Monica H Donaldson Stewart’s Answers

Monica H Donaldson Stewart

Chandler Family Law Attorney.

Contributor Level 15
  1. Can I adopt my step daughter?

    Answered about 2 months ago.

    1. John R Gaertner
    2. Monica H Donaldson Stewart
    3. Joan M Bundy
    4. Judd S Nemiro
    4 lawyer answers

    I agree with the very thorough answer provided by Mr. Gaertner, and would add that if the biological father consents in writing to the adoption, this may be a way to proceed without having to undergo the potentially complicated termination process.

    9 lawyers agreed with this answer

  2. Can I serve my husband divorce papers immediately after I file with the clerk in AZ?

    Answered 8 months ago.

    1. Monica H Donaldson Stewart
    2. Michael Graham Langford
    3. Kevin H. Pate
    4. Tony Anthony
    4 lawyer answers

    If your husband accompanies you to the clerk's office when you file, he can sign the acceptance of service at the same time (he will need to have ID with him).

    7 lawyers agreed with this answer

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  3. My kids don't want to spend the weekend with their dad but it's court ordered every other weekend. Do I have to make them go?

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. Steven W Zachary
    2. Monica H Donaldson Stewart
    3. Christopher Daniel Leroi
    4. Anique Kane Drouin
    5. Benjamin S Kuipers
    5 lawyer answers

    I would add to the previous answer that parenting time is considered the right of the parent, not the choice of the child.

    7 lawyers agreed with this answer

  4. Who keeps the engagement/ wedding ring when getting a divorce?

    Answered about 5 years ago.

    1. Monica H Donaldson Stewart
    2. Mark Cord
    2 lawyer answers

    Generally speaking, if you had split up before the wedding, you'd have to return the ring, but since you did get married, the ring is considered a gift to you, and you are not obligated to return it. You are also not obligated to return any other gifts you received from him (or anyone else) during the marriage. I recommend you speak with an attorney to discuss your options and help you decide on the best course of action. ** This response is provided as general information only and does not...

    5 lawyers agreed with this answer

    4 people marked this answer as helpful

  5. I want to move out. I'm 18. But my parents don't let me.

    Answered 3 months ago.

    1. Monica H Donaldson Stewart
    2. Patrick S Sampair
    3. Kyle Dallas Hopson
    4. Valarie A McNeice
    4 lawyer answers

    I understand that you are in a difficult position with your family; however, this is not really a legal question. If you are 18, you have the ability to make decisions as an adult, but you need to be prepared that there could be consequences (in terms of lack of family/emotional support) if your parents do not agree with those decisions.

    6 lawyers agreed with this answer

  6. Can the Court still order me to pay child support arrears if I just paid the total to the Mother directly?

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. Monica H Donaldson Stewart
    2. Joseph E Holland
    2 lawyer answers

    First of all, this should have been paid through the Clearinghouse to make sure it was properly credited to your account; however, since you did not do this, the other party can sign and file an Affidavit of Direct Payment to acknowledge direct receipt of the funds. Keep in mind - just because you paid off the principal amount of support, that does not mean that you are fully "paid off." Interest accumulates at 10% per year on unpaid child support, so you may still owe interest on the arrears....

    6 lawyers agreed with this answer

  7. What age is a child allowed to choose who he wants to live with in AZ?

    Answered 10 months ago.

    1. Monica H Donaldson Stewart
    2. Valarie A McNeice
    3. Mark Cord
    4. Rich J Peters
    4 lawyer answers

    In Arizona, a minor child (under 18) does not get to choose which parent to live with. The court makes decisions based on a child's best interests, using a list of statutory factors. One of the factors is the wishes of a child who is of "suitable age and maturity," so an older child's wishes might be taken into consideration, but it is never the child's choice. If you have concerns about whether the current arrangements are in your child's best interests, I recommend you consult with an...

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  8. Is child support based on federal wages or social security wages?

    Answered over 1 year ago.

    1. Monica H Donaldson Stewart
    2. Brett A. Borah
    2 lawyer answers

    You would use Box 3 which includes all deferred income. In Arizona, child support is based on a parent's gross income so the amount a parent chooses to defer to 401(k)/etc. does not reduce income for child support purposes.

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  9. How can I avoid getting stuck in a state where I have no family?

    Answered 8 months ago.

    1. Monica H Donaldson Stewart
    1 lawyer answer

    Relocation is not based on "joint" vs. "sole" custody/decision-making, it's based on the best interests of the child. If a divorce has been filed, you are not permitted to remove the child from the state while the case is pending unless you have your husband's consent or a court order. If a divorce has not been filed and you move out of state, Arizona still maintains jurisdiction over your child for some period of time, so he could still file for divorce here and ask the court to decide whether...

    5 lawyers agreed with this answer

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  10. Processor Service Fee in Divorce

    Answered about 1 year ago.

    1. Monica H Donaldson Stewart
    2. Lyle Don Salekin
    2 lawyer answers

    Your spouse can sign a document called an "Acceptance of Service," which would eliminate the need to pay a process server to deliver the documents. The Acceptance of Service must be signed in front of a notary, and then it must be filed with the court. Here is a link to the document: http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/sscDocs/pdf/dr22fz.pdf If your spouse will not sign the Acceptance of Service, you can contact a process server to deliver the documents; however, the cost will vary...

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