Divorce law is state-wide, not city-wide, so the laws and customs matter. The culture of decision making in which the Mesa judges operate is something you should ask your lawyer about. Divorce is complicated when one or both parties do not have accurate information, so many couples choose to enter a legal separation instead of dissolving their marriage. Sometimes there are creative advantages to filing for a divorce or legal separation. A separation is one way for parties to avoid or expedite a potential divorce.
We can help ensure that you have all of the information you need to be prepared and make the best decisions possible about the options available to you. For help with deciding whether to separate or divorce in Mesa, meet with one of our attorneys for a strategy session related to your specific goals.
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
There is a 60-day waiting period from when the divorce petition is filed to when the judge is allowed to sign the final divorce decree. As a result, the minimum length of a marriage dissolution in Mesa is 61 days. Most cases take around six to 12 months from start to finish on a divorce. On the long side, divorce litigation can take two years or longer, although not many cases take more than two years.
Legal Separation Versus Divorce
A person who is deciding whether to separate or divorce in Mesa should understand that legal separation and marriage dissolution are similar in terms of the process. A spouse must follow the same process of filing the petition, serving it upon the other party, waiting for their response, going through the pretrial conferences, participating in mediation, and getting a trial if they need to litigate.
The difference is that during a legal separation, the couple is still married unless one of them files to convert the separation into a dissolution of their marriage. The process is the same except the parties are not divorced, which means they cannot get remarried. They are allowed to convert their legal separation to a divorce at a later time.
Reasons to Choose Separation
There are several reasons to pursue a legal separation as opposed to getting divorced. For example, there is no residency requirement to get a legal separation. In order to file for divorce, you must live in Arizona for 90 days. That is not the case with a legal separation.
A couple or an individual who moves to Arizona and wants a divorce cannot file for the dissolution of their marriage for 90 days. However, they can file for a legal separation and terminate the marital community.
Additionally, some employers allow a legally separated spouse to cover their former partner’s health insurance benefits. That is an excellent reason for people to be legally separated rather than divorced.
The third reason for a couple to get separated instead of divorced is for religious or personal reasons. For example, a person may not want to get divorced despite being financially vulnerable the behavior of their spouse. They can limit that financial vulnerability by filing for a legal separation because it terminates the marital community, which will protect them from their spouse’s spending or potential liability.
When one spouse is an addict, the other may decide to file for legal separation while the individual is in treatment in order to have some protection while they find out if the treatment is going to work.
Whether to separate or divorce is a highly personal and strategic decision and one that you should discuss with an experienced local attorney. If you still need help deciding whether to separate or divorce in Mesa, reach out to our firm today and speak with a professional from our legal team.