Divorce FAQ

Divorce is unknown territory for most people. We can't answer every question you may have as you contemplate this giant step in your life. But we have selected some of the most common questions we are asked.

When should I talk to an attorney?

Earlier is better than later. Speak to an attorney who doesn't charge to meet with you. You already have a dozen questions you need answers to, about what happens to your joint assets, what happens to your kids, who lives where, and so on. This meeting should be on a no-obligation basis. If the lawyer doesn't feel like a good match, keep looking.

Can I get a divorce without a lawyer?

There are very simple uncontested divorces that you might be able to do the paperwork for yourself. This works best if you have no disputes whatsoever and there are no custody or support issues to resolve. But divorce is such an important matter that you want to do it right and be done with it. In our experience, many of these divorces seem simple at first, but they have some complication that requires a good family lawyer on your side. Obviously, if your future or current ex has a lawyer, you had better have one, too. Your entire future depends on a satisfactory resolution to this process.

When should I file for divorce?

When you are certain this is the path you want to take.

Does it make any difference if I file for divorce or my spouse does?

The advantage of being the one to file is that you are prepared for it, and your spouse probably is not. But there is no legal advantage to being the one to file.

How is divorce different for military families?

Military divorces are filed in the same court as civilian divorces. The main difference is that the military system has a different set of pay, entitlement and benefit structures that must be worked out. The court will know how to deal with these factors, but you will need a lawyer who is also experienced in these important details.

Who gets the children?

Arizona prefers to see both parents playing a part in the child's life. Sole custody without visitation rights is rare — and usually is only granted because of a serious problem in the noncustodial parent's life like drugs, mental illness, abuse issues or criminal activity.

Who gets the house?

This is determined in the property division process. Arizona is an equitable distribution state, meaning that division is not based precisely on a 50-50 split. Many couples negotiate this division based on what is most important to them. A house can be "swapped" with something the other party wants more, like retirement money or a family business. A skilled attorney can work with you to hold on to the assets that are most important to you.

This Divorce FAQ is just a sample of the many questions you will want to ask about your impending divorce. Our answers here are simple, whereas things can get quite complex once the divorce is underway.

If you are preparing for divorce, we invite you to ask additional questions by calling RPM Law in Tucson at 520-740-1802, or asking your questions via email.