Getting a divorce in Surprise or elsewhere in Arizona can be either an easy or complicated process. It depends on the parties and their circumstances. For instance, if the parties disagree about the division of property, or if child custody and support issues arise, the divorce could become complex and lead to a lengthy court battle.
At Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker PLLC, our Surprise, AZ divorce attorneys will listen closely to you and understand your goals as you go through a divorce. We will then pursue those goals in the most efficient and cost-effective manner as possible, including seeking an agreement with your spouse which can minimize your time in court. To learn more, call or reach us online today for a confidential consultation.
One of the first steps you must take in a divorce in Surprise is to determine whether you meet the Arizona divorce residency requirement. To meet that requirement, you or your spouse must have been “domiciled” in the state or stationed here as a member of the armed services for at least 90 days before the filing of the divorce petition. “Domiciled” basically means that you or your spouse are physically present in Arizona and intend to remain here for an indefinite period of time.
If your divorce will involve child custody or support matters, you must have resided with your children in Arizona for at least six months before you file for a divorce. If you will ask a court to decide child custody or support issues, then Arizona must be your child’s primary residence. When you meet with our lawyers in Surprise to discuss your divorce, we can help you to determine whether you meet Arizona’s residency requirements.
For regular, non-covenant marriages, Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. So, you do not need to give any reason for why you are getting divorced. Instead, you must simply state that you believe that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.”
Because of the nature of a covenant marriage, it is more difficult to dissolve. After all, when you enter a covenant marriage in Surprise or elsewhere in Arizona, you make a promise that the marriage will be a commitment for life. As a result, to obtain a divorce in a covenant marriage, you must assert specific grounds. Those grounds include:
If you are currently in a covenant marriage, you can file for a divorce if you already obtained a legal separation, and you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for at least one year, or if both spouses agree to dissolve the marriage.
When you work with Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker PLLC, an experienced Surprise divorce lawyer from our law firm can review your circumstances and explain what you will need to establish in order to obtain a divorce. If you must prove one of the above grounds in order to dissolve a covenant marriage, we can work with you to obtain and present the necessary evidence to establish those grounds.
If you live in Surprise and meet the state’s divorce residency requirement, you would file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Superior Court. At the time you file the divorce petition, you would need to serve a copy of it on your spouse. If the spouse lives in Arizona, the spouse would have 20 days to respond to the petition. If the spouse lives in another state, the spouse would have 30 days to respond. If your spouse fails to file any response, then you can file a request for a default.
If your spouse wants to stay married, then your spouse can ask the court for a conciliation meeting or counseling. The divorce proceeding can be postponed for up to 60 days in order for the meeting or counseling to take place. If you and your spouse resolve your differences and agree to stay married, then you would file a request to dismiss the divorce petition. If not, then the divorce will move forward after the 60-day “cooling off” period passes.
How long it takes to finalize the divorce will depend primarily on two factors:
While you cannot control the court’s schedule, you can do your best to agree with your spouse on matters related to your divorce and enter into a separation agreement. A separation agreement can avoid the time, expense and stress that will arise if you must ask a court to decide those matters in a hearing (or series of hearings).
After you and your spouse enter a separation agreement or go through a divorce hearing, the court will issue a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. This decree will officially terminate the marriage.
A divorce can involve several related issues that will require the assistance of an attorney in order to fully protect your rights and interests (and, depending on your circumstances, your children as well). Those issues include:
Mediation can play a key role in the resolution of these issues. During mediation, a neutral mediator will work with you and your spouse to get you to reach an agreement on these issues. However, if mediation fails to produce an agreement, you should work with a lawyer who will be prepared to aggressively protect your rights and interests in the courtroom.
The attorneys of Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker PLLC, understand how the terms of a divorce can significantly affect the future for you and your family. We will use our skills as negotiators and litigators to pursue the best outcome for you, including:
The decision to go through with divorce is rarely an easy one to make. However, once you make that decision, you can take several steps to prepare yourself for a divorce. Those steps include:
If you are facing divorce, an experienced divorce law firm can make a difference in the process and in the outcome for you and your family. To discuss how we can help you, contact Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker PLLC, today for a confidential consultation with one of our experienced and compassionate Surprise divorce lawyers.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.
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