We’ve all heard the statistics that 50% of marriages end in divorce. Filing for divorce is a big decision that not only impacts you and your spouse, but the lives of your children and extended family, as well. So, how do you know when it’s time to get a divorce?
At Owens & Perkins, we consult with people every day contemplating divorce. Many of them aren’t sure whether or not they’re ready to take that next step and file for divorce. Many want to get an idea of what that will look like. How long will it take? How much will it cost? What about my children? Going through a divorce will have a significant emotional and financial impact on your life, so how do you know you’re ready for the next step?
10 Signs That It’s Time to Get a Divorce:
- Your Partner is No Longer Making any Effort: Both spouses need to commit to resolving the issues in a marriage. If only one partner is putting in all of the effort, it’s normal to sense that something is missing and feel that your partner isn’t holding up their part of the bargain. Issues can’t be resolved without both people being willing to participate.
- You Don’t Support or Listen to Each Other: If you’re no longer working as a team, you don’t have a healthy marriage. If you’re not talking to each other or actively listening, you’re not demonstrating that your partner’s thoughts, ideas or feelings matter to you.
- There’s No Compromising: Marriage is a lifelong dance of give and take. If you’re not fulfilling your partner’s needs and your own needs aren’t being met, you’re not in a good place.
- Lack of Respect: Healthy marriages are built on mutual respect. If you’re constantly feeling ignored, dismissed or disrespected, your marriage may be in a toxic place. Being continually disrespected can lead to feelings of contempt because one person conveys superiority over the other. Contempt may lead to resentment and the connection between the partners will dissolve and intimacy will suffer.
- Adultery: Once trust has been broken in a relationship by one or both of the partners cheating on the other, you may not ever get over the betrayal. For many couples, cheating is non-negotiable and the marriage is over.
- You Don’t Share Future Goals: If you’re not on the same page about your future, it’s difficult to make a marriage last long term. Sometimes the future includes the desire to have children or not. This is something that should be discussed prior to marriage, but sometimes one of the partners may have a change of heart. For example, if one partner strongly wants to have children and the other partner does not, the marriage may not survive in the long run.
- Not Having Enough Face to Face Time: If you’re not spending enough time with your partner, perhaps even intentionally avoiding them, that may be a sign that you are disconnecting from each other and going your separate ways. Spending time away from each other occasionally can be healthy, but if either one of you find yourselves spending time perusing the applications on your phone while together rather then engaging with one another or actively seeking out other activities to avoid one-on-one time with your spouse, this is an indicator that the partners have disengaged from one another and the marriage is in trouble.
- Lack of Intimacy: This is one of the most obvious signs that a divorce may be imminent. If there is a definite lack of intimacy and the couple isn’t doing anything to fix it, that’s a sign that you may each be in very different places and aren’t willing to reconnect.
- Domestic Violence or Emotional Abuse: Physical, psychological or sexual abuse is an obvious sign that you should consider divorce. When your health and safety are compromised, there’s no question that you should leave. In most instances, the abuse will not only continue but escalate if left unchecked.
- You’re Fighting More Frequently: It’s perfectly normal to have disagreements and even some screaming arguments with your spouse and deal with some measure of adversity during your marriage; however, if every issue, whether large or small, is becoming high-conflict “death match” between the two of you, that’s a sign that the relationship and marriage is becoming toxic and emotionally destructive. If such ongoing arguments continue unresolved, you or your spouse may have feelings of hopelessness and this may lead to divorce.
If one or more of these signs describes your situation, your marriage may be beyond repair. Every marriage or relationship will experience some rough spots, but if it’s difficult all the time or putting your health and safety at risk, it may be time to consult with a family law attorney to discuss your options and file for divorce.
If you are having difficulty determining whether your marriage can be salvaged or whether it would be better to go your separate ways, you may want to consult with a marriage counselor or therapist. A therapist may help you to see things more clearly. A therapist can discuss with you the effects of continuing to endure the behavior you’ve been tolerating, provide you with tools to better manage your own contributions to the issues and reactions to your spouse’s behavior, and can at least help you to see more clearly the situation that you’re in.
What to Know about Filing for Divorce in Arizona:
Arizona is a “No Fault” State: This means that neither party needs to be found at fault for or proven to have engaged in adultery, abandonment or other “bad behavior” in order to justify the divorce. In a fault divorce state, you must have grounds for divorce, such as adultery, abandonment, substance abuse, prison confinement, or domestic violence. The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Arizona will simply state that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and therefore if either party wants the divorce, you may file for it and, absent a reconciliation between the parties, it will be granted.
However, please be aware that “no fault” also means that a party that has committed adultery, abandonment or has been abusive is not “punished” for this bad behavior in the divorce – they will still be entitled to the same equal or equitable division of assets and property and will not be forced to pay more in spousal or child support as a result of having “fault” or engaging in behavior that caused the marriage to fail. Other than some limited circumstances in child custody proceedings, wherein the child(ren) health and safety may be at risk by way of domestic violence or substance abuse, the Court will not likely consider any evidence of fault or bad behavior committed by one spouse or the other in its determinations in a divorce proceeding in Arizona.
Domicile/Residency: You or your spouse must be a resident of Arizona for at least 90 days in order to be able to file for divorce in Arizona.
How Quickly Can I Get Divorced: Arizona has a “cooling off” or waiting period of 60 days before an actual divorce decree can be entered from the time the opposing party is served, but most divorces, even if they are uncontested, will take longer than this period of time regardless. Contested divorces can take a year or more. There are many factors that will affect how long it takes to get a divorce. Some of these factors include whether there are minor children (parenting time and child support) involved and the amount and complexity of property and assets to be divided. If you can’t agree on the terms of the divorce, the Court will hold a Trial and a Judge will hear testimony from each side and then enter a Decree deciding those disputed issues. The Court’s own caseload will also have an impact on the length of time it takes to get a divorce. In Maricopa County for example, each judge in the Family Law Division has between 1,400 to 1,600 active cases at a given point in time. Because of the Court’s schedule and caseload, even once you are ready to proceed to trial, your actual Trial may not be scheduled for another 3-6 months later. If the parties can agree on all issues, including custody, parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance and division of property and debts, then a Consent Decree incorporating these agreements can be drafted by the attorney, signed by the parties and submitted to the Court for review and approval. Consent Decrees are typically reviewed, signed and entered within a matter of weeks, so that is a much quicker avenue to finalizing a divorce.
How Much Will a Divorce Cost: This can and will vary widely based on the circumstances of each case. If the divorce is uncontested (the parties agree) the total fees for both parties typically range between $3,500 to $5,000, including the filing fees, depending on the complexity and number of issues involved. For a contested divorce, studies show that the average is $20,000 in fees per person. However, in more complicated and/or hotly contested divorces, the fees can range up to $100,000 or more per person.
What Is My Next Step: If you’ve decided that your marriage is irretrievably broken and you’re ready to file for divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney. An experienced attorney will advise you of your rights under the law, has knowledge of the procedure and will best be able to help you get the best possible results.
If you or someone you know needs representation in a divorce, the Scottsdale family law attorneys at Owens & Perkins have the experience and skills to help guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected. Our highly rated attorneys have the skill and expertise to handle any divorce matter. Please call or text our offices at 480.994.8824 to schedule a complimentary thirty (30) minute consultation today.