You have questions about divorce, we have answers.

One of our missions is to improve access to legal information. For too long, it's been closely guarded by greedy lawyers who leverage this imbalance to justify insane legal fees. Below, we answer some of the questions most commonly asked about Arizona divorce and related issues, like community property and spousal maintenance. If you don't find the answer you're looking for, contact our Arizona divorce attorneys for a complimentary consultation.

Divorce in Arizona

If one of the spouses has lived in Arizona for at least ninety days, either spouse can file for divorce in Arizona family courts.

This residency requirement only gives the family court the authority to divorce the parties, it does not necessarily confer jurisdiction over other issues like property division, spousal maintenance, and/or child custody. Additional jurisdictional requirements apply to those issues.

Divorce is initiated when one spouse files a Petition for Dissolution. The spouse who files is referred to as the Petitioner.

Once it is filed, the Petition and accompanying documents are served upon the other spouse, the Respondent. If served in Arizona, the Respondent has twenty days from the date of service to file a response or thirty days to respond if served outside of Arizona.

If the Respondent responds, the case is set for a preliminary hearing. If the Respondent does not respond, the Petitioner can apply for default.

The timeline of an Arizona divorce depends on the complexity of the issues and the parties’ reasonableness.

At the very least, a divorce cannot be finalized for sixty days from the date the petition is served.

If the issues in the case are complex or aggressively contested by the parties, a divorce can take more than a year to finalize.

The cost of divorce depends on several factors, namely the complexity of the issues, the reasonableness of the parties, and whether an attorney is retained.

Each party will also be responsible for an initial appearance fee. Currently, in Maricopa County, the Petitioner pays $338.00 and the Respondent must pay $269.00.

Attorney’s fees in a divorce vary wildly. It is not uncommon for hourly attorneys to charge clients as much as $50,000 for relatively simple divorces. Many of these law firms require as much as $15,000 as an initial deposit and charge their clients for literally every minute of their time.

Our experienced divorce attorneys are committed to minimizing our clients’ costs. We offer affordable flat fees that typically save our divorce clients more than $10,000. Contact our divorce attorneys for a complimentary consultation.

“No fault” means that spouses are not required to assign blame for the failure of the marriage. It also means that, ordinarily, the reason the marriage failed will not affect the outcome of the divorce. For example, a spouse will not be punished by the family court for an extramarital affair during the marriage.
No, Arizona family courts do not require attorneys. However, it is always advisable to at least take advantage of a free consultation with an experienced divorce attorney even if you intend to represent yourself.

Under Arizona law, unrepresented litigants are held to the same standard as an attorney. This means that you are expected to know the law and the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. Mistakes can have irreversible consequences.

Contact our experienced Arizona divorce attorneys for a complimentary consultation.

When a spouse meets one or more of the criteria set forth in A.R.S. § 25-319(A), he or she may be eligible for an award of spousal maintenance or alimony.
Unlike child support, there is no precise formula for the calculation of spousal maintenance in Arizona.

When the family court decides a spouse is eligible for spousal maintenance, the judge must consider the computation factors set forth in A.R.S. § 25-319(B) to determine the amount and duration of spousal maintenance.

Unless both spouses agree to make an award of spousal maintenance non-modifiable, it can be modified whenever there are substantial and continuing changes to material circumstances.
Whenever a spouse violates a family court order, the other spouse can ask the judge to enforce the order and find the violating spouse in contempt.
Legal separation is an alternative to divorce when the spouses want to resolve issues like property division, child custody, and spousal maintenance without legally terminating their marriage.

There are certain advantages available in legal separation unavailable in Arizona divorce. Notably, the parties may remain eligible for their spouse’s insurance benefits.

Conversely, the greatest disadvantage of legal separation may be that the parties remain married and, thus, unable to remarry.

In Arizona, child custody is controlled by the factors set forth in A.R.S. § 25-403.

Child Custody
When someone files for divorce or legal separation, a preliminary injunction is issued that prevents both spouses from making certain changes to benefits and disposing of community property.
Either party can ask the family court to issue temporary orders in a divorce.
If the divorce does not involve child custody, you may travel freely while your divorce is pending. Unless you are granted permission to appear telephonically, you may have to return to Arizona for all hearings.

If your divorce does involve children, the preliminary injunction prohibits taking the children out of state without the other parent’s permission or a court order.

In Arizona divorce, there is no inherent advantage to filing first. However, time management can be especially important in family law evidentiary hearings and trials, especially those in Maricopa County. It may be easier to manage this time if you are presenting your case first.
In Arizona family law cases, the minimum disclosure requirements are provided by Rule 49. Each of its subsections relate to specific issues that may be contested in divorce.
Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for a spouse to conceal or misrepresent his or her income during a divorce.

In these situations, it is especially important to hire an excellent divorce attorney who can prepare and execute a comprehensive discovery strategy to obtain evidence of the concealed assets.

Our Arizona divorce attorneys aggressively pursue sanctions against litigants who attempt to hide income or assets, including the reimbursement of our clients’ attorneys fees.

Yes, Arizona judges have broad discretion to award attorneys fees in family law cases, including divorce.

Usually these awards result from a disparity between the parties’ financial resources or a party’s unreasonableness, pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-324.

Yes, Arizona judges have broad discretion to award attorneys fees in family law cases, including divorce.

Usually these awards result from a disparity between the parties’ financial resources or a party’s unreasonableness, pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-324.

Community Property

Property and debt acquired during the marriage, with few exceptions, are presumed to be community property.
No. Arizona divorce law requires ‘equitable’ division of community property. This does not necessarily mean equal. Presumptively, property should be divided “substantially equally” unless special circumstances exist to justify an unequal division.
If the property was acquired during the marriage, it may be community property even if titled solely to one spouse.
Like property, debt incurred during the marriage is presumptively community property, even if it is titled only to one spouse.
Inheritance is one of the major exceptions to community property law. Generally speaking, an inheritance obtained during the marriage is not considered to be community property.
Yes, separate property can be ‘transmuted’ or changed to community property.

One of the ways this can happen is if the separate funds are deposited into a joint account and commingled with community funds.

Yes, a business started or acquired during the marriage can be community property even if one spouse has no involvement in the business.
Typically, the family court looks at the fair market value of the property at a designated time, usually as close to trial as practical.
Yes and this may represent a preferable outcome. When the parties can agree to a property settlement, they can exercise more control over the outcome than if the family court must decide.
Yes, the eligibility criteria considers the property apportioned to the spouse in the divorce. When a spouse is awarded significant assets in a divorce, it may diminish his or her claim to spousal maintenance.
A community lien means that a spouse has some interest in the other spouse’s separate property. This claim may arise when a separate asset increases in value during the marriage as well.

A common example of this is when one spouse owns a home before the marriage, but the married couple pays the mortgage using community funds. The home in this example will remain sole and separate property but the other spouse may be entitled to some of the mortgage principal paid during the marriage.

Another common example is when improvements are made to a property or asset during the marriage using community funds or other joint contributions.

A disclaimer deed is a type of legal document that disclaims a community interest in an asset, usually real property, acquired during the marriage.

Arizona Divorce Attorneys

Arizona divorce attorneys in North Scottsdale

North Scottsdale

16427 North Scottsdale Road
Suite 410
Scottsdale, Arizona
tel (480) 550-8697

Arizona divorce attorneys in Phoenix

Central Phoenix

2415 East Camelback Road
Suite 700
Phoenix, Arizona
tel (602) 730-6436