Once you decide to end your marriage, there are several other important decisions you will need to make as well. One of these decisions is how you will approach your divorce.
Many spouses find that an uncontested divorce is the best approach. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses work together amicably to come to terms without court involvement. Then, once they are in complete agreement, they submit their written agreement to the divorce court for approval. Not only does this streamline the divorce process while reducing the costs involved, but it also helps set the stage for a healthy and communicative relationship post-divorce (if desired).
10 Questions: Is An Uncontested Divorce Right for You?
If you are ready to end your marriage, should you pursue an uncontested divorce? If you can answer “Yes” to each of these 10 questions, then an uncontested divorce might be right for you:
1. Are You and Your Spouse Both Ready To End Your Marriage?
As a starting point, both you and your spouse should be ready to end your marriage. Having this shared goal will help facilitate productive discussions, and it will provide a desirable—and achievable—end result for both of you. While telling your spouse that you want a divorce can be difficult, there are steps you can take to prepare for the discussion; and, if your spouse is ready as well, opening a dialogue can be a freeing experience for you both.
2. Are You and Your Spouse Willing (and Able) To Work Together?
Pursuing an uncontested divorce requires both spouses’ involvement. To identify all issues and resolve your differences amicably, you will need to be willing (and able) to work together throughout the divorce process. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree on everything immediately, but it does mean that you need to be able to discuss any competing interests (i.e., both wanting to keep the same marital asset) with an open mind.
3. Are You Each Willing to Give Up Certain Marital Assets?
Unless you and your spouse have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you will need to divide your marital assets according to Arizona’s principle of “equitable distribution.” In most cases, this means finding a way to agree to a 50-50 split. Since neither spouse gets everything, both of you will need to be willing to compromise during the divorce process.
When thinking about how you might want to divide your marital assets, don’t forget to also consider your marital debts. Just like your marital assets, you and your spouse will need to distribute these as part of your divorce.
4. Do Your Goals Regarding Parenting Time Align?
Along with dividing marital assets, establishing parenting time is a central focus of the divorce process for many spouses as well. If you and your spouse have minor children, you will need to be able to agree to a post-divorce parenting plan that reflects your children’s best interests—as determined under Arizona’s child custody laws.
5. Do You Both Agree with Your Child Support Calculation?
If you have minor children, you will also need to address child support during your divorce. Arizona law requires both parents to financially support their minor children, and the law establishes specific guidelines for calculating child support during a divorce.
The Arizona Courts have created an online calculator that you and your spouse can use to estimate child support. Using this calculator is a good first step for making sure that you are both comfortable with your respective financial obligations. But, keep in mind that the calculator provides an estimate only, and you will need to work with your lawyer to ensure that you calculate child support correctly.
6. Are You On the Same Page Regarding Alimony?
Under Arizona law, an award of alimony is appropriate in five specific circumstances. If you or your spouse is entitled to alimony, pursuing an uncontested divorce will require you to be on the same page. While you can—and should—work with your lawyer to calculate alimony, you will want to make sure that you and your spouse agree who (if anyone) will receive alimony, if possible.
7. Are You Confident That Your Spouse is Sharing All Relevant Information?
When going through a divorce under any circumstances, it is important to make sure you have all relevant information. If you have concerns that your spouse may be hiding assets or income that should factor into your divorce, this is something you should discuss with your lawyer during your free initial consultation.
8. Have You Researched Your Options?
The more you know about your options, the better. These days, divorcing spouses have a variety of options in all aspects of the divorce process. Our Arizona Family Law Blog contains a wealth of information that you can use to make informed decisions about things like:
- Collaborative law vs. mediation
- Co-parenting vs. bird’s nest custody
- Distributing marital assets vs. selling them and dividing the proceeds
9. Do You Prefer a Divorce Over a Legal Separation?
While it isn’t right for everyone, legal separation has become an increasingly popular choice in recent years. If you or your spouse has any reservations about formally bringing your marriage to an end, this is an option you may want to discuss with your divorce lawyer as well.
10. Are You Prepared to Make Informed Decisions Based on Your Lawyer’s Advice?
Finally, even though you and your spouse will be working together during your uncontested divorce, you still need to make informed decisions with your best interests in mind. This means working closely with your divorce lawyer throughout the process, listening to your lawyer’s advice, and making sure you aren’t making any decisions solely for the purpose of getting to the end of the process as quickly as possible.
Request a Free Consultation with an Arizona Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
Do you have questions about an uncontested divorce lawyer in Arizona? If so, we invite you to get in touch. To get started with a free initial consultation, please call 480-923-9063 or contact us confidentially online today.