At RPM Law, we understand that divorce is an unknown territory for most people. We can’t answer every question you may have as you contemplate this significant step in your life, but we have selected some of the most common questions asked and address them generally here.
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 which 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 Law lawyer on your side. Obviously, if your future or current ex has a lawyer, you 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 matters.
There are actually department-specific policies with regards to Family Support, and there are potential unseen impacts of the financial outcomes of your dissolution. Make sure the attorney you work with understands the nuances of how a divorce can and will affect your career.
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 drug/alcohol abuse, severe mental illness, abuse/neglect 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, such as 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.