Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer

Scottsdale Divorce Attorney

Sometimes divorce is necessary. Relationships end in divorce when marital harmony becomes unobtainable. In your marriage, perhaps the tension has become too much. You’ve tried marriage counseling with no change for the better. Don’t settle for just any divorce lawyer in Scottsdale, AZ. Look for the best. Divorce can be a difficult and emotional process. It’s important to have an experienced attorney on your side who will guide you through this complicated time. At Stewart Law Firm, we understand that you need someone who will listen to your concerns and help you navigate the legal system. We are dedicated to providing our clients with compassionate, effective representation. An experienced Scottsdale divorce attorney can help navigate your legal case.

Divorce Law Resources:

When Should I File for Divorce in Scottsdale?

The decision to end a marriage is rarely easy. If you and your spouse have stopped working on your marriage and simply live together like strangers without warmth or communication, it may be time to take a step forward in a new direction. Some signs that it’s time for divorce include:

  • Your marriage lacks intimacy and companionship
  • You no longer trust your spouse due to cheating or addiction
  • Your home atmosphere is argumentative and disruptive and your children are exposed to the tension
  • You’re the victim of domestic violence
  • Your emotional well-being is suffering due to an unhappy marriage

If you and your spouse have tried to work on your marriage through counseling and other efforts, but now there’s nothing left to save, it may be time to file for divorce. In Arizona, you may file for a divorce in your jurisdiction when you meet the following requirements:

  • Either you or your spouse has lived in Arizona for at least 90 days
  • If you have children, it’s necessary for them to have Arizona residency for at least 6 months before the court can make decisions regarding child custody and child support

If you file a petition for divorce in Scottsdale first, you become the petitioner in the process. As the petitioner, you have the first option to state your desired outcomes in the petition, including on matters of property division and child custody.

If you’ve been served with divorce papers filed by your spouse, then your spouse is the petitioner and you are the respondent in the divorce process. In Scottsdale divorces, Arizona residents have 20 days in which to respond to a divorce petition.

Why Hire Stewart Law Group For Your Divorce?

When dealing with something as important as divorce and related matters, it’s essential to hire a Scottsdale family attorney that knows what they’re doing. Here’s what sets Stewart Law Group apart from the rest:

  • We provide individualized attention to each of our clients to properly address their needs, and achieve their goals. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution here.
  • Divorce can be an emotionally difficult process, and Stewart Law Group understands the importance of empathy, support, and understanding. We have made it our mission to help our clients navigate the complex world of divorce while remaining compassionate and understanding of the emotional turmoil that may accompany the process.
  • Experience in the legal field is critical, especially when it comes to something as personal and impactful as divorce. The team at Stewart Law Group boasts over 100 years of combined experience, which means we’ve been through countless cases and developed a deep understanding of the nuances and complexities of the process.

What Matters a Family Attorney Handles

Family law attorneys are skilled professionals who manage these complex matters with sensitivity and a client-centered approach. If you’ve ever wondered what family law covers and when to seek the guidance of a family law attorney, you’re in the right place. The most common issues a family law attorney deals with include:

Divorce Matters 

One of the main aspects of family law involves assisting clients going through a divorce. Divorce can be emotionally challenging, and having an experienced family lawyer by your side can make the legal process easier to navigate. Family law attorneys help clients settle disputes over assets, debts, spousal maintenance, and more. If you’re going through a divorce and need support, it’s essential to enlist the expertise of a seasoned attorney.

Child Custody and Visitation 

Family law attorneys also work with clients to determine child custody and visitation rights. It’s crucial to prioritize the best interests of the child in these cases, and a skilled attorney can help achieve that. A family lawyer may negotiate and draft parenting plans, mediate disputes over custody and visitation schedules, or represent clients in court to ensure the right outcome for the child.

Child Support 

Another critical area within family law involves child support. Whether you’re a parent seeking support or the one responsible for providing it, a family law attorney can ensure the appropriate amount is established according to state guidelines. This process considers the parents’ income, childcare expenses, medical costs, and other factors to calculate the proper support obligation.


In some cases, divorcing or separating couples might need to work out arrangements regarding alimony, also known as spousal maintenance. An experienced family law attorney can help determine whether alimony is warranted, negotiate the terms and amount of alimony, and represent clients in court when alimony disputes arise.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements outline the terms of financial division and support in the event of a divorce. These legally binding documents are especially crucial for individuals with substantial assets to protect or if there are previous agreements from prior marriages. A family law attorney can help draft these agreements following the proper legal procedures so that the agreement meets all the required standards.


Family law attorneys play a vital role in the adoption process. From helping prospective parents navigate through the legal complexities to completing the appropriate paperwork, a family law attorney can guide families through each step of the process.

Domestic Violence

Another essential matter within family law deals with domestic violence prevention and resolution. Family law attorneys help victims of domestic violence secure protection orders or assert their rights in court. These lawyers may also assist clients with finding resources and support during this difficult time.

Property Division

The division of property and assets is another critical issue in divorce or separation cases. Family law attorneys help couples divide their property fairly by ensuring accurate valuation, negotiating the terms of property division, and resolving disputes concerning who should receive which assets and debts.

Scottsdale’s Divorce Settlement Process and ADR

Arizona family courts provide a process to make divorce as fair as possible so one spouse doesn’t bear an undue burden or suffer a dramatic change in circumstances following the divorce. Separating one home into two separate households can become complicated, especially when the divorce involves children and it’s an emotionally charged time.

Arizona requires divorcing spouses to attempt to draft a settlement agreement deciding on matters of divorce law within the state’s legally defined boundaries. This agreement should cover the separation of their assets and debts, child custody, child support, and spousal support if it’s appropriate. 

If the spouses aren’t able to reach mutually acceptable agreements on one or more terms, they can meet together with their attorneys and a professional mediator in an Alternative Divorce Resolution (ADL) conference. Professional mediators often suggest solutions to resolve challenging issues in ways that spouses might not have considered on their own. If the spouses are able to agree to terms during the ADL conference, they won’t need to have a divorce hearing. Instead, a judge typically signs off on the settlement agreement unless there’s something egregiously unfair to one spouse or the agreement doesn’t serve the best interests of the children.

When spouses aren’t able to reach a divorce settlement agreement in spite of ADL and mediation, the matter goes to divorce court in Scottsdale so both sides can argue their points before a judge who makes the final decisions. 

Reaching a Settlement Agreement

Reaching a mutually agreed upon divorce settlement is typically the most challenging part of the divorce process. For spouses with no children and few assets, it’s a much simpler process, but when child custody is a consideration in a divorce, the arguments become heated. For spouses with many assets, untangling their separate assets from marital assets may become difficult due to unintentional commingling. Arizona courts encourage divorcing spouses to make every attempt to reach their own divorce settlement agreement rather than litigating in court. Reaching agreements on issues outside of court helps the spouses walk away more amicably, which is especially important for co-parents who must communicate for future child exchanges and decision-making. Reaching an agreement without a court battle minimizes ongoing resentment.

What is the Purpose of a Separation Agreement?

Some divorcing spouses separate for a time before filing for divorce for a trial separation or to work on the marriage while living separately. In this case, some couples choose to draft separation agreements while living apart before the divorce. A settlement agreement made ahead of time can temporarily resolve the major issues of shared parenting schedules, child support, separation of assets and debts, and alimony. If the spouses decide to move forward with divorce, the separation agreement forms the basis of their divorce settlement agreement, making the transition easier and free of contentious court litigation.

What About a Partial Agreement?

When divorcing spouses agree on some matters in their divorce but not others, they have the option of drafting a partial agreement with their attorneys. For example, they might agree on the division of their marital assets but not on their parenting schedule. When spouses agree on some decisions but not others, a partial agreement helps to minimize their time in court since they’ll only have to present their arguments for the unresolved matters for a judge to decide.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?

The best-case scenario in a divorce is a collaborative divorce. When spouses choose a collaborative divorce, they agree to resolve all issues of child custody, child support, division of assets, and other matters between themselves and their attorneys as a team rather than by arguing in court. Once the spouses agree to a collaborative divorce, their attorneys set up a series of meetings to negotiate. In some cases, a professional mediator attends one or more meetings to offer solutions the spouses might not have considered for challenging problems such as dividing property or forming a workable child custody schedule.

Choosing a collaborative divorce in Arizona takes less time than a typical divorce with court litigation and saves court costs and additional Scottsdale child support attorney fees.

How an Attorney Can Help You With a Divorce Case

While it can be tempting to try to handle a divorce on your own, there’s a lot at stake, and you should always speak to a professional. Here’s how a lawyer can help you:

  1. Protect Your Rights: Divorce proceedings often involve making critical decisions that impact your financial and emotional well-being. An experienced divorce attorney will protect your rights at every stage of the process.
  2. Negotiations and Mediation: Your attorney can facilitate necessary negotiations and attend mediation sessions. Their experience can help you reach a fair settlement.
  3. Expedite the Process: Having a knowledgeable divorce attorney on your side can save time, money, and emotional distress by helping you avoid common pitfalls and dead-ends in the legal process.
  4. Compassionate Support: A skilled Scottsdale divorce attorney understands the emotional toll a divorce can take and can serve as your ally during this difficult time.

Respected Divorce Law Firm in Scottsdale

Our qualified Scottsdale divorce attorneys are well-known and respected for their superb negotiating skills and legal stratagems, always prepared and ready to turn up the heat when litigation becomes necessary. Protecting your rights and interests in every court proceeding is essential. We are client-focused whether representing the economically disadvantaged spouse or propertied spouse in the divorce.

Our job description includes litigating any unresolved matters not decided consensually on through agreement between clients and opposing parties. We take our professional responsibilities as divorce lawyers to heart. And we are proud of the good results we obtain for our clients.

Our Scottsdale family lawyers and divorce attorneys are here to help. Clients can proceed with confidence; trusting our abilities and the quality representation we provide. Each individual is expertly guided through one Arizona court proceeding after another. We do everything in our power to obtain beneficial results for clients in:

  • Settlement negotiations
  • Discovery
  • Pre-trial hearings
  • Conciliation counseling and mediation
  • Trial
  • Post-judgment motion practice
  • Reconsiderations
  • And appeals.

Negotiating & Litigating Your Divorce Case in Scottsdale, AZ

For families accustomed to shopping, dining, and entertaining in an Old Town atmosphere, divorce proceedings are life-changing. Understandably, divorce cases can be intensely emotional, requiring many levels of dispute resolution. In part, that is why some of our clients choose collaborative divorce, an ADR process that incentivizes cooperation and litigation avoidance.

At Stewart Law Group, we assist clients in negotiating separation agreements and aggressively litigate disputed issues at trial. If spouses cannot reach a parenting plan agreement, for instance, then the court must make those decisions for them.

Arizona divorce proceedings should fully resolve complex asset and debt division, retirement plan, and pension allocation, and much more. We assist clients in settling on property division, spousal maintenancechild custody, and support, plus all other concerns related to legal separation and ending the marriage. If either spouse is a service member, then military divorce law also applies.

Maybe you feel like Ed Mell’s famous Jack Knife sculpture of the bucking horse with rider in Scottsdale’s arts district – there is absolute tension and chaos that you are struggling to gain control over. When every day is a battle of wills, and hanging on in this wild ride is asking the impossible. Don’t let go! Hand over the reins so we can help. Everyone at Stewart Law Group is passionate about the important work we do. We also have probate lawyers and child support attorneys in Scottsdale.

Which Court Hears Your Scottsdale Divorce Case?

There are several courts where civil cases are heard, depending upon the subject matter presented. The three main legal forums are state Superior Court, Scottsdale City Court, and U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. There are a couple of things you should know about divorce cases in Scottsdale:

  • First: All domestic relations proceedings – divorces, legal separations, annulments, and family law cases – are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Superior Court. Scottsdale clients typically initiate divorce proceedings by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Clerk of the Maricopa County Superior Court, the county of residence. (Discuss exceptions and special circumstances with an experienced divorce lawyer.)
  • Second: There may be collateral matters relating to the divorce. For instance, an order of protection may be handled in city court. A party’s misdemeanor DUI offense could be prosecuted in Superior Court or city court. A claim to child support, alimony, or property may be included in one or both spouses’ bankruptcy in federal court. Your specific situation may or may not have such hurdles to overcome. Every client’s situation is unique. Consult an attorney with the resources, knowledge of other practice areas, and proven ability to tie down every loose end for the best possible outcome. Results matter!

Divorce in Arizona: The Basics

Arizona is a ‘no-fault’ divorce state, which means that either party can file for divorce without having to prove that the other party is at fault. To file for divorce in Arizona, one of the spouses must have been a resident of the state for at least 90 days before filing.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

  • A contested divorce is when the spouses cannot agree on one or more issues, such as property division, child custody, or alimony. Contested divorce cases are often time-consuming and financially draining, making it crucial to hire a competent divorce attorney to fight for your rights.
  • An uncontested divorce is when both spouses agree on all issues related to the divorce. Uncontested divorce cases are generally faster, less expensive, and less stressful, but having a skilled divorce attorney to guide you through the process is still highly recommended.

In Arizona, some couples may opt for a legal separation instead of a full divorce. While the process of legal separation – governed by A.R.S § 25-313 – is similar to the divorce process, the couple remains married.

This alternative is particularly helpful for those who have unresolved or contested issues surrounding their separation and need time to work through them without the consequence of divorce. Additionally, legal separation allows couples to maintain certain benefits such as joint insurance plans and social security benefits, as well as adhere to religious beliefs that do not allow for divorce.

The Legal Separation Process in Arizona

When pursuing a legal separation in Arizona, couples need to address several key issues, including:

  1. Distribution of financial assets and debts: Both parties must agree on how to divide their shared assets and liabilities.
  1. Parenting time and child custody: If there are children involved, the couple must establish the rights and responsibilities of each parent, including who will have primary physical custody and how parenting time will be divided.
  2. Child and spousal support payments: Depending on the circumstances, one spouse may be required to make financial support payments to the other to maintain a certain standard of living, and child support may also be necessary.

These terms are reflected in a separation agreement, which is a legally binding document outlining the details of the couple’s arrangement. If the couple cannot agree on these aspects, they can be litigated during a separation trial, similar to a divorce trial.

Arizona is a Community Property State

Navigating through the intricate aspects of property division can be overwhelming, and it is essential to have the right knowledge to make informed decisions. Arizona is a community property state, and it’s important to understand the implications of this.

Community Property

As a community property state, Arizona stipulates that all property acquired during the marriage, with few exceptions, is deemed as community property. This implies that both spouses have an equal and undivided interest in these assets. Common community assets include:

  • Marital residence
  • Pensions
  • 401(k)s
  • Salaries earned during the marriage and their associated purchases
  • Timeshares
  • Automobiles, RVs
  • Cryptocurrencies and other virtual assets
  • Family businesses
  • Pets/livestock
  • Appreciation on investments, rents, and profits
  • Antiques and art collections

It is important to note that debts accumulated during the marriage are also considered community property, regardless of which spouse incurred the debt. Community property is divided equitably between spouses upon divorce.

Separate Property

Separate property, on the other hand, belongs exclusively to one spouse and is not subject to division in divorce cases. Generally, separate property includes:

  • Assets and debts acquired before marriage
  • Gifts received by only one spouse during the marriage
  • Inheritances received by just one spouse

When going through a divorce, it is crucial to maintain clear records of your separate property to minimize potential contentious issues.

Client Testimonials

The following testimonials were originally left by happy clients. Here are a few examples of satisfied clients of Stewart Law Group:


“I had initially contacted Brian Winter to file for a divorce in January of 2016. My husband and I had reconciled and separated several times after that time and since we were unable to make it work, the divorce was finally filed with the court September of 2017. Brian was patient and kind, even though I was probably difficult and frustrating to work with at times. Brian and his team were excellent in navigating me through this difficult process and helping me keep my expectations with the outcome realistic and fair. I can’t thank Brian enough for being there for me during this difficult time.”

J. L.

“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.”

L. A.

“Amy and her professional staff helped my daughter through the whole process from start to finish with dignity and compassion. Amy definitely knows the law, her attention to detail is incredible. Also, when my daughter had any questions, she was always quick to respond. She definitely has the client’s best interests at heart. I would highly recommend Amy and her staff to anyone who needs a great Divorce/Family law attorney!”

Areas We Serve

Old Town Scottsdale | McCormick Ranch | Gainey Ranch | DC Ranch | Desert Mountain | McDowell Mountain Ranch | Troon North | Ancala | Silverleaf | Kierland | Paradise Valley Mirada | Scottsdale Ranch | Arcadia | Boulders | Pinnacle Peak | Ironwood Village

Reviews of a Divorce Lawyer in Scottsdale

“Great firm and fantastic representation by Robert Howard. He took over a very difficult divorce case with abusing opposing legal counsel and got a pre court settlement that was more equitable and fair. Thanks for the time and diligence bringing the case to resolution.”

Rating: 5/5 
Bruce Lazarus
February 23, 2020
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Call (480) 425-1400 or email us.

Hire the Scottsdale Divorce Attorneys Who Care

Ask any old-timer how calm, clear Arizona days cloud over in summer monsoon. The sky changes quickly with surprising intensity. Suddenly, the environment is unpredictable and worrisome. Storms appear in personal relationships, too. When you are dealing with divorce proceedings call Stewart Law Group, attorneys in Scottsdale for help. We offer compassionate divorce representation to clients throughout the Valley and Scottsdale.