We have all heard the stats that half of marriages end in divorce. The good news is that number is falling and hovering around 40 percent after reaching the peak in the mid 1980s. By the time one or both spouses want a divorce, there have been years of conflict, and at least one person has agonized over the decision for a long time. As tragic as a divorce feels, no one person is ever to blame or “at fault”. Spending your life with someone is hard, growing and changing in the same direction is even harder. As awful as your current situation may feel, if you can celebrate the time you spent together, you will be setting yourself up for the most amicable possible divorce. The next step is finding an Arizona divorce lawyer who can advocate for the best of both of you.
Most clients want an amicable and fair divorce. They don’t want to spend more money than they need to in order to protect themselves and their children. However, dissolving a legal union is not a simple matter. You are untangling years together and divorce is a very complicated transaction involving the most important issues facing both of you.
Every local divorce must be processed through a superior court. The local courthouse in Mesa family court is located just south of the US 60 off Mesa Drive. The Mesa Family Court has the jurisdiction to decide matters such as property rights, spousal support eligibility, and custody arrangements. A Mesa divorce lawyer has the advantage of understanding the local courthouse and local judges to guide you through the legal process regardless of whether you are seeking to initiate litigation or need to respond to documents you have been served. A family law attorney may be able to provide essential experience and knowledge to help you pursue your case and protect yourself and your children.
Should I Talk with My Spouse before or after I File for Divorce?
There’s no right or wrong answer here. Some couples will work out all of the details before either party files for divorce. Some spouses prefer to be on the same page about what’s coming. Knowing what to expect is a great way to do it for some couples.
Other times, giving somebody a heads up would be a bad decision. If there is reason to believe that they might behave erratically, drain the bank accounts, or fly off the handle, you probably don’t want to let them know about the divorce before you file. It may be in your best interest to file for divorce, sever the community, get the cash that you have divided, and use the element of surprise to protect yourself. That’s legitimate as well.
Sometimes, it’s a hybrid. We might draft a petition on a person’s behalf, get ready to file it, and then they let their spouse know that it’s coming. There’s no right or wrong answer here. Deciding when to tell your spouse about your intentions is an important and strategic decision, so it’s one that we want to talk through with your attorney to figure out what might be best in your particular situation.
Marital Issues During a Divorce
Both parties to a divorce enjoy equal rights to community property obtained during their marriage, the ability to ask for a spousal support order, and to retain custody of and support for their shared children. That means regardless of whether you had separate accounts during your marriage, or you have no idea how much is in your spouse’s bank account, you both get half unless you reach a different agreement. While many divorcing spouses settle the case by agreeing on the eventual outcome, it is not unusual for some issues to be decided by a judge. For example, some estranged spouses disagree about the ownership of real estate, family businesses, or bank accounts. Mesa courts assume that all assets a couple acquires during their marriage belongs to both parties equally unless it was gifted, inherited, or is co-mingled with separate premarital property.
The most common source of conflict an Arizona divorce lawyer faces is deciding which parent will retain custody over their children. Local courts no longer presume that a mother would be the best parent of her children. Arizona Revised Statutes §25-403 requires a judge to carefully consider children’s best interests when making decisions that may affect their futures. For instance, a court will consider:
- Relationships between parents and their children
- A child’s ability to adjust to a new home, school, or social circle
- The mental and physical health of all involved parties
- Any history of mental or physical abuse or substance abuse
- The wishes of a child who is of sufficient age and maturity to provide their own opinion
A Mesa dissolution attorney could help identify your goals before entering litigation and fight to promote your rights during the process.
What to Expect from Divorce Litigation
Every divorce in Mesa begins when someone files a petition with the court to hear their legal grounds for dissolution, according to AZ Rev Stat §25-314. The filing party does not need to cite a specific reason for a divorce, but the courts need to see that a marriage is irretrievably broken before they can grant a final decree. There is no separate process for an uncontested divorce.
Next, the court schedules hearings to determine the rights and obligations of either party, which can include property division, the assignment of debt, spousal maintenance, child support, and the custody of shared children. If parties cannot agree on how their marriage should end, the court will hold a full trial.
However, most of the time, people come to agreements and draft a separation agreement, marital settlement agreement, or rule 69 agreement before their case escalates to a final hearing. Through the use of court-facilitated mediation or a prenuptial, postnuptial, or separation agreement, most marriages end with some sort of compromise. An Arizona divorce lawyer in Mesa could help protect your future regardless of how your marriage ends.
What’s the Best Way to Minimize the Negative Effects that Divorce Might Have on the Kids?
For moms and dads alike, this is hard. Nobody wants to put their kids through a divorce. The worst thing for kids is being exposed to trauma and conflict. That can happen when you’re married and when you’re going through divorce in Mesa.
The more that two parents can be a united front and keep in mind that the kids’ stability and security are the most important things to protect, the more they can make the transition easier. When children have two good homes, two good parents, go to the same school, and their lives aren’t rocked, the better they will do in life.
Kids deserve to know that they are loved by both parents, that their parents don’t hate each other, and that they’re not being asked to take sides. The worst thing you can do is speak poorly of your child’s mom or dad directly to them.
You should prioritize ensuring that all of your kids’ basic necessities are met. You don’t want to be in a position where they have to worry about where they are going to live or who’s going to take care of them. A lot of couples nowadays work with professionals and counselors to minimize the trauma that divorce can impart on their kids.
Enlist the Help of a Mesa Divorce Attorney Today
A divorce is both an unfortunate end to a marriage and a complicated legal matter. Parties to a divorce must process their case through an Arizona divorce lawyer in superior court in Mesa, Phoenix, or Surprise family court. While this process takes time, retaining legal representation could help protect your assets and parenting rights within a shorter period of time.
While any dissolution has the potential to go to a trial, it is more likely that the matter will end with some form of compromise. A Mesa divorce lawyer could help identify your goals, explain your rights, and advocate for your success in court. Contact our firm today to schedule an initial consultation.