At 10.8 per thousand men and 11.9 per thousand women in a 2009 U.S. Census Bureau survey, Arizona’s divorce statistics are higher than the national average, according to Cronkite News. Maricopa County, which has the most cities (Mesa, Queen Creek, etc.), is the most populous county in Arizona. As a matter of fact, as per Wikipedia, Maricopa County is the fourth most populous county in the United States, its population is higher than that of 23 states. In 2010, the county’s center of population was found to be the city of Mesa. Considering the large population, Maricopa County has more divorces than the other counties in Arizona. Steven Zachary with Zachary Law Group PLC handles cases throughout the state.

According to the Judicial Branch of Arizona, Maricopa County, Arizona’s legal name for a divorce is “Dissolution of Marriage.” Couples wishing to divorce are required to wait 60 days from the date of service to begin divorce proceedings. The amount of time a divorce takes varies. As per FindLaw, at least one party must legally reside in Arizona and have done so for at least 90 days before filing for divorce.

A divorce where the couple has been married for a short period of time, have no children, and little property or debt are the quickest. A divorce where the couple has been married for a long period of time, where there are minor children, and/or where there is a large amount of property or debt to be divided usually takes much longer. A divorce where the parties have an adversarial relationship with many disagreements regarding the terms of their divorce take the longest.

Arizona is a “no fault” divorce state. In the past, divorce laws required proof that one of the parties was at fault in order to get a divorce. Now all states allow “no fault” divorces.

FindLaw defines a “no fault” divorce as “… a type of divorce in which the spouse that is filing for divorce does not have to prove any fault on the part of the other spouse. All a spouse has to do is give any reason that the state honors for the divorce.” Reasons given for divorcing can be vague, such as “irreconcilable differences” or an “irreparable breakdown of the marriage.”

Arizona is a community property state. As stated by, Arizona is one of only nine states in the United States whose divorce laws regarding debts and assets are based on community property law. Simply put, community property law considers anything earned (or debt incurred) during the marriage is to be divided fifty-fifty between the parties. The only exceptions to this is (a) property earned prior to the marriage by one spouse or (b) property specifically gifted or inherited by one spouse.

If the divorcing couple have minor children, family law is a big part of the divorce settlement. As per FindLaw, these are some of the issues regarding children that must be decided upon in a divorce:

  • Will the custody of the children be joint or will the child live with only one parent?
  • If there is a custodial and non-custodial parent, which one will the child(ren) live with? (The parent the child lives with has what is called “physical custody” of the child.)
  • What will be the visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent?
  • Which parent will have legal custody or will they share legal custody? (The parent with “legal custody” is the decision-maker regarding the child’s education, religion, health care, and other concerns.)
  • What will be the amount of child support to be paid?
  • When will child support be due?
  • When will child support end?

In conclusion, the best thing for each of the divorcing parents is to have a divorce and family law attorney like Steven Zachary Esq. that can help navigate them through all of these issues and help them avoid making bad decisions. A good divorce and family lawyer can really make the difference when it comes to a divorce that is messy and badly structured or a divorce that meets the needs of the entire family and is fair to all involved.

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