If you and your spouse have decided that it’s time to end your marriage, your best option may be to file for an uncontested divorce. Unlike a contested divorce, where the spouses are unwilling to compromise, an uncontested divorce involves working together to reach an amicable and mutually agreeable resolution. As a result, uncontested divorces are generally less stressful, less time-consuming, and less expensive—and this makes pursuing an uncontested divorce an ideal solution for couples who are willing to work together to move forward.
How You (and Your Spouse) Can Prepare for an Uncontested Divorce
When pursuing an uncontested divorce, preparation is key. The more you and your spouse can do to prepare, the smoother (and faster) the process will go. With this in mind, here are 10 tips for couples considering an uncontested divorce in Arizona:
1. Collect Your Records
To start your uncontested divorce preparations, you should collect your records. Our Divorce Preparation Checklist covers the types of records you will want to collect. Your property-related and financial records will play a central role in the divorce process, so making sure you have these readily available is a key early step in the preparation process.
2. Identify Your Marital Assets
In Arizona, divorcing spouses’ “marital” assets are subject to division, while their “separate” assets are not. Generally speaking, an asset is considered a marital asset if it was acquired between the date of marriage and the date of divorce. While there are some exceptions that your uncontested divorce lawyer can help you address, making a list of the assets that you and your spouse have acquired since getting married is a good first step toward dividing your marital property.
3. Talk About the Future
As you prepare for your uncontested divorce, it will be important for you and your spouse to talk about the future. What do you both want out of your divorce? What assets and financial resources do you both need going forward? What are your plans for relocating (or being prepared to relocate if an opportunity arises)? Taking the time to look ahead will help you both make informed decisions during your divorce.
4. Talk About Your Children’s “Best Interests”
If you and your spouse have minor children, you will need to talk about your parental rights and responsibilities as well. Under Arizona law, divorcing spouses must develop a child custody plan that reflects their children’s “best interests”—as defined by the Arizona legislature. When discussing child custody options, you and your spouse will want to keep Arizona’s “best interests” factors in mind.
5. Acknowledge Areas of Disagreement
When preparing for an uncontested divorce, it is important to acknowledge areas of disagreement. Even if you and your spouse are both ready to get divorced, you might not be fully on the same page about how to address property division, financial support, or child custody. This is normal—and to be expected—and it does not mean that you are unable to pursue an uncontested divorce. Your lawyer will be able to help you and your spouse consider alternatives and, most likely, find a mutually agreeable path forward.
6. Consider Your Options
When it comes to resolving disagreements during an uncontested divorce, couples have a few different options available. One option is simply to work with a lawyer to consider alternatives that they haven’t considered previously. Another option is to pursue a collaborative divorce, which involves working with experts as necessary to resolve complicated issues. A third option is divorce mediation. In divorce mediation, the spouses work with a neutral third party (the “mediator”) who helps them find a way to resolve their differences while remaining on good terms.
7. Take Detailed Notes
As you work through your uncontested divorce preparations, you will want to take detailed notes. Keep lists of your records, your marital assets, your areas of agreement, and your areas of disagreement. These notes will help you stay organized, and they will help you get the most out of your free initial consultation with an uncontested divorce lawyer.
8. Write Down a List of Questions
Along with taking notes about your preparations, we also recommend that you write down a list of questions. You will most likely have lots of questions, and it will be important to make sure that you get all of your questions answered. You can bring your list of questions with you to your free initial consultation as well.
9. Choose a Lawyer for Your Uncontested Divorce
Once you have taken these steps and are ready to move forward, it is time to choose a lawyer for your uncontested divorce. There are lots of lawyers who advertise uncontested divorce services in Arizona, and you will want to make your choice wisely. We recommend choosing a lawyer who focuses his or her practice specifically on family law, and who has significant experience guiding couples through the uncontested divorce process.
10. Schedule a Free Consultation with an Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
Finally, once you choose a lawyer, it’s time to schedule a free consultation about your uncontested divorce. Some law firms offer free consultations, and some do not. At Weingart Family Law, we offer free consultations because we believe that you should be able to make an informed decision about your legal representation without being swayed by the money you’ve already invested. We will arrange a time for you to speak with one of our uncontested divorce lawyers one-on-one; and then, if you decide that you want to move forward, we can continue the process from there.
Schedule a Free Consultation at Weingart Family Law in Tempe, AZ
If you would like to speak with a lawyer about filing for an uncontested divorce in Arizona, we encourage you to contact us for more information. With offices in Tempe, we serve spouses in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler, Queen Creek, Paradise Valley, Glendale, and the surrounding areas. To schedule an appointment at Weingart Family Law, please call 480-550-8946 or tell us how we can reach you online today.