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Arizona Divorce Lawyer - With or Without Children Involved

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Details of Filing for Divorce in Arizona

If you and your spouse believe that you have reached the end of your marriage and want to file for divorce, getting help from an experienced family law attorney is critical.  Regardless of whether you will be going through a dissolution of marriage with or without children, a divorce lawyer can help you avoid mistakes that could potentially harm your future and interests.

In any divorce, there are multiple factors that each person needs to know about, and could use the help of a family law firm that is compassionate and will stop at nothing until the client receives the best possible outcome.

Below is an overview of what to expect in a divorce without kids vs. a divorce with kids.

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The Different Aspects Involved in Divorce

Arizona Divorce without Children Involved

In an Arizona divorce, if you and your spouse do not have any minor children (younger than 18), you might believe that your divorce will be relatively straightforward. However, even if you are divorcing without children, many issues still need to be resolved.

Some of the issues that might arise in a divorce without children include:

  • Spousal maintenance;
  • Property and debt division;
  • Who will retain ownership and responsibility for pets;
  • Whether a spouse desires to change their last name upon divorce;
  • How your divorce might impact your ability to retire

Thinking through these important issues and making a strategic plan to resolve them favorably is key to protecting your future interest after the divorce is finalized.

There are several ways to resolve a dispute without going through a divorce trial, including participating in mediation, pursuing negotiations informally, and partaking in the collaborative divorce process.

Having the assistance of an experienced divorce and property division attorney from Colburn Hintze Maletta can help you to resolve divorce-related issues and conflicts fairly while protecting your interests and preserving your potential ability to retire on time.

Below is a brief overview of each of the methods mentioned above that are out-of-court alternatives for dispute resolution.

*Note: If there are children involved in your divorce, please continue reading below. We discuss in detail the different elements.

Arizona Private Mediation – Alternative to Family Court

In private mediation, both spouses meet with a trained and neutral third-party mediator. The mediator talks to each party (separately) about each issue in dispute and works to facilitate an agreement. In many cases that don’t involve children, mediation is an excellent option because there are many creative ways to achieve a fair compromise, or uncontested divorce when the primary issues in dispute relate to the division of assets and debts.

If an agreement is reached during mediation, a Consent Decree will be drafted and signed by the parties based upon the agreed-upon terms.  After the parties sign the Consent Decree, it is submitted to the court for the judge to sign and file with the clerk of court, thereby making it an official order of the court and finalizing the divorce.

Having the help of an experienced attorney during private mediation is crucial to finding a resolution that is acceptable to all parties involved.  It is also essential to ensuring that final paperwork is completed properly.

As an added bonus, a successful mediation almost always results in a quicker and less expensive divorce than litigating a case all the way to trial.

Informal Settlement Negotiations

In some cases, private mediation is not viable due to the added cost of the private mediator’s time.  Even if you do not think you and your spouse can afford to attend private mediation, it is still possible to reach an amicable resolution of your case through informal settlement negotiations.  

An experienced divorce lawyer at Colburn Hintze Maletta can negotiate with the other party on your behalf to reach a comprehensive settlement agreement that fully resolves your case.

Like private mediation, if all of the outstanding issues can be agreed upon through informal settlement negotiations, a Consent Decree can be drafted, signed by both parties, and presented to the court.

Also like private mediation, informal negotiations can allow both spouses to avoid the financial and emotional cost of going through a divorce trial.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is a relatively new option for resolving disputed issues outside of the formal litigation process. In a collaborative divorce, both spouses and their attorneys meet to negotiate. The focus is to reach an agreement that ensures that both spouses receive what they need from the divorce and end their marriage amicably.

Collaborative divorce is a way to end a marriage in which the parties can settle the property division and financial issues in a satisfactory way without litigating in court.

Collaborative divorce in a marriage that does not include children can be a good option when both parties have attorneys and agree not to engage in actions that will prolong the process of getting divorced.

At the end of collaborative divorce, both spouses can feel comfortable with the results since they each fully participated in reaching the agreement.

If you are getting divorced and have children, going through a collaborative process can be the start of a new co-parenting partnership between you and your spouse, building positive momentum for the future and avoiding the negative sentiments that often result after a  contentious trial.

Contested Divorce – Both Parties Don’t Agree

If you can’t reach an agreement with your spouse through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative divorce, a contested divorce might be your only option.

A contested divorce involves formal litigation that leads to a divorce trial. This might be necessary for divorces involving significant conflict or issues of parental fitness.

If you are forced to litigate because the other party won’t be reasonable, it is imperative that you seek the guidance of a family law attorney with experience preparing and presenting divorce cases at trial.

The divorce attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta are experienced litigators with a record of successful outcomes when the stakes are high. View our Family Law Victories by clicking here. Although outcomes can never be guaranteed in divorce court, our attorneys make sure your case is fully investigated and prepared for trial so that your potential for a favorable outcome is maximized.

Most importantly, our attorneys will work diligently to ensure that your voice is heard before the judge renders a decision in your case.

Divorce with Children Involved

If you want to end your marriage and remain to share your children with your spouse, the divorce can likely involve numerous issues beyond just property and debt division. Divorces with children can be mentally, emotionally, and financially taxing on everyone involved.

The decision to divorce when you have children involves many different elements and can require many difficult decisions to be made. Ultimately, in family law it always best practice to do what is in the best interest of the child.

Working with an experienced Phoenix divorce attorney who has not only your interests but those of your children at heart is critical.

Child Custody Issues & Parenting time in Divorce Cases

In Arizona, custody decisions are based primarily on what is in the children’s best interests.  In other words, the court is not focused on doing what is best for the parents. Rather, it is focused on doing what is best for the children. If your child is mature and old enough, a judge might even allow your child to be interviewed so that their wishes are given consideration by the court.

Courts apply a universal standard when determining contested child custody matters in a divorce called the best interests standard. Every case is determined on a fact-specific basis. Occasionally, equal parenting time might not be feasible or appropriate.

In some cases, it might not be in the children’s best interests for the court to order a 50/50 split of parenting time. Working with an attorney that is highly knowledgeable of these issues can help to protect you and your children to ensure that their needs are met.

Your attorney can help you to understand the various factors courts consider when they determine the best interests of children and work to help you establish a healthy co-parenting relationship with your estranged spouse.

By helping you step back from the emotional conflicts and dynamics that often accompany a divorce with children, an attorney can help prevent the divorce process from becoming unnecessarily time-consuming, complex, and expensive.

If a settlement is viable, the goal is to explore whether the parents can reach a middle ground as to what is best for the children, and then to craft a parenting and financial plan that works for everyone involved.

If you are dealing with serious issues with your spouse’s fitness as a parent, including domestic violence, child abuse, or drug and alcohol abuse, you might need to contest your divorce and child custody case.

In this type of situation, you might need to ask the court for emergency orders of protection for your children while your divorce is pending. We can help you with this process and work to protect your safety and that of your children.

Child Support in Divorce Cases

Child custody and child support are frequently the most hotly contested issues in a divorce proceeding. If you share children with your spouse, the court will expect both of you to contribute financially to their upbringing.

Going through the process of a divorce with children involved will mean that your divorce case will be largely focused on what is in your children’s best interests and who will be required to pay child support to the other parent.

If your children are younger than age 18, you can expect child support and custody decisions to play a central role in your divorce case in Arizona.

One of the most critical aspects of your divorce is to establish the right amount of child support in your case. To do this, we will look at each scenario carefully to determine what is the most favorable outcome for you.

Spousal Maintenance / Alimony

In some divorce cases, spousal maintenance, also known as spousal support or alimony, may additionally be an issue. If spousal maintenance is ordered in your case, it is payable in addition to any child support that might also be ordered.

Spousal support is generally ordered when there is a large disparity of income or financial resources between the spouses.

Factors considered by the court in determining whether to award spousal maintenance include:

  • The amount of property awarded to each spouse (including property awarded during the divorce;
  • Each spouse’s ability to be self-sufficient in the labor market;
  • Whether a spouse has contributed to the other’s spouse’s career or earning ability;
  • Whether a spouse has made career sacrifices for the other’s spouse’s benefit;
  • Whether the parties’ marriage has been of long duration.

However, spousal maintenance is not guaranteed and the court has broad discretion over the issue.

Your attorney can help you to understand whether you might receive or be ordered to pay spousal maintenance and work to craft an agreement with your spouse to protect your interests.

Ensuring a Smoother Process and the Best Results

By working with an attorney to negotiate with your spouse during a divorce with or without children, you are much likelier to avoid some of the conflicts that could otherwise arise. This can help you to enjoy a smoother divorce process and obtain better results.

The family law attorneys at Colburn Hintze Maletta have handled numerous cases in a wide range of situations and can help our clients to resolve their outstanding disputes, often without having to go through a protracted litigation process.

When you work with one of our divorce attorneys, you are more likely to resolve your divorce issues expeditiously. Whether or not children are involved, working with an attorney might help you to secure a more favorable outcome.

If there are sensitive issues that need to be immediately resolved, having the help of a family law attorney that exclusively handles divorces might allow you to secure temporary orders to protect your interests during the pendency of your divorce.

Give us a call now for a completely free consultation to discuss the process and put together the best strategy that will work in your favor (602) 825-2500.

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