Phoenix Divorce Lawyer
Divorce can make reasonable people act in unreasonable ways. Grief, anger, and shock can make it hard for you to know what to do. If you want to file for divorce or if you’ve been served with divorce papers, call an experienced and compassionate Phoenix divorce lawyer right away. While many of the issues that cause a divorce to become contentious can be settled before going to trial, it’s still important that you’re treated fairly. The best way to protect yourself during the process is to hire a Phoenix divorce lawyer to represent you through the process.
Arizona Is a Community Property State
Under state law, real and personal property that is purchased or otherwise acquired during the marriage is considered community property. This means that it is owned jointly (50/50) by the husband and wife. This isn’t just limited to the marital home or the family car. It includes, but may not be limited to, the following items if they happened during the marriage:
- Starting a new business.
- Acquiring ownership interests in a business, land, real estate, etc.
- Investing accounts and brokerage accounts.
- Your salary, earnings, bonuses, or income.
- Your retirement accounts; including pensions.
- Dividends paid.
- Real estate or raw land.
- Assets such as boats, cars, motorcycles, four-wheelers, art, furniture, and other property.
- Debts accumulated during the marriage.
Generally, the assets are divided 50/50. In instances where that isn’t possible, such as a home or a car, one spouse may be required to buy out the interest of the other spouse. Equalization payments, a payment made to a spouse to represent 50% ownership, can also be used in business and real estate.
There are many instances, though, where assets or debts are held in just one name. This highlights the importance of a Phoenix divorce lawyer. In situations where one spouse received a substantial gift or inheritance, a Phoenix divorce letter can help you negotiate with your soon-to-be former spouse or represent you in the court room.
The Difference Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce
In Arizona, divorces may be contested or uncontested. When a divorce is uncontested, it means that the spouses both agree that a divorce is in their best interest and they agree to the terms of the divorce. This includes how assets and debts will be divided, whether alimony will be paid, and custody and visitation of any minor children.
When a divorce is contested, it could mean that one of the spouses plans to fight the divorce proceedings. It could also mean that the two spouses cannot agree on any of the matters that must be settled. It could be both. When a divorce is contested, a Phoenix divorce lawyer helps their client skillfully navigate the process to ensure that they end up in the best possible shape at the end of the divorce.
Spousal Support, Child Support, and Child Custody
Three of the most contentious issues that Phoenix divorce lawyers address are spousal support, child support, and child custody. Here’s some basic information about each of those issues.
- Spousal support. Spousal support, also referred to as spousal maintenance or alimony, can be awarded to either the husband or the wife if the requestor can prove to the court that the money is needed for them to meet their financial obligations. Spousal support can also be awarded in legal separations, too. The court will consider several factors before deciding that alimony should be awarded.
- Child support. If you and your spouse have minor children together, child support will be another issue. Child support is a federal right of the minor child(ren). However, if the two of you agree on an amount (or agree to no child support), the judge may consider granting your request. Your Phoenix divorce lawyer can walk you through the child support guidelines established by the Arizona Supreme Court.
- Child custody. The court will look at the best interest of the minor child(ren) when determining child custody. It is certainly helpful if you and your spouse can get along and co-parent. Considerations for custody include sole custody, joint legal and physical custody, and primary physical custody being awarded to one parent while both parents get input on decisions. The court will consider many factors when making a decision related to child custody or agreeing to a proposed custody plan developed by both parties.
In certain situations, a Phoenix divorce attorney may be willing to assist with a collaborative divorce. A collaborative divorce is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It helps Arizona couples end their marriage without having to go to court. However, it does require that the couple work together and agree on how to split up the assets and debts and how child custody, child support, and possible alimony may be handled. It is not an option that works for every couple. Although the court is not involved, a collaborative divorce is a legally binding agreement. You can and should be represented by a divorce attorney.
A Phoenix Divorce Lawyer Can Help with High Net Worth Divorces
If you’re considered an individual with a high net worth, you need a divorce lawyer to help you navigate the process and protect your best interest. The more assets there are in a divorce proceeding, the more complicated the process becomes. Think about other factors in your divorce aside from debts and assets. Think about your work and travel schedule. Think about whether you plan to move out. These are factors that affect child custody, child support, spousal support, and how the division of assets and debts are handled.
Legal Separation in Arizona?
In Arizona, couples who wish to separate but do not necessarily want to get a divorce have another option. They can file for a legal separation. This means that you remain married, but that you and your spouse have agreed that separation is best. It can be used as first step to divorce or it can be used as the couple sorts out their problems. If you and your spouse reconcile, the legal separation is easily ended. A Phoenix divorce lawyer helps those who are interested in pursuing a legal separation.
Contact An Experienced Phoenix Divorce Lawyer Today
If you have questions about the divorce process, child custody, or legal separation, contact an experienced Phoenix divorce lawyer at Smith & Green for a free confidential consultation.