Family Law
AWD LAW has an established family law practice to serve clients at a time of personal challenge and to secure their present and future financial resources.

Divorce and Legal Separation
Custody & Parenting Time
Property Division
Spousal Support
Paternity
Adoption
Guardianships
Grandparents’ Rights
Prenuptial Agreements
Name Change

AWD LAW is Flagstaff’s family law, law firm. AWD LAW family law attorneys place a high emphasis not only on results, but also on service. We understand the stress and uncertainty that accompanies divorce. We work closely with clients to understand the family dynamics that drive their case and we strive to seek the best possible results for each client we serve. Although we have extensive experience, we always tell clients that you don’t have to pay the most in legal fees to get the best representation. Our goal is to achieve your divorce in a timely and cost-effective manner while protecting your rights.

We are Northern Arizona’s premier law firm. If you need to speak with a Northern Arizona Lawyer for any reason, contact us today at (928) 774-1478!

AWD-Law-Markham-family-law

Attorney Zach Markham provides Family Law services and is ready to help you.


call

(800) 774-1478 or (928) 774-1478

email
zmarkham@awdlaw.com

Divorce and Legal Separation


The family law attorneys at AWD LAW understand that divorce and legal separation proceedings can be one of the most stressful events in your life. We also understand that each person has different interests and priorities that inform the ideal outcome of their cases. Our team works closely with you to ensure that you receive the personal attention that you deserve throughout the entire dissolution proceeding.

We begin our representation by meeting with you to understand your goals and priorities. Then, we help you understand the divorce or legal separation process, your legal options, and the possible outcomes. Throughout the entire process, we will advocate vigorously in court or through mediation to ensure that your interests are protected to the greatest extent possible. We will develop a strategic approach to achieve a fair resolution of all issues including child custody [hyperlink to Custody & Parenting Time page] and asset division [hyperlink to Property Division page]. You can rest assured that when you hire AWD LAW to represent you, your divorce or legal separation proceeding will be in highly capable hands.

We are Northern Arizona’s premier law firm. If you need to speak with a Northern Arizona Lawyer for any reason, contact us today at (928) 774-1478!

We can help you evaluate the circumstances you are dealing with to determine your best options for the most successful outcome possible.

Custody & Parenting Time


Your kids will always be some of the most important people in your life, and, like all parents, you want what is best for your children. In Arizona, courts are required to make all custody, parenting time and legal-decision making determinations in accordance with the best interest of the child. (A.R.S. § 25-403). That includes an express public policy which favors “substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing parenting time with both parents” in most cases. (A.R.S. § 25-403).

A custody determination depends on the specific circumstances of each case. The following are factors that courts will consider to determine the best interest of the child:

  • The past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and the child.
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school and community.
  • If the child is of suitable age and maturity, the wishes of the child as to legal decision-making and parenting time.
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, meaningful and continuing contact with the other parent.
  • Whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary delay, to increase the cost of litigation or to persuade the court to give a legal decision-making or a parenting time preference to that parent.
  • Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse.
    The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding legal decision-making or parenting time.
  • Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect.

A.R.S. § 25-403

There are two forms of custody – legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is the power to make decisions on behalf of the child, including educational, medical, and spiritual decisions. Physical custody is the determination of parenting time. In many cases, both legal custody and physical custody are shared. In others, one parent may have sole legal custody, but the parents share physical custody. And in some situations, one parent has sole legal and physical custody.

The family law attorneys at AWD LAW understand the importance of a fair result in cases regarding child custody and parenting time. We will work closely with you to understand the unique facts of your case, and we will advocate vigorously on your behalf. Our team provides you the personalized attention that a matter of this importance requires.

We are Northern Arizona’s premier law firm. If you need to speak with a Northern Arizona Lawyer for any reason, contact us today at (928) 774-1478!

We can help you evaluate the circumstances you are dealing with to determine your best options for the most successful outcome possible.

Property Division


Dividing assets during a divorce can be a contentious process. Arizona is a community property state. That means that all assets and debt acquired during the marriage are owned by the spouses, collectively, rather than separately. During the marriage, the spouses have equal rights to use and control the property. Upon divorce, community property is divided equitably. The criteria for determining what is equitable will vary, but it may include each party’s respective income, the duration of the marriage, one party’s contribution as a stay-at-home parent, and vocational training.

Certain property may be designated as separate. Generally, assets acquired before the marriage are considered separate. Additionally, parties may have a prenuptial agreement or another negotiated arrangement that designates which property is separate property. Separate property is awarded to the person to whom it belongs.

During a divorce proceeding, property may be divided by an agreement between the parties or by a decision of the court. Under either circumstance, it is important to have a lawyer who is familiar with the law regarding property division and who will vigorously advocate for your best interest. The family law attorneys at AWD LAW can offer just that. We will work closely with you to determine your priorities and to understand how all of your assets will be classified. We will then fight to ensure that you receive a fair division of your property.

We are Northern Arizona’s premier law firm. If you need to speak with a Northern Arizona Lawyer for any reason, contact us today at (928) 774-1478!

We can help you evaluate the circumstances you are dealing with to determine your best options for the most successful outcome possible.

Spousal Support


In many marriages, one spouse takes on the role of primary economic provider and the other takes on the role of running the household and stay-at-home parent. In these and other situations in which the income of one party exceeds that of the other, an award of spousal maintenance may be available to assist the parties in achieving independence.

Under Arizona law, spousal support is available only if the spouse seeking maintenance:

  • Lacks sufficient property, including property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for that spouse’s reasonable needs.
  • Is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose age or condition is such that the custodian should not be required to seek employment outside the home or lacks earning ability in the labor market adequate to be self-sufficient.
  • Contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse.
  • Had a marriage of long duration and is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining employment adequate to be self-sufficient.

A.R.S. § 25-319

If one of those circumstances exists, then spousal support is calculated based on a number of equitable factors.

If you are currently undergoing a dissolution proceeding and you or your former spouse is seeking spousal maintenance, it is advisable to speak with an experienced family law lawyer who is familiar with the laws and the courts. The attorneys at AWD LAW have the skill and knowledge to put together a strong argument on your behalf. Contact our office today, and we will meet with you to evaluate the unique facts of your case and advise you on the most appropriate course of action.

We are Northern Arizona’s premier law firm. If you need to speak with a Northern Arizona Lawyer for any reason, contact us today at (928) 774-1478!

We can help you evaluate the circumstances you are dealing with to determine your best options for the most successful outcome possible.

Paternity


Typically, a father who is not married to a mother at the time of their child’s birth does not have any parental rights unless paternity has been legally established. Establishing paternity allows the father to seek parenting time and the right to give input into the legal decisions made on behalf of his child. It also triggers certain parental responsibilities such as paying child support, which accrues from birth. If the father has been providing economically for his child beyond the amount required by his child support duties, the mother may also be required to pay the father child support after paternity has been established.

Paternity may be determined by voluntary acknowledgement or by a court proceeding. In court, paternity actions are generally determined by the results of genetic testing. In a contested paternity action, it is advisable to seek legal representation. After paternity has been established, proceedings to determine legal and physical custody, child support, and other important issues may be initiated. The family law lawyers at AWD LAW have experience representing both fathers and mothers in paternity and child custody actions. We will work closely with you throughout the entire process, and we will advocate vigorously on your behalf to ensure that you receive the most favorable result possible.

The Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES) administers child support payments and uncontested paternity matters. To find your local DES office, click here.

We are Northern Arizona’s premier law firm. If you need to speak with a Northern Arizona Lawyer for any reason, contact us today at (928) 774-1478!

We can help you evaluate the circumstances you are dealing with to determine your best options for the most successful outcome possible.

Adoption


The adoption of a child is a very exciting time. However, the adoption process can be legally complex. In order to ensure that the process is goes as smoothly and quickly as possible, it is advisable to hire an experienced attorney to assist with the process.

The family law attorneys at AWD LAW offer step-by-step guidance through any adoption process, including:

  • Stepparent Adoptions
  • Grandparent or Relative Adoptions
  • Private Adoptions
  • Arizona Department of Child Services (DPS) Adoptions
  • International Adoptions

We are Northern Arizona’s premier law firm. If you need to speak with a Northern Arizona Lawyer for any reason, contact us today at (928) 774-1478!

We can help you evaluate the circumstances you are dealing with to determine your best options for the most successful outcome possible.

Guardianships


An alternative to adoption is consent guardianship. Consent guardianship occurs when both of a child’s parents give another person legal authority over their minor child through written consent. This grants the guardian the legal rights of care, custody, and supervision of the child. Guardianship does not terminate the biological parents’ legal rights. A court can refuse to grant or revoke guardianship upon request of one or both of a child’s parents.

The family law attorneys at AWD LAW are well-versed in the process for establishing guardianship, and we can offer you step-by-step guidance and counseling throughout the proceeding. We can also help you evaluate whether adoption or consent guardianship is best for you and the child.

We are Northern Arizona’s premier law firm. If you need to speak with a Northern Arizona Lawyer for any reason, contact us today at (928) 774-1478!

We can help you evaluate the circumstances you are dealing with to determine your best options for the most successful outcome possible.

Grandparents’ Rights


Under Arizona law, grandparents and other non-parents may petition a court for legal decision-making authority or visitation rights with a child.

In order to gain legal decision-making authority for a child, a grandparent or other party must overcome the presumption that it is in the best interest of a child to award legal decision-making to the parent and prove the following:

  1. The person filing the petition stands in loco parentis to the child.
  2. It would be significantly detrimental to the child to remain or be placed in the care of either legal parent who wishes to keep or acquire legal decision-making.
  3. A court of competent jurisdiction has not entered or approved an order concerning legal decision-making or parenting time within one year before the person filed a petition pursuant to this section, unless there is reason to believe the child’s present environment may seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health.
  4. One of the following applies:
  • One of the legal parents is deceased.
  • The child’s legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.
  • A proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the legal parents is pending at the time the petition is filed.

A.R.S. § 25-409

In order to gain visitation rights with a child, a grandparent or other party must establish one of the following:

  1. One of the legal parents is deceased or has been missing at least three months. For the purposes of this paragraph, a parent is considered to be missing if the parent’s location has not been determined and the parent has been reported as missing to a law enforcement agency.
  2. The child was born out of wedlock and the child’s legal parents are not married to each other at the time the petition is filed.
  3. For grandparent or great-grandparent visitation, the marriage of the parents of the child has been dissolved for at least three months.
  4. For in loco parentis visitation, a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or for legal separation of the legal parents is pending at the time the petition is filed.

A.R.S. § 25-409

We are Northern Arizona’s premier law firm. If you need to speak with a Northern Arizona Lawyer for any reason, contact us today at (928) 774-1478!

We can help you evaluate the circumstances you are dealing with to determine your best options for the most successful outcome possible.

Prenuptial Agreements


When you are planning to get married, there are numerous things to consider. Amid the excitement of planning a future together, it is valuable to take time to create a plan that will keep finances and assets separate, insulate each other from certain debt, and provide for children from other marriages. A prenuptial agreement (or “prenup”) can achieve those goals.

You are not required to hire a lawyer to draft a prenup. However, it is in your best interest to obtain an attorney to represent both you and your future spouse. That way, both parties ensure that their best interests are fairly represented and that the best possible agreement is negotiated. The attorneys at AWD LAW have experience drafting pre-marital agreements, and we can ensure that your best interests are protected so that you can enter this new stage in your life with a sense of security and peace of mind.

We are Northern Arizona’s premier law firm. If you need to speak with a Northern Arizona Lawyer for any reason, contact us today at (928) 774-1478!

We can help you evaluate the circumstances you are dealing with to determine your best options for the most successful outcome possible.

Name Change


There are many reasons a person may choose to change their name or their minor child’s name. This is fairly common procedure after a divorce. There are specific steps which you will need to follow in order to change your name. The following is a brief description of the legal process:

First. Complete the Arizona Name Change Forms, which can be found here. *Please note, these forms are prepared for Maricopa County Superior Court. However, they are accepted in any superior court if you cross out “Maricopa” and enter the name of your county. Alternatively, you can visit the Self Help Center at your local superior court for forms created for that county.

Second. Take or mail one (1) original and two (2) copies to the superior court in your county. The clerk will file the original and stamp and return the copies.

Third. Attend the name change hearing set by the court.

Finally. Make certified copies of the court’s order changing your name from the Clerk of the Court. Then, send copies to the Social Security Administration, the Department of Motor Vehicles, your bank, and any other relevant institutions.

We are Northern Arizona’s premier law firm. If you need to speak with a Northern Arizona Lawyer for any reason, contact us today at (928) 774-1478!

We can help you evaluate the circumstances you are dealing with to determine your best options for the most successful outcome possible.

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