Top 10 Mistakes Made When Filing for Divorce in Arizona

Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Divorce on Your Own in Arizona

It is no secret that divorce in Arizona can be costly, especially if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement. To save money on legal fees, you may want to consider a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) divorce in Arizona.

However, there is a strong possibility that you will not save money if you make (expensive) divorce mistakes.

In this article, we will discuss what you should know about divorce in Arizona as well as the top ten divorce mistakes to avoid when filing for divorce in Arizona.

Going through a Divorce in AZ

While divorce is difficult in all 50 states, each state’s laws make it significantly more or less difficult.

While preparing for a divorce in Arizona without a lawyer, make sure that all legal resources specifically refer to Arizona laws rather than laws from another state that do not apply to your Arizona divorce.

Arizona is a fault-free state. This means you can file for divorce even if you have no legal grounds, such as addiction, abuse, or adultery.

Arizona does not recognize common law marriage unless the couple had a common-law marriage in another state before moving to Arizona.

While asset division can be difficult, Arizona typically divides community property acquired during the marriage 50/50 between both parties. Property acquired prior to the marriage and inheritance may not be considered community property. A valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement will alter the community division according to the terms of the contract.

When deciding on child custody, Arizona judges consider what agreement is in the best interests of the child, usually favoring active involvement from both parents over keeping a parent away from a child.

Child support and alimony (spousal maintenance) payments vary greatly from case to case. Many factors must be considered in order to determine the appropriate amount, if any.

What is the Divorce Procedure in Arizona?

A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must be filed in every case. The Petition and any supporting documents must be served on the opposing party. Following service, the other party may file a Petition Response. What happens next is determined by your situation. However, each case must conclude with a Decree or Final Order/Judgment.

When it comes to how to file for divorce in Arizona, you have two options: hire a divorce lawyer who has years of experience dealing with all of the issues that can arise, or file on your own.

A Phoenix divorce lawyer is familiar with the procedures, deadlines, and best practices. They can also provide valuable advice. However, if you are already familiar with divorce proceedings in Arizona, you may choose to file yourself to save money on legal fees.

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Divorce on Your Own in Arizona

If you decide to go ahead with a do-it-yourself divorce, you should be aware of the mistakes that can land you in a bad situation. The top ten most common mistakes to avoid when filing for divorce in Arizona are listed below.

1. Inadequately Serving Your Spouse

As previously stated, in order to start a divorce, you must file a petition for dissolution of marriage. This primary document is commonly referred to as “”divorce papers”” by the majority of people. After filing for divorce with the Superior Court Clerk, you must serve the other party with the papers.
Do not assume that you are finished because you filed the paperwork with the Clerk. Even if you know your spouse is aware of your intentions, you must serve divorce papers properly.

There are rules for properly serving divorce papers, and failing to follow them can seriously delay your case and affect the distribution of community property.

2. Failure to Follow Proper Procedures

The State of Arizona has stringent requirements for how you present a motion to them during your divorce. Motions are formal requests regarding the outcome of your divorce, child-related issues, and other issues that must be addressed.

Depending on your current situation, you may consider submitting the following motions:

  • Temporary Orders Motion
  • Request for a custody evaluation
  • Request for Mediation
  • Motion for a parenting conference

Legal procedures are time-consuming. Filing a motion with the court expedites your case if you fill out the motion precisely according to the format requested by the court and follow the filing procedures. Otherwise, the motion will be delayed or even denied.

3. Failure to Meet Deadlines

There are time limits for responding to certain paperwork and attending court dates. Almost everything filed in your case will have a response deadline.

Once properly served, your spouse has 20 days to file a written response (30 days if located out of state).

This is only the first deadline. You will be given deadlines on a regular basis to respond to certain motions, respond to discovery, and complete disclosure. If you do not respond on time, it will reflect poorly on you and may persuade the judge to rule in favor of the opposing party.
Pay close attention to all deadlines and complete tasks on time.

4. Negative Social Media Reactions to Your Spouse

Divorce tends to bring out the worst in people. You will only hurt yourself if you choose to vent your feelings online, no matter how bad it gets. Online mockery demonstrates emotional instability and a lack of self-control. It would be preferable if you were also cautious about what you shared online while out with friends, whether with children or not.

Keep your social media presence to a bare minimum during your divorce.

It isn’t just social media. Maintain courtesy when discussing the divorce, even in private correspondence with friends. Your spouse and your spouse’s attorney can and will obtain information that can and will be used against you. They may persuade your friends and family to provide information under the guise that it will help your case.

5. Failure to Develop a Comprehensive Parenting Plan

The most important negotiation that occurs during divorce proceedings concerns any shared children. A detailed parenting plan must be agreed upon by you and your spouse.

The parenting plan will outline each parent’s financial responsibilities, who makes important decisions, and the parenting time schedule, as well as a variety of other details such as extracurricular activities and who can claim the children on their taxes. The agreement will also specify who will make healthcare and education decisions. You will also explain how to deal with issues that arise, such as a scheduling conflict or parental disagreement.

In order for the court to accept the plan, both parents must agree to the terms. Alternatively, the judge will devise a plan for you and your spouse (and you may not like it). If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement, you will most likely need to forego the DIY divorce and hire a divorce lawyer in the Phoenix area.

6. Failure to Pass the Child Custody Evaluation

If you or your spouse files a motion for a custody evaluation, expect a thorough examination of your role as a parent and your parenting abilities.

You may also be required to undergo an evaluation, even if you requested the evaluation. In addition, you must pass Arizona’s “”Parent Information Program.”” In most cases, the evaluation takes months. Evaluators will look at how much time you spend with your children and how you interact with them during this time. They will also interview family members, friends, teachers, and anyone else who can provide information about your home.

Many parents are frustrated by court-ordered parenting classes and professional criticism of their parenting. Regardless of how you feel, put your best foot forward and take the process seriously. If you refuse to complete the class or demonstrate poor parenting skills, your custody ruling may suffer as a result.

7. Failure to obtain adequate insurance

Divorce should make you realize how quickly your circumstances can change. Insurance protects you financially in the event of an unforeseeable tragedy, but what insurance issues arise during divorce?

Begin by making certain that both parties have adequate life insurance. Life insurance pays for any end-of-life expenses incurred in the event of your death. You should also confirm the beneficiaries on your life insurance policy, especially if you previously named your spouse as a beneficiary.

You can also request that your spouse obtain “”order for life”” insurance. An “”order for life”” policy ensures that you continue to receive payments from your spouse (or their insurance company) even if they die or are unable to make the payments themselves.

8. Failure to Understand the Value of Your Assets

A significant portion of divorce entails dividing assets between you and your spouse. Many people estimate the value of their homes, vehicles, and other assets, with the estimate favoring the person who generates the numbers. The courts, however, will not accept an estimate.

Obtain a professional valuation of your assets. Display all assets openly as well. When you present everything clearly and get a professional opinion, your case will move forward smoothly. If you and your spouse receive different asset valuations, you may need to hire a third party to perform the third, independent assessment, which will take more time and money. Make every effort to reach an agreement on the worth of the lifestyle you and your spouse once shared.

9. Possessing a Negative or Vindictive Attitude

A negative attitude is not appreciated by judges, mediators, or arbitrators. Maintain a respectful, if not friendly, demeanor throughout all interactions with your spouse and the court.

Using professional language and dressing professionally during court hearings is also part of demonstrating a positive attitude. Have all documents in order and organized for your court hearing, and make sure all requirements due that day are met. When your spouse makes false claims or unreasonable requests, avoid making snide remarks, rolling your eyes, or shaking your head. Maintain your cool.

A positive attitude will not only encourage the judge to view you favorably, but you may also be able to reach agreements with your spouse, avoiding the need for additional mediation or going to trial.

10. Failing to Obtain Legal Representation in Your Divorce

Unless you have no assets to divide and have agreed on all details for child custody with your spouse, navigating a divorce without a lawyer is highly discouraged.

In the eyes of the court, simply not understanding the divorce laws is not a defense, and if you make a mistake that could have easily been corrected by a lawyer, you will pay dearly.

We are here to assist you. Allow our skilled and aggressive legal team to handle your divorce. We provide completely free divorce lawyer consultations that typically last 30-60 minutes. We will examine every aspect of your case and recommend the best solution in your favor. You should not go through it alone.

A divorce decision has a significant impact on your future quality of life. Don’t punish yourself any more than you already have during the divorce. Even if you decide to handle the divorce yourself, you should retain the services of a Phoenix divorce lawyer to review your divorce paperwork before you submit it and answer any questions you may have.

If you and your spouse disagree on how to divide your assets or child custody, you’ll need legal help.

Certain things, such as spending time with your children, are priceless. When something so valuable is on the line, you don’t want to take any chances by going through the process on your own.

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