Arnold Schwarzenegger & Maria Shriver’s Divorce Finalized After Years Of Proceedings


What Causes Divorce Proceedings To Continue For Over a Decade?

If you’re a fan of The Terminator or Jingle All the Way, you probably remember when news broke of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s affair and child with the family housekeeper. This scandal, which aired about 14 years ago, ended Schwarzenegger’s marriage with Maria Shriver. The couple married in 1986, and Shriver filed for divorce in 2011. However, their divorce wasn’t finalized until 2021. What could cause divorce proceedings to continue for over a decade? Could it happen to you? Read on to learn more, or call 480-833-8000 for your free divorce consultation.

What Causes Divorce Proceedings To Last For Over a Decade?

What Held Up The Schwarzenegger Shriver Divorce Proceedings?

As the Governor of California (Schwarzenegger) and the niece of former President John F. Kennedy, (Shriver) most people’s divorces won’t be nearly as high profile or complex. Even so, it’s almost unheard of for a divorce to take more than ten years to complete. And while their divorce may be much more public than most, publicly available information doesn’t give us much insight into why the proceedings lasted so many years. After the initial filing in 2011, there wasn’t much progress on the case until June 2021. So perhaps the couple attempted a reconciliation, or needed extra time to get their affairs in order- but this is all just speculation. It is worth noting that all of their children have now reached adulthood, eliminating the need to determine child support and child custody in their divorce. They also have agreed to forego spousal support (Alimony). Keep in mind, many of the relevant issues in their divorce may have been predetermined by prenuptial agreements.

How Long Will My Arizona Divorce Take?

If you’re considering filing for divorce in Arizona, the thought of a decade-long battle may dissuade you from initiating the process in the first place. However, it’s probably safe to assume that your divorce won’t take that long.

A basic consideration that is often overlooked in the divorce process is meeting the residency requirement for the state in which you wish to file. In Arizona, one or both spouses must have resided in the state for at least 90 days before either spouse can file a divorce petition in Arizona. So if you’ve just moved to Arizona, you may need to wait a few weeks or months before you can even file your divorce petition.

Once you’ve met Arizona’s residency requirement, you are eligible to file divorce in the state of Arizona. After filing your petition with the court, you will need to have it served on your spouse. From the divorce petition’s date of service, there will be a 60-day mandatory waiting period before your divorce can be finalized. But if you and your spouse haven’t resolved all the relevant issues in your: divorce, property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody, then it will take longer than the minimum 60 days.  We suggest hiring the services of an experienced Tempe Divorce Attorney to assure that your divorce is done without errors.

Factors That Can Delay Your Divorce In Arizona

Every divorce case is unique, and any combination of issues could present themselves and delay your divorce’s finalization date. If any of the following apply to you, you should probably consider hiring a divorce lawyer to help reduce any potential delays:

  • Your spouse is impossible to locate for service of process. You will need to ask the judge for permission to use alternative service, and may even have to serve your spouse through publication in your local newspaper.

  • You share one or more children under the age of 18. Divorce automatically becomes more complicated when minor children are involved. You will need to work out a parenting plan with your ex, and probably a child support arrangement. Child custody and child support modifications are difficult to obtain, so you’ll want to do everything within your power to come to arrangements that work for you.

  • You have been married for a long time. When your marriage is of long duration, the court is more likely to order spousal support. There is more possibility of asset commingling and accumulation of community assets and debts.

  • You have a vast and complex estate. When they say, “more money, more problems,” it couldn’t be more true when it comes to divorce. Property division can be one of the biggest delays in a divorce, which increases the more assets a couple shares. Your separate property may have also become commingled with community property during your marriage.

  • You run a business with your spouse. You will need to work out some type of business plan if you share the business with your spouse. Your spouse may also have a community property stake in a business that you run alone.

  • You or your spouse is seeking considerable spousal support. You probably don’t want to get stuck giving a good portion of your paycheck to your ex for the rest of your life, or you may want to get remarried after your divorce, which would stop your spousal support payments. Sometimes being more flexible with property division or working out a trust can fulfill everyone’s needs better than going straight for spousal support.

  • You & your spouse have significant debt. Just like assets, debts must be split between spouses during a divorce. Sometimes, a spouse may agree to take a larger share of community debt in exchange for their spouse surrendering their share of a community asset. Work with your attorney to figure out a fair and equitable split of both your assets and debts during property division.

  • You represent yourself in an Arizona Divorce. Self representation can save you quite a bit in attorney’s fees, but could actually be far more costly if you end up with a terrible deal in property division or spousal support. You could also lose out on time and parental decision-making authority of your child. Representing yourself could mean opening yourself up to getting steamrolled if your ex hires a proficient attorney. Additionally, you could even be ordered to pay for your ex’s attorney’s fees. Protect yourself, and create a communications barrier between you and your ex by retaining a divorce attorney.

Contested Divorces vs. Uncontested Divorces In Arizona

Not every divorce is a contentious battle between bitter exes. Sometimes, spouses agree on how everything should be split up and how much support should be paid, if any. If the spouses agree on how to resolve property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody, their divorce will be uncontested. When one spouse disagrees with portions of the divorce petition, it is a contested divorce.

It may surprise you to learn that 90% of divorces in Arizona are uncontested divorces. Many of these are completed using the default process. Here, one spouse serves the other with the divorce petition. The spouse will have 20-30 days to respond, depending on whether they are located in Arizona. If the spouse agrees with the petition’s terms, they can simply not respond within the time frame. The petitioner spouse can then request a default from the court. If a divorce is contested, the spouses will likely need at least a few more months to resolve negotiations and try to reach an agreement without going to trial.

Protect Your Interests With Our Arizona Divorce Team

When you file for divorce in Arizona, you want it done quickly. But you also want a divorce agreement that is strategic and fair. Our Phoenix divorce lawyers have years of experience helping our clients avoid drama and achieve positive outcomes when splitting from their spouses. Our dedicated team will guide you through each step of the process, starting with your free initial consultation. If you’d like to retain, we offer low prices and payment plans. Call 480-833-8000 to schedule your free consultation today.


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