FAQ Page for Family Law Matters
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) FOR ARIZONA FAMILY LAW
QUESTION: What is a divorce in Arizona?
FAQ ANSWER: In the state of Arizona, divorce is a legal process to end a marriage. Also called dissolution of marriage, this proceeding addresses division of assets and spousal maintenance, or alimony. When minor children are involved, other issues that are addressed include parenting time, child support, and child custody.
QUESTION: How long does it take to get a divorce in Arizona?
FAQ ANSWER: When the divorce is uncontested, it can typically be completed in 80-90 days. Of course, each divorce has its own unique circumstances, so it may depend on the legal issues that need to be addressed in the divorce case.
QUESTION: What is parenting time?
FAQ ANSWER: Parenting time is child visitation. It is the time the children spend with each parent. Physical custody of the children also define parenting time. A parenting plan outlines the time spent with each parent, and this document also defines vacation and holiday time. In all custody cases, a parenting plan is prepared, usually with provisions that dictate unpaid medical expenses and the payment of activities. Each parent must follow the plan. The court approves the initial parenting plan, but this may be modified if the need arises.
QUESTION: How does child support get calculated in Arizona?
FAQ ANSWER: A formula adopted by the Arizona Supreme Court determines child support. The amount is figured by adding the monthly gross income for each spouse. Next, an amount for basic support is determined from guidelines. Medical insurance, educational costs, child care, support of other children, and the age/s of the child/children affects the basic support amount. Typically, child support is paid by wage assignment. The Court sends the wage assignment to the employer of the parent paying child support. Under federal and state law, the employer is required to withhold the support. The parent paying child support is still responsible for the payment amount ordered, even if the employer does not withhold the support. Child support payments need to be made and remain current.
QUESTION: Am I eligible for spousal support?
FAQ ANSWER: Spousal support is also known as alimony. The Arizona court takes different factors into consideration when determining spousal support including the length of the marriage, the age of each spouse, the earning capacity of each party, the age of the children, and contributions made by each spouse during the marriage, or if there is an existing prenuptial agreement. When determining the amount if alimony is proper, and the amount that will be awarded, the courts consider many economic circumstances. Alimony payments may be made monthly, weekly, or in one lump sum. Alimony is income that is taxable, and must be reported on a tax return (as well as it is a deductible amount by the spouse paying it).
QUESTION: What kinds of assets are divided in a divorce in Arizona?
FAQ ANSWER: An Arizona divorce includes the division of all community or marital property owned by the couple. Usually, this property includes most of the property that was acquired during the marriage, including the home/s, home furnishings and appliances, vehicles, financial assets, art, investments, a privately owned business, and retirement accounts.
In some cases, intangible property need be divided. Intangible property that is divisible includes the value of a spouse’s name or celebrity status, the value on an invention patent, or the value of a professional degree held by a spouse. When both parties make a significant contribution to this value, may these intangible assets be divided.
Through discovery, an attorney can help a spouse to identify all the assets that are available for division and valuation. Documents that show disclosure of income, assets, and liabilities are discovered, and usually each spouse is deposed by an attorney. This ensures that, under oath, each spouse will respond to questions in order to gather all information regarding assets and income.