AZ Family Law Matters FAQS
Here you will find answers to common questions about divorce, child custody, visitation, child support, paternity, spousal maintenance, prenuptial agreements, grandparent’s rights, modification, enforcement, debt allocation, property division and domestic violence. You will also find frequently asked questions about hiring an attorney and the litigation process.
Q. DO I NEED A LAWYER TO GET A DIVORCE?
A. Not if you don’t have anything to protect. If you were married a very short time, have acquired no property during the marriage, no debts, and there are no children involved, this is a simple divorce. You can obtain the appropriate forms for a few dollars through the Court’s “Self Service Center”, or hire a paralegal to do the simple forms for you. However, if you and your spouse have children, and do not agree on custody, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance or the division of property and debts, you probably should hire an attorney.
Q. WHAT DOES A DIVORCE COST?
A. The Court requires a filing fee from each spouse, specifically $321.00 from the Petitioner and $256.00 from the Respondent. The remaining costs are usually attorney’s fees. Attorney’s charge by the hour and both rates and retainer amounts vary from attorney to attorney.
At our law firm, we will never “Churn” a case. Our firm does not believe in drumming up animosity to generate higher fees, which is the practice of some other firms. Our philosophy is to dissipate animosity, begin negotiation, and achieve the best result for our clients. If a settlement is not possible, a request for a hearing will be made. You are looking for results, not a show! High levels of animosity result in irrational behavior and unreasonable expectations on both sides. This is not in our client’s best interests and profits no one.
Q. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GET DIVORCED?
A. By law, a divorce cannot be granted until at least 60 days have passed from the time Respondent is served with divorce papers. If the parties are able to resolve their issues, they may submit the appropriate documents to the Court, and no court appearance will be necessary. In those cases, the divorce is usually completed in about 90 days. Of course, if the parties are not able to resolve the issues, a divorce case can take a year if the parties are litigating one or more issues.
Q. WHAT IS A COMMUNITY PROPERTY STATE?
A. Arizona is a community property state. Community property is based on old Spanish Law. Community property is generally defined as all property and debt acquired during the marriage, regardless of who holds the title at the time of the divorce. Of course, there are some exceptions to this general rule. Community property and debts will be “equitably” divided by the Court in a dissolution, which generally means that both parties are entitled to one-half of the property and liable on one-half of all debts, but again, there are exceptions.
Q. HOW DOES THE COURT DETERMINE CHILD CUSTODY?
A. The Court will determine which physical and legal custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child. This is based on many factors, including the ability of each parent to care for the child. The Court has two choices for the Legal designation of custody, “sole custody” and “joint custody”, and the Court must also determine a reasonable physical parenting time plan.
Q. HOW IS SOLE LEGAL CUSTODY DIFFERENT THAN JOINT LEGAL CUSTODY?
A. Legal Custody is the right to participate in the major long-term decisions made for the benefit of the child. Sole custody is where one parent makes all of the major decisions regarding the child. Joint Custody is where both parents make decisions together regarding major issues such as education, medical treatment, and religious upbringing.
Q. HOW MUCH CHILD SUPPORT DOES THE COURT ORDER?
A. The amount varies from case to case and is based upon the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, which use a formula to calculate the amount. The formula includes the gross income of each parent, child care costs, health insurance costs, the age of the child, and the amount of visitation each parent has with the child. Child support can be modified as those amounts change.
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For legal advice about your case, contact an attorney. Unfortunately, if you represent yourself, by law, the Judge MUST assume you are as familiar with family law and procedure as an attorney. You do not have a second chance, so make sure you present your best case the first time. Call Gregory A. Riebesehl at Riebesehl Family Law Offices and let him represent you through the court process to a successful outcome at (602) 621-0779.
Call Gregory A. Riebesehl today for your free no risk completely confidential initial consultation and a speedy solution to all your legal problems at (602) 621-0779
We Are Conveniently Located At:
Riebesehl Family Law Offices
4050 East Greenway Road, Suite 3
Phoenix, Arizona 85032
Phone: (602) 621-0779
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