Divorce is the dissolution of the marital union between two people. The process can be difficult and life changing, but we at Rolfe Hinderaker are your Tucson divorce lawyers team and will do our best to make it as smooth as possible.
Matters of divorce are generally separated by those who have children and those who do not, but the two do overlap.Matters of Divorce include:
With or Without Children
When a marriage is dissolved or when parties are legally separating, the marital property must be divided between the two parties. In Arizona and absent a prenuptial agreement, all of the property acquired by either the husband or the wife during the marriage, with some exceptions, will be divided equitably between the parties. For the most part, equitably means equally. This is known as “community property.” Common examples of community property are each party’s income during the marriage, property purchased during the marriage, and employee and employer contributions to retirement during the marriage.Community property is distinct from separate property. Separate property is:
- any property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage,
- any property acquired by one spouse during the marriage by gift, devise or descent,
- any property acquired by one spouse during the marriage as a result of an increase in value, receipt of rent, or the like, from defined separate property, and
- any property acquired after service of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage/Petition for Legal Separation.
Issues commonly arise when separate property is “comingled” with community property. For example, husband owns a home prior to marriage. Upon getting married, husband and wife move into husband’s home and the parties pay the mortgage with their community property incomes. The divorce lawyers at Rolfe Hinderaker can help you preserve your community and separate property interests during the divorce process.
In a divorce or legal separation, the court may order one spouse to contribute to the other spouse’s support and maintenance. This is known as spousal maintenance (formerly known as alimony). Alimony may be awarded when one spouse lacks sufficient property and/or is unable to be self-sufficient to meet his or her reasonable needs, when one spouse contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse, or when there is a marriage of long duration and the spouse seeking support is of an age where he or she may be precluded for obtaining gainful employment. Once the court determines that a spouse is entitled to spousal maintenance, the court may consider a number of factors to determine the amount (how much?) and the duration (for how long?) of alimony. These factors include: the duration of the marriage, the physical and mental health of both spouses, and the financial resources of the parties.
The court may not consider whether either party was at fault, or what caused the divorce, when making an award of spousal maintenance.
There are two forms of spousal maintenance: modifiable and non-modifiable. The court can only award modifiable spousal maintenance. Often, parties will agree to the terms of spousal maintenance. In that case, they have the option of making spousal maintenance non-modifiable. There are pros and cons to non-modifiable spousal maintenance, and you can discuss these with a spousal maintenance attorney at Rolfe Hinderaker.
Attorney’s Fees and Costs
Going into a divorce, one should always go in with the expectation that you will have to pay all of your own attorney’s fees and costs. Unlike other courts, you are not entitled to reimbursement of your attorney’s fees and costs simply because you “won.” However, the court may order attorney’s fees and costs if there is a disparity an income between the parties, or if one spouse misbehaves, legally. Contact an attorney at Rolfe Hinderaker to learn how the laws regarding attorney’s fees in family law matters may affect you.
Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Time
Formerly known as legal custody, legal decision-making is right and responsibility to make major decisions for a minor child. In determining whether to award joint or sole legal decision-making authority, the court must consider the best interests of the child. In making its decision, the court must consider the past, present and potential future relationship between the parents and child, the child’s relationship with extended family members, the child’s wishes (if they are of reasonable age), mental and physical health of the parents and the child, and other factors affecting the child’s best interests.
Parenting time is separate from legal decision-making. Parenting time refers to the how the parents share time with their children. Parents can share joint legal decision-making, but not share equal parenting time. Similarly, parents can share equal parenting time, but not joint legal decision-making.
At Rolfe Hinderaker, we believe that every family is unique. Your unique family deserves a unique parenting plan. Your parenting plan will set forth how the parents will share legal decision-making, parenting time, including holidays and vacations, and how the parents are supposed to communicate with one another regarding the children.
This information is intended for informational purposes only, for case specific legal advice please call Rolfe Hinderaker at (520) 209-2550
Allow us to help you secure the financial support your family needs as your child support lawyer team.