Our firm focuses on family law and bankruptcy issues. I spend the majority of my time working on family law cases including divorce, legal separation, annulment, paternity, child support and child custody cases.
McGuire Gardner P.L.L.C. was established when Pernell W. McGuire and I, who had previously worked together in a large firm, discussed ways in which a firm focused on the clients' needs would allow each of us to better serve each of our clients and build a firm that fit our driving work ethic and desire to help others.
I generally am most proud of my cases in which I have been able to resolve difficult issues through formal or informal settlement discussions and avoid going to trial and the associated expenses. Having said that, I very much enjoy going to court on cases that simply would not settle and having the court enter orders that are very close to what my client and I had been offering to settle the case for all along. I have also enjoyed succeeding on appeal when the trial court entered orders that I did not believe to be appropriate under Arizona law. Because of client confidences, I am reluctant to provide any details on specific cases.
I provide a free initial telephone consultation, which usually lasts for 15 to 20 minutes (longer when necessary).
I will generally start a case with a free initial telephonic consultation, which generally takes about 15 to 20 minutes. This provides the client an opportunity to discuss the issues with me and determine if I am the right attorney to represent them. This also provides me time to determine if the case is the type of case that I am willing to take, if the client is the type of client that I am willing to represent, and if legal representation is appropriate and necessary in the case. The next step is generally an in office consultation, which can be billed as a flat $250 or can be part of the ongoing case and covered by the initial advance on fees. Like most family law attorneys, I require an initial deposit in family law cases of $2,000 to $10,000 (Most cases are between $3,000 and $5,000) depending upon the number of issues and the complexity of the case. If the case is resolved for less than the initial advance, any remaining funds are returned to the client. I have also represented clients in uncontested divorces on a flat fee, with the caveat that if the divorce becomes contested we transfer to an hourly billing.
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and by appointment.
I speak Portuguese and Spanish.
It sort of chose me. While I intended to be a bankruptcy lawyer, and took many bankruptcy related courses in law school, I found that I was extremely interested in family law when I took a course on the subject. I was so intrigued that I took an additional course the next semester. While I have also practiced in civil litigation and bankruptcy (which have both provided me a wider base and understanding of the law) I have very much enjoyed family law and the variety of cases that I have handled.
I prefer my clients to have as much information and knowledge so that they can make the best informed decisions in their case. It is my job to educate the client on the law and how the courts will likely rule on specific issues. It is my client's job to educate me on the specific facts and issues in their case. Only when both client and attorney have a full understanding of all necessary information can a proper informed decision be made by the client. I have also noticed that most cases that go to trial do so because one or more of the clients was not properly educated on what the court would likely decide, and thus having incorrect expectations forced both parties to endure an emotionally difficult trial.
I will readily review documents prepared by clients. When necessary I will use client generated documents as a starting point to draft pleadings and correspondences in a more proper legal format.
I have often met with clients for office consultations (I generally charge $250 for up to a one hour consultation) and have discussed with them how to proceed with filing their own case. However, because of the complexities in many family law cases, I often provide bold warnings to clients about the dangers or proceeding without an attorney. I have represented other divorce attorneys through their divorce, not necessarily because I knew more, but because as an attorney I had a better ability to remain emotionally distant and to view the case in a logical fashion.
Prior to law school, I worked as an accounting supervisor for Bechtel Corporation, one of America's largest privately owned companies. This detailed financial background, along with my M.B.A. has provided me with a significant advantage in difficult family law cases where financial, real estate, and business interests must be divided and parsed out. During law school I spent some time as a law clerk for Judge Randy Haines of the Arizona Bankruptcy Court which provided invaluable experience. As an attorney I have worked both in a small firm and a large firm, and I have taken the best practices from each type of firm and incorporated it into the McGuire Gardner law firm. I have dedicated the majority of my legal career to working with family law cases, and have incorporated my bankruptcy experience and bankruptcy cases with that experience.
While most lawyers only like to do math if they can multiply or divide by 10, my extensive financial background has been invaluable in many difficult family law cases, including issues of child support, spousal maintenance, division of assets and debts, division of residences and more complex real estate, and division of businesses and business assets. Furthermore, having children of my own has helped me to better understand the difficulties faced by single parents and soon to be single parents.
While I very much enjoy a good hard fought trial, I have found that avoiding trial through appropriate settlement is most often in the client's best interest. I have found that I have an ability to amicably resolve most cases, even when we are faced with a difficult opposing party or difficult opposing attorney. When I am forced to go to trial, I am generally pleased to see that the Judge has ordered close to what we were working so hard to settle the case for from the beginning. I have found this style allows me to keep my clients fees down, as settlement is significantly quicker and more cost effective than trial. While I have been called a teddy-bear negotiator (a compliment I think), I have been called a bulldog in trial (I once had the opposing party removed by ambulance during the middle of my cross examination - this does not always happen through).Personal interests:
Outside of work I spend as much time as possible with my family. Seeing the difficulties that families face has forced me to be more appreciative of what I have and to work harder to keep it all together. My three boys are very active and are growing up quickly. We spend lots of time together outdoors, camping, hiking, etc. I am also involved in my church, having worked as a volunteer in my church in various capacities, including scoutmaster for my boys.
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