What Are Some Things I Must Consider Before I File For Divorce in Arizona?
Divorce is a messy, emotional, and usually complicated process, especially to carry out legally and professionally. There are many questions to answer that may affect the rest of your life and your children.
Some of the questions you must consider and figure out beforehand are:
- Are you meeting Arizona’s residency and jurisdiction requirements? – For example, you or your spouse must have lived in Arizona for at least the previous 90 days. If you just moved to the state, you’ll have to wait to file for divorce until you meet the 90-day residency requirement. Also, if your divorce considers child custody issues, the state must have “jurisdiction,” meaning the legal authority to decide those issues.
- Is your divorce contested or uncontested? – This is a huge factor; if it’s a contested divorce, it can be a more lengthy, stressful matter. Questions such as how you’ll divide your property and debts, whether you get alimony and who pays it, and issues surrounding child custody and support can significantly complicate the entire process if you have a contested divorce.
The above are only a few of the issues you must resolve before you file with the Arizona courts; these are much more detailed in the Arizona Code on Termination of Marriage 14-2804. If your divorce is uncontested, the same issues may arise, but due to the “cooperating attitude” of you and your spouse, they may be much easier to resolve.
However, uncontested or not, obtaining the advice and guidance of a qualified, helpful, empathetic, and knowledgeable Scottsdale or Glendale family law divorce lawyer will benefit you and your future. Your lawyers are highly experienced in divorce issues and negotiation and will usually make you aware of questions and concerns you may never have even thought of. Remember, the decisions you make now could affect you and your children for years to come; obtaining the best legal guidance possible is always in your best interests.
Are There Requirements For Divorce in Arizona?
One thing that is usually in your favor is that Arizona is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that you and your spouse do not have to prove fault to get divorced.
Either you or your spouse must simply declare that your marriage is irretrievably harmed without any ability to be reconciled. You still must meet all the legal and regulatory requirements of the county you’re filing in, etc., but do not have to “point fingers” or blame each other in an already dire emotional time.
If you’ve had children, they must have resided in Arizona for at least six months before the Arizona court has the judicial authority to pass judgment in matters such as child custody and parenting time.
After you meet with your lawyer and come to decisions on the issues unique to your situation, your lawyer can then draft the necessary documents and forms and formally file your divorce.
However, from the date you file your divorce petition, there is a mandatory waiting period of a minimum of 60 days before the judge can approve your divorce. You can consider this a “cooling off” or “trial” period so that this life-changing path is never gone into with haste or in an irrational manner.
Each situation and divorce differs, and the empathetic, professional, and in-depth information and guidance provided by your Scottsdale divorce law team will always prove invaluable.
What Are Some Valid Reasons, or Grounds, for Divorcing?
As stated, Arizona’s “no-fault” grounds for divorce allow either party to simply state that their marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no prospect for reconciliation. You don’t have to give exact reasons to the court, which usually allows more cooperation between you and your spouse.
However, only three states allow a “covenant marriage,” and Arizona is one of them. If you have a covenant marriage, you must declare grounds for the dissolution of your marriage.
A “covenant marriage” is legally distinct and both you and your spouse. Must agree to obtain pre-marital counseling and accept only limited grounds for later wanting to divorce.
Some of the grounds used to justify your divorce in a covenant marriage are:
- Abandonment or adultery by either party.
- Physical or sexual abuse by either party.
- Alcohol or drug abuse.
- If you and your spouse have lived separately continuously for at least two years without reconciliation.
- Both spouses agree to the divorce and wish it to occur.
If your situation meets any (or more) of these specific requirements, your divorce may be halted if either spouse requests conciliation counseling. Also, this requested free counseling will usually be provided through the Arizona court.
Your competent, knowledgeable, and diligent divorce lawyer will guide you through this process and help ensure you meet all necessary requirements if a covenant marriage complicates your divorce.
What Do I Need to File for Divorce in Arizona?
Be aware that all divorces, even “uncontested” ones, can still be legally complex and involve myriad forms and filings to complete successfully. Negotiations are also inevitable and an area that your skilled divorce law team is highly successful at.
However, many forms must be filled out correctly and diligently as they usually affect many years of your and your children’s lives.
Just some of them are:
- A summons – this is required to inform the respondent that a divorce has been filed, and they must act within a particular period.
- The Preliminary Injunction – This may halt both spouses from doing specific actions pertaining to property, money, insurance, and their children until the court resolves specific issues or there is a written agreement resolving them.
- Right to Convert Health Insurance – Both you and your spouse have the right to convert health insurance or share the expense.
- Notice to Creditors – This dictates your and your spouse’s rights regarding the debts acquired by you during the marriage.
- Family Court/ Domestic Relations Cover Sheet – This provides the court with vital information regarding your spouse and you.
There are many more depending on the specifics of your divorce, and your experienced Arizona divorce law team will do them with the detail and thoroughness needed.
I Am Considering Filing for Divorce in Arizona; What Should I Do?
First, there’s much to consider, even in a relatively “simple” divorce. The documents signed and decisions made will have a positive (or negative) impact on you, your lifestyle, and your responsibilities for years to come, so professional, compassionate, detailed, and thorough legal guidance is vital to your and your children’s best interests.
The Maricopa County family lawyers at The Sampair Group have successfully and caringly given positive and excellent legal guidance to Arizona families in myriad divorce proceedings for over six decades.
Call them today at (480) 613-4853 and get the premier legal help you need to navigate this process successfully. Don’t hesitate and get a free case evaluation as soon as possible; the risks are too significant to wait.