If you are preparing to go through a divorce in Arizona, it is important to carefully consider all of your options. This applies to all aspects of the divorce process—from dividing your marital property to establishing your post-divorce parenting time schedule.
It also applies to hiring an attorney. If you are like many spouses, you have questions about hiring an attorney to handle your divorce. For example, you might have questions about the costs involved, and you might want to know whether you and your spouse can use the same attorney or you both need your own legal representation.
When It Makes Sense to Use One Attorney for Your Divorce
In Arizona, divorcing spouses can use the same attorney in some cases. For example, at Weingart Family Law, we serve as neutral mediators when divorcing spouses prefer to streamline the process as much as possible. When you engage our firm for divorce mediation, attorney Adam Weingart will work with you and your spouse to try to help you arrive at a mutually agreeable settlement.
It is important to understand that in this scenario Adam is not advocating on your behalf (or on behalf of your spouse). Instead, as a mediator, Adam’s role is to assist you and your spouse jointly—and to offer solutions that he believes will work for both of you. In this context, Adam isn’t fighting for you like he would be fighting for a client in divorce litigation, but instead helping to facilitate an agreement that allows you and your spouse to move on from your marriage.
7 Reasons Why You Might Want Your Own Divorce Attorney in Arizona?
While this approach is right for some couples, it isn’t right for everyone. In fact, there are several circumstances in which it will be in your best interests to hire an attorney to serve as your advocate and representative in your divorce. Some of the reasons why you might want to hire your own attorney for your divorce in Arizona include:
1. You Want to Make Sure You Focus on Your Long-Term Best Interests
Getting divorced inherently involves compromise, and mediating your divorce with a single attorney certainly emphasizes the compromise aspect of the process. If you want to make sure you are protecting your long-term best interests in your divorce, then you will most likely benefit from hiring your own attorney. When you hire your own attorney, your attorney will still help you work toward an amicable resolution; but, in doing so, he or she will focus on helping you achieve the best possible outcome.
2. You Have Concerns About Your Spouse Hiding Assets or Income
Divorce mediation only works when both spouses are up front about their assets and income. If you have concerns that your spouse may be hiding assets or income, then you will definitely want to consult with an attorney who can advise you in confidence. There are ways to uncover hidden assets and income during the divorce process; but, in order to pursue these options, you will need an attorney who can go to court on your behalf.
3. You Don’t Think Your Spouse Will Mediate in Good Faith
If you don’t think your spouse will participate in the mediation process in good faith, then pursuing mediation with a single attorney could be both a waste of money and a waste of time. This is a scenario in which you will want your own divorce attorney as well; and, hopefully, your spouse will hire an attorney who will help him or her understand the benefits of working toward an amicable resolution.
4. You Have Substantial Assets At Stake in Your Divorce
If you have substantial assets at stake in your divorce, you will most likely want to hire your own divorce attorney in this scenario as well. Your attorney will be able to assist with obtaining asset valuations as necessary, and your attorney will be able to assist with other necessary steps like determining the present value of retirement accounts and deciding whether a 50-50 split makes sense within the context of your divorce.
5. There Are Questions About Who Owns What
While marital assets are subject to division under Arizona’s divorce laws, separate assets are not. If there are questions about whether certain assets qualify as your (or your spouse’s) separate property, these are questions that you will want to address with an experienced attorney on your side. Incorrectly classifying assets as “marital” or “separate” can lead to disputes down the line, and resolving these disputes post-divorce can be far more costly than getting things right the first time around.
6. You and Your Spouse Have a Significant Disparity in Earning Power
Another reason why you might want your own divorce attorney is because you and your spouse have a significant disparity in earning power. If this is the case, you or your spouse will most likely be entitled to alimony in your divorce. While some divorcing spouses will be able to quickly agree to an alimony award, alimony is often an issue that requires substantial negotiations. This is especially true when payments will be in the thousands of dollars per month (or more).
7. You and Your Spouse Need Help Coming to Terms on Complex Issues
Finally, it will most likely make sense to hire your own divorce attorney if you and your spouse need help coming to terms on complex issues like dividing a family business or mitigating the tax consequences of your divorce. Remember, just because you hire your own attorney, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the process will become adversarial. In fact, most divorces aren’t adversarial—even when there are two attorneys involved. Your attorney can help ensure that you are making informed decisions, and your attorney can work to finalize your divorce as quickly, favorably, and amicably as possible.
Questions About Getting Divorced? Contact Us to Discuss Your Options in Confidence
If you have questions about whether you should hire your own attorney for your divorce, we invite you to get in touch. To schedule a confidential initial consultation with a Phoenix divorce attorney at Weingart Family Law, please call 480-385-7610 or request an appointment online today.