Law Office of Kevin Jensen - March 2018

MARCH 2018 480.632.7373

Tragedy Doesn’t Define You How I Learned to Push Through Adversity

Working as a family and divorce lawyer, I see a variety of clients going through intensely difficult situations. For a few of them, it seems as if life as they know it is over. I sympathize with these clients deeply. I know it’s not easy for a loved one to leave your life or for a family to deal with a massive split. But I know from my own experiences that if we’re able to push past these seemingly impossible circumstances, contextualize them, and move on, we often end up stronger people for it. I was born with a congenital heart defect called “tetralogy of Fallot,” a fancy way of saying I have four heart malformations, one of which is a hole in my heart. I underwent four surgeries before I was even 6 years old, two of which were open- heart procedures. Because of this, I wasn’t able to do many of the things I wanted to growing up. For instance, I’ve always been a big sports fan, but I couldn’t play football or basketball because I was physically unable to exert myself for too long before my heart began to race and I felt dangerously short of breath. As a little kid, I always felt different. Why could all the other kids run without tiring while I couldn’t run 100 yards without almost collapsing? Why, of all people, had these heart problems stricken me ? Over time, probably in late high school, I began to feel that enough was enough. I was done feeling inadequate or handicapped. I realized that while I had been saddled with unusual

and unfortunate circumstances, they didn’t have to define who I was or stop me from being the person I wanted to be. I recontextualized my situation — I would no longer be a disabled kid with a heart defect. I was someone who just wouldn’t quit. After all, I was literally fighting for my life. I became determined to forge my own path and never let my heart problem beat me down. There were many times in my life where it would have been easy to throw my hands up and say, “This

isn’t worth it anymore.” But the drive and positivity I’d been forced to learn at such a young age carried me through even the darkest times. When my second-oldest son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, it was hard to look on the bright side. He’d been given a life sentence of carefully checking what he ate and constantly pricking himself to see his insulin levels. At 12 years old, that’s a hard pill to swallow. But I sat him down and told him the same story I’m telling you about all the struggles I went through as a kid and how I had overcome them. While I’d give up my heart condition in a second if it was possible, I now understand that I’m a better person because of it. Within a year or two, my son began wearing his diabetes almost like a badge of honor. He can do most of what the other kids do, but he can do

it despite his health challenges. It’s inspiring to see his dauntless spirit. It’s a constant reminder that it’s okay to grieve and gripe and suffer when we receive some of the worst news of our

entire lives, but if we allow the sun to come up the next day, we might find a brighter morning than we ever could have imagined. -Kevin Jensen



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How to Find the Perfect Sitter for Your Family

Finding the perfect babysitter can be daunting. But as most parents know, sitters are a necessity. Here are some tips to help you find the best sitter for your family. Many people turn to family friends or neighbors to find a trusted sitter, but searching for a candidate online is also a great option. No matter where you look, you should start by creating a short list of potential caregivers and screening them for your family’s needs. Review their experience, education, certifications, and hourly rate. If you have online candidates, you can read parent reviews to get a better idea of a sitter’s performance and personality. Make sure to run a basic background check on each candidate. Next, check out your potential sitter’s references. Online profiles almost always require them, so don’t be afraid to reach out. Call their references and check your sitter’s other social media profiles to learn more about their personality and hobbies. Finally, run an enhanced background check through your local police department or through a private online service.

Once you have compiled a list of candidates, it’s time to

conduct interviews. When communicating with candidates you don’t know, remember not to give out too much personal information. Set up phone interviews for the first round, and if you like the candidate, set up an in-person interview in a public place. Your questions should be geared toward your lifestyle and the expectations you have for a sitter. Make sure you’re on the same page about job specifics, discipline, and responsibilities. If you’re still sold on the candidate after the in-person interview, consider introducing them to your kids to get their opinion on the sitter. Once you’ve decided on the perfect babysitter, make sure to monitor the relationship and ask your sitter and child open and upfront questions after every session. The most important thing to remember is that your sitter must be compatible with the needs of your family. Sometimes, you learn that a perfect candidate is not the right fit for your family. But that’s okay! Once you’ve gone through the process once, finding another sitter will be a breeze.


“I am so happy, appreciative, and grateful that I had my lawyer by my side in court. In a time of fear and distress, he was there, readily available, and comforting at the same time. He prepares for anything, so there are no surprises. Along with getting helpful advice, he was reassuring that things would be okay. He got me everything I needed from my case, and I couldn’t feel more accomplished. Thank you again, so much.” –Tim H. and frequent counsel were worth more than I could quantify. Your rates and billing were very reasonable, and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate you lending an ear during those times when things seemed to be hopeless or out of control. It would be my pleasure to provide you with a referral anytime.” –Richard M. 2 “Like most people, I found the property settlement and judgment portions of my divorce to be very challenging and stressful. Your patience, guidance,

What Say Does My Child Have in Their Custody Case?

I wish I had a dollar for every time I was asked, “At what age does my child get to decide which parent they want to live with?” I would probably be writing this from a beach somewhere in Hawaii. The truth is, unlike some other states, Arizona doesn’t have a specific age where a child simply gets to choose which guardian they want to live with. Arizona requires the family court judge to determine what is in the best interest of the child in these cases. In making the determination, the judge must consider several factors outlined in Arizona’s “best interest” statute — one of which is the wishes of the child based on their age and maturity. Ultimately, the court determines at what age each child can adequately express their wishes and whether that child is mature enough to understand the possible ramifications of such

a decision. So, where and how exactly does an Arizona child have an opportunity to express their wishes? Typically, a parent must ask for the child to be interviewed. Though the statute doesn’t specify a minimum age for this process, most judges won’t consider allowing a child to be interviewed before they’ve reached the age of 10. If the judge determines an interview is necessary, they will often appoint an interviewer, usually from Conciliation Services, to speak with the child in a fairly laid-back discussion. In particularly difficult cases, they may send a court-appointed advisor to ascertain their wishes.

determination, though certainly not their sole consideration. It’s important to realize, though, that such an interview can be very traumatic for a child, but it really can be a significant factor in figuring out their long-term parenting plan. Never coerce or coach a child prior to an interview — it’s not right to manipulate them, and if the court catches wind that a parent has been coaching their child for the interview, it will almost always work against that parent. Whether or not you ask to have your child interviewed is an important decision, and you should absolutely discuss it with your attorney. It’s certainly not to be taken lightly, but it can be an important and meaningful strategy in your custody case.

Regardless of how it’s done, the wishes of the child are an important factor in the judge’s



When you think of St. Patrick’s Day cuisine, corned beef and green beer are probably the first things that come to mind. This year, consider adding colcannon to your March 17 menu. It’s basically mashed potatoes on steroids, and it’s utterly delicious.


• 1 pound cooked bacon, chopped into small pieces • 4 scallions, finely chopped • Parsley, for garnish • Salt and pepper, to taste 4. Add cabbage, bacon, and scallions to mashed potatoes, gently stirring to combine. 5. Serve garnished with parsley and a pat of butter.

• 3 pounds potatoes • 2 sticks butter • 1 1/4 cups hot milk • 1 head cabbage, cored and shredded


1. Steam potatoes for 30 minutes. Peel skins and mash flesh thoroughly. 2. Chop 1 stick of butter into small cubes and add to warm potatoes. Once melted, slowly add milk, stirring constantly. 3. Boil cabbage in water. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to tenderize.

[Inspired by]




3740 E. Southern Ave #210 Mesa, AZ 85206

When You Get the Worst News of Your Life

Finding the Perfect Babysitter

Where Do My Child’s Wishes Fit Into Our Case?

The 3 Best Places to See Beautiful Flowers

Earth’s Most Beautiful Flower Displays

Washington, D.C. Besides the monuments and historic buildings, one of the biggest attractions in Washington, D.C. is the cherry tree blossoms. Travelers who visit the Tidal Basin during the spring can witness 3,000 trees, which were a gift from Tokyo in 1912, flaunt their beautiful pink blossoms. The best time to see the spectacle is from the end of March through the end of April. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Desert lavender, flowering cacti, pygmy poppies, and rock daisies are just a few of the many wildflowers decorating Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The various native species are often seen

4 park is 79 acres and boasts approximately 7 million flowers each year. This colorful garden is open annually from mid-March to mid-May, but mid-April is the ideal time to see the tulips. Spring is here, which means flora will soon be in full bloom. Flowers can be an easy pick-me-up or a great way to add color to your home, but some people take their flower obsession to the next level by planning botanical-themed vacations. Here are some of the most impressive gardens and flower displays in the world. Netherlands Holland, most famous for its tulips, always draws visitors at the first sign of spring. One of its most famous destinations, Keukenhof, located in Lisse, is among the world’s largest flower gardens. The

weaved together to form a colorful carpet over any barren patch in the park, which is located just two hours from San Diego. In

addition to flowers, visitors often spot bighorn sheep. Wildflower blossoms vary in intensity each year, but they typically begin to bloom in late February or early March. Next time you’re planning a spring trip, consider visiting one of the world’s most beautiful flower displays. No green thumb required.

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