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June 2011 Archives

There's an App For That: Divorce Apps on the Market

Do you need some help talking to your child about divorce or legal separation? Now, there’s an app for that.

It may seem a bit odd, but parents are now turning to technology when it comes to explaining divorce to their children. Apple now offers Dr. Wolvier’s Divorce App for just $3.99, which uses children’s drawings to to illustrate their stories and feelings on parents splitting up.

Richard Ellsworth Denied Custody Due to Typo in Sheriff's Report

A case in Cordes Lakes, Arizona shows that even a typo in a sheriff’s report can lead to problems in family court when trying to obtain custody of a child. According to The Prescott Daily Courier, Richard Ellsworth was denied temporary custody of a family member’s child at a Child Protective Services hearing last April because of inaccuracies in a sheriff’s report.

Deputy Mike Martin arrested Eric Vernon Ellsworth, the brother of Richard Ellsworth, last February on domestic violence charges. But Martin mixed up the names of the brothers three-quarters of the way through the report and ended with “Richard was booked in and all paperwork was completed.” But Richard was not actually arrested nor was he charged in this domestic violence case.

Divorce Rates Increasing For the Baby Boomer Generation

Despite an overall declining divorce rate in the United States over the past two decades, divorces among people over the age of 50 have doubled during this same time period. FOX News reports that the baby boomer generation seems to be experiencing more divorces even in the later years of life. Just look at Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who now say that they are divorcing after 25 years of marriage. Al and Tipper Gore also recently split up after 40 years of marriage.

Karen Stewart, CEO of Fairway Divorce Solutions, says that this trend of more people divorcing between the ages of 40 and 65 is likely to continue. But what are the reasons for divorce among middle-aged couples after a long marriage? Some say it's because the children of the marriage are older and are leaving the house. Experts say that divorce laws are also now changing to make the process of property division a bit more simple.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Paying Child Support Even Before Divorce

Arnold Schwarzenegger is now paying "a significant amount of child support" to his estranged wife Maria Shriver, even though he does not yet have any legal obligation to do so. According to Radar Online, neither Schwarzenegger or Shriver have officially filed for a dissolution of marriage in court, even through attorneys and various media reports have confirmed that the two are definitely splitting up. Courts will not order one party to pay child support or alimony to the other unless a divorce petition is officially filed.

Child Population in Arizona Increases

Over the past decade, Arizona has seen rapid growth in the number of youngsters living in the state who are under the age of 10. Demographers say that this trend indicates that there could be more demand for services such as child care, teachers, and school construction. With more children in the state, it's also possible that local family law attorneys will be handling more cases involving child custody, visitation, adoption, or parenting rights.

According to The Arizona Republic, 2010 Census data showed that the state of Arizona added 137,000 kids to the children in the under 10 age group from 2000 to 2010. The nation as a whole, saw this age group increase by 825,000 children. Based on these numbers, it looks like the the child population growth in the Grand Canyon State really did contribute significantly to the national increase of children in the specified age range.

Father's Day Could Shed Light on Fathers' Rights in Arizona

Children across the state of Arizona are getting ready to honor their dads this Sunday for Father's Day. This is a happy occasion for many fathers, but Father's Day may also be a time for some to question their fathers' rights as if they are not married to the mother of their child.

A biological father in Arizona has the right to apply for a paternity determination. Once paternity is established, the father has the right to ask the court for custody or reasonable parenting time under Arizona Revised Statute 25-408. Keep in mind, a non-custodial father could be ordered to pay child support once paternity is established.

Establishing Paternity in Maricopa County

It's a good idea for mothers to establish paternity if they give birth to a child out of wedlock so that the baby's biological father can be legally determined. Paternity determinations will secure financial support as well as custody and visitation rights for both parents.

In Maricopa County, it's actually quite easy to establish paternity. The Maricopa County Superior Court branch states that paternity can be established without even going to court, as long as an Acknowledgment of Paternity is signed by both parents at the hospital when the child is born or anytime thereafter and then filed with the court.

Adoption by Same-Sex Couples Becomes More Common Across U.S.

Even with all the legal hurdles that are involved with same-sex couples seeking adoption, there is still a growing number of gay couples across the United States who are choosing to adopt. The New York Times reports that census data shows that in 2009, about 19 percent of same-sex couples were raising children that they had adopted. This is significantly more than the reported eight percent of same-sex couples raising children in 2000.

Why the increase in same-sex couple adoption? It's possible that the trend has to do with the increasing number of children who are currently waiting for adoption, or perhaps it is because there has been an increased acceptance of gays and lesbians in American society over the past decade.

Jason London Wants to Lower Monthly Child Support Payments

Hollywood actor and “Dazed and Confused” star Jason London reportedly now pays $1,000 per month in child support to his ex-wife Charlie Spradling. However, E! Online reports that London is seeking to modify his child support obligations so that he would be paying less money per month in the future.

The actor claims that he can no longer afford the $1,000 a month payments after losing his job and having to pay a tax liability of $700 per month. In court documents, he noted that he will be receiving unemployment benefits totaling just $1,800 a month. Typically, the child support amount is about 20 percent of the non-custodial parent’s income. However, the percentage amount can be greater if payments are for more than one child.

Conciliation Counseling in Arizona

If you and your spouse are considering divorce in Arizona, you should know that the state does offer conciliation counseling under ARS§ 25-381. According to the Maricopa County Superior Court, conciliation counseling is brief and has the goal of assisting parties in making an informed and thoughtful decision regarding their marital relationship.

Upon completion of the court’s conciliation counseling services, the parties can be referred to community-based counseling services for further assistance if the two parties express such an interest. The final decision regarding a marriage is made between the spouses themselves, where reconciliation of a marriage is never forced upon the spouses during the counseling process.

Garrett Taylor Reunited With Son After Seven-Year Disappearance

A father in Kamloops, British Columbia was granted sole custody of his son by a provincial court judge last week, but the father hadn’t actually seen his son in almost seven years. According to Kamloops Daily News, the father Garrett Taylor is now traveling to Arizona to see his 10-year-old son Valor Howell for the first time since he was abducted in 2004.

Valor’s mother, Jamie Howell, allegedly abducted the boy from British Columbia and brought him into Arizona where the mother and child resided for several years. Police recently found the boy in Chandler on May 29 after they received a call about a possible disturbance at a laundromat, reports CDC News. Authorities discovered at the time of Howell’s arrest that she was connected to a missing child report.

Russell Pearce Puts Terry Decker on AZ Child Support Committee

Terry Decker is still taking a lot of heat for a crime that he committed four years ago. Senate President Russell Pearce recently appointed Decker to serve on the Arizona Child Support Committee, but some say that Decker shouldn’t be on the committee because of his criminal record and past family court drama.

KPHO reports that Decker pleaded guilty to assault and disrupting a school after he showed up to his children’s charter school and demanded to see his kids when his ex-wife had sole custody of the children. It wasn’t Decker’s day for visitation, but this didn’t stop him from throwing a punch at a teacher and yelling to see his children.

Not Even Fulton Brock Will Get Out of Parenting Class

Parents seeking dissolution of marriage or legal separation in Arizona are required to attend a Parenting Information Program (PIP) class under state law. It looks like nobody, not even Maricopa County Supervisor Fulton Brock, can get out of parenting class.

The Arizona Republic reports that most parents don't even try to get out of this required parenting class, as it can cost $300 in legal fees to prepare a motion that requests waiving the requirement. Yet the parenting class can easily be completed online for just $39.