Divorce in Arizona
Are you planning to file for divorce in Arizona? Before you do anything else, there are a few things you need to know. This article will review the basic requirements for divorcing in Arizona and help you hire the best Arizona divorce attorney for your situation.
The Basics of Filing for Divorce in Arizona
Divorce Residence Requirements: You and/or your spouse must live in Arizona for 90 days prior to filing for an Arizona divorce.
Divorce Filing Requirements: Your divorce papers (known as a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must be filed in the Arizona superior court in the county in which you reside. After filing the divorce petition, a copy of the petition will be served on your spouse. This serves to officially notify your spouse that you've filed for divorce. If you and your spouse have a simple divorce and are in agreement on all points, your Arizona divorce attorneys can draft a consent decree. Your divorce is finalized after your Arizona consent decree is presented to and signed by an Arizona Superior Court judge.
Divorce Waiting Period: Under Arizona law, the court will wait at least 60 days after your spouse has received a copy of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage before finalizing your divorce. (There is no waiting period if you're using a consent decree.) During the waiting period, you, your spouse and your Arizona divorce lawyers can negotiate the details of your divorce. The judge will not finalize your divorce until you've reached agreement on all key points.
No-Fault Divorce: In Arizona, most divorces are no-fault divorces, meaning neither party is to blame for the failure of the marriage. If you were married in a covenant marriage, there are a few additional steps to getting a divorce. Your Arizona divorce lawyer can explain the requirements in more detail.
Property Division: Arizona is what's known as a community property state. This means that any property acquired during the marriage is jointly owned and must, therefore, be evenly split between the two of you upon divorce. Any property you owned before the marriage and that has been kept separate during the marriage is considered separate property and does not need to be split with your spouse.
Alimony: Arizona judges will consider awarding alimony (also known as spousal support or maintenance) to one spouse. These days, alimony is typically paid for a temporary period of time until the other spouse has gotten back on his or her feet, received training or a degree, or found a job. In some instances, the alimony may be a single lump-sum payment.
Your Arizona divorce lawyers can answer your questions and explain the Arizona divorce requirements in more detail.
Arizona Child Custody & Child Support
Child Custody: If you and your spouse are parents to at least one minor child, you'll have to complete an Arizona parenting time plan, which outlines your key decisions regarding legal custody, physical custody and visitation. If you, your spouse and your Arizona family law attorneys are unable to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement, then an Arizona Superior Court judge will decide these issues. Once agreement is reached, a judge will review and sign off on your parenting time plan. Any future changes or modifications must also be approved by a judge.
Child Support: Arizona child support payments are calculated taking into account both parents' monthly gross income, how much time the child spends with each parent, whether either parent is supporting other children, and how much is spent on the child's medical care, insurance and education, among other things. Either parent can request that child support payments be modified if there's a change in circumstances, including a significant change in income, job loss, additional medical expenses or disability.
Reasons to Hire an Arizona Family Law Lawyer
If you're thinking about filing for divorce, you shouldn't hesitate to contact an Arizona family law attorney. The lawyer can explain your legal options, prepare a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage and guide you through the divorce process in Arizona.
Although you're not legally required to use a lawyer to handle your divorce, there are several reasons why hiring an Arizona divorce lawyer is the smart decision:
- Expertise: Your lawyer will have spent years studying the law and working with clients just like you.
- Diffuse a Tense Situation: If you and your spouse are having difficulty communicating, it may be easier to have your attorneys talk to one another on your behalf.
- Fair Settlement: Particularly if you're dividing property, negotiating a child custody arrangement or determining alimony, your attorney will act as your advocate to ensure that you get a fair and reasonable divorce settlement.
Find & Hire an Arizona Divorce Attorney
Attorneys.com offers a free service that can connect you with divorce lawyers in Arizona—whether you live in Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Tucson or elsewhere in the state. Simply answer the questions on this page or call us at 877-913-7222. Using the information you provide, we'll quickly match you with a divorce lawyer in your area—often within one business day.