Q: “Is a lawyer necessary to get a divorce?”

A: The answer depends on your situation, and, more importantly, you. Some people can manage their cases and do a very effective job. On the other hand, a significant number of my clients have come to me because they started their case, ran into trouble, and had to seek assistance. Almost always, it is better if the family law attorney is involved in the case from the beginning.

Q: “If I’m arrested, should I tell my side of the story?”

A: Ordinarily, it is not a good idea. Everyone’s heard the famous “Miranda rights.” You have the right to remain silent, and you have the right to an attorney. It’s a good idea to exercise those rights. Many times, people think, “Well, if I didn’t do anything wrong, why shouldn’t I talk to the police?” Let’s put it this way: More than one person in prison “didn’t do it” either. You don’t want to be the next such person.

Q: “Does the mother always win in a custody case?”

A: No. This view may have had some support in past decades, but the presumption today is that either father or mother are ordinarily capable of effectively parenting their children, and neither side has an advantage before the judge.

Q: “If I get stopped for a DUI, do I have to submit to a test?”

A: A police officer who suspects you of driving under the influence may ask you to take some field sobriety tests. These are a series of “divided attention” tests that the officer uses to look for signs of impairment. It is my opinion that ordinarily it is not in your best interest to take these tests, and there is no penalty for respectfully declining to do so. You also don’t have to take the “breath test,” however; you need to be aware that the presumption is that when you got your driver’s license, you consented to the breath test. If you decline to take that test, you will lose your privilege to drive in Arizona for a year. And, if you go to trial, you may expect a jury instruction that the jury may presume, if you didn’t blow, that you were “over the limit.”

Q: “How much child support am I going to have to pay?”

A: This depends on several things. Your income, the other party’s income, the number of children, the age of the children, other children not common to the parties, expenses for things such as health insurance and daycare, and the amount of visitation, or parenting time, you are going to exercise with the children are all important factors. The Arizona Legislature has included these factors in certain guidelines, with which you or your family law attorney will file a child support worksheet, and the judge will order an appropriate amount of child support based on the Arizona Child Support Guidelines.

Q: “How much is a consultation? What should I bring to the consultation?”

A: $100, for up to one hour of time. You should bring all documents associated with your case. If you are served with divorce or custody documents, bring those. If you have a police report, bring that.

Q: “How do I find your office?”

A: My office is at 400 West Route 66. If you are at “400 Route 66,” you might see El Palacio Mexican Restaurant. They have excellent chicken and cheese flautas, but they are not a law office. My office is eight blocks in the other direction. Visit the contact us page to get specific directions.