Legal matters require legal expertise because they are legal issues. The issues of custody, visitation, support, spousal maintenance, division of assets, etc. are all legal issues which are controlled by state statutes, court rules, and case law that direct the path the lawyer must follow. Do not trust important legal decisions to non-lawyers. By law, no one is permitted to give you legal advice unless they are a licensed attorney.
All family law matters require decisions to be made that have potential life-altering outcomes. Making sure you have a constant flow of legal advice throughout the proceeding is critical to protect your rights and assets.
Family law matters require a serious approach, rather than a fill-in-the-blank mentality.
The State Bar of Arizona has the following to say about Attorneys:
The only ground for a divorce in Arizona is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” with “no reasonable prospect for reconciliation.” This is a “no-fault” state, which means that it is not necessary (and usually not even allowed) to say which person caused or wants the divorce. The only time that matters is when the parties have entered into the rare Covenant Marriage.
The minimum waiting time for a divorce to be finalized is 60 days after the filing and service of divorce papers on your spouse. Many divorces take longer, especially if property, financial or children’s issues are contested.
Arizona is a community property state. That means that all property and all debts acquired during the marriage are presumed owned by both parties together, regardless of in whose name the property is held. This presumption ends when divorce papers are filed and served on the other party.
Arizona law says that the property is divided “equitably,” which usually means equally. After all the property is taken into account, the intent is that each party ends up with approximately half of the total property value, including all retirement and 401(k) accounts. It is important to have advice from a tax professional to understand the potential tax consequences caused by the property division.
Generally, yes. Debts incurred by one spouse during the marriage are considered community debt. This is true even if only one person’s name is on the debt.
There are two parts to custody: “legal decision-making” and “parenting time”. Legal decision-making refers to who makes the decisions for the child. “Parenting time” refers to the amount of time that the child will be with each parent. In a joint legal decision-making scenario, the parents are expected to communicate and confer regarding major decisions about the children, such as education, child care, and medical and religious decisions.
Arizona child support guidelines apportion support based on the income of each parent. Other factors such as the cost of day care and the children’s health insurance are considered. A child support worksheet can be found online here.
There is no legal significance as to who files first.