Before Heading Into the Courtroom

Most importantly, be on time! There is nothing that will annoy a judge more than tardiness. If an emergency arises and you know you will be late, we recommend that you call the court to let them know exactly what is going on.

First, know which courthouse you are assigned to. Please refer to Appendix D for a list of the four courthouses in Maricopa County and other county courthouses. There are judges with the same last names at different courthouses. Also, make sure that you know which court personnel or judge you are going to see. If you are unsure which judge or courthouse location you are assigned, you may check your paperwork or case status here to find out.

When you get to the courthouse, see the directory of judges? names posted outside of their courtrooms. Once you reach the courtroom, read the signs outside the door of the court. Some judges ask that you buzz in on an intercom to let the clerk know that you have arrived. The location of the intercom is on the sign that tells you to call into the court. If you head into the courtroom prior to your scheduled time, be quiet, because there is likely another case ahead of yours. The courts are very busy these days and they try to fit many hearings into one day. This is why it is helpful if you are not distracting to the judge, the court staff or the other litigants when you enter the courtroom.

Dress the Part

You want to be taken seriously when you are in the courtroom, right? First, dress the part. When you see a judge in court, you want to present yourself so that the judge knows this is a very important matter to you. We always request that our clients show up to court looking professional.

Women should dress nicely, with either a suit or other dressy clothes. We often tell our clients to dress like they are going to church. Do not wear jeans, low-cut blouses or shorts. As for shoes, do not wear flip-flops or tennis shoes; nice sandals or heels are fine.

Men should wear a suit with a tie. While we know you may not even own a suit, your court hearings are important and you want to start out with a good impression. If you absolutely cannot get or borrow a suit, we recommend nice pants with a blazer or sport coat and tie. Again, men should not wear jeans, sweatpants, jogging suits or shorts. As for men?s shoes, do not wear flip-flops, sandals or tennis shoes.

How does mediation compare to going to court?

A learned judge once said that no one wins in court. By this, he meant that the family loses control of decisions and that the expense is extreme. So, instead of spending money on two separate attorneys, mediation allows the parties to pay for one mediator to resolve all of the issues in the case. Moreover, even if the parties initially retain two separate attorneys, the court may still order the parties to attempt mediation before there is a trial. Best Law Firm welcomes parties who are represented by counsel, as well as parties who are unrepresented. Attempting mediation before courtroom litigation will save the parties time and money.

What is mediation like at Best Law Firm?

Mediation with Best Law Firm is designed to be a win-win solution for the parties involved. Parties do not require a retained attorney to represent their interests, but outside counsel is not discouraged. It is recommended that an attorney review any final legal documents before they are signed or filed with the court. In addition to conducting mediation, Best Law Firm can complete your family law matter by drafting all the necessary documents to be submitted to the court. We can draft a memorandum of understanding to memorialize the parties’ agreements, draft the petition and supporting documents to initiate your case in the court and draft and file the consent decree, parenting plan and property settlement agreement to finalize your case.

Here in Arizona, what is a resolution management conference?

If either party is represented by an attorney, the court will set a Resolution Management Conference from one to four months from the date of service depending upon the court’s docket. Prior to the Resolution Management Conference, both parties will receive a written notification from the court that will include the date and time for the conference. That written notification will also include requirements that must be completed prior to the conference. For example, the court will require a Resolution Management Statement. This statement outlines all the key issues in your dissolution, including child custody and parenting issues, along with financial matters. The court will also require you and the opposing party with counsel to meet with each other for one hour in person prior to the hearing. During that period of time, the parties are encouraged to see if they can settle any issues.

What happens when spouses in Arizona own a business together?

During the divorce process here in Arizona, the court will usually attempt to keep the things the way they presently are when it comes to the day-to-day operations of a family business. A business valuation expert can assess the value of the business during the divorce matter. Arizona courts, with the input from the business valuation expert, will determine the value of the family business. The spouse that is ultimately awarded the business may be required to pay the other spouse that individual’s share of the business. That amount is normally one-half of the value assigned to the family owned business. You should consult an attorney for this matter.

What Can I Do if the Obligated Parent Does Not Pay Child Support?

If an obligated parent does not pay child support, you may file a Petition to Enforce Child Support, Child Support Arrears and Medical Expense Reimbursement. Often, all three of those issues go together. It makes sense to include those three issues in one petition, because if the obligated parent is not paying child support, you will want to ask the court to enforce the child support order in effect. You will also want the obligated parent to pay for the months he/she did not pay, along with any medical expenses he/she did not pay. Also, be advised that it is appropriate in that petition to ask for the obligated parent to pay your attorney’s fees if you hire an attorney for this issue.

Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Do Not Have a Job or Lose My Job?

Yes, you are under a court order to continue to pay child support. If the unfortunate circumstance occurs and a parent does not have employment, it may be necessary for that parent to request that the court modify the child support obligation to reflect the current situation.

What if My Spouse Does Not Allow Me to See My Children. Do I Still Need to Pay Child Support?

Yes, you will still have an obligation to pay child support. You have an obligation to continue to pay child support until a court orders that you may stop. It is common for parents to want to withhold child support if the other spouse is not abiding by the court-ordered parenting time, but courts frown upon either party not following the court’s orders.

Will the Court Tell Me When I Can See My Kids?

Only if you and your spouse cannot agree. You really do not want to turn this life-changing decision over to a stranger who will only get to know your family in an hour or so of an evidentiary hearing. Not only do you relinquish all control, but having to testify and perhaps say negative things or answer embarrassing questions can leave the family scarred and impact future decisions. There is no need to litigate these issues unless there is a domestic violence, drug or other abuse issue, and you must have the help of the court to protect your children.

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