Nobody who gets married wants to go through a divorce. And when there are problems, people will usually make a sincere effort to save the marriage. But there comes a point in time when you realize that ending a marriage is the best option.
Divorce is painful. And it forces you to make a lot of difficult decisions about your future, your finances, and what’s best for your family. These decisions become even more important when children are involved.
If you are facing a divorce, we hope you and your spouse can come to terms in the most cordial possible manner. But that isn’t always the way it works out. Whether you are divorcing on friendly terms or if turns out to be a contested divorce, you will want to speak about your options with an experienced divorce attorney. To learn more, call Your Arizona Family Lawyer at (520) 900-6050.
What Is an Uncontested Divorce?
If the two spouses can come to an agreement on their own, it will be an uncontested divorce. This is the ideal way to resolve a marriage, especially if children are involved.
Even if you are parting on neutral or friendly terms, there are still a number of important issues to consider that will affect you and your family for the rest of your lives. The right attorney will make sure everything is ironed out and all the right steps are taken to protect you and your future.
To successfully bring about an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse must come to agreement on the following issues and record your decision in writing:
- Division of property. Arizona is a Community Property state. That means all property acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage must be equally divided. This requires an honest accounting by both spouses where no assets are being hidden. It also requires cooperative give-and-take that may include the selling or trading of assets to come to an equitable arrangement.
- Spousal maintenance. Commonly referred to as alimony, spousal maintenance is designed to assist a spouse in maintaining the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. Several factors are considered in Arizona when determining the appropriate level of support, including the length of the marriage, the ability of the spouse to independently meet their needs, and the child-raising responsibilities that will be taken on by the spouse.
- Parenting plans. These arrangements may include joint, permanent, or sole custody by one or both parents. Several factors must be considered to decide what is in the best interests of the children, such as child preference, the wishes of the parents, and the ideal way to provide a loving and nurturing relationship between children and parents.
- Child support. Under Arizona law, each parent is required to contribute a proportionate share of their income to approximate what the parents would spend on the child if they were living together.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement on their own, it will be a contested divorce. In a contested divorce, one of the spouses will file a Petition for Dissolution, and these papers will be delivered, or served, to the other spouse. All maters raised in the petition must be resolved before the divorce is finalized.
The two spouses and their lawyers will attempt to negotiate a fair and equitable arrangement regarding division of property, spousal maintenance, child custody, and child support. In Arizona, any unresolved issues will ultimately be determined by a judge.
If there are no children involved, the spouses may voluntarily agree to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as mediation, but in Arizona spouses with children are legally required to participate in ADR.
In a contested divorce, a discovery process is used to determine community property, which will be divided equally. Separate property that was attained by either spouse prior to the marriage is not subject to division.
All community property will be evenly divided between the spouses, including all property and debt acquired during the marriage, stocks, IRAs, pensions, benefits, accrued vacation, deferred compensation, frequent flier miles, copyrights, gifts, artwork, NFTs, publishing rights, patents, or anything else of value.
Putting Your Life Back Together
Even under the best circumstances, divorce is an emotional event that is bound to cause turmoil. It’s nice to have someone on your side who will take care of all the legal aspects of the divorce, so you can focus on healing and caring for your loved ones.
With over 50 years of combined experience in family law and thousands of cases handled, Your Arizona Family Lawyer is Arizona’s premier law firm. We have handled family law cases in nearly every practice area in family law, from divorce to division of assets and child custody. We have also practiced in almost every county in Arizona.
If you are thinking about divorce, call (520) 900-6050 for a FREE consultation today. Nobody should have to go through a divorce without an experienced ally on their side.