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In this article, you will discover:

  • Who should consider divorce mediation, and who should avoid it in Arizona.
  • When being late to file for divorce can work to your advantage.
  • The costly consequences of DIY divorces in Arizona.
  • What Are The Options For A Couple To Proceed With Divorce?

If you are considering divorce in Surprise, AZ, it’s always the best idea to begin filing divorce paperwork only once you and your spouse are ready for divorce. A less experienced attorney may attempt to persuade you to seek mediation before doing any divorce paperwork. However, be aware that once a case is active, mediation is still an available option. Divorcing spouses may always have the option to settle, even after filing. Getting ahead in the process of divorce by simply filing, does not prevent mediation.

Don’t try to settle with a spouse before you are certain the other side will meet you halfway. It takes two to tango. If you enter mediation and don’t come to a compromise, you’ve just wasted considerable time and money and still must be required to process the divorce. For avoiding delays and moving on with your life, you want to get the case filed and moving as soon as possible. This way, you don’t have to worry as much. If you settle during the case, great. If not, at least you weren’t delayed because you tried meditating first.

Is There Any Benefit To Filing For Divorce Before My Spouse In Arizona?

There isn’t much of a benefit to being the first to file for divorce in Surprise, Arizona. In fact, it’s better to be the second filer—the respondent. As the respondent, you pay less money. This way, you avoid a court fee and have less responsibility for certain processes, such as initiating the production of the joint pre-trial statement.

The biggest drawback to being the respondent is having a set period in which to respond to the initial petition for divorce. However, the allotted window for responding is quite ample. 20 days of time is enough time to simply say, “We agree” or “We do not agree.” Thus, limitations on the response period are not enough of a hindrance to outweigh the benefits of being the respondent. Another benefit includes seeing the opposing party layout their strategy before you and then having the privilege of responding to it.

There is one significant benefit to filing for a divorce before your spouse in Surprise, AZ. If you believe the opposing party is not going to take the divorce seriously or may not respond, you should file first. You may catch them while they are unprepared and be granted a default divorce, outlining everything you want. Yet, if they are going to respond to your divorce petition, there is no benefit to filing first.

In Surprise, Arizona, What Effect Does It Have On the Process If The Divorce Is Contested?

In Surprise, Arizona, when a divorce is contested, it’s typically because someone doesn’t agree with the initial proposal. The refusing party may negotiate the terms and create their own proposal, but parties will still have opportunities to negotiate. If an agreement cannot be established without the assistance of a judge, visiting a court is the next step.

In Surprise, Arizona this could potentially work to your advantage. In Surprise, we operate in the Northwest Superior Court. Most attorneys in Arizona aren’t familiar with Northwest Superior Court. Most other law firms in the state are located in the East Valley, Scottsdale, Mesa, or Chandler. Many Arizona attorneys are used to working in different court environments, such as Northeast, Southeast, and Downtown Court. In Surprise, attorney’s not from this area will be removed from all the judges they are typically familiar with. Not knowing how these judges rule, they may have existing pressure to settle with you as soon as possible. Or perhaps, they might be fearful of litigation in unknown waters.

In Maricopa County, What Is The Timeline Of Events Once Someone Files For Divorce?

I like to think of the timeline for filing for divorce as two separate train tracks. Track number one is the scenario in which the respondent to a divorce fails to reply within the allotted window of time. Track number one leads to the default course of action being taken by the courts. In track number one, you file, the other side doesn’t respond, and we send another notice. We wait until day 60, and if there has still been no response, we can now as for a default hearing. A default hearing is a very straightforward process. If the respondent does not respond to you after you have done your part by serving them divorce papers, the court will assume the default judgment.

Track number two leads directly to negotiation in court. When the respondent acknowledges your divorce, we will attend a resolution management conference. An attorney will then assist both parties in finding a compromise through mediation.

At this point in the process of a divorce case, if there are still lingering disagreements after attempts at mediation, we must seek the aid of third-party intervention. If disagreements persist, a judge is going to have to step in. The only way to certainly resolve a divorce disagreement is through a court trial.

When divorcing in Surprise, Arizona, you will always be on one of these two train tracks. Which one will depend a lot on the other person involved, and whether they step up to the plate

Can I Handle My Own Divorce Case, Or Do I Need An Experienced Divorce Attorney?

You can handle a divorce case on your own in the same way you could handle car repairs or do your own open-heart surgery. You can do it, but it usually may not be a great idea. Most people going through a divorce are experiencing the process for the very first time and don’t have an education on it. Instead, they rely on anecdotal support and what little they can find on the internet, which may or may not be correct. When you are winging it, you are just crossing their fingers and hoping you get it right.

While less common, if you have a very simple case where everyone agrees on what should happen, you likely only need to file some paperwork. In that case, you can probably handle it yourself. However, if you have any disagreements or a highly contested case, I strongly suggest you hire an experienced divorce lawyer.

Oftentimes, individuals who attempt to file for divorce without an attorney still end up seeking an attorney only after experiencing extensive difficulty and frustration. These people often realize in hindsight that they would have benefited from someone asking the right questions about their divorce, to ensure every detail is thought of and considered. Now suddenly, they require a modification.

Therefore, while you can technically do these things yourself, it may not be advisable to do so. It may cause you more problems down the line. Is it worth it to spend $15,000 on an attorney to fix it years later when you could have paid an attorney $5,000 to do it right the first time?

For more information on Options for a Divorcing Couple in Arizona, an initial consultation is your next best step.

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