Getting Divorced in 2024: What Arizona Residents Need to Know

by | Feb 1, 2024 | Divorce

If you are planning for a divorce in 2024, learning what you can expect along the way will help you feel more comfortable and confident in your decision-making. While starting the process can be stressful (and often emotional), getting ready in advance can help the process go smoothly.

So, what should you know if you are preparing for a divorce in Arizona? Here are some tips from Arizona divorce lawyer Adam Weingart:

You Don’t Need a Specific Reason to File for Divorce

In Arizona, you don’t need a specific reason to file for divorce. Arizona is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means that either spouse can file for divorce based on “irreconcilable differences.” If you’ve decided that it’s time to bring your marriage to an end, this is enough to file a divorce petition in the Arizona courts.

What if your spouse has cheated on you or is incarcerated, or what if you are a victim of domestic abuse? While these factors can impact the divorce process in various ways, you will still file for divorce based on irreconcilable differences. While Arizona used to have a fault-based divorce law, laws that require fault present additional (and unnecessary) challenges. So, regardless of your circumstances, filing based on irreconcilable differences is your best (and only) option in Arizona.

Divorcing Spouses in Arizona Will Usually Divide Their Marital Assets 50-50

Arizona law requires that spouses “equitably” divide their marital assets during the divorce process. For most couples, this means finding a way to divide their marital assets 50-50.

However, dividing your marital assets 50-50 doesn’t necessarily mean splitting everything down the middle. While splitting some assets (i.e., savings accounts) might make sense, splitting other assets (i.e., homes and vehicles) isn’t really feasible. As a result, to effect a 50-50 split (or any other split that is equitable under the circumstances), divorcing spouses will often agree to give up their rights in certain assets in exchange for exclusive ownership of others. For example, if you and your spouse have two cars of relatively equal value, rather than selling them and splitting the proceeds, you and your spouse could agree that you will each keep one car after your divorce.

Separate Assets Aren’t Subject to Division During the Divorce Process

While marital assets are subject to division during the divorce process in Arizona, separate assets are not. Assets can be classified as “separate” for various reasons, with the most common reason being that an asset was acquired before the date of marriage.

If you have separate assets, these assets are yours to keep in your divorce. Of course, the same applies to your spouse. However, there are exceptions, and assets that were once separate can become classified as marital in various circumstances. With all of that said, if you and your spouse have a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, then the terms of your agreement will likely govern the division of all of your property.

Arizona’s Child Support Guidelines and “Best Interests” Factors Will Play Central Roles in Your Child-Related Decision-Making

If you and your spouse have minor children from your marriage, you will need to address child support and child custody during your divorce. Both of these are subject to specific rules and requirements under Arizona law.

For example, divorcing spouses must calculate child support by the Arizona Child Support Guidelines in most cases. These guidelines take into account income, child-related expenses, and various other factors to determine each parent’s financial responsibility post-divorce. Regarding child custody, divorcing parents must develop their custody arrangements following Arizona’s “best interests” factors. While divorcing parents have a significant amount of flexibility to develop mutually agreeable parenting plans, their plans must ultimately focus on what is best for their children.

Alimony is Available in Some (But Not All) Cases

While addressing child support and child support is mandatory (if you have minor children from your marriage), alimony isn’t awarded in all cases. To determine whether an alimony (or “maintenance”) award is appropriate, divorcing spouses must work with their lawyers to evaluate the maintenance factors listed in the Arizona Statutes.

When an alimony award is appropriate, dividing the spouses’ marital assets and establishing alimony will often go hand-in-hand. Divorcing spouses have a significant amount of flexibility here as well—and the key is to arrive at a final resolution that comprehensively addresses all relevant property-related and financial concerns.

You Have Options if You and Your Spouse Have Trouble Coming to Terms

When going through the divorce process, you and your spouse may encounter issues that you struggle to resolve amicably. If this happens, you will have various options available.
In many cases, resolving these types of issues is simply a matter of seeing eye-to-eye. If your lawyer can talk to your spouse’s lawyer, this may be enough to restart your discussions and facilitate an agreement that allows you to move forward. If it isn’t enough, mediation may be a good next step, or you and your spouse may want to consider alternatives such as a collaborative divorce.

You Should Have a Plan to Avoid Overlooking Important Issues During the Divorce Process

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when going through a divorce is overlooking important issues during the process. Even if your divorce seems fairly straightforward, there may still be several issues that you need to address to reach a comprehensive divorce settlement with your spouse. Some examples of commonly overlooked issues include:

  • Cryptocurrency wallets and other digital assets
  • Digital libraries and online accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Pets
  • How you will handle holidays and birthdays outside of your standard child custody schedule

Working with an experienced divorce lawyer from the outside of the process is the best way to ensure that you don’t overlook issues during your divorce. If you are preparing to get divorced in 2024, we encourage you to contact us for more information.

Schedule a Free Initial Consultation With An Arizona Divorce Lawyer

To learn more about getting ready for the divorce process in Arizona, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 480-923-9063 or send us a message online to schedule an appointment at Weingart Family Law in Phoenix, AZ today.