Author: Family Law

My Spouse Has Refused To Give Me A Divorce, What Can I Do?

By Robert L. Schwartz and Marlene A. Pontrelli (Excerpts from Divorce in Arizona)  You may have been thinking about filing for divorce, but your spouse has told you that they will never “give” you a divorce.  They may even have left the state thinking that will prevent you from filing for dissolution of the marriage. The good news is that Arizona does not require that your spouse agree to a divorce. If your spouse threatens to not “give” you a divorce, know that in Arizona this is likely to be an idle threat without any basis in the law.  Under Arizona law, to obtain a divorce you must be able to prove that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This is a legal term meaning that one sees no possibility of reconciliation between you or your spouse. In short, it is not necessary to have your spouse agree to the divorce or to allege the specific difficulties that arose during the marriage to obtain a divorce in Arizona, just that at least one party can state that the marriage is irretrievably broken.   In addition, you may file for divorce in Arizona, even if your spouse leaves the state. Provided you have met the residency requirements for living in Arizona for 90 days, you can file for divorce here even if your spouse lives in another state.  Discuss with your attorney the...

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5 Things You Need to Know in Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

By Robert Schwartz and Marlene Pontrelli Choosing a lawyer is one of the most important decisions you will make with respect to your divorce. The person you choose needs to be someone you feel comfortable confiding in since you will sometimes be providing very personal information that you have not previously shared with even your closest friends and relatives.  He or she should be a person you can trust and someone who will be a zealous advocate for your interests.  However, he or she also needs to be someone who will advise you of the pros and cons so you can make informed choices.  Here are five things to consider in choosing a lawyer that is right for your divorce. The experience of the attorney. Find an attorney that handles divorces as a regular part of his or her law practice. Take your time in choosing a lawyer that is right for your case. If you need to obtain names of potential lawyers in the area of family law, many state bar associations, including the State Bar of Arizona, maintain a list of attorneys who have been certified as specialists in family law. Consider setting a time for an initial consultation. Even if you are not ready to file for divorce, you may find it helpful to call and schedule an appointment with a lawyer to obtain basic information...

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To Mediate or Not To Mediate Your Divorce?

By Robert Schwartz and Marlene Pontrelli At some point during the course of your divorce, you will likely want to consider whether there is a better way to resolve the issues between you and your spouse without going to trial. Even though the divorce may start as a litigation matter, going to trial is not a foregone conclusion.  Most divorce cases settle without the need for a trial, and mediation should always be considered as an alternative. Mediation is the process by which a neutral third party helps the parties reach agreement on disputed issues. A mediator cannot give legal advice. Rather, the mediator’s job is to help you and your spouse reach agreement on all issues. These issues include division of property, spousal maintenance, child support, parenting time, and legal decision-making. If you are represented by a lawyer, you and your lawyer will likely be in one room, while your spouse and his or her lawyer are in another room. The mediator will then go back and forth between the parties attempting to negotiate a settlement. This method works particularly well because your lawyer will be there to give you legal advice and can advise on the risks and benefits of accepting a particular proposal offered by your spouse. At the same time you do not have to be in the same room as your spouse which may...

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The DW Family Law Blog Blog is published by Dickinson Wright PLLC to inform the public of important developments within the firm and practice areas. The content is informational only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. We encourage you to consult a Dickinson Wright attorney if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered in this blog.