Scottsdale Divorce Attorneys to Safeguard your Future

Dealing with the emotional and financial challenges of divorce proceedings can be overwhelming, but working with a Scottsdale divorce attorney well-versed in Arizona family law can ease the burden. At Radix Law, our primary focus is to:

  • Protect your financial future; and
  • Protect your rights as a parent and provider.

Our attorneys will work tirelessly to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome in your divorce case, allowing you to focus on healing and rebuilding your life.

Why a Divorce Attorney Is Worth the Investment

When facing divorce, it’s tempting to handle everything on your own without an attorney, but this could lead to poor outcomes, including:

  • Being taken advantage of: Without a legal background, you may not know your legal rights, and how to protect them throughout the divorce process.
  • Overlooking important issues: Divorce settlements involve important issues including child custody, property division, and spousal support. Without attorney guidance, you may not see crucial details that can impact your future.
  • Making costly mistakes: The emotional aspect of divorce can cloud your judgment. A skilled attorney can keep your emotions in check during negotiations.

Contact us or call (602) 606-9300 between 8:00am and 5:00pm to schedule a free consultation.

Meet our Scottsdale Child Support Attorneys

  • Steve Cole

    Partner

    Divorce can bring out the worst in people. From manipulative behavior to outright bullying, the tactics used by opposing parties can be devastating. That’s where Steve Cole comes in – with over 29 years of experience, he can help you stand up to those who seek to take advantage of you.

    Steve’s approach emphasizes mediated solutions, but he is not afraid to take issues to Family Court when circumstances demand it. Steve is highly skilled at using depositions to acquire testimony prior to trial. This technique often leads to higher settlements and more parenting time for his clients. Whether it’s trial or mediation, Steve’s main goal is to empower you to move towards a brighter future.

  • Colleen Contreras

    Counsel

    It’s not common to find someone with a project management background – detail-oriented, meticulous to the core – who then, at the flip of a switch, can bring a compassionate perspective to the table. Wrap this all up with a legal background, and you’ve got Colleen Contreras.

Steve Cole

Partner

Colleen Contreras

Counsel

Reviews of our Arizona divorce lawyers:

  • I’ve been fighting a custody case for over a year and she has always helped me see the bigger picture and do the next right thing. Honestly without her who knows what could have happened. – Brittany S.
  • Colleen has done an outstanding job with my family’s case. She always puts the kiddos FIRST, and is fair with her perspectives. Colleen and her team have made my life much better with how my case was handled and the process was as painless as it could possibly be. – Alicia M.
  • Thank you Colleen, Brian, Steven and all the colleagues behind the scenes that have done so much to help our case!!! – Krystina S.

Disclaimer: Radix Law cannot guarantee any specific result. The outcome will depend on a number of factors, including the specific facts and circumstances of your case.

Understanding the Divorce Process

Divorce is the legal process of terminating a marriage, ending the marital rights and responsibilities between the parties involved. Terminating the marriage is often the easiest part of the divorce process, but there are several other issues that may need to be resolved, including:

  1. Spousal Maintenance (Alimony): This is the financial support that one spouse may be required to pay to the other spouse after a divorce. It is intended to help the lower-earning spouse maintain a reasonable standard of living and become financially self-sufficient.
  2. Spousal Support: Similar to alimony, spousal support refers to the financial assistance provided by one spouse to another during or after the divorce proceedings.
  3. Child Support: The amount one parent is obligated to pay to the other parent for the care and well-being of their children. This includes covering expenses such as food, clothing, healthcare, education, and other necessities.
  4. Child Custody: Legal arrangements about where the child will live and who they will spend time with.
  5. Legal Decision-Making Authority: This refers to the authority granted to one or both parents to make important decisions on behalf of their child, such as those related to education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.

A Parenting Plan is a written document outlining the agreement made between both parents regarding child custody, parenting time, legal decision-making authority, and other child-related matters. This plan serves as a roadmap to help both parents navigate co-parenting and ensure that the child’s best interests are prioritized throughout the process. Your parenting plan is created during divorce or separation proceedings and may be modified as needed over time to adapt to changing circumstances.

Arizona Revised Statute 25-312 outlines the requirements for a couple to be granted a dissolution of marriage (divorce) in the state of Arizona. According to this statute, the following conditions must be met:

  1. Residency Requirement: At least one of the spouses must have been a resident of Arizona for a minimum of 90 days before filing the petition for dissolution of marriage. This residency requirement also applies to members of the armed forces who have been stationed in Arizona for a minimum of 90 days before filing.
  2. Grounds for Dissolution: Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, which means that one spouse does not have to prove any specific wrongdoing by the other spouse to be granted a divorce. Instead, the only required ground for dissolution of marriage is the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marital relationship. In other words, the spouses must both agree that the marriage is irreparably broken and there is no chance for reconciliation.
  3. Covenant Marriage Exception: If the couple has entered into a covenant marriage, the requirements for obtaining a divorce may be different. In a covenant marriage, the spouses must undergo premarital counseling and agree to seek marital counseling if problems arise during the marriage. To dissolve a covenant marriage, the filing spouse must prove specific grounds for divorce, such as adultery, abandonment, abuse, or living separately for a specified period.
  4. Waiting Period: Arizona law imposes a waiting period of 60 days from the date of service of the petition for dissolution of marriage before a divorce can be granted. This waiting period provides the couple with an opportunity to reconsider their decision and allows time for any necessary mediation or negotiations.

Once these requirements are met, and the court is satisfied that appropriate arrangements are in place for child custody, parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance, and the division of property and debts, the court may grant a decree of dissolution of marriage, effectively ending the marital relationship.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

In a contested divorce, the spouses are unable to agree on one or more key issues related to the divorce, such as child custody, spousal support, or property division. This means that the parties must present their case to a judge in court, who will make a final decision on the issues in dispute. Each spouse may hire their own attorney to represent them in court. The court will make a decision based on the evidence presented.

On the other hand, in an uncontested divorce, the parties file an agreement with the court, and the court will simply review and approve the agreement. Even in an uncontested divorce, the parties should hire an attorney to draft the agreement and ensure all legal requirements are met.

Arizona is a “No-Fault Divorce” State

In Arizona, a spouse seeking a divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse was at fault or did something wrong to cause the end of the marriage. This no-fault divorce approach is intended to streamline the divorce process, making it faster, more efficient, and less contentious. By removing the need to prove fault, it eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming litigation and enables couples to focus on resolving the practical issues related to the dissolution of their marriage.

However, this does not mean that fault is irrelevant in all divorce cases. In some situations, such as cases of domestic violence, substance abuse, or financial misconduct, fault may still be a relevant factor in determining child custody, spousal maintenance, or the division of assets and debts.

The no-fault divorce law in Arizona provides a less stressful and more straightforward process for those seeking to end their marriage. By eliminating the need to prove fault, couples can focus on the practical matters of the divorce, such as child custody, child support and property division.

Filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage initiates the divorce process and outlines the basic facts of your marriage, such as the date of marriage, the grounds for divorce, and any children involved. You must file the Petition with the family court in the county where you or your spouse lives. Once filed, you must serve a copy of the petition and a summons to your spouse in accordance with Arizona law.

Service Requirements

This is known as the service of process and
Service of process must be completed by someone over the age of 18 who is not involved in the case and can be accomplished in a variety of ways, including:

A) personal service
B) service by mail
C) service by publication(if the other spouse cannot be located.)

Once the other spouse has been served, they will have a certain amount of time to respond to the petition, after which the court may enter a default judgment in favor of the petitioner. However, if the other spouse files a response, the divorce process will continue and may involve negotiations and mediation or court hearings to resolve any outstanding issues such as child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and the division of property.

The 60-Day Waiting Period

In Arizona, a divorce cannot be finalized until a waiting period of 60 days has passed since the service of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This waiting period is required under Arizona Revised Statute 25-329 and is intended to allow couples time to reconsider their decision to divorce and explore the possibility of reconciliation.

During this 60-day waiting period, the couple may continue to negotiate and work out agreements regarding child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and the division of property and debts. They may also choose to attend counseling or mediation to try and work through their issues and reconcile their marriage.

If the couple is unable to reconcile or agree on the terms of their divorce during this waiting period, they can proceed with the divorce process. Once the 60-day waiting period has expired, the couple can request a default hearing or a final hearing to finalize their divorce.
It’s important to note that the 60-day waiting period is a minimum waiting period and may be extended if there are outstanding issues or if one of the spouses contests the divorce. Additionally, in cases of a covenant marriage, a longer waiting period may be required before a divorce can be granted.

The 60-day waiting period provides an opportunity for couples to take time to consider their decision to divorce and work through any issues that may arise before proceeding with a final divorce decree.

Property Division

In Arizona divorce cases, property division is determined under community property laws, which means that any property acquired during the marriage is generally considered community property and subject to equal division between the spouses.

However, there are some exceptions to the default community property rules. For example, property acquired before the marriage, property received as a gift or inheritance, and property acquired after the filing of the petition may be considered separate property and not subject to equal division.

One important concept to understand in property division is co-mingling. This occurs when separate and community property are mixed together, making it difficult to distinguish one from the other. In these cases, the court may use the “source of funds” rule to determine the percentage of separate and community property that each spouse is entitled to.

In some cases, the court may apply the doctrine of equitable distribution instead of community property laws. Equitable distribution allows for a more flexible and fair distribution of property, taking into account factors such as the parties’ individual financial situations and contributions to the marriage.

A prenuptial agreement can also have a significant impact on property division in a divorce case. If the parties have entered into a valid prenuptial agreement, the terms of the agreement will generally dictate how property is divided, rather than community property laws or equitable distribution.

At Radix Law, our experienced family law attorneys can help you navigate the complex issues surrounding property division in an Arizona divorce case. We can work with you to negotiate a fair and equitable division of property, taking into account your unique circumstances and goals. Contact us or call our Arizona family law office at (602) 606-9300 to schedule an initial consultation.

Military Divorce

Divorces involving members of the military and their spouses are subject to special rules and considerations that may differ from those of a civilian divorce. Here are some of the special rules that pertain to a military divorce in Arizona:

  1. Residency Requirement: The residency requirement for filing for divorce in Arizona may be waived for active-duty military members and their spouses. This means that they may file for divorce in Arizona even if they do not meet the state’s usual 90-day residency requirement.
  2. Service of Process: Service of process for a military divorce must comply with the provisions of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The SCRA provides special protections for military members during legal proceedings including giving military members adequate notice of the divorce proceedings and appointing an attorney to represent them if they are unable to appear in court due to military service.
  3. Division of Military Retirement Benefits: The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) governs the division of military retirement benefits in a divorce. Under this act, a state court may award a portion of the military member’s retirement benefits to their former spouse, provided that certain conditions are met.
  4. Child Support and Custody: In a military divorce, child support and custody issues may be complicated by frequent moves, deployments, and other factors unique to military life. The court will consider the best interests of the child and may take into account factors such as the military member’s duty assignments and living arrangements.

A military divorce in Arizona may involve special rules and considerations that require the expertise of an experienced family law attorney who understands the unique challenges and circumstances involved in military life.

Order of Protection

In Arizona, an order of protection (also known as a restraining order) may be granted to a victim of domestic violence. Domestic violence is defined as physical harm, threat of physical harm, or emotional abuse inflicted by a current or former spouse, a person with whom the victim has or had a romantic relationship, or a family member.

To obtain an order of protection you must file a petition with the court. The order may include provisions prohibiting the abusive spouse from contacting or coming near the victim or their children, granting temporary custody of children to the victim, or requiring the abusive spouse to attend counseling or anger management programs.

The court will generally grant an order of protection if the petitioner can provide sufficient evidence of domestic violence or abuse, such as police reports, medical records, or witness testimony. The order of protection is typically granted on a temporary basis, and a hearing will be scheduled quickly to determine whether a permanent order of protection should be issued.

In Arizona divorce cases, an order of protection may be necessary if domestic violence or abuse is a factor in the divorce proceedings. The victim spouse may request an order of protection to ensure their safety and the safety of their children during the divorce process. The court will consider any evidence of domestic violence or abuse when making decisions regarding child custody and parenting time.

Divorce vs. Legal Separation

Legal separation allows couples to live apart and separate their finances and assets, but does not terminate the marriage. The court will still need to address many of the same issues as in a divorce, including child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and the division of property and debts. However, the couple will remain legally married and cannot remarry unless they later divorce.

Some key differences between divorce and legal separation in Arizona include:

  1. Termination of Marriage: In a divorce, the marriage is terminated, and both spouses are free to remarry. In a legal separation, the marriage is not terminated, and both spouses remain married.
  2. Division of Property and Debts: In both divorce and legal separation, the court will address the division of property and debts, but the process may be different. In a legal separation, the court may divide the property and debts as part of the separation agreement, but the couple will still be considered married.
  3. Child Custody and Support: The court will address child custody and support issues in both divorce and legal separation, but the process may be different. In a legal separation, the couple may choose to continue living apart but still share joint legal decision-making authority and parenting time.

Arizona Divorce FAQ’s

How do I begin the divorce process?

The first step is to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the family court in the county where you or your spouse resides.

Where will my case be filed?

In Arizona, divorce cases are filed in the superior court of the county where either spouse resides.

How much does a divorce lawyer cost in Arizona?

The cost of a divorce lawyer in Arizona can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the case, the experience and reputation of the lawyer, and the location of the law firm. Some divorce lawyers may charge an hourly rate, while others may offer a flat fee or a retainer agreement.

In the Scottsdale area, divorce lawyers typically charge between $250 to $550 per hour on average. However, this is just an average, and the actual cost of a divorce lawyer can be higher or lower depending on the circumstances of the case and experience of the attorney. Highly experienced attorneys are in high demand, and thus their time commands a higher hourly rate.

In addition to the hourly rate, many divorce lawyers in Arizona may require a retainer fee upfront. This fee is a deposit that the client pays to the lawyer at the beginning of the case, and it is used to cover the cost of the lawyer’s services and expenses as the case progresses. The retainer fee can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity of the case.

It’s important to note that the cost of a divorce lawyer in Arizona is just one of several expenses associated with the divorce process. Other expenses may include court fees, mediation fees, expert witness fees, and expenses related to the division of property and debts such as appraisal and business valuation costs.

Do you need a lawyer for divorce in Arizona?

You are not required to hire a lawyer to file for divorce or to represent you in an Arizona divorce case. However, it’s highly recommended that you consult with an experienced family law attorney to help guide you through the legal process and protect your interests.

Divorce involves complex legal and financial issues, such as child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and the division of property and debts. A lawyer can provide you with legal advice and guidance, help you understand your rights and obligations under Arizona law, and assist you in negotiating and settling these issues with your spouse.

Additionally, an attorney can help ensure that all necessary paperwork is filed correctly and on time, and that all legal requirements are met. This can help prevent costly mistakes and delays that could prolong the divorce process and cause additional stress and expense.

Can a spouse kick you out of the house in Arizona?

No, a spouse cannot unilaterally kick you out of the marital home in Arizona, even if they own the home. During a divorce or legal separation, both spouses have the right to live in the marital home until the court issues a temporary or permanent order regarding the use and possession of the home.

In Arizona, the court can issue a temporary order to grant one spouse exclusive use and possession of the marital home while the divorce or legal separation is pending. This order may be issued if the court finds that one spouse has a greater need for the home or if there are issues of domestic violence or abuse.

Even if the home is owned by only one spouse, both spouses may be entitled to a share of the property in the divorce settlement. Arizona is a community property state, which means that property acquired during the marriage is generally considered to be jointly owned by both spouses.

What are the grounds for divorce in AZ?

Arizona is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means couples can file for divorce without having to prove that one spouse is at fault or responsible for the end of the marriage. Instead, a couple can simply state that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” meaning that there is no hope for reconciliation.

What is the difference between a divorce and an annulment?

Divorce terminates the marriage and dissolves the marital relationship. Annulment declares a marriage invalid or void from the beginning, as if it never happened. In an annulment, the court will declare that the marriage was not legally valid due to specific circumstances that existed at the time of the marriage, such as:

  1. Fraud or Misrepresentation: If one spouse fraudulently induced the other spouse into the marriage by misrepresenting or concealing a material fact, such as concealing a criminal record or lying about their ability to have children, the innocent spouse may be able to seek an annulment.
  2. Duress or Coercion: If one spouse was forced or threatened into the marriage against their will, they may be able to seek an annulment. Duress or coercion may include physical force, threats of violence, or psychological pressure.
  3. Lack of Capacity: If one spouse lacked the mental or physical capacity to enter into the marriage, such as due to intoxication, mental illness, or disability, the marriage may be considered voidable.
  4. Underage Spouse: If one or both spouses were underage at the time of the marriage and did not have the legal capacity to consent to the marriage, the marriage may be considered voidable.

Incest: If the marriage is between close blood relatives, such as siblings or parents and children, it is illegal in Arizona and may be annulled.

What are some of the benefits of using a lawyer for a divorce?

  1. Legal Advice and Guidance: A divorce can involve complex legal and financial issues, such as property division, child custody, and spousal support. A lawyer can provide you with legal advice and guidance, help you understand your rights and obligations under Arizona law, and assist you in negotiating and settling these issues with your spouse.
  2. Objective Perspective: Divorce can be an emotionally charged process, and it can be difficult to make rational decisions during such a difficult time. A lawyer can provide you with an objective perspective and help you make decisions that are in your best interests, both now and in the future.
  3. Negotiation and Settlement: A lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement with your spouse, whether through mediation or other means. This can help you avoid a lengthy and costly court battle, and can help ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the process.
  4. Court Representation: If your case does go to court, a lawyer can represent you in front of a judge and argue on your behalf. This can be especially important if your case involves complex legal or financial issues, or if you and your spouse are unable to reach a settlement outside of court.

Legal Paperwork: A lawyer can help ensure that all necessary legal paperwork is filed correctly and on time, and that all legal requirements are met throughout the divorce process. This can help prevent costly mistakes and delays that could prolong the divorce process and cause additional stress and expense.

Other family law practice areas:

Legal Separation Legal separation is a process that allows couples to live apart while still remaining legally married. It can address many of the same issues as divorce, such as property division and child custody.
Spousal Support and Spousal Maintenance Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a payment made from one spouse to another after a divorce or legal separation. It is intended to help the lower-earning spouse maintain a similar standard of living.
Child Custody, Parenting Time, and Legal Decision-Making Child custody determines who has legal and physical custody of a child after a divorce or separation. Parenting time outlines the specific schedule and conditions for each parent's time with the child. Legal decision-making is the authority to make important decisions about the child's life, such as education, healthcare, and religion.
Child Support and Alimony Child support is a payment made from one parent to the other to help cover the costs of raising a child. Alimony is a payment made from one spouse to the other after a divorce or legal separation, intended to help the lower-earning spouse maintain a similar standard of living.
Father's Rights Father's rights refer to the legal rights and responsibilities of a father in relation to his child. This can include issues such as custody, parenting time, and child support.
Grandparent's Rights Grandparent's rights refer to the legal rights of grandparents to have a relationship with their grandchildren. This can include issues such as visitation and custody.
Property Division Property division determines how assets and debts are divided between spouses during a divorce or legal separation. It can include items such as real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, and retirement accounts.
Prenuptial Agreements An agreement between spouses that outlines how assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce or legal separation. It can also address other issues, such as spousal support and property division.

Schedule a free consultation with a Scottsdale divorce attorney:

Call us at (602) 606-9300 or contact us to schedule a consultation. Our family law office is located at 15205 N. Kierland Blvd. Suite 200, Scottsdale, AZ 85254.

From The Promenade Scottsdale, head south on N. 76th Street, turn right onto E. Paradise Lane, turn left onto N. Scottsdale Rd., turn right onto E. Kierland Blvd., left onto Main Street, and turn left at the stop sign just before the Rock Star gallery.

From Scottsdale Civic Center, head north toward E 1st Ave, turn left, then an immediate right onto N. Drinkwater Blvd. Turn right off of N. Drinkwater Blvd. onto Scottsdale Rd. Stay on Scottsdale Rd. for 8.7 miles. Turn left onto E. Acoma Dr. Continue straight onto N. Kierland Blvd. Turn right onto Main Street. Turn left after Tommy Bahama restaurant and proceed to park in uncovered parking or in the parking structure at the west side of the parking lot.

From the Maricopa County Northeast Regional Court Center. head east toward N 40th St, turn right toward Paradise Valley Park, continue onto Paradise Valley Park, turn right, turn right onto N 40th St, turn left onto E Greenway Rd, continue onto E Greenway Pkwy, use the 2nd from the left lane to turn left onto N Kierland Blvd, turn right onto Main St, and turn left at the stop sign. The Radix Law office will be on your left hand side. Continue past our building and park in uncovered parking or in the parking structure straight ahead.