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Bill Pending Before Arizona Legislature Regarding Burden of Proof in Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Time Matters

The current Arizona legislative session began on January 13, 2020. Prior to that date, there were at least 284 bills introduced for the legislators’ consideration, and one of which, House Bill 2153, pertains to the standard of evidence that is applied in family law matters.

The current statute, Arizona Revised Statute § 25-103, provides as follows:

  1. It is declared that the public policy of this state and the general purposes of this title are:
    1. To promote strong families;
    2. To promote strong family values.
  2. It is also the declared public policy of this state and the general purpose of this title that absent evidence to the contrary, it is in a child’s best interest:
    1. To have substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing parenting time with both parents.
    2. To have both parents participate in decision-making about the child.
  3. A court shall apply the provisions of this title in a manner that is consistent with this section.

House Bill 2153 addresses what standard of evidence or burden of proof should be necessary to support of finding that it is not in a child’s best interest to have substantial, frequent, meaningful, and continuing parenting time with both parents and for both parents participate in decision-making about the child.

Arizona Family Laws of Legal Decision Making

The burden of proof currently applied in family law matters is that of a preponderance of the evidence; plainly put, a preponderance of the evidence generally means proving that something is simply more likely than not (or a 50.1% probability). However, House Bill 2153 will amend the statute to read that clear and convincing evidence is required. Clear and convincing evidence is a higher standard than a preponderance of the evidence. To meet the burden of clear and convincing evidence, it generally must be proven that something must be highly more probable to be true than not (akin to something closer to 75% probability).

The attorneys and staff at Dodge & Vega, PLC are devoted to staying informed of the most up-to-date information that affect family law litigation. As such, we will be monitoring the status of this bill and any other pertinent bills that will introduced later in the legislative session.

If you have any questions about new changes in Arizona Family Law, then contact our office to schedule a free consultation with our firm and know your rights. 480-656-8333.

Written By:

Kevin Whitacre, Dodge & Vega PLC

 

Dodge & Vega PLC founded by Ben Dodge, attorney at law. Ben owns and manages a law firm of Affordable Arizona Bankruptcy, Family Law, and Personal Injury Lawyers. He is a nationally certified trial attorney, entrepreneur, endurance Athlete, and extreme Ultra Cyclist.

Ben Dodge, Esq.

 

 

 

A consultation with experienced Arizona Divorce Attorney Ben Dodge is free

Understanding your rights and what you are entitled too, Ben Dodge is known as a serious litigator. There are two types of attorneys, those that sit behind a desk and push paper and those who actually hit the court room in the real world and get things done. Ben is a litigator who thrives in the court room. He once said: “It is one thing to tell your clients you are a good lawyer, it is an entirely different thing to be willing to prove it to them while they watch you do your work in front of them, in front of a jury watching your every move, in front of a judge, and your peers who are lawyers on the other side if your case. I love the opportunity to go to court and put my money where my mouth is.

Ben Dodge, Trial Lawyer and NITA Advocate

In my experience most lawyers are either afraid of the court room or not good at it and belong behind a desk or both.” -Ben Dodge Ben is one a very few lawyers trained in advance litigation skills through the National Institute of Trial Attorneys (NITA) and has earned the designation as a NITA Advocate.

The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important, but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your case. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in the law, civil procedures, local and state ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and even the court room politics that always play out.

Ben Dodge always offers a complimentary in person consultation to all clients. For those who live out of state or are otherwise busy with work, etc. Ben will do a complimentary phone consultation as well. Typically the consultations are scheduled from 30-60 minutes depending on the severity of the case. You can expect to get answers to questions, clarity, information, and reassurance of your personal, family, or business issues. In your free consultation you can generally expect to discuss such topics as:

  • What your legal issue is really about.
  • Whether or not you have any chance of winning and how to make that possible.
  • Our unique and incredible fee structure making Dodge & Vega lawyers affordable for almost any budget.
  • Your specific case details, any pictures, police reports, or any other evidence you provide for his review.
  • The applicable local, state, and federal laws underlying your case.
  • Your rights, obligations, and any potential liability.
  • The process, procedure (in and out of court), and the time frame required to conclude your case.

You can call Arizona Lawyer Ben Dodge of Dodge & Vega, PLC at 1.480.656.8333. Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Someone from our office will personally return your call within 24 hours to schedule an appointment with Mr. Dodge or one o his associate attorneys. There is never an obligation past a complimentary consultation with Mr. Dodge. His passion is in relentless representation and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness, compassion, and patience. We strive to make a legal experience with our firm one of the most outstanding customer service experiences you will ever have and to do so without you having to go broke! Lawyers can be incredible and affordable. Let us show you how.

Dodge & Vega, PLC

Call Ben Dodge, your incredible Arizona Lawyer today at 1.480.656.8333.

Mr. Dodge can also be reached by email at ben@dodgevegalaw.com

His main Arizona offices are located at:

Mesa Arizona (home base office)
7227 E. Baseline Rd. STE 109,
Mesa, Arizona 85209

Phoenix Arizona office
2415 e. Camelback Rd., suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona 85016

Tucson Arizona office
One South Church Avenue, 12th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701

Mr. Dodge relentlessly represents clients in the entire state of Arizona including but not limited to Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, Gilbert, Peoria, Glendale, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Chandler, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, Surprise, Kingman, Page, Lake Havasu City, Payson, Goodyear, Buckeye, Queen Creek, Paradise Valley, Show Low, Winslow, Maricopa, Nogales, Globe, Avondale, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Carefree, Wickenburg, Pinetop-Lakeside, Strawberry, Anthem, Safford, and more. Ben Dodge is an experienced Arizona Personal Injury lawyer, Arizona Family Law lawyer, Arizona Divorce lawyer, Arizona Bankruptcy lawyer, Arizona Child Custody lawyer, Arizona Estate Planning lawyer, and an Arizona Bicycle Accident lawyer. He can cover all areas of family law, personal injury, bankruptcy and estate planning for you.

Arizona Family Court Guidelines for Parenting Time of Children During the COVID-19 Pandemic

As you may expect, our office has been inundated with questions regarding the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on parenting time orders. While COVID-19 has caused a great deal of uncertainty, the Arizona Supreme Court has published guidelines effective as of April 1, 2020. The stated goal of the guidelines is “to encourage you to follow your existing parenting plan as closely as possible.” The guidelines can be accessed in their entirety here, but this blog post will cover the points that address the most common questions we have received:

  • Generally: The COVID-19 pandemic is not a reason to deny parenting time. In particular, a parent is not permitted to deny parenting time based upon the other parent’s unwillingness to discuss precautionary measures taken or belief that the other parent’s precautions are insufficient.
  • Compliance with Existing Orders: Existing parenting time and visitation orders must be complied with unless and until the parties agree otherwise or the orders are modified.
    • Due to the fact that many parenting plans include provisions that are dependent on a child’s school schedule (g., pick ups after school, spring break parenting time), parenting time should continue as if the children are still attending school under the school calendar of the relevant district.
    • To put a fine point on it, the Arizona stay-at-home order does not preclude travel for the purpose of parenting time exchanges.
  • Arizona Official COVID-19 Co Parenting Rules

    Modification of Orders: While the courts do encourage parties to cooperate and reach agreements to modify orders in the child’s best interests, it is important to note that self-help is not an acceptable course of action! If an agreement cannot be reached, the order must be modified. Even in uncertain times such as these, failure to comply with existing parenting time or visitation orders may subject a party to legal penalties including but not limited to being held in contempt of court, assessed fines, and subject to other sanctions.

  • Temporary Modifications to Consider: There are certain changes to your parenting plan that might make sense given the current circumstances. Please note that these changes can be agreed to for a particular period of time to avoid any later dispute about whether the changes were intended to outlast the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • If parenting time is ordered to occur in a public place, consider a less-populated park and avoid common-contact surfaces such as playground equipment as opposed to the mall or restaurant you may have used in the past.
    • Consider voluntarily suspending parenting time for a period of 14 days if you have tested positive for COVID-19, been exposed to COVID-19, or recently traveled internationally. Such agreements should also consider make-up parenting time at a later date! In cases where in-person parenting time cannot or should not occur, consider the possibility of telephone or videoconference visits.
    • If parenting time is ordered to be supervised and the supervisor has become unavailable, consider finding another supervisor or other means to ensure the child’s safety and wellbeing.

At Dodge & Vega, PLC, we are monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects in the field of family law, and we are committed to keeping our clients informed and up-to-date with the most recent guidance available.

If you are a parent and you are now being told you cannot have your parenting time due to the COVID-19, then contact our office to schedule a free consultation with our firm and know your rights. 480-656-8333.

Written By:

Kevin Whitacre, Dodge & Vega PLC

 

Dodge & Vega PLC founded by Ben Dodge, attorney at law. Ben owns and manages a law firm of Affordable Arizona Bankruptcy, Family Law, and Personal Injury Lawyers. He is a nationally certified trial attorney, entrepreneur, endurance Athlete, and extreme Ultra Cyclist.

Ben Dodge, Esq.

 

 

 

A consultation with experienced Arizona Divorce Attorney Ben Dodge is free

Understanding your rights and what you are entitled too, Ben Dodge is known as a serious litigator. There are two types of attorneys, those that sit behind a desk and push paper and those who actually hit the court room in the real world and get things done. Ben is a litigator who thrives in the court room. He once said: “It is one thing to tell your clients you are a good lawyer, it is an entirely different thing to be willing to prove it to them while they watch you do your work in front of them, in front of a jury watching your every move, in front of a judge, and your peers who are lawyers on the other side if your case. I love the opportunity to go to court and put my money where my mouth is.

Ben Dodge, Trial Lawyer and NITA Advocate

In my experience most lawyers are either afraid of the court room or not good at it and belong behind a desk or both.” -Ben Dodge Ben is one a very few lawyers trained in advance litigation skills through the National Institute of Trial Attorneys (NITA) and has earned the designation as a NITA Advocate.

The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important, but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your case. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in the law, civil procedures, local and state ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and even the court room politics that always play out.

Ben Dodge always offers a complimentary in person consultation to all clients. For those who live out of state or are otherwise busy with work, etc. Ben will do a complimentary phone consultation as well. Typically the consultations are scheduled from 30-60 minutes depending on the severity of the case. You can expect to get answers to questions, clarity, information, and reassurance of your personal, family, or business issues. In your free consultation you can generally expect to discuss such topics as:

  • What your legal issue is really about.
  • Whether or not you have any chance of winning and how to make that possible.
  • Our unique and incredible fee structure making Dodge & Vega lawyers affordable for almost any budget.
  • Your specific case details, any pictures, police reports, or any other evidence you provide for his review.
  • The applicable local, state, and federal laws underlying your case.
  • Your rights, obligations, and any potential liability.
  • The process, procedure (in and out of court), and the time frame required to conclude your case.

You can call Arizona Lawyer Ben Dodge of Dodge & Vega, PLC at 1.480.656.8333. Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Someone from our office will personally return your call within 24 hours to schedule an appointment with Mr. Dodge or one o his associate attorneys. There is never an obligation past a complimentary consultation with Mr. Dodge. His passion is in relentless representation and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness, compassion, and patience. We strive to make a legal experience with our firm one of the most outstanding customer service experiences you will ever have and to do so without you having to go broke! Lawyers can be incredible and affordable. Let us show you how.

Dodge & Vega, PLC

Call Ben Dodge, your incredible Arizona Lawyer today at 1.480.656.8333.

Mr. Dodge can also be reached by email at ben@dodgevegalaw.com

His main Arizona offices are located at:

Mesa Arizona (home base office)
7227 E. Baseline Rd. STE 109,
Mesa, Arizona 85209

Phoenix Arizona office
2415 e. Camelback Rd., suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona 85016

Tucson Arizona office
One South Church Avenue, 12th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701

Mr. Dodge relentlessly represents clients in the entire state of Arizona including but not limited to Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, Gilbert, Peoria, Glendale, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Chandler, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, Surprise, Kingman, Page, Lake Havasu City, Payson, Goodyear, Buckeye, Queen Creek, Paradise Valley, Show Low, Winslow, Maricopa, Nogales, Globe, Avondale, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Carefree, Wickenburg, Pinetop-Lakeside, Strawberry, Anthem, Safford, and more. Ben Dodge is an experienced Arizona Personal Injury lawyer, Arizona Family Law lawyer, Arizona Divorce lawyer, Arizona Bankruptcy lawyer, Arizona Child Custody lawyer, Arizona Estate Planning lawyer, and an Arizona Bicycle Accident lawyer. He can cover all areas of family law, personal injury, bankruptcy and estate planning for you.

As most individuals are aware, there is a pandemic that is occurring all over the world in relation to the COVID-19 Virus, a.k.a. the Corona Virus. The schools in Arizona have been ordered to be shut down and many clients have called our office asking how this affects their parenting time if the other parent is now using this virus as a way to not allow them to have their parenting time. We have informed our clients that it is a case-by-case situation. We always tell our clients that if they are amicable and are able to reach an agreement and work out a different parenting time schedule, then do it!

Coronavirus Should Not Limit Parenting Time – Only a Court Order

However, if the parents are unable to reach an agreement, then the Order still stands. There is nothing in an Order which states if a child is sick or there is a potential for a child to get sick then Dad does not get his parenting time or Mom does not get her parenting time. In addition, there is no reason to withhold a child from the other parent for a “potential” of the child getting sick. It would seem like now more than ever that parents should work together to make sure each parent has contact with their children but unfortunately this is not always the case. There are parents who have very limited contact with their children and to take away that limited contact out of a fear of something that may or may not happen will only result in criminal charges or the filings with the Court in family law matters to increase. I have clients who have asked our office, “what if I have sole legal decision-making, can I say no to Father’s parenting time?” The short answer is NO! Pursuant to A.R.S. §25-401, sole legal decision-making means that “one parent has the legal right and responsibility to make major decisions for a child” but this does not mean you have the ability to dictate or interfere with the parenting time orders.  You cannot change a parenting time schedule without the Court modifying that order and I can tell you most judges are not going to allow parents to interfere with court ordered parenting time out of a fear “something might happen” when in truth, there is no way to determine that it will happen.

If you are a parent and you are now being told you cannot have your parenting time due to the COVID-19, then contact our office to schedule a free consultation with our firm and know your rights. 480-656-8333.

Written By:

Kim Hewes, Dodge & Vega PLC

 

Dodge & Vega PLC founded by Ben Dodge, attorney at law. Ben owns and manages a law firm of Affordable Arizona Bankruptcy, Family Law, and Personal Injury Lawyers. He is a nationally certified trial attorney, entrepreneur, endurance Athlete, and extreme Ultra Cyclist.

Ben Dodge, Esq.

 

 

 

A consultation with experienced Arizona Divorce Attorney Ben Dodge is free

Understanding your rights and what you are entitled too, Ben Dodge is known as a serious litigator. There are two types of attorneys, those that sit behind a desk and push paper and those who actually hit the court room in the real world and get things done. Ben is a litigator who thrives in the court room. He once said: “It is one thing to tell your clients you are a good lawyer, it is an entirely different thing to be willing to prove it to them while they watch you do your work in front of them, in front of a jury watching your every move, in front of a judge, and your peers who are lawyers on the other side if your case. I love the opportunity to go to court and put my money where my mouth is.

Ben Dodge, Trial Lawyer and NITA Advocate

In my experience most lawyers are either afraid of the court room or not good at it and belong behind a desk or both.” -Ben Dodge Ben is one a very few lawyers trained in advance litigation skills through the National Institute of Trial Attorneys (NITA) and has earned the designation as a NITA Advocate.

The negotiation tactics and strategies of winning a case are extremely important, but should always take a back row seat to the litigation experience and knowledge of court room rules, local, state, and federal rules of civil procedure that can have significant impact on your case. It is wise to be represented by someone well versed in the law, civil procedures, local and state ordinances, rules, regulations, policies, and even the court room politics that always play out.

Ben Dodge always offers a complimentary in person consultation to all clients. For those who live out of state or are otherwise busy with work, etc. Ben will do a complimentary phone consultation as well. Typically the consultations are scheduled from 30-60 minutes depending on the severity of the case. You can expect to get answers to questions, clarity, information, and reassurance of your personal, family, or business issues. In your free consultation you can generally expect to discuss such topics as:

  • What your legal issue is really about.
  • Whether or not you have any chance of winning and how to make that possible.
  • Our unique and incredible fee structure making Dodge & Vega lawyers affordable for almost any budget.
  • Your specific case details, any pictures, police reports, or any other evidence you provide for his review.
  • The applicable local, state, and federal laws underlying your case.
  • Your rights, obligations, and any potential liability.
  • The process, procedure (in and out of court), and the time frame required to conclude your case.

You can call Arizona Lawyer Ben Dodge of Dodge & Vega, PLC at 1.480.656.8333. Mr. Dodge’s staff is standing and ready to accept your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Someone from our office will personally return your call within 24 hours to schedule an appointment with Mr. Dodge or one o his associate attorneys. There is never an obligation past a complimentary consultation with Mr. Dodge. His passion is in relentless representation and his entire office stands ready to serve with kindness, compassion, and patience. We strive to make a legal experience with our firm one of the most outstanding customer service experiences you will ever have and to do so without you having to go broke! Lawyers can be incredible and affordable. Let us show you how.

Dodge & Vega, PLC

Call Ben Dodge, your incredible Arizona Lawyer today at 1.480.656.8333.

Mr. Dodge can also be reached by email at ben@dodgevegalaw.com

His main Arizona offices are located at:

Mesa Arizona (home base office)
7227 E. Baseline Rd. STE 109,
Mesa, Arizona 85209

Phoenix Arizona office
2415 e. Camelback Rd., suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona 85016

Tucson Arizona office
One South Church Avenue, 12th Floor
Tucson, Arizona 85701

Mr. Dodge relentlessly represents clients in the entire state of Arizona including but not limited to Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma, Gilbert, Peoria, Glendale, Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, Tempe, Chandler, Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, Surprise, Kingman, Page, Lake Havasu City, Payson, Goodyear, Buckeye, Queen Creek, Paradise Valley, Show Low, Winslow, Maricopa, Nogales, Globe, Avondale, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Carefree, Wickenburg, Pinetop-Lakeside, Strawberry, Anthem, Safford, and more. Ben Dodge is an experienced Arizona Personal Injury lawyer, Arizona Family Law lawyer, Arizona Divorce lawyer, Arizona Bankruptcy lawyer, Arizona Child Custody lawyer, Arizona Estate Planning lawyer, and an Arizona Bicycle Accident lawyer. He can cover all areas of family law, personal injury, bankruptcy and estate planning for you.