Family Law | Divorce
Divorce and Family Law Attorney in Prescott, Arizona
Divorce and Family Law Attorney in Cottonwood, Arizona
You never thought you’d be here. Going through a divorce or legal separation can be one of the most difficult and emotionally draining times in a person’s life.
You need an attorney who is attentive, compassionate, and trusted to guide you through what is a very complex legal process governed by a slew of rules, statutes and case law that can leave your head spinning and, if you’re not careful, with bad results that can impact you for the rest of your life.
It’s easy to get lost in such a maze, especially when you’re also dealing with the emotions of saying “goodbye” to the person to whom you once said “I do.”
But you can’t afford to get lost. The stakes are too high. Your divorce or legal separation decree will dictate everything from how your property and debt is divided, to who has care of your children and when, to whether and how much child support or spousal support you receive or have to pay.
Difference between Divorce and Legal Separation
Other than the end result, there really isn’t much difference between a divorce and a legal separation. In a divorce or legal separation, your property and debt is divided, orders regarding the custody of your children are made, and orders regarding financial assistance (child support, spousal support) are made. The only difference is that a divorce terminates your marriage and a legal separation does not. Once your divorce concludes, you are a single person. Once your legal separation concludes, you remain married. There are reasons why some people would rather have a legal separation than a divorce. Or vice versa. If you are on the fence or do not know which option to pursue, our Prescott and Cottonwood , Arizona divorce and family law attorney can help you evaluate your options.
Arizona law requires that all community property be fairly and equitably divided between the parties in a divorce or legal separation decree. But what’s community property? Simply put, community property is all property acquired during the marriage, except property acquired by gift or inheritance. Sounds simple enough. But not always. Often times, the lines can get blurred. And even when it’s clear what property is community property (as opposed to a person’s sole and separate property), how that property is fairly and equitably divided can be confusing and subject to debate and investigation.
Under Arizona law, there are many factors courts must consider in determining whether and to what extent a spouse is entitled to spousal support (alimony), or as it is known in Arizona, spousal maintenance. This is another area ripe for confusion, debate and investigation and subject to long-term consequences that could have a substantial impact on your pocketbook for years to come.
And what about if you have minor children? Well, legal decision-making, which is the authority to make the major decisions in your child’s life, and parenting time have to be decided in a divorce and legal separation as well. In determining legal decision-making and parenting time, Arizona law is guided by the child’s best interests. In most cases parents are required to attend mediation to try to reach an agreement on these issues so they don’t have to take their dispute to court, which is usually a painful process. Whether you’re trying to reach an agreement or preparing for trial, it is vital to be familiar with Arizona law regarding the child’s best interests. That means knowing the statutes and the case law.
Once parenting time has been determined, child support is determined using the formula under the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. That formula takes into account a number of variables, including, among other things, each parent’s annual number of parenting time days, each parent’s respective income, and the cost to provide health insurance for the child and who pays that cost. Sounds easy enough, right? Sometimes. But not always. What if one parent is unemployed, underemployed, self-employed or does not report all of his or her income? Or what if one parent is not able to work, or at least claims to be unable to work? These facts certainly complicate things, and not being able to get a firm hold on them, could end up costing you a lot of money in the long run.
Divorce!!??!? Sounds pretty daunting, right? Fortunately, our Prescott, Arizona divorce and family law attorney is here to help you just like he’s helped hundreds of folks just like you over the years. Don’t go it alone and get lost in the maze. Put our attentive, compassionate and trusted firm to work for you by a scheduling a consult today.