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Chandler Divorce Attorney

Going through a divorce is one of the most challenging processes anyone can experience.  Regardless of the underlying reasons for separation, divorce is an emotionally difficult time.  When you turn to the Chandler divorce attorneys at Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, you can count on having a team you can trust.  

At Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, we will ensure you are treated fairly throughout this process.  We will also stand beside you as your compassionate guide for every divorce need.

Why Choose Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, for Divorce Cases in Chandler?

Founded in 1997, Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, has four lawyers and more than a dozen support staff who are ready to get to work on your case today.  At Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, we are dedicated to:

  • Making clients as comfortable and as relaxed as possible.  Family law is such a personal matter, and we realize the toll it can take on our clients;
  • Ensuring you are treated fairly.  We are compassionate with our clients but aggressive when ensuring their rights are upheld by the court; and
  • Resolving all legal issues as efficiently as possible and offering an initial family law consultation at a reduced hourly rate.  Reasonable rates are one of the reasons our clients prefer to use Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC. 

Contact our Chandler family law attorneys today to discuss your divorce case in a confidential setting.  At Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, we want to help you move as smoothly as possible into the next phase of your life.

Chandler divorce lawyer

Why You Need an Attorney to Help with Your Chandler Divorce Case

Divorce is not only an emotional process – it is a highly technical process.  Divorcing couples cannot be expected to understand every aspect of Arizona’s family law and should not handle their divorce cases independently.  

An attorney from Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, our divorce lawyers will work to ensure that you are protected and that your parental rights are upheld.  They will also:

  • Properly evaluate every aspect of your divorce;
  • File all necessary paperwork on your behalf;
  • Identify separate and marital property;
  • Value and divide marital assets fairly;
  • Calculate, negotiate, or argue spousal maintenance and support;
  • Negotiate or divide and transfer title to real property;
  • Accurately assign retirement account benefits;
  • Act as an intermediary between yourself and your spouse;
  • Reduce the time, effort, stress, and cost of the divorce process;
  • Prepare and ensure child support calculations are calculated correctly and per the law;
  • Prepare and negotiate or argue for specific child visitation and custody arrangements;
  • Ensure necessary provisions are in your divorce documents that protect your legal interests, both presently and in the future.  

At Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, we can answer your questions about the Chandler divorce process and how Arizona’s divorce laws relate to your divorce case.  Our family and divorce attorneys will honestly evaluate your divorce case and make practical suggestions to resolve your outstanding issues.  

Aspects to Consider in a Chandler Divorce

Arizona’s divorce process can be complicated.  Especially when a couple is divorcing after a long-term marriage, has children, or possesses complex assets that are difficult to divide.  Issues that must be addressed in Chandler divorces include:  

Residency Requirements in a Chandler Divorce

To file for divorce in Arizona, one of the parties must be domiciled or stationed by the military for ninety days before filing the petition for dissolution of marriage. The petition is typically filed in the county where the filing spouse lives. 

If there are minor children of the marriage, the petitioner and children must live in Arizona for six months prior to filing for divorce. 

Waiting Period for a Chandler Divorce

After filing and serving divorce papers, there is a minimum waiting period of sixty days before an Arizona court will finalize a divorce decree.  This is true even in uncontested divorces.  A contested divorce may take anywhere from ninety days to several months to complete. 

When spouses cannot resolve their issues through negotiation or mediation, the court must decide for them at trial.  Trials take much longer as they are planned around the court’s schedule.

What Are the Grounds for a Chandler Divorce?

To obtain a divorce in Arizona, the spouse requesting the divorce must state a reason, or grounds, for doing so. Arizona allows “no-fault” divorce.  This means that neither spouse is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage but that the marriage is irretrievably broken. 

Arizona does allow fault-based divorce if the spouses have a legally binding covenant marriage.  Covenant marriages are rare and require couples to:

  • Participate in premarital counseling;
  • Decide how to deal with a divorce when applying for a marriage license; and
  • Agree to attend pre-divorce counseling.

If the couple demonstrates a valid covenant marriage to the court, a judge can only grant the divorce for one of the following fault-based grounds:

  • The at-fault spouse committed adultery during the marriage;
  • The at-fault spouse committed a felony, and a court sentenced the spouse to death or imprisonment;
  • Either spouse abandoned the marital home for a period of at least one year before the petitioning spouse filed for divorce;
  • The at-fault spouse physically or sexually abused the petitioning spouse, a child, or relative of either spouse; or
  • The at-fault spouse has habitually abused drugs or alcohol.

Property and Asset Distribution in a Chandler Divorce

Arizona is a community property state.  This means that any assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered marital property and are divided equally between the spouses in a divorce.  This includes any of the following:

  • Spousal wages and income;
  • Investment income;
  • Real property; and
  • Cars, furniture, and household goods.

Judges have considerable flexibility when determining property division in a divorce.  A prenuptial agreement can take precedence over Arizona’s property division laws during divorce proceedings.

Debts in a Chandler Divorce

Debts are considered part of the marital estate.  They are to be divided equally between the spouses, just like assets and other property.

Alimony or Spousal Maintenance in a Chandler Divorce

Spousal maintenance, or alimony, is intended to support a spouse who will experience economic difficulties after a divorce.  Typically, the higher-earning spouse pays spousal maintenance to the low-earning spouse. 

In Arizona, there is no formula for calculating spousal maintenance.  However, the court takes a number of factors into account when determining spousal maintenance.  These include:

  • The financial resources of each spouse;
  • The earning capacity of each spouse;
  • The spouses’ standard of living; and 
  • The length of the marriage.

Arizona judges generally classify whether a marriage was long-term or short-term.  Any marriage less than ten years is usually considered short-term.  Short-term marriages typically result in smaller alimony awards.  

Most court orders require alimony payments last 30% to 50% of the marriage duration.  

Child Custody and Visitation in a Chandler Divorce

Child custody and visitation in Arizona are referred to as legal decision-making and parenting time.  Arizona’s child custody laws encourage both parents to have liberal time with their children.  They do not favor one parent over the other; instead, the laws focus on the children’s best interests.

There is a trend in Arizona courts to award equal or nearly equal parenting time together with joint legal decision-making authority unless it is not in the children’s best interests.  In divorce cases, parents who cannot agree on a parenting plan both submit proposed parenting time plans. 

The court then considers a number of factors when deciding how to award legal decision-making authority and parenting time.  Courts are directed to award joint legal decision-making authority to parents when it is in the children’s best interests while maximizing the amount of parenting time that each parent has with the children.

The following factors are meant to help judges determine what is in the best interests of the children and include the following:

  • The relationship between the children and parent in the past and present as well as the potential relationship in the future;
  • The relationship between the children and the parents, siblings, and others who may have an impact;
  • The adjustment of the children to their community, school, and home;
  • The children’s wishes if they are of a sufficient maturity level and age;
  • The physical and mental health of everyone who is involved;
  • Which parent is more likely to encourage a positive relationship and frequent visits with the other parent unless there is domestic violence;
  • Whether a parent misled the court to cause a delay or to make it likelier that the court would award custody to them;
  • Whether domestic violence has occurred;
  • Whether a parent used coercion and duress to secure an agreement for decision-making and parenting time; and
  • Whether either parent was convicted of making a false report of child abuse.

Arizona courts are legally bound not to award joint legal decision-making authority to a parent when they have a history of domestic abuse perpetrated by them.  There is a rebuttable presumption that a parent should not be awarded joint or sole legal decision-making authority if they have abused alcohol or drugs in the previous twelve months or have been convicted of a drug offense during that time.  The courts are not to award sole or joint legal decision-making authority or unsupervised parenting time if the parent is a convicted sex offender or has been convicted of the murder of the other parent unless the court finds that such an award would not put the child at risk.

A joint agreement regarding decision-making authority and parenting time may be submitted to the court by the parents.  As long as the court finds the agreement is in the best interests of the children and that both parents agree it is fair, the agreement and parenting plan will be granted. 

If no agreement is reached, the parents submit their own proposed parenting plans and present evidence at a trial.   The decision is then up to the court after weighing the best interests of the children, including all of the relevant factors.

Chandler divorce attorney

Child Support in a Chandler Divorce

Arizona law requires custodial and non-custodial parents to provide “reasonable support” for their minor children.  In a divorce, the court will place a parent’s child support obligation over any other financial obligations.

The Arizona Supreme Court has adopted a set of guidelines, which provide a formula for calculating the amount of monthly support owed by each parent.  These are available to the public on the court’s website.  The purpose of the Guidelines is to approximate the amount parents would spend on their children if they remained living together.  

Certain circumstances can make calculating child support more difficult.  One particular issue is when a parent is self-employed and receives a traditional salary plus paid expenses.  Another issue is in high-income households where monthly gross income exceeds $20,000.  

The Guidelines provide for these situations and others by allowing deviations from the basic calculations.  Adjustments are also considered for:

  • Other children not common to the parties;
  • Older children;
  • Low-income;
  • Costs of healthcare and child care; and 
  • Costs associated with parenting time. 

Deviations are permitted when applying the guidelines would be unjust, and it is in the best interests of the children.  Modifications of child support orders are allowed upon a showing of “changed circumstances that is substantial and continuing.” 

Turn to an Experienced Chandler Divorce Attorney for Help Today

If you are going through a divorce or are considering it, you need to speak to a qualified and experienced attorney today. At Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC, we are ready to get to work for you today. We are equipped to handle every aspect of the separation process and will work to advocate for you and ensure you are treated fairly. 

You do not have to go through this alone, so let a Chandler divorce lawyer from our firm stand by your side today. You can contact us to schedule a one-on-one appointment to discuss your case by clicking here or call (480) 503-9217 today.