Cost-Efficient and Client-Oriented Advocate Protecting Your Spousal and Parental Rights
Looking to file for divorce? Stuck in heat of a custody battle or property division dispute? No matter what family law concern you are facing, Martinez Family Law is prepared to provide the legal support you need to succeed. We provide cost-efficient legal services to our Scottsdale community, and we take a client-oriented approach to ensure we are fighting for what you want. We will sit down with you and compassionately listen to your goals and needs in your situation to craft a unique case in protection of your spousal and parental rights.
Filing for Divorce
If you are seeking to pursue divorce or anticipate your spouse filing for divorce, it is important to know the general process that might follow. Firstly, the basic requirement to file for divorce in the first place is that either spouse has been a resident of the state for at least 90 days before filing. Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, so the petition merely needs to cite that the marriage is irretrievably broken as a ground for separation.
After filing the petition, the petitioner will need to serve their spouse the papers, and from there the couple should proceed to negotiation. You have several options for settling the terms of your divorce – negotiation between yourselves, mediation with a third-party mediator, or litigation if all else fails. Some important things you should expect to negotiate in your settlement agreement include child custody, child support, and property division matters.
Child Custody Negotiations
In Arizona, parents can have both or either of legal custody (decision-making authority) and physical custody (parenting time). Note that joint legal custody is the norm in the state, though sole legal custody may be granted in circumstances where there has been domestic violence, alcohol abuse, or drug abuse.
According to Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 25-403 (A), a judge will examine the following factors affecting the child’s best interests to determine the custody arrangement:
- the past, present, and potential future relationship between each parent and the child;
- each child's relationship with their parents, siblings, and anyone else who may affect the child's best interest;
- the child's adjustment to home, school, and community;
- the child and parents' mental and physical health;
- which parent is more likely to encourage a relationship between the child and the other parent;
- whether a parent has a history domestic violence or child abuse;
- whether either parent has intentionally misled the court to gain an advantage in the litigation or made a false report about child abuse or neglect;
- the child's wishes, if the child is of mature and sound age; and
- other relevant factors.
Visit our page on Custody and Parenting Time to learn more details about what goes into a custody decision and when visitation may be granted.
Property and Asset Division
Another important matter you should prepare to settle in a divorce is the division of property. Recall that Arizona is a community property state, so all assets and debts that a couple acquires during their marriage belong to both of them and are subject to division. However, Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 25-318 specifies that this division of property does not necessarily mean exactly 50/50 but merely in a way that is fair and equitable.
Generally, community property might be any shared investment or retirement accounts, the family home, and real estate property they both contributed to or gained from during the marriage. Separate property that cannot be divided is any property that one spouse solely owned before the marriage, property acquired by gift or inheritance by the one spouse, and any asset specified in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Visit our page on Property Division to learn more about the distinction between community and separate property.
Settling Your Divorce Disputes
As discussed above, there are a few different ways for reaching a resolution in your separation. If you and your spouse are on cooperative terms, you might be able to negotiate between yourselves without having to go to court. Alternatively, you can pursue mediation to have a third-party professional facilitate the negotiation of your child custody and property division concerns. Attorney Elizabeth J. Martinez is well-versed in every step of the divorce negotiation process, and she can help to protect your spousal and parental interests while also working towards a favorable settlement. Of course, if your discussions can not wholly resolve the divorce, Attorney Martinez is also prepared to take your case to court and settle the matter there.
Whatever stage of the family law process you are in, Martinez Family Law can help. We practice exclusively in this area of the law, so you can trust that we have the experience and resources to champion your rights to your child and your marital assets.
Call (480) 571-7736 or contact Martinez Family Law online for an initial consultation to get started.