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THE LEADING PEORIA DIVORCE LAWYERS
Peoria, Arizona Divorce Process
An important thing to keep in mind while getting divorced is that the laws surrounding divorce differ from state to state. So advice from out-of-state friends, or even your own experiences in a divorce in another state, might not apply in Arizona. For example, Arizona is a community property state while many other states use equitable division of property instead. The steps you need to take to finalize a divorce may differ as well. Contact our firm at 623-640-4945 for additional information about the divorce process in Arizona.
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Steps to Divorce in Peoria, Arizona
Meet with a lawyer to plan out your divorce. All too often, we see spouses who file their divorce petitions before their affairs are in order. They may be in the middle of refinancing their home or filing bankruptcy. Or they might create a divorce petition without fully understanding its terms, assuming it will be easy to modify in the future. So whenever possible, you should at least consult with divorce attorneys in your area before pulling the trigger and filing your petition. An attorney will be able to identify potential issues in your case and give you realistic expectations about your case’s outcome. And if you hire a divorce lawyer, they will take on several of the responsibilities that come with a divorce on your behalf.
File your divorce petition. Also known as your petition for dissolution of marriage, this document will be extremely important throughout the entire divorce process. You will need to list information about you and your spouse for the court’s knowledge, and also list a reason for the divorce- usually irreconcilable differences. You will also need to list how you would like your property to be divided, and whether or not you are requesting spousal support, otherwise known as spousal maintenance or alimony. If you share minor children with your spouse, you will also need to list your preferences for child support and custody.
Serve your spouse with the divorce petition. An important part of the divorce process is making sure that your spouse is properly notified of all impending proceedings. This usually means hiring a process server to provide your spouse with copies of the divorce petition and other divorce-related documents, but it can be trickier in some situations. If your spouse is difficult to locate for service of process, the judge may approve you for some form of alternative service. You may even need to serve your spouse with the divorce petition through service by publication, or printing notice in a local newspaper for a certain amount of time. Meeting these requirements can be more difficult than standard service, and mistakes could delay your divorce even longer.
Even if you filed your divorce self-represented, it may not be too late for you to hire an attorney. If you’re experiencing issues serving your spouse with your divorce petition or any other document, call 623-640-4945 for your free consultation.
4. Deal with your spouse’s response. Your spouse will have 20-30 days to respond to the divorce petition. If your spouse responds with requests far different from yours, you will need to negotiate until you come to an agreement, or proceed to trial. The court may require the spouses to attend mediation before allowing a case to proceed to trial. If your spouse fails to respond within the applicable time limit, you will file a motion for default.
5. Finalize the divorce orders. If you and your spouse come to an agreement on all of the relevant issues in your divorce, you can use a consent decree to finish the process. Otherwise, undecided issues will be taken to trial. The spouses can agree on one issue, such as child custody, while disagreeing on another, such as property division. Regardless of whether the spouses agree, go to trial, or one spouse defaults, there is a mandatory 60 day waiting period in Arizona before a divorce can be finalized.
Potential Issues to Look Out For in a Peoria Divorce
There are 2-4 main issues that most Arizona divorces will have in common. The first two are property division and spousal maintenance. The second two, which are only relevant if the couple shares minor children, are child custody and child support.
Each of these steps are easier said than done. And depending on your situation, and your spouse’s conduct, there could be additional steps and documents that will need to be completed in your divorce. For guidance and representation each step of the way, call 623-640-4945 for your free consultation with one of our experienced Peoria divorce lawyers.
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Property Division. As previously mentioned, Arizona is one of the states that uses community property when dividing up property in a divorce. In community property states, everything acquired during the marriage is part of the community property estate. Anything owned before the marriage, or acquired during the marriage through gift or inheritance, is that spouse’s separate property. Separate property belongs to that spouse alone, and won’t be split up during property division. The same applies to debts acquired before and during the marriage. But every community property asset must be apportioned to complete the divorce during property division.
Just because an asset is community property doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be split between the spouses 50/50. The spouses can agree to any division that they like in a consent decree. And sometimes, it is more feasible to divide assets in some other way than straight down the middle. For example, it may be easier for one spouse to surrender their share to the marital home in order to keep shared vehicles or a vacation home. Or, an asset can be part community property, part separate property. For help sorting through all of your property division issues, call our Peoria divorce lawyers at 623-640-4945.
Spousal Maintenance – Alimony
Spousal Maintenance/ Alimony in Peoria, AZ. Spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony, is financial support meant to assist a spouse during and/or after a divorce. While historically meant to support wives after a divorce, either spouse can be awarded spousal maintenance in a divorce. It can be awarded in a lump sum payment, but is often paid in monthly installments for a certain period of time after the divorce. It may be a set number of months, or can last until one of the parties passes away. It will also terminate if the recipient spouse remarries.
There are several factors that will affect whether or not spousal maintenance should be awarded, how long it should last, and how much it should be. The duration of the marriage, as well as the standard of living during the marriage, are some of the factors considered in Arizona. The spouses’ ages, ability to provide for themselves after the divorce, and how long it will take the recipient spouse to receive the training or education necessary to support themselves are also taken into account. If one spouse put their career by the wayside to support their spouse’s education and career, this can increase how much spousal maintenance is paid. There are several other factors that could be considered in your case. To discuss them with a knowledgeable Peoria family law attorney, call 623-640-4945.
Child Custody. Child custody will be a vital part of your divorce if you share one or more minor children with your spouse. There are two divisions of custody in Arizona: parenting time and legal decision making.
Parenting time is commonly referred to as physical custody, as it refers to the time the child physically spends with each parent. You and your spouse need to come up with a parenting plan during the divorce, or the court will order one for you. While you can’t withhold visitation because the other parent isn’t making their support payments, parenting time will be a factor used to calculate child support. The court will consider several factors when determining parenting time, but have a rebuttable presumption that the child should spend close to equal amounts of time with both parents.
Legal decision making is also sometimes called legal custody. It refers to each parent’s authority to make decisions about issues in the child’s life. Education, religion, and medical treatments are among the decisions that can only be made by a parent with legal decision making for the child. When parents share either type of custody, it is called joint custody. When only one parent has either type of custody, it is called sole custody. Oftentimes, if the parents share joint physical custody, they will also share joint legal custody. But if one parent has physical custody but not legal custody, or vice versa, this is called a hybrid custody arrangement.
Child Support. Parents have an obligation to financially support their children. Whether or not the parents have been legally married, one parent is usually liable to pay child support after a breakup. In Arizona, there are two main factors that are used to determine child support: the parents’ incomes and the parenting plan. The judge may consider other factors, like a child’s special needs, when ordering child support payments.
Child support payments are due when they’re due, and can’t be discharged in bankruptcy. If you are fired from your job or experience a different change in income, you will need to request a child support modification as soon as possible. A child support modification can only be granted every 12 months at most. For more information about child support and child support modifications, call 623-640-4945 to request your free consultation.
The Best Peoria, Arizona Divorce Team
If you’re considering divorce, you probably have several moving pieces running through your mind. A seasoned divorce attorney can listen to your situation and help you get all of those parts in place. Once retained, all divorce communications must go through your attorney, reducing the burden on you throughout the process. We will help you negotiate with opposing counsel in an effort to avoid going to trial. Our dedicated family law team will make sure your case ends with an outcome that suits you well. You don’t have to pick between representing yourself and exorbitant legal fees in a divorce. We offer competitive hourly rates and flexible payment plan options. To get started with your free initial consultation, call 623-640-4945 or use our online form to schedule your time to speak with one of our experienced Peoria divorce lawyers.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED ARIZONA DIVORCE AND FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY
Family Law Attorney in Peoria, Arizona
Peoria Family Law Attorney
Our Peoria family law attorney can help. Seek the assistance of an experienced Peoria divorce and family lawyers as the outcome of your family court proceedings will often have a direct and profound impact on the rest of your life. Our Peoria family law attorneys know the importance of family law court proceedings and decisions and are prepared to provide our clients with reliable, high-quality, family law assistance when it is needed most.
We offer legal representation in Peoria, Arizona that is focused on the following:
- Family Law Issues in Peoria, AZ
- Uncontested Divorce in Peoria, Arizona
- Collaborative Divorce
- Military Divorce
- Legal Separation
- Peoria Paternity
- Adoption Issues
- Child Custody Issues
- Visitation Issues
- Divorce in Peoria, AZ
Prenuptial Agreements in Peoria, Arizona
Peoria Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers
Generally, prenuptial agreements used to be thought to be only for wealthy families. However, now days, more couples in Peoria, Maricopa County, and throughout Arizona are choosing to create prenuptial agreements. Mostly, because they understand the importance of maintaining their financial security should the marriage not stand the test of time.
When it comes to discussing prenuptial agreements, it is imperative that both parties retain the services of a dedicated Peoria family law attorney. A typical Arizona prenuptial agreement is a written contract that two people will enter into prior to the beginning of their marriage. Furthermore, prenuptial agreements are created to protect peoples’ financial security and material assets in the event of a divorce or legal separation. As a result, our Peoria family law attorneys will assist you with all your prenuptial agreement needs.
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Having representation when entering into a prenuptial agreement in Peoria and throughout Arizona is important as prenuptial agreements demand complete financial disclosure and future financial plans. Both parties in all prenuptial agreements should have appropriate legal representation throughout the prenuptial drafting process. Another thing to always to remember is that each party should have their own family law attorney. There is much involved and at stake when dealing with prenuptial agreements, passion and feelings run high, separate representation is an important part of a successful prenuptial agreement. For this reason, contact our experienced Peoria Prenuptial Lawyers today.