Tucson and Phoenix Divorce Lawyers
Skilled and Compassionate Attorneys on Your Side
At Desert View Law, we understand that family law is personal. No two situations are the same and divorce, legal separation, and child custody can be a particularly challenging time for everyone involved. It is an emotionally and psychologically challenging time, and the legal process can be difficult to navigate on your own without an attorney to assist you with all the paperwork, filing requirements, deadlines, local and state rules, and other obstacles. Our Divorce and Child Custody Attorneys in Tucson and Phoenix can help guide you through the court process, answer your questions, and help you determine your priorities and goals to obtain a fair outcome. The decisions made by you and your spouse or significant other during this process affect your family and your children far into the future, so attention to detail and a thorough understanding of what the practical effect of those decisions are, is important. We offer compassionate, professional, and individualized representation to each of our clients.
Arizona is what is called a no-fault state. You do not need to give any reason as to why you want to end your marriage or request a legal separation. The only reason you need to give is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The only exception to this is if you are in a covenant marriage, which has more pre-marital requirements and more restrictions as to divorce. In a covenant marriage, the person requesting the divorce must give their reason to the court. Legally recognized reasons include adultery, physical or sexual abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, or abandonment. If you are located in Phoenix or Tucson, one of our experienced divorce attorneys can assist you in making you request to the court.
The process for divorce in both the traditional marriage or covenant marriage is generally started with the filing of a petition and other documents with the court. Our knowledgeable Tucson divorce attorneys will be able to assist you with every step of this process. If you have children with your spouse, you should file a proposed parenting plan and child support worksheet as well. There is a 60-day waiting period in Arizona for Divorce. This means that even if you and your spouse agree on all terms to be in the final paperwork, the divorce cannot be finalized until after 60 days. The reality is that few divorces take only 60 days because if you and your spouse do not agree on every single aspect of the distribution of property, debt, spousal maintenance (alimony), parenting plan, and child support, you may have to go to formal mediation or even a trial.
Arizona is a community property state. This means that property and debt acquired during the marriage belongs equally to both spouses. Even if the property is only held in one spouse’s name, it may still be community property. Many people presume this automatically means everything will be divided 50/50. But that is not the case. The law requires that the division of community property and debts be equitable, so many times this requires looking beyond numbers to determine and come to an agreement on what would be considered equitable or fair.
After filing your divorce action, our Phoenix attorney can assist you through the discovery process to discuss clear goals as to what may be determined as an equitable division. You know the most about your individual circumstances and what will work best for your family’s future, so our attorney will work with you to attempt to reach a settlement agreement with your spouse through an alternative dispute resolution process such as mediation. This is favorable because it keeps a majority of the decisions in your own hands instead of the hands of a judge who does not know you or your family. Whether you are located in Maricopa or Pima County, our divorce lawyers help clients from the start of the Divorce or Legal Separation through temporary orders, discovery, alternative dispute resolution, and trial when necessary.
Parenting plans are an issue in many family law cases and are not limited to divorce and legal separation cases. When parents are not married, it is first necessary to establish who the legal parents of a child are, through a paternity action. The biological father must sign an acknowledgement of paternity so he can exercise his parental rights. Once the legal parents are determined, it is necessary to establish a parenting plan in the best interest of your children, just as in a divorce or legal separation. Our dedicated Maricopa County child custody attorneys are here to make sure your rights are firmly established and advocate on your behalf.
When it comes to your children, emotions run high, and the case can become even more contentious and litigious. Historically, Arizona courts gave preference to mothers in custody actions, but over the years it has become a more gender-neutral state, focusing instead on the primary parenting functions performed by each parent and the relationship each parent has with the children. It is important to be able to describe your relationship with your children effectively and adequately and show the court why the parenting time arrangement you propose is in their best interests. Courts will often times defer to the status quo to increase the stability in the lives of your children to the greatest extent possible.
The other part to child custody is the decision-making aspect. Courts strive to maintain joint legal decision-making authority unless there is a reason to limit one parent’s involvement. Reasons to limit a parent in both parenting time and decision-making authority include domestic violence, substance abuse, alcoholism, or mental health issues. In Tucson, our experienced child custody attorneys can help you navigate these issues through the Pima County Family Court system and come up with a custody arrangement that is best for your family.
In both Pima and Maricopa County, the Family Court enters child support orders in divorce, legal separation, and parenting plan cases. Both parents are financially responsible for providing the basic necessities for their children. In a divorce case, the Family Law Court takes into consideration the quality and standard of living the children would have if the parents were to remain together as a family unit. It is understandable that each parent is concerned about how much the court will require them to pay in child support. Arizona Revised Statute 25-501(A) requires each parent to provide reasonable financial support and sets forth guidelines and factors to establish the amount.
In Arizona, the Family Court is required to use a formula to prepare child support worksheets. Although this is the presumptive amount the court will order, it is possible for the court to deviate from that amount based upon a variety of factors. The criteria for a deviation are fact specific and complex. Our experienced Tucson and Phoenix attorneys at Desert View Law PLLC are here to help guide you through the process and calculation to determine what child support should be or if there are any criteria present to deviate from the standard calculation.
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