What Happens During a Divorce in Arizona
For most couples, a divorce isn’t something that’s decided overnight. Instead, the decision to divorce comes slowly. Couples may notice they have less and less in common or that they fight more and more.
Sometimes, couples may choose to separate before they finalize their divorce. Others may continue to live together for a while after their decision has been made. It’s important to know that while divorce looks different for every couple, the divorce process is fairly straightforward.
Getting Started With Your Divorce
Once you and your partner decide to separate, it’s important to visit an attorney’s office. In some states, you need to declare your intention to separate before you are able to file for divorce.
The waiting period for a divorce varies in each state. Your attorney can advise you as to the regulations in your state. In some places, you and your partner will need to be legally separated for one year before you can file for a divorce, so make sure you visit your attorney’s office promptly to start that separation period. Arizona does not have a waiting period before you may file for a divorce.
Finding a Good Divorce Attorney
If you and your partner are in agreement about the decision to get divorced and about how you’ll divide assets, you may be able to have one attorney draft the settlement documents and have an attorney for the other spouse review those documents.
If, however, you cannot agree about the decision to get divorced or you aren’t sure how you’ll divide your assets, having separate attorneys who can represent you will be important.
Completing the Divorce Paperwork
One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is filing paperwork. You may be surprised at just how much paperwork you and your partner need to do in order to terminate your relationship. In addition to filing the divorce paperwork with your attorney, you may also need to complete paperwork at your banks, with your credit card company, and even with your health insurance company in order to fully separate your lives.
If you plan to change your name after the divorce, you’ll need to complete paperwork for legally changing your name, as well as apply for new forms of identification, such as a driver’s license and social security card.
Making Important Financial Decisions
You and your partner will have some financial decisions to make. Ideally, you’ll decide how to separate your finances together, but this isn’t always possible. During a divorce, you may find that your emotions are running high.
Maybe the two of you are fighting a lot. Perhaps you’re having trouble getting along. You may not be able to stand to be in the same room as one another, much less discussing your financial future. If this is the case, making decisions about how you’ll divide your monetary assets can be tricky. In some cases, a judge will need to decide for you.
Dividing Your Assets in a Divorce
When you and your partner divorce, you’ll need to divide your assets. This doesn’t just include major possessions, such as your home or car. When you divide your assets, you’ll also have to choose who gets your wedding album or your favorite set of skis. You’ll discuss who gets that painting you bought on your first anniversary or the ornamental wedding China.
This can be a complicated and tricky process. Try to stay calm when you’re discussing the division of assets. Remember that you are each entitled to your fair share of the belongings. If talking just isn’t possible, consider meeting with a mediation specialist who can help guide you during this time.
A mediator can help you and your partner calmly evaluate your preferences when it comes to your belongings. They’ll help you make reasonable decisions that will best benefit both of you.
Court Dates in a Divorce
Sometimes, a divorce can’t be settled out of court. If you and your partner simply cannot make choices together or if you have minor children living with you, you may need to go to court. You’ll meet with a judge who will make some of these tough decisions for you.
A judge will decide who gets which items. The judge will also determine whether one of you will get alimony. They’ll decide who needs to pay child support and how much those payments will be. The judge will also decide who will retain custody of the children.
Hire the Right Divorce Attorney
Whether you were married for five weeks, five years, or fifty years, divorce can be a difficult process. The right family law or divorce attorney can help make things a little easier, though.
When you and your partner are ready to separate, make sure you schedule a consultation with an attorney who can help. The right lawyer will guide you every step of the way and make sure your divorce is as seamless as possible.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about what happens during a divorce in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about divorce laws in Arizona. Chris is a divorce attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce.