Category: Divorce Law

Grandparents: Custody and Visitation Rights

According to Arizona State law, grandparents and great-grandparents of minor children may petition the courts to be given visitation rights or custody privileges if they believe it is in the best interest of the child. However, there are many conditions that must be met for a court to grant such privileges to a non-legal parent. Many unique circumstances may require a grandparent to be responsible for the caretaking of a child, and at Crider Law we will work with you to ensure that your family’s childcare needs are met.


Some parents may try to keep their children from seeing their ex-spouse’s family after a divorce. For grandparents, this can be difficult, especially if they believe the parents are not equipped to take adequate care of the children. To grant grandparents visitation rights, even those with in loco parentis relationships (meaning that the child and the non-parent have formed a meaningful parent-child relationship over a period of time), the courts must see evidence that:

  • The parents’ marriage has been dissolved for at least 3 months, or
  • One or both parents is deceased or has been missing, as reported to law enforcement, for at least 3 months, or
  • The child was born outside of wedlock and the parents are not married at the time the petition is made

The courts will consider the following factors when determining whether grandparent visitation is necessary and beneficial to the child.

  • The historical relationship, if any, between the child and the person seeking visitation.
  • The motivation of the requesting party seeking visitation.
  • The motivation of the person objecting to visitation.
  • The quantity of visitation time requested and the potential adverse impact that visitation will have on the child’s customary activities.
  • If one or both of the child’s parents are deceased, the benefit in maintaining an extended family relationship.

Guardianship & Custody

In Arizona, parents can also choose to relinquish their rights of guardianship to a grandparent or other non-parent, but both parents must give their written consent by submitting a petition for “Consent Guardianship”. In the event that a grandparent or other nonparent wishes to petition for sole or joint custody, the following conditions must be met.

  • The person filing the petition must have an in loco parentis relationship with the child, and
  • There must be substantial evidence that it would be “significantly detrimental” to the child to be placed in the custody of either of the child’s living legal parents (whether adoptive or birth) that wish to retain custody, and
  • The courts have not approved a different custody agreement for the child in question in the year prior to receiving the new custody petition. This rule is exempt if there is reason to believe that the child’s present circumstances are severely dangerous to their physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.

The courts stand on the “rebuttable presumption” that granting custody to the legal parents is in the best interest of the child due to the evidence that the physical, psychological, and emotional needs of the child can be best met by their legal parents. However, in any case where substantial evidence is given to show that a non-parent is found better suited to provide physical, psychological, and emotional stability to a child, the courts may allow grandparents and other non-parents to obtain custody rights and visitation privileges.

To find out how these petitions can affect the future of your family, call Crider Law today to set up a consultation.

“A Child’s Best Interest”: Key Factors to Child Custody

When it comes to determining child custody and parenting time rights in the midst of a divorce, you’ve undoubtedly read the words “in the best interest of the child” countless times. But what does that really mean? Since every family dynamic is unique, you may be wondering how a judge can really determine what is best for YOUR child. You do not have to completely relinquish this life-changing custody decision to a third-party judge however if you are able to first negotiate with your ex-spouse, through assisted mediation or otherwise. While a judge still has power to make the final decision, they will take into account any agreement you and your spouse have come to. In addition to your input, there are many other factors that judges use to determine a custody solution. It is important to be aware of these key factors so you have a say in what best suits the needs of your family.

Custody Options

On matters of custody, courts rarely take an “all or nothing” approach. In the occasional case where one parent is granted sole custody, the child will reside with them permanently and this parent will be responsible for making all legal decisions on behalf of the minor child. More often however, a judge orders a joint custody arrangement. If a judge rules that “joint legal custody” is best, both parents will be responsible for making important legal decisions for the child together. “Joint physical custody” means that the child will have one primary place of residence and a parenting time plan will be drafted to ensure the other parent gets their fair share of time with the child. A combination of these parenting plans may be ordered as part of the divorce settlement.

Key Factors

To determine the best parenting and custody plan, a judge will look at factors like:

  • The physical, mental, and financial capacity of both parents to provide for the child
  • The stability of each parent’s home environment
  • Geographical location and proximity of parent’s homes to each other and to the child’s place of education
  • Any parental history of drug and alcohol abuse or domestic violence
  • The age and number of children involved
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • The child’s preference may be considered if the child is old enough (usually at least age 12)
  • Any special needs of the child

Use Caution

Another important component judges will look at is the apparent willingness of both parents to support their child having a relationship with the other parent. If you have an especially vindictive spouse, they may try and use your words and actions against you to make you seem unfit to parent, limiting your custody and parenting time privileges. Though it may be difficult, be very careful what you say about your ex out loud and in writing during the divorce proceedings.

You will often have to compromise with your spouse on issues concerning custody, but your children are absolutely worth fighting for. Brad Crider is an experienced family law attorney in Arizona who is dedicated to fighting for your rights to time with your children. For further information on specific custody questions or to set up your initial consultation, call the Crider Law Offices today.

Modify Your Custody Arrangement: How Your Attorney Can Help!

Whether it is six months or many years after the divorce is said and done, you may find that it’s time to modify your custody arrangement. Reopening discussion with your spouse on the issue of custody and parenting time can be difficult as it often means making another major alteration in your life, your spouse’s life, and the lives of your children. Hiring an attorney to facilitate mediation and handle the details will not only allow you to spend more time with your children during the transition, but will also benefit your and your child’s health and safety.

In order to request a new or modified custody arrangement, a change must have taken place that will significantly impact your child. When evidence of a “changed circumstance that is substantial and continuing…” (A.R.S 25-503(E) is presented to a judge, he/she will determine if a new parenting agreement is in the best interest of the child. Some examples of circumstances that warrant such a change include:

  • Significant increase/decrease in income
  • Adopting or giving birth to another child
  • Onset of a medical disability
  • Ongoing domestic violence

It is better to consider a legal change in custody as a last resort rather than your initial solution to any familial discord. This is because the frequent arguments, court hearings, constant changes, and the high levels of stress that accompany such turmoil in the home can be very harmful to a child who is developing into a young adult. Your attorney can help you work out familial discord by mediating parental discussions on changes that need to be made in the parenting agreement. Brad Crider is an experienced family law attorney who is well versed in child custody and domestic relations laws in Arizona. His expertise will not only help you solve problems, but also ensure legal changes are made quickly to keep your child protected from harm or obstacles that may come as a result of your changing circumstances.

If your child is a victim of abuse or domestic violence, you can file a “Petition for Temporary Modification of Custody without Notice” to remove your child from the dangerous environment immediately. Once your child is safe, your attorney can help you through the necessary process to permanently change the custody arrangement.

To better determine if your circumstances warrant a change in your custody order, consult the Crider Law Firm before filing any paperwork. This will save you time, money, and unnecessary stress. To set up a consultation with Brad Crider discussing divorce, division of assets, or child custody arrangements, call the Crider Law Firm today.


Top Celebrity Divorce Settlements

With fame, fortune, and success often comes the added difficulty of a very public personal life. Most people with large assets to protect enter marriage comfortably believing it will last, but find comfort in a prenuptial agreement in case it doesn’t. When the unthinkable divorce does indeed happen however, many celebs give in to the outrageous demands of their spouses, managers, and attorneys to protect their reputation. Here are some of the most expensive and extravagant divorce settlements among the rich and famous in recent years.

1. Mel Gibson and Robyn Moore

After having seven children together in their 31 years of marriage, Robyn and Mel Gibson separated immediately after Mel was arrested for drunk driving in 2006. Robyn filed for divorce in 2009 and since no prenuptial agreement was in place, she was entitled to half his estate, averaging about $450 million. This was reportedly one of the most expensive divorce settlements in Hollywood’s history. Following the divorce settlement, Gibson had to shell out $750,000 and a house in California to his ex-girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva, who is the mother of his eighth child, Lucia.

What went wrong?Reports of a misdemeanor battery charge in combination with a drunk driving arrest caused problems that led to the absolving of a long marriage and the breakup with his girlfriend following the divorce.

2. Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren

In 2010, at the height of his career as the best golfer in America with the highest salary in the industry, Tiger Woods was exposed as a serial cheater, with over a dozen women admitting to having affairs with the professional athlete. As a result, Woods lost important endorsements, took a hiatus from golf, and underwent an expensive, yet private divorce from his wife of six years. Though the settlement amount has never been confirmed, Nordegren was rumored to have received $110 million outright with large monthly child support benefits. Even at this minimum of $20 million for every year of marriage, the Woods-Nordegren settlement made celebrity divorce history.

What went wrong? It’s safe to say that having dozens of secret extra-marital affairs can really put a damper on a marriage, not to mention ruin a career and soil a reputation.

3. Michael Jordan and Juanita Jordan

After 17 years of marriage, Juanita received $168 million in the divorce settlement, which was one-third of the basketball star’s net worth. They did sign a post-nuptial agreement after Jordan had been in the NBA for five years, but the couple mutually and amicably divorced in 2006.

What went wrong? The couple rarely had instances of public turmoil in the relationship, but fame and celebrity proved to be hard on their family and led to the end of their marriage.

4. Madonna and Guy Ritchie

In 2008, Madonna’s eight year marriage ended, leaving her $92 million poorer and wondering if she would ever find love again. While we expect celebrity divorces to be riddled with scandal and corruption, Madonna and Ritchie appeared to have simply fallen out of love. Friends said Madonna had some eccentric lifestyle choices that made her difficult to live with.

What went wrong? What happened to Madonna’s marriage happens to many marriages that end in divorce. As people grow apart, they lose sight of the commitments they made when, as Madonna said, things were “flawless” in the relationship.

Despite the Hollywood divorce stories that make it seem as if money is everything, the emotional upset of divorce is very real for everyone from celebrities to the average Joe. Finding an attorney who is sensitive to the difficulty of divorce while being willing to fight for your financial rights is an important part of the divorce process. Brad Crider, a practiced Arizona family law attorney, specializes in the complex division of assets and understands the impact of separation on the modern-day family. Contact Crider Family Law to set up your initial consultation and let Brad begin fighting for your financial rights today.

A Good Age for Divorce

Many couples or married individuals considering divorce have had marital struggles for quite some time, but they don’t know when is the “right time” to end things. They wonder if things will get better and if they should wait to see if the storm passes. They wonder what their opportunities for falling in love again will be like as a divorcée. Couples with kids wonder what the effect of divorce will be on their children and if there is a good age for divorce.

While there is no magic age at which divorce becomes easier, the most important thing to consider is how your children will respond and their ability to cope. Every circumstance and every child is different, but here are some tips that may help you decide when divorce would be best for you and your children.

  • While it is believed that children cannot recall many things that happen before their third or fourth birthday, the events that happen between ages 0-4 still have a significant impact on a child’s development. Though children cannot verbally express much as this age, they can feel the tension, fear, and abandonment that usually come from this upset in their normal life. It is important for parents to monitor their child’s reactions, comfort them, and show them love and affection often.
  • Young kids between the ages of 5-10 need more stability and hands-on parenting time. They need a solid home foundation from which they can confidently move forward to become unique individuals, comfortable in their own skin. Studies show, and courts agree, that it is important for children at this age to have the predominant influence of both parents in their lives.
  • The struggle most adolescents face as they try to understand themselves may be exacerbated by divorce. Your teen may act out aggressively or cut themselves off from you verbally or emotionally in an attempt to cope with their feelings. It is important to communicate effectively with your child about the divorce so that they understand they are not at fault. It is also important to be patient and let them approach you with their concerns when they need to.
  • Children who are in their twenties when their parents divorce may begin to question their understanding of what love, commitment, and family really are. This can be especially harmful during a time when they are looking for these relationships themselves. They often feel lied to and feel that their understanding of themselves and their family is irretrievably damaged.
  • Don’t pretend to be in a happy marriage for the sake of the children. Secrets kept with the intent of protecting your children from the hard reality of a broken marriage do not strengthen the relationship you have with your kids. If children find out later that their parents were unhappily married for most of their childhood, this will only worsen their feelings of being lied to and deceived.
  • Most importantly, effective communication with your children is crucial as you go through a divorce. You should not treat your children as a confidant to vent to, but you and your spouse should jointly discuss with your children the decision you have made to divorce. If your children are old enough to understand, calmly explain the changes that must be made as a result of your decision.

Brad Crider is an experienced family law attorney serving the greater Mesa, Arizona area who understands that every parent wants what’s best for his or her child. His years of experience as a family lawyer and father have prepared him to fight for your child’s right to a better home life. To set up an initial consultation, call the Crider Law offices today.