Experienced Lawyers for Family Law and Divorce in Tempe, Arizona
Tempe Divorce Lawyers FAQs
Get real answers from our Tempe Divorce Attorneys. We are the professionals and have dealt with thousands of divorcing
couples in Tempe and throughout Arizona. Take a look at these frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions of your own, please contact our Tempe Divorce Attorneys and schedule a FREE consultation.
Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage, also known as a dissolution of marriage. When spouses divorce, all assets and debts must be split through a process known as property division, and the judge will decide if alimony payments are appropriate. If the couple has minor children, the divorce will also encompass matters of child support, legal decision making, and parenting time.
In both a divorce and a legal separation, issues like property division, spousal and child support, and child custody must be decided. However, when a couple legally separates, as opposed to divorcing, they can maintain insurance and social security benefits for each other. Should the couple choose to reunite, they won’t need to legally remarry.
If you are unable to locate your spouse for service of process, you will need to serve your spouse by publication. The first step will be to ask the court for permission for substituted service. You will then need to publish a notice of your divorce in the newspaper. Your spouse will have 30 days to respond to the service by publication, at which point the default process will begin.
During property division, it isn’t just assets that are split. Debts are assigned to each spouse, as well. The balance on the home will be another debt to consider during the divorce. The couple may need to sell the home as part of the divorce. The spouses may also want to consider speaking to a bankruptcy attorney before filing for divorce.
Custody consists of two parts- legal decision making and parenting time. You can still have legal decision making for your children while you are deployed in the military. Your parenting time schedule may need to be more creative to account for your deployment.
If you and your spouse are getting an uncontested divorce, your divorce can be finalized 60 days after your petition is filed. This is the mandatory minimum waiting period before a divorce can be granted in Arizona. It may take you far longer than that to finalize your divorce if you and your spouse disagree on how matters like child support, child custody, alimony, and property division should be settled.
Arizona is a no fault divorce state, meaning that marital misconduct like infidelity won’t have any impact on the divorce. There are a few exceptions, like if the spouses have signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, or one spouse committed marital waste. If one spouse recklessly wastes money on an extramarital affair, drugs, gambling, etc., the other spouse can be credited for that amount during property division. You will need to prove your spouse was unfaithful if you are in a covenant marriage, a special type of marriage in which divorce can only be granted in limited circumstances. Less than 1% of marriages in Arizona are covenant marriages.
This can depend on many things, like how much equity is in the house, if there are sufficient other assets to award the spouse who doesn’t receive the house, and if one spouse will be the primary custodian of the couple’s children. One spouse may be awarded vehicles, marital bank accounts, investments, and other assets to make up for the share in the house.
Courts stay out of dog custody litigation, but you and your spouse can still agree to a custody schedule for any shared pets. You can include who will be responsible for food, medical, grooming, and other expenses in this agreement.
The spouse will look at many factors when determining if there should be spousal support payments, like each spouse’s income, the standard of living during the marriage, each spouse’s age and condition, the length of the marriage, if one spouse sacrificed their career for the sake of the other spouse’s, how long it would take for one spouse to get the training to be financially self-sufficient, and if one spouse will be the primary caregiver of the spouses’ shared children.
It doesn’t matter if you were married in a state other than Arizona. If you have lived in Tempe, Arizona, for at least 90 days, you have met the residency requirement to file for divorce here. However, a child must reside in Arizona for at least 6 months before there is proper jurisdiction for matters of child support and child custody.
Divorce may be stressful and can be a process that takes years. Divorce is an option many weigh along with legal separation or just “sticking it out.”
If you are contemplating divorce, ask yourself important questions including:
Is there a way to save the marriage?
Possibly attending couples therapy seeing a family counselor through your church could help repair your relationship.
Have you actually talked about your concerns and communicated your feelings to your spouse?
Divorce will always go more smoothly if your spouse is in the know about your intentions.
Are you prepared financially for a divorce?
Assets will be frozen during a divorce, and you potentially may end up paying or relying on support payments.
Are you prepared to take over the household duties that a spouse previously handled?
Many spouses make it through life without learning how to do household tasks like cooking or cleaning, or without learning how to manage household affairs like paying bills and filing taxes.
What will be the impact of the divorce on the children?
In general, there are standard behavior rules like don’t talk badly about your spouse in front of the kids, and don’t blame the children for the divorce. Also, it is important not to interfere with the other parent’s custody. Negative behaviors can have a negative impact on your children and family, and may be used against you in future custody hearings.
Is there something preventing you from filing divorce? What has stopped you from filing divorce so far?
Are you afraid of being lonely? Fear for your financial future or safety and stability?
Do you feel that divorce holds a social stigma?
Some people in our communities, cultures, and families disapprove and frown upon divorce. Others, however, view it as an inevitable relationship choice. Remember that you should put your happiness and overall well-being and that of your family as a priority over social pressure.
Are you still in love with your spouse?
It is common that spouses file for divorce not because of a specific reason, such as infidelity or abuse, but the fact that they are not “in love” with their partner anymore. In fact, some spouses are able to remain friends after an amicable divorce.
Would your life improve after a divorce?
For some couples, legal separation or some other arrangement may be a better alternative to divorce.
What could I do better next time in a future relationship?
You possibly made a mistake that hurt your partner, or you simply didn’t pick the right person. Time, self reflection, or therapy are important steps to take after a divorce so that any future relationships can be healthier.
Things People Forget to Do Before Getting Divorced
Instead of filing a hasty divorce, consider consider the following:
Consider what is best for any minor children.
You and your spouse should make a plan for how to tell your children about the divorce. You also should make a plan for how to maintain parenting during the divorce. It is usually best to keep things as close to normal as possible during and after the divorce.
Get your own attorney.
Seek representation that protects your assets, rights, and family. Sometimes a spouse may make a settlement agreement was drafted with their own attorney. At the very least, schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney before proceeding with a divorce.
Stay calm through the process, and take your time.
Property division and some spousal maintenance payments are non-modifiable. Don’t rush into any decisions or be unprepared in court. This will be better for you, save you attorney’s fees, and create a better environment for your children.
Check over your finances.
You may need a plan for how to budget and pay bills after a divorce. After a divorce, your budget may include extra expenses like spousal maintenance, child support, community debts, or attorney’s fees.
Update your will.
You may wish to name your children, parents, or siblings as substitute heirs in your will for your spouse.
Think about alternative dispute resolution.
Mediation typically comes with a hefty price tag, but this manner of resolution for some couples actually may end up being far less expensive than traditional litigation.