frequently asked questions
The following questions and answers are intended to help you begin the process of selecting a Family Law attorney and provide some clarity on some of the issues you may encounter.
Family Law Questions
To start the divorce process in Arizona, a spouse (Petitioner) must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with Children or Without Children with the Superior Court and pay the required filing fee. The amount of the filing fee can be found at http://www.clerkofcourt.maricopa.gov/fees.asp. The other spouse (Respondent) must be served with a copy of the petition and other accompanying documents – which will require the payment of a fee to the process server. If you hire an Arizona Family Law Attorney, your attorney will draft and file the necessary court documents for you.
A legal separation is very similar to a divorce in that all of the issues in ending a marriage are addressed, except that the parties are still legally married. Just as in a divorce proceeding, the court will resolve the division of assets and liabilities, spousal maintenance, child custody, child support, and other issues during a legal separation. Legal separations are not very common and are typically used by spouses earnestly trying to work through any personal or financial issues adversely affecting the marriage.
To file for a divorce or legal separation in Arizona, at least one of the parties must have been residing in Arizona for at least 90 days. Except in rare cases or emergencies, the Arizona court does not have jurisdiction to enter orders regarding minor children unless the children have resided in the state of Arizona at least 180 days.
If spouses agree on all issues (property and debt division, spousal and child support, custody, parenting time, etc.) they will be granted an uncontested divorce – which is proceed by a Consent Decree, avoiding adversarial divorce litigation. Conversely, if spouses cannot agree on any of the issues, then a contested divorce exists, and the parties proceed through all phases of litigation, including a trial before a judge.
If spouses agree on all issues and proceed with an uncontested divorce, a Family Court judge can sign the Consent Decree – after the required sixty (60) day “cooling off period.” If spouses are not in agreement and the divorce is contested, the length of the case varies depending on a number of factors, such as complexity of issues, time to complete discovery, and availability on the judge’s calendar. In Maricopa County the average contested divorce can take about 8-10 months. An Arizona divorce attorney can give you a better idea of the estimated length of your case.
A Family Law attorney knows the law, as well as the outcomes of past verdicts, and can use that knowledge to help you receive the best possible outcome. A lawyer can save you money by making sure you don’t end up paying too much in alimony, child support, or loose money during the division of property. Consequently, if you’re entitled to receive child support or alimony, a divorce lawyer will make sure you receive what you deserve.
Choosing a Divorce or Family Law attorney is one of the biggest decision you will make in your divorce or custody dispute. Austin White has focused the entirety of his practice on divorce, custody, and other Family Law issues. Austin White is experienced in handling complex divorce and custody matters and prides himself on the personal attention he gives to each client. Austin White will educate and guide you through the process, negotiate on your behalf, and fight aggressively for your best interests.
Austin White will be directly in contact with you regarding your case to ensure that you are constantly informed and that all your questions are answered. Austin White will personally respond to any emails or calls, usually within less than 24 hours.
The Law Office of Austin White offers a wide variety of services including full representation, limited scope representation, document preparations, and document review. Call the Law Office of Austin White today to work out a service plan that is tailored to your needs. Other flexible payment options are also available, including refundable retainers, affordable hourly billing, and payment plans.
To set-up your FREE consultation, just give us a call or use the form here on our website. Consultations are provided over the phone or in-person during normal business hours. Weekend and after business hour appointments can also be accommodated. Your consultation will not be done by a paralegal or telephone screener. You will visit directly with Austin White, a licensed Family Law attorney.