If you and your spouse are both ready to end your marriage, pursuing an uncontested divorce may be your best option. An uncontested divorce minimizes the time and costs involved—while also avoiding the stress, frustration, and inherent uncertainty of taking your divorce to trial. Most couples in Arizona choose the uncontested divorce process for these reasons.
When pursuing an uncontested divorce in Arizona, it is important to understand what is (and isn’t) meant by the term “uncontested.” To pursue an uncontested divorce you and your spouse do not need to be 100% on the same page. Since you will need to work with a divorce attorney to identify all of the issues that you and your spouse need to address during the divorce process, you and your spouse almost certainly won’t be fully in agreement when you get started.
This is completely normal, and it does not mean that an uncontested divorce is off the table.
Once you and your spouse start the process, you will work with your respective attorneys to come to terms on all relevant issues. This could take weeks, or it could take months. It depends on the complexity of your divorce and the extent to which you and your spouse are (or aren’t) on the same page at the outset. Regardless, working with your respective attorneys to reach an amicable resolution will ensure that you achieve a satisfactory outcome as quickly as possible.
Common Issues Spouses Need to Address When Pursuing an Uncontested Divorce
As you begin preparing for your uncontested divorce, you will want to start thinking about the issues that you (and your spouse) will need to address during the process. While each divorcing couple’s circumstances are unique, some examples of issues that typically need to be addressed include:
- Who is going to keep the family home? If you have rental or vacation properties, which spouse will keep these after your divorce (or will you sell them during the process)?
- Who is going to keep your family car, truck, or SUV? If you have boats, ATVs, or other vehicles, which spouse will keep these after your divorce—and how will this factor into the distribution of your other marital assets?
- How will you divide your retirement accounts, brokerage accounts, cryptocurrency accounts, and other financial assets?
- Who will assume responsibility for any debts you and your spouse jointly owe (or will you pay off any debts as part of the divorce process)?
- Which assets qualify as your separate property (meaning that they are yours to keep after your divorce)? Which assets qualify as your spouse’s separate property?
- What type of child custody arrangement do you and your spouse want after your divorce? Will you share equal custody rights, develop a more traditional custody-and-visitation schedule, or pursue a more contemporary option such as co-parenting or bird’s nest custody?
- Which spouse will pay child support after your divorce? Will you or your spouse make alimony payments? If so, in what amounts and for how long?
Again, these are just examples. Once you hire an attorney to guide you through the uncontested divorce process, your attorney will work closely with you to ensure that you do not overlook any issues that you need to address. This is an important part of the process, as overlooking issues can lead to costs and complications in the future.
Options for Coming to Terms During the Uncontested Divorce Process
Let’s say you and your spouse are committed to pursuing an uncontested divorce. You are ready to start the process, and you are both willing to compromise to find a mutually agreeable way to bring your marriage to a close. How do you go about reaching an agreement that allows you to finalize your divorce without resorting to litigation?
Divorcing spouses in Arizona have three primary options for pursuing an uncontested divorce. Depending on your circumstances, you may only need to use one of these options, or you and your spouse may need to use a combination of methods to reach a comprehensive agreement:
1. Informal Negotiations
In many cases, divorcing spouses will be able to reach a comprehensive agreement through informal negotiations. By working with your respective attorneys to ensure that you are making informed decisions, you and your spouse can work through the issues that you need to address one by one. As you check issues off of the list, you will get closer and closer to formalizing a final agreement, and at the end of the process, you will have a comprehensive divorce settlement agreement that provides clarity and certainty for the future.
2. Divorce Mediation
If you and your spouse are willing to work together but need help coming to terms, then divorce mediation may be a good option. In divorce mediation, you and your spouse work with a neutral third-party “mediator” (who is typically an experienced divorce attorney) who helps you consider the various alternatives you have available. Divorcing spouses in Arizona can use divorce mediation to address all of the issues involved in their divorce, or they can use mediation only as necessary to resolve individual differences.
3. Collaborative Divorce
A third option is what is known as a collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, the spouses and their respective attorneys work with financial advisors, social workers, and other professionals as necessary to resolve complex issues that they can’t effectively resolve on their own. While the collaborative process isn’t necessary in all cases, it can be a highly effective strategy in complex and high-net-worth divorces.
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with an Uncontested Divorce Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ
Would you like to know more about the uncontested divorce process in Arizona? If so, we invite you to get in touch. To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer at Weingart Family Law in Phoenix, please call 480-530-5551 or tell us how we can help online today.