Whether you’re thinking about getting divorce or have been served with a divorce petition, you’ll need to talk to an attorney who understands family law. Decisions made during a divorce, or dissolution of marriage, can affect a family, including any children of a divorcing couple, far into the future. Some divorces are amicable, but in many cases, there are heated disputes about one or more issues including property division, child support, child custody, parenting time, and spousal maintenance. If you are contemplating a permanent separation from your spouse or need to respond to your spouse’s divorce paperwork, call the experienced Phoenix divorce attorney Angela Duhon.Arizona Divorce
Divorce is a legal procedure that terminates a marriage. It allows the spouses opportunities to make a number of different decisions about what their family’s future will look like including where they’ll live, how to arrange spousal maintenance, the right to divide marital assets and debts, and future care and custody. After the dissolution, each spouse is able to marry somebody new.
You or your spouse needs to have lived in Arizona for at least 90 days before filing for divorce in the state. The respondent spouse has 20 days from the date of service to file a written response with the court. Service can be waived if the other spouse signs and notarizes an Acceptance of Service. The petition and response constitute the initial family court pleadings.
Contested divorces are those in which a spouse contests the other’s petition for dissolution. If our Phoenix lawyer contests the divorce petition on your behalf, a response is filed with the court. Typically, discovery is conducted and then the attorneys try to work out a marital settlement agreement. However, if we’re unable to reach a marital settlement agreement about one or more issues, a trial will occur.
In the event that the parties agree about every issue in the case, including custody and spousal maintenance, the parties can file a consent decree. If a petition is filed and served on the other spouse, but the other spouse doesn’t respond, the petitioning spouse can ask for a default.
Generally, when spouses have been married for a brief period of time and don’t have children, and have few debts or little property, their divorces can be accomplished more efficiently and in a shorter span of time. However, when spouses have had a long marriage and have minor children and notable assets and debt, their divorces can take a while, particularly if there are disputes about how to address these matters.Property Division
In Arizona, property is divided according to community property rules. There is a presumption that all assets and debts accumulated while a couple is married are community or marital property; they belong equally to both spouses. During divorce, your assets and debts will be divided by the court. However, our Phoenix lawyer may be able to reach a divorce settlement agreement on your behalf. Marital property division need not be perfectly equal, but it is usually about equal. Separate property include property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage and property acquired by gift or inheritance by either spouse before or during the marriage. It can also include property or assets covered by a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
When a spouse mixes separate property with community property, her separate property usually stops being separate and is considered part of the marital estate. For instance, if a spouse who is the sole owner of separate vacation homes changes the title, the court can look at this as proof the spouse gifted the vacation house to the marital estate. Sometimes property is a mix of community and separate property, such as funds earned both before and during the marriage. There is an exception to the general rule that property should be divided equally if a spouse commits waste of marital assets.Retain a Phoenix Divorce Lawyer
Whether you’re filing for or responding to an Arizona petition for dissolution, you should discuss the circumstances with a seasoned Phoenix divorce attorney. Call Ms. Duhon at (602) 699-4949 or via our online form.