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Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer and Family Law Attorney

Tiffany Fina Law Firm in Scottsdale

Our Law Firm in Phoenix is located at:
3005 North 67th Place, Suite 103
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
(480) 744-7442

Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer

Divorce FAQ’s – Answers

  1. Can I represent myself in my Arizona divorce?
    Yes. Arizona does not require a person to hire an attorney to represent them in their divorce. However, keep in mind that Arizona law holds a person representing themselves to the same standards, rules and procedures as a licensed attorney. Therefore, it is HIGHLY recommended that you hire an attorney to assist you in this legal process.
  2. How do I begin the divorce process in Arizona?
    The first step in obtaining a divorce in Arizona is filing for a petition of dissolution of marriage, along with the required documents. The person filing for the petition is called the “Petitioner.” Once these documents are filed with the court, a private process server will “serve” them to the other spouse. The receiving spouse is called the “Respondent.” The Respondent then has 20 days (or 30 days if they do not reside in Arizona) to respond.
  3. Can I file for divorce in Arizona if I was married in another state?
    Yes. If you have lived in Arizona for at least 90 days, you can file for divorce in Arizona.
  4. What are the grounds for divorce in Arizona?
    Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. This means that you only need to prove to the court that your marriage is irretrievably broken.
  5. How long does it take to get a divorce in Arizona?
    If you and your spouse agree on all issues of your divorce, the Consent Decree for Dissolution of Marriage can be submitted to the court 60 days after the Petition for Dissolution is served to the Respondent.
  6. Are assets divided 50/50 in an Arizona divorce?
    Arizona is a community property state. This means that assets, property, and debt are generally divided by the court in an equitable manner.
  7. What does it cost to get a divorce in Arizona?
    It’s difficult to give an estimate because there are many factors that contribute to the cost of divorce. Some factors to consider when determining the cost of your divorce are:
  • The filing fees for the county you are filing in
  • Whether or not you have children
  • What assets and/or debts you and your spouse have
  • Whether or not your case will need special mediation
  • Whether or not your divorce is complicated and/or contentious
  1. These are just some of the factors and not a complete list. Speak with your attorney to get a better understanding of what costs you can expect with your divorce.
  2. Are there ways to reduce the cost of my divorce?
    Yes. Some individuals choose to handle their divorce on their own to save money. While some divorce cases may be very simple and may not need the assistance of an attorney, this is not usually the case. It’s important that you educate yourself on the issues pertaining to your divorce. This way you will have a better understanding of what you will need to do if you choose to handle your divorce yourself or what you will need from an attorney if you choose to seek their assistance. Keep in mind that with most divorces, there are many variables. It is highly recommended that you consult an attorney to ensure your rights and assets are protected.
  3. Will I have to go to court?
    Not always. If you and your spouse agree on all terms of your divorce and both sign a Consent Decree, you may be available to avoid going to court. There may be other instances where you may be able to avoid appearing in court. Speak to your attorney to learn more.
  4. What issues must be resolved in my divorce?
    Each divorce is different. Some common issues that will need to be resolved in the divorce process are:
  • Spousal support
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Division of assets and debts
  1. Can my spouse and I hire the same attorney?
    No. Even if you and your spouse agree on all the terms of your divorce, it would be unethical for an attorney to represent both parties.
  2. What if I am served with a petition for dissolution and I do not respond?
    If you do not respond to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (Arizona’s legal term for divorce), your spouse may be able to proceed with the divorce process without any input from you. This is referred to as a default divorce and puts the default party at substantial risk. Contact your attorney for assistance and questions about responding to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
  3. Is Arizona a no-fault divorce state?
    Yes. This means that you do not have to allege fault or wrongdoing to get a divorce in Arizona.
  4. Can you contest a divorce in Arizona?
    Yes. Although you cannot contest the actual divorce, you can contest the terms of the divorce, such as child custody, child support, spousal support, etc.
  5. Is an Annulment the same thing as divorce?
    Although an annulment and a divorce both legally dissolve the marriage, an annulment means that legally the marriage never existed.
  6. Can I make my spouse pay for my divorce attorney?
    In some cases, the court may award attorney fees to one spouse if there is a financial disparity between the two parties.
  7. Are my divorce attorney fees tax deductible?
    Typically, the answer is no. However, according to the IRS, “in some circumstances taxpayers are permitted to deduct fees associated with the collection of alimony payments.” There are limitations to this, so speak with your tax professional to learn me.
  8. Is medication available to assist us in resolving issues in our divorce?
    Yes. You can either motion for court Conciliation Services to help mediate disputes or you can utilize a private mediator for resolution.
  9. How soon can I remarry after my divorce?
    Once your divorce is final, you may remarry immediately, there is no waiting period.
  10. Hire a divorce attorney with experience in family law. A personal injury attorney may be a skilled attorney in his/her field, but you want an attorney with experience in family law to protect you.
  11. How can I protect my credit rating during divorce?
    Here are a few general guidelines to follow to protect your credit rating during your divorce:
  • Close any joint accounts
  • Notify your creditors about your divorce
  • Ensure you’re receiving financial correspondence by keeping your address up to date
  • Check your credit reports regularly

Child Support and Child Custody Attorney in Scottsdale

Skilled and focused legal advocacy for custody, visitation and child support

In Arizona Child Custody is decided can be the single the most significant issue in any child’s life. This sets the tone and the path of expectancy and expectations for your child or your children for the rest of their lives. Notice I did not include you, the parents. It is not about you. It is about them. The sooner a parent realizes that the better off the children will be. I know this sounds harsh. But the sooner parents understand that, the better. Right now in Arizona, the Child Custody trend that I have seen as an attorney specializing in child custody is that judges prefer 50/50 parenting time arrangement. I know many Mothers still have a position that the Father can’t do this or can’t do that because they (the Mothers) were the caregivers, but trust me, when push comes to shove, those men, real men, and Fathers, they can and do step up to the plate. I know this for a fact. I have that Dad. I know they can do it and I know they actually do it. With that said, not all fathers or mothers can and you and your lawyer should be ready to fight for what is best for your children.

Being prepared to walk into court and argue that you are the only one that is capable of parenting because you are the Mother or Father, well, you are on the wrong side of the law and the current social trend these days. Father’s are challenging the “they can’t parent” stereotype every day and they are successful and gaining more and more momentum in the public eye. The worst thing that any attorney can advise you, as a Mother or Father, to do is to alienate the other parent, especially, the Father.

This is not meant to be one-sided for Mothers or Fathers, this is just my experience in life and as a Child Custody Lawyer in Scottsdale.

I believe it is in everyone’s best interest that parents can come together to decide for themselves, to make joint decisions. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for parents to put their own issues aside and work in the best interest of their child or children together.

There are times though when that will absolutely not work and should not work. When you cannot work together, is when you need the right legal counsel. Without it, you can completely torpedo your case. Without an objective perspective, and without a check on your own thoughts, current emotions on child-rearing, you can still destroy your case. If there is a real issue, then you need a compassionate family law attorney that understands that the child’s needs are paramount to your own, that your concerns are valid, and then you should be in good hands if you are in the hands of a capable lawyer that can litigate (take your case to trial) the issues before the Court. Judges are smart and they can read you like a book, so if your intentions are disingenuous, they will see right through you immediately. If you have an intelligent attorney, they will advise you of the same.

Do not get suckered into a hard sell by lawyers, where you should get what you want just because you think what you believe is right is how it should be with regard to your children. Any litigation is never a right to certainty. Always remember that, especially when it comes to children. The variables are human and complex and that includes the legal system. There is no magic formula and any law firm that tells you as much is not telling you the truth.

When you sit down with an attorney, you should assess whether they ask you the right questions and understand your situation and then fully understand your children’s best interest. Anyone who leads you to think otherwise, and just says what you say goes when it comes to child custody litigation, is not doing you a good service.

Any attorney worth their salt will tell you what are the pros and the cons of your case and reasonable expectations. They will not make promises or oversell you on anything, especially when it comes to your children. Be honest with your lawyer. It’s best, to be honest with your Scottsdale child custody lawyer. Yes, I said that twice. They should absolutely give you a worst-case and best-case scenario. If they do not, give you those two things when it comes to your children, get up and walk out immediately. And I mean immediately. If you would like to schedule a time to sit down and talk with a child custody lawyer please contact us.

Child Custody FAQ’s

  • What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody?
  • Can I get full legal and physical custody of my child(ren)?
  • What is a parenting plan?
  • What happens if my spouse and I cannot agree about child custody?
  • What is a child custody evaluation?
  • On what basis does a judge decide child custody?
  • Can I travel outside of Arizona and take my child(ren) with me?
  • Can I relocate my child(ren) to another state?
  • Can we create our own child custody agreement?
  • Do I need to take the parent information course?
  • Does my child get to decide which parent to live with?
  • Can a grandparent or stepparent be awarded custody in Arizona?

 

Answers to Child Custody FAQ’s

  • What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody?

When parents have legal custody of their children, they can make legal decisions for their children. This includes healthcare, education and religious worship. Parents can also have sole or joint physical custody. Physical custody designates where and with whom your children will live.

  • Can I get full legal and physical custody of my child(ren)?

There are some circumstances where one parent might receive full physical or legal custody of their child(ren), however, typically this is not the case. Typically, both parents have joint legal and physical custody.

  • What is a parenting plan?

A parenting plan and schedule is part of the child custody orders. It sets forth the terms of access that both parents agree to abide by.

  • What happens if my spouse and I cannot agree about child custody?

If you and your spouse cannot agree on legal and/or physical custody of your child(ren), either a mediation can be scheduled to resolve disagreements or a hearing will be scheduled, and a judge will determine custody.

  • What is a child custody evaluation?

A child custody evaluation is typically conducted by a mental health professional and becomes necessary in divorce proceedings when a parent is accused of domestic violence, substance abuse, child abuse, or in cases where there is high conflict between the two parents.

  • On what basis does a judge decide child custody?

The judge will determine child custody based on the best interests of the child. Some of the factors that the judge considers are the child(ren)’s wishes, the parent’s wishes, history of domestic abuse, which parent has provided primary care, the mental and physical health of all involved individuals.

  • Can I travel outside of Arizona and take my child(ren) with me?

Yes, if you have written consent from the child(ren)’s other parent.

  • Can I relocate my child(ren) to another state?

If one parent is wanting to relocate to another state or move 100 miles or more from their current residence (and the parents share joint physical or legal custody), the relocating parent must provide the other parent with 45 days advance notice. The non-moving parent then can petition the court to prevent the relocation. If the non-moving parent approves the relocation, the moving parent may move with their children. If the non-moving parent does not approve, a hearing will be scheduled, and the judge will make a decision based on the best interests of the child(ren) involved.

  • Can we create our own child custody agreement?

Yes, if both parents agree on a child custody arrangement, they can submit it to the court via their parenting plan.

  • Do I need to take the parent information course?

Yes, all new divorcing parents of minor children and unmarried parents with custody disputes must attend a parent education program.

  • Does my child get to decide which parent to live with?

A judge will always do what is in the best interest of the child(ren). He/she will always consider the child(ren)’s preference of where they want to live. As a child gets older, their input usually carries more weight with a judge’s decision.

  • Can a grandparent or stepparent be awarded custody in Arizona?

Yes, in some situations a judge may find it necessary for a grandparent to be granted custody.

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