Arizona Family Law Overview
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Listen to this Page:
- Divorce Without Children
- Divorce With Children
- Child Custody & Parenting Time
- Establishing Paternity
- Child Support
- Spousal Support (Alimony)
- Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
- Community Property Division
- Orders of Protection / Restraining Orders
- Adoption / Termination of Rights
- Same-sex Legal Matters
Areas of Family Law We Serve
In Arizona, family law issues strike close to home for most people. To make the right decisions for your family in a family law case, you will need the help of an experienced and knowledgeable advocate to advise and guide you through the process.
The Arizona family law attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta work closely with people who are going through a divorce, child custody and visitation matters, modifications, and more. We also help with establishing paternity, legal decision-making, prenuptial agreements, and same-sex divorce issues.
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The Different Areas of Family Law in Arizona
Divorce without Children Involved
Divorces that do not involve any minor children have the potential to be more straightforward. However, if you are ending a marriage without minor children, you still need to address how your property and debts will be divided between you and your spouse. Depending on the facts of your case, spousal maintenance or support may also be an issue.
Divorces without children in Arizona can be contested or uncontested. If you and your spouse agree on how your property and debts should be divided and all other issues, the divorce process can be fairly fast. However, if your spouse refuses to sign a settlement agreement, you might have to litigate the disputed issues in court.
If you and your spouse have been married for a long time and no longer have children at home, you might have accumulated substantial assets. The family law attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta are experienced with handling high-net-worth divorces and gray divorces, and we are prepared to help you with your case.
Divorce with Children Involved
If you share children with your spouse and wish to get divorced, in addition to property/debt division and spousal support, you will need to contend with all of the issues related to child custody. A divorce with children in Arizona will need to address legal decision-making authority, parenting time, child support, property division, debt division, and possibly spousal support.
Divorcing with children also requires you to file additional legal documents with the court and fulfill other requirements that are not necessary if the case does not involve children.
At Colburn Hintze Maletta, our attorneys can help you throughout the divorce process and work to negotiate an agreement to settle all outstanding issues. If necessary, we are also prepared to litigate on behalf of our clients when their divorces are contested to secure an outcome that protects their interests and is in the best interests of their children.
Child Custody and Parenting Time Establishment & Modification
While many people think that child custody refers to where a child lives, custody of a child involves much more. Courts rely on numerous factors to make child custody and parenting time decisions.
Custody is referred to as legal decision-making in Arizona and refers to which parent will have the authority to make decisions on behalf of their children for their religious upbringing, education, and medical needs. Legal decision-making can be shared or held by one parent alone.
Parenting time refers to when the children will be with each parent. Parents might equally share parenting time, or the children might spend more time with one parent with regular visitation granted to the other parent.
Legal decision-making authority and parenting time are always decided according to what is in the children’s best interests rather than the interests of either parent.
Courts rely on numerous factors to make child custody and parenting time decisions. We can help you to understand the factors at play and how they might apply in your child custody case. Our child custody attorneys can also work to secure a parenting plan agreement that will benefit both you and your children.
When a child’s parents are unmarried, the man is not automatically presumed to be the father. Establishing paternity is the process used to determine the child’s father. It is also the first step for unmarried people to pursue child support or to assert their parental rights.
Unless the man establishes his paternity of the child, he will not have enforceable rights to child custody. A mother also cannot secure a child support order against an unmarried father until she establishes that he is the father of her child.
Unmarried fathers who want to have reasonable parenting time and decision-making authority for their children will need to establish their paternity. Paternity can be established by an acknowledgment of paternity signed by both parents or by filing a petition to establish paternity in court.
Once a petition is filed, the court may order both the putative father and the child to undergo DNA testing to determine whether or not the man is the father of the child. Once his paternity is established, the court will then issue child support orders, and the father can file petitions for child custody and visitation rights with the help of an attorney at Colburn Hintze Maletta.
Child Support Establishment & Modification
Arizona expects both parents to contribute financially to a child’s upbringing. If you have a child with someone else with whom you do not live, child support might be an issue. The courts have child support guidelines in place to determine the proper amount of support that should be ordered in a particular case.
Generally speaking, the child support amount that will be ordered will be calculated taking into consideration the number of children involved, the parties’ incomes, the allocation of parenting time, the cost to a parent to provide health insurance for the children, the cost of childcare, any extraordinary needs a child might have, and other factors..
The child support attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta can help you to calculate the amount of child support you might expect to receive or be ordered to pay. We can also argue for deviations from the guideline amount if special circumstances exist that make it necessary.
Spousal Support Establishment & Modification (Also known as Spousal Maintenance or Alimony)
When you file a petition for divorce, either you or your spouse can request spousal support. Even if there is a large disparity between your income and that of your spouse, asking for spousal support does not necessarily mean that the court will grant it.
The first step in any spousal maintenance is to determine whether a spouse is entitled to support under Arizona law. Spousal maintenance may be awarded where one spouse lacks sufficient property or earning ability to provide for their reasonable needs.
Spousal maintenance may also be awarded where one spouse contributed to the earning ability or career of the other spouse or made career sacrifices for the benefit of the other spouse. The Court will also consider the duration of the marriage and whether a spouse is of an age that precludes employment.
Arizona law requires the court to consider thirteen (13) separate statutory factors when deciding how much support should be awarded and for how long.
Once entitlement is established, the next step is to determine the proper amount and duration of the maintenance or support award. Judges have broad discretion over the issue, which means that there is strong potential for good, creative, lawyering to lead to a better result.
Once a spousal support order is issued, the payor spouse must continue making the payments as ordered or risk being held in contempt of court.
If you believe that spousal support might be an issue in your divorce case, you should get legal help from the attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta. We can help you to understand the various factors at play and work to negotiate an agreement with your spouse.
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements are contracts that are drafted before people get married. People can also enter into postnuptial agreements after they have married. These types of agreements can be used to keep certain types of property separate if a divorce occurs and to address whether a spouse will be able to receive spousal support.
For an antenuptial agreement to be valid, it cannot contain any unconscionable provisions. The parties must also have fully disclosed their finances and debts to each other and cannot have used coercion or duress to secure the other party’s agreement.
Entering into a prenuptial agreement can help people who are bringing substantial assets into their marriages. The agreement can outline which assets will remain the separate property of each spouse even if it is used by both during the marriage. As long as the agreement is drafted correctly, a prenuptial agreement can make the division of property much smoother in the event of a divorce.
At Colburn Hintze Maletta, our attorneys can help draft prenuptial or postnuptial agreements to protect the interests of our clients.
Community Property Division
During the process of any divorce is the task of determining who will receive what. This is where things can become difficult when both parties do not agree to divide assets equally.
In each case, there are the factors of what is considered “separate property” or what has become “community property” – meaning that both spouses equaly share rights to the item.
Arizona is a Community Property state, so unless there is a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement established, the courts will need to fairly and equally divide assets. This included real property (homes and land), business assets, even each other’s debt. Typically, this is when a very knowledgeable family law attorney is needed.
Orders of Protection & Restraining Orders
Orders of Protection in Arizona are designed to restrain the subjects from harassing or perpetrating domestic violence against specific people or groups of individuals.
Another type of Restraining Order of Protection in Arizona is an injunction against harassment. An injunction against harassment can be issued against any non-qualifying third party and is meant to prevent the restrained party from harassing the protected party. Oftentimes, this can happen in a divorce case.
If the person violates the order of protection, they will find themselves facing criminal charges. Because there are many elements when filing a restraining order, it is advised to speak with our attorneys to make sure they are filed correctly.
Adoption & Termination of Parental Rights
Adoption is normally among the least adversarial areas of practice for our family law attorneys.
Whether you want to adopt a child through an adoption agency, from foster care, or complete a family adoption, we can guide you through the adoption process. We also help with step-parent adoptions and the severance of parental rights of disinterested, unfit, or uninvolved parents.
Our adoption services can help you to understand the requirements that you will need to meet to adopt a child and whether or not a home study might be necessary.
Step-parents do not have to be certified to adopt. However, the child’s other parent must either consent to the adoption or have his or her parental rights terminated.
Same-sex Divorce & Other Legal Matters
Same-sex couples who choose to divorce may have to contend with unique issues surrounding property division, child custody, and child support. Since same-sex marriage has only been legal in Arizona for a few years, many same-sex couples who have been together for many years might have accumulated significant assets before their marriages.
This can present problems during the property division portion of the divorce. Similarly, child custody issues might also arise when a child is the biological child of one parent but not the other.
At Colburn Hintze Maletta, we recognize the unique issues involved in same-sex divorces, but also the very common issues that can arise. We can help you to navigate these issues and work to successfully resolve them for you.
Regardless of what type of family law matter you might be dealing with, the legal team at Colburn Hintze Maletta is prepared to help.
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What People Say
“Very professional, very empathetic, and very responsive to all the issues.”
I had the opportunity to work with Darin during a very troublesome time in my life. As a family attorney, I found him to be very professional, very empathetic, and very responsive to all the issues I faced. I would recommend him to anyone without a second thought. Thank you, Darin!
Gary C. - Google Review
“David was relentless in his pursuit of my son’s innocence”
We retained David Maletta to represent our son after being cited for what can only be described as a momentary lapse of reason. David was extremely knowledgeable, was able to clearly communicate very complicated concepts, and was relentless in his pursuit of my son’s innocence. He had strong relationships with the prosecuting attorney and respect of the judge, which ultimately resulted in my son learning a really hard lesson with limited consequences (traffic school and writing an essay to the judge on the physics of driving 130MPH and what happens if that goes badly). I have already sent all of my friends with teenage and 20 year old kids his contact information for when they inevitably get that call. David completely exceeded all of our expectations and we could not recommend him any stronger. Thank you for everything.
Shawn H. - Google Review
“Listens to every request that you make on a case”
I honestly just want to let it be known to any and everyone looking for an attorney on a case. Whether it be DUI, possession, or your every day to day traffic violations where you need representation attorney Tim Hintze is your man. You have to respect a man that listens to every request that you make on a case and he gets in there and gets it done. Tim has my respect as an attorney and being a well-rounded representer. From him being honest on the possibility and options for your case to him being easy to work and communicate with via over the phone or face to face Mr. Hintze is working it out.
Ben - AVVO Review
“There is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David”
I hired David Maletta and it was the best decision of my life. His knowledge, genuine interest, overall attitude, and ability to connect with people is incomparable. I could talk about all of this at length. I COULD do all of that, but that wouldn’t do David justice. He first and foremost demonstrates his interest and genuine care for his client. Being in uncharted territory with a criminal charge and nowhere to turn, David’s presence and personality put all nerves at ease. I went through a jury trial with David beside me. The trial ran for 3 days and I spent a significant amount of time with David one-on-one. During this stressful time, he wanted to hear my input and thoughts on everything. David was incredible from the first day I met him. Not only is he a great attorney, but he is also a great person who cares about people and finding justice for his clients. He connects to the human side of people. I can’t put into words how much David cares about the individual in a case. When it comes to the courtroom, there is NOBODY I would rather have defending me than David.
Jacob - AVVO Review
“Nothing but good things to say about my experience.”
I have nothing but good things to say about my experience working with David Maletta. I was in a very high-stress situation facing a pending DUI charge. He doesn’t know this, but I actually interviewed 5 potential lawyers, and he was the most optimistic of all of them. He took over and handled everything, and now I don’t have to live with a DUI. Thank you so much for everything! Highly recommend them to anyone looking for legal help.
Lauren Koontz - Google Review
“Responsive, sympathetic, professional, patient, and kind.”
On one of the worst and most surreal nights of my life (do not EVER get a DUI people!) I was lucky enough to find my way to Tim Hintze. Being in Phoenix for the Thanksgiving holiday from out of town, and after spending the evening with family, I ended up spending the night in jail.
Tim turned one of the worst experiences in my life into “it could have been so much worse!” Working with him from a different state, he covered the bases & paperwork, showed up for me in court, gave me numerous connections to muck my way through the system, and held my hand the whole way.
I cannot imagine how much worse this experience could have been, and thanks to Tim, I didn’t need to. He was responsive, sympathetic, professional, patient, and kind throughout the long process, drawn out by many months due to Covid.
Keep Tim’s number handy and in your contacts in the event you are ever in the sorry position to need a DUI lawyer!
Holly Weber - Google Review
“Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently”
I had an incident and was given the catch-all charge. There wasn’t really anything I could do by myself to get out of it. Tim was absolutely amazing and worked diligently to ensure that I would have the best possible outcome from my case. Which he successfully achieved! As of right now, I am on the path to having my case fully dismissed. A couple of things that really helped me through this process was that Tim did an amazing job at answering my questions. He was available almost anytime and would respond promptly when he got my emails. He was also very approachable and comforting to be around while we had in person meetings and especially when I was at the court house. I would trust him and the company he works for with any other cases in the future, and as of right now, they will be my first choice if I need a lawyer in the future.
Dylan - AVVO Review
“I still have a clean record to this day.”
One piece of advice for people who are charged with anything in Arizona is to hire a great lawyer because the state does not care if you’re innocent or not. The Arizona legal system will try to ruin your life. A couple of years ago I was the victim of an antisemitic hate crime when a guy named Billy, who had a history of drug and alcohol issues and was thrown out of the Navy for being violent, decided to attack me after drinking all day in Old Town (Sunday funday) over a pointless argument over whether it’s better to buy homes immediately post-recession or during the 10th year of a bull market run which was his argument. The disagreement led to Billy making several anti-semitic comments and assaulting me, which led to me beating up billy. Billy and his friends then went to the police and lied to try to get me thrown in jail for months for assault while getting 10s of thousands of dollars in restitution in the process. I hired David Maletta. We went to court and destroyed Billy and his best friend/roommate Taylor who were trying to extort me and ruin my life. In Arizona there is a 3.5% chance you’ll get all charges dropped because of how hard the state is on crime but we pulled it off and I still have a clean record to this day.
MJ Walsh - Google Review
“This was the best possible outcome, great price, and fast.”
Darin helped me with a complex family law issue involving ownership of multiple businesses and other assets. He was able to structure a win-win that wasn’t only better than I thought was possible but that protected the business I had built. Above and beyond that, he did it with great customer service and character – which really matters to me. This was the best possible outcome, great price, and fast.
David R. - Google Review
“He fights for his clients like no one I have ever seen”
David Maletta is the absolute best trial attorney in the state of Arizona. He is a kind, emphatic, and extremely patient person. As an attorney, he is prepared, aggressive, and extremely skilled. He is not afraid to go to trial and fight for his clients, like other attorneys that just plead their clients to the original charges. When he is in trial, he flips a switch and goes from a nice guy to a killing machine. He fights for his clients like no one I have ever seen. Watching him do a cross-examination is exhilarating because he is so good it’s scary.
Patricia Bevins - Google Review
“Because of Darin I got my daughter back”
Before I hired Darin I went through a total of 3 different attorneys in two different states fighting a jurisdiction battle, when my daughter was taken to a different state. It was a very difficult decision to switch attorneys at one of the most difficult, time sensitive and important times in my case, but I’m very glad I did. Upon receiving my file from previous attorneys Darin came very familiar with my case quickly. Like other people have explained he took the time to lay everything out and explain how the process was going to proceed and what to expect and continued to do this as new issues arrived. He is also very quick at responding to emails and phone calls. My case was getting close to trial as told by my previous attorneys, I did not want to go to trial as I know this is very costly (most attorneys will convince you that you need to.) Darin knew my situation, fought for what was right and got the results I wanted while avoiding a costly trial. He is extremely knowledgeable in the Child Support Guidelines as well. Because of Darin I got my daughter back. I would highly recommend him and would hire again for any future issues. Thanks Darin!
Chris - AVVO Review
“I would give them more stars, but the option is not there”
Best divorce lawyers in Arizona, hands down. Timothy Hintz handled my divorce, and as a father, I have my son and our house. I would give them more stars, but the option is not there. His paralegal Jennifer Bone is extremely competent, and the whole team is very friendly. Took a big weight off, having them behind me.