Filed under: 25-403, 25-403.06, Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, Best Interest, Cheap Family Law Firm, Cheap Fees, Child Support, Custody, Discount Arizona Family Firm, Discount Arizona Family Lawyer, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Documents, General Family Law, Maricopa County, Modification, Phoenix Family Law, Phoenix Family Law Attorney, Phoenix Family Law Firm, Pleadings, Rule 5
Often times I meet with prospective clients who for example have filed for a modification of child support (simplified) and while that matter is pending the other party or they themselves file for modification of another family law issue, be it custody or parenting time for example. People in this situation often ask if it possible to consolidate both matters together so they are heard by the court at once instead of on two separate occasions.
Rule 5, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, (“ARFLP”), states in relevant part:
[w]hen actions within the scope of these rules involving a common child, common parties, or a common question of law or fact, are pending before the court, the court may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue in the actions or order all the actions consolidated, and the court may make such orders concerning proceedings therein to avoid unnecessary costs or delay or to serve in the best interest of a minor child.
Therefore, in accordance with the ARFLP, if your Arizona family court matter is one qualifying for consolidation, you have the right to request of the court that both or all issues be heard together at once. As the rule indicates though, the court may deny such consolidation if to do so would not serve the best interest of a minor child. One example where the best interest of the minor child may not be served by consolidation is when a pending petition for modification of child support which asks for an increased monthly amount is before the court in concert with another request, for instance a modification of child custody and/or parenting time.
In this circumstance, it generally will take the court much longer to hear the matters related to child custody and/or parenting time and if child support is to be adjusted and/or increased then the child’s best interest would not be served by delaying that matter to be heard in conjunction with the custody or parenting time issues. This is merely one example and many others should be considered prior to asking the court to consolidate your family law matters. For this reason it is suggested that you contact an experienced Arizona family law attorney or Ryan M. Reppucci at the law firm of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC to discuss the specifics of your case before making such request of the court.
Legal Overview Regarding Arizona Jurisdictional Requirements, Grounds for Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce), and Expected Issues Which May Arise.
Filed under: 25-103, 25-311, 25-312, 25-316, 25-319, 25-403, Affordable, Alimony, Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Best Interest, Cheap Family Law Firm, Cheap Fees, Child Support, Custody, Discount Arizona Family Firm, Discount Arizona Family Lawyer, Dissolution, Divorce, Divorce Laws, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Documents, General Family Law, Maricopa County, Opinion, Phoenix Family Law, Phoenix Family Law Attorney, Phoenix Family Law Firm, Spousal Maintenance
In Arizona, Dissolution of Marriage (“Divorce”) is governed by relevant sections of Title 25, Arizona Revised Statutes (“A.R.S.”). In particular, A.R.S. § 25-311 states that Arizona Superior Court’s are vested with original jurisdiction to hear and decide all matters pertaining to Divorce actions. In order for a Divorce action to be brought in a Superior Court, A.R.S. § 25-312 expresses that at the time the Divorce action is commenced, one of the parties to that action must have been domiciled in the State of Arizona for at least ninety (90) days prior to commencement of the action. “Domicile” is considered to mean that of being a permanent resident in a particular jurisdiction. For instance, a party to a Divorce action that is domiciled in Maricopa County, Arizona would have to commence the Divorce action in a Superior Court located within that county. The Domicile requirement is without regard to where the parties marriage occurred.
Arizona is considered a “no fault” State with regard to Divorce actions. For example, in Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-316 one party to a Divorce must only demonstrate to the Court that the marriage is “irretrievably broken with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.”
Parties to a Divorce action in Arizona must also be aware that Arizona is a community property jurisdiction. This means, that but for few exceptions, all property and/or debts acquired by the parties during the course of their marriage are subject to equitable division and allocation. Equitable is known to mean as close to 50/50 as possible. It should also be noted that property and/or debt acquired outside of the State of Arizona during the marriage is likewise subject to community property principals. Meaning that in determining equitable apportionment of marital property and/or debts, Arizona courts will characterize any assets and/or liabilities as if they were incurred in the State of Arizona. By doing this, Arizona courts can adhere to community property principals in equitably diving otherwise community property and/or liabilities equitably or as close to 50/50 as possible.
There are many other issues that may arise during the course of a Divorce action in Arizona. For instance, if the parties have children, then custody will be determined by the Court through application of the “best interest” factors listed in A.R.S. §§ 25-103, 25-403, and 25-403.03. Without too much explanation, it is the public policy of the State of Arizona, that absent evidence to the contrary, that it is in a child’s best interest to have substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing parenting time with both parents. That both parents participate in decision-making about the child. Simply put, there is a presumption of joint custody in Arizona as related to child custody issues.
When children are involved in a Divorce action, in addition to child custody, the parties must be aware of Arizona child support laws. In calculating child support, Arizona courts must comply with the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. Without too much detail on this subject, child support will be factored using each parties gross monthly income(s), parenting time awarded, and other relevant and/or authorized deductions. There is an online calculator that can be used by parties to a Divorce action in Arizona to determine a preliminary child support amount.
As a final consideration to Divorce actions in Arizona, parties must be aware of and consider the possibility of spousal maintenance or alimony. A.R.S. § 25-319 governs the issue of spousal maintenance and set forth several factors for the Court to consider in making a finding for or against such award. Unlike child support however, there is no spousal maintenance calculator and therefore judges are often left with the task of subjectively identifying an appropriate amount and duration based upon the relevant factors listed in A.R.S. § 25-319.
The above listed items should in no way be construed as an exclusive list of all issues and/or matters that can be expected to arise in a divorce action in Arizona. However, the above content is meant to provide a basic overview of the main issues that generally arise in Divorce actions in Arizona. In addition to these general issues, there are many procedural requirements and/or paths that parties can employ throughout a Divorce action in Arizona. For more information on Divorce procedure, please contact me direct.
For more detailed answers, it is suggested that you contact an experienced Arizona family law attorney to discuss the specifics of your unique and individual matter prior to commencing a Divorce action in Arizona.
After reading this legal opinion / overview if you are left with unanswered questions or concerns, it is strongly suggested that you contact me direct so that we can speak at further length about your particular matter.