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5 Common Questions About Divorce when Children are Involved

Common Questions to Divorce in Arizona

In certain cases, going through a divorce with children involved can be an overwhelming situation. Ultimately, it comes down to what is best for the children and both parties coming to an agreement in the end. In Arizona, there are two types of legal divorce motions: contested and uncontested.

The definition of an uncontested divorce means merely that one spouse has filed a petition for divorce and the other spouse is choosing not to respond in court. In an uncontested divorce, the terms of the divorce are agreed upon by both spouses, allowing the process to be completed by simply filing for the divorce and receiving a judgment.

A contested divorce can be much more difficult to work through. In a contested divorce, one spouse files for divorce, but the other spouse challenges the terms. When this happens, it’s beneficial to have an Arizona divorce attorney on your side to guide you through the process and represent your interests in court. Your attorney can offer you legal counsel to help you make informed decisions about financial assets, child custody, spousal support, and real property disputes.

Below are the main Differences Between a Contested Divorce and Uncontested Divorce.

  • Contested divorces may end up in court.
  • Uncontested divorces are often faster to finalize.
  • Contested divorces could require disclosure of financial assets.
  • Uncontested divorces are usually settled out of court.
  • Contested divorces are usually best left to an attorney.
  • Uncontested divorces may require little legal intervention.


1. How is the Divorce Process Started in Arizona?

Each state might handle the divorce process, but in Arizona it begins when a Petition for Divorce is filed. This action is the actual legal filing of the paperwork outlining the desire to dissolve a marriage by the filing spouse. Your divorce attorney will handle this part of the process, but there are some stipulations involved that are specific to Arizona. Either you or your spouse is required to be a resident of the state for at least 90 days before the filing of the petition for divorce.

Additionally, there is a waiting period of 60 days after the petition has been served on the opposing party before the matter can be legally finalized. In a contested divorce, the process could take much longer depending upon whether one spouse chooses to fight the matter in court. Once again, this is where having an experienced Arizona divorce attorney on your side is beneficial.


2. What are Temporary Orders During a Divorce?

Because divorce can be a long process if contested, the court may issue temporary orders for each spouse involved. Temporary orders are meant to settle day-to-day matters while the divorce is either argued in court or while waiting for the matter to be finalized. The purpose of temporary orders is to maintain amicable terms for things like living arrangements, custody, payment of household bills, possession of property and spousal support.

Temporary orders may be modified during the course of a divorce proceeding to become permanent. This is usually done if both parties agree to the terms of the temporary orders and would like them to continue. In some cases, this can be beneficial when one spouse has moved out and no longer wants to be responsible for household bills and has no intention of moving back in; however, permanent orders can also become a problem for a spouse who does not want to move out but is ordered to do so by the court. An Arizona family law attorney may be able to help alleviate the stress of dealing with temporary and permanent orders to achieve the best outcome.

If there are minor children involved in a divorce, a court may issue temporary custody orders to protect the children and act in their best interest. Divorce can have a substantial negative impact on children, especially when they are younger. The emotional stress on the divorcing parents can compound the negative impact on the children.

Temporary orders for child custody often involve decisions by the court that are made quickly so that children can be placed in a living situation that provides for less disruption. As a result, temporary child custody orders may not take into account every factor involved in the living situation. This is why it’s crucial to work with an Arizona family law attorney to protect your children and help them adjust to changes that stem from the divorce process.

If you need help with temporary orders issued during a divorce, speak with one of our Arizona divorce attorneys

3. What is a Default Judgment in an Arizona Divorce?

When a spouse is served with divorce papers, he or she has the chance to contest the divorce, meaning the case will likely end up in court; however, if the spouse chooses not to contest the divorce, he or she simply doesn’t respond to the summons provided. When this happens, the court will issue a default judgment, meaning the terms of the divorce set forth in the petition, or divorce papers, will stand without the need to dispute anything in court.

When it comes to default judgments, there are some special provisions to take into consideration. While Arizona residents have 20 days to respond to a summons in a divorce case, non-residents have 30 days. If a default judgment is issued, the spouse is then given 10 additional days to respond. If your spouse chooses not to respond in this situation, the case then moves onto a final judgment and a default hearing which you must attend in order to receive your copy of the divorce decree. Finally, your spouse may be able to file a motion to set aside the default judgment, which would start the process over again. Navigating a divorce can be complicated, so it pays to partner with an Arizona family law practice to know what to expect.

4. How Do Permanent Child Custody Orders Affect My Arizona Divorce Case?

Child custody must always be in the best interests of any children involved in a divorce. As such, the court may issue temporary or permanent custody orders. Temporary orders are usually issued quickly with limited facts available, but they are issued so that children can maintain a sense of order during a divorce.

Permanent child custody orders are part of the final judgment in a divorce, and they outline who will have physical custody of the children after a divorce is finalized. Additionally, these orders will provide instructions regarding visitation in cases of sole custody or times and dates of custody transfer in cases of shared child custody. Working with an Arizona divorce attorney can help you understand your obligations as they pertain to the permanent orders issued, and your attorney can also help you fight to ensure your rights are upheld as a parent.

5. Will I Need to Pay Child Support Payments After My Arizona Divorce?

When one spouse retains sole custody of children in a divorce, the other spouse may be required to make child support payments. These funds are to be used in the best interest of the children and typically will be used for food, medical care, clothing, school supplies and other items that children need to lead happy, productive lives.

To determine payment amounts and schedules, the court will take into account things like the child’s standard of living, medical concerns, custody arrangements and location. Missing child support payments may result in legal proceedings that could involve financial penalties and jail time. As a result, it’s always a good idea to work with an Arizona divorce lawyer to ensure that your children are receiving the best care and financial benefits while protecting your rights as a parent.

Why Child Support Payments May Be Necessary:

  • To provide for school supplies
  • To help children maintain a standard of living
  • To provide financial relief in a single-parent household
  • To allow the parent with custody the chance to focus on raising children
  • To provide for childcare outside of the home
  • To assist with children’s medical costs

In the event of any divorce, it is always recommended to seek legal help. Even the smallest of tasks or laws can have lasting affects on the outcome of a divorce. Our attorneys are available anytime day or night to help you through the process.

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