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FACED WITH DIVORCE?
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There is life after divorce. The divorce process can be lonely and intimidating and is one of the hardest family law issues you will face. Your lawyer should offer you every option and help you stay in control over decisions made about your life. If you have explored the option of Collaborative Divorce and don't feel it will work for you, let's explore how we can help you get through the dissolution of your marriage.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does the Divorce Process Work in Arizona?
- Summons: This tells the other party when they must respond and what has been filed against them. This summons starts the legal deadline ticking for a Response to be filed.
- The Preliminary Injunction: A Preliminary Injunction binds you as soon as you file it, and the other party once they are served. The Preliminary Injunction says that you cannot take your children from the State of Arizona, you cannot dispose of assets and you cannot hide or conceal assets or cash, among other items.
- The Notice of Health Care Rights: You are entitled to remain on your spouse’s insurance policy until the divorce is finalized.
- The Notice to Creditors: This allows you to obtain a copy of your spouse’s credit report.
- A Notice to Attend Parent Information Program: If you are in any case involving children, then you must attend a Parent Information Program class. Some of those classes are available online.
After the Petition is filed, a copy of the petition must be served by a process server or by acceptance of service to the other spouse. If the spouse who was served with divorce papers lives in Arizona, that spouse has 20 days to file a written response. If the spouse lives outside the state, they will have 30 days to respond.
If the spouse being served does not live in Arizona, it is important that the spouse has substantial connections to the state. If a person who is served does not have sufficient ties to that state, the court will lack personal jurisdiction to handle any other matter besides child custody and the dissolution of the marriage. Lack of personal jurisdiction means that the court cannot make any determinations of child support, alimony, payment of attorneys’ fees, or the division of assets if the spouse being served does not have proper ties to Arizona. Any divorce decree made by a court without proper jurisdiction may be overturned, according to the Arizona Supreme Court in Schilz v. Superior Court.
Once the proper paperwork is filed for the divorce, either party can petition the court to schedule a Temporary Orders Hearing. These hearings can be used to accomplish a number of things, including custody orders, alimony, child support, payment of debt or attorneys’ fees, or even determining which spouse can use vehicles or homes. However, like the name suggests, these orders are only temporary. Once a final divorce decree is signed by the court, any Temporary Orders made during the case will be set aside and the divorce decree will become the final authority.
Before setting a Temporary Orders Hearing, a court will normally require both spouses to attend a Resolution Management Conference (RMC). This conference allows the judge to see what the parties agree on and what issues still need to be settled. The court will often send the parties to mediation if he thinks they can work out their differences, or he may order a Temporary Orders Hearing after the RMC. The judge may want to follow up the RMC with a status conference to determine if the parties were able to resolve their differences. Once the issues have been narrowed down, the court will set a trial date. After trial, the judge has 60 days to issue a final ruling on the case.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for My Divorce Case?
To make matters worse, a court may impose sanctions on you if you fail to follow all the appropriate rules when representing yourself. Sanctions mean that the court may deny you the use of certain witnesses or exhibits, and they may even prevent you from presenting some claims or issues at trial. The best way to avoid these pitfalls is by hiring a licensed Arizona family law attorney. These attorneys work with divorces every day and have mastered the appropriate rules and laws for your case, making them an extremely valuable asset in settling your divorce.
What Requirements Must I Meet to File for a Divorce?
When filing for divorce in Arizona, you must first file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and the accompanying documents. The petition must be notarized before you can file it, and all the documents must also be served on your spouse. If your spouse also lives in Arizona, they have 20 days to file an answer. They will have 30 days to respond if they live outside the state. If there are any defects in the filing or serving of the documents, any orders made by the court may become either void or voidable, depending on the seriousness of the defect.
Do I Need to Show Any Reasons for Filing a Divorce?
Will Adultery Affect My Divorce?
Can the Court Order My Spouse to Pay My Attorneys’ Fees?
Where Do I Go to File for Divorce?
Who Will Get Custody of My Children During the Divorce?
Many times, one parent will prevent their spouse from seeing their children by withholding them without consent. Judges, however, do not look at this type of conduct very favorably. In fact, some judges will even see this behavior as reason to make the spouse who does not withhold children the primary residential parent. If you and your spouse are unable to reach a parenting time agreement on your own, you will want to file a Motion for Temporary Orders Hearing. In this hearing, the court will make a temporary determination of when each parent receives parenting time during the divorce process.
If there is a question as to whether the father is the biological father of a child born during the marriage, it is important to address this concern at the start of the divorce. The law will automatically presume that the married husband is the father of the child. If this is not the first issue that you address during your divorce, the court may preclude you from contesting the issue later in the trial.
Are There Any Advantages to Filing for Divorce Before My Spouse Files?
Additionally, the Petitioner will have an opportunity to present additional evidence at trial after the Respondent has concluded their case. This opportunity for the Petitioner to present rebuttal evidence is sometimes seen as a tactical advantage, because the Petitioner gets to give the last words on the matter before the judge makes their decision. Many attorneys can take advantage of this opportunity to present a compelling argument to the judge that will not be addressed by the other party. While this minor advantage is worth mentioning, you should not rush to get a divorce simply for the opportunity to give rebuttal. If there is any chance of reconciliation in your marriage, wait to see an attorney until you are absolutely sure that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
I am married in Arizona but I want to obtain an annulment. How do I file for annulment?
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Peaceful Family Law was founded in 2009 with a desire to ensure the institution of family was preserved in times of conflict. Jennifer Moshier was one of the first trained collaborative law attorneys in Arizona.
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