The outcome of a divorce will have a significant impact on your present and future parental rights and financial security. With so much at stake, you must retain a highly qualified divorce lawyer.
You can find the skilled and experienced representation you require at The Dodds Law Firm. Our attorneys in Surprise, Arizona have the experience to handle all issues that may arise during your divorce proceeding, including:
- Property division
- Child custody
- Child Support
- Spousal support (alimony)
What Are the Arizona Divorce Grounds?
In Arizona, a court may issue a divorce if the marriage is irreparably damaged and thus impossible to fix.
A court may only divorce you if you and your spouse have engaged in a covenant marriage. (You would have specified a covenant marriage on your marriage license application, completed premarital counseling, and submitted papers.) A court may grant a divorce in the following cases:
- Your husband cheats on you
- A criminal conviction results in death or jail for your spouse
- A year has passed since your spouse abandoned (moved out) the shared house and you anticipate your spouse to not return within the year
- Your husband has abused a child or a relative residing in the marital home
- Your husband has abused you
- You and your husband lived apart for two years without reconciling before filing divorce
- You and your spouse have been living apart for a year or more after your formal separation was granted
- Spouse abuses drugs or alcohol
- The divorce is mutually agreed upon
What Is Uncontested Divorce?
It’s never straightforward to terminate a marriage. Even if you and your spouse were already legally separated, the finality of divorce could be distressing. However, when both parties agree on the divorce criteria, much of the emotional weight is removed. Our divorce attorneys can aid in defusing heated circumstances and keeping the peace during a challenging period of your life.
Both parties must agree on child custody, spousal support, and asset allocation in an uncontested divorce. Your divorce lawyer will translate your mutual selections into a marital settlement agreement. When you and your spouse finish establishing the marriage settlement agreement, a court must review your terms.
Uncontested divorces may be completed in as short as 70 days, although this is unusual. Uncontested divorces take 90-120 days on average. An uncontested divorce simply signifies that the couple is in agreement on every point. That doesn’t imply your spouse will immediately agree. They may figure out a final term.
What Is Contested Divorce?
When the parties cannot agree on the divorce terms, it is called a contested divorce. A court must intervene to settle conflicts such as spousal support or property allocation. Before setting a court date, divorce attorneys encourage clients to record any agreements they make.
If you avoid going to court, you and your spouse will save time and money. Working with a divorce lawyer might help you avoid hefty court costs if you can’t address your issues. Divorce lawyers that specialize in family law may be able to assist both parties in reaching an agreement.
How Does Divorce Work in Arizona?
How long does a divorce in Arizona take? It depends. In reality, a divorce in most cities of Arizona takes at least three months. It might take a year or more if your circumstance is complicated. Among these “complicating factors” are:
- Disputes over particular property or partition
- Child custody and support issues
- Conflicts about parenting time or parental fitness
- How well both parties get along
- Obstacles to asset concealment
The court’s workload and schedule will also impact your divorce timeline. Any Arizona divorce may be daunting and perplexing. But understanding the legal process may be pretty helpful. Knowing what to anticipate and how soon it should require interventions will help keep expectations reasonable.
The divorce timeframe in Arizona varies greatly. Divorce is not the equivalent of legal separation in Arizona. However, The Dodds Law PLC distinguishes between the two justifications.
Get a Divorce Lawyer
Self-filing divorce is possible but seldom advised. Instead, hiring a divorce attorney in The Dodds Law, PLC will be a great help. A divorce lawyer can help you throughout the legal procedure. They can inform you whether what you desire is legal in Arizona.
Choosing the best divorce lawyer is also a personal choice. You want someone trustworthy. Someone who cares about you will help you make better judgments.
Legal expenses should also be considered when choosing an attorney. Ask about legal costs upfront, and be honest about your budget.
File for a Divorce
Your lawyer will assist you in drafting the documents required to dissolve your marriage in Arizona.
Arizona requires you to file a dissolution of marriage petition. You must file your request in writing with the court and pay a filing fee.
Your lawyer will also arrange for your spouse to be served with this documentation by a process server.
Your spouse will then file an “Answer” within 20 days after service. After completing those two phases, the divorce process moves on to the most time-consuming portion.
Resolve Temporary Order Hearings
When a couple wants to divorce, they are often already living apart. During the divorce, the court adopts a method to resolve critical problems. You can’t wait until the divorce is complete to decide where your child will reside. The court usually determines difficulties on:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Alimony (sometimes called spousal support)
- Who gets the marital home
The court deals with urgent issues in a “Temporary Order Hearing.” The problems will only be heard in court if the couple cannot agree.
Prepare for Legal Information Requirements
Any legal matter requires gathering information. Not only is it critical in divorce cases, but it is crucial in all cases. Couples in Arizona are required to disclose necessary information for their divorce litigation. Among the items disclosed are:
- Property information
- Securities and Investments
- Business Affiliations
- Other obligations of assistance
Unless there are valid objections, all information must be disclosed. Inaction may result in judicial punishment.
A divorce settlement with your husband may be reached at any moment. It might be called between both parties to expedite the divorce process and save time and money. Couples may settle by:
- Informal exchange of offers and ideas
- A fair negotiation
- The judge or commissioner’s role at a settlement conference
- Divorce mediation with an impartial third party
You may create a settlement that benefits all parties. A court may not be able to employ the same flexibility in the settlement procedure that you have.
Prepare for Trial
If you can’t settle your lawsuit, it will go to trial. To prepare for your divorce trial, you and your lawyer will utilize all of the material gathered during the process.
Creating a pretrial statement with all relevant information and reference to Arizona law will be part of trial preparation.
Your lawyer at the Dodds Law, PLC will help you prepare exhibits. We will also review timetables, your position as a witness, and other witnesses and their statements.
The final hearing is one of the last processes in divorce. Testifying about your spouse, children, money, and other issues may be unpleasant.
Your lawyer will help you prepare effectively, reducing your worry. Remember, this is your time to explain to the court why you want or need what you desire.
Motions and Appeals
Your lawyer may need to submit a post-trial brief or other motions after the hearing. These motions may address:
- Unfair trial tactics
- New information not accessible at the hearing
- Exhibits in court
Typically, the waiting time is a few weeks or months. In some instances, you may appeal a judge’s ruling. Your spouse can do the same.
If no one appeals, the divorce is final, and the Arizona divorce procedure is over. The only thing left is to transfer assets and generally obey the court’s ruling.
Proactive Problem Solvers and Skilled Trial Lawyers
If you’re ready to start the divorce process, call our Dodds Law, PLC divorce lawyers at (623) 544-2980. We can guide you through the Arizona divorce procedure and its laws.
As experienced family law lawyers in Surprise, Arizona, and surrounding cities, we understand how fast disagreements over property distribution, child custody, spousal support, and other significant issues may devolve into acrimony. Instead of inflaming potentially problematic situations needlessly, we strive to identify solutions to settle conflicts as quickly and pleasantly as possible while ultimately protecting our clients’ rights.
We have been able to assist many of our clients to avoid prolonged litigation due to our inventive and proactive approach to conflict resolution, lowering the financial and emotional expenses of divorce. When good-faith negotiation, alternative dispute resolution, or mediation fail to settle a disagreement, we have the trial expertise to be a forceful advocate for our clients in court. Schedule a consultation now with our team.