In Arizona, Dissolution of Marriage (“Divorce”) is governed by relevant sections of Title 25, Arizona Revised Statutes (“A.R.S.”). In particular, A.R.S. § 25-311 states that Arizona Superior Court’s are vested with original jurisdiction to hear and decide all matters pertaining to Divorce actions. In order for a Divorce action to be brought in a Superior Court, A.R.S. § 25-312 expresses that at the time the Divorce action is commenced, one of the parties to that action must have been domiciled in the State of Arizona for at least ninety (90) days prior to commencement of the action. “Domicile” is considered to mean that of being a permanent resident in a particular jurisdiction. For instance, a party to a Divorce action that is domiciled in Maricopa County, Arizona would have to commence the Divorce action in a Superior Court located within that county. The Domicile requirement is without regard to where the parties marriage occurred.
Arizona is considered a “no fault” State with regard to Divorce actions. For example, in Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-316 one party to a Divorce must only demonstrate to the Court that the marriage is “irretrievably broken with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.”
Dissolution actions generally come with raw emotion, stress, and furture concerns. Prior to commencing a dissolution action, if a party has been threatened and/or harassed by their spouse it may beomce necessary to petition the Court for and Order of Protection.
Parties to a Divorce action in Arizona must also be aware that Arizona is a community property jurisdiction. This means, that but for few exceptions, all property and/or debts acquired by the parties during the course of their marriage are subject to equitable division and allocation. Equitable is known to mean as close to 50/50 as possible. It should also be noted that property and/or debt acquired outside of the State of Arizona during the marriage is likewise subject to community property principals. Meaning that in determining equitable apportionment of marital property and/or debts, Arizona courts will characterize any assets and/or liabilities as if they were incurred in the State of Arizona. By doing this, Arizona courts can adhere to community property principals in equitably diving otherwise community property and/or liabilities equitably or as close to 50/50 as possible.
There are many other issues that may arise during the course of a Divorce action in Arizona. For instance, if the parties have children, then custody will be determined by the Court through application of the “best interest” factors listed in A.R.S. §§ 25-103, 25-403, and 25-403.03. Without too much explanation, it is the public policy of the State of Arizona, that absent evidence to the contrary, that it is in a child’s best interest to have substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing parenting time with both parents. That both parents participate in decision-making about the child. Simply put, there is a presumption of joint custody in Arizona as related to child custody issues.
When children are involved in a Divorce action, in addition to child custody, the parties must be aware of Arizona child support laws. In calculating child support, Arizona courts must comply with the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. Without too much detail on this subject, child support will be factored using each parties gross monthly income(s), parenting time awarded, and other relevant and/or authorized deductions. There is an online calculator that can be used by parties to a Divorce action in Arizona to determine a preliminary child support amount.
As a final consideration to Divorce actions in Arizona, parties must be aware of and consider the possibility of spousal maintenance or alimony. A.R.S. § 25-319 governs the issue of spousal maintenance and set forth several factors for the Court to consider in making a finding for or against such award. Unlike child support however, there is no spousal maintenance calculator and therefore judges are often left with the task of subjectively identifying an appropriate amount and duration based upon the relevant factors listed in A.R.S. § 25-319.
The above listed items should in no way be construed as an exclusive list of all issues and/or matters that can be expected to arise in a divorce action in Arizona. However, the above content is meant to provide a basic overview of the main issues that generally arise in Divorce actions in Arizona. In addition to these general issues, there are many procedural requirements and/or paths that parties can employ throughout a Divorce action in Arizona. For more information on Divorce procedure, please contact me direct.
A divorce action may progress through the legal system in many different ways. If the parties, prior to or at the time of trial agree to all or any issues in their specific case then the court has the ability to enter orderes and/or final decrees based upon the intentions of the parties. In some situtations this may or may not have already been done between the parties through a Premarital Agreement (Prenup). However, often times parties are unable to resolve all issues related to a dissolution action and do not have a premarital agreement and therefore are left litigating all or some issues in which they cannot reach agreements. Arizona's premier discounted and cheap family law firm or Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC strives to keep our client's interests at in mind no matter where they may be in the process.
For more detailed answers, it is suggested that you contact an experienced Arizona family law attorney to discuss the specifics of your unique and individual matter prior to commencing a Divorce action in Arizona, or visit Ryan M. Reppucci's blog on all things family law. For more information also visit our Divorce & Family Law Blog by clicking here. For more information regarding our discounted divorce services, cheap divorce services and affordable divorce service please click here. Finally, if you're interested in having one of our experienced family law attorneys review and/or prepare family court documents on your behalf please click here now.