Choose Page

De Novo Law Blog

Modifying Spousal Support in Arizona: When and How to Seek Changes in Alimony

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Modifying Alimony-How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

Spousal support or spousal maintenance, also known as alimony, is designed to provide financial assistance to a spouse following a divorce.

However, life circumstances can change, necessitating a modification of the initial spousal support order.

Understanding Arizona’s process and legal grounds for modifying spousal support can be crucial for those who either pay or receive alimony.

Table of Contents:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 15% of divorced individuals receive spousal support. 

Contact De Novo Law today for expert guidance and modification of spousal support. Our experienced Legal Paraprofessionals can provide the support and advocacy you need.

Circumstances for Modifying Spousal Support

Under Arizona law, spousal support can be modified when circumstances change significantly and continue.

This means that the change must be substantial enough to warrant a revision of the original support order, not just a temporary or minor fluctuation.

The Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S. § 25-327) govern the modification of spousal support and outline the criteria the court considers when evaluating modification requests.

Some common circumstances that may justify a modification include changes in employment status, significant income fluctuations, or substantial changes in either party’s financial needs or resources.

For example, if the paying spouse loses their job or experiences a significant decrease in income, they may seek a reduction in spousal support payments. Conversely, if the receiving spouse’s financial situation improves significantly, the paying spouse might request a modification to reduce or terminate the support.

Changes in health or unforeseen medical expenses can also constitute valid reasons for modification.

Suppose either party experiences a severe health issue that impacts their earning capacity or incurs substantial medical costs. In that case, the court may consider these factors to modify the spousal support order.

Requesting a modification of spousal support involves a legal process that begins with filing a petition in family court.

The petition must detail the substantial and continuing change in circumstances that justifies the request for modification.

It is crucial to provide comprehensive and accurate documentation to support the claims made in the petition.

The legal process typically includes the following steps:

  • Filing the Petition: The requesting party must file a petition for modification with the family court and serve it to the other party.
  • Response: The other party has the opportunity to respond to the petition, either agreeing or contesting the proposed modification.
  • Hearing: If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the court will schedule a hearing where both parties can present evidence and arguments.
  • Court Decision: The judge will evaluate the evidence and decide based on the case’s merits and the criteria outlined in A.R.S. § 25-327.

Examples of Situations Warranting Change

Understanding the situations that justify modifying spousal support is essential for anyone considering such a request.

The court looks for significant, ongoing changes in circumstances that impact the financial dynamics between the ex-spouses.

Below are some common scenarios that illustrate when and why a modification might be warranted:

Employment Changes

If the paying spouse becomes unemployed or experiences a significant reduction in income due to factors beyond their control, such as layoffs or medical issues.

Cohabitation or Remarriage

If the receiving spouse cohabitates with a new partner or remarries, potentially reducing their financial needs.

Significant Financial Changes

If the receiving spouse’s financial situation improves significantly, such as through receiving a large inheritance, a substantial increase in income, or winning a lottery.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

Modifying alimony in Arizona requires a clear understanding of the legal criteria and a thorough presentation of evidence to support the request.

Whether you seek to increase, decrease, or terminate spousal support, navigating the process with care and expertise is essential.

De Novo Law, an Arizona family law Legal Paraprofessional, can provide legal guidance to help you achieve a fair and equitable outcome. For personalized legal assistance in modifying Arizona spousal support, contact us today. 

 

For more information about our services or to schedule a consultation, you can also reach us directly at (480) 725-2200 .

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

When Can I Stop Paying Spousal Support

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Stop Paying Spousal Support

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a common issue in divorces where one spouse may be required to make regular payments to their former partner.

However, many people wonder when they can stop paying spousal support.

The answer to this question largely depends on the terms outlined in the support order.If you are unsure about your obligations regarding spousal support payments, it may be beneficial to seek guidance from legal paraprofessionals.

At De Novo Law our team of experts can help you handle the complexities of divorce law and ensure that you are meeting your spousal support requirements.

We will cover the following topics

Types of Spousal Support in Arizona 

In Arizona, spousal support—often referred to as alimony or maintenance—is not a one-size-fits-all solution but rather comes in various forms tailored to the specific circumstances of the divorce or legal separation.

Understanding the different types of spousal support can help both parties involved make informed decisions about their future financial arrangements.

 

Temporary Spousal Support

Temporary spousal support, also known as pendente lite support, is awarded during the divorce proceedings. It is intended to maintain the living standards of the lower-earning spouse until the final divorce decree is issued.

This type of support ensures that immediate financial needs such as rent, utilities, and groceries are covered.

The amount and terms are typically decided based on preliminary financial disclosures and might change with the final divorce settlement.

 

Rehabilitative Spousal Support

Rehabilitative support is the most common form of alimony in Arizona. It is designed to be a short-term support mechanism helping the recipient spouse gain necessary skills or education to become self-sufficient.

The duration of rehabilitative alimony is linked to the time it will reasonably take for the recipient to complete education or training programs and reenter the workforce.

The end goal is to allow the recipient to achieve a standard of living not overly disparate from the marital standard.

 

Compensatory Spousal Support

This type of support is awarded when one spouse has significantly supported the other’s education, training, or career advancement during the marriage.

If, for example, one spouse worked to pay household expenses while the other attended law school, compensatory support might be awarded to acknowledge and repay the contributing spouse’s investment.

 

Permanent Spousal Support

Permanent spousal support may be granted in long-term marriages where age, health, or economic disparities significantly disadvantage one spouse’s ability to achieve reasonable financial independence.

This support continues indefinitely unless modified by a subsequent court order upon a showing of a substantial and continuing change in circumstances.

Permanent support is less common and typically reserved for situations where the recipient is unable to become self-sufficient due to age or health issues.

How is Alimony Calculated 

In Arizona, alimony, or spousal support, is determined through a judicial process that assesses various aspects of the spouses’ financial circumstances and personal needs. According to Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-319, alimony is not automatically granted; eligibility and amounts are based on several statutory criteria which include:

   ➤Financial resources and needs: Evaluating both the requestor’s needs and the other party’s ability to pay, considering their assets, incomes, and liabilities.

   ➤Standard of living: The lifestyle maintained during the marriage sets a benchmark for required support.

   ➤Marriage duration: Generally, longer marriages may result in longer or higher alimony payments.

   ➤Age and health: The age and physical and emotional conditions of both parties are considered, especially how these factors affect future earning capacities.

   ➤Contributions to each other’s earning potential: Including educational support or sacrificing career advancement for the family.

The amount of alimony is not calculated through a fixed formula but rather at the judge’s discretion, allowing for adjustments based on the unique circumstances of each divorce case.

Factors influencing the decision include each party’s financial status post-divorce, the time necessary for the recipient to become self-sufficient, and existing financial obligations like child support.

For instance, if one spouse significantly supported the other’s career by managing home responsibilities, this might be factored into a longer and substantial alimony award, especially in marriages lasting over 15 years. 

How Long Do Most People Pay Alimony For? 

In Arizona, the duration of alimony payments typically depends on the length of the marriage, with general guidelines influencing how long spousal support might last.

Here are the common time frames associated with different types of marriages:

 

Short-term Marriages (Under 10 Years)

For marriages that lasted less than ten years, alimony is often awarded for a brief period.

The typical duration can range from a few months to a maximum of half the length of the marriage, depending on the specific circumstances and the court’s judgment.

 

Moderate-term Marriages (10 to 20 Years)

In cases of moderate-length marriages—those lasting between ten and twenty years—alimony may be awarded for a significant portion of the marriage’s duration.

It is common for courts to grant spousal support for about one-third to one-half the length of the marriage, allowing the recipient sufficient time to gain financial independence.

 

Long-term Marriages (Over 20 Years)

For long-term marriages, where the couple was married for more than twenty years, alimony payments can be more substantial and last longer. In many cases, the court may order permanent alimony, which continues until the recipient remarries or either spouse dies. Alternatively, the court might set a duration that approximates the length of the marriage, particularly when permanent support is deemed unnecessary.

These typical time frames are guided by the principles of fairness and the need to support the lower-earning spouse until they can achieve a reasonable standard of living independently.

However, exact durations are ultimately at the discretion of the court, which will consider the full context of the marriage’s financial dynamics and each spouse’s needs and capabilities.

 

What are the Requirements for Termination of Alimony 

In Arizona, the termination of alimony is governed by specific legal standards that define when and how spousal support can be ended.

The following are the primary conditions under which alimony can be terminated:

  • Remarriage of the Recipient: Alimony payments typically cease if the recipient spouse remarries, as the financial support from the new marriage is assumed to replace the need for alimony.
  • Cohabitation: If the recipient spouse begins cohabitating with a romantic partner in a marriage-like relationship, the payer can request the court to terminate alimony, arguing that the financial support needs have decreased significantly due to the new living arrangement.
  • Death of Either Spouse: Alimony obligations automatically end upon the death of either the payer or the recipient.
  • Financial Independence of the Recipient: If the recipient becomes financially independent, the payer might petition the court to terminate alimony. This situation typically involves a significant change in the recipient’s income or financial status.
  • Significant Change in Financial Circumstances: Either spouse can request a review of the alimony agreement if there is a substantial and ongoing change that affects the ability to pay or the need for receiving alimony. This could include situations like a job loss, a considerable decrease in income, or a significant inheritance.
  • Expiration of the Set Term: If the alimony agreement or order specifies a termination date—often in cases of rehabilitative or temporary alimony—the payments will stop once that date is reached.
  • Achievement of the Purpose for Alimony: Especially relevant in rehabilitative alimony, if the recipient has completed education or training and obtained sufficient employment as outlined in the initial support plan, alimony can be terminated.

These conditions ensure that alimony is fair and adaptable to changing life circumstances, reflecting the ongoing financial dynamics between divorced spouses.

Legal counsel can provide guidance on how to proceed if one believes they meet the criteria for alimony termination.

 

What If I Stop Paying Alimony Without Official Termination

If you stop paying alimony without an official termination or modification by the court, you could face several significant legal and financial consequences in Arizona:

  • Contempt of Court: Non-payment of alimony is a violation of a court order, which can lead to contempt of court charges. Penalties for contempt can include fines, court fees, and even imprisonment.
  • Enforcement Actions: The court may employ various enforcement mechanisms to collect unpaid alimony. These include wage garnishment, where a portion of your salary is directly transferred to the recipient; seizing of tax refunds; placing liens on your property; or freezing your bank accounts.
  • Accumulation of Arrears: Any missed payments will accumulate as arrears. You will be required to pay the overdue amount plus potential interest and penalties for late payments. These arrears are legally enforceable debts.
  • Impact on Credit Rating: Failing to pay alimony can be reported to credit reporting agencies and negatively impact your credit score. A lower credit rating can affect your ability to secure loans, credit cards, and may influence housing and employment opportunities.
  • Legal Costs: If the alimony recipient takes legal action to enforce payment, you may be ordered to pay their attorney’s fees and court costs in addition to your own legal expenses.

If you are unable to meet alimony payments due to changes in your financial situation, it is advisable to seek a court modification of the alimony order rather than unilaterally stopping payments.

 

Steps to Modify or Terminate Alimony

If you believe that changes in your circumstances justify an adjustment to your spousal support obligations, following these steps can help you legally modify or terminate alimony:

 

1. Evaluate Your Circumstances

Before initiating any legal action, assess whether your circumstances have significantly and permanently changed since the original alimony order. Common reasons for modification include a substantial change in income, loss of employment, the recipient’s remarriage or cohabitation, or significant health issues affecting your ability to pay.

 

2. Consult with a Family Law Professional

Legal guidance is crucial in understanding the complexities of family law and alimony. An experienced professional can help you determine if your situation qualifies for a modification or termination of alimony. They can also guide you through the legal process and represent your interests in court.

 

3. Gather Supporting Documentation

Compile all relevant documentation that supports your claim for a modification or termination. This may include financial statements, medical records, employment documents, or evidence of a recipient’s change in marital status.

 

4. File a Motion with the Court

You will need to formally file a motion to modify or terminate alimony with the family court that issued the original alimony order. This motion should detail the reasons for the request and include all supporting documentation. 

 

5. Serve the Motion to the Other Party

The law requires that the other party be notified of your motion. This involves formally serving them with a copy of the motion, allowing them the opportunity to respond. They may agree with the motion or contest it, potentially leading to a court hearing.

 

6. Prepare for and Attend the Hearing

If the modification is contested, the court will schedule a hearing. During this hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence. It is essential to prepare thoroughly for this hearing, ideally with the assistance of legal help, to make a compelling case for your request.

 

7. Obtain a Court Order

Following the hearing, the court will issue an order approving, denying, or modifying the terms of alimony. This order is legally binding and will specify the new terms of alimony, if any, that you must follow.

 

8. Enforce or Comply with the New Order

Once the court issues a new order, comply with the terms set forth. If you are the recipient and the payer does not comply, you may need to take steps to enforce the order through the court.

Adhering to these steps ensures that any changes to alimony arrangements are legally binding and enforceable, protecting the rights and financial interests of both parties involved. It’s also advisable to keep all records of payments and communications regarding alimony, should there be any disputes in the future.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

Get Help From Our Family Law Legal Paraprofessionals 

Handling the complexities of alimony in Arizona can be challenging, but you don’t have to face it alone. At De Novo Law, our team of experienced family law legal paraprofessionals specializes in handling spousal support cases with expertise and care.

We provide personalized legal strategies tailored to meet your specific needs, ensuring the best possible outcomes. Whether you need help modifying or terminating alimony, enforcing an order, or seeking comprehensive legal advice, our dedicated team is ready to support you every step of the way.

For more information about our services or to schedule a consultation, please visit our website at De Novo Law. You can also reach us directly at (480) 725-2200 .

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

Arizona Divorce by Default

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Default Divorce- How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

When going through a divorce in Arizona, the process can become more complicated if one party fails to respond or participate in the proceedings. This can lead to what is known as a Divorce by Default.

If your spouse fails to file a response to your divorce application and affidavit of default, you may be able to move forward with the divorce without their participation.


In the state of Arizona, default divorce decrees can be obtained through a legal process that involves requesting a default hearing. However, handling the legal complexities of default divorces can be overwhelming and confusing. This is where a family law legal paraprofessional, such as De Novo Law, can help.


A family law legal paraprofessional can provide valuable assistance throughout the default divorce proceedings, from helping you understand the process to ensuring that all required documents are properly filed. Additionally, they can also facilitate divorce mediation if both parties are open to resolving their issues outside of court. 

So, if you find yourself in a situation where your spouse fails to engage in the divorce process, know that there is professional help available to guide you through the Divorce by Default process. 

We will cover the following topics:

What is a Divorce by Default 

A divorce by default in Arizona occurs when one spouse (the respondent) fails to respond to the divorce petition filed by the other spouse (the petitioner) within a specified timeline.

If the respondent resides in Arizona, they must respond within 20 days; if outside Arizona, the timeframe extends to 30 days.

Failure to respond within these periods allows the petitioner to seek a default judgment from the court.

How Does the Divorce Process Work 

The process for a default divorce in Arizona follows a specific legal pathway, beginning with the filing of the divorce petition and potentially concluding with a default judgment if one party does not respond.

Here’s an overview of the steps involved:

  1. Filing the Divorce Petition: The process begins when one spouse (the petitioner) files a petition for the dissolution of marriage with the appropriate Arizona court. This petition outlines the petitioner’s terms for the divorce, including aspects like property division, child custody, and spousal support.
  2. Serving the Divorce Petition: The petitioner is required to serve the divorce petition to the other spouse (the respondent). This service must be carried out according to Arizona’s legal requirements, often through a process server or by certified mail.
  3. Waiting for the Response: After being served, the respondent has a specific timeframe to respond. If residing in Arizona, the respondent has 20 days to file a response; if outside Arizona, the timeframe is 30 days. This response should address the claims and terms laid out in the petition.
  4. Filing for Default: If the respondent fails to respond within the given timeframe, the petitioner can then file an application for default with the court. This application signifies that the respondent has not participated and the petitioner seeks a default judgment.
  5. Additional Waiting Period: Upon filing for default, the court typically allows an additional 10 days for the respondent to respond. This is a final opportunity for the respondent to become involved in the divorce proceedings.
  6. Default Divorce Hearing: If the respondent still does not respond, the court may schedule a default hearing. At this hearing, the petitioner may be required to provide evidence or testimony to support their requests in the divorce petition.
  7. Issuing the Default Decree: Based on the information presented, the judge can issue a default decree of divorce, which legally dissolves the marriage and typically grants the requests made by the petitioner in the absence of any contest from the respondent.

Throughout this process, it’s important for both parties to be aware of the timelines and requirements set by the Arizona Revised Statutes to ensure their rights and interests are adequately represented and protected.

Consequences of a Default Divorce in Arizona

In Arizona, when one spouse fails to respond to a divorce petition, it leads to a default divorce, which has considerable consequences.

The petitioner often obtains their requested divorce terms, including property division, spousal support, and child custody. 

In this community property state, property division in a default divorce may favor the petitioner. Child custody and support decisions are made in the children’s best interests but often go uncontested in default cases. Spousal support is typically awarded as per the petitioner’s request if uncontested.

A default judgment is binding and final, leaving the non-responding spouse with limited options to contest.

This can lead to unfavorable financial and custody outcomes for them. While courts aim for fairness, they may adjust excessively unfair demands.

It’s beneficial to respond timely to divorce proceedings and consider seeking legal advice for a clearer understanding of the process.

Setting Aside a Default Judgment in Divorce

In certain circumstances, it is possible to set aside a default judgment in a divorce case in Arizona.

This action involves asking the court to nullify the default decree and reopen the case, allowing the previously non-responsive spouse to participate in the divorce proceedings.

Here are key aspects to understand about this process:

  1. Grounds for Setting Aside a Default Judgment: The most common grounds include showing that the default was a result of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect. For example, if the respondent did not receive the divorce papers due to an error in service or had a significant reason that prevented them from responding, these could be valid grounds.
  2. Timeliness: The request to set aside a default judgment must be made promptly after the default judgment is entered. Arizona law generally requires that this motion be filed within a reasonable time, in no case exceeding six months after the decree is entered, except under extraordinary circumstances.
  3. Filing a Motion: The process begins by filing a motion to set aside the judgment with the same court that issued the default judgment. This motion should clearly state the reasons why the default judgment should be set aside, supported by relevant legal arguments and, if possible, evidence.
  4. Hearing on the Motion: After the motion is filed, the court typically schedules a hearing to allow both parties to present their arguments. The petitioner (the spouse who obtained the default judgment) will have the opportunity to contest the motion.
  5. Court’s Decision: The decision to set aside a default judgment rests with the court and is based on the specifics of the case. The judge will consider the reasons for the non-response, the promptness of the motion, and any potential prejudice to the petitioner.
  6. Legal Representation: Given the complexity and the strict timelines involved, seeking legal advice from a qualified divorce attorney or a family law paraprofessional is highly recommended. They can help in preparing and presenting a compelling case to the court.

How Mediation Works in a Default Divorce

In the context of a default divorce in Arizona, the role of mediation can be limited, but it still holds potential value.

Mediation typically involves both spouses working with a neutral third-party mediator to negotiate and resolve issues amicably.

However, in a default divorce, since one party is non-responsive, traditional mediation as a tool for mutual agreement is not feasible in its standard form.

Despite this, if the non-responding spouse becomes active in the process after a default has been filed but before it’s finalized, mediation can be introduced to resolve any pending issues.

This scenario allows for a more collaborative approach to finalizing the divorce terms, potentially leading to a more mutually satisfactory resolution than a court-ordered judgment.

It’s important to note that while mediation can offer a platform for negotiation and compromise, its effectiveness in a default divorce scenario largely depends on the participation and willingness of both parties.

In cases where the non-responding spouse remains uninvolved, the divorce process continues toward a default judgment without the benefits of mediation.

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce by Default in Arizona 

  1. FAQ: What happens if I move out of state after my spouse files for divorce but before a default judgment is issued?
    • Answer: Moving out of state does not automatically prevent a default judgment. If you were served with divorce papers and did not respond within the legal timeframe, the court in Arizona can still issue a default judgment. It’s crucial to file a response or consult with a legal professional regardless of your relocation.
  2. FAQ: Can a default divorce be contested after the judgment if I was unaware of the original divorce filing?
    • Answer: Yes, under certain circumstances. If you were not properly served or genuinely unaware of the divorce proceedings, you might have grounds to contest the default judgment. This typically involves proving that you were not properly served and filing a motion to set aside the judgment.
  3. FAQ: How does a default judgment affect my credit score?
    • Answer: A default judgment itself does not directly affect your credit score. However, if the judgment involves financial obligations like spousal support or debt division and you fail to meet these obligations, it could negatively impact your credit.
  4. FAQ: What is the impact of a default divorce on joint business assets?
    • Answer: In a default divorce, the court may allocate business assets according to the petitioner’s request if it seems fair and within legal guidelines. 
  5. FAQ: How does a default divorce impact immigration status if my residency is based on my marriage?
    • Answer: A default divorce can affect immigration status if your residency is conditional based on your marriage. 
  6. FAQ: Is it possible to negotiate the terms after a default divorce judgment in Arizona?
    • Answer: Once a default judgment is entered, the terms are generally considered final. However, if both parties agree, they may be able to modify certain terms post-judgment, especially those related to child custody or support. Legal advice is recommended for such modifications.
  7. FAQ: Can default divorce proceedings address retirement accounts and pensions?
    • Answer: Yes, retirement accounts and pensions can be divided in a default divorce. However, without a response from the non-filing spouse, the court may allocate these assets based on the petitioner’s requests and legal guidelines, potentially without consideration of the non-filing spouse’s interests.
  8. FAQ: How does a default judgment impact child visitation rights?
    • Answer: In a default divorce, child visitation rights may be determined solely based on the filing spouse’s petition. If the non-responding spouse wishes to have visitation rights, it’s important to respond to the divorce petition to ensure these rights are considered.
  9. FAQ: Is it possible to recover attorney’s fees in a default divorce case?
    • Answer: Yes, in some cases. Arizona courts may order one party to pay the other’s attorney fees, especially if there is a significant disparity in financial resources. However, this is not automatic and depends on the specifics of the case.
  10. FAQ: What if I was serving in the military and could not respond to the divorce petition in time?
    • Answer: The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides protections for military personnel who cannot attend court proceedings, including divorce cases. If you were on active duty and unable to respond, you might be able to have the default judgment set aside under SCRA provisions.
Stephanie Villalobos, LP

How an Arizona Family Law Paraprofessional Can Help 

An Arizona family law paraprofessional, such as those at De Novo Law, offers essential support in default divorce cases. They ensure clients understand legal procedures and deadlines, reducing the risk of a default judgment due to procedural errors.

Their role includes preparing and reviewing documents to comply with legal standards, and providing strategic advice on responding to divorce petitions or proceeding with default divorces.

For those seeking the assistance of a family law paraprofessional for default divorce cases in Arizona, you can reach them by phone at (480) 725-2200. They offer a free initial consultation with a legal paraprofessional to discuss your specific concerns.

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

Get a Divorce Without Going to Court in Arizona

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Divorce Without Court- How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

If you have considered getting a divorce in Arizona, you may dread the idea of a lengthy and expensive court battle. However, there is a way to end your marriage without the need for a court appearance.

With the help of a legal service, you can handle the divorce process without ever stepping foot inside a courtroom.

In Arizona, couples have the option to pursue a collaborative divorce or mediation instead of going through a traditional court process. This can save time, money, and emotional energy. In a collaborative divorce, both parties work together with their respective representation to negotiate a fair settlement, including spousal support and custody decisions.

We will cover the following topics:

Understanding Arizona’s No-Court Divorce Process

To qualify for a no-court divorce in Arizona, certain conditions must be met. These generally include agreement on major issues such as asset division, child custody, and support.

Couples must be in a mutual understanding that the marriage is irretrievably broken and are willing to negotiate terms amicably.

Overview of the Legal Framework

Arizona law, detailed in the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), provides the legal basis for a no-court divorce, known as an uncontested divorce or dissolution of marriage. This process is governed by ARS §25-312, which outlines the requirements for dissolving a marriage, including residency requirements and grounds for divorce.

Additionally, ARS §25-318 addresses the consensual division of property and debts, which is a crucial part of the no-court divorce process.

In a no-court divorce, the primary focus is on negotiation and agreement. Couples work together, often with the help of legal counsel or mediators, to reach a mutually acceptable divorce settlement.

This approach contrasts with the traditional contested divorce, where disputes are resolved in court, often leading to a more adversarial and lengthy process.

Filing for Divorce Without Court Intervention

Filing for a divorce without court intervention in Arizona, known as an uncontested divorce, is a more straightforward process compared to a traditional contested divorce.

This option is ideal for couples who agree on all major issues, including property division, child custody, and support.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you understand the process:

  1. Determine Eligibility: Ensure that you meet Arizona’s residency requirements for divorce. At least one spouse must have lived in Arizona for a minimum of 90 days before filing.
  2. Agree on Key Issues: Both parties need to agree on all aspects of the divorce, including asset division, debt division, child custody, visitation, and support, as well as alimony (if applicable).
  3. Prepare and File Divorce Papers: Complete the necessary forms, which can be obtained from the Arizona Judicial Branch website or your local court. The primary form is the “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.” The forms vary depending on whether you have children.
  4. Serve Your Spouse: Once filed, you must legally serve your spouse with the divorce papers, following Arizona’s rules for service of process. Your spouse will have a set period to respond.
  5. Submit a Consent Decree: If your spouse agrees to the terms, you both can submit a Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. This document outlines all the terms of your agreement.
  6. Final Review and Decree: After submitting the Consent Decree, a judge will review it. If it meets all legal standards, the judge will sign it, making your divorce official.
  7. Address Post-Divorce Considerations: After the divorce is finalized, follow through on all agreed-upon terms, such as transferring property titles and updating legal documents (like wills or beneficiary designations).

Remember, while an uncontested divorce can be simpler and less expensive, it’s important to ensure that all agreements are fair and in line with Arizona law. 

Financial Aspects of a No-Court Divorce

When undergoing a no-court divorce in Arizona, it’s important to understand and appropriately handle the financial aspects.

These include the division of assets and debts and considerations for child support and alimony.

Proper management of these elements can lead to a smoother divorce process and ensure a fair outcome for both parties.

Managing Assets and Debts in an Amicable Split

In a no-court divorce, couples have the advantage of working out the division of assets and debts themselves.

This requires full disclosure and an honest assessment of shared and individual assets and liabilities. The key steps involve:

  • Listing All Assets and Debts: Both parties should compile a comprehensive list of all assets (like real estate, vehicles, savings accounts) and debts (such as mortgages, car loans, credit card debts).
  • Valuing Assets and Debts: Accurately assessing the value of assets and the amount of debts. This may require professional appraisals or valuations for certain assets.
  • Agreeing on Division: The couple should agree on a fair division. Arizona is a community property state, which generally means that any assets and debts acquired during the marriage are to be divided equally. However, couples can agree on a different division if they both consent.
  • Consideration of Tax Implications: Be aware of potential tax implications of asset division, especially for items like retirement accounts and real estate.

It’s often beneficial to work with financial advisors or legal professionals to help with the process, ensuring that the division is equitable and complies with Arizona law.

Child Support and Alimony Considerations

Child support and alimony are significant considerations in any divorce, including no-court divorces.

  • Child Support: In Arizona, child support obligations are determined based on the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, which consider various factors including the income of both parents, the number of children, and the time each parent spends with the children. The goal is to ensure that the children’s financial needs are met post-divorce. 
  • Alimony (Spousal Maintenance): Alimony, known as spousal maintenance in Arizona, is not guaranteed in every divorce. It depends on factors like the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial resources, and the standard of living established during the marriage. Unlike child support, there’s more flexibility and negotiation involved in determining alimony.

In summary, addressing the financial aspects of a no-court divorce in Arizona requires careful consideration and often professional guidance. By managing these aspects effectively, you can ensure a fair and sustainable outcome for both parties and any children involved.

Frequently Asked Questions: No-Court Divorce in Arizona

Q: Can I get a divorce in Arizona without going to court? A: Yes, you can get a divorce without appearing in court if both parties can reach an agreement on all terms of the divorce. This is known as an uncontested divorce. Once the divorce petition is filed with the court and all necessary documents are served and agreed upon, you may not need to attend a hearing if everything is in order.

Q: What is a default divorce in Arizona? A: A default divorce occurs when one spouse files for divorce (the petitioner) and the other spouse fails to respond to the petition within the stipulated time frame. In such cases, the court has discretion to grant a decree of dissolution of marriage based on the terms set forth in the petition.

Q: Do I need to be a resident of Arizona to file for divorce in the state? A: Yes, Arizona law requires that at least one of the spouses be a resident of Arizona or be stationed in Arizona (in the case of military personnel) for at least 90 days before filing the divorce petition.

Q: What happens if we have minor children involved in the divorce? A: If there are minor children involved, Arizona courts look into the best interests of the children regarding custody and support. The process may involve an early resolution conference and both parties may need to come to an agreement on child-related issues. This can be done through mediation or negotiation, avoiding the need for a court hearing.

Q: How does the division of property work in an Arizona divorce? A: Arizona is a community property state, which means that any assets and debts acquired during the time of marriage are generally divided equally between the parties. It’s common to think that this split is always 50/50, but the actual division may vary based on the circumstances. Couples are encouraged to reach an agreement on property division, possibly with the help of a qualified financial adviser or family law expert.

Q: What if my spouse and I cannot agree on the terms of our divorce? A: If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own, the case is considered contested and may require intervention from the court. In this scenario, both parties may need to attend a hearing, and the court will make decisions on the contested issues.

Q: Can I file for divorce in Arizona if my spouse is not willing to? A: Yes, you have the option to file for divorce even if your spouse does not want to divorce. If your spouse fails to respond after the papers are served, the procedure is done as a default process where the court may award the petitioner the terms set forth in their petition.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

In cases of no-court divorce, a legal paraprofessional can offer substantial help. They can guide clients through preparing and filing divorce documents, ensuring that all paperwork is correctly completed and submitted.

This includes drafting and reviewing documents such as the petition for dissolution of marriage, financial affidavits, and agreements related to child custody and support, if applicable.

Their knowledge of Arizona’s family law allows them to provide clients with accurate information on their rights and obligations, ensuring that the legal aspects of the divorce are handled properly. 

Additionally, they can assist in the negotiation and mediation processes, helping clients reach amicable agreements on various aspects of the divorce, thus avoiding the need for court intervention.

This support can significantly streamline the divorce process, making it less stressful and more efficient for the clients involved.

To contact De Novo Law for assistance with family law matters including uncontested divorce, you can reach them by phone at (480) 725-2200. They offer a free initial consultation with a legal paraprofessional to discuss your specific concerns.

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

How is Spousal Support Determined? What if My Partner Makes More Money Than Me?

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, is the financial support one spouse pays the other after a divorce.

It is intended to help the receiving spouse maintain their standard of living during and after the divorce.

Spousal support may sometimes be awarded in a lump sum or periodic payments.

Spousal support can be modified or terminated when circumstances change; for example, if either party remarries or in cases of extreme hardship.

 

 

How Judges Decide Alimony Amounts in Arizona

In Arizona, judges determine alimony amounts on a case-by-case basis.

Factors that will be considered include the duration of the marriage, the age and health of each spouse, the standard of living established during the marriage, whether one spouse sacrificed career opportunities for the benefit of the other, and any other relevant factors.

Judges must also consider spouses’ income and potential earning capacity when determining alimony amounts. In some cases, judges may consider additional items such as family assets, debts, or property division agreements.

Ultimately, judges will strive to create an equitable arrangement that provides financial security for both parties after the dissolution of their

If My Spouse Makes More Money than Me, Can I Get Alimony?

In Arizona, a spouse can receive alimony if their spouse makes more money than them.

Alimony is a court-ordered payment made by one spouse to the other to help the receiving spouse maintain their standard of living during and after a divorce. The court determines the amount and duration of alimony payments based on several factors, such as earning capacity and financial need.

Additionally, Arizona courts may consider any existing prenuptial or postnuptial agreements when determining alimony. Ultimately, courts will consider all relevant facts when determining whether to award alimony and how much should be paid.

 

 

 

What is the Formula for Calculating Spousal Support?

The formula for calculating spousal support in Arizona is based on several factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s income, and their respective financial obligations.

Generally speaking, the longer the marriage lasts, the higher the spousal support amount may be.

When calculating spousal support, the court will also consider other factors, such as each partner’s education level, age, health condition, and earning capacity. Depending on the situation, either party may be ordered to pay support or agree to an arrangement that works best for them.

Ultimately, it is up to a judge to determine how much support will be paid and for how long.

 

 

 

Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Spousal Support

 

How long does spousal support last in Arizona?

The length of spousal support in Arizona is determined by several factors, including the length of the marriage, the earning capacity of each spouse, and the standard of living established during the marriage.

In most cases, spousal support is ordered for a specific period of time, after which it will end.

 

Can spousal support be modified in Arizona?

Yes, spousal support can be modified if circumstances change, such as a change in income or job status, or if the recipient spouse gets remarried.

 

 

Can spousal support be terminated in Arizona?

Yes, spousal support in Arizona can be terminated if the recipient spouse remarries or if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a change in income or job status.

 

 

What happens if a spouse fails to pay spousal support in Arizona?

If a spouse fails to pay spousal support in Arizona, the recipient spouse can ask the court to enforce the support order. This may include wage garnishment, property liens, or other enforcement actions.

 

 

Is spousal support tax-deductible in Arizona?

Under federal tax law, the person paying spousal support can deduct the payments from their taxable income, while the recipient must report the payments as taxable income.

 

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

A step that can be taken if you seek more information about spousal support is to contact an experienced divorce paraprofessional at De Novo Law. The team of legal paraprofessionals will be able to concentrate on the case at hand so that you can easily make significant decisions concerning alimony.

Call us today at 480-725-2200 to schedule your consultation.

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

How To Get a Divorce When Your Spouse is in the Military?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Navigating Military Life: How to Go About Getting a Divorce

Learn how having a partner in the military can impact divorce. Choose from any of the topics below.

  • How to Get a Divorce When Your Spouse is in the Military in Arizona
  • How is Military Divorce Different from Citizen Divorce?
  • Advantages of Annulment and Legal Separation for Military Couples
  • Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in a Military Family
  • Speak With a Legal Paraprofessional About Military Divorce

Getting a divorce is never easy, but the process can be even more complicated when your spouse is in the military.

A Military divorce case has its own set of unique rules and challenges, and it is vital to understand them to navigate the process.

In this article, we will explore how to get a divorce when your spouse is in the military in Arizona and answer some frequently asked questions about military divorce.

 How to Get a Divorce When Your Spouse is in the Military in Arizona

  1. Understand the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
  2. The Service Member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) is a federal law that protects military service members in civil legal proceedings. One of the protections is a stay of proceedings for up to 90 days for service members on active duty. This means that your divorce proceedings may be delayed if your spouse is on active duty.
  3. File for divorce in the proper jurisdiction
  4. When your spouse is in the military, filing for divorce in the proper jurisdiction is essential. In Arizona, if your spouse is a resident of the state or stationed in the state, you can file for divorce in Arizona. If your spouse is not a resident or stationed in the state, you may need to file for divorce in the state where they are stationed or where they reside.
  5. Consider contacting a paralegal professional to advise you through the divorce process.

How Is a Military Divorce Different from Citizen Divorce?

A divorce in a military family is different from a civilian divorce in a few key ways:

  • Jurisdiction: Military members and their families are often located in different states and countries due to their service, which can complicate the process of filing for divorce. In a civilian divorce, both parties must typically be residents of the state where they file, but military members can file for divorce in the state where they are stationed or reside.
  • The Service Member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA): The SCRA provides specific protections for military service members in civil legal proceedings, including a stay of proceedings for up to 90 days for service members on active duty. This can delay the divorce proceedings and may require special arrangements to serve the divorce papers.
  • Division of Military Pension: Military pensions are considered marital property and are subject to division in a divorce; however, the division process can be complex, and it is essential to work with an attorney who has experience in this area to ensure that your share of the pension is calculated correctly.
  • Child support and custody: The nature of military service can make child custody and support arrangements more complicated, mainly if one parent is deployed or stationed in a different location. The military provides support for military families going through a divorce, including legal assistance and counseling services.
  • Health care and other benefits: Divorce can affect a military member’s eligibility for certain benefits, such as health care and housing allowances. It’s important for military personnel to understand how divorce may impact these benefits and to plan accordingly.

Advantages of Annulment and Legal Separation for Military Couples

There may be advantages for a military couple to consider annulment or legal separation rather than divorce in certain situations. Some of the advantages may include the following:

  • Preservation of Benefits: In some cases, annulment or legal separation may allow a military member to retain certain benefits, such as health care and housing allowances, that would be lost in a divorce.
  • Avoiding a “Fault” Divorce: Annulment or legal separation may be a way for a military couple to end their marriage without having to prove fault, which can be complicated and emotionally difficult in a military divorce.
  • Religious reasons: Some religious beliefs prohibit divorce; in such cases, an annulment or legal separation may be more acceptable as they allow the couple to end the marriage without going against their religious beliefs.
  • Keeping a lower profile: Annulment or legal separation may not be as public as a divorce and may be a way for military couples to avoid the publicity and scrutiny that can come with a divorce.
  • Maintaining insurance coverage: In some cases, annulment or legal separation may allow a military member to maintain insurance coverage for a spouse and children, which may be lost in a divorce.

It’s important to note that annulment and legal separation may not be possible or appropriate in every case, and each option’s advantages and disadvantages should be considered case-by-case basis.

Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in a Military Family

Does a Military Spouse Keep Benefits After Divorce?

In Arizona, the answer to whether a spouse will keep military benefits after divorce depends on several factors. Generally, if the service member and the spouse were married for at least 10 years while the service member was actively serving in the military, then the spouse may be entitled to some of those benefits. The number of benefits that may be received will depend on how long they were married and what type of benefit it is.

For example, if it is healthcare coverage or access to base housing, then there may be continued eligibility after divorce. However, if it is a retirement pension or death benefits, then those are not likely to continue for the ex-spouse.

Will a Divorce Affect a Military Pension?

A divorce can have a significant effect on a military pension. Depending on the type of pension, it can be divided between spouses as part of the divorce settlement. In this case, one spouse may receive a portion of the other’s pension, or both parties may receive equal portions.

Suppose the couple was married for 10 years or more, and at least one of them had served in active duty for at least 20 years. In that case, the former spouse is eligible to receive a portion of the other’s retirement pay under the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). Even if these conditions are not met, state laws may provide for the division of pensions in cases where there was an extended marriage.

Can I Get a Divorce While My Spouse is Deployed?

Yes, you can get a divorce while your spouse is deployed. However, the Service Member’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides a stay of proceedings for up to 90 days for service members on active duty, which may delay the divorce proceedings.

Can I Get Alimony If My Spouse is in the Military?

Yes, you can receive alimony if your spouse is in the military. Alimony is determined on a case-by-case basis, considering factors such as the length of the marriage, the income of each spouse, and the standard of living during the marriage.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

A step that can be taken if you see yourself facing challenges regarding divorce is to contact an experienced divorce paraprofessional at De Novo Law. The team of legal paraprofessionals will be able to concentrate on the case at hand so that you can easily make major decisions concerning divorce or legal seperation.

Call us today at (480) 660-4414 to schedule your consultation.

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.