Same-Sex Divorce in Arizona

Are you in a same-sex marriage and are now seeking a divorce in Arizona? You probably have quite a few questions about the process of getting a divorce in the state. You want to know more about the process, your rights, and what should be expected in the event of a divorce. This is especially true for those who are in a same-sex marriage. Historically, LGBTQ couples faced issues when it comes to their rights.

After all, it has only been in the past few years that the right to same-sex marriage was the law and people were given equal rights. Before that, marriages might not even be recognized if they were performed in a different jurisdiction, which meant that it wouldn’t be possible to get a divorce in Arizona.

Fortunately, things are different today. The divorcing party’s marital and parental rights are treated like any other divorce or family law case. A marriage is simply a marriage and a divorce is a divorce. There are no major differences, no special paperwork that needs to be filed, and no proof required to show that the marriage was legitimate. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there won’t potentially be obstacles you face when going through the divorce—obstacles and problems can crop up in any type of divorce.

Work with a Quality Attorney

Therefore, you will want to work with an experienced attorney in most cases. If there are children and a lot of property and debt that need to be split, it can often be easier to work with an attorney than to try to handle it all on your own. When you are choosing an attorney, you might want to find someone who is an experienced LGBTQ divorce lawyer for legal representation. That’s not to say that any divorce attorney couldn’t do a good job, but it’s nice to have someone who understands you better working on your behalf.

How can the attorney help? Having legal representation helps to improve the chance of getting what you need and meeting your goals in your divorce. Having representation before you settle on your divorce is always a good idea. They can help to make sure that things like the division of assets, parenting time, etc. are all fair to you.

Remember, even though the process for divorce will be the same, some differences might be encountered. Marriage between same-sex couples was only allowed and seen as legal in Arizona over the past several years. Couples who have been together for a long time might have cases for more support and property division, even though the law might not see it that way since they weren’t technically married.

There’s a lot to think about, and it’s often a good idea to talk with an attorney about those types of concerns.

Should You Try to Settle?

You will find that the vast majority of the divorce cases in Arizona, whether they are a same-sex divorce or not, settle. This means that the couple agrees on all of the terms of the divorce so that an agreement can be reached and the divorce can be granted. Settling also means that you will not have to go to trial, which is something that most people want to avoid.

There are certain things to consider with same-sex couples that would not always be a problem with other couples. For example, it was only in 2015 that same-sex marriage became the law. What about couples who were cohabitating before that time? They were essentially in a committed relationship and the only reason they weren’t married is that it was not legal at that time.

What happens with the property that the couple had before they were able to get married? Arizona is a community property state. This means the money that you earned during the marriage, the assets you bought, the debt you have accrued, etc. is typically split equally. The question becomes when did the marriage begin. Was the couple cohabitating for years before they were legally married or before their marriage was viewed as being enforceable in the state?

According to the law, only the property during the time of the marriage is considered community property. However, couples might want to try to negotiate a settlement that is fair to all of the parties, despite not being legally required to do so.

Many couples will find that going through negotiations and settling is the best solution. This doesn’t always mean that the couple will agree to all aspects of the divorce. However, the more they can settle before they get in front of the judge in a trial the better. It can help to speed up and simplify the divorce in many cases.

Do You Always Need an Attorney?

One of the questions that many couples ask whether they are a same-sex couple or not is whether an attorney will always be needed. Getting a divorce can be expensive, and some couples might want to avoid hiring attorneys for each of them. In those cases, if the divorce is simple and doesn’t involve children or a lot of property that needs to be split, then an attorney will not be needed in most cases.

However, if you worry about the honesty of your spouse, worry that they might be trying to take advantage, hiding money, etc. you will want to speak with an attorney. The same is true in cases where you have children and you want to make sure you are treated fairly and given the rights you deserve.

When you choose an attorney for your divorce, make sure that they have experience with cases like yours. This doesn’t necessarily mean same-sex divorce, but it means the type and size of the divorce. If you have a high-end marriage with a lot of assets, for example, you will want to work with an attorney that has handled cases like that in the past and that has had favorable outcomes for their clients.