Mon, 29 Feb 2016 17:10:35 -0800Weebly Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:08:23 GMThttps://alexhairstonlaw.com/blog/seven-relationship-issues-that-are-probably-not-a-reason-to-get-divorced
7. Doesn't do his fair share of household chores
     Believe it or not, this is one of the many reasons I have heard for couples who are contemplating divorce. The bigger problem here is usually that one spouse feels overworked and undervalued, which is a significant problem. Before contemplating divorce, I would urge each party to participate in counseling to improve communication. It is possible that one party does not recognize that he/she is not helping. Another possibility is that one party believes her or his participation in other tasks in regards to the family is a fair share. 

6. We hardly know each other
         So often I hear couples tell me that their spouse really doesn't know a thing about them. I've been present in mediation sessions where one spouse asks the other, "What is my favorite color?" If the spouse is unable to answer correctly, it reassures the other spouse that he/she is making the correct decision. But petty things like this should not persuade you into getting a divorce. It is OK not to know your spouse's favorite color, food, movies, or other preferences.  Preferences can be learned with effort. If there is still effort being offered, it may give you good reason to re-evaluate your need for a divorce.

5. We parent the children differently
      Parenting differences often causes strife within a marriage. Each party was raised with a certain expectation of what parenting is supposed to look like. Each individual believes some methods of parenting to be more effective than others. Often, frustrations arise when one parent fails to discipline a child as the other deems appropriate, or when one parent encourages behavior the other parent finds distasteful. However, divorce can cause significant consequences in the life of a child. These consequences often outweigh the damage caused by parenting preferences. Communication and synergy in parenting is a learned skill. Work with your spouse to improve upon this and set up a common game-plan.

4. My spouse is not good with money
     Money and financial situations are one of the main causes for deteriorating marital relationships. Sometimes, marriages can get to the point where each spouse is criticizing and commenting on every single item or service the other spouse purchases. This causes resentment and fear. Before divorcing, discuss with your spouse ways to spend sensibly. Pay your fair share of expenses, encourage and maintain openness in dealing with finances, and plan your financial security according to your means. 

3.  Work is taking over my spouse's life
       For some, work life is where they feel most successful and much of their daily self worth derives from their relationships and accomplishments at the work place. This is not a negative thing. However, if one spouse is spending too much time at work, or concentrating on work too much and home-life has become an afterthought, this can cause serious issues in a marriage. Spouses should encourage each other to have healthy work/life balance and to work a reasonable amount. Attempt to make friends at work who also demonstrate strong relationships at home. 

2. He doesn't get along with my family
     There may be many reasons why you believe your spouse just does not like your family. Some of these reasons may tie back to his relationships with his family and issues he experienced in childhood. Your spouse may not come from an intact family, or may not be comfortable with how close your family is. Talk to your spouse about these issues. Explain to your spouse why your family reacts in certain ways, and encourage your spouse to spend holidays with your family. Try doing the same with his family. Above all, speak highly of each other to family members. You may be able to avoid divorce by affecting change with the way you speak of one another. 

​1. We don't do anything together anymore
     If you and your spouse have any shared interests together, that is a tremendous value. Do you feel comfortable in your surroundings with your spouse? Are you able to eat what you want to eat, look how you want to look without worrying? Are you able to express yourself through art, music, relaxation, and companionship freely? If there is any sliver of truth to the above, it is worth looking into working on the relationship. At one time, there was something you both enjoyed. Perhaps you could make a list of all the things you have now or in the past liked doing together, and speak to your spouse about doing those activities again. 

NOTE: Every individual deserves happiness and safety in their marriage and all relationships. There are many reasons and combinations of reasons spouse's get divorced. This is not meant to be construed as legal advice, nor is it a list in order to tell you how you should treat your individual circumstances. Each circumstance is different. If you are a victim of spousal abuse or your physical safety is an issue, please reach out now. Do not wait. Where abuse is present, fear of recourse by your spouse is not a reason to stay in a marriage. 
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Wed, 27 Jan 2016 19:56:30 GMThttps://alexhairstonlaw.com/blog/arizona-guardianship-guide-cerebral-palsy-developmental-disabilities-autism-special-needs-and-other-long-term-care

THE AGE OF 18

​The age of 18 marks a special occasion in the life of every individual. It is at age 18 where every individual inherits their legal rights to adulthood. For many, this means the ability to make significant choices for themselves: to handle their own money, to move out of their childhood home, to sign their name as their own agent, and to agree to a wide variety of binding contracts ranging from buying a cell phone to renting an apartment.

But for parents of children with disabilities, autism, cerebral palsy, special needs, and other long-term care concerns, the age of 18 is a difficult and emotional time. Parents oftentimes spend countless nights lying awake concerned for their child's safety. These parents often wonder how to support their child in adulthood, and they may wonder what options are available to them to provide adequate protection for their child.
WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS AS A PARENT?

Guardianships are legal methods in place to protect your child. A Guardianship gives a parent or another individual full or partial decision-making for the child in regards to daily decisions.

But Guardianship is not a full power-of-attorney. A guardianship allows your child to begin to make daily decisions as her ability allows. Many parents obtain a guardianship for their child, but continue to encourage their child to develop in all areas of adulthood along the way. Many of these new adults have bank accounts and are registered to vote. Guardians are there to assist them in understanding voting materials or guiding them through processes, encouraging individual development throughout the process.
Steps to Obtaining a Guardianship in Arizona

  1. The courts in Arizona require that you submit a series of forms in order to prove that a new adult needs a guardian, and if so, that you are a correct fit to be the guardian. This process can be done in a minimum of two months and at least four trips to the courthouse. 
  2. In order to begin filing a guardianship on behalf of another, the Protected Person (person that needs a guardian) must be at least 17.5 years of age. Additionally, the Protected Person must be incapacitated, and the guardian must have completed the guardianship training provided by the State of Arizona.
  3. Your Protected Person may need a conservator if he or she has money (trust fund) or property (land or stocks). This allows the conservator to make decisions regarding the Protected Person's money or personal property.
  4. Information you will need includes basic information about yourself and the Protected Person. This includes information about the Protected Person's healthcare provider and attorney. If the Protected Person does not have an attorney, the court will appoint one for him or her.
  5. The guardian must go through a background check, and fill out an affidavit to determine your fitness to become a guardian. A court investigator will be assigned to your case in order for the court to determine this eligibility. 
  6. Finally, you will get a hearing in front of a judge to discuss your case and reasons for the State to assign a Guardian.
Attorney Alex Hairston is experienced in obtaining fast guardianships and conservatorships for adults in Arizona. His practice streamlines the process and ensures that all the required paperwork and forms are done properly. Additionally, he routinely appears before the court to ensure that those in need of guardianships are given protection as quickly and efficiently as possible. His offices take care of process of service and allows parent's to feel confident their legal needs will be handled promptly. Please contact his office at (480) 463-3475 if you have questions or need help in obtaining a guardianship. 
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Mon, 25 Jan 2016 20:26:36 GMThttps://alexhairstonlaw.com/blog/how-much-does-a-divorce-cost-in-arizona
A divorce in Arizona might cost you relatively little, or it may cost you a pretty penny. It all depends on a number of personal decisions that occur very early in the divorce process. This hectic time can determine whether you can cover the cost with a personal loan from your savings account or tax refund OR whether you use a portion of the marital assets to cover the costs of divorce.

High Net-Worth Divorces
Much is at stake in every divorce, but when there is a family business or significant assets involved, the spouses have each gotten used to living a lifestyle within their means. They have purchased vehicles, homes, vacation homes, furniture, decor, paintings, clothing and have contributed a large amount of money to pension and 401k programs and to the stock market. Additionally, children may be involved. Schooling and extra curricular costs and parenting time is at stake. 

Because of these things, spouses that have accrued a high net-worth or many assets tend to be significantly more expensive than an average divorce. This is because where there is much to gain, there is also much to lose. It is important for each side to get legal representation. These divorces will run anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000 to resolve, but a beneficial resolution will be worth much more than that. 

The Mid-Range Divorce
This range of divorce is often those who have one primary wage-earner and have been married for a longer period of time, have accumulated significant assets, have equity in their home, and have minor children. Both spouses are typically represented by attorney's and want to ensure the safety and health of their children and have a genuine concern over their own welfare going forward. 

These cases come down to what each spouse has earned in the past and what the court can expect the spouses to earn in the future. Once this is determined, the court will split this amount fairly in order to ensure that each side is taken care of. This could mean child or spousal support is ordered, which is a primary goal for some spouses in their divorce. If the spouses disagree and cannot work out an agreement and a trial takes place, these divorces can cost anywhere from $15,000-$35,000. Again, this amount is usually borrowed from a 401k fund or realized after the sale of the marital home.

Modest Assets (most common)
This is the most common divorce scenario because most marriages have accumulated enough assets where each side needs an adviser to evaluate their earnings, assets, and expenses and help the couple split these assets 50/50. Typically, both spouses own a car and the couple has purchased a home together. The marriage may have one or two children. The costs of these divorces seem to vary depending on whether one spouse digs in or not. The typical modest asset divorce costs between $5,000-$12,000. 

Uncontested with limited assets
These divorces are clean and simple. Both sides agree on what property or what action they seek with their belongings and children. Both sides agree that divorce is the best scenario. And there aren't significant assets at stake.  Court costs are anywhere from $400-$1000, and if you decide to retain an attorney, it will only increase slightly because the other side is not fighting the matter. Even if both sides hire an attorney, the cost of these divorces will only be about $2,500. 


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Mon, 18 Jan 2016 20:15:42 GMThttps://alexhairstonlaw.com/blog/im-the-father-but-im-not-on-the-birth-certificate
​There's a saying that in Arizona custody cases, your name on the birth certificate is half the battle. It's easy for courts to determine who the natural mothers are--the mother who birthed the child is the natural mother. No tests need to be done; no presumptions made; no signature required.

But for fathers, paternity can be a real issue in a custody dispute. Fathers desire as much as mothers to be involved in their children's lives. They wish to be there to watch their child take their first steps, to provide advice and counsel to their child, and to attend their children's important events and ceremonies. 

So how can one party prove they are entitled to parental rights?

Birth Certificate
The easiest way to be recognized as a parent with rights over a child is to sign the birth certificate of the child at birth.  The Courts in Arizona recognize that if you signed the birth certificate of the child, you are presumed to be the natural parent.  This presumption can go a long way into affording an individual parental rights. But not every parent can be in attendance for the birth of the child. And not every parent who is in attendance gets an opportunity to sign the birth certificate. Not every parent who gets the opportunity to sign the birth certificate actually signs it because they may not know how significant the act is. 

I think especially of those who are in the armed services or other essential professions that do not allow them to be present at the birth of their child. Or in situations where the natural mother does not allow or wish for the other parent to be present due to deteriorating relationships or safety issues. What then?

Marriage
If the mother of the child marries at any time in the ten months preceding the birth of the child, then the mother's spouse is presumed to be the natural father of the child. This, too, has it's obvious flaws. If you know you are a father of a child and the mother of the child married in the preceding ten months of having your child, it is important that you contact an experienced Child Custody Attorney to protect your parental rights as soon as possible.

Genetic Testing
This is the only sure way to prove that you are the natural father of a child. Arizona Courts only require a 95% probability of paternity through genetic testing.  Easy, right?

Not so fast. Because the first two methods to gaining custody are given preference or a presumption that they are accurate, it is more difficult than one would think to get a genetic test enforced by the court. This is because Courts don't want to "mix things up" with established family units and because genetic tests are uncomfortable for some children. However, it is important that you are able to get visitation and legal decision making over your child. Your child has a right to see his or her father, and to enjoy the company of the father's family as well. 

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Tue, 05 Jan 2016 23:12:07 GMThttps://alexhairstonlaw.com/blog/how-to-get-a-divorce-with-no-money

​Not only is divorce emotional, it also tends to be costly. Filing fees, attorney's fees, process server fees, copying fees, certified mail fees, child support, spousal support, and costs of travel to and from the courthouse are only some of the financial issues you may deal with in your divorce.

But whether you have a court date coming up or you just think it's time to move on with your life separate from your spouse, there are ways to save money and get an inexpensive divorce. This post lays out some easy methods to saving money during your divorce.


Self-Service

Many municipal courts provide self-service forms, along with instructions to fill out these forms. For instance, Maricopa County in Arizona sells the packet and provides PDF's of the forms on their website. Sure, you could go to the courthouse and pay the fee for printing the packet OR you could ask a family member with a printer if you could print off only the forms you need and fill them out yourself. This will save you time and money and you don't need to pay a lawyer to do this for you.

Even though most courts charge what is called a "filing fee" for a divorce or custody lawsuit (Maricopa County filing fee can be more than $300), many people who don't make enough money can get the . This means you may be able to avoid paying court fees.


Mediation instead of Litigation

Litigation is expensive in Divorce because you are asking a judge to make a decision based upon two people arguing over many issues. This means you have to pay the judge for his or her time (filing and court fees), attorneys to help you assert and defend your side, and other professionals to deliver your arguments to the other party's place of residence.

In Mediation, both parties are splitting the time of one professional to help you come up with a reasonable agreement. In Mediation, the Mediator is there to help facilitate an agreement that will benefit both sides. In Court, the Judge is there to make a decision that will probably only benefit one side.

Mediation is far less expensive than a full-blown trial. Oftentimes, a Mediator can get to the bottom of what a party actually wants to achieve and help both parties reach a reasonable objective. My law firm in Chandler always advocates for Mediation or other alternative dispute methods if it is in the best interest of the parties--simply because it's cheaper and effective. 


Have your spouse foot the legal bill

Many people don't know this, but there are some motions that allow one party to ask the other party to pay for legal fees. If your spouse is the primary breadwinner and you don't have access to the marital funds, this may be an option for you. This allows you to be represented even when your spouse has withheld all the money from you and emptied the bank account. Many attorneys prefer to get paid directly from you, and you should ask your attorney in advance if this is an option. 

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