Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce Property Division

Divorce Property Division

Apart from child custody, one of the primary concerns of a divorcing couple is what to do with shared property. Who is going to get the house? Who is going to get the dog? The answer is contingent upon the state’s divorce laws and the spouses’ ability to reach an agreement.

This article addresses some of the most frequently asked questions about divorce property division.

When We Divorce, What Happens to Our Property and Debt?

The simplest way to deal with property during a divorce is to agree on how to divide it between you. When divorcing couples are unable to agree on how to divide marital property amicably, the matter may be brought before a judge in family court.

Under state law, property division is generally handled in two ways:

Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin, as well as the US territory of Puerto Rico, are community property states. This means that property acquired during the course of the marriage is considered community property (although there can be exceptions). Typically, community property is divided evenly during a divorce, while separate property is retained by its owner.

Equitable Distribution: In general, all other states adhere to equitable distribution. Rather than simply dividing the property’s value in half, a judge (or the couple themselves) will determine what is equitable or fair. In practice, this may mean that the higher-earning spouse receives two-thirds of the property, while the other spouse receives only one-third.

Take note that when courts divide property, this does not necessarily mean that the property is split literally (or physically). A court will calculate the total value of the marital estate and allocate a percentage to each spouse. Each spouse must secure that amount in their own unique way, which may include selling a home, transferring a portion of an IRA, or buying out a spouse’s interest in a business. These are the property division details that a divorce attorney assists you in determining.

What Is the Distinction Between Community and Private Property?

Community Property: Unless otherwise specified, this term refers to all property, assets, and debt acquired during the marriage. For example, a loan may have been taken out specifically for one person. It could be their own debt.

Separate Property: This term refers to property acquired prior to the marriage, as well as gifts, court awards, inheritance, and pension proceeds received during the marriage. Separate property acquired remains separate property (e.g., a boat bought with inheritance money).

Be aware that separate property can become community property if it is commingled. For instance, an inheritance used to pay off a mortgage, or a business started prior to marriage and sustained by the marriage.

Property acquired with commingled funds: If you acquire or maintain property using a combination of separate and community funds, a court is likely to determine that it is community property. If you wish to keep your property separate, you must work diligently to do so; otherwise, it will become commingled and converted to community property.

Who Gets the House in Property Division?

Who gets the house is a matter of circumstance. If there are no children, courts distribute the marital home differently.

Neither party has the legal right to demand the other’s departure, but one partner can always make the request. That said, it may be illegal for them to lock you out before the divorce is finalized, while you still own the home. You may contact the authorities if they do so. The obvious exception is in cases of domestic violence in which one partner has been served with a restraining order.

Caution: Unhappy relationships can become extremely toxic at times. Take care not to fabricate domestic violence in order to evict the other partner. If the judge believes you’ve done this, you could jeopardize your right to marital property, including ownership of the house.

If you and your spouse are unable to agree on who gets the house, the court will make the decision based on its rules, state law, and the type of property system in your state.

If you have children, the parent who is responsible for the majority of child rearing typically retains the marital home.

If one partner purchased the house with their own money and there are no children, they can generally keep it and require the other to vacate.

Need a Legal Separation Lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix?

As family court lawyers, we have built a network of Arizona mediators, attorneys, tax specialists, estate planners, financial planners, child specialists, real property appraisers, adult and child therapists and parenting coordinators who are here for you if you ever need them. Our lawyersdivorce mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys in Scottsdale are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and the costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-744-7711 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Annulment in Arizona

Are you wondering if you are eligible for an annulment? Learn about the grounds for annulment in Arizona and how to obtain one.

Annulment is a frequently misunderstood legal concept, owing to the fact that popular culture and religion have promoted divergent and frequently erroneous views of what an annulment is in family law.

This article discusses “civil annulments,” as opposed to “religious annulments,” which can be granted only by a church or clergy member and have no legal effect on your marital status.

Annulments and divorces are similar in that they both establish marital status. However, the critical distinction between them is that divorce terminates an existing, valid marriage, whereas annulment simply declares that what everyone believed was a marriage was never actually one. An annulled marriage never existed in the eyes of the law.

Arizona’s Grounds for Annulment

There are several circumstances in which you may petition an Arizona court to annul your marriage:

  • One of the parties was married to another individual (bigamy).
  • The parties are blood relatives.
  • At the time of the marriage, one of the parties was a minor and did not obtain the consent of a parent or guardian.
  • One of the parties, or both, lacked the mental capacity to marry.
  • Both parties lacked the physical ability to marry.
  • At the time of the marriage, one or both parties were intoxicated.
  • The parties lacked the intent to enter into a marriage contract, either one of them or both.
  • The parties failed to obtain an official marriage license in a timely manner.
  • Instead of marrying each other in person, the parties used a proxy (substitute).
  • One of the parties committed fraud in order to obtain the consent of the other party to the marriage.
  • The one party used coercion (legally referred to as “duress”) to coerce the other party into agreeing to marry.
  • The parties have not engaged in sexual relations or one of the parties has refused to engage in sexual relations.
  • One of the parties fabricated information about his or her religion.
  • One of the parties omitted information about his or her previous marital status.
  • One of the parties planned to violate a premarital agreement in secret.

How Can I Obtain a Court Order Terminating My Marriage?

Due to the fact that annulment actions are heard in Arizona’s superior (trial) courts, you must file your paperwork at your local courthouse. By court order, an Arizona superior court judge can declare a marriage null and void and annul it. The “plaintiff” (the party seeking annulment) should file an annulment petition, and the defendant should respond. Additional documents may be required, and both parties must adhere to the rules governing service of process. Both will be summoned to appear in court, where the court will hear testimony, consider written submissions and applicable law, and issue an order.

Because annulments have significant financial and custodial consequences, it is critical to consult with a lawyer prior to proceeding.

Certain individuals fear that if their marriage is annulled, the paternity of their children will be questioned. Technically, this is correct. Due to the fact that an annulled marriage is invalid, the children born of the “marriage” are illegitimate, as if they were born to single parents. This, however, is a technical distinction with little practical significance, as Arizona law provides that “every child is the legitimate child of its natural parents and is entitled to support and education in the same manner as if born in lawful wedlock.” Thus, all children in Arizona receive the same level of protection and support regardless of their parents’ marital status, whether they are divorced or never married. While that statute does not affect parental rights, the courts in Arizona have also determined that parents of children born outside of marriage have co-equal custody of their children once paternity is established.

In Arizona, a presumption of paternity is created (a strong legal assumption that the alleged father is the biological father) if any of the following are true:

the father and mother were married within the ten months preceding the child’s birth, or the child is born within the ten months following the marriage’s termination by death, divorce, or annulment.

  • Genetic testing establishes at least a 95% probability of paternity.
  • A birth certificate is signed by both the mother and father of an unmarried child, or
  • Both parents sign a notarized or witnessed statement acknowledging paternity.
  • Thus, the majority of children born out of annulled marriages in Arizona are almost certainly covered by a paternity presumption. If a father wishes to contest this presumption, he must establish his paternity through “clear and convincing” (very strong and substantial) evidence.

Additionally, the Arizona court hearing the annulment case will determine parentage and enter custody and child support orders.

Because an annulled marriage is legally regarded as never having been valid, courts in the majority of states lack the authority to award alimony or divide property or debts. This is because there cannot be a marital estate without a valid marriage. However, Arizona is unique in that it has a more generous statute. According to Arizona law, when a marriage is annulled, the courts must divide the property between the spouses.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Different Types of Separation

What does the term “separated” mean? Discover the distinctions between trial separation, permanent separation, and legal separation.

When it comes to marriage, separation is not synonymous with divorce—even if you have a court-ordered “judgment of separation.” Separation is when you live apart from your spouse but remain legally married until you obtain a divorce judgment. While a separation does not terminate your marriage, it does affect your financial obligations to your spouse until the divorce is final.

Separation is classified into three types: trial, permanent, and legal. In the majority of states, only one of the three (legal separation) alters your legal status—but all three have the potential to impair your legal rights.

Separation of Trials

If you and your spouse feel the need for a break from the relationship, one option is to live apart while deciding whether to divorce—a process known as “trial separation.” Legally, little changes during a trial separation—all applicable marital property laws remain in effect. For instance, a court will consider the money you earn and the items you purchase during the trial separation to be property acquired by a married person. This frequently means that you and your spouse jointly own the property (depending on your state’s property ownership laws).

If you and your spouse separate but intend to reconcile, it’s a good idea to write an informal agreement outlining the separation rules. For instance, your trial separation agreement may address the following:

  • whether you’re going to continue sharing a joint bank account or credit cards.
  • how you intend to budget your expenditures
  • who will continue to reside in the family home
  • how you intend to split expenses, and
  • If you have children, discuss how and when you will spend time with them.
  • If you decide to divorce, you may be able to use this trial separation agreement as a template for a marital settlement agreement.
  • If you and your spouse agree that reconciliation is impossible, your trial separation becomes permanent.

Permanent Distancing

If you live apart from your spouse with no intention of reconciling but are not divorced, the law considers you to be permanently separated.

How Separation from Your Spouse Affects Your Rights

Depending on the local law, a permanent separation may alter the property rights of spouses. For instance, in some states, assets and debts acquired during a permanent separation are considered to belong exclusively to the spouse who acquired them. Once a couple is permanently divorced, each spouse assumes sole responsibility for any debts incurred. Similarly, spouses who divorce permanently lose their right to any property or income acquired by the other.

Why Does the Date of Final Divorce Matter?

Due to the fact that spouses’ rights to each other’s property and obligations to pay debts change significantly as of the date of a permanent separation, spouses frequently argue bitterly about the precise date of their permanent separation. For instance, if your spouse left in a huff and spent a month sleeping on a friend’s couch, but you did not discuss divorce until after the month passed, the date the separation became permanent may be unclear. That means that if your spouse earned a sizable bonus at work during that month, you may be able to argue that you are entitled to a portion of the bonus.

If you move out of the house and do not anticipate a long-term reconciliation with your spouse, reconsider going out or spending the night together just for the sake of old times. If you reconcile briefly, you risk changing the date of separation and becoming financially responsible for your spouse during a time when you believed you were solely responsible for your own.

After you have legally separated from your spouse and reached basic agreements regarding your joint assets and debts, you are not required to divorce immediately. You may choose to remain married for a variety of reasons, including avoiding disruption of your children’s lives or retaining insurance coverage. Or, in some cases, preserving the status quo is simply more convenient than pursuing a divorce. On the other hand, you may decide to divorce as soon as the paperwork is finalized, or when the required separation or waiting period in your state expires.

Is Separation Required Prior to Divorce in My State?

Certain states’ laws require spouses to separate before a divorce can be finalized. State laws governing required separations vary in detail—for example, many states require spouses to live “separately and apart” for a specified period of time before the court will accept a divorce petition (formal request), while others do not require separation until after the petition is filed. If you file before meeting the requirements for separation, the court may dismiss your case. Other states may require spouses to live apart during the divorce process.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Legal Separation Before Divorce

Legal Separation Before Divorce

An arrangement ordered by the court, a legal separation is when married couples live apart from each other and lead independent lives. It is a popular option when the parties concerned are considering the future of their relationship abut also want to ensure financial responsibilities and other boundaries are going to be honored by both sides. In some areas, this is a necessary step in the divorce process. Read on to learn more.

Facts To Consider

  • The court may order specific obligations in the areas of finance, visitation of a child or children as well as custody of a child or children and support for a child or children.
  • Although legally separated there may be particular benefits there are entitlements too.
  • For some people spiritual beliefs and financial reasons as well as for the wellbeing of minor aged children may be a factor in obtaining a legal separation versus a divorce.
  • A legal separation is an agreement ordered by the court where the two parties have separate lives, and this means they usually live separately.
  • Legally separated couples can sometimes remain “insured” on the other person’s health, dental and vision insurance—check with your carrier before going this route.

How Does It Work?

There are many reasons for wanting a legal separation including:

  • Religious reasons forbidding divorce, whereas legal separation allows the majority of the benefits of divorce.
  • When the marriage still has the possibility of recovery.
  • Legal separation is sometimes best for a couple with minor aged children, promoting stability.
  • The retention of retirement and health benefits.

Some couples choose this route without a court order and many are embracing informal separations and no-fault divorce cases, making legal separation in a formal sense less common than it used to be. When the separation date arrives, the party’s ability to spend money from a bank account or credit card held in both names is limited – as well as bringing in controls over vehicles and property. Each party following the separation ate becomes responsible for their own finances.

Legal Separation Benefits

Once a couple have reached their tenth wedding anniversary certain future benefits may be contended with. When deciding to separate, the legal separation agreement may keep some entitlements of benefits intact. For example, those married to members of the military must remain married for ten years to benefit from the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act. Once married for ten years, it also means you can benefit from particular social security benefits. You may be able to draw a larger sum if you can draw the benefits of the social security retirements of your former partner. Nonetheless, there are time a legal separation is preferential to divorce. The separation may be temporary whereas a divorce is a permanent condition absent remarriage. It can also be used as a “last chance saloon” to save a troubled marriage. Legal separation also has the benefit of being less costly than a divorce and to go through the process before continuing with divorce can make the whole situation for a child or children easier to endure.

Do Divorcing Couples Have to Live Separately?

Depending on where you live, you may be unable to live apart—again, many states require spouses to separate before a court can grant a divorce.

State Requirements Regarding “Separate and Apart”

Your state may require you and your spouse to live “separate and apart” for a specified period of time prior to filing for divorce or a judge finalizing your divorce. Each state has its own set of rules.

States That Do Not Require Divorce

The majority of states (particularly those with no-fault divorce) do not require spouses to live apart prior to divorcing. California, Texas, and Florida are all non-separation states. If you live in one of these states, you are permitted to cohabitate with your spouse during the pendency of your divorce.

If you’re unsure whether your state requires separation prior to filing for divorce, you can conduct research on the state’s divorce laws, contact a local family law attorney, or contact a local legal aid department.

Do We Need a Separation Agreement in Writing?

When a couple divorces, it is possible, if not probable, that communication is disrupted to some degree. Even if you and your spouse are amicable when you separate, your relationship may deteriorate as the divorce process progresses. By documenting the terms of your separation, you can avoid future conflict or uncertainty. Additionally, if you decide to continue living together during your divorce, a separation agreement is critical to demonstrate your intention to separate on a specific date. Similarly, if you live in a state that requires you to separate for a period of time before the court will accept your divorce petition, a separation agreement is an excellent way to establish your separation date.

Your written separation agreement can serve as a road map for your relationship until the court accepts your divorce petition and issues temporary orders, if necessary. (Temporary orders may include provisions regarding child support, child custody, spousal support, and property division.) Having said that, if you and your spouse are unable to agree on how you will handle things during the separation or if you are unable to convince your spouse to sign a separation agreement, you may petition the court for temporary orders prior to initiating the divorce process.

The Separation Process’s Subsequent Steps

Divorce is a lengthy process. It could take up to a year from the time you file your case to the time the judge rules on it. On the other hand, depending on your state, you may be able to divorce within 30 days if you have an amicable divorce with few hiccups. In either case, you should have a contingency plan in place while you wait.

Take out a credit card on your own. Divorce can have a detrimental effect on your credit, so obtaining your own credit card now can help you establish credit and maintain independence from your spouse. Establishing a separate credit card or bank account (discussed below) will also assist you in establishing your separation date during the divorce process. (When it comes to property division, child support, and spousal support, the judge will need to know the date of separation.)

Maintain separate bank accounts. Following that, close your joint bank accounts and open new ones. If you and your spouse are unable to agree on how to divide the money in your accounts or if you have concerns about how to divide your paychecks, keep the joint accounts open but open an individual account as well.

Create a property list. Begin by compiling a list of your exclusive personal property and presenting it to your spouse. If you have a disagreement about something, you can attempt to resolve it without involving the court.

Recognize areas of agreement. If your spouse is willing, your period of separation may enable you to negotiate the terms of your divorce calmly. Discuss issues such as spousal support, child support, and child custody. If you believe you and your spouse are capable of negotiating the terms of your divorce collaboratively, you can look into DIY divorce services together or consider hiring a professional mediator to assist you in resolving any disagreements. Considerable forethought can go a long way in a divorce. Likewise, healthy communication is possible. Take the time to chart your course as you embark on the next phase of your life, including when it comes to establishing a healthy living situation that protects your rights. You’ll be glad you invested your energy early in the process as the divorce progresses.

Need a Legal Separation Lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix?

As family court lawyers, we have built a network of Arizona mediators, attorneys, tax specialists, estate planners, financial planners, child specialists, real property appraisers, adult and child therapists and parenting coordinators who are here for you if you ever need them. Our lawyersdivorce mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys in Scottsdale are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and the costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-744-7711 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Reasons And Rights For Legal Separation

Reasons For Legal Separation

A legal separation is a legal procedure (similar to a divorce) in which a married couple petitions (asks) a court to allow them to live separate and apart from one another and terminate any marital obligations. The only difference is that the couple is still technically married, which means they have not terminated their marriage and are unable to remarry unless they divorce.

Legal separation is also known as a “limited divorce,” “judicial separation,” or “separation from bed and board,” depending on the state in which you live. In some states, spouses must first be legally separated before filing for divorce. The time it takes to get a legal separation is usually between 6 months and 2 years, but it varies depending on the laws in each state.

In jurisdictions where legal separation is not permitted, the spouses could simply live apart and sign a written separation agreement (signed by both spouses) to achieve the same result.

What are the Rights of Spouses During a Divorce?

A court can decide on child custody and support, alimony, and property division in a legal separation proceeding. However, as previously stated, the spouses will remain legally married and will not be able to remarry unless they obtain a divorce.

The following are some of the most common issues that arise between divorcing couples:

  • whether one spouse is entitled to alimony for a limited period of time
  • If there are minor children, how much child support should be paid?
  • rights to the family home, such as whether either spouse has the right to live in the marital home during the divorce and who will pay the mortgage, and
  • which debts each spouse is responsible for

Is a Legal Separation Necessary?

Because their religious beliefs forbid divorce, some couples opt for a legal separation. A legal separation is viewed by some couples as a “cooling-off period” in a troubled marriage. Whatever the reason, a separation has the benefit of providing a legal framework for both parties in the event that one fails to adhere to the terms of an agreement or support obligations. If one spouse fails to pay child support or alimony, for example, the separation judgment and order(s) will give the recipient spouse the right to have the orders enforced in court, which means a judge can make the delinquent spouse pay. There is no way to enforce the overdue payments if there is no legal separation or separation agreement followed by a court order. When a legal separation or separation orders are in place, the spouse who does not pay can be held in contempt, which can result in fines, penalties, and even jail time. While the spouses try to figure out whether they want to stay married or divorce, a legal separation may provide some stability to a rocky relationship.

Do you require the services of a lawyer?

If you’re being asked to sign a separation agreement, you should seek legal advice to understand the terms and how they affect your rights. Never sign a legal document without first consulting an attorney. If you are seeking legal separation, an experienced family law attorney can assist you in protecting your rights both before and after the separation.

Need a Legal Separation Lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix?

As family court lawyers, we have built a network of Arizona mediators, attorneys, tax specialists, estate planners, financial planners, child specialists, real property appraisers, adult and child therapists and parenting coordinators who are here for you if you ever need them. Our lawyersdivorce mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys in Scottsdale are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and the costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-744-7711 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

What Is a Dissolution of Marriage?

Learn more about marriage dissolution and how it differs from traditional divorce.

What is the definition of a divorce? Is it just another way of saying “divorce”? Yes, in most states, a dissolution simply refers to how a couple can end their marriage permanently. However, in a few states, the procedure is quite different. To learn more, keep reading.

Divorce vs. Dissolution

A dissolution of marriage is not the same as a divorce in a few states because it does not end the marriage permanently. In some states, couples can only use dissolution if they agree to the dissolution and how to resolve all of their divorce-related issues, such as child support, child custody, alimony, and property division.

An annulment, on the other hand, effectively voids (or erases) a couple’s marriage. A legal separation is not the same as dissolution. A legal separation allows a couple to ask the court to determine divorce-related issues like child support and spousal support without legally terminating their marriage for religious or other reasons. The couple is “effectively” divorced if a court approves a legal separation, but neither can remarry until they file for a dissolution.

We’ll concentrate on the more common usage of the term in this article.

What Is a Summary Dissolution and How Does It Work?

In some states, dissolution cases are referred to as “summary dissolution,” which is a type of quick divorce. A signed marital settlement agreement addressing child support, custody, property division, and alimony is presented to the court in a summary dissolution. You both agree to waive a trial or judicial intervention by presenting the signed divorce agreement to the judge. To qualify for this accelerated legal process, couples must meet the state’s requirements for summary dissolution.

  • Couples in California, for example, can use the state’s summary dissolution process if they meet the following criteria:
  • For divorce, both spouses must meet the state’s residency requirements.
  • Both spouses agree on the legal grounds for the request (irreconcilable differences).
  • There are no minor children in the household, and neither spouse is expecting a child.
  • The marriage has lasted less than five years.
  • Neither spouse owns any real estate (except a current residence)
  • The couple has no debts totaling more than $4,000 in their marriage (excluding an automobile note)
  • The couple owns less than $25,000 in community property, and neither spouse owns more than $25,000 in separate property.
  • the couple signs a contract dividing their assets and debts from their marriage
  • Neither party has made a request for spousal support.
  • Both spouses agree to give up their right to appeal, and
  • Both partners agree to end the marriage.
  • The cost of this type of divorce is significantly less than a contested divorce in states that recognize it.

Getting a Lawyer

A divorce can be difficult on many levels because it involves potentially complex and emotionally charged issues like child custody and support, property and debt division, and alimony, among others (also known as “spousal support” or “maintenance”).

As a result, spouses contemplating divorce may wish to seek legal counsel. Each of these legal issues, as well as how they might play out in your case, can be explained by an experienced family law attorney. Also, whether you end up settling all issues with your spouse (outside of court) or going through a full-fledged divorce trial, an attorney can prepare all necessary divorce paperwork and ensure that your rights are fully protected.

Speak With One Of Our Divorce Attorneys In Scottsdale

Canterbury Law Group’s divorce attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale will handle your case with personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, divorce mediationcollaborative divorce, and more.

We are experienced divorce attorneys and will fight for you to get you the best possible outcome. Our law firm will represent you fully in court, so you can get on with your life. Call us today for an initial consultation. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce Frequently Asked Questions & When Is The Right Time To File For Divorce

In Arizona, divorce refers to a legal “dissolution” of marriage. You will go through a procedure in court to formally end your marriage. If you are the one who goes to court for a divorce, you will be identified as the “petitioner.” The other spouse will be identified as the “respondent.” Divorce in Arizona is not the same as in other states. Here are some answers to common questions most people have about divorce in Arizona.

Can I File for Divorce Anytime?

Either you or your spouse must have resided in the state for a minimum of 90 days before filing for a divorce at a local Arizona court. That is a legal requirement.  If there are children, they must typically be in the state for 180 days to vest custody jurisdiction, depending on the facts of the case.

Do I Need a Divorce Attorney?

Technically, you can represent yourself in court. However, it is highly recommended to get your attorney from your local area, like a divorce attorney in Phoenix. If you choose to self-represent, the court will assume that you know all the laws and rules pertaining to your case. You will have to follow court procedures on your own. A judge may disallow you to take certain actions if you do not properly follow court procedure. No one at court will be able to give you legal aid because they are barred by law from doing so.

You can seek legal aid if you cannot afford an attorney for your divorce. You can also petition the court to have the spouse pay for your attorney’s fees if your spouse makes substantially more income than you do.  Every case is unique.  

Do I Need to Give a Reason for Divorce?

Not in Arizona. The state has a so-called “no fault” clause, which means neither party needs to give a reason for the divorce. Moreover, the romantic escapades of Husband or Wife will have no relevance in the underlying dissolution action.  The mere desire to get a divorce is enough. In the court, only one spouse needs to claim that the marriage is “irretrievably broken “to finalize a divorce. The only exception is if the spouses have previously chosen a “covenant marriage”. Then, the petitioning spouse must provide ground or reasons for the divorce under state law.

What are A.R.S. and A.R.F.L.P.?

You will see these acronyms in the papers your divorce lawyer in Scottsdale or elsewhere files. The letters stand for particular legal statutes, or laws, in Arizona. A.R.S. refers to Arizona Revised Statutes, and A.R.F.L.P. refers to Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. You can go to the Arizona court or state websites to get access to these legal documents and rules if needed.  Ideally, you simply hire counsel and let them do their job to advocate for your rights in the underlying divorce.

What Do I Do if My Spouse Doesn’t Want a Divorce?

Too bad.  It’s going to happen anyway.  In cases where a spouse is morally against the divorce from advancing, there is little they can do to stop the case.  At best, the objecting spouse can request the court order a mandatory reconciliation counseling session which typically only pauses the case for 30 to 60 days. If at the end of reconciliation session, the spouses have not come to an agreement to postpone the divorce, the proceedings will go forward. Conciliation meetings are free of charge and rarely derail a case.  

If you have children, then your proceedings will be subject to a wide range of family laws in Arizona. The legal aspects you should consider will depend on the type of custody you seek. For more information, you should contact an attorney in your area.  Your children are your most treasured asset and case strategy and approach to maximize your custody is critical and experienced legal counsel even more important in such instances.  

Divorce is frequently a lengthy and costly process. Court proceedings can take months to complete. Simultaneously, the spouses may not get along and may be going through a difficult emotional period.

Additionally, the spouses may be experiencing financial hardship as a result of the household income being split and the need to support two separate homes. Having a plan in place for when to leave a marriage can help a spouse minimize the financial impact of the divorce. The following are some of the financial factors to consider when planning an exit from a marriage:

Market for Real Estate

If the couple owns a home together, one of the most important factors to consider when deciding when to divorce is the state of the real estate market. To afford smaller, separate spaces, the spouses may have to sell the house and split the proceeds. In contrast, the spouses may agree that one of them should continue to live on the property while the other receives other marital assets to compensate for his or her equity share. This step is best taken when the value of the property is high for the spouse who will receive other property. The spouse who will remain in the home, on the other hand, may prefer to divorce when the real estate market is weak so that he or she will not have to give up as many valuables to the other spouse.

It’s All About the Kids

If the couple has minor children or children who will be financially impacted by the divorce, this is an important factor to consider. A divorce involving minor children is significantly more difficult than a divorce involving no minor children. Lawyers devote more time to preparing arguments about child custody. A parent may also be obligated to pay child support for many years to come. Some states allow child support obligations to continue after the child reaches the age of 18 and may even require financial support while the child attends college. However, getting a divorce while your children are older but still dependent has a financial advantage in that they may be eligible for student loans or grants that they would not have been eligible for in an intact family. Many of these programs only consider the income of the custodial parent when determining financial aid eligibility.

Job Situation

The spouses’ employment status is another important financial consideration. In an ideal world, spouses will divorce when they both earn enough money to support themselves. This, however, is not always the case. It’s possible that a spouse’s hours have recently been reduced. A spouse’s job may have been lost. A person’s job may have been lost due to a sudden illness. When a couple is going through financial difficulties, it’s common for them to have problems in their marriage as well. Waiting for both spouses to regain financial stability or realign their careers may be difficult, but it may be preferable, especially if one spouse is required to pay spousal support to an unemployed or underemployed spouse.

Due to the separation of the spouses and their finances, a divorce often necessitates a slew of changes. One or both spouses may need to purchase new homes, vehicles, or change jobs. The economy can have a direct impact on whether these changes are feasible. If a spouse has been out of work for a long time, it may be difficult for him or her to re-enter the workforce during a downturn.

Divorce can have a negative impact on a person’s credit score. After a divorce, if spouses have neglected their credit, it can have a negative impact on their lives. Good credit is frequently required to purchase a home, rent a property, open a credit card in one’s own name, and in some cases, to obtain employment. If the parties are in a happy place in their relationship even as they consider divorce, they may want to wait a year or two so that they can both work on improving their credit scores before adding the financial strains of divorce. Another option is to try to stay in the same house or drive the same car so that the spouse is not forced to rely on good credit right away.

Income and Assets in the Future

Another factor to consider when deciding on the best financial time to divorce is the possibility of future income or asset acquisition. When deciding how to divide assets between spouses, many states do not consider the future. If a bonus, raise, or inheritance is on the horizon, it may be in the best interests of the spouse who will receive these additional funds to have the divorce finalized before receiving these funds. The other spouse may wish to postpone the divorce until these additional funds are received and can be divided.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Top Reasons for Divorce

Before you consider divorce, be sure to speak to the Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group to discuss your case and options. A divorce lawyer can act as both a legal counselor and sounding board during this life-changing decision. Although there are many variables and unique reasons for divorce, we have included the statistically top reasons people file divorce in the U.S.

  • 1. Lack of communication. A successful relationship requires constant communication. Distance in a marriage is created quickly if you don’t share your feelings.
  • 2. Finances. If money becomes a consistent topic of disagreement, the road to divorce is almost inevitable.
  • 3. Feeling constrained. Some feel that marriage is holding them back from achieving goals and taking opportunities. If your partner can’t support your dreams, then they may not support the marriage.
  • 4. Trust. Trust is one of the leading factors in having a successful relationship and marriage. Your marriage is unlikely to survive if you do not trust your significant other.
  • 5. Expectations from each other. When expectations aren’t met, it can put a huge strain on the relationship.
  • 6. Your spouse doesn’t understand / fulfill your needs and desires. Everyone has different needs and wants. A successful partnership requires going the extra mile to fulfill a spouse’s needs and wants.
  • 7. Religious and cultural differences. Religious beliefs and cultural values can cause conflict, which affects the way you live your life and raise your children. This situation is often a deal breaker.

Consider the three most common reasons for divorce to determine whether or not your marriage can be saved.

Adultery or having an extramarital affair

When one person seeks fulfillment of their physical or sexual needs outside of the relationship, this can spell the end of the relationship. It’s extremely difficult to regain trust after a partner feels betrayed.

Extramarital affairs cause between 20% and 40% of marriages to fail and end in divorce. This is one of the most frequently occurring reasons for divorce. The reasons people cheat are not as black and white as our rage would have us believe.

Along with differences in sexual appetite and a lack of emotional intimacy, anger and resentment are frequently cited as underlying reasons for cheating.

Oftentimes, infidelity begins as an apparently innocent friendship. It begins as an emotional affair and develops into a physical one.

Infidelity is a leading cause of divorce. Apart from living apart for more than a year and subjecting your partner to cruelty, this is also one of the legal grounds for divorce (mental or physical).

Financial difficulties

Money makes people amusing, as the proverb goes, and it is true.

If a couple is not on the same page about how their finances will be handled, it can result in disastrous consequences.

Why is financial incompatibility a leading cause of divorce? According to divorce statistics, a “final straw” reason for divorce is a lack of financial compatibility, which accounts for nearly 41% of divorces.

Everything from divergent spending habits and financial goals to one spouse earning significantly more money than the other can wreak havoc on a marriage. Additionally, differences in the amount of money each partner brings to the marriage can result in power struggles between the couple.

Money has a profound effect on everything. It has an effect on people’s lives. Clearly, money and stress appear to be inextricably linked for many couples.

Financial difficulties are one of the leading causes of divorce, second only to infidelity as the primary reason for divorce.

Inadequate communication

Communication is critical in marriage, and an inability to communicate effectively and quickly results in resentment and frustration on both sides, negatively affecting all aspects of the marriage.

On the other hand, effective communication is the bedrock of a healthy marriage. When two people share a life together, they must be able to communicate their needs and understand and attempt to meet their partner’s.

Yelling at your spouse, not conversing enough throughout the day, and making derogatory remarks to express yourself are all unhealthy modes of communication that should be abandoned in a marriage.

Additionally, when couples stop communicating with one another, they can feel isolated and lonely and eventually lose interest in one another. This can result in the relationship’s demise.

Poor communication is one of the leading causes of divorce in 65 percent of cases.

While practicing mindful communication to correct age-old marriage mistakes can be challenging, the effort required to improve and save your relationship is well worth it.

Whether you are considering filing for divorce or you’ve already been served with a divorce petition, it is critical to speak with an attorney immediately to assess your legal rights and take the necessary steps to protect them. Delay may result in limiting your options. Every situation is unique and our attorneys are well equipped to provide you with the tools to make the best decision that suits your particular situation. Hit the ground running on your marital dissolution and consult with the legal professionals at www.canterburylawgroup.com or call 480-744-7711.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

Divorce Advantages and Disadvantages

Divorce Advantages and Disadvantages

While couples exchange wedding vows with the intention of making a lifetime commitment, there may come a time when the marriage is better off ending. When contemplating divorce, it’s critical to weigh the benefits and drawbacks for yourself, your spouse, and your children. Divorce financially and emotionally divides a family, which may improve life for everyone or create new problems. Before you file for divorce, weigh the benefits and drawbacks for everyone involved.

Disadvantage: Negative Effects on Children

Divorce has an effect on more than just the couple divorcing; it also has an effect on the children. A disadvantage is that it will have a detrimental effect on children. According to the University of Massachusetts Lowell, researchers and psychologists agree that divorce can have a negative effect on toddlers and teenagers. Toddlers frequently believe they are to blame for the divorce, while teenagers may feel pressured to choose between the two parents. A divorced child may develop commitment issues and self-doubt regarding his ability to marry. Some individuals may also experience depression as a result of their family’s disintegration.

The disadvantage is that it has a psychological effect on adults.

A counter-argument to divorce is that it has a detrimental effect on a couple’s psychological health. According to Arizona State University, “divorce has been ranked as the number one life stressor.” Adults can experience a negative psychological balance, which may manifest as elevated levels of anxiety, unhappiness, or depression. As a result, divorce can have a detrimental effect on your psychological and emotional well-being, which can last for the rest of your life.

Disadvantage Divorce is costly.

Although not every divorce must cost $30,000 and last months of wrangling, conflict, and heartbreaking betrayal, the reality is that some do.

Advantage: Children’s Impact

Divorce has previously been identified as a disadvantage for children. There is, however, an advantage to a child’s parents divorcing. A child who has been through divorce may mature more quickly and acquire responsibility at a younger age. If a child’s father leaves and she has younger siblings, she may be forced to share parenting responsibilities with her mother. This exposure will instill in her a sense of responsibility that will benefit her in other areas of her life. Additionally, children benefit from divorce if their parents’ marriage is fraught with conflict. Children should not be exposed to parents who argue and criticize one another.

Advantage: Personal Development

A benefit of divorce is the personal growth that occurs as a result of the event. Individuals who have been divorced report a greater sense of autonomy and personal growth than married individuals. This is because divorced individuals must develop self-sufficiency and learn to deal with the pressures of daily life on their own. Individuals can develop personal skills following divorce that will enable them to work toward a higher quality of life for themselves and their children.

You Can Meet New People As An Advantage

Whether you married young and fell out of love, or you waited a while before tying the knot and feel settled, there are an infinite number of reasons to seek a divorce. One significant reason is a sense that the love between you and your spouse is simply not there. An amicable divorce is a reasonable option that enables you to rebuild a healthy, fulfilling life with a new partner.

Need a Divorce Lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix?

As proven legal counsel in family court, we have a network of Arizona attorneys, expert witnesses, mediators, tax specialists, estate planners, financial planners, child specialists, real property appraisers, adult and child therapists and parenting coordinators who are here for you if you ever need them. Our lawyersdivorce mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys in Scottsdale are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and the costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-744-7711 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

How to Divorce Without Going to Court

How to Divorce Without Going to Court

Learn about the techniques that can assist you avoid having to appear in court throughout your divorce.

Divorce Alternatives to the Traditional Process

Let’s start with a disclaimer: while some states enable you to acquire a divorce ruling without ever entering a courtroom, others require you to appear in front of a judge. However, if you can settle your disputes ahead of time, your court appearance will only take a few minutes, rather than the hours or even days that a contested divorce trial will take. You and your spouse can try to resolve your differences on your own, or you can use one of the Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques (ADR).

Solving Problems by Yourself

If you and your husband are on friendly terms, you might list your marital concerns and try to come to an agreement on each one. It’s a good idea to do some preliminary research on the topics you’ll be discussing so you don’t forget anything. Divorce concerns typically include any or all of the following:

  • partition of assets and debts
  • spousal support or alimony
  • child custody, as well as
  • support for children

You should have a divorce lawyer formalize your settlement by producing a Property Settlement Agreement once you’ve reached an agreement on all of your divorce-related concerns (also known as a Marital Settlement Agreement). In addition to the terms you’ve agreed to, this will usually include significant legal clauses. Keep in mind, however, that you and your spouse cannot employ the same lawyer; you should both have your own counsel evaluate the contract on your behalf.

Choosing a Mediator for Your Divorce

Mediation is a prominent ADR technique. Mediators are qualified professionals who assist spouses in resolving their conflicts (usually lawyers or child custody experts). The couple will prepare material and documents (such as tax records) ahead of time and meet with the mediator as many times as required to reach an agreement. The idea is to limit the parameters of the settlement to a written agreement.

Mediation is usually less stressful than going through a contested divorce. Sessions are usually held in the mediator’s office and are relatively informal. Although the couple can have attorneys present, it is not needed, which adds to the mediation’s cost-effectiveness. (Having attorneys there can actually be unhelpful at times, especially if the attorney is confrontational.) You will have to pay the mediator, although this is normally split between the parties.

Divorce Through Collaboration

Another type of ADR is collaborative divorce. The purpose is similar to mediation in that it is to establish an agreement, but it is structured differently.

A mediator or other third party is not involved in a collaborative divorce. Rather, each couple has an attorney and participates in “four-way” meetings in order to establish an agreement. Collaborative law attorneys often have specialized training in this area. In order to keep them focused on the settlement, most—if not all—states prohibit them from representing the spouses in future court cases if the negotiations fail.

Collaborative law is based on the concept of working as a “team.” To establish an agreement, all players are required to work together. Any professionals involved in the process (such as accountants, property appraisers, and child psychologists if there is a custody dispute) must be impartial and accepted by both parties.

If you’d rather have an attorney represent you throughout the settlement process, you’re more likely to choose collaborative divorce over mediation. But keep in mind that if you can’t come to an agreement, you’ll have to start the entire divorce procedure over with new lawyers. This could result in a huge increase in costs, as these new lawyers will have to learn the case from the ground up.

Arbitration in Divorce

Divorce arbitration is another weapon in the ADR toolbox, and it’s frequently used by couples who don’t think they’ll be able to settle their disagreement but want someone to make a decision outside of the traditional court system. Unlike mediation and collaborative divorce, arbitration’s purpose is for the arbitrator to decide the case and give a ruling, similar to what a court would do after a trial. (Divorce arbitration may not be available in all states; consult a local attorney to see if it is used in your area.)

The advantages of arbitration versus a court trial are numerous. The arbiter is chosen by you and your spouse. You cannot choose your judge in court. You can also choose to relax the standard rules of proof. For example, rather of having a witness attend in person, you can agree to accept the presentation of a witness’s sworn written statement. You’ll also collaborate to define the dates, times, and length of your arbitration sessions. That’s a luxury you won’t find in court, where disputed divorces can drag on for over a year and you can waste hours each time you go waiting for a judge to show up.

The most significant disadvantage of arbitration is that the judgement is final and binding. You usually can’t appeal unless the arbitrator is acting improperly. With a court trial, it’s nearly a given that you’ll be able to appeal. You’ll also have to pay the arbiter in addition to your lawyers. This can be costly, especially in complex circumstances.

Is it necessary for you to appear in court?

You must submit a divorce petition or complaint with the court to formally end the marriage, even if your case has been settled. The divorce is usually based on no-fault grounds (reasons), such as “irreconcilable disagreements,” by whichever partner files the case. You must submit the relevant papers and forms in states that do not require a court presence. These are frequently seen on the court’s website. A judge will approve the settlement and issue a final divorce judgment if everything is in order.

If your state needs a court appearance, you’ll notify the court clerk that your divorce case has been resolved once you’ve completed the initial divorce filing process. The case will be marked “uncontested,” and you will be given an expedited court date. In most cases, you’ll appear in front of a judge for around fifteen minutes, verifying the grounds for the divorce and answering basic questions about the settlement agreement. Again, the court’s website is likely to provide useful procedural information.

Regardless of which path you choose for your divorce, you should seek the advice of an expert family law attorney who can assist you throughout the process.

Need a Divorce Lawyer in Scottsdale or Phoenix?

As proven legal counsel in family court, we have a network of Arizona attorneys, expert witnesses, mediators, tax specialists, estate planners, financial planners, child specialists, real property appraisers, adult and child therapists and parenting coordinators who are here for you if you ever need them. Our lawyersdivorce mediators and collaborative divorce attorneys in Scottsdale are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and the costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-744-7711 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custodylegal guardianshippaternityprenuptial agreements, and more.

*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.

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