FAMILY LAW2021-01-21T13:12:02-07:00

Family Law
on the Best Terms

Ashley DeBoard is the leading family law attorney serving Flagstaff, Sedona, and Prescott in collaborative family law, divorce, child custody, child support, and other matters.

It’s the Big Picture

Going through a divorce or custody court case can be one of the single-most stressful experiences in a person’s lifetime. You don’t have to go it alone.

At FLG, we take time to help our clients understand the process and their rights and obligations in their case. We offer our experienced and unclouded judgment to help empower our clients to make decisions that fit their family priorities and budgets. We approach our cases with clear judgment, strong advocacy, and a big picture view toward helping clients resolve their cases in a dignified, fair, and cost-effective manner.

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What is Family Law?

Family law refers to an area of practice that generally includes divorce, child custody, child support, asset and debt division, spousal support (alimony), parenting rights, and so forth.

Family Law Services

Divorce

Child Custody

Spousal Support

Child Support

Asset & Debt Division

Our Approach

We make the family law process as smooth as possible.

1. Keep our Cool

We know that navigating a family law case is often the single most stressful event in a person’s life. The stakes are high. Often a person’s strong emotional ties to the situation can also affect or cloud their judgment about how best to proceed. We meet clients where they are in this process, offering empathy, dignity, and our clear and experienced judgment to support them through this process. Find out why hiring a bulldog attorney can backfire.

2. Explore Settlement

The financial and emotional costs of litigating a case are high, and the outcomes uncertain. We will help our clients explore settlement opportunities early and often. Litigating a case in court turns significant control over to a complete stranger (the judge) to make a decision for you and your family. When appropriate, we will encourage our clients to try out-of-court settlement options such as collaborative divorce, informal negotiations, mediation, or a judicial settlement conference. We will quickly assess what information is needed to achieve an informed and fair settlement. Settlement can empower families to find a creative resolution that meets their particular family needs and their overall budget

3. Smart Advocacy

Sometimes it is not possible to resolve issues out of court. Reasonable people can disagree, and it’s also not uncommon for one party to take unreasonable positions in their case. In either event, sometimes putting a decision to a judge is necessary. When we go to court, we use smart advocacy. We won’t waste your time and money by over-litigating your case. We will do our best to help you narrow the issues put before the judge, settling the issues that can be settled. Where appropriate, we will also explore agreements to admit certain evidence to smooth the court process as much as possible.

Getting Started

It’s easier than you think.

1. Schedule a consultation to meet with our family law attorney

2. Review your legal rights and obligations and understand the process options available to you

3. Determine your best next steps for how to proceed

Questions about family law in Arizona

Family Law can feel intimidating. We have answers to common questions that may help put your mind at ease.

Can a court make the other party pay my attorney’s fees?

In Arizona, it is possible that one spouse will be ordered to pay the attorney’s fees and costs of the other spouse, in addition to their own fees.  The two main factors a court will consider in deciding whether to award a party their fees are (1) the relative financial resources of each party (income and property) and (2) whether either party took unreasonable positions in the case.  It is critical that a party and his or her attorney be mindful not only of their own fees and costs but also the reasonableness of their positions in order to minimize exposure for paying the other party’s fees and costs.

What are paternity rights?

Even if parents are not married, they still have certain parental rights to have legal decision-making authority and parenting time with their children, just as married parents do. Parents also have the legal duty to financially support their children.  If paternity of a father has not been formally established, it may be a necessary first step before the other parenting rights can be fixed by a court. 

How can I ask for a change to the existing Court orders?

Parenting time and legal decision-making orders are generally modifiable as long as a parent can establish that the change serves the child’s best interests and as long as there is a substantial and continuing change of circumstances.  Under Arizona law (Arizona Revised Statute section 25-411), a parent generally cannot seek to change a court order within one year from the date of the last order unless there is good reason to believe the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health is seriously endangered. Additionally, some parenting plans require parents to try to mediate an issue before going back to court.

What if the other party isn’t following the Court orders?

When a party fails to follow a court order, it may be necessary to seek enforcement of the order back in court. For instance, if a party fails to comply with parenting time order, pay a support obligation, transfer property according to a court order, pay an award of attorney’s fees, or defaults on a debt ordered to be paid by the Court, the order can generally be enforced by seeking contempt of court and sanctions.  It is also possible that the Court will award attorney’s fees to the party seeking enforcement.

What if I can’t wait for the case to finish before getting a Court order on something urgent?

Family cases can go on for 6-18 months on average.  Sometimes parties cannot wait that long to have a court order on issues that need to be resolved before the case is over.  Under those circumstances, either or both parties can ask the court for “temporary orders” on issues such as parenting time, child support, payment of attorney’s fees or costs for experts, use of the family home, spousal support, interim payment of marital debts or obligations, and so forth. 

What is a marital agreement?

Sometimes, the default community property laws in Arizona do not reflect a couple’s wishes concerning their own property and debts.  In an effort to avoid applying the default community property laws, or to more clearly define each partner’s property interests and obligations, couples may choose to enter into a written agreement.  

The agreement can be entered before marriage (known as a pre-marital or pre-nuptial agreement), after marriage (post-marital or post-nuptial agreement), or during cohabitation and domestic partnerships.

Whether the agreement will be enforceable depends greatly on the circumstances under which the agreement was entered and whether the terms are fair and reasonable. The requirements for these agreements can be complex, so it is advisable to meet with an attorney to discuss whether an agreement is appropriate and how to best prepare an enforceable agreement.

Let’s talk about your next step

We are here to help you navigate sensitive concerns you have around family law, and guide you toward the best choices for your circumstances and desires.

Contact Ashley for your free one-hour consultation to discuss how family law can provide you with the peace of mind you deserve.

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