Understand the Divorce Process before Acting

The divorce process is an emotionally taxing experience for both spouses. Fortunately, understanding how the divorce process works can help make the process go more smoothly.

It is important to understand the legal process of divorce before taking action. Arizona is a no fault state, which means that it does not require blame to be placed on either spouse in order to dissolve a marriage. In Arizona, the central questions present in any divorce proceeding are how to fairly approach debt and property division issues and, if applicable, what arrangements must be made in the best interests of any minor children involved.

If one party wants a divorce, then a divorce petition may be filed. It is possible for a spouse not desiring a divorce to file a Petition for Conciliation. The petition will stay divorce proceedings for a period of 60 days. If one spouse still wishes to pursue dissolution after the time for Conciliation has run, divorce proceedings will move forward. All divorce actions must be filed in the Superior Court of the county of residence.

An important reality to consider before filing a petition is that of marital property. In Arizona, property obtained during the marriage is considered the property of both spouses, unless the property was a gift or inheritance of one particular spouse. The divorce process can go more smoothly if spouses can determine the value of property prior to trial, so the judge can divide the property fairly.

Although it is helpful to understand the legal aspects of divorce, changing the way one approaches the process can also make the process go more smoothly. Divorce experts often encourage spouses to approach the proceedings with general goals in mind and to be prepared with evidence to support those goals. For example, a goal for the divorce proceedings may be the ability to feel secure in retirement, and evidence to support that goal may include documents and testimony to prove a range of annual income that would be sufficient to live comfortably after retirement. Approaching the divorce process from this angle may help open talks and make the process more amiable between spouses.

Divorce proceedings are difficult, but understanding the system and keeping an open mind during the process can make the entire experience less stressful.