legal forums

Rim residents with questions about landlord and tenant relations, custody or family court have a chance to get answers at a series of free online legal forums Tuesday, Dec. 1, Thursday and Friday, Dec. 3 and 4.

Azcourthelp.org has a wealth of online legal information provided free as a resource to anyone facing legal issues – and hosts online webinars.

The free session, at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1, is Family Court 101 and explains the steps in a divorce, legal separation or custody case (Family Court 101 repeats Dec. 22).

A talk dedicated to landlord/tenant issues, and a chance to have questions answered about housing problems is at 10 a.m., Friday, Dec. 4.

Find links at Azcourthelp.org, and mark the calendar for additional legal aid online:

• Dec. 3: Setting Aside a Criminal Judgment, with Ryan Stevens of Griffen & Stevens Law Firm, explains how to set aside a felony or misdemeanor starting at 10 a.m.

• Dec. 4: Landlord-Tenant Q&A at 10 a.m. Housing problems? Presented by Monica Pertea and Trevor Kortsen of Aspey, Watkins & Diesel, P.L.L.C., provides information about landlord/tenant issues. Pertea and Kortsen will also answer general housing questions.

• Dec. 8 at 11 a.m.: Child custody during COVID-19

• Dec. 11 at noon: Rights for crime victims

• Dec. 17 at noon: Can I withhold custody based on safety concerns?

• Dec. 22 at 11 a.m.: Family Court 101

So many have legal questions – have you wondered:

Can I transfer my family court case from Maricopa County to Gila County where I live now?

Can a credit card company take my social security? I’m 80 years old, live in Payson, I’m unable to pay the debt – I have no income.

How can I get the inheritance I was supposed to have received at age 18? My father and grandfather both died before dad left my inheritance.

You may be surprised at the variety of legal assistance and court help available for free and online via azlawhelp.org: sponsored by the Arizona Bar Foundation in partnership with Southern Arizona Legal Aid, Community Legal Services, DNA People’s Legal Services, William E. Morris Institute for Justice, and the State Bar of Arizona with support from Legal Services Corporation. Most of these same partners contribute answers, articles and content to the linked website AZCourtHelp.org.

Question: How can I prove child abandonment from my baby’s father in order to get sole custody? He does not help out in any way financially or physical care of the child?

Answer: You do not say if there is a court order in place establishing custody (now called legal decision-making), visitation (now called parenting time), and child support. If not, you may decide to file for custody and support. Without a court order, both parents are considered to have equal rights to the child and are equally responsible for support. If you already have joint custody and your ex is not spending his allotted time with the child and is not providing the required support, you can go back to court and demonstrate that he has not complied with the court’s order. You may want to talk with a lawyer to get more information and some advice. There are three programs in Arizona that you can use to get inexpensive legal advice and guidance. One is the Modest Means program. You will need to apply for the program and meet the financial qualifications. Once you are qualified, Modest Means will send you a list of attorneys whose practice covers your area of concern. You select a lawyer from the list and will be entitled to a one-hour consultation for $75. If you need additional help and if the lawyer agrees to take your case, the most you will be charged is $75 per hour. The telephone number is 866-637-5341.

Both Maricopa and Pima Counties have lawyer referral programs that offer a 30-minute consult with an attorney. Maricopa County’s Lawyer Referral Service offers its 30-minute consult with an experienced attorney for $40. The telephone number is 602-257-4434. Pima County’s Lawyer Referral Service offers a 30-minute attorney consult for $35. The telephone number is 520-623-4625.

Question: is there a “Grandfather type” law in Arizona regarding an HOA controlling house paint color, within reason of the community standard? I am being told that my house color is no longer “approved” and I must repaint the whole house (instead of touching up the wood trim with current color).

Answer: The first thing that needs to be done is have an attorney with experience with HOA laws in Arizona (and experience with CC&Rs) review your community rules and regulations. There was a similar case in El Mirage in which an HOA required nearly 1,200 residents to paint their homes. The HOA stated they were protecting home values. Many in opposition of this demand by the HOA (including a couple State Legislators) did not believe this demand was within the power of the HOA. There has also been little guidance from the Legislature on this matter. If you haven’t done this already, I would suggest attending the next HOA meeting and voicing your concerns with the HOA board. Again, an attorney who has experience with this sort of situation will be your best advocate.

Question: What are the types of maintenance that a property manager should provide?

Answer: Under Section 33-1324 of the Arizona Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, a residential landlord (and/or the landlord’s representatives) are required to do each of the following: “1. Comply with the requirements of applicable building codes materially affecting health and safety as prescribed in section 9-1303. 2. Make all repairs and do whatever is necessary to put and keep the premises in a fit and habitable condition. 3. Keep all common areas of the premises in a clean and safe condition. 4. Maintain in good and safe working order and condition all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances, including elevators, supplied or required to be supplied by him. 5. Provide and maintain appropriate receptacles and conveniences for the removal of ashes, garbage, rubbish and other waste incidental to the occupancy of the dwelling unit and arrange for their removal. 6. Supply running water and reasonable amounts of hot water at all times, reasonable heat and reasonable air-conditioning or cooling where such units are installed and offered, when required by seasonal weather conditions, except where the building that includes the dwelling unit is not required by law to be equipped for that purpose or the dwelling unit is so constructed that heat, air-conditioning, cooling or hot water is generated by an installation within the exclusive control of the tenant and supplied by a direct public utility connection.”

Question: Do I need a will?

Answer: If you want the following issues handled, then do prepare a will: You want to disinherit an heir. You want to provide for friends/charities/spouse/children/family members. You want to revoke prior wills. You want an unequal distribution among your beneficiaries. You are leaving money to minor or disabled beneficiaries (always do a trust in the will or name a custodian under the Arizona Uniform Transfers to Minors Act — Do not leave money outright as a conservatorship proceeding will be necessary). You want to provide for your pet (assets cannot be left directly to your pet but can go to a Trustee to manage the assets needed to care for your pet; the trust ends after a certain time period). You want to name Personal Representative(s) to manage notifying heirs and creditors, paying taxes, creditors and administrative expenses, and distribution to beneficiaries. You have a spouse and children from a prior marriage and want to be clear who gets what of your assets. Your wishes regarding final arrangements (please realize that if your wishes are not known before death and arrangements are done before the will is found, your wishes may be ineffective.) You wish to nominate a guardian for minor or disabled individuals. In Arizona, a holographic will is valid; you must write out the will in your own handwriting and sign it. A date is also helpful, as is a note about whether you are revoking prior wills. The will can be typed, signed by you and witnessed by two people and then signed by a notary public. The notary public cannot be a witness. The two witnesses and notary public should not be related to you or a beneficiary/personal representative in the will. DO NOT write on your will after it has been signed. If you want to make changes, prepare a codicil or a new will. If someone’s address has changed, do not write on the document, simply note it on a separate page called “contact information.”

Check out azcourthelp.org; you’ll find videos such as To Hire or Not To Hire a Lawyer or Legal Aid Resources in Arizona. Need forms? Azcourthelp explains annulments, appeals and divorce (with links to many required forms that are available free online); plus probate, protection orders, small claims, custody and traffic violations.

Pages on legal guidance are specifically dedicated to explaining law for seniors, veterans and even kids; plus AZ law help — and free legal answers.

AZCourtHelp.org was created as an initiative of the state supreme court’s strategic plan to advance justice to regional courts and communities throughout the state: “to ensure that all individuals have effective access to justice. This goal is advanced not only by examining legal representation for moderate and low-income persons, but also by helping self-represented litigants and others navigate the judicial process and by using technology to make courts more accessible to all.”

AZCourtHelp.org is administered by the Arizona Bar Foundation through support from the Arizona Supreme Court and in partnership with courts and law libraries across Arizona. Coconino County Court assisted in spearheading development of the website in conjunction with their Virtual Resource Center, Legal Talks, assisted by the Attorney General’s Office, the State Library of Arizona, and Department of Economic Security.

The website clearly asserts it “cannot provide legal assistance or give legal advice… cannot replace an attorney… cannot take sides in a case.”

What can be found at AZCourtHelp.org — the site:

• Assists people who need to utilize court services find the information they need about their court: location, hours, terms of payment, parking, accessibility, etc.

• Provides support of Arizona law librarians: live chat forums to answer legal information questions, details on upcoming Legal Talk clinics, and other information needed by self-represented litigants.

• Links and resources to other specialized legal information websites that provide broader legal information and access, when possible, to free and reduced legal assistance: azlawhelp.org, lawforseniors.org, lawforveterans.org, and lawforkids.org.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Avoid obscene, hateful, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful.
Be Nice. No name-calling, racism, sexism or any sort of -ism degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article. Real names only!