Phoenix is much more than the capital of Arizona; it is central to the Southwest “Valley of the Sun.” Beyond the important metropolitan areas, it appears to preside over, it is filled with an abundance of natural and man-made wonders. Visitors come from far and wide to experience the awe-inspiring views from Camelback Mountain and South Mountain Park and Preserve the astonishing array of plants and flowers at the Desert Botanical Garden, and the red rock buttes of Papago Park. For those more drawn to human creations, Phoenix boasts a fascinating Musical Instrument Museum and the Heard Museum which houses examples of the rich cultural heritage of 22 Native American tribes who inhabited the area 9,000 years before the Europeans set foot on the land that has become Arizona. Despite its amazing legacy, Phoenix has come to share all of the blessings and problems of the modern human family. Those who live in Phoenix and throughout Arizona have their share of family disputes, divorces, and all the legal difficulties these entail. If you live in the region, however, you are fortunate to have access to Cohen Family law, a practice whose lead attorney is one of the finest Phoenix family law attorneys in the country. As a resident of Arizona struggling with any type of family law issue, you have the opportunity to consult with an excellent legal professional, one who is well-known for over 30 years of providing his clients with successful outcomes.
Mitchell E. Cohen is experienced and highly skilled in all types of family law. From his office in Phoenix, he routinely deals with:
- Division of property
- Child custody
- Parenting time
- Child support
- Severance of parental Rights
Each of these areas is complex in its own right. Taken together, as in many cases they are, they can become overwhelming, particularly because each area is likely to involve a high level of emotional stress. Because Mitchell E. Cohen is an adept mediator as well as a vigorous litigator, he is able to handle family matters diplomatically until or unless strong, savvy courtroom strategies become necessary. Below is a sampling of the work we do in each of these aspects of family law.
Divorce encompasses several legal areas in which decisions have to be made. It is always more complicated when children are part ofthe equation because then, in addition to deciding how property will be divided, and whether spousal support will be necessary, the couple also has to come to an agreement (or the court has to decide) who will have custody of the children, and how much child support will be paid.
Phoenix Family Law Mediation
In cases where disappointment outweighs rage between the divorcing parties, mediation is a much less combative alternative to typical divorce negotiations or litigation. Because Mitchell E. Cohen is a very effective mediator, he may be able to assist you in tamping down emotional turmoil and helping you and your soon-to-be former spouse come to a workable agreement. Whenever this is possible, it is the preferred solution.
Child Custody in Phoenix
There are two types of child custody: legal and physical. Unless there is a powerful argument against it, joint legal custody is normally awarded so that both parents have input into major decisions about their child’s education, religion, and medical care. Physical custody is another matter. Although frequently both spouses would like to share custody, joint custody is often too difficult to arrange, either because the parents live at a distance from one another, one parent has a problematic work or travel schedule, the child has special needs better handled by one of the parents, or because the child is more comfortable with one parent than the other. If joint custody is not possible, one parent is given sole custody of the child, but the other parent (barring a strong reason) is given regular parenting time with the child.
Parenting time, also known as visitation, is a significant aspect of any divorce in which the family includes children. It is considered important for the child’s psychological growth and stability that he or she has the benefit of contact with both parents, except in cases where one parent is abusive or dangerous. Typically, parenting time is arranged to give the noncustodial parent quality contact with the child. Though other arrangements may be agreed to by the two parents, parenting time generally consists of one or more weeknights (usually around the dinner hour), every other weekend, alternating school holidays and one or more vacation periods of a week or more.
Even when a couple is awarded joint custody, one parent usually has to pay some child support, both to make up for any discrepancy is parenting time (which is rarely precisely equal) and to level off disparities of parental income level. Since the law has established algorithms to calculate child support depending on a number of economic factors, both related to the parent’s income and the child’s particular needs, it is important to have a well-informed family attorney working on your side of the negotiating table to make sure that you come out with a just financial arrangement.
One type of severance of parental rights is voluntary, most frequently undertaken when one or both parents are unable to care for their child due to being extremely young, seriously ill, addicted to substances, incarcerated or confined to an institution. In such cases, the infant or child may be put up for adoption or, at least temporarily, enter the foster care system until a permanent family is found. More troubling are times when parental rights are severed by the courts after being petitioned by worried grandparents or other relatives, healthcare professionals, foster parents, or Arizona Child Protective Services. The courts never make such a decision lightly. There must be indisputable evidence that such a traumatic move is absolutely necessary to ensure the child’s safety and well-being. Reasons that justify involuntary severance of parental ties include chronic neglect or abuse, abandonment, parental history of sexual abuse, felony conviction, incarceration, mental deficiency or psychiatric illness. The court may also move to sever parental rights if the parent has not been identified or located after 3 months of diligent investigation. Non-payment of child support or failing to uphold scheduled visits, however, are not considered reason enough to sever parental rights.
The happiest reason to consult with a capable family law attorney is usually in order to adopt a child. Though the process can be prolonged and the steps painstaking, most adoptive parents agree that the end result is well worth the wait. Contrary to popular belief, the most common adoptions in this country are stepparent adoptions. Cohen Family Law has served many clients seeking such adoptions and Mitchell E. Cohen is adept at smoothing the way to create newly formed family units.
Contact Our Phoenix Family Law Firm
Mitchell E. Cohen is well aware of how sensitive family law issues can be, even if they don’t involve discord. He has a well-deserved reputation for compassion as well as legal sharpness and will treat you with kindness and respect whatever the nature of your legal problem. If you are an Arizonian in need of a family law attorney, don’t hesitate to make an appointment for a free consultation with Mitchell E. Cohen. You can reach us easily by phone or by filling out a contact form on our website. We look forward to helping resolve your legal difficulties as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.