If you are planning to file for a divorce from your partner, it is extremely important that you understand the available options, that you know your rights, and receive advice on the best steps to take before you begin any of the legal proceedings. Contacting attorneys from a family law firm can navigate you through the divorce proceedings and help you divide the assets you and your spouse have accumulated together.
When you are working with the attorneys at the Law Office of Laura Gillis, you can be confident you are in good hands. Whether you are going through an amicable divorce or you believe that the process is going to be long and contentious, our years of legal experience will be an enormous asset to you as you move forward through this complicated and often stressful process.
There are many aspects of a divorce that need to be discussed with your partner, such as finances, child custody, property, etc. If the divorce is amicable, then it should be a simple process of distributing property and finances and setting up child custody and visitation, if applicable.
Our law office's first priority is to help you with all aspects of your divorce and make sure it proceeds as smoothly as possible. Take a look below at the areas we can help you with during this challenging time in your life. Contact us for an initial free consultation, where we discuss our practice and approach to divorce cases
Arizona Divorce Law
Divorce in the state of Arizona is covered under Chapter 2 of Title 25 of Arizona State Law. This is also where you will find the laws governing child support, spousal maintenance (alimony), separation agreements, et cetera. In many cases, one of the spouses can just claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken to begin divorce proceedings. That is the legal right of all partners who are in non-covenant marriages in Arizona. When there are complicating factors, such as significant assets, large income disparity, and children in common, to name a few, it’s often in the best interests of both parties to seek the advice of a family law attorney who handles complicated divorce cases. Give the Law offices of Laura Gillis a call at (602) 277-4736 for a free consultation.
Terms of a Divorce
Before discussing the options available for a divorce in Phoenix, it is important to understand the different topics that will need to be agreed upon in order to have the divorce finalized. Not all of these terms are relevant for every divorce, but they are the most important and common. Note that if your marriage either does not require all of the following or if there are unique issues to your marriage that will require additional work, our team is ready and willing to help you as soon as possible.
If there are children involved in the marriage, then the most important thing to consider is their welfare throughout the process and that their best interests are being met. Custody is often referred to as parenting time in the state of Arizona. Full custody is only granted to a parent under the most extreme circumstances. With this type of joint custody arrangement, the parents divide parenting in a manner that works well with their schedules and doesn’t cause undo stress for the child. That may mean an even split in time, or it may require one of the parents to keep the child for a disproportionate share of the week or month. Parenting schedules are reviewed by the courts prior to approval.
Child support covers the issues of finances as opposed to the issues of who has control or say over the child’s healthcare, education, physical location, and more. In most cases, one parent in a marriage is a financial dependent. In this case, the more financially independent parent (or the parent with less custody) will issue monthly payments in order to maintain the standard of living for the children.
Alimony of Spousal Maintenance
Alimony or spousal maintenance is covered under Arizona Statute 25-511.01, which outlines a different type of financial arrangement after a marriage. Whether or not there are children involved. If there is one partner who is financially dependent on the other, the courts will likely mandate that the spouse receives alimony payments for a set period of time and a set amount. These types of payments are intended to ensure that the financially dependent partner is able to make a transition to their new life without being overburdened with a major financial change in their life all at once. Alimony payments are not punishments, and the cause of the divorce, or “fault,” will play no role whatsoever in determining this amount.
Separation of Assets and Debts
In addition to the rest of these details, a major point of negotiation will be the assets and debts that the spouses share. The assets and debts in a relationship are divided into separate and community property, which is determined by understanding whether or not one spouse had the property before the marriage and kept it entirely separate or if they were acquired during the marriage with joint funds.
The couple will need to decide how the community property and debts are divided fairly, which may involve one partner buying the other fully buying shared property, dividing debts so they are equitably distributed, selling shared assets, and taking other steps to ensure that the entire process is done fairly. The first step is to determine which debts and assets must be divided at all, meaning that separate property is not included or considered when determining what “fair and equitable” actually means during this step.
Prenuptial agreements are very common in marriages, and they often cover some of the aforementioned points. However, a prenuptial agreement does not guarantee that each bullet point of the document will be agreed upon without question or hesitation. The document must be reviewed and applied to the current situation at hand. In other words, a prenuptial agreement may be contested in a divorce decree if terms aren’t clear or if the agreements aren’t compliant with state law.
Types of Divorces in Arizona
Although a divorce always ends with the same outcome, there are many different ways to get to that final step. Generally, it depends on whether or not you and your significant other are able to reach an agreement on each detail that needs to be worked out before a divorce will be finalized by the Maricopa County Family Court. In some cases, both spouses may agree to the terms of a divorce, but a judge will find them to be unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons, such as child welfare, and deny the divorce petition until the terms are updated. Listed are the types of divorce cases we can help you with:
A contested divorce happens when you and your partner are unable to agree on some or all of the terms required for resolution before the divorce is approved. When this happens, the couple will pursue a contested divorce, meaning that they will each hire a divorce attorney and litigate the divorce in front of a judge in family court. This is generally the last option that we will choose because it takes responsibility for your property, assets, and children out of your hands and into the hands of the courts. In many cases, couples will work aggressively to avoid a contested divorce so that they are able to retain power over their own lives. If you need a lawyer but finances are an issue, our law firm offers a free consultation.
A joint petition is the most simple option of all Arizona divorces because it does not require a court appearance. It simply means that the couple submits the petition, states that they have reached a complete agreement over the terms of the divorce, and the state will approve it. Although this outcome may sound simple, the steps that the couple will likely need to go through to get to this point are not always so cut and dry. We will discuss the available options in the following section.
If you and your spouse are able to agree to the terms of the divorce without needing a judge to make the final decision, then you will be able to go through an uncontested divorce. This is not to say that you will both be able to reach an agreement without negotiation or discomfort, but there are a variety of options to help a separated couple work through these tricky details as productively as possible.
Covenant Marriage Divorce
Arizona is one of only three states that have covenant marriages. Parties voluntarily enter into a covenant marriage after obtaining notarized certification of counseling. In order to obtain a divorce, one of the spouses must establish grounds, or both parties must agree to the divorce. Grounds for a one-sided covenant marriage divorce include:
Drug or alcohol abuse
Abandonment for a period of one year or greater
A death sentence or imprisonment for a felony
Legal separation for more than one year
These types of divorce cases are our specialty and how we help our local community. Arizona divorce cases are governed by the state's laws and regulations. Our distinct practice of law and years of legal experience can benefit you during your divorce. Contact us today to get started.
Methods of Reaching Agreements in an Uncontested Divorce
A collaborative divorce is when both spouses agree to meet with each other and their lawyers in order to work through the details of the dissolution of the marriage.
A mediated divorce is an option for an uncontested divorce where the spouses meet to work through the terms of the divorce with a mediator, an impartial third party who helps both people find common ground for each required agreement before the divorce can be approved by the state. Generally, mediation requires that each spouse is willing to work together and understands that they will need to compromise in order to reach a final result.
DIY (Do It Yourself) Divorce
If the terms of the marriage, and therefore the details of the divorce, are relatively uncomplicated, or if the couple has a very clear understanding of how they should work through each step, then they may be able to work together without the assistance of family law attorneys. In this case, they will need to go through each relevant requirement to finalize the divorce, reach a written agreement for each, and submit their joint petition to the Arizona courts after they have reached these agreements.
Even if you have reached a full agreement through a DIY divorce with your partner, you may want to have attorneys at the Law Offices of Laura Gillis review the terms to ensure that you will not hit any snags when your petition is submitted to the courts. The more confident you are with your submission, the fewer chances you will have of your petition being either denied or pushed back due to procedural errors or minor issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Our attorneys are often asked questions about what the area of family law practice is and how it can help them. Here are a few of the most common questions asked:
What is a family law firm?
Family law covers a wide range of legal issues, including:
- Child Support
- Child Custody
- Visitation Rights
- Spousal Support
- Property division
- Prenuptial Agreements
- And More!
An experienced Arizona divorce attorney is knowledgeable about all of these legal matters and can provide guidance to help individuals navigate the complexities of family law. They can also assist with negotiations related to the diving of your assets or debts between spouses during a divorce. With the help of an experienced legal professional, clients can protect their rights and interests throughout this difficult time.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Phoenix?
The length of time it takes to get a divorce depends on several factors; complex divorce cases, the willingness of both parties to cooperate with the process, and any special circumstances involved can all affect how long it takes to complete a divorce. Generally speaking, a typical uncontested divorce can take anywhere from 4-6 months to complete. If there are contested issues or other complications, it may take longer than that. Working with an experienced and compassionate Phoenix divorce lawyer can help ensure that your case is handled efficiently and effectively.
How long does a contested divorce take in Phoenix?
The length of time a contested divorce takes in Phoenix depends on a variety of factors. If one spouse starts a divorce and the other doesn't want a divorce, that will make the process take longer. If there are children, then child custody must be taken into account. A divorce can also take longer if either partner can't agree on custody and a child custody battle erupts.
Laura Gillis is an experienced Phoenix divorce lawyer that will help you navigate the legal system and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the divorce process. Contact our legal practice at (602) 277-4736 for a free consultation.
The court must decide on issues such as spousal support and property division, which can be a complicated process. It is important to work with an experienced divorce lawyer in Phoenix who can help you navigate the legal system and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process.
What can I do to prepare for my initial meeting with a Phoenix divorce lawyer?
Before meeting with a family law specialist for a divorce, it is important to have all the necessary documents and information at hand. This should include any financial documents, such as bank statements and tax returns, as well as evidence of any property or assets that you own. It can also be helpful to come prepared with a list of questions or topics that you would like to discuss with the lawyer, such as questions about alimony, spousal support, and what to do in cases of domestic abuse. By doing this, you can make the most out of your initial consultation and ensure that all the needs of your family law dispute are addressed.
What are the advantages of working with a divorce lawyer?
Working with an Arizona divorce lawyer can be an invaluable asset during the divorce process. A qualified lawyer can provide legal assistance, advice, and counsel on matters such as the dividing of assets, alimony, and other financial matters. They can also act as a mediator between you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to help ensure that both parties come to an agreement that is fair and equitable. Additionally, a divorce lawyer can help protect your rights and ensure that any agreements reached are legally enforceable.
What is the difference between family law attorneys and divorce lawyers?
A divorce lawyer handles only divorce cases, while a family law attorney is a family law specialist who deals with all aspects of family law, including divorce.
How can I be sure that the law firm I choose is right for me?
Choosing the right divorce lawyer is a critical decision that can have long-lasting implications. It’s important to do your research before selecting a lawyer. Make sure they are experienced in the area of family law and have a track record of success with similar cases. You should also consider their availability, fees, and communication style to determine if they are the right fit for you. Make sure to ask for references or read reviews from past clients to get an idea of their services and how they handle cases. With a little bit of research, you can be sure that the divorce lawyer you choose is the right one for you.
What are some common issues that clients face?
Divorce lawyers in Phoenix are often called upon to address a variety of issues, both legal and emotional. Common issues that clients face include spousal and child support, division of assets and debts, modifications to prior agreements, and more. Some people may need help navigating the legal process of filing for divorce or seeking a settlement out of court. Experienced divorce lawyers are vital and have the dedication to help their clients navigate the court system.
What should a client expect in terms of communication?
When hiring a divorce lawyer, you should expect open and honest communication throughout the entire process. Your lawyer should provide timely updates on any progress being made, as well as any changes in the law that could affect your case. Your lawyer should be available to answer any questions you may have and address any concerns you may have about the process. A good divorce lawyer should make it easy for clients to get in touch with them and provide clear and concise information about the legal process.
How can a divorce lawyer help me?
A divorce lawyer can help you understand the legal services involved in filing for a divorce, as well as any potential obstacles that may arise. They can also provide draft settlement agreements and help you understand your rights and obligations under the law. By enlisting the services of a qualified divorce lawyer, you can have peace of mind knowing that your best interests will be taken into account throughout the proceedings.
What is the difference between legal separation and divorce?
Deciding whether to seek a divorce or pursue legally separating can be difficult. Although both processes involve the dissolution of marriage, there are distinct differences between them. In a divorce, the marriage is officially terminated, and the parties are legally free to marry again; in contrast, separation does not dissolve the marriage but allows the two parties to live separately with certain rights and obligations still intact. Furthermore, in Arizona, divorces require a full 6-month waiting period before they can be finalized, whereas separations can often be concluded more quickly. Ultimately, it is important to speak with a family law firm to understand your options and determine which best suits your situation.
What does alternative dispute resolution mean?
Alternate dispute resolution is one of the methods of settling divorce conflicts without going to court. In Phoenix, divorce lawyers often suggest using this method in order to save time and money. The processes of mediation or collaborative law can help couples resolve their disputes without the need for litigation, allowing them to reach an agreement without confrontation. This can be a better option for couples who are not comfortable with litigation or the court system, as it allows them to come to an agreement in a more private setting. In other words, alternative dispute resolution is considered a collaborative divorce.
What should I do in case of domestic violence?
The first thing you should do if you're situation of domestic violence is to attempt to get out and contact legal services. We can help you with your divorce, citing to the judge there was domestic violence in the home.
Contact Us Today
The sooner you contact the legal team at The Law Offices of Laura Gillis, PLLC, the sooner we will be able to talk through the details of your marriage and, therefore, what to expect during your divorce with a legal professional with years of legal experience. Our initial consultation is a great opportunity to learn how we have helped others in similar situations and how we can help you move forward. Peace of mind with your attorney selection is an important first step toward the outcome you deserve for your divorce.
Contact The Law Offices Of Laura Gillis
Laura Gillis is an active member of the State Bar of Arizona with years of legal experience in a specialized practice of law. Call the family law attorneys that serve Arizona families in the Maricopa County Area at (602) 277-4736 for a free consultation.