Solutions In Divorce And Marital Law
Contested And Uncontested Divorce • Legal Separation • Annulment
Perhaps you are ready to initiate a divorce or separation. Perhaps your spouse has served you with papers. Maybe you’ve come to the mutual decision to end your marriage. In all of these scenarios, you need reliable counsel and representation.
The Law Office of Carrie M. Wilcox is here to guide you through this difficult journey. As your advisers, problem-solvers and advocates, Carrie and her team are committed to protecting your interests and reaching a fair and practical result without a long and expensive fight.
Understanding Arizona Divorce
Arizona has no-fault divorce. Either spouse can file for divorce if the marriage is irretrievably broken, without alleging wrongdoing such as adultery, cruelty or abandonment. No-fault means the court does not assign blame or punish one party for ending the marriage.
Arizona is also a community property state. This means that all wealth and all debt acquired during the marriage belongs to both spouses and must be split equitably, which in most cases means approximately equally.
If you and your spouse can reach a full agreement on all matters, you can obtain a dissolution of marriage (uncontested divorce) in as little as 90 days. If you cannot reach a settlement on your own, you will have to go through the courts, which increases the length and cost of the divorce process. While your contested divorce is pending, the court may issue temporary orders relating to decision making, parenting time, use of the marital residence, child support, spousal support and payment of debts.
At all stages of divorce, you can count on lawyer Carrie Wilcox for sound advice, compassionate support, and strong and strategic advocacy. In or out of court, we strive for resolutions that move you forward rather than fanning the flames or “destroying” the other side.
Special Considerations In A ‘Gray Divorce’
We represent many people in their 50s and beyond who are ending a marriage. While child custody is not a concern, disputes over property and concerns about finances are magnified. We are attuned to all the unique issues of a later-in-life divorce.
Legal Separation In Lieu Of Divorce
Legal separation is a formal process to separate your finances without divorcing. You may be living apart but hoping to salvage the marriage. Maybe your religious beliefs do not permit divorce. Perhaps you live separately but need to keep one spouse on the other’s health insurance. The separation agreement must cover all the same issues as divorce (property, debts, legal decision making, parenting time, support), so it is important to be represented by a knowledgeable attorney who can explain the law and protect your interests. Legal separation is not binding or permanent; either spouse can still file for divorce at a future date.
Annulment Of Marriage
An annulment has the effect of voiding a marriage as if it never occurred. But you and your spouse cannot simply agree to annul your marriage. The court must independently conclude that there was an impediment to the validity of the marriage. The petitioning party must prove statutory grounds such as fraud, duress, intoxication, impotence, bigamy, incest or marriage under the age of consent. A civil annulment is separate from a religious annulment – a church may not recognize a court-awarded annulment and vice versa.
Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
In a divorce or legal separation, one spouse may be entitled to ongoing financial assistance from the former spouse. The Arizona courts use the term spousal maintenance, but it is also known as spousal support or alimony. Either party can be awarded maintenance, regardless of gender. There are many considerations, such as length of the marriage, income disparity, education and earning capacity, and the age or health of the parties. There is no “formula.”
In Arizona, the judge has sole discretion to award or not award alimony and to decide the amount and duration. For this reason, it is critical to have experienced legal representation if spousal maintenance is on the table in your case.
Let Us Be Your Guide
The Law Office of Carrie M. Wilcox handles divorce and related matters of family law throughout Arizona. Our problem-solving approach is geared toward your goals and unique circumstances. We help you navigate a difficult process and emerge in a favorable position.