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Is a Bifurcated Divorce Allowed in Arizona? And Other Things You Should Must Know About Divorce in Arizona

Posted On August 12, 2021 In Divorce

Before filing for divorce in Arizona, it is essential you have a basic understanding of Arizona’s divorce laws. If you are considering divorce in Arizona, the following answers some of the most common questions posed regarding divorce in Arizona. For more information on any of these issues and specific guidance in your divorce case, contact an experienced Arizona family law attorney.

Is a Bifurcated Divorce Allowed in Arizona?

A bifurcated divorce is a divorce that is separated into two parts, marital status, and all other issues. A bifurcated divorce allows a couple to terminate their marriage before settling any other matters related to their marriage, such as:

  • Child custody;
  • Property distribution;
  • Alimony;
  • Child support; or
  • Business valuation.

This can afford a couple the opportunity to resolve some or all of their marital issues outside of court with the benefit of being legally divorced. However, Arizona is one of several states that does not permit divorcing couples to use a bifurcated divorce in terminating their marriage.

What are the Requirements for Filing Divorce in Arizona?

  • Either you or your spouse must be a resident of Arizona for at least ninety days to file for divorce in Arizona;
  • Both parties in a divorce must request free marital counseling to attempt to save a marriage within the first sixty days after a divorce petition has been served on the other party. The parties in a divorce must either use those services or agree that the use of those services with not help to save the marriage; and
  • Once you decide to file for divorce, you must submit the correct divorce documents with the Clerk of the Court. The materials include a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, a Summons, a Preliminary Injunction, a Sensitive Data Sheet, and a Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Arizona?

Some divorces are relatively simple and can take as little as sixty to one hundred twenty days to complete. These are typically no-contest or uncontested divorces.

A contested divorce can take one to two years, depending on the debated issues.

How Much Will a Divorce Cost?

Every divorce is unique, and costs are dependent upon the individuals their circumstances. However, an uncontested divorce typically costs between $2,500.00 to $3,500.00 to complete. More complex or highly contested divorce cases can easily top the national average of $30,000.00.

What Happens to the Kids in an Arizona Divorce?

Both parents have the right to care, custody, and control of their children at the time of the divorce filing. When the court considers child custody, it is required to take the following factors into its final custody ruling:

  • The past, present, and potential future relationship between the parent and the child;
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community;
  • If the child is of suitable age and maturity, the wishes of the child as to legal decision-making and parenting time;
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
  • Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, meaningful, and continuing contact with the other parent. This paragraph does not apply if the court determines that a parent is acting in good faith to protect the child from witnessing an act of domestic violence or being a victim of domestic violence or child abuse;
  • Whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary delay, to increase the cost of litigation, or to persuade the court to give a legal decision-making or a parenting time preference to that parent;
  • Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse pursuant to section 25-403.03;
  • The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding legal decision-making or parenting time;
  • Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title; and
  • Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect under section 13-2907.02.

How is Child Support Determined in a Divorce?

Child support is required by Arizona law and is calculated according to the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. This calculation uses the parents’ incomes while considering any health insurance and daycare costs for the children. The amount of time each parent spends with the children also affects the child support amount.

How is Alimony Decided in a Divorce?

Alimony in a divorce is based on the need of one spouse and the other spouse’s ability to pay. If the court determines alimony or spousal maintenance is appropriate, the court considers factors such as the following when deciding how much alimony to award a spouse in a divorce and for how long:

  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
  • The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet that spouse’s needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking support; and
  • The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their relative earning abilities in the labor market.

Who Gets the House and How are Property and Debts Divided in an Arizona Divorce?

In Arizona, all community property is divided equitably in a divorce, and each spouse receives their respective sole and separate property. All property acquired during a marriage is presumed to be community property, although there are some exceptions.

An Experienced Family Law Attorney Can Help

If you have questions about divorce in Maricopa or Pinal County, Wilson-Goodman, PLLC, can help. Our experienced family law attorneys can answer address any concerns you have about your pending divorce.

If you are considering divorce, meet confidentially with one of our Chandler divorce attorneys for more information about any of the above issues. We will gladly set your mind at ease and work diligently to make this difficult life transition as seamless as possible.