Author: mpontrelli

How Long Does It Take To Finalize A Divorce In Arizona?

Once the decision is made to file for divorce, the most common question asked, is how long will it take to finalize my divorce. While the answer depends on many factors, at a minimum, there will be a sixty-day wait from the date of service of the petition on the spouse who did not file for divorce or from the date the non-filing spouse filed an acceptance of service with the court. This is often referred to as the “cooling off” period. However, it is also the perfect time, if you and your spouse are able to do so together or with the assistance of your lawyers, to discuss a resolution of the issues. Assuming all issues, such as parenting time, support, property, and debts, are completely settled between you and your spouse, a consent decree can be submitted to the judge for his or her approval after the sixty-day waiting period. Once signed by the judge, your divorce will be final. The finality of your divorce decree, referred to as the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, is important for many reasons. It affects your right to remarry, your eligibility for health insurance from your former spouse, and filing status for income taxes. And, while you may sign the papers and submit them to the court, keep in mind that the date that triggers the time period for a...

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Do you need a lawyer for your divorce?

Excerpt from Divorce in Arizona by Marlene Pontrelli and Robert Schwartz Going through the divorce process can be a frightening and often intimidating experience. Many people have never had to meet with a lawyer before, or been involved in any type of litigation. At the same time you are facing the challenges of understanding the legal process, you are also trying to address the emotional issues that often come with the decision to terminate a marriage. Your first step should be to understand the divorce process and then consider whether you need to hire a lawyer. In Arizona, you are not required to have an attorney to obtain a divorce. However, if your case involved children, spousal maintenance, significant property, or debts, you may find it easier to have an attorney than proceeding on your own. If your divorce does not involve any of these issues, contact the self-help center at the superior court in your county, or call the clerk of the court to request documents and instructions that may be used in filing your own case and proceeding on your own. In some counties, the forms are online. A person who proceeds in a legal matter without a lawyer is referred to as being in pro per or pro se, on one’s own. If you are considering proceeding without an attorney, you may want to at least...

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When Children Do Not Want to Leave the House

This week a judge in upstate New York ordered a son out of his parent’s home.  Michael Rotondo may not have wanted to leave, but at 30 years old, the judge agreed with the parents, he had no right to stay.  Minor children not wanting to leave the family home in a divorce, however, creates different issues. If one parent is staying in the family home, where the children have always lived, it is sometimes hard for them to want to go to the other parent’s house as may be required under the parenting plan.  If you are the parent who has moved out of the family home, here are some tips for making the transition easier for the minor children. Depending on the age of the children, involve them in picking out items for their new room so they can be excited about living part-time in a new environment. Discuss with the parent who is continuing to reside in the former marital residence the need to allow  the children to bring some of their special items to your home.  While often parents become entrenched in keeping things all the same at the former family home, the focus should be on the children and making the transition easier for them. Begin to refer to the homes by location (i.e. Central Avenue home, Jasper Street home) versus “Mom’s house” and...

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When Dad has the children for Mother’s Day. Tips for fighting the Mother’s Day Blues

When parties live in an intact marriage, Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that allows the focus to be all about mom and her special day. It is the opportunity for dad and the children to show their appreciation to mom for all that she does, or at least that is how we envision that day. But, if you are recently divorced or separated, you may be looking at your parenting plan and realize that no provision has been made for the children to be with you for Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day for dads in a few weeks). If this is your ex-spouse’s weekend with the children, and absent some flexibility on the part of the other parent, you may find yourself spending Mother’s Day alone. Short of running into court and having the judge write in a parenting plan for Mother’s Day, there are easier, and less expensive, ways to celebrate the day. Here are some thoughts to help make the day special. Take a hike. Give yourself the luxury of some alone time (something busy moms rarely get to enjoy). Check out some of the Mother’s Day specials at a local spa for manicures, pedicures, and other spa favorites. Or, pamper yourself at home using a recipe for your own homemade facial mask. Explore a local antique shop or thrift shop for hidden treasures. Consider...

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How to Talk to Your Children About Divorce

  You have just filed for divorce, or maybe you and your spouse are thinking about a divorce. While there will be big changes for you, if you have children, there will also be big changes for the children. How you talk to your children about the divorce will depend upon their ages and development. Changes in your children’s everyday lives, such as a change of residence or one parent leaving the home, are far more important to them. Information about legal proceedings and meetings with lawyers are best kept among adults. Simpler answers are best for young children. Avoid giving them more information than they need. Sometimes it is best to not use the word “divorce” to them. Instead, explain that mom and dad have decided it is better for them to be friends than to continue to live in the same house together. A child’s reaction to divorce can vary depending upon his or her age and other factors. Some may cry and beg for a reconciliation, and others may behave inappropriately. Reducing conflict with your spouse, being a consistent and nurturing parent, and making sure both of you remain involved are all actions that can support your children regardless of how they are reacting to the divorce. Support groups for children whose parents are divorcing are also available at many schools and religious communities. A school...

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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.