Phoenix AZ Family Law FirmWe help ease clients through divorce and other family law legal issues that can arise after a divorce is final. Where appropriate, we assist our clients to resolve divorce or other family issues in the least traumatic way. Mediation and Settlement is always preferred as through application of either method, the parties can assure that their interests are protected without needing intervention from the courts. For more information about family law services, please contact attorney Ryan M. Reppucci direct at (602) 515-0841.
Divorce and Family Law Legal Resources
A. Dissolution of MarriageDissolution of Marriage is the most frequently occurring family law issue. In order to initiate a petition for dissolution of marriage either you or your spouse must be a resident of Arizona for at least 90 days prior to filing. There are procedural requirements that must be followed to ensure that dissolution of marriage petitions are filed with the proper Arizona court. If the parties are in agreement about property and debt division, as well as child custody and child support matters, the divorce may be finalized without a trial.
Under Arizona law, a divorce cannot be granted by the court until at least 60 days after the first court papers are delivered to the other spouse.
60 days after service of papers on a spouse a consent decree can be obtained without even going to court if you and your spouse can agree to all the terms of your divorce, including custody, parenting time, child support, property issues, debt issues, spousal maintenance and any other financial issues. The decree is the final order of the court legally ending the marriage. Spouses are not "divorced" until the court grants the divorce and the decree is signed by the judge. If after the 60 day period you and your spouse are not in agreement, then depending on the issues involved in your case, your matter may be referred to mediation or set for trial on unresolved issues.
In addition to ending the marriage, the court also has the authority to divide certain property and debts of the spouses. It must be noted and understood that Arizona is a community property state, which means that any property acquired during the marriage is treated as being owned by both you and your spouse. The Arizona divorce courts attempt to distribute such community or marital property equitably. An equitable distribution is a fair, but not necessarily equal, distribution. Characterization of community assets is often a contested issue and there are many variables that can be applied to attack the status of acquired marital assets.
B. Child CustodyMany times in pre and post decree dissolution cases, child custody and parenting time issues arise between contesting parties. In Arizona, the court will make child custody decisions based upon what is in the best interest and welfare of the child. The court will apply several factors to determine whether to order sole custody or joint custody.
In making a custody decision, the court considers the best interests of the child and the following factors:
- The preference of the child
- The desire and ability of each parent to allow an open, loving and frequent relationship between the child and the other parent
- The wishes of the parents
- The child's adjustment to his or her home, school and community
- The mental and physical health of the child and the parents
- The relationship between the child and the parents and any siblings
- Any evidence of significant spouse or child abuse
- Any coercion or duress in obtaining a custody agreement
- Which parent(s) have provided primary care of the child
- That neither parent was coerced or influenced by duress into withholding or granting his or her agreement to joint custody
- That the parents can sustain an ongoing commitment to the child
- That the joint custody agreement is logistically possible
For more information about family law services, please contact attorney Ryan M. Reppucci direct at (602) 515-0841.