January 2019 – What divorce actually entails

“I don’t have to worry about divorce. I found ‘the one,’” – said by almost every divorcee in existence.

The reality is that sometimes things just don’t work out. Because this is usually an unforeseen result of marriage, we are uninformed and uneducated as to what divorce actually entails.

Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you get the dissolution process started:

  1. Do I have to go to Court?

The short answer is no. There are other options through the divorce process that allow you to avoid ever stepping foot in the courtroom. The most common alternative for conflict resolution is mediation. Instead of Court before a judge, a neutral third party facilitates the conversation to ensure that both sides are equally heard. Not only is this process shorter than litigation, but it is also cost effective. The key to mediation is that in order to reach a resolution, both parties must agree on a final settlement.

  1. What do I have to do to in order to begin the divorce process?

In order to begin the divorce process you must file a Petition for Dissolution and numerous other required documents with the Court. Whether your matter is contested or uncontested, filing the proper documents with the Court at the right time is essential.

  1. I was married in a different state. Can I get divorced in Arizona?

To file for divorce in Arizona, either you or your spouse must be domiciled (meaning have lived here) in the state of Arizona for a minimum of 90 days prior to filing your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

  1. How does the Court determine who gets custody (now known as legal decision making) of the children?

No matter what the circumstances, the Court will ALWAYS take into account what is in the best interest of the child(ren). The Court will evaluate a number of factors in making a best interests determination, including, but not limited to, the child’s relationship with each parent, the parent’s ability to provide and care for the child and the present parenting arrangements.

  1. If I move out of the marital residence during the divorce am I “abandoning” my interest in the home?

No. By leaving the marital home you are not relinquishing your legal interest in the real property or the personal property and contents within the home. However, due to the high cost of litigation, if you decide to move out of the marital residence it is best to take your personal belongings with you. While you have the legal right to your personal property within the home, often times it becomes cost prohibitive to try and get them through legal channels after you move out. A planned move is always better than a sudden one.

Check back every Friday this month as I answer questions about other frequently asked questions and hot topics such as:

  • The New Spousal Maintenance Tax Law
    • Why people divorce?
    • What is the difference between a divorce and legal separation?
    • What is a covenant marriage?

If you find yourself, a friend or a loved one in need of legal assistance in a family law case and you would like to work with one of our experienced Attorneys, please call OWENS & PERKINS at (480) 630-2464 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.