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Phoenix Arizona Family Law Blog


There are many ways to establish authority and gain custody over a child that is not yours. Two options include "Guardianship" and "Non-Parent Custody" (also known as in loco parentis custody). The differences between the two are great and require a thorough analysis of each person's individual situation.

Grandparents Rights in Arizona

The State of Arizona has a provision which allows grandparents to have visitation rights over a parent's objection. In order to accomplish this; (1) the grandparent must overcome the presumption that the parent always acts "in the best interest of the child," and (2) access to the grandparents is in the child's best interest. This burden must be overcome by a "preponderance of the evidence" (i.e. the grandparent must show by a 51% probability that visitation is "in the child's best interest"). 


Take the Needed Time: Many children of blended families have survived a painful divorce or seperation. So have their parents, and if there is an attempt to get a blended family settled, then at least one of their parents has survived the aftermath of divorce and found a new relationship. In this circumstance, it's often tempting to rush into a new marriage and blend two families without a lot of preparatory work or simply time. If you remember to take your time, you will find that it's easier for everyone to grow accustomed to each other as well as grow accustomed to the idea of the new marriage.

Getting ready to sign a prenup? Read this first

Some people avoid all discussion regarding prenuptial agreements for fear that their intended spouses may find them highly unromantic. However, many Arizona residents are among those in other states who understand that such agreements can, in fact, strengthen a marital bond because signing one makes both parties feel confident and secure that his or her best interests are a central focus of the relationship.

If you're preparing to sign a prenup, it is critical that you understand state laws governing such issues. Of equal importance is making sure you clearly understand the terms of your proposed agreement. Perhaps your parents or another adult taught you never to sign anything you don't understand. This is particularly sage advice when it comes to prenuptial agreements, as adding your signature without clearly understanding contractual terms can lead to serious legal problems down the line.


While you were never married to your children's other parent, you may have only recently decided to break up with him or her, thus placing you in a position that is sort of like being divorced, but not. When your ex warned you that he or she was going to sue you for custody, you knew the months ahead were likely going to be quite stressful. Fighting a child custody battle as a single parent can be quite challenging.

Dividing Property in an Arizona Divorce

What is the difference between community and separate property?

There's one thing all couples getting divorced in Arizona need to face and agree upon or fight over in court. Their stuff-specifically who gets what.Division of property in an Arizona divorce, as its name implies, splits up the couple's assets so that each partner moves forward into their single, unmarried life with property of their own.In Arizona--one of the few community property states in the country--there are two types of property that the court considers: marital (a/k/a community) property and separate property.In a nutshell, marital property consists of property and assets acquired by the couple during their marriage and is considered legally owned equally by both spouses. This property is split up as close to 50/50 as possible in the event of a divorce.In contrast, separate property includes property acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage as well as other property including but not limited to personal injury awards, inheritances, debts, and certain gifts received before and/or during the marriage. Separate property generally remains with the person its attached to and the other spouse has no right to share in it.While it would seem easy to classify a couple's property into one category or the other, there are times when a spouse may act with respect to what is otherwise clearly separate property and such action might instead convert it to community property. A skilled family law attorney can advise on how particular property would likely be classified in any particular situation.Sometimes, so-called "happily married" couples fight over property. Recently, a wealthy attorney reportedly took legal action against his wife of 40 years allegedly believing she was going to take (or had already taken) action that might impact his "possessory interests" in their $13 million Manhattan apartment to help their adult son out of a financial bind. The deed to the apartment-- which was reportedly acquired during the marriage-- is only in the wife's name though the husband allegedly bought, insured, maintained, and improved the apartment with his money. The action was reportedly being discontinued.In Arizona, the apartment, acquired during the marriage, would generally be considered marital property and therefore owned equally by both spouses. However, in Arizona, gifts given from one spouse to the other during the marriage or property that both parties agreed in writing belongs only to one of the spouses may be considered separate property. So, it's important to review the particular circumstances of each case when classifying a couple's property as there may be exceptions to the general rule. 

Divorce Do's & Don'ts

The following is a list of "Do's" and "Don'ts" which, if followed, will save you from a lot of headaches in the future. Because you are already reading this website, you are well on your way to making an informed and educated decision regarding your Divorce in Arizona or other Family Law matters. Now take the next step and call Steven E. Sufrin to set up a free initial consultation today!

Making Your Divorce Easier

Going through the divorce process is an emotional, stressful time in a person's life, which is even made even more difficult when the divorce is a "bad" one. According to one counselor and mental health consultant, Diana Dodson, divorcing couples need to learn how to have a more amenable divorce, especially when there are children involved. Dr. Dodson states that it is difficult for divorcing couples to not have feelings of anger, getting even with the ex-spouse, blaming the spouse for the marriage problems, not accepting responsibility for the marriage break-up, denying problems exist, putting children in the middle, feeling like a failure or feeling rejected.

Arizona Family Law Legislation Update

We have three changes in Arizona family law to report. Two bills were recently signed into law and the Arizona Child Support Guidelines have been revised. Take a look at what's new half-way into 2018.

Co-parenting is already challenging enough without holiday stress

If you have children, the holidays are probably a busy time of year. Holiday parties, pageants and other activities keep you and the other parent hopping. The whirlwind of activity probably begins the moment you start planning your Thanksgiving meal.

All of this could provide a great deal of stress for any family, but you and your ex-spouse may still be working on a way to co-parent amicably and sometimes struggle to keep this relationship intact. This means extra stress for you and the other parent as you try to work through it all while providing the kids with a joyous and fun holiday season.