As with most things, when going through a divorce in Arizona, it is important to set reasonable expectations. Doing so allows you to make informed decisions, and it helps you avoid overlooking opportunities. So, what can – and should – you expect from the process when it comes to getting divorced?
5 Things You Can Expect from the Divorce Process in Arizona
Here are five things you can reasonably expect from the divorce process in Arizona:
1. A Structured Process
Regardless of whether you and your spouse can negotiate the terms of your divorce, you decide to utilize mediation, or you need to take your divorce to court, you can expect a structured process. Working with your respective attorneys, you and your spouse can decide how and when to move forward with each stage of the process, and your uncontested divorce lawyer can help you thoroughly prepare for each stage.
2. Access to the Information You Need
When going through a divorce, you and your spouse are both entitled to access the information you need to make decisions regarding property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support. Ideally – and in most cases – spouses will share this information voluntarily through their respective attorneys. However, if you have concerns that your spouse may be hiding information (i.e., information about a source of income), your attorney can help you obtain this information through judicial procedures.
3. Creative Problem-Solving
There is no single “right” way to finalize the terms of a divorce. Each couple’s circumstances are different, and each different set of circumstances calls for a different solution. As a result, creative problem-solving is often a critical aspect of the divorce process in Arizona. Your divorce attorney can help you consider a broad range of options (mediators can help with this as well), and you can focus your efforts on pursuing an outcome that addresses your specific wants and needs.
4. Comprehensive Resolution of All Relevant Issues
When your divorce is over, all relevant issues should be fully resolved. Nothing should be left lingering, and there shouldn’t be any surprises in the future. Overlooking issues is one of the biggest risks involved with completing a “DIY” divorce, and the costs and headaches of overlooking issues can far outweigh the costs of getting it right the first time around. The issues that need to be resolved during the divorce process include (but are not limited to):
- Identification of separate and marital property
- Property division
- Debt division
- Ownership of pets
- Ownership of retirement assets
- Health insurance
- Child custody and visitation (“parenting time”)
- Exceptions to standard parenting time (i.e., holidays and vacations)
- Child support
- Spousal support
5. A Fair Outcome
Above all, you can expect a fair outcome from your divorce. Arizona law does not inherently favor either spouse. The statutes that govern property division, child custody, and financial support are all designed to facilitate a fair outcome in light of divorcing spouses’ unique family and financial circumstances.
5 Things You Should Not Expect from Your Arizona Divorce
Here are five things you should not expect from your Arizona divorce:
1. Mutual Legal Representation
During a divorce, each spouse needs to have his or her own attorney. Even if you and your spouse are prepared to work together, you will still need to make decisions based on the advice of an attorney who exclusively has your best interests in mind. An attorney who represents both of you will be limited in the advice he or she can provide, which could compromise the outcome of the process.
2. A 50-50 Split
While you can expect a fair outcome, you shouldn’t necessarily expect a 50-50 split. Concerning property division, Arizona law requires the “equitable” distribution of the spouses’ marital assets. While this might mean an even split, this is not necessarily the case. Similarly, the “best interests” analysis for determining child custody rights focuses on what is best for the couple’s children—not ensuring a 50-50 split.
3. An Easy Process Without Challenges
Even if you and your spouse are largely on the same page, you should still expect to encounter some challenges during the divorce process. There may be issues that you and your spouse have overlooked, or, after consulting with an attorney, you (or your spouse) may have a different perspective on certain aspects of the process. When going through a divorce, it is important to stay open-minded and not focus simply on achieving your original goals or reaching a result as quickly as possible.
4. Complete Agreement from the Outset
In this same vein, regardless of the circumstances surrounding your divorce, the process will take time. You and your spouse will need to consider all pertinent issues carefully, and you owe it to yourself to make sure you are making informed decisions. If you realize that you and your spouse have different priorities once the process begins, that’s okay, and there are ways you and your spouse can work to resolve your differences amicably without going to court.
5. A “Winner” in Your Divorce
Finally, neither you nor your spouse should expect to “win” your divorce. Remember, the goal is to achieve a fair outcome in light of your family and financial circumstances, and Arizona law requirements. Viewing divorce as a collaborative process rather than a fight will often reduce the time, stress, and conflict involved significantly.
Do you have questions about the divorce process in Arizona? Is it time for you to get started? If so, we encourage you to get in touch. Contact us today for a free initial divorce consultation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Divorce Lawyer in Phoenix and Tempe, AZ
To schedule a free initial divorce consultation at Weingart Family Law, please call 480-542-0099 or contact us online. Our divorce lawyer represents spouses in divorces and other family law matters in Tempe, Phoenix, and the surrounding areas.