Legal Separation in Arizona
Definition of Legal Separation in Arizona
A legal separation involves more than moving out of the marital home resulting in you and your spouse living in different places. When you are granted a legal separation, the court will resolve the same issues pertaining to assets, community property, debt, child care, maintenance and custody that are determined when a couple obtains a divorce.
Why would you prefer a legal separation instead of a divorce?
The most common reasons for seeking a legal separation are religious beliefs that do not permit divorce or health conditions that make remaining married preferable for health care coverage. Sometimes couples also choose to have a legal separation because they no longer want to live together but are not sure whether they want a divorce.
Process for an Arizona Legal Separation:
Before deciding whether to seek a legal separation or a divorce, consult with an attorney who can analyze your situation and help you decide which one best suits your needs. Enholm Law has Phoenix Family Court attorneys who are experienced in family law and have been helping clients with legal separations and divorces for years.
Filing the Petition
A petition is filed in the superior court, which is also served on your spouse.In some instances, you and your spouse will successfully create a settlement agreement and tender it to the court.
Determining division of assets, debt, alimony and custody can be highly emotional. Often these issues will be determined during a trial. Hiring an attorney to look out for your interests, who’s familiar with legal separation, and the Family Court system in Maricopa County will help.
Dismissal and Conversion
At any point prior to the final order, the spouses can agree to dismiss the case. In Arizona, parties seeking legal separation can also decide to convert the proceedings to a divorce. If one spouse wants a divorce, the courts must terminate the marriage.
Sometimes the couple can resolve issues surrounding their finances and children by using a mediator. During mediation, a neutral party helps the couple come to an agreement, and the paperwork can be filed without the parties appearing in court. Parties have the opportunity to confer with their attorneys separately after meeting with the mediator prior to making an agreement.
Regardless of whether your custody and financial issues are resolved in court or during mediation, it is important to use an attorney who understands your financial and custody concerns. A legal separation resolves the same issues as a divorce without dissolving the marriage, so the order will affect your future lifestyle, visitation rights, and ability to care for your children. For more information about Arizona legal separation, contact Enholm Law at 602-889-6273 to schedule a visit at our law office in Phoenix.