When you are getting a divorce, you have to learn a lot quickly. You need to start with a basic understanding of some of the most important things to keep in mind when getting a divorced in Arizona. Below are some of the essentials that can give you a better idea of what you can expect when getting divorced. It’s not everything you need to know, but it’s a strong foundation.
1. Arizona Is a No-Fault State
What does the term no-fault mean? It simply means that neither of the spouses needs to be considered the one who is the reason for the breakdown of the marriage. There are irreconcilable differences, and the marriage can’t be fixed. Essentially, it just means that the couple doesn’t get along and they no longer want to be married.
You don’t have to tell the court the real reason that you are getting divorced since you might not want it to become part of the public record. For example, you might not want the world to know that the reason you are getting divorced is that your spouse cheats on you.
This is one of the benefits of getting divorced in Arizona. In some states, you have to prove that your spouse is at fault before you could be granted a divorce. Naturally, this would make divorces take longer increase the level of conflict.
2. Arizona Is a Community Property State
Something else to know about Arizona is that it is a community property state. There are only eight other states that use this system. This means that each spouse will have an equal interest in the items that are community property. This means that anything that was earned during the marriage is considered the property of both spouses.
This will include income, cars, homes, bank accounts, furniture, jewelry, retirement accounts, pets, etc. Anything acquired during the marriage is community property. The only exceptions would be an inheritance or a gift that’s given just to one party, as well as money received for pain and suffering from a personal injury lawsuit. However, if the money from the inheritance or gift is used for community property, such as buying a home, the home becomes community property.
Items that came into the marriage with you are considered separate property and will be yours alone in most cases. However, if they were used for the community in some way, it can muddy their nature, meaning that they could be considered community property. You will likely want to speak with an attorney when you are trying to determine what is separate and what is community property.
3. You Need to Meet Residency Requirements
If you and your spouse recently moved to Arizona, you might not be able to get divorced in the state quite yet. You have two options. You could file for divorce in your previous state of residency, or you could wait until you or your spouse has been a resident of Arizona for at least 90 days.
Even though you can’t file for divorce before 90 days are up, you will be able to start getting the paperwork ready, so you can file at that 90-day mark.
4. The Cooling-Off Period
After submitting the paperwork for the divorce, you still can’t finalize your divorce in Arizona for 60 days. This is true even if both you and your spouse agree on everything in the divorce and have reached a settlement agreement. Maybe you have an uncontested divorce that’s ready to go. You still need to wait for the required 60 days.
This is a cooling-off period where people can stop to think about whether they want to go ahead with the divorce or not. Sometimes, someone is upset with their spouse and files the paperwork before they have time to think things through. Maybe they can still work things out. This period gives them the time to figure out if that is what they want to do or not.
5. How Child Support and Spousal Support Decisions Made
Parents are required to financially support their children in Arizona. When getting divorced and having minor children, one of the parents will have to pay child support. The way that this is determined is through the use of the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, which calculates how much will be paid.
It considers the income of the parents, the cost of health insurance, and childcare. The amount of time each parent spends with the children will also be used in the calculation.
Alimony in Arizona is known as spousal maintenance, and it is not guaranteed, as it often is in other locations. The judge can order spousal maintenance temporarily during or after getting divorced in Arizona. It could also be ordered permanently, but this is rare. Most of the time, if it is provided at all, it will only be for a short period.
The court wants the spouse receiving the support to be able to get a job and stand on their own feet. The maintenance is there to give them a foundation they can build on, but it will not be there permanently.
6. You Don’t Always Have to Go to Court
Just because you are getting divorced does not mean that you have to go to trial with the case. Most of the divorce cases in Arizona are settled. This means that you and your ex reach a settlement agreement on all issues of the divorce, which will help you to avoid litigation.
Get in Touch with an Attorney or DIY
In some cases, when you have a relatively simple divorce, you can handle it on your own without needing to get an attorney involved. This can help you to save some money on your divorce, which is always nice. However, when the divorce is a bit more complicated, you might want to at least consult with an attorney to get some advice.
Other times, you’ll find that working with a family law attorney is the best option to keep you safe during the divorce. This is especially true if your ex has hired a lawyer.