Divorce is an emotionally draining experience, and the legal complexities it brings with it can further exacerbate the situation. When navigating a divorce in Arizona, it’s crucial to get the right help and support to ensure a smooth and fair process. We’re here to help. Contact Stewart Law Group to schedule a consultation with an experienced family lawyer in Peoria.
Divorce Law Resources:
- Why Hire Stewart Law Group For Your Divorce?
- How an Attorney Can Help You With a Divorce Case?
- Types of Divorce: Contested, Uncontested, and Default
- Important Factors to Determine: Alimony, Child Custody, and Child Support
- Division of Debt and Assets: Understanding Arizona’s Community Property Laws
- Client Testimonials
- Areas We Serve
- Contact Stewart Law Group To Schedule a Consultation
When Should I File for Divorce in Peoria?
Divorce court isn’t where you thought your walk down the aisle would end, but sometimes new beginnings first require an ending. Coming to the decision to file for divorce isn’t easy, but sometimes life takes us along unexpected paths where the best thing to do is to look ahead. If you and your spouse have tried to repair a broken marriage to no avail and no longer serve as each other’s companions, confidants, and intimate partners, it’s probably time to take the next step on your new path forward and seek an experienced divorce lawyer in Peoria to file the paperwork and help you navigate the divorce process.
By filing for a divorce first, you become the petitioner in the divorce and your spouse is the respondent. If you’ve been served with divorce papers, then your spouse is the petitioner and you are the respondent. Respondents in Arizona divorce have 20 days to file a response.
Spouses can file for divorce in Peoria once they’ve met the following requirements:
- At least one spouse must have resided in Arizona for a minimum of 90 days
- If you have children, your children must have lived in Arizona for at least 6 months before the court has jurisdiction and can make decisions on child custody and child support
Once you or your spouse have filed the divorce petition, your attorney from Stewart Law Group will inform you of the progress of your case, including financial disclosures, mediation, and hearing dates. The length of the process depends on whether or not you and your spouse can negotiate terms for your divorce agreement between yourselves and your attorneys or if the matter must go to court for litigation.
Why Hire Stewart Law Group For Your Divorce?
When dealing with divorce in Arizona, it’s crucial to have a competent and compassionate legal team to navigate this challenging time. Here’s why you should work with us:
- Our years of experience in handling Arizona divorce cases have allowed us to develop a deep understanding of state laws and client needs.
- Our team of skilled attorneys maintains the highest standards of integrity and professionalism, making your experience with us as smooth and stress-free as possible.
- We keep our clients informed throughout their cases, providing all necessary information on scheduling, court filings, deadlines, orders, and notices. Our transparent communication methods make it easy for clients to stay involved and maintain a sense of control over their case.
- Worries about the cost of divorce and associated legal representation are reasonable concerns for anyone considering this life-altering move. With an upfront fee structure, our clients can get a clear idea of future costs, allowing them to plan the best legal strategy and budget accordingly.
How an Attorney Can Help You With a Divorce Case?
A skilled attorney will help you understand and navigate the key steps in an Arizona divorce. These include:
- Filing a Petition – Your attorney will help you draft and file the necessary paperwork to initiate the divorce process.
- Serving divorce papers – Properly serving your spouse with divorce papers is crucial for moving your case forward.
- Negotiating the settlement – Your lawyer will help to negotiate a fair settlement while keeping in mind your best interests and goals.
- Child custody and visitation rights – If you have children, your attorney can help you develop a custody agreement and advocate for your parental rights. A Peoria child custody lawyer can help navigate your legal case and custody battle.
- Alimony and child support – They can also assist in determining and securing appropriate alimony and child support payments. An alimony lawyer in Peoria can assist with your alimony related legal proceedings during a free consultation.
- Division of property and assets – Your attorney will work to fairly and equitably divide your marital property, assets, and debts.
- Finalizing the divorce– Once all legal issues are addressed, your lawyer will help finalize the divorce, ensuring that all court requirements are enforced.
Types of Divorce: Contested, Uncontested, and Default
In Arizona, there are different types of divorce:
A contested divorce occurs when spouses are unable to reach an agreement on one or more matters concerning the dissolution of their marriage. Disputes frequently center on child custody, child support, alimony, or the distribution of assets and debts. Contested divorces tend to be more complicated, take longer to resolve, and can be emotionally and financially draining for all parties involved.
An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, is when both spouses agree on all aspects of their divorce. This usually leads to a faster and more amicable resolution. Couples who choose to dissolve their marriage through an uncontested divorce tend to work cooperatively towards a mutually beneficial agreement.
A default divorce is a type of divorce that typically occurs when one spouse doesn’t respond to a divorce petition filed by their partner. In Arizona, this form of divorce is especially common when the couple in question has no minor children. Default divorces allow for a quicker resolution, as they often involve agreements reached outside of court between the two parties.
Peoria’s Divorce Settlement Process and ADR
Because separating one household into two is a complex process—especially when it involves children—Arizona courts require a fair settlement agreement between divorcing spouses, or else a judge must define the terms for them in binding orders as part of their final divorce decree. Spouses may work together with their attorneys to negotiate issues like child custody, support, and the distribution of their marital debts and assets. If they’re unable to come to a mutually acceptable agreement on one or more issues, both parties and their attorneys will meet at a scheduled Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) conference as a last effort to resolve contentious issues. If the spouses are able to agree on terms during ADR, the court will cancel the scheduled divorce trial since there is no longer any need for a judge to hear the arguments and make the decisions. If spouses cannot reach resolutions together with the help of lawyers and professional mediators, the matter proceeds to court for a judge to decide on all contested issues.
Reaching a Settlement Agreement
Reaching a settlement agreement is the most difficult part of the divorce process. When divorcing spouses can manage it without needing a court trial, it saves time, money, and hard feelings that may impact them and their children for years to come.
Settlement agreements are typically easier between spouses with no children and few marital assets. They become more emotionally charged when children are involved and more hotly contested when spouses have a wide range of marital assets to divide. However, reaching a settlement agreement saves expenses, time, and rancor between ex-spouses.
What is the Purpose of a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement maps out a divorcing couple’s plan on how to separate their joint assets and how to share parenting time with their children, as well as defining how each parent will meet their obligation to support the children. When spouses can make these decisions together with their attorneys, it’s a more amicable resolution than going to court for a judge to resolve each matter for them in a binding court order. When spouses reach a settlement on their own, a judge is likely to simply sign off on the agreement with no need to litigate the matter in court, saving time and money. A separation agreement may help spouses to move forward into their separate lives with fewer hard feelings which facilitates more open communication between them if they’re co-parenting children.
What About a Partial Agreement?
In some cases, divorcing spouses may agree on some terms but not on others. For instance, they may come to mutually accepted decisions on child custody and child support, but may not be able to reach an agreement on who retains the family home. In cases like this, the spouses could sign a partial agreement for the matters they were able to settle together with their attorneys and leave the contested matters for a judge to decide.
What is a Collaborative Divorce?
When divorcing spouses are able to communicate and compromise, they may choose the less contentious alternative to divorce court through a collaborative divorce. In a collaborative divorce, the spouses and their attorneys agree to work together as a team to negotiate resolutions on all aspects of the divorce rather than taking their arguments to court. They may schedule a series of meetings to map out an amicable plan for dividing their assets and sharing child custody. In some cases, a professional mediator may attend the meetings to offer solutions to challenging problems that the spouses otherwise might not have thought of on their own.
A collaborative divorce rather than a typical divorce fought out in court is less expensive, takes less time, and allows spouses to forge their own terms rather than a dispassionate judge doing so for them.
Important Factors to Determine: Alimony, Child Custody, and Child Support
When it comes to divorce, several crucial factors require careful consideration and negotiation. These factors include:
- Alimony: Also known as spousal maintenance, alimony is a financial obligation that one spouse may carry to provide to the other as part of a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to ensure that both spouses are able to maintain a similar standard of living after the divorce. The amount and duration of alimony can be determined by the court or agreed upon by both parties.
- Child Custody: One of the most challenging aspects of a divorce is determining child custody arrangements. Child custody is divided into two main categories: legal decision-making authority and parenting time. Legal decision-making involves the authority to make important decisions about a child’s upbringing, education, healthcare, and overall well-being. Parenting time refers to the time a parent spends with the child. These decisions can be made through an agreement or determined by the court.
- Child Support: Ensuring that both parties provide for the financial needs of their children is paramount. Child support is calculated in Arizona based on the combined income of both parents and the children’s needs. The court uses guidelines set by the state to help determine the amount of child support that a noncustodial parent must pay to the custodial parent.
Division of Debt and Assets: Understanding Arizona’s Community Property Laws
One crucial aspect of divorce in Arizona is understanding how the law views the division of debts and assets. Arizona is considered a community property state, which means that all assets acquired during the marriage, as well as all debts incurred, are considered joint property and are divided equally between the spouses.
Some exceptions apply and are considered separate property: “A spouse’s real and personal property that is owned by that spouse before marriage and that is acquired by that spouse during the marriage by gift, devise or descent, and the increase, rents, issues and profits of that property, is the separate property of that spouse.”
What is Commingling of Separate Property in a Divorce?
The issue of commingled assets is a common complication during the division of marital assets in an Arizona divorce, especially in long-term marriages or high-asset marriages. Sometimes a spouse has a valid claim on assets that the other spouse believes are theirs alone. For example, if one spouse owned a property before the marriage or inherited one during the marriage, it’s normally their separate property. But what if the other spouse invested money or a significant amount of time into making improvements on the property? In that case, they could have a valid claim due to the commingling of separate assets. In other circumstances, bank, retirement, and investment accounts that were separate property become commingled if one spouse grants access to the account to the other spouse.
It often takes a skilled Peoria child support attorney to untangle separate and marital property, especially in high-asset divorces.
The following testimonials were originally left by happy clients. Here are a few examples of satisfied clients of Stewart Law Group:
“I will be divorced three years this coming March and going through that difficult process isn’t easy, but [Attorney Amy Dohrendorf] made it as painless as it could be for me. I was pleased with my settlement, and we were able to settle my case through mediation. I have recommended serval friends to Amy and they have all been pleased as well. I am still having to deal with some post-decree issues and I am always pleased with the options Amy gives me to try to settle these matters. If you are looking for a knowledgeable attorney that is responsive and is surrounded by a great support staff, contact Amy.”
“I had a very contentious and complicated divorce with four kids involved, and I couldn’t be happier with the way [Attorney] Scott Stewart handled everything. I had an uphill battle the whole way and had to go through three different evidentiary hearings, counter very serious false accusations that were made against me, and a very non-compliant, irrational ex- who wanted everything and more. When all was said and done, I got almost every single thing that I asked for, the most important of which was having my kids more than I ever thought possible. Although the experience was very dramatic and financially damaging, I feel that my faith in the legal system is much stronger than it has been in the past… my dealings with Scott Stewart and his excellent staff are a big reason for that. I feel that Scott knew as much about my situation as I did and that makes a big difference, especially when I compared that with the four different attorneys that my ex-wife had throughout the process. I feel that I lucked-out by finding Scott Stewart and would highly recommend him to anyone going through the unfortunate reality of divorce.”
Areas We Serve
Vistancia | Westbrook Village | Trilogy at Vistancia | Fletcher Heights | Blackstone at Vistancia | Sonoran Mountain Ranch | Westwing Mountain | Terramar | Casa del Rey | Dove Valley Ranch | Desert Harbor | Ironwood | Cibola Vista | Pleasant Valley | Parkridge | Sunrise | Willow Ridge | Pine Summit | Plaza Del Rio | Tierra del Rio | Rock Springs
Contact Stewart Law Group To Schedule a Consultation
Divorce in Arizona doesn’t have to be an overwhelming ordeal. With the experience, integrity, and genuine care found at Stewart Law Group, you can confidently navigate the complex process of ending your marriage. Our team’s dedication to providing top-notch legal representation and support makes us an ideal choice for Arizona families looking to start fresh. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.