Divorce: What are the Issues?

This brief summary offers a basic review of Arizona’s divorce law. Please note, however, that each case has its own particular variations that can require solutions uniquely suited to your case. Whether you decide to proceed with a divorce or legal separation, a thorough understanding of how Arizona law impacts your circumstances is important and should be fully discussed with your attorney.

Although the information in this section is discussed in terms of divorce, it pertains equally to legal separation. These two actions have identical issues. The important legal differences are: 1) a legal separation allows either spouse to remain on the other’s health insurance plan and 2) you and your spouse may continue to file a joint tax return. Since these differences can be significant, you should carefully carefully consider whether a divorce or legal separation is more appropriate to your circumstances before making a decision about how to proceed.

Marital Assets & Debts

This can be a complex area of the law with multiple considerations. The completion of three distinct tasks may help provide a road map for an equitable distribution of the marital assets and debts:

  • Identifying the Assets & Debts
  • Valuing the Assets & Debts
  • Dividing the Assets & Debts
Parenting: Custody & Visitation

As concerned parents will attest, the divorce arrangements for the children may have the greatest long-term impact on the newly-configured family. An attorney’s role in guiding you through this sensitive area transcends that of legal technician. When it comes to helping you with decisions about children, your attorney should be part counselor and part child development expert, doing the utmost to understand and keep the children’s best interests in mind. No area of domestic relations law requires more of an attorney than helping guide a parent in making the best possible arrangements for the children.

The issue of parenting arrangements is complex and challenging and should be fully explored with an attorney experienced in custody and visitation matters.

Child Support

Generally, Arizona law requires one spouse to pay child support according to a formula that is part of the Arizona Child Support Guidelines.

Spousal Maintenance

In a divorce or legal separation case in Arizona, spousal maintenance (also called alimony) can be awarded. In order for this to occur, the spouse who may receive spousal maintenance must meet certain criteria.

Other Common Issues

In addition to the divorce-related issues previously discussed, there are a number of other common concerns and questions that should be addressed, answered and included in a final divorce or legal separation agreement.

Emotional Aspects of Divorce

To one degree or another, there is often an emotional divorce happening at the same time a legal divorce is occurring. The dissolution of a marriage is a major life transition, and you and your spouse may handle it differently. Some people are quiet and deal with their thoughts and feelings internally. Others are demonstrative and lay everything out on the table. It may also be the case that you are in a different emotional stage of the divorce transition process than your spouse. One of you may have been thinking about divorce for a longer period of time and already adjusted to the newly transitioning relationship, and the other may still be coming to terms with the circumstances. Differing responses are to be expected and are considered normal

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