7 Important Steps Before You Seek a Divorce
By Heather Baker-Mushkatel on September 8, 2015
The decision to dissolve a marriage is not an easy one to make, but in some cases, it may be the best course of action.
If you have decided that divorce is the right solution to your marital difficulties, you should first ensure that you meet the legal requirements to file. Then, you need to take certain practical steps to prepare for going through a divorce.
In order to file for divorce in the state of Arizona, you or your spouse must have resided or been stationed in the state for at least 90 days.
If there are children involved in your divorce, and you will be asking the court to rule on custody, visitation and child support issues, you need to have resided in Arizona with your children for at least six months before you file for the court to make determinations regarding your children. The children’s primary residence must be located within the state.
If you meet the residency requirements, you should prepare in advance for the divorce process, including taking these seven practical steps:
1. Gather financial information.
An important part of divorce is the division of community property, including your assets and your debts. Some of your assets may not be community property. List everything so your attorney can help you determine which items are community assets and which are not.
2. Make a list of your personal and real property.
Your home, real estate, cars, furniture, and household items will be divided between you and your spouse in your divorce. Include every item, along with its estimated or appraised value, in your property list.
3. Establish a budget
If your family has been a two-income household, your financial situation will change with divorce. You should establish a budget to live within your means and without the financial support of your spouse. Depending on the circumstances in your particular case, you may be awarded child support or spousal support by the court.
4. Find a place to live.
When a marriage is dissolved, one spouse will typically move to a different residence. Determine as soon as possible whether you will be staying in your current home and locate a new place to live if you will not be residing there. One factor to consider is whether or not you can afford the mortgage payments on your home without your spouse’s income.
5. Open personal financial accounts.
Married couples often have joint checking, savings and other financial accounts. In preparation for divorce, you should open your own individual accounts and close any accounts you hold jointly with your spouse.
6. Notify your child’s school or caregiver.
Child custody and visitation are important issues to be resolved in a divorce. Your child’s caregiver and school should be made aware that your marriage is being dissolved and informed of your visitation schedule when it is established.
7. Contact a divorce lawyer.
If you are facing divorce in Arizona, an experienced divorce attorney can make a difference in the process and the outcome for you and your family. Divorce is a significant step that calls for top-notch legal representation.
At Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, P.L.L.C., our Phoenix family lawyers are well-versed in all aspects of divorce. We know the law, and we can provide sound legal advice and guidance.
Contact our firm for a dedicated legal team that is committed to protecting your family’s best interests in a divorce.
Heather Baker-Mushkatel is an Arizona native who focuses in the area of family at Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. Heather also has substantial experience in criminal defense law, including a background as a public defender in Maricopa County. Heather earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and obtained her Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School. She is a highly active member of state and local bar associations who has served on several panels to educate young lawyers and law students.