Welcome to Larson Law Office
Accessible and Personable Legal Services
For You and Your Family
My approach to family court is to help you get the best results as quickly as possible. Regardless of what type of case you have, it is important that it be handled correctly from the beginning. Otherwise, you often have to live with bad results for many years.
I always take two paths simultaneously to the same goal of resolving your case with the best results possible. I will make every reasonable effort to settle your case out of court to avoid unnecessary, costly litigation. If we can settle favorably out of court, it can save you a lot of time, stress, and money. However, we cannot guarantee that the other side will be reasonable and willing to cooperate. Therefore, I will also prepare your case for trial from the beginning so that we are prepared in case it cannot be resolved out of court.
This is similar to divorce except that if you qualify for an annulment, it is as if you were never
Annulments are extremely rare since they are only given if your marriage was invalid for some reason. If you have children or jointly owned property, you still must deal with those issues even though there was no marriage. If you think you may have grounds for an annulment and want to know your options, you should schedule a consultation with me immediately.
If you have minor children, you will have to calculate child support, and most of the time there will be an order for one parent to pay a monthly child support to the other.
Arizona child support laws can be very simple at times, but can become extremely complicated under certain circumstances. Most people are aware of the monthly payment, but many people do not realize that other issues are also considered part of child support. Who is going to provide health insurance for the children? Who is going to pay for medical expenses that are not covered by insurance? Who is going to claim the children on their tax returns? Who is going to pay for travel costs or extracurricular activities? All of these issues fall within the laws regarding child support and must be dealt with properly in every paternity case or divorce with children.
Divorce is one of the most painful and complicated things a person can experience. I have helped many people through this difficult process. The laws are harsh, the process is complicated, and it is emotionally stressful. You need to know what rights you have, what outcomes are possible, and how to plan for the best results possible. That's where I come in. I help people plan for and achieve the outcomes they have in mind. It is extremely important to get it done the right way the first time so that you don’t have to spend years of your life trying to correct the problems that are caused by a bad outcome.
What can you do if the other party to your case violates court orders? All parties to a case are expected to follow the court’s orders. They will get away with it unless you notify the court ask the court to enforce the orders. Enforcement issues are often a matter of someone failing to pay child support, spousal maintenance, or other financial obligations. It can also be a parent refusing to follow the parenting time schedule or any other refusal to follow a court order. The court has many sanctions available to enforce its orders, but you have to request enforcement for it to happen. If you have questions regarding enforcement of court orders, contact me immediately to discuss your rights.
Grandparents in Arizona can have visitation or other rights with their grandchildren under certain circumstances.
Grandparents are also a common choice to act as guardians when the parents cannot take care of their children for a period of time. Even though Arizona does have laws for grandparents’ rights, they are complicated. If you want to know if you have any rights regarding your grandchildren, you should schedule a consultation with me right away so that I can evaluate your specific situation and advise you of your options.
What most people think of as "legal custody" is called legal decision making in Arizona. It is basically a question of whether parents will make major decisions about their children together or if one parent will make those decisions alone. Arizona favors joint legal decision making, which means the parents are expected to cooperate and make decisions together. In some circumstances, sole legal decision making is more appropriate, which allows one parent to make major decisions. Legal decision making is one of the most complicated, emotional, and highly litigated issues in divorce and paternity cases. If you have minor children, I highly suggest you speak with an experienced family lawyer to determine what type of legal decision making is appropriate, and to develop a strategy to achieve your goals.
In a legal separation you deal with all the issues you would if you were getting a divorce except that you are still technically married. For example, you must decide legal decision making, parenting time, and child support for any minor children. You also have to resolve issues like spousal maintenance, divisions of assets and debts, and anything else that would be relevant to your case if you were going through a divorce. It takes both parties to agree to a legal separation because if one spouse wants a divorce, then they are entitled to it. Also, a legal separation can be converted to a divorce in the future if either party chooses to do that. Legal separations are rare, but people prefer them sometimes for various reasons. If you want to know more about the option of a legal separation, schedule a consultation with me, and I will explain the differences between legal separation and divorce so you can understand your options.
I have participated in numerous settlement meetings over the years and helped many clients achieve great results. I am always willing to help my clients resolve their cases out of court. We can often finalize a case quickly without unnecessary time and money being spent on litigation. By resolving your case through mediation, you also prevent a stranger who does not know you or your family (otherwise known as a judge) from making huge decisions that will affect your family. Additionally, most people are happier with their results when they resolve their case through mediation as opposed to a trial in court. There are always going to be compromises in any settlement, but it is usually worth a try to see if you can get a good result without going to court.
I also work in the role of a mediator at times. With the Larson Law Office, I represent clients in their legal issues, but I also created Arizona Divorce Solutions to offer my services as a mediator to parties attempting to mediate divorces or any other family law issues. My expertise in helping people resolve their disputes allows me to provide great value to parties who are interested in trying mediation. Mediation can be done at any stage of the process.
So whether you are thinking of filing a case, if you have a trial scheduled, or even if you have already completed your case and need to go back to court, mediation can be an extremely valuable option. If you are interested in having me mediate your case, please take a look at my www.AZDivorceSolutions.com/ and schedule a time for mediation. Please note that if I mediate your case, I cannot represent you in litigation. Similarly, if I have represented you at some time, or have spoken with you about possible representation, I will not be able to act as a neutral mediator for you.
Over time your circumstances may change to the point that your court orders are no longer
appropriate and should be modified. If the financial circumstances of a party have changed, it may be time to modify child support or spousal maintenance. There could also be changes in circumstances that require changes to legal decision making or parenting time orders. Arizona law has a process available for making these kinds of modifications but only under certain conditions. If you are interested in modifying any of your court orders, you should speak with me to learn about your options.
What used to be called “physical custody” is now called parenting time in Arizona. It is essentially a parenting schedule that includes a regular schedule of when your children will be with both parents as well as a schedule for holidays, vacations, etc. Arizona law does not prefer a particular schedule, but it does require frequent and meaningful parenting time for both parents whenever possible. What is considered frequent and meaningful parenting time can vary greatly depending on the unique circumstances of your case, so you should contact me to discuss your options.
Paternity cases are what people often refer to as a custody case. It occurs when two people have children together without being married. The first step of any paternity case is proving paternity, which means establishing the legal father of a child. Once that is done, legal decision making, parenting time, and child support need to be established. It is similar to a divorce except it does not involve assets, debts, or spousal maintenance. As such, everything that is written above about those issues apply in paternity cases also. You need proven representation to help you in a paternity case just as much as if it were a divorce.
One of the biggest issues in a divorce is how to divide all the property and debts you have accumulated. Arizona is a community property state, so there is a presumption that all property and debts from the marriage are to be split equally. While the law is pretty straightforward, it can often become difficult to divide property and debts in a way that is fair and maximizes value for both parties. In addition, non-married couples often own property together, so community property laws do not apply in those situations. If you have property and/or debts that need to be divided due to a divorce or separation, give me a call, and I will be happy to discuss your options.
Arizona is a community property state. This means that all retirement accounts or benefits earned by one spouse during a marriage are community property, and therefore, they are owned by both spouses equally. Retirement plans are often the largest asset in a divorce, so you want to be sure that they are divided accurately. It is not usually difficult for a divorce court to order retirement assets to be divided equally, but simply having a court order does not actually divide the retirement plan. To do that you need to take additional steps beyond the divorce decree, which usually involves preparing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) that is used to divide the retirement plan without tax consequences. Each retirement plan has its own specific rules and regulations, so you normally need an attorney who is familiar with the process.
Spousal maintenance (called “alimony” by some states) is one of the least predictable and most litigated issues in divorces. It is essentially one spouse asking the court to order the other spouse to pay a monthly support payment for a period of time after they are divorced. It is not difficult to see why this is a highly litigated issue. It has a huge effect on the finances of both parties and is also extremely emotional. Because spousal maintenance can continue for many years, it is sometimes the largest financial issue in a divorce. If you are involved in a divorce where either party is seeking spousal maintenance, you should be represented by an experienced divorce lawyer if at all possible. This is one issue you want to get right the first time or else you will spend years paying for it one way or another.
Need more information? Contact Us or book a call via the button below.