Divorce FAQ

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  1. What are the grounds for divorce in Arizona?
    Since Arizona is a ‘no-fault divorce‘ state, the law does not require you to cite your spouse’s wrongdoing when filing for divorce. Instead, the family court only needs to determine that your marriage is ‘irretrievably broken’ to grant a divorce. Essentially, the court determines that substantial circumstances have irredeemably broken the marriage. As grounds for divorce, it does not matter who is in the wrong. You do not even need to convince your partner to agree to the divorce. However, the grounds for divorce are different for a covenant marriage.
  2. How long do divorce proceedings take?
    How long it will take to get a divorce in Arizona will depend on several factors unique to your divorce. For instance, an uncontested divorce will take a relatively shorter time to finalize than a contested divorce. Typically, the length of your divorce will depend on how agreeable you are as a couple, especially on issues like child custody and property division. With Arizona mandating a 60-day waiting period from the day of service, an uncontested divorce can take at least 61 to 120 days to resolve. A contested divorce can take between one to two years to finalize.
  3. What do I need to know if filing for divorce with children?
    If you are filing for divorce and you and your spouse share minor children, there are some things you need to know and take into account. First, you must know that both of you will retain parental responsibilities even after divorce. You also need to know that you will have to deal with additional and often emotionally taxing issues like child support and custody. Typically, you need to agree on how to support the children financially and with whom the children will live, among other critical issues. Of great importance, you need to be aware that if you and your spouse cannot agree on these critical issues, the court will decide for you.
  4. How does the court determine child custody in Arizona?
    Arizona follows the child’s best interest policy when determining child custody. Since no parent wants to lose custody, most custody cases start with both parents having equal custody rights. The decision on who gets what custody rights, including the visitation schedule, then depends on what the court determines is best for the child. Other considerations the court must make include the child’s preference if they are old enough, a parent’s co-parenting skills, and a parent’s lifestyle and emotional stability. The court must also focus on maintaining continuity and stability for the child when determining custody.
  5. Am I entitled to alimony (spousal support), or will I have to pay alimony?
    Whether you are the one to receive or are the one who has to pay alimony depends on whether you are the primary earner in the marriage. If you are the lower-earning party and your former spouse has the means to support you financially, then you are entitled to receive alimony. However, the court may consider several other factors, including how long you have been married. Similarly, if you are the higher-earning party and can support your former spouse financially, you will have to pay alimony.
  6. How do we split property and debt in an Arizona divorce?
    In an Arizona divorce, you and your spouse can either divide your property and debt by yourselves or let the court divide on your behalf. Generally, property and debt division in Arizona involves three main steps:

    1. Determining the kind of property or debt, whether it is marital (community property) or separate
    2. Determining the value of the marital or community property
    3. Distributing the community property appropriately

    Since Arizona is a community property state, community property/debt is typically divided equally between the divorcing spouses. However, only marital property or debt is divided; otherwise, the separate property belongs to the individual spouse and is not subject to division.

  7. Why do I need a divorce/family lawyer?
    While you can represent yourself in a divorce case, divorce or dissolution of marriage proceedings are often legally complex and emotionally stressful. It can be hard to focus on all the legal requirements while your marriage and, to some extent, your life is falling apart, especially if you have been married for a long time. However, a divorce lawyer can ensure everything is running smoothly on the legal side as you handle the likely fallout at home, including related difficult emotions. As an expert, a divorce lawyer ensures you avoid making costly mistakes that might deny you a good divorce outcome.