One of the largest parts of family law revolves around divorce proceedings. Spousal issues and childcare obligations can make divorce very hard to navigate. Starting the divorce process means finding an Arizona family law attorney that can handle any divorce case. For the communities of Glendale, the family law attorney services at Lazenby Law Firm can help spouses seeking divorce get the legal services they need.
Divorce is the legal separation of a married couple, with reasons ranging from provable problems with the marriage to falling out of love. In Arizona, the type of marriage a couple has will ultimately affect their ability to get divorced, as well as the process for getting divorced. Once starting the divorce process, the petitioner, or the one requesting the divorce, must submit a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the Glendale City Court. The respondent, or person getting served divorce papers, must receive copies of each form and respond within 20 days if they are in-state residents or 30 days if out-of-state.
Arizona is a community property state, meaning that during the divorce process, the court will divide all assets that were accumulated throughout the marriage between both spouses. In some cases, the court will identify certain pieces of property or gifts given to either spouse as separate property, which will be awarded to that spouse during the divorce process. For some couples, the creation of a prenuptial agreement, or “prenup,” will ensure that certain assets are awarded to either spouse during their separation, which can help the court during the process of dividing assets.
During the divorce process, two main kinds of proceedings can happen. An uncontested divorce, which is the more favorable of the two, is when both parties can mutually agree to the terms of their divorce, usually resolved through simple mediation. During mediation, if there is any objection from either party about the terms outlined in the divorce petition, the divorce is considered a contested divorce, which will continue to be debated until a resolution is made. Sometimes, a contested divorce can be solved in mediation, but when the issues between both spouses cannot be resolved, the case can be moved to a court hearing.
If the respondent does not send back an acknowledgment of the divorce after being served, the petitioner can file an Application and Affidavit of Default to have the divorce finalized without the respondent’s input. This is then sent to the respondent, who has an additional ten days to write back acknowledging the initial divorce petition before the petitioner can move forward with a default divorce. From there, the petitioner can request a hearing to earn a Default Divorce Decree ending their marriage without the petitioner’s input.
Every divorce is different, and the factors that go into each hearing can vary on a case-by-case basis. For couples without children, the process of dividing property takes the forefront of these negotiations, but for those with children, establishing custody and child support is a large part of mediation. Some of the most common factors included in divorce negotiation include:
All aspects of the divorce process are typically contingent on each spouse’s income and earning capacity. For example, higher-earning spouses are usually the ones made to pay spousal or child support to their ex-spouses, especially if the lower-earning spouse is named the custodial parent of any shared children. Similarly, if the lower-earning spouse cannot afford their court fees, part of the settlement could include instructing the higher-earning spouse to pay their ex’s legal fees as part of a spousal support plan.
Arizona recognizes two different kinds of marriages when giving couples their marriage certificates. Non-covenant marriages, which are comparable to traditional marriages, can be entered into at any time without any specific requirements. Covenant marriages, on the other hand, require extensive counseling with either a priest or marriage counselor before getting married and before filing for divorce. Despite being a no-fault divorce state, covenant marriages in Arizona can only be dissolved if the following can be proven:
Even if one or more of these factors is proven by the person filing for divorce, couples in covenant marriages still need to attend marriage counseling before a divorce can be granted. In situations where one spouse deserts the other, with no sign or indication as to when they plan on returning, a judge might grant a divorce; however, the divorce will not be completely settled until two years after the request is made, just in case the deserting spouse returns. Similarly, in cases of domestic abuse or substance use, the spouse accused of these actions can either agree to the allegations, which can lead to a divorce, or refute the allegations, meaning that further evidence must be provided to grant the divorce.
Depending on the length of the mediation process, as well as whether or not the case goes to a hearing, the cost of a divorce varies on a case-by-case basis. For uncontested divorces or even default divorces, the legal fees will be considerably low because there is no need for intense discussion. On the other hand, contested divorces, or those in a covenant marriage, may incur larger legal fees due to the necessary steps needed to reach a settlement or the inability to agree on different terms of a divorce. Price aside, the best asset in a divorce case is a strong legal team able to efficiently negotiate the terms of a divorce, helping both parties reach an agreeable settlement.
Divorce can be exceedingly stressful, both in part to the subjects of the proceedings and the financial aspects that affect each case. Finding a supportive legal team is critical for getting both the legal and emotional support needed to get through the divorce process, and at Lazenby Law Firm, our team is here to help start the filing process. If you are thinking about starting the divorce process, visit our website and contact us to find out more about our services.
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