Gillespie, Shields & Durrant

Five Practice Areas - Exceptional Representation

In Phoenix Call: 602-870-9700
In Mesa Call: 480-985-4000

Contesting the Relocation of Your Child by the Other Parent

Divorced parents face many obstacles that must be overcome throughout the life of their shared child. If one parent wants to relocate farther away from the other parent due to a change in his or her job or because of a new marriage or other reason, Arizona laws require the parent who is considering relocation to give the other parent written notice 60 days prior to the move. The law also gives the remaining parent the right to contest the move. The court will take many factors into consideration, and will focus on what is best for the child in making a ruling on whether or not the parent can relocate.

Keys to Contesting the Relocation of Your Child

If you are the non-custodial parent, it is imperative for you to be actively involved in the day-to-day life of your child. His or her schooling, medical needs and extracurricular activities should all play a role in your daily life. Keep a journal of your activities together and of your involvement with their friends. Take note of the benefits of their current location, including the proximity to extended family. If you have little to no involvement with your child, your chances of a successful ruling against the relocation will be negatively impacted.

Factors the Court May Consider in Whether or Not the Relocation Will Be Allowed

In contesting the relocation of your child by the other parent, it is helpful to understand what the court will consider in their decision:

  • The nature and quality of the involvement of each parent and the stability that offers the child
  • Prior agreements in the child custody arrangement
  • The age and needs of the child
  • The benefits versus the consequences of the relocation to the child
  • The reasons for the relocation; underlying motives of each parent
  • The schools and resources available to the child if relocation occurs
  • The ease of access to the remaining parent
  • The stability of the relocation and the parent wanting to move

Phoenix Parental-Child Relocation Lawyers

The outcome of contesting the relocation of your child by the other parent can have a lasting effect on your relationship with your child. Contact Gillespie, Shields & Durrant to see how we can help you develop a strong case for the parent to remain in closer proximity to you. We want to ensure you have the best opportunity to remain an active part of your child’s life.

What To Do When You are Discriminated Against for Pregnancy

Pregnancy Discrimination

If you believe your pregnancy has led to discrimination against you for any of the following reasons, you need to contact a Phoenix discrimination attorney at Gillespie, Shields, & Durrant:

  • Hiring
  • Firing
  • Pay rate
  • Job Assignments
  • Promotions
  • Layoffs
  • Training
  • Fringe benefits

Laws to Protect Pregnancy and Your Job

The law states that a pregnant woman must be treated as any other temporarily disabled employee would be by that employer, including allowing the pregnant woman to be assigned to a different position temporarily providing lighter job assignments, providing disability leave of absence, or any type of unpaid leave of absence that is provided to any other employee who may be temporarily disabled for health reasons.

Complications during Pregnancy and Discrimination

If a pregnant employee develops a medical condition such as preeclampsia, or gestational diabetes, related to her pregnancy the employer may be required to allow the employee a leave or to modify her job requirements in order for her to remain on the job.  These medical conditions may qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments of 2008 even though they are of a temporary nature.

Additionally, if a pregnant woman believes she is being harassed, due to her pregnancy, or any related medical condition, including childbirth, which creates a hostile work environment causing her to be demoted or fired from her position, she may be able to file a discrimination suit.

Phoenix Discrimination Attorneys

Your pregnancy should not cause you to suffer at work in any way. If you believe you have been discriminated against due to your pregnancy or any related medical conditions, contact an Arizona discrimination attorneys at Gillespie, Shields, & Durrant to discuss your legal options.  Call 602-870-9700 in Phoenix,  480-985-4000 in Mesa, or fill out our brief contact form to speak with a Gillespie, Shields, & Durrant family law attorney.

 

Ensuring You’re Getting Your Full Paycheck

Arizona is an “at-will” employment state, which means employment is not covered by a contract and the employment relationship can be terminated:

  • For any reason not prohibited by law or for no reason
  • At any time
  • By the employer or the employee
  • With or without cause

Even though Arizona is an at-will employment state, there are still legal requirements which must be met concerning your wage and paycheck.

Paycheck Requirements in Phoenix

Most employers in Phoenix and throughout Arizona are required to pay you:

  • A minimum of two times per month
  • Not more than 16 days between paychecks
  • On schedule, according to company policy

If you receive your paycheck by direct deposit, the employer must provide a statement showing your earnings. Always review the statement to ensure you’re getting your full paycheck.

Reasons an Employer May Withhold Monies from Your Paycheck

There are only three reasons an employer can refuse to pay you your full paycheck:

  1. Your wages are being legally garnished by a court order for child-support payments or a civil judgment.
  2. You have given your employer written authorization to withhold monies for a specific reason.
  3. You are currently in a “good faith” dispute over the amount of wages you are owed; only the disputed amount may be withheld.

Wages Paid Upon Termination

If your employment terminates for any reason, your employer must provide your final paycheck within seven business days or by the end of the next scheduled pay period, whichever comes first. In Phoenix, the final payment must include all commissions, compensation, severance pay, sick days, and vacation time, if your employer offers any or all of these benefits. If you are fired, you may be eligible to receive payment for unused sick days or vacation days.

Overtime Wages

Non-exempt employees must be paid time-and-a-half for any hours worked that exceed 40 hours during a workweek. There is no allotment overtime pay to be avoided by working fewer hours in the second half of the pay period.

Phoenix Wage Dispute Attorneys

If you believe you are not receiving your full paycheck, you need to contact the wage dispute attorneys at Gillespie, Shields & Durrant in Phoenix. We will determine if you have been underpaid, and we help you recover what you are owed, plus any damages from the delay in pay. Contact us today to see how we can help.

Circumstances That Warrant Severance of Parental Rights

According to Arizona’s Revised Statures §8-533, there are 11 possible circumstances that warrant severance of parental rights:

  • Abandonment of the child by the parent.
  • Willful abuse or neglect of the child, or being cognizant of an abusive or neglectful environment in which the child is placed.
  • History of parent’s mental illness or extended timeframe of chronic drug or alcohol abuse jeopardizing the child’s well being for an indefinite period of time.
  • Parental felony conviction and subsequent imprisonment indicative of a parent proving to be unfit to have custody of the child in the future due to the length of expected incarceration.
  • A Paternity action by the potential father was not filed within the timeframe set forth in the statute.
  • A Notice of Claim of Paternity by the assumed father was not filed within the timeframe set forth in the statute.
  • Parental rights have been forfeited to an agency or parents have agreed to allow the child to be adopted.
  • A licensed child welfare agency has been caring for the child for a period of nine months to 15 months or longer per an order of the court, or by a parental voluntary placement per the statute during which time the child’s parent(s) has exhibited willful neglect refusing to correct the situation creating the need for the placement of the child with the welfare agency, or has been unable to correct the circumstances that made the placement necessary, and has not been able to demonstrate the circumstances are likely to change within a reasonable timeframe.
  • The child’s parental identity is unknown and is subsequently unknown for a period of three months during which time a dedicated effort was made to locate and identify the parent(s).
  • Parental rights to another child were terminated within the previous two years for the same reason and the parent is unable to care for the child for the same reason.
  • After being placed in the care of a child welfare agency, a child is returned to parents, but within eighteen months after being returned to the parents the child must again be removed from their legal custody.

Helping with Parental Neglect or Abuse

The attorneys at Gillespie, Shields, & Durrant want to help protect you from circumstances beyond your control. If you have suffered from any abusive circumstances, or if you know of a child who suffers, please do not hesitate to seek legal guidance. A child should never have to live with a parent who is unfit.

Phoenix Family Attorneys

To discuss your legal options regarding severance of parental rights in Arizona, call 602-870-9700 in Phoenix,  480-985-4000 in Mesa, or fill out our brief contact form to speak with a Gillespie, Shields, & Durrant family law attorney.

 

 

When To Hire A Mediator VS. An Arbitrator

“Destiny is no matter of chance.
It is a matter of choice.
It’s not a thing to be waited for,
it is a thing to be achieved.”
William Jennings Bryan 

When two amicable (or adversarial) parties want to keep from the expensive and time-consuming path of litigation, there are two viable solutions – arbitration and mediation.  The law firm of Gillespie, Shields, and Durrant is staffed with skilled, knowledgeable attorneys that can work with you to pursue mediation or arbitration.

Mediation is usually voluntary.  The people or parties involved in the dispute will need to agree to participate in the process with the aim being to work toward a mutually agreeable resolution. One of the differences between mediators and arbitrators is that mediators don’t make the decisions for the parties involved.  See below for more reasons someone would hire a mediator.

Arbitration is not unlike presenting the facts of your case to a judge. Arbitrators are neutral third parties who will listen to the arguments and concerns of each party as they present the facts of their case. After all pertinent information is heard the arbitrator renders his or her decision in favor of one of the parties. Whether or not this decision becomes a legally binding one depends on the arbitration terms.

Here are few reasons you may consider one or the other.

Reasons Someone Would Hire A Mediator

  • Hiring a mediator means a trial will be put on hold until the outcome of mediation is established
  • Hiring a mediator means usually only having to hire one person
  • A mediator’s purpose is not to make the decision but to facilitate negotiation and move it toward an agreed upon outcome

Reasons Someone Would Hire An Arbitrator

  • Hiring an arbitrator means trial is totally replaced by arbitration
  • Hiring an arbitrator may require just one or possibly a panel of arbitrators
  • An arbitrator (or panel of arbitrators) is enlisted to eventually render a decision on your behalf

If you and the person or parties involved in a dispute would like to work with an established Phoenix firm to work through mediation or arbitration to come to an agreement, call or contact Gillespie, Shields & Durrant

Sexual Harassment In The Workplace Goes Both Ways

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak.
Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
Winston Churchill

According to the Employment Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the last 20 years has shown a shift in the percentage of males that have submitted sexual harassment claims.  In fact, although women file the overwhelming majority of claims, the number of claims by men has more than doubled since the 1990’s.

Each year more than 15,000 claims of sexual harassment are filed and now some 2000 of them are by men who claim to have been sexually harassed in the workplace. Some claim that harassment is not more prevalent than before, but that men are now emboldened to come forward.

Some of the reasons for these sexual harassment claims include:

  • Unwanted romantic advances from female supervisors or co-workers
  • Unwanted romantic advances from male supervisors or co-workers
  • Men being picked on for being gay
  • Men being picked on for being effeminate or not being masculine enough

As far as the state of Arizona is concerned, there are two types of sexual harassment to understand – hostile work environment and quid pro quo.

Hostile Work Environment
This is when any employee is victim of unwelcome verbal or physical sexual behavior in the workplace. This would include specific requests or demands that are of a sexual nature, negatively affecting his or her day-to-day abilities to do his or her job.

Quid Pro Quo
In Latin, “quid pro quo” simply means “something for something.” When sex is leveraged to receive or keep a job, a promotion, or to achieve a certain grade in school, quid pro quo is in play.

All sexual harassment is against the law, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The appropriate thing to do is take legal action if you have been victim of a sexual harassment violation, no matter your gender. You can and should consult a sexual harassment attorney right away. Starting the conversation with a knowledgeable and understanding attorney can not only give you the confidence you need, but can familiarize you with what your options are.

Contact our team today. Or contact us online anytime.

Obtaining Custody After CPS (Child Protective Services) Has Taken Your Child(ren)

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul
than the way in which it treats its children.”
Nelson Mandela

When Child Protection Services (CPS) comes to your door, it can be a frightening and unnerving experience. Since CPS is the governmental agency established with the express purpose of responding to reports of child abuse or neglect, agents take every case very seriously. Common, everyday people are not immune to the affects of an investigation from Child Protection Services. When one or more of your children are taken from you, the experience goes from unnerving to a parent’s worst nightmare.

Since just about anyone can allege child endangerment or neglect, you may have no idea who triggered the report that brought CPS to the door.  However there are some things you can do to help obtain custody after CPS has taken your children. Some of it has to do with what you say in the moment and how you react to the CPS agents.

What Not To Do When CPS Agents Take Your Kids

  • No matter how angry you are, don’t fight with the agents or law enforcement officials. Do all you can to show cooperation.
  • Don’t assume you’ll remember all the details. Write everything down immediately after it happens.
  • Don’t hesitate to express to authorities if a loved one or family member is available to help take care for your child.
  • Once your kids are in custody of Child Protection services, don’t be late (or miss) your assigned visitation time.
  • Don’t try to represent yourself. Hiring a skilled and aggressive juvenile lawyer may be the best thing you.
  • Don’t miss your court dates. Seriously, some parents do this. Don’t let it be you if you want to get your kids back.

Gillespie, Shields & Durrant’s experienced and well-prepared Phoenix child custody attorneys are poised to help provide you with the kind of stalwart legal counsel you’ll need during your children’s interviews.

We are committed to protecting the best interests of kids and their parents throughout the state of Arizona.  Contact our law office today to set up your initial consultation!

What To Do When Your Employer Isn’t Following The Family Medical Leave Act

“Great companies have high cultures of accountability.”
Steve Ballmer, Former CEO of Microsoft

For more than 20 years now, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has enabled employees to keep their jobs when certain family or medical circumstances cause them to leave work for a period of time. This considerate act was established to give 12 workweeks of unpaid leave to employees who have one of the following situations:

-       Giving birth to a newborn and providing subsequent short-term transitional care for that baby

-       The adoption or foster care provision for a child or children

-       Caring for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious medical condition

-       Healing a serious or debilitating medical condition

-       Caring for a seriously injured or ill armed service member (for employees who are the spouse, son or daughter, parent, or next of kin of the service member). This special circumstance allows for up to 26 unpaid leave.

When any of these conditions occur with an employee, most employers do the right thing and honor the 12-week unpaid time off request as provided for by the FMLA.  However, there are some additional requirements for eligibility.

-       The employer must have at least 50 employees

-       The employer’s 50 employees must work within a 75 mile radius of the facility

-       The employee must have worked for that employer for at least one year

-       The employee must have worked at least 1250 hours (31.25 weeks) in that year

When the employee and employer both fit the criteria and the employer refuses to pay, it is appropriate to take legal action. Any employer who refuses to facilitate the legally viable requests for medical leave is in direct violation of the FMLA. In addition, any discrimination after an employee makes use of FMLA provisions is also illegal.  The first step is to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

An employment attorney familiar with both federal and state regulations will be your biggest advocate in this process, both to protect your rights and to educate you about the process along the way.  Gillespie, Shields, and Durrant have decades of experience dealing with incompliant employers.  Put us to work on your case to give you the best advantage in walking out this process.
Call Gillespie, Shields, and Durrant’s employment law attorneys today or contact us online to set up your appointment anytime.

Fighting False Domestic Violence Accusations

“A lie can travel halfway around the world
while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
Mark Twain

In divorce and custody hearings, adversarial attorneys have been known to leverage allegations of abuse (albeit false allegations) with the egregious intentions of gaining an advantage for their clients in those proceedings.  This has become a problem that is enabled, at least partially, by the state of Arizona’s broad definition of the word “domestic abuse”.

One of the major catalysts for this abuse of the system is the broad definition that exists for domestic abuse. Specifically, part of the definition includes the phrase “unlawful infliction of the fear of imminent physical harm”.  Since this is not an objective terminology, adversarial attorneys take advantage of the fact that it is not easy to fight. Add to this loophole the fact that the majority of these claims are against men.  Since men are often perceived to be bigger and more aggressive than women, the complications in fighting this strategy multiply.

If you have been victim of such a false domestic violence charge, there are some things you need to do to combat it.

The Judge Will Take The Charges Very Seriously – So Should You

In order to know how to get to where you’re going, you need to know where you are. The very first thing you need to do when facing false domestic violence charges is to understand what could happen if you are found guilty.

  • If accused of domestic violence at all, criminal charges will be made against you
  • If found guilty, there will be grave consequences
  • A short or even long term prison sentence could be rendered

Hire An Attorney Who Can Represent & Help You Understand Your Rights

You may feel you have been taken advantage of by this false accusation, but you can combat your accuser by hiring the right attorney.  The right attorney is one that not only understands domestic violence law, but also has the skill to be able to communicate to you what has happened and what you can expect in the near future as well as your best strategy going forward.

Arizona Domestic Violence Lawyers
If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, then you need to obtain the services of a professional Phoenix domestic violence attorney right away. Don’t hesitate to contact Gillespie, Shields & Durrant to come to your aid today!

Contesting An Order Of Protection

Find Out What’s Being Said
In order to contest the restraining order (protection order) that’s been established, you need to know what has been said about you.  The good news (and maybe embarrassing news) is that this information is public record. The court records will show exactly what was said to elicit the protection order.  This will help you and your attorney set out the right strategy to contest the order.

Investigate Thoroughly
Allow your attorney to grill you with as many questions as he or she sees fit. Uncovering a discrepancy in what the person who filed the restraining order is alleging you did will only come from asking the right questions. It could be that the offense you were accused of committing happened at a time when you have an easily provable alibi. A thorough investigation between you and your attorney could give you the fighting chance you were looking for to submit a successful contesting of the order.

Honor The Established Boundaries
While the restraining order is in play, you need to know what the boundaries are and make sure that you do not violate them.  Breaking the rules only sets you up for failure and further heartache.  Not only should you make sure you stay away from those boundaries, you may keep good records of your activities during this time in case you are accused of being in violation of the restraining order.

After an order of protection has been granted against you, you should immediate stop doing the following:

  • Visiting the home, workplace or school of the filer
  • Stalking or harassing the filer
  • Physically touching the filer in any way
  • Making any contact the filer

Take The High Road When You Testify
Taking the high road when you give testimony is mostly about your posture towards the accuser.  Make up your mind from a position of strength that you are not going to let your emotions get the best of you in the courtroom. Going on the offensive towards the person who asked for the protective order only makes you look bad. Taking the high road means sticking to the facts of the case and presenting them with the appropriate tone. 

Put An Attorney To Work For You
Attorney up, as they say, is the very first thing you should do when a protective order is set in motion (or you think one might be).  Not only can they help you understand the process and work with you on investigating the facts, but also a good restraining order attorney can represent you and put the burden of proof on the accuser.

The attorney team at Gillespie, Shields, and Durrant has the practical understanding of protective order laws to help walk you through the process from start to finish. You have a right to an attorney, when you choose Gillespie, Shields, and Durrant you are enlisting the power of almost 30 years experience in Arizona courtrooms.
Call today or contact us online anytime.

Phoenix Law Office
7319 North 16th Street, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85020
T: (602) 870-9700
Mesa Law Office
2152 S. Vineyard St.
Bldg. 11, Suite 136
Mesa, AZ 85210
T: (480) 985-4000

Our Arizona law firm proudly serves the following areas: Avondale, Carefree, Chandler, Coconino, Fountain Hills, Gila, Gilbert, Glendale, Graham, Maricopa, Mesa, Navajo, Paradise Valley, Peoria, Phoenix, Pima, Pinal, Scottsdale, Sun City, Surprise, Tempe, Queen Creek, Yavapai and Yuma

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.