Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce in Arizona?

by Jaburg Wilk
Contact

Jaburg Wilk

In Arizona, a large percentage of divorces proceed without either party hiring a lawyer.  As Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, couples do not need a specific reason to file for divorce – it is sufficient that the parties do not get along – otherwise known as irretrievable differences.  While getting divorced without attorneys may be fine for some divorcing couples, it is a risk that you should not take – without, at least, consulting with an attorney who is skilled in this complex area of law. There are many risks along the way. 

If the marriage has been short in duration, there are few marital assets, and there are no issues relating to child custody or child support, then a person may be able to represent him or herself.   Maricopa County Superior Court has self-serve forms along with instructions that people can use at no cost.  These are forms, so they do not fit every situation or set of circumstances and parties will still be responsible for court filing fees and serving the papers on the other party. 

Divorces become complex when there are children, marital debt, a long marriage, or sole and separate property issues and then, you proceed without a lawyer at your own risk. 

  • Minor or dependent children- Issues that need to be considered are custody, legal decision-making authority, parenting time and whether or not there will be co-parenting.  Who makes decisions for the children such as what religion, what school to attend, what medical procedures should the child receive are all important and challenging issues.  Importantly, it may appear that everyone will get along but frequently things change and the parties (and their future spouses) do not get along – and then, it is incredibly difficult to change the existing court orders. It is wise to negotiate your agreement regarding the children during your divorce – waiting to do until later is dangerous and often much more expensive that if it was done correctly in the first place.  
  • Calculating spousal maintenance  varies from case to case. There is no formula – and it requires experience to determine an appropriate award – both as to amount and term. 
  • Child support is determined by formula-at least most of the time. Should the parties deviate from the formula? What should be included in the calculation? Disability payments? Capital gains? Gifts? Loans? These are issues that have been the subject of extensive litigation in our courts.  
  •  Who will pay the debt? What happens if the party that agreed to pay the debt files bankruptcy? Can you protect yourself from that eventually? 
  • Does one of the parties own a business? Should it be divided? What is the value of the business? Who owns the business? Was the business created entirely during the marriage?  These are all items that can greatly impact the outcome.   
  • Does either party own separate property? If so, has it been commingled with community property? What is the value of the property? Should the property be appraised or valued? If so, how is that accomplished?  
  • What assets are owned by the community?  Are you aware of the bank account? Or investment accounts? And there are other items which may be difficult to identify – 401(k) accounts, stock options, and stock investment accounts. These are valuable assets which should not be missed.  
  • And when you identify the assets, how do you determine the value of the assets?  What is the home worth in the context of a divorce?  Who owns a family cabin? These are questions that may have a significant impact on the outcome of the case.  

If any of these items are present in your situation, please see a qualified attorney. The consequences of not doing so may be severe. 

Remember that if you choose to represent yourself, you are treated as if you know the law – and the rules for processing your case. There are many deadlines imposed by the rules – and if you miss a deadline, you may be excluded from further participation in your case – and then, you have limited opportunity to provide any information to the judge. And if a court appearance is scheduled and you do not appear, the case will likely proceed – and that may be the end of the case.  And the excuse that you did not have a lawyer will probably not help. 

While many couples can and do get divorced in Arizona without attorneys, spending a consultation fee to have an experienced family attorney review the divorce before it is finalized will be money well spent. The lawyer can identify if you have any issues in your case which require more exploration or attention. 

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED on ABC15 SonoranLiving.com

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Jaburg Wilk | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Jaburg Wilk
Contact
more
less

Jaburg Wilk on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.