Glendale Divorce Attorney
Mark Twain once said, “To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.” Unfortunately, when someone finds another person to share their lives with, it often does not work out, and they end up dividing their assets and liabilities rather than their joy.
If you and your partner are getting a divorce, you will need a trained Glendale, AZ, attorney to assist you with getting your fair share of the assets from the marriage. A Family Law Attorney in Glendale can also help you work out a child custody arrangement, make sure the proper amount of child support is paid, and help you figure out if alimony needs to be paid.
Requirements to Start the Divorce Process in Arizona
A married couple can get divorced in Arizona if one or both of them want to end the marriage. One person must have resided in Arizona for at least 90 days.
Although it is not a requirement, it is a good idea to talk to a marriage counselor before you divorce. Marriage counselors do more than just save marriages; they can make the separation process easier for divorcing couples. Therapy will make everything go more smoothly as you go through the divorce process.
People who do not legally separate often change their minds after filing for divorce. It costs $359 to file a petition for divorce or separation in the state of Arizona. You will lose that money if you decide to get back together. Only about 10% to 15% of people who separate get back together. If you go to therapy before you file paperwork, you can save yourself money. You are less likely to change your mind if you talk everything through first.
Is Separation Required?
No. The state of Arizona does not require that you have to be separated to file for divorce. Technically, you and your spouse can live together until the day you receive your divorce decree if you and your spouse decide that you want to live separately before or instead of divorcing.
Legal separation can give you a good idea of what your life will be like if your marriage ends. You will have time to yourself to think about your marriage.
You will have plenty of time to work things through with a marriage counselor. If your religion forbids divorce and you no longer want to live together, legal separation can be a viable alternative.
How Legal Separation Works in Glendale, AZ
The process for legally separating from someone is very similar to the process of getting a divorce. The main difference is you will still technically be married after the process is through.
If one party in a relationship does not want to legally separate and their mate does not want to live with them, the petition to legally separate will be changed to a petition to dissolve by the court.
There are several parts to the divorce process in Arizona. Our Glendale divorce lawyer will help you every step of the way.
Gather Your Evidence
The first thing you should do is get all of your paperwork together. You will need documentation of all assets and liabilities that you have acquired during a marriage. When you come into our office for your consultation, we would like to see:
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- Car Titles
- Auto loan papers
- 401k statements
- Tax returns from all years married
- Marriage License
Meet With Our Lawyer
If you are getting a divorce, you need an attorney, even if you think you can handle everything yourself. Divorce is something most people will only go through once, if at all. You may think that you and your partner agree on everything when you begin, only to find there are some things you have not taken into consideration. As you begin to divide your assets, conflicts can come up.
There may be a discrepancy that will come up as you are dividing your assets. You might think you agree on child support, only to find that there were some expenses you forgot to consider.
Most importantly, if your partner has an attorney, it is very important to have representation of your own. You want to have all of the advantages that your partner does.
Petition for Dissolution
The first thing you will do when you want to divorce or legally separate is to fill out a petition with the courts. You should file with a court in Maricopa County.
All divorce forms in the country ask for a reason for divorce. In the state of Arizona, the only option is “irretrievably broken/irreconcilable differences.”
Even if your relationship with your spouse is amicable, one party must file the petition, and the other person must be served with papers. The person who files the petition will be known as the petitioner, and the other person is called the respondent.
The dissolution petition is very detailed. You must list requests for every detail of the divorce, including:
- Property division
- Spousal maintenance
- Attorney’s fees and costs.
- Child custody and visitation
- Child support
Meet With Your Attorney
Bring all your paperwork to the first meeting with your attorney. They will want to know what they are up against before beginning work on your case.
If you are getting a divorce, you need a family lawyer in Glendale. Family law lawyers are used to negotiating with each other. They will leave emotions out of it and work to create a deal that is fair to you.
Serving the Papers
The petitioner is responsible for serving papers to their spouse. The spouse will be known as the respondent. If you can get your spouse to sign a waiver of service, you can just file the paperwork directly with the court. You can also have a summons server or the sheriff serve the papers. Our law office has relationships with several summons servers who can do this for you.
Respondents who live in Arizona have 20 days to file a response, and those who live outside of the state will have 30 days to respond.
Contested Versus Uncontested Divorce
In some cases, a couple may have so few assets that it is not worth it for them to argue over them. In other cases, a couple may get along very well and divide things up evenly between them.
If one of the respondents disagrees with one of the proposed terms of the divorce, they will respond to the summons by contesting it. A contested divorce will go to trial, and a judge will rule on the terms of the divorce.
If a respondent does not respond in the allotted amount of time, the courts will grant the divorce with the proposed terms.
Covenant Marriage Contested Divorce
As a rule, anyone who wants a divorce can get one if they live in the United States. The terms of the divorce may be contested, but the divorce itself cannot be. Covenant marriages are an exception to this rule. Only three states have covenant marriages, and Arizona is one of them.
Covenant marriage was legalized in Red Rock State in 1998. A couple must meet certain requirements before they marry, and certain conditions need to take place for a couple to divorce.
Many denominations of the Christian faith believe that marriage is forever. Hence, divorce is forbidden. Covenant marriage mandated that before marrying, a couple must agree to go to marriage counseling and make a declaration of intentions stating that they understand marriage is a lifetime commitment. They will have to have a notarized statement from a clergyperson stating that they have been consulted on the sanctity of marriage.
A couple has a specific waiting period before they can part ways. They must go through counseling. They can only divorce if there has been abandonment, adultery, or if they have lived apart for two years. Drug addiction and abuse are also grounds for divorce in a covenant marriage.
If you are in Glendale, Arizona, and you want out of a covenant marriage, Cosmas Onyia can help you. He will research your case and tell you what documentation you need to end your marriage.
Temporary Orders and Preliminary Injunctions
Some situations call for temporary orders during divorce proceedings. The court may put stipulations on the divorcing couple, such as if alimony will be paid and who the kids will live with.
Preliminary Injunctions forbid the parties that are going through a divorce from taking certain actions, such as taking a child across state lines, without the permission of the court. It forbids taking out loans and hiding assets. All family law lawyers will tell you it is extremely important not to violate the preliminary injunction. If you do, it can be used against you when it comes to making a child custody arrangement.
If a divorce is contested, the case will go into the discovery phase before it goes to trial. The two parties will share evidence and information.
The ex-spouses can send one another interrogatories through their attorneys at this point. Interrogatories are simply a list of questions. You can request documents from your spouse during this phase, such as bank statements and lists of assets.
Discovery is another point in a divorce where an attorney is essential. An attorney can subpoena records for you that you would not be able to get on your own.
A deposition is a part of this phase of the proceedings. During a deposition, the attorneys will be able to question witnesses. They may include you, your spouse, and your friends and family members. They will also get to question expert witnesses if it is necessary.
After the discovery phase, your attorney and your spouse’s attorney will try to negotiate with one another to come up with a settlement that will work for both of you. There will probably be several negotiations before they can create a perfect settlement for you.
The vast majority of disputed divorces are settled during the negotiation phase. No one wants to go to court.
Attorneys will often use a mediator to settle disputes. Sometimes this is done at the behest of a judge, and sometimes attorneys will take the initiative to get a mediator on their own. Settling things before going to court can save you money and your attorney stress.
Your attorney can tell you if the settlement offer is fair. They will guide you every step of the way.
A mediator in a divorce case is not cheap. The cost of mediation may be between $3000 and $8000.
If the parties cannot settle, the case will go to court. There will be a trial in front of a judge. Juries do not sit for divorce cases in the state of Arizona.
Court cases are long and expensive. Any Glendale divorce lawyer will work hard to avoid going to court as it is often not in the best interest of either party. Divorce cases are expensive.
Children of the couple may need to testify and testifying against a parent can be traumatic for them. Mutual friends of the couple are forced to take sides in a divorce trial and those friends might become alienated from the member of the couple they had to testify against.
Cosmas Onyia is an experienced litigator who will argue passionately for you in court. He knows just what judges look for in divorce trials and is familiar with each of the judges in Maricopa County divorce court.
Expenses Associated with a Divorce Trial
Divorce cases only go to trial when there is a great deal of money at stake. This is because of all the expenses associated with it. In addition to court costs and filing fees, you may have to pay for:
- Expert witnesses
- Travel expenses
- Administrative costs ( Copies and government records.)
- Private investigator fees.
What are some examples of community property?
The term Community property refers to any asset obtained during a marriage. Both parties have a legal right to this property. Arizona is a community property state, so all assets acquired during the marriage are considered community property. Examples would include:
- IRAs and 401ks
If a person inherits money or receives property as a gift, it will normally not be considered part of the community property.
Is Common Law Marriage Legal in Arizona?
In some states, couples that have lived together for a certain number of years can claim they are common-law spouses. However, common-law marriages are not valid in Arizona. You cannot use the court system to separate your assets if you have not been legally wed.
What if I don’t know where my spouse is?
You can still get a divorce even if you do not know where your spouse is. You will file for a dissolution of marriage with the courts and have your partner served to their last known address. If they do not respond within 20 to 30 days, the divorce is granted by default.
Why You Should Hire Us
When you Google family law attorney Phoenix, Arizona, many names will appear. Cosmas Onyia has been a Family Law Attorney in Glendale, handling Arizona divorce cases for almost 20 years. He knows all divorces are unique, and he listens to the concerns of his clients. Give us a call today.