- How long does a divorce take?
- What is the soonest I can get a divorce?
- What is the difference between divorce and legal separation?
- Can I represent myself?
- How much does a divorce cost?
- Can my child testify in court?
- Can my child choose the parent she wants to live with?
- What is mediation?
- Will A Judge Order Attorney’s fees and costs?
- What Factors Does the Judge Consider When Determining Parenting Time and Legal Decision-Making?
- Modification of Legal Decision Making Orders
- Order Of Protection (OOP):
Your case takes as long as YOU want it to, but typically anywhere from 60 days to one year. With healthy compromise, meaningful negotiation and purpose-driven goals results can be achieved more quickly.
A party files preliminary paperwork, serves the opposing party, discovery begins and negotiation follows. If the parties cannot settle the case, an evidentiary hearing will be set.
60 days from the date Respondent is served with the Petition for Dissolution and by Consent Decree.
Both procedures involve nearly the same filings and results except that in the latter the parties are still married. The Court, in both, will make rulings regarding legal decision-making, parenting time and child support (if children are involved) and enter applicable judgments concerning distribution of property and debt. Parties separate, oftentimes, for religious reasons, health insurance or domestic violence (when circumstances are volatile and filing for divorce may cause too extreme a reaction). Notably, it’s easy to convert a legal separation into a divorce by filing a simple document. If your separation has concluded, you will need to file a Petition for Dissolution.
Yes, but it’s not recommended (“he who represents himself has a fool for a lawyer!”) The Court will hold you to the same standard as a skilled attorney (who has gone to school for years to learn the law and who necessarily has years of training and experience) you are expected to know the rules, file the appropriate documents and negotiate on your behalf. You will be negotiating the most important decisions of your life: your children’s best interest, how your will support them (and yourself) and your security.
Cost varies depending on skill level and length of case but is primarily dictated by the willingness of the parties to negotiate in good faith and reduce conflict. If resolution is not possible the case will proceed to several court appearances and eventually an evidentiary hearing (and necessarily higher costs).
My retainer begins at $5,000 at $350/hour.
The short answer is no. However, your child’s voice can be heard through a court appointed psychologist in what is known as a “Parenting Conference” through Conciliation Services.
A judge will consider the child’s wishes as one of several factors in determining parenting time and decision-making and may order that the child, (who is old enough), be interviewed by court-appointed experts for additional information.
Mediation is a process whereby a neutral third party attempts to facilitate a mutually agreeable settlement between the two parties. It is conducted with both parties and their counsel present. Following initial introductions, the parties are sent to separate rooms and the mediator moves back and forth between the parties with offers and suggestions.
A judge has discretion whether to award a party attorney’s fees and costs and typically considers the reasonableness of the parties during the lawsuit and their financial disparity.
A judge considers “best interest of the child.” That said, Arizona is a “no fault” State which means the judge will not punish a spouse for infidelity but may consider the lifestyle choices of that spouse (i.e. domestic violence, substance abuse, ability to co-parent, work commitments etc…)
My job goes beyond helping my clients prepare for a divorce. I also work with families post-divorce to create working solutions for issues that arise once the divorce judgment is final. This includes modifications of existing orders. Parenting time and legal decision-making modifications typically occur when one parent relocates. Unfortunately, divorced couples will often opt to work these issues out together without the court’s intervention. They do so because they believe it will be cheaper and while sometimes that’s true, should an issue arise later and both couples are in violation of a judges orders things can get expensive quickly.
Clients often obtain them when they have been abused, threatened or harassed by their partner. They can be highly useful tools in preventing future violence but are by no means an impenetrable barrier. Violations of an OOP will oftentimes dictate how a judge will regard your particular case. If you are in a situation where violence has occurred or is imminent I advise you to consider additional security measures along with your OOP.