The process of divorce can be a long and exhausting one, with every aspect of your life getting turned upside down and shaken out to be examined. If you’re preparing for or considering divorce, here’s what you need to know about what will be covered in your conversations with your spouse and both of your attorneys.
Property and business
What property or business ventures do you and your spouse share, and which are yours independently? A primary purpose of the many conversations between you and your spouse will involve the divvying up of your property and assets. This also includes deciding who is responsible for the debt that either or both of you may have incurred over the years.
If you and your spouse have children together, this will likely be the most difficult and involved aspect of your divorce. You and your spouse will be asked to come to an agreement on various issues such as:
- Legal decision making – This decides who will have the legal authority to make official decisions for the children about schools, extracurriculars, and other questions of permission that come up with kids. Arizona courts strongly favor giving both parents joint legal decision making power, and encourage positive co-parenting.
- Residency – Who will live where and when?
- Child support – Living arrangements and income amounts will factor strongly into whether or not one parent will be asked to pay child support to the other.
- Tax deduction – Which parent will claim which child as a dependent on their taxe?
- Visitation – Not just a matter of parental visitation (in the case of sole legal decision making) this can also determine when grandparents, relatives, step-parents, and other people can spend time with the children.
- Religious upbringing – If opinions differ about preferred religion, this process will be a time to discuss the details of what is permitted and when.
If you cannot agree, even after ordered mediation, then the court will decide for you. It is in the best interest of your entire family to work out the arrangements for your children together, to set a positive tone for the rest of the co-parenting years you have ahead of you.
If you and your spouse had fur babies together, it can be just as hard to work out who gets to spend what time with your pet. There have been numerous cases across the past few years that have set precedents for deciding a pet’s placement in a divorce in much the same way as things are decided for children.
While this isn’t as common as it once was, spousal maintenance may be ordered after divorce, particularly in situations where the income was disparate between the two of you. Did one of you work less during your marriage in order to take over more of the child-rearing or other home-based responsibilities? Or has one of you been in school recently? If either spouse has been out of the workforce for some time, then it will likely be harder for that person to get a job to make a living after the divorce.
The court may award spousal support for a period of time to give that person a chance to get back into a career. This will be based on a predetermined calculation.
Other issues are likely to come up during your divorce proceedings. Talk with your family law attorney to learn more about what to expect from the conversations regarding your divorce.