Divorce is on the horizon. Whether you were the one who has prepared the paperwork and filed it, or you were the one who received the paperwork, you need to be sure you are ready for everything that comes next. Below are some of the most important things you need to know about prepping for divorce in Arizona, as well as the things you need to do.
How Fast Can You Get Divorced?
How long is your divorce going to take? There’s not an easy answer to this question because there are so many variables. The only constant is that if you are getting divorced, it will take a minimum of 60 days before the divorce can go forward. In the state of Arizona, you are required to have a “cooling-off period” that’s mandated by the state. This is to ensure that you and your spouse are truly committed to getting a divorce, and filing the paperwork was not just done in the heat of the moment.
After that period, the divorce will move forward. In cases where you and your ex agree on all of the terms of the divorce, you will be going through what is called an uncontested divorce. In those cases, the divorce might be done and finalized in just a month or so after the cooling-off period ends. Sometimes, it might even be sooner. Other times, it could take a little longer if you and your ex are hammering out your final agreements.
Handle the Initial Financial Aspects of Divorcing
One of the first things you need to do when you are getting divorced is to think about the immediate financial worries you will have. Maybe you didn’t work while you were married, and now need to get a job. Perhaps you did work, but now have to make ends meet with just one income. Regardless, you need to revisit your budget and make sure you can survive.
You will need to rework your budget, figure out where you will be living, etc. In Arizona, spousal maintenance is rare, but it could be given, at least temporarily, during the divorce process. This is not guaranteed, though, as it will only apply to certain circumstances. It is not something on which you can rely.
Do your best to get your finances in order. Find a new place to live, even if it means downsizing or living with family or friends for a while. It’s going to be a major adjustment, but it won’t be this way forever.
Get Evidence and Information Together
You will also want to start gathering various types of evidence for your case at this point. This includes documents, records, pictures, personal information, your financial information, and any other information that you feel will be pertinent to your case. It could be difficult to get access to property and information in some cases, particularly if there is an order of protection in place.
Whether you needed the order of protection to keep you safe from your ex, or they have an order of protection against you, getting access to the house can be hard. You will want to speak with your attorney about how you can proceed and get access to the property, paperwork, and other items you might need.
Prepare for Division of Property
You will also want to start prepping for divorce by thinking about how property will be divided in the divorce. Arizona is a community property state, which means that assets and debts that were taken on after marriage belong to both spouses. Typically, they will be divided equitably between the spouses.
However, there may be instances where you feel that certain debts shouldn’t be split. For example, if your ex was a gambler and ran up debts because of their addiction, it would not be fair for you to have to pay for their mistakes, especially if you weren’t aware of it. This can get complicated and can be difficult to prove. Having a financial expert and an attorney working with you can make it a bit easier.
Keep in mind that if there was property you or your ex came into the marriage with, then it is considered separate property. If you have a collection of comics, for example, that you had before marriage, it is still considered your separate property. However, any comics or other collectibles you bought after marriage would technically be community property.
You and your ex need to determine how the property will be split so that it is fair to both of you. Rather than splitting something like a comic collection down the middle, it might make more sense for one person to take the comics and another person to take other assets that equal the same amount as that collection.
Negotiation and Settling
Most of the time, divorces will settle. This means that the spouses will come together and negotiate to talk about how to divide properties and debts. Through prepping for divorce, they can find ways to agree on all of the different areas of their separation and develop a plan that works for both of them. This includes their parenting plan, too, if they have children.
This is always the goal. When a couple is capable of settling, it means they will not have to go to court. This tends to provide better outcomes, as it’s easier for everyone to be happy. When the court is involved, they will decide what happens with the property and will develop the parenting plan. Even though it might be hard to agree with your spouse, it’s worth trying to find a middle ground.
Take Care of Yourself During the Divorce
Going through a divorce is stressful. Make sure you are taking care of yourself during and after prepping for divorce. Try to eat healthily, get some exercise, and find ways you can better relieve your stress levels. Sometimes, going to therapy or joining a divorce support group is the best option during and after your divorce. It’s nice to have people that you can talk to and who understand how you feel.