Phoenix and Arizona Top Divorce & Court Lawyers
Divorce is never easy but we can help you do it right.
While ending a marriage is probably one of the hardest decision that anyone can face, it is extremely important to have the right guidance during this process from the very beginning.
Even if you are just considering whether or not you should get divorced or not, knowledgeable and truthful legal advice can help you avoid costly and irreparable mistakes. No other mean can replace the value of proper legal advice from a qualified lawyer who has understood the specifics of your situation and who can give you counsel based on what you are trying to achieve.
There are many steps to be taken in order to dissolve a marriage, as well as multiple forms to approach this process depending on your circumstances and whether your partner would like to cooperate or not. In addition, the specifics of the relationship such as the length of the union, the presence of children amongst others, can greatly affect what avenue should you take.
Types of Divorce
“Once you do embark upon the separation or divorce process, it is very important to remember three key things: Be kind, be reasonable, be brief. Remember that this person will no longer be your spouse, but he or she will continue to be your co-parent, family member, and perhaps a business partner in certain assets or entities.”
- Uncontested Divorce: Both parties reach an agreement as to all the issues, and submit a response or Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage to the Court, that sets forth all of their agreements for the judge to sign, as indicated in A.R.F.L.P. Rule 45(B).
- Contested Divorce: When the spouses cannot agree to a divorce, a conciliation meeting can be requested for both parties to attend. There is a hold on the legal process for up to 60 days while that meeting takes place. If at the meeting any of the parties wants to continue with the divorce, the divorce goes forward. If the spouses still cannot reach an agreement on how to settle the divorce (custody of children, spousal maintenance, or division of property) it may be necessary to take the case to trial where a judge will decide for them. In this case, the parties must then request a trial in order to conclude their divorce.The procedure for requesting a trial varies from county to county. In the event of a contested divorce, the parties should seek the advice of an attorney if they have not already done so.
Arizona Divorce and Finances
Finances and children are usually the most stressful topics to resolve when a marriage is ending. With our team of expert lawyers, we can help make this process less stressful as you are guided by a team who is reputable, experienced and highly knowledgeable.
Even if you are just considering the possibility of ending your marriage, please seek the proper legal advice. Following the recommendations made by a professional in family law can greatly help you steer away from turmoil and have a smooth as possible divorce process from start to finish.
Arizona is a No-Fault state, this means that there is no need to prove grounds for a divorce. All that you need is that one of the spouses decided to end the marriage and files the petition with the court. This also means that all assets get divided 50%/50% in most cases unless special provisions have been set in place.
In a divorce, usually the claims over financial assets consist of:
When it comes to getting advice about your divorce and finances, our expert team of divorce attorneys can assist and guide you to make sure that you understand and are aware of what you are entitled to and there is also full and relevant financial disclosure of the value of all assets (including business interests, pensions, bank accounts, business shares, investments and others) in order to get a reasonable and sensible financial divorce settlement. Such financial claims can also include any relevant children.
Phoenix and Arizona Divorce and Financial Disclosure
A financial disclosure is often needed in order to decide how to divide the spouses’ finances and arrive at a divorce settlement. This means that all of the relevant assets (including business interests), liabilities, income, outgoings, and pension provisions are disclosed by the spouses with documents that support them. In addition, any relevant taxation or risk issues also need to be taken into account.
On some occasions, a valuation from an appointed professional may be needed as evidence. This commonly relates to the family home, a spouses’ or couple’s business, investments, pension and so on.
Once this financial disclosure is completed then the parties, with their family law attorneys, can start to properly and sensibly negotiate a financial divorce settlement.
The most common divorce settlement factors that a court takes into account are:
- The welfare of any minor children
- Income, earning capacity, assets and financial resources of each spouse
- Financial needs, obligations, and responsibilities of each spouse
- The couple’s standard of living
- The age of each party and the length of the marriage
- The health condition of each spouse
- Contributions (financial and non-financial)
- Loss of certain rights
Once an agreement is reached it must be signed off by a judge. In the case that the parties cannot agree, the court will make the decisions regarding the division of the assets for them.
Arizona Divorce Process
The steps below summarize the different stages of a divorce procedure in the state of Arizona with a brief overview of what each step entitles.
Step 1: Filling Out and Preparing the Divorce Forms
In order for a divorce proceeding to take place in Arizona, either one of the spouses must be a resident of Arizona for at least 90 days before filing for a divorce in Arizona (a. A.R.S. 25-312). The required forms and fees may vary slightly from county to county.
The spouse seeking a divorce should file the Petition for Divorce in the Superior Court of the county where he or she resides. This spouse is called the Petitioner, while the other spouse is called the respondent, and who will be served with the divorce papers.
Before filing for divorce, the petitioner must select the packet to be completed depending on whether or not there are children in the marriage and fill out the corresponding forms to the best of their abilities.
Step 2: Filing the Divorce Paperwork with an Arizona Court
Before filing the papers to the clerk of the courts, the petitioner should make two copies of all documents – one for the respondent, and one to keep. The original packet goes out to the court.
The petitioner must pay a fee for filing unless he or she completes the Application for Deferral of Filing Fee, which will be reviewed by the court. If the court agrees that the fee should be waived because the petitioner cannot afford it, he or she does not have to pay to file the divorce papers.
The petitioner then proceeds to sign the complaint in the presence of the clerk of court who date- and time-stamps the divorce papers and notarizes. The papers should be served on the respondent as soon as possible after filing.
Step 3: Serving the Divorce Documents to the Respondent
After filing for divorce at the Superior Court of the County, the petitioner should try to immediately serve the respondent with the divorce papers. This action is called the Service of process, and it ensures that the other spouse receives notice of the petition for divorce from their spouse and is given the opportunity to appear, argue or refuse this petition. The service of process ensures that both parties are aware of the process and that their side of the story is heard too.
The state of Arizona gives the petitioner a maximum of 120 days to serve the divorce papers on the respondent. Failure to do this means the clerk of court will automatically dismiss the case, and the petitioner who wants to get divorced will have to start the process all over again.
After being served, the respondent must respond to the summons and petition within 20 days (or, if he or she lives out of state, 30 days) or the court will award the petitioner with a default judgment. A default judgment means that the court gives the petitioner everything requested by the petitioner, without any input from the respondent.
Step 4: Disclosing Financial Information
Both the petitioner and the respondent must complete an Affidavit of Financial Information, which is a statement sworn in front of a notary. This document outlines the complete details of each spouse’s financial picture and it covers information about employment, assets, taxes, liabilities and monthly expenses. Supporting documentation must be attached such as bank statements, pay stubs and tax returns. This document is also filed with the court and served to the respondent as well.
Step 5: Finalizing the Divorce
After the respondent is served with the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, there will be a mandatory 60-day “cooling off” period before the divorce procedure continues and is finalized. It is not possible to get a divorce in Arizona any faster even if both spouses completely agree.
If the parties do not agree on the terms of the divorce, a trial will be set. Depending on the county, these proceedings could take as long as six to nine months before a divorce can be finalized.
Additional Issues in Phoenix and Arizona Divorce Cases
Video Courtesy of the Arizona Superior Court
- High Net Worth Divorce
- Collaborative Divorce
- Legal Separation
- Dissolution Petition
How We Approach Divorce in Phoenix and Arizona
We are a specialist family and divorce law firm and leaders in this field. This is reflected by the many independent legal directories awards that our firm has received as well by the strong track record of our partners. When the time comes to make legal decisions that will affect your future, Collins & Collins. L.L.P. will focus on your needs and goals and will represent you aggressively, fairly, ethically and competently. Collins & Collins L.L.P. has a reputation for competence and dedication to the needs of our clients.
At Collins & Collins, L.L.P., we are experts at practicing family law. We understand that every case if different and that our clients have options when it comes to divorce. While in some cases tough and aggressive representation may be necessary, in others, mediation may be the best option.
Additionally to the emotional turmoil related to the process of divorce, you may have many questions about divorce that we can help you answer with certainty such as:
- Should I get divorced in Arizona?
- What will happen to the children?
- How can the property and debts be divided?
- Is divorce the right option for me?
- What can I do if my partner does not want a divorce?
- How can I reduce costs in my divorce?
- How long will a divorce take?
- What am I entitled to?
- What can I expect during my divorce?
- Should I update my Will?
Often a divorce legal situation does not end with an agreement or court order; as situations change, adjustments may need to be made to accommodate those changes. Therefore, our representation does not end at the negotiating table or in court. We stand beside you throughout the divorce legal process and afterward as you implement court orders and decisions.
Where court proceedings are necessary, our attorneys will robustly deal with the case to ensure the best possible outcome and aim to minimize the divorce financial cost. Please be aware that extra care needs to be taken in cases facing an international divorce.
You may have many more questions and it is highly likely that as time passes on new ones may arise. However, we are positive that we are the best divorce attorney phoenix for our clients who have expressed their satisfaction in our multiple testimonials.
Joe and his father Bob Collins have been excellent assets throughout my family court proceedings that were complex and lengthy. Joe Collins is well known in the family court system being both knowledgeable of the other litigating attorneys, and the judges that rotate on and off the bench.
An added perk was that Bob Collins has a police background and he is skilled in the analytical methods used by law enforcement.
I prevailed in my lengthy court proceedings because I had an excellent, savvy, cost-effective, tenured legal team representing me and the best interests of my dependents.
Jon was extremely professional when working my case for a guardianship of a child. Jon’s work was very efficient and he kept in constant contact with me about my case leaving me feeling comfortable and taken care of.
I felt secure with Jon in my corner on my case and because of Jon and the great work he did for me, my family member was kept safe from harm at all times and was spared from potential and detrimental psychological harm.
Jon is a great lawyer and despite his extremely busy schedule, makes you feel that you matter and are a priority to him as his client.
I would recommend Jon Collins to all my friends, family and any other person that needs legal counsel. If I need legal counsel in the future, I know I will definitely be seeking help from Jon Collins every time.
Understanding the legal status of prenuptial agreements:
Prenuptial agreements are often used by couples who want to agree – before they marry or become civil partners – how they would divide their money, assets, and property, should they decide to separate or get divorced.
Over the last decade, there has been a surge in the number of Prenuptial agreements. However, courts will generally take them into account as one of the circumstances of the international divorce case and will give significant weight to them provided certain safeguards have been met. For example:
- The financial needs of the children are adequately taken care of.
- Both parties had taken legal advice on the implications of entering into the agreement before signing it.
- Whether they are treated as being legally enforceable.
- Establishing where you can divorce or dissolve your marriage or civil partnership.
It’s normally a better idea to take advice from a lawyer who specializes and has experience in divorce cases and marriage dissolution. But be aware that this will make it much harder to reach an amicable agreement with your ex-partner.
Pros of first taking legal advice from a Phoenix and Arizona Divorce Lawyer:
You should seek legal advice from specialist family law attorney. It is recommended that you do this before negotiating with your ex-partner or before exploring mediation with them. This is because the risk of losing control of where you decide to start divorce proceedings can have serious implications.
We are Experts Attorneys at International Divorce
Divorce is a legal process that can be lengthy and expensive if not handled properly. This is especially true when one of the parties refuses to cooperate. This situation can be aggravated by the fact that more and more people from different countries or different nationalities get married making the divorce process even more complex.
Decisions in an International Divorce regarding topics such as asset division, jurisdiction, child relocation become even more complicated and need special knowledge and expertise in order to abide by local, US and international laws and regulations. Failing to do this can have devastating repercussions that may affect greatly your future and that of your loved ones.
At Collins & Collins, we specialize in international family law and have had a vast experience in this field with successful outcomes for our clients. We understand the importance of making the knowledgeable and speedy actions.
Issues that commonly arise in an international divorce are:
- Divorce Jurisdiction: where a divorce should take place and the rules that govern it.
- Financial Outcome: making sure that your assets are protected and recognized properly in an international divorce.
- Relocation of Children: getting proper permission to relocate overseas.
- Child Abduction: what to do if your child is taken without your knowledge or consent.
What You can Expect from our Law Firm
We are a family law firm in Arizona with offices in Phoenix and Payson. We have worked with several embassies and consulates as well as clients from all over the world to help them resolve their international divorce case.
At Collins & Collins, L.L.P we are selective when it comes to the cases that we take on. The reason? Simple, we want to make sure that we are able to provide or clients the best possible legal representation that we can provide in order to meet their demands and individual circumstances.
Our Divorce Attorney Fees
We understand that you may be fearful of the high costs of paying a divorce lawyer. We believe in offering excellent Divorce legal representation at a fair price. That is why you will find that we offer highly competitive attorney fees for all our legal practice areas.
Because we are a family firm we focus on what matters: practicing the law. This means that we don’t spend on costly advertising or fancy offices. We pride ourselves on doing our job and doing it right and that. Because of this, we are able to deliver high success rate and client satisfaction.
Divorce Lawyer Free Consultation
Our practice is not focused on volume, and since we are a family business, we are proud to keep it this way and we are able to promise to deliver the best possible representation to clients that we decide to take on with professionalism and the utmost respect towards them.
For local or international family law advice or to talk about your international divorce case, we invite you to make use of our divorce / international divorce lawyers in Phoenix AZ Free consultation, so that you can come and talk to one of our expert attorneys and start getting answers and advice.
Phoenix Office: (602) 788-7227
Payson Office: (928) 363-8004