A divorce is the ending of a marital relationship between two spouses. Arizona is a no-fault state which means that the law does not consider who wants the divorce or the reasons for the divorce.
The main issues in a divorce are the division of property and debts, the support of a spouse - if one is not self-supporting, and the custody, parenting time and support of children. The division of the property and debts begins with a identification of all of the property and debts that exist, and the values of the properties or amounts of the debts. Then the nature of the property or debt needs to be determined: is it community or joint or is it the separate property or debt of one of the spouses. Finally, options for dividing the property and debts are considered. Property can be sold or awarded to one spouse. Debts can be paid off or assumed by one of the spouses.
After the property and debts are determined and possible options for dividing them, the financial support of the spouses needs to be considered. If property produces income or requires monthly debt payments, this will be a factor in determining if financial support is needed by one spouse from the other. The ability of one spouse to contribute to all or part of his or her support is considered, as well as the ability of the other spouse to pay the support and still have sufficient income for his or her needs.
When children are involved a determination must be made as to legal custody: which parent makes the major decisions about the children, such as education, medical decisions, religion and child care. One parent can have sole custody or the parties can have joint legal custody and make these decisions together. A decision needs to be made on parenting time, which is where the child will live and when the child will spend time with each parent. Finally, child support is determined based on the incomes of the parents, and which parent pays for the medical insurance and the costs of daycare or school, if any.
Every divorce case is unique. So a full exploration of all of these issues needs to take place. Often one decision will affect others, such as housing and custody or parenting time, or debts and financial support. It takes time to consider all of the issues, so the first step is an appointment which will completely and comprehensively cover these issues, and provide options to be considered before final decisions are made.For more information or to make an initial appointment, call our office: (520) 885-9301.