NO ONE DESIRES TO GO THROUGH A DIVORCE
If you have children, consider counseling. If counseling has failed and you are resigned to end the relationship, do not procrastinate. Life is short and you should give yourself every opportunity to enjoy it before it’s over.
If you can afford one, I would highly recommend retaining an attorney. The process can be complicated. Even if you are highly intelligent, you would not know what to look for when an issue arises.
Here are some common concerns:
Q: What is the process of filing for Divorce?
A: First the parties must be residents of the county for at least 90 days.
Q: What is the length of time?
A: There is a waiting period of 60 days from the service of the Petition before the court may enter a Decree of Dissolution.
Q: What reasons do I need to show for a Divorce?
A: Arizona Divorce is no fault. You just have to state that the Divorce is irretrievably broken.
Q: Can the court order my Attorney Fees during the Divorce?
A: The court may also order one party to pay some of the other party’s attorney fees and/or expert witness fees. There are several statutes that control whether the court may order one spouse to pay the other spouse’s attorney fees. The statutes are interpreted in various cases. Myrick v Malone, is an Appellate case that sets guidelines about the payment of attorney fees in an Arizona divorce case.
Q: Is there counseling required?
A: Either spouse may seek free marital counseling through the Conciliation Services division of the court. A Conciliation Petition will stay the proceedings for 60 days.
To file for divorce, you must be a resident of the county where the case is filed for a period of at least ninety (90) days prior to filing your petition for divorce. The other spouse does not have to be a resident in the same county and does not even have to be a resident of the state of Arizona when the divorce is filed. However, there may be limitations to the court’s authority to decide certain issues if the non-filing spouse does not reside in or have any significant connections to Arizona.
One party must file a verified Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and court required documents. Those documents then need to be served on the opposing party. It is important to include all the issues in this Petition.
The opposing party will then have twenty days to file and answer if they were served in Arizona or thirty days to file a response if they reside outside of Arizona.
Either party may request the court set a Temporary Orders Hearing to obtain orders of protection, establish temporary child support, child custody, spousal maintenance or alimony, use of vehicles and homes, payment of debts, and an award of attorney fees. These temporary orders will be in force until a final ruling is issued at trial or agreed upon by both parties.
If the parties have a minor child or children together, both parties must attend a court-mandated education program about the impact of divorce on children. Both parents must attend, even if there is no disagreement regarding custody and parenting time. If one party does not attend, he or she may not be able to obtain custody and/or parenting time with the child(ren). The parties may not attend the same class at the same time.
A Resolution Management Conference (“RMC”) may be set before setting the case for a Temporary Orders Hearing. RMC is where the court meets with the parties to determine whether the parties can reach any agreements. If issues remain, the court may refer the parties to mediation and schedule the Temporary Orders Hearing.
A follow up status conference may be scheduled after mediation to hash out the remaining issues in the case. The remaining issues will be set for your final trial. The judge has up to sixty days to issue a final ruling in your case after the trial.
KEEP ALL FINANCIAL RECORDS
It is important to keep all records of assets, real estate, accounts, retirement, income and expenses of your household for proof, if necessary in court.
DOCUMENT WHAT HAS BEEN HAPPENING
Your memory may not serve you if you are emotionally affected.
It is always a good idea to document what has been going on with respect to finances, visitation, decisionmaking and other elements of your relationship.
A Tried and True Advocat
I have been an attorney since 1989 in California and relocated to Sedona two years ago.
My practice areas have been in FAMILY LAW, WILLS & TRUSTS, PERSONAL INJURY, CONSUMER WARRANTY LITIGATION and establishing BUSINESS ENTITIES.
I have also prepared contracts for Entertainment Industry clients.
LISA HOBSON, ESQ.
6560 State Route 179, Suite 100, Sedona, AZ 86351
*This blog is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.