bombarding your spouse with extensive and prolonged litigation until the other side simply gives up. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Most divorce attorneys are reasonable and do not promote such a tactic.
However, as like any other profession, there are still some attorneys that are more than happy to take this approach. They do so because his or her client requests this tactic be used or because of their selfish interests in billing a father more attorney fees. An experienced attorney has plenty of clients and does not need to take this approach to run a professional divorce practice.
Arizona statutes, the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, and decisions from the Arizona Court of Appeals and Arizona Supreme Court lay out the path for divorce and family law matters. These statutes govern issues such as child custody, child support, the division of property and debts, the payment of spousal maintenance, and the payment of attorney fees and expert witness fees.
Waging a war of financial attrition will very likely blow up in your face and result in the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. You must be very tactical in how you execute your divorce or child custody strategy to provide yourself with the greatest opportunity to protect your fathers’ rights in Arizona.
For example, if the court sees you are burying your spouse in overly zealous litigation, the court has the power to issue financial sanctions against you. Arizona revised statute section 25-324 gives the court the authority to punish a party who the court believes is abusing the legal system. As a result, you may not only not succeed in your effort to bury your spouse in attorney fees, but you may actually immerse yourself financially if the court sanctions you.
The other problem with waging a war of financial attrition is that the judge on your case, who has the final say as to the issues in your Arizona divorce case, may become upset with your conduct and rule accordingly. Judges do not want to see cases coming back before them on a future motion to modify orders when one of the parties has taken a litigious path in their divorce case. As a result, a judge who sees a spouse abusing the legal system may grant the other parent sole custody of the children to ensure issues that can occur in a joint custody situation do not find their way back in front of the court.
#2 Do Not Be Too Generous in Your Divorce
Some fathers try to enforce their fathers’ rights in Arizona by taking the opposite approach of mistake #1. That is, they choose the strategy of being too generous on the division of assets and debts, spousal maintenance, or alimony out of fear that failing to do so will result in a fight to protect their fathers’ rights in Arizona. This strategy can have a devastating impact on your financial future and is, quite frankly, completely unnecessary.
The Arizona divorce laws provide that property is to be divided equitably (i.e., “fairly”) and that child support orders
should be entered only to the extent necessary for the support of the children’s basic needs (i.e., “food, shelter, clothing, medical needs, and sometimes educational needs”).
Being overly generous often times leads a mother to feel more empowered than grateful resulting in an entitlement attitude. It can be damaging to your fathers’ rights in Arizona if your former spouse is unmotivated to work and become self-supportive because she views you as being obligated to pay for everything for her and your children.
#3 Giving Up Your Fathers Rights
Some fathers simply choose to give up instead of fighting to protect their fathers’ rights in Arizona. In the heat of a divorce or a child custody case, they simply want it all over and they may give up their fathers rights in Arizona to bring the divorce or child custody case to an end.
More often than not, these parents regret that decision and have to pay an attorney to undo the mistake they made. We have represented many fathers who have put themselves in this situation and, although we have managed to undo the mistake, it often comes at a higher cost than if the father had not given up their fathers rights in Arizona.
Some fathers have heard that the legal system has a preference for mothers over fathers in an Arizona divorce or child custody case. This is simply not true. The concept of fathers rights in Arizona is not meant to imply that courts favor
mothers over fathers in Arizona divorce and child custody cases. Courts do not favor mothers over fathers in Arizona. An Arizona statute provides that an Arizona judge may not prefer mothers over fathers in an Arizona child custody case. If a judge violates that law, you have the right to appeal your case to the Arizona Court of Appeals.
Courts have granted child custody orders in Arizona giving both parents equal parenting time and joint legal decision-making. They generally issue such orders when you can prove you are available to personally care for your children during your parenting time and there has not been a history of significant domestic violence, substance abuse, mental health disorders that impact your ability to parent your children or child abuse or neglect by you.
Although every parent’s circumstances are different, it is believed that it is in the children’s best interests to spend as much time with each parent as possible. Enforcing your fathers’ rights in Arizona, therefore, becomes much less about making the mistakes discussed above and more about being the best father you can be for your children. Your children need you to be strong and make the best decisions in your Arizona divorce or child custody case to ensure they spend as much time with you as possible. Do not allow an overly aggressive and zealous attorney to destroy your chance at prevailing in your case.
To prevail, you must be able to explain your position to the court and support that position with evidence. You should do so in an organized and logical manner to ensure the judge understands your position and the evidence submitted in support of that position. Our Arizona fathers rights attorneys create a very detailed plan at the beginning of every case. We then accumulate all of the evidence, which is organized to provide for an effective presentation at trial to protect your fathers’ rights in Arizona.
#4 Not Modifying Child Support or Custody Orders
Some fathers who find themselves financially devastated in an Arizona divorce due to child support orders or spousal maintenance orders stop paying the support instead of seeking a modification of those support orders. Similarly, many fathers who did not prevail on their initial requests regarding child custody and parenting time give up because they remember the cost of the original divorce.
They may not realize that failing to pay the support ordered can lead to judgments being entered against them, financial sanctions being levied against them, and the accrual of interest on the past due support amounts. They may have to pay their attorney to defend them and may end up being ordered to pay their former spouses attorney fees as well. They may not realize it is much less expensive to pursue a modification case than a complete divorce case because there are significantly fewer issues in a modification case than a divorce case.
Consider this . . . Which is less expensive? Continuing to labor under oppressive support orders and orders that limit your time spent with your children or paying a lawyer to assist you in modifying those orders? In almost every case, it is less expensive to pursue the modification if your attorney correctly concludes you have a basis to change those orders.
So, what do you do now? Take action. Call us to schedule a consultation to discuss your case. We will provide you with a plan to help you prevail in your Arizona divorce or child custody case. Our dedicated team of family law attorneys is committed to protecting your fathers’ rights in Arizona.
If you have a question about divorce and child custody in Arizona, please call to speak to one of our experienced Scottsdale and Phoenix divorce and child custody Arizona attorneys at (480)947-4339.
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