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Articles

Rumors & Mandatory Reporting: Zamora reminds us the reasonableness standard is opaque warranting caution when dealing with any allegation of abuse

Brittany Zamora has garnered nationwide attention for her nefarious sexual relationship with her 13-year-old student. Zamora recently pleaded guilty to several sexual abuse charges and is now facing a lengthy prison sentence. However, a lesser known civil suit also surfaced, claiming Zamora’s school district[1] knew about the abuse months before the parents discovered it and did nothing to intervene.[2]  Given a failure to report child abuse constitutes a class 6 felony under Arizona law,[3] we ought to be curious whether the district’s officials could be criminally liable, too.

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The Misnomer of Web-Valuators: Utilizing Experts to Resolve Vehicle Value Disputes in Divorce

There is roughly one vehicle for every two Americans. The ubiquity of vehicles makes it difficult to imagine a divorce that doesn’t involve a vehicle. Regardless of whether the vehicle is a Honda Odyssey minivan or a vintage Packard that is part of an extensive car collection, utilizing a sound valuation methodology is crucial to both promote settlement and, if necessary, present compelling facts to the court.

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Déjà Vu: Court of Appeals Profoundly Rejects DCS Procedure Again

Few things provide a person with more purpose and joy than raising children. The U.S. Supreme Court held, “even when blood relationships are strained, parents retain a vital interest in preventing the irretrievable destruction of their family life.” In other words, parents have a constitutional right to direct “the care, custody and management of their child.”In Arizona, “only in the most extraordinary circumstances, when all other efforts to preserve the relationship have failed,” can the parent-child relationship be terminated. Notwithstanding, courts, at the urging of the Department of Child Safety (“DCS”), have severed parental rights based on little more than agency opinion and unchallenged expert testimony.

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Flippin’ Divorce

You and your husband were smitten by the success of Tarek and Christina from HGTV’s Flip or Flop. Following their lead and a strong rebound in the real estate market, you started buying houses to sell. You quit…

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When Adoptions Fail

Building adopted families is a dream for many people.  Perhaps adoption is a choice in the wake of fertility challenges, perhaps adoption is the product of a relative who is unable to care for their own child through CPS, or perhaps building your family has always meant adopting.  After all, there are far too many children in state care who also need loving homes.

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Update on the Case: DCS Interview without Parental Consent

In February, the Department of Child Safety interviewed a child for a child neglect investigation without parental consent. This caused much debate, with the parents (and the Ombudsman) arguing that DCS lacked legal authority to interview their child without consent.  DCS countered by pointing out that the Department routinely interviews children in neglect cases by justification of an agency policy (and notwithstanding the legal prohibition against interviews in those types of investigations).

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To Catch a Predator: Scottsdale Edition

Two weeks ago, six men were arrested by Scottsdale police after an undercover prostitution sting. According to court documents, the Scottsdale police placed “escort” ads on backpage.com and other websites, and the men responded looking for sex with underage girls. The men arrived at the place they believed to be meeting the girls and were arrested by police, who had set up an operation at the nearby Scottsdale airport.  The “escorts” were, in fact, undercover police officers or actresses pretending to be below the age of majority.

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