Read this article if you are interested in learning about:
- Some ways you can prepare for a divorce.
- The implications of moving out before your divorce is finalized may have on your right to your real estate.
- Possible advantages being the one to initiate a divorce brings.
How Can I Prepare Myself For A Divorce In Arizona?
Preparing financially for a divorce in Arizona can encompass so many things since it is contingent on unique circumstances and details. We tend to break these matters into two categories: financial or material matters and non-financial or immaterial matters.
Beginning with material matters, for starters, if you are not yet married, you can get a prenuptial agreement. If you are already married, you can get a postnuptial agreement. These documents are legally recognized agreements between the two individuals that factor into dissolving the relationship and subsequent consequences, like the division of assets and debts, the payment (or non-payment) of spousal maintenance, and more.
There are less official actions you can take that may serve you well besides having a written agreement in place.
It is generally wise to start saving money in the event you eventually want to hire an attorney or move out and need to support yourself while your case unfolds. Keep in mind that any money you set aside for this purpose will be a community asset, and will need to be accounted for when property is being divided in the divorce case.
Getting other paperwork in order will be of great assistance to you as well. For example, suppose you have a vehicle you paid for and use, but it is in your spouse’s name. It may be wise to get the title amended, so your name is on it before you inform your spouse that you will file for divorce.
Regarding immaterial matters, which typically involve things surrounding children, there are several simple ways you can prepare.
First is to begin thinking of how you can build a solid case. These cases hinge on proof. Not having any proof will weaken your argument and jeopardize custody down the road. Gather pictures that show your level of involvement and the duration of your relationship with your children. Also, gather testimony from third parties that can attest to your relationship with your children. In court, a picture really can be worth a thousand words.
If you have a history of making poor decisions or the like, take action that shows you have recognized your wrongs and are resolved on fixing them. For example, if you struggled with alcoholism for a time after your children were born, get treatment voluntarily and pro-actively so as to be in a position of strength when custody is on the table. Taking action to solve a problem like this without first being ordered to do so will matter significantly in court.
The bottom line: do not make rash decisions and rush into things. Calculate before making decisions to avoid finding yourself in a disadvantageous position later on. Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to rush to find proof and scramble to find funds to support yourself after filing; have all your ducks in a row before you file.
If I File For A Divorce And Move Out Before My Spouse, Will I Lose My Right To Our Property In Arizona?
Although moving out of your property does not change its ownership status from “community” to “separate” in Arizona, complications may arise if you initiate a divorce and move out before your spouse does.
If your financial situation is like that of most people in Arizona, your house is not paid off, nor is it off the utility grid, so to speak — you will still have water, gas, and electricity bills due. As such, someone will have to make these payments in the meantime. If you move out and do not intend to pay for the utilities or mortgage, your spouse will presumably take over these payments.
This can cause problems for you later in your divorce case. When it comes time to divide the house, your spouse will likely argue that paying all these costs after you moved out makes them entitled to a higher percentage of the house’s dollar value. They will seek reimbursement, and you may get less from the house than you thought you would.
More practically and immediate — there simply may not be enough money to go around once you cut your income in half and double your expenses. Rashly moving out puts a significant strain on the household by having an additional residence to pay for. This could force the house into foreclosure because your spouse can no longer afford it on their own. To avoid this, you and your spouse may need to hastily sell the house. This could very well happen at a very low price due to the need to sell it promptly.
Preparing financially for a divorce in Arizona is an absolute necessity to avoid these pitfalls you may not foresee in the heat of the moment. Likewise, being willing to talk to your spouse about these kinds of things, and making agreements with your spouse to avoid problems like foreclosure, is an intelligent and mature way to approach a possible divorce.
Is There Any Benefit Of Being The Person Who Files The Divorce First In Arizona?
As part of preparing financially for a divorce in Arizona, it may be best to wait for your spouse to file for a divorce. Generally, there is no benefit to being the person who files the divorce; even when there are benefits, they are relatively insignificant.
If you file first, you will have to do a lot of extra work. On top of this, you will have to pay a higher filing fee and ensure your spouse gets served. On the other hand, your spouse will pay a lower fee to respond, and will be able to serve you just by mailing the documents to you.
What benefits there may be come in court. There can be a slight advantage in that you dictate the litigation’s tempo. For example, if you filed for divorce, immediately filed for temporary orders, set the hearing for 30 days out, and did not serve your spouse until ten days before the hearing, they will be left scrambling to find a lawyer and might get unfavorable temporary orders entered against them.
Likewise, you will present information in court first. This can be advantageous because it can frame things for the judge. You will also be in a position where you get to rebut your spouse. But, by the same token, they will go second and be able to respond to everything you claimed, which can be advantageous too.
If you have an emergency that requires you to file first, such as a need to get immediate orders in place about your children or your finances, you should definitely file first and resolve that emergency ASAP by getting temporary orders. You won’t be able to ask for temporary orders until a case has been filed, so that situation can force your hand a bit. But in the absence of an emergency, it might make sense to wait and make your spouse file first.
For more information on Preparing Financially For A Divorce In Arizona, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (623) 696-3429 today.