Divorce is a major life-changing event and can be devastating and traumatic for a family. If there are children involved, the divorce can have profound impacts on them, which they will carry with them their entire lives. However, if a divorcing spouse has a basic understanding of what the divorce process in Arizona will entail, he/she will likely feel a sense of comfort and be able to pass that on to the children.
- A divorce action is commenced in Arizona upon the filing of a Petition for Dissolution. The Petition will include the filing spouse’s general positions relative to custody, division of assets and debts, financial support and attorney fees. The Petition for Dissolution must then be served upon the other spouse, who will have 20 days to file a Response.Once the initial pleadings have been filed, the next phase of a divorce begins. During the discovery phase, both spouses are required to disclose certain documentation that can be reviewed by the attorneys in order to make an assessment of what assets and debts exist and their respective values. In addition, formal discovery requests may be issued in this phase. Again, responses to discovery requests are primarily utilized by the attorneys to make an assessment of what and how assets and debts should be divided between the spouses. The discovery phase may also include depositions and requests for documentation issued directly to third parties.How long does a divorce take?In Arizona, a divorce can take anywhere from six months to one year to complete. This can be a difficult and unstable time for families because there are not yet orders in place relative to contact with the children, financial support and temporary possession of certain assets, including vehicles and the marital residence. Therefore, a spouse who needs assistance with these issues during the divorce process can file a Motion for Temporary Orders. Once this motion is filed, temporary orders can typically be issued by the court within 60-90 days and will stay in place until final orders are issued by the court or agreed upon between the spouses.
Once the discovery process has been completed, then the attorneys and spouses can engage in settlement negotiations. There are several methods that can be used to negotiate and, hopefully, resolve a matter without costly, time consuming and emotionally tolling litigation. Depending on the facts and complexity of the matter, settlement negotiations can take place in correspondence between the attorneys, an in-person mediation through the court or during a private mediation. In the event that the spouses are able to negotiate an agreement, then the agreement will be incorporated into a final Decree of Dissolution, Property Settlement and Joint Parenting Plan.
In cases where the spouses are unable to resolve some or all of the issues, it will be necessary to attend a trial where the judge will hear testimony from witnesses and review evidence. Ultimately, the court will issue the final orders for any matters that the spouses were unable to resolve amongst themselves. Once a trial is completed, the judge has up to 60 days to issue a ruling that sets forth the final orders. In some cases, the judge’s ruling is the final Decree of Dissolution. In other cases, the court directs one of the attorneys to draft a Decree of Dissolution that incorporates the rulings.
Whether a divorce case settles or proceeds to trial, it is critical to have an experienced attorney on your side who can protect your rights and advise you as to what you may be entitled to under Arizona law.
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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 lawyers, divorce 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 custody, legal guardianship, paternity, prenuptial 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.