The dissolution of a marriage requires an understanding of the family relationships and financial intricacies that are a vital part of the marital relationship.
If you have children, custody is the most important issue to resolve. When parents are going through a divorce, they will go to great lengths to protect them. These cases can be hard on everyone involved, especially the children.
Child custody determinations occur in matters of divorce and go far beyond just where a child will physically spend time. In Arizona, we separate the concept of custody into two separate categories. First, we consider the residential “parenting time” agreement. In other words, the allocation of each parent’s time with his/her child. Second, we determine whether the rights and responsibilities to make major decisions concerning the child should be granted to one or to both parents. We call these rights “legal decision-making.” Such decisions include:
- Authorization for nonemergency health care
- Choice of school
- Choice of religious upbringing
- Consent to obtain a driver’s license
The determination of whether these decisions are made by one parent with sole legal decision-making or by both parents with joint legal decision-making is based on the best interest of the child. Most courts in Arizona will assume that joint legal decision making is in your child’s best interests. There are certain circumstances where joint legal decision making may not be in your child’s best interest. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, significant domestic violence and drug or alcohol abuse
The other half of the process of divorce is to identify and value the marital property and debts. A key first step will be determining what property should be categorized as community property (in other words, property acquired during marriage or titled as community property) and what property is the separate property of one of the spouses from before the marriage or by gift or inheritance. Ultimately, the community property of the marriage will need to be equitably divided between the spouses.
Support issues are also an important matter to resolve during a divorce. Will one spouse need spousal maintenance (alimony) following the divorce? Do the parties have equal financial footing in order to ensure their representation during the divorce, or does one spouse need to pay some or all of the attorney’s fees of the other spouse? Are there children common to the parties, and if so, who will pay child support and in what amount?
We are strong legal advocates who can provide attentive counsel for the complex issues of divorce. We are also a small law firm that strives to create as comfortable of an environment for our clients as is possible while they go through this difficult process.