1. What do I do if I am stopped for a DUI?
If you are stopped for driving under the influence, you must be aware that you have a right to remain silent and speak to an attorney prior to speaking to a police officer or taking any chemical test. Most courts will allow an officer to ask you if you have been drinking alcoholic beverages despite not being advised of your Miranda warnings. I would personally not answer that question until I spoke to an attorney. If you admit to drinking any alcoholic beverages most likely the police officer will proceed with the DUI investigation. So, it is critical that you speak to an attorney before making any admissions to drinking. Likewise, depending on the amount of alcohol consumed that night, your decision whether or not to agree to the chemical test should be based on advice from the attorney because the penalty for refusing to take a chemical test is one-year suspension of your driver’s license.
2. What can I do if my wife relocates with my child to another state?
You are entitled to be notified under A.R.S. §25-408 within 60 days prior to the relocation outside the state of Arizona or more than 100 miles within the state. You have 30 days in which to object to the request to relocate. The person requesting to relocate carries the burden of proving to the court that the relocation will be in the child’s best interest. The court will also focus on the motives of the parents regarding the relocation, including the effect the relocation will have on the nonmoving parent.
3. What can I do if I am served with divorce documents?
If you are served with divorce papers within the state of Arizona, you have 20 days in which to respond not counting the day of service. If you are served outside of Arizona, you will have 30 days in which to respond. Depending on each case, a divorce has several main issues, including sole/joint decision-making rights (i.e., child custody); child support (if there are minor children under the age of 18 years old); division of debts and assets. In Arizona, all property and debts acquired during marriage is considered community property unless it falls under one of the exceptions (family inheritance; gift or separate property).
4. What can I do if I am served with an Order of Protection?
An order of protection is a petition keeping you away from certain people based on allegations of harassment or domestic violence typically committed within the last year. You must be served with the order of protection for it to be valid. And the order is valid for one year after service. You can file a request for a hearing to dispute that there is no basis to support the order of protection. Furthermore, orders of protection are not custody orders and should not be used as a custodial shield.
5. When can I modify my child support?
Child support can be modified under A.R.S. §25-320(24). A person who has lost his job or has been forced to take a lower paying job can move to modify. Likewise, if a person has a higher paying job, the other partner may request for an increased payment in child support. A person moving to modify child support must show a 15 percent variance from the existing amount, which will be considered as evidence of substantial and continuing change of circumstances.