Things to Consider When Thinking About Divorce
Divorce is a personal and emotionally challenging experience. And while Arizona allows “do it yourself” divorce during such great personal stress, this is no time to go it alone – particularly when the decisions you make today will have life-long impacts on parenting time, legal decision making for your children, and your financial health.
At Rubin & Ansel, we understand that couples facing the enormity of divorce confront worry, fear, anger, and stress every day. We recognize that people facing divorce worry about the costs. For this reason, we work with you to develop a legal strategy that meets your financial needs and protects your rights and your financial assets.
On this website, we have assembled information that will help you determine if you can afford not to have a team at your side during this trying time. We provide Commonly Asked Questions to a review of the Divorce Process and what you can expect every step of the way.
Before you begin the complicated divorce process, let us help you evaluate your case to see how our unique blend of legal strength and sound counsel can help you.
Can I get divorced in Arizona? How long do I have to wait?
Arizona has three requirements for divorce:
1) that either you or your spouse lived in Arizona for 90 days or more before filing;
2) that the marriage is irretrievably broken; and
3) that you wait 60 days, the mandatory “cooling off” period, before final paperwork is submitted for your divorce. ARS §25-329.
Most divorces take longer than 60 days, depending on the circumstances. The more prepared you are, the less time the process should take.
What are sufficient grounds for a divorce?
Arizona is a no-fault state, so you can seek a divorce as long as you or your spouse wants a divorce. This also means that marital misconduct, such as an affair, has no bearing on the divorce.
What can I do before filing to protect myself financially?
Find out as much information as you can about the family finances, savings accounts and insurance accounts before you file for divorce. Make sure that you will have access to credit, savings, and an income source.
If you received any gifts or inheritances during or before the marriage, or entered into the marriage with any property, put together documentation showing where each item came from, to make sure the property does not end up being treated as ‘community’ property. Email, social media, and online account passwords should all be changed to a password that your spouse cannot guess.
Put together a list and take pictures of all marital property (furniture, appliances, etc.) and mark the items you want to keep and the items you have to keep. Then, if you or your spouse moves from the marital home, you will have a list ready to review. This can improve the effectiveness of dividing the assets. Try to be rationale about what is important to you – you want to avoid arguments over things like who gets to keep a bath mat.
Whatever you do, do not misuse any marital property. You are obligated to disclose all debts and assets during a divorce and if you misuse any marital property (i.e. buy a car for a new love interest) your spouse could use that as evidence against you in dividing the assets and liabilities.
We have talked about divorce, now what?
The immediate upheaval after you tell your spouse that you want a divorce is difficult.
Before you file, if it is possible, you should talk with your spouse about temporary arrangements during the divorce. Temporary arrangements include: living arrangements; access to accounts; bills; household items; maintenance payments; and, if you have children, parenting time and child support. If you and your spouse disagree, you can ask the court for a hearing to determine temporary orders.
Once a petition for dissolution is served, you and your spouse will be under an automatic order not to cancel, change, or allow to lapse for nonpayment of premiums, any of the following listing you, your spouse, or your children as covered or as a beneficiary under currently existing: health insurance; homeowner’s or renter’s insurance; automobile insurance; or life insurance policies, unless there is an agreement in writing from the other party or a court order.
I am so angry, what should I do?
Consider therapy, exercising more often, or taking up a new hobby. Actions based on emotion could hurt you in a divorce, especially if you have children.
Should I hire an attorney? Can I afford to?
The question should be can you afford not to hire an attorney. If you have children, require child support, spousal maintenance, or own a home or other joint assets, a do-it-yourself divorce without the benefit of some legal counsel is risky. Many couples who divorce without a lawyer eventually end up having to hire an attorney to modify separation agreements, parenting plans, or maintenance payments. The financial decisions you make today will impact you and your children for years to come.
Even if you ultimately decide not to hire an attorney, you should consider talking to one. An experienced family law attorney , like the attorneys at Rubin & Ansel, will explain to you what you should expect and the considerations you should think about. Hiring a good family law attorney will make the process of going through a divorce less stressful.