Arizona Divorce Court Process
The process for obtaining a divorce is driven by the court system and varies significantly based on the unique situation of the couple. Below you will find an infographic detailing an overview of the court process for divorce in Arizona. More information can be obtained at www.azcourts.gov or through your county’s court website.
PLANNING FOR THE BEST POSSIBLE DIVORCE OUTCOME
Preparation is key when planning for the best case of a worst-case situation. By following the guidance below, you and/or your spouse can walk away certain you made the best attempt possible at achieving a fair and equitable result for your family.
STEP 1: Develop a clear understanding of the implications of divorce before taking the first steps.
This includes ensuring you have exhausted all avenues for reconciliation. Many couples do not appropriately address this step and when they do, it is often focused heavily on discussions about the emotional and relationship impact. This concept becomes extremely important with regard to family and financial implications. A transition from one combined life and household into two can have a significant impact on lifestyle choices that couples may want to consider after understanding the big picture.
STEP 2: If the answer is divorce, take the time to thoroughly define your needs and wants.
Before beginning the process of negotiating with your spouse, it is important to understand what the law provides and define your personal “must haves” and “nice to haves” within that understanding. This will become the starting point to be used to negotiate a possible settlement. As your attorney, I will work with you to make certain that you understand the law and issues to be negotiated.
STEP 3: Establish realistic expectations for working through the agreement with your spouse or partner.
Understand that additional income that didn’t exist prior to a divorce isn’t going to suddenly appear and marital debt will not just disappear. Emotions will be high and it is sometimes difficult to separate those from logic and rational decision-making. Working with an attorney prior to and during the divorce process can help immensely to level the playing field and communicate fact-based information required to make sound decisions.
STEP 4: Identify your legal needs.
Maybe you and your spouse are able to reach a full agreement and have the confidence to complete the court process on your own. If you’re like the majority of people, you’re likely going to want the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. Even if you are able to reach a full agreement on your own, an attorney will ensure that you are complying with the legal procedures so that your agreement becomes an enforceable Decree of Dissolution. If you are unable to reach a full agreement on your own, an attorney can assist with reaching a resolution on some of the more contentious issues. Of course, agreements are not always possible, and an attorney would be able to advise you of possible trial outcomes and represent your best interests through trial. There are cost-effective ways of doing this. It is important to remember that an attorney cannot represent both parties and each of you are entitled to seek your own attorney.
STEP 5: Leverage your “team” to develop a divorce plan you and/or your spouse or partner can follow.
As an experienced family law attorney, I can provide representation through your divorce to ensure that you understand the divorce process, and the implications divorce will have on your post-divorce outlook so you can confidently move on with your life after divorce.
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