Skilled Representation For All Your Family Law Concerns
A family law issue does not need to be acrimonious or complex to require an attorney’s assistance. Even if you are facing a relatively straightforward legal concern, the skilled counsel that you receive at the beginning of your matter could make a substantial difference in how your problem is resolved.
At Schmidt McElwee & Gordon, our team of attorneys share over 50 years of combined legal experience that they use to find a favorable solution for your family law conflict. Whether your issue is simple or complicated, you can rely on our legal professionals to identify an approach that serves your best interests.
We Offer A Comprehensive Range Of Family Law Services
Our attorneys practice exclusively in the area of family law, representing clients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and surrounding areas on matters such as property division, spousal maintenance, child custody and support, and post-divorce modifications. They also counsel and represent prospective spouses in negotiating, drafting or reviewing prenuptial agreements.
Below is a brief overview of the firm’s major areas of practice.
Although our attorneys tend to focus on the resolution of high-asset or complex divorce cases, they are equally capable of handling an uncontested divorce as in dealing with a contested divorce involving high-conflict custody disputes or complicated business valuations.
Child Custody And Support
Although some form of joint parenting is most often favored, if parties don’t agree it rests with the court whether to grant sole or joint custody (now known as legal decision-making) and how to divide parenting time for the children.
Child support is usually ordered to be paid by the noncustodial parent to the primary custodial parent. The amount of child support is calculated according to a statutory formula; however, there are many ways a parent, particularly one who is self-employed, may represent or misrepresent income. In addition to ensuring a fair calculation of the support amount, our attorneys also argue, when appropriate, for a deviation from the guideline amount in the best interest of the children.
Modification Of Custody And Support
While a child custody order can usually be modified upon a showing of changed circumstances, modifying a spousal maintenance or child support award requires proving that the change is substantial and continuing. Because any modification requires going back to court, experienced and effective legal representation is essential to protect your rights.
Prenuptial / Postnuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement is an excellent planning tool for parties contemplating marriage, particularly when one party has significantly more assets than the other. A prenuptial agreement allows the parties to enter into marriage with safety and security by deciding in advance how matters such as the division of property or the payment of spousal maintenance will occur in the event of divorce or legal separation. When properly drafted, both parties should feel that their needs and interests have been addressed.
Our attorneys represent clients in negotiating and drafting prenuptial agreements that conform to the rules of the Arizona Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, thereby ensuring that the agreements are properly prepared, address only valid and legally enforceable topics, and are based on voluntary agreements after fair and reasonable disclosure of property and financial obligations.
Our attorneys are also experienced in drafting postnuptial agreements as well as litigation that can sometimes arise over enforcement of both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
Approaching a division of property requires a thorough understanding of what constitutes community property and separate property. This itself is often a complicated matter depending on how and when the property was initially acquired, how the property was handled throughout the marriage, and whether separate and community property were intermixed to an extent that could transmute the entirety to community property.
Equally important to locating, identifying and properly characterizing every asset is assigning the correct value to the property. Our attorneys are equipped to address complex property valuation matters, such as business valuations, goodwill and ownership interests, and future interests such as stock options, retirement plans, or complicated investment instruments.
Although spousal maintenance is most often ordered to be paid by the primary wage earner in the marriage to help the other spouse become self-supporting, it is not ordered automatically or granted in every case. It is up to the court to determine whether to award maintenance and if so, at what amount and for what duration.
Our attorneys have been involved in significant litigation regarding the determination of spousal maintenance. This background and experience enable our legal team to provide sound advice and representation to their clients.
Contact Us For More Information
Take the first step toward resolving your family law issue when you contact us to arrange a consultation with an experienced lawyer at our firm. You can reach us online or by calling us at 602-230-1118.