Firm Partner Spencer T. Schiefer Appointed to the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee

Exciting news!  Firm partner Spencer Schiefer was recently appointed to serve on the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee in the State Bar of Arizona.  Mr. Schiefer will serve a three-year term on the committee.  The primary goal of the committee is to protect consumers of legal services by addressing the myriad problems caused by individuals and businesses engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.  Mr. Schiefer looks forward to serving on this committee and helping individuals with their legal problems in a new way.  Mr. Schiefer will continue serving his existing clients and will continue taking on new family law cases.

Supreme Court Decision: Gay Marriage is Legal in All 50 States

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This morning, the United States Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage in all 50 states.  For more information about this historic decision, read the following article courtesy of the President of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers:

Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. I have asked Michigan AAML Fellow Ric Roane, who created and chaired the AAML LGBT Committee and served as the Academy’s official observer at the Court – where he witnessed the oral arguments firsthand – to help prepare this blog about the historic decision in which the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers filed an amicus brief.

With this landmark civil rights decision, the United States Supreme Court has declared very clearly and simply that “Marriage is Marriage” regardless of whether the couple are same-sex or opposite sex. It holds that same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all states.

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Adult Adoption in Arizona

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In Arizona, one adult may adopt another adult so long as certain conditions are met. First, the adult to be adopted must be at least 18 years old, but not older than 21, or must be a step-child, niece/nephew, cousin, or grandchild of the adopting person. For foster parents, they may adopt an adult who was placed in their care when the adult was a juvenile so long as the foster parent has maintained a continuous family relationship with the person for 5 years. Both adults must agree on the adoption.

The agreement by both adults for the adoption must be in writing. By state law, the agreement must contain certain information, which is where an attorney can come in handy. Among other things, the adoption agreement must state that the adults agree to assume toward each other the legal relation of parent and child (and have all of the rights and responsibilities of that legal relationship). Continue reading

Same Building New Suite

Ellsworth Family Law, P.C. has moved across the hall! Though our journey was short, we have successfully moved to our new suite, suite 200.  The new office is more spacious than the old, including two conference rooms.  This will allow us to be more accommodating for Meditations and Arbitration’s, and improve our client’s overall experience.

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What does it mean to be a Certified Family Law Specialist?

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You may be aware that two of the attorneys at Ellsworth Family Law, Steven M. Ellsworth and Glenn D. Halterman, are family law specialists. And while you probably assume that the designation of “specialist” means that they spend a considerable amount of time working on family law-related matters, being a Certified Family Law Specialist in Arizona means much more.

Although there are approximately 18,000 attorneys currently licensed to practice law in Arizona, only a very small percentage of those attorneys are specialists in their area of practice. In fact, of those 18,000 attorneys, there are currently only 65 who are Certified Family Law Specialists by the State Bar of Arizona (for the statistically-minded that equates to less than 1% of the Arizona attorney population). Several other practice areas also offer specialist certification (such as criminal law, personal injury, or tax law). Continue reading

Do I Have Any Interest In the House If I Signed a Quitclaim Deed?

shutterstock_167696534Following up from the last post, I’ll address the common questions I hear from people who have signed a disclaimer or quitclaim deed to a house. Even though the spouse who disclaimed his/her interest in a house does not have a community interest in the house, he/she can still have an interest in the house in the form of a community lien. Again, in Arizona, property is characterized as either community or separate. A house is one spouse’s separate property when they own it prior to marriage, or when the other spouse signs a disclaimer deed at or after the purchase.

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Consequences of Disclaimer Deeds or Quitclaim Deeds in Arizona Divorces

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Signing a disclaimer deed on a house purchased during the marriage can have dire, unintended consequences in an Arizona divorce. Often, the largest assets most people have when they get divorced are their house and retirement. It is somewhat unsettling to think that signing a little piece of paper, which has become commonplace in many transactions, will result in one spouse losing out on their community share of one of those large assets–the house. This article explains the legal effect of signing a disclaimer deed as it relates to property division in an Arizona divorce, to hopefully provide guidance to those in this situation and/or to caution those looking to purchase a house.

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Steven Ellsworth Elected to the National Board of Governors of the AAML

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Steven M. Ellsworth, a Certified Family Law Specialist in Mesa, has recently been elected to represent the Arizona Chapter on the National Board of Governors of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Steven M. Ellsworth has been a Fellow of the AAML since 2010, and will serve on the Governing Board for the next three years (2017).

This is a highly regarded honor, seeing as the AAML has promoted the “highest degree of professionalism and excellence in the practice of family law” since 1962. The attorneys who become Fellows in the AAML are considered to be at the highest level of Family Law practitioners in the country. Currently, the AAML has nearly 1600 Fellows across the United states.

For more information about the AAML, click here.

Attorney At Law Magazine: Steven M. Ellsworth, Attorney of the Month

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Steven M. Ellsworth

This certified family law specialist brings nearly 25 years of professional expertise to his practice.

By Vicki Hogue-Davies

When it comes to how he built his law career, Steven M. Ellsworth believes that his decision to specialize in family law was a major contributor to his success. Ellsworth, founder of Ellsworth Family Law in Mesa, Ariz., has practiced in his specialty area for nearly 25 years, helping hundreds of clients navigate through divorce and other life challenges. Continue reading