How Financially Prepare for AZ Divorce

How to Prepare Finances for a Divorce in AZ

A handful of important considerations beckon your attention throughout the divorce process. And, being prepared can help ensure your assets stay protected.

How to Make Financial Moves Before a Divorce

If you or your partner have recently filed for divorce in Arizona, there are a few things that you should try to do as quickly as possible.

Choose a Lawyer that’s Right for You

One of the most important steps you can take before beginning a divorce is hiring an attorney you can trust. Divorce can be an intimidating process that is already emotional and stressful, and feeling unsure how to proceed can create even more anxiety.

By hiring an experienced AZ attorney, you will receive advice and assistance throughout your divorce, including formidable representation in court. A divorce lawyer is experienced with all the issues that may occur during divorce, including financial considerations. If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse differ regarding the division of assets, an attorney can help you handle financial concerns in a way that preserves your future.

Organize and Identify Your Assets

Organize Records

Identifying your assets also helps if you think your partner may try to sell or hide any community assets in an attempt to avoid dividing them with you. Bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage statements, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and any physical assets or properties should all be accounted for. It is critical to know what you have before you begin the property division process.

Estimate the Cost of Your Divorce

Unfortunately, divorce is rarely a cheap process. Many people go into divorce not expecting its high price tag and are therefore uncertain what to do with money before a divorce begins. Whether you choose mediation to settle various aspects of your divorce out of court or engage in lengthy litigation to make decisions, divorce expenses can add up quickly. Since every divorce is different, it isn’t easy to determine the potential cost of your case. However, estimating attorney fees, moving costs, court fees, and regular monthly expenses can help to give you a better idea of how to manage your money moving forward.

Avoid Making Major Financial Decisions

Of course, divorcing is itself a major financial decision that will impact your finances. However, other major decisions, like changing your beneficiaries, closing accounts, and transferring assets before a divorce can hurt you during the divorce process. These things will be handled legally once the divorce is underway and the division of assets has begun. If you make these moves too soon, you may risk contempt of court or lose your assets to your soon-to-be-ex.

How to Prepare Finances for an Arizona Divorce

During your divorce, division of assets will result in property ownership changes, in addition to your regular and divorce-related expenses. Here are some tips for handling your finances during the chaos of a divorce.

Close Joint Accounts

Close Joint Accounts

Once you have begun the divorce process, it’s time to start closing your joint accounts. Often, bank accounts have both partners’ names, and funds will have to be transferred individually to new accounts. Joint credit cards must be canceled through the creditor, and you’ll have to open your own new credit account.

Closing joint accounts can help prevent your ex-spouse from misusing funds before the divorce is finalized. It’s important that you open a new checking and savings account in your own name and arrange income for deposits and debits for expenses to be handled through the new account. You should also keep documentation regarding when you closed your joint accounts and began your own.

Get An Asset Evaluation

Your assets are important. Whether you’re dealing with expensive collectible items, a shared family home, or your retirement fund, evaluating your assets is critical for a fair property division process. By hiring a professional to evaluate your and your ex-partner’s assets, you can ensure that the correct value is placed on each asset and that they are fairly divided during the divorce. A professional asset evaluation should be done as soon as possible to avoid delays in your divorce and prevent your partner from hiding assets.

Gather Financial Documentation

To properly handle your finances and ensure that property division occurs fairly during your divorce, you will need to collect a great deal of financial documentation. If you have not already done so prior to beginning your divorce, gather bank statements and credit card statements to help to give your lawyers and the court a better idea of how finances were used throughout your marriage. Checking and savings statements, pay stubs, credit card statements, bills, loan agreements, and income tax returns are all critical documentation needed during a divorce. These documents can help the court understand how money was handled as well as its source, such as the individual incomes of each partner.

Maintain Your Individual Credit

Your credit score plays a crucial role in many areas of your life, including your financial health. Despite the difficulties of your divorce, it’s important to maintain your credit. Unfortunately, people often complete a divorce with weak credit due to mounting expenses, their partner’s spending issues, and many other factors. It’s essential to continue building your individual credit so that you can avoid issues like higher financing rates or difficulty renting or purchasing a new property.

Don’t Forget About Insurance Policies

Insurance policies can become a complex financial task because they often affect other important aspects of your life, many of which were shared with your partner. For example, most life insurance policies will require beneficiary changes if you wish to remove your former spouse. Car insurance policies may also need to be changed if they were previously shared by both spouses or if vehicle ownership has changed.

How Can I Afford to Live on My Own After Divorce?

During a divorce, you may experience multiple different housing situations, all of which present different financial concerns. So, how does this work?

Home Sale

One Spouse Buys Out the Other

Since a home is a physical asset that cannot be split unless sold, the person remaining in the family home must often “buy out” the other spouse. This can be done via a cash out finance or forfeiture of an asset or assets of equal value. With these assets or funds from the cash out refinance in hand, the other spouse can afford a new living situation. The title will need to be transferred to the remaining spouse, and all ownership and mortgage documents should be solely under that spouse’s name.

Spouses Agree to Sell the Home

Another option is selling the family home. Sometimes, this is the best option for couples who do not have children, or cases where neither partner feels they have the finances to maintain the home on their own. With the help of a real estate agent and your lawyer, you and your partner can sell your shared home and then split the proceeds fairly. If you and your partner can’t afford to keep the home or are worried about selling it in the current market, you may also agree to rent the house to a third party. When this happens, proceeds can be split between both partners.

Other Circumstances

Unfortunately, the above options may not be available for all couples, especially if they owe more for the home than the home’s current market value. In some cases, if neither you or your partner wants to remain in the home, or neither of you feel you can afford to stay there, you may have to agree to sell the home at a loss. In more severe circumstances, foreclosure may be necessary. Moving forward, the assets retained after the divorce and your own efforts to maintain your credit should help you find a new residence you can afford.

Protect Yourself and Prepare Your Finances During a Divorce

We provide affordable legal services for any individual involved in or looking to initiate a family or divorce law case. We offer guidance as well as our professional expertise and knowledge of the law. We are located in the heart of Phoenix, but our services are digital, which allows us to help individuals throughout the state.


*Editor’s Note: This article was originally published March 21, 2018 and has been rewritten August 23, 2022.

Keep Your Arizona Divorce From Wrecking Your Finances

Keep Your Arizona Divorce From Wrecking Your Finances

Going through a messy divorce is sadly semi-common, but there are ways to avoid conflict. Besides open and clear communication with your ex-spouse, having a necessary grasp on your assets, childcare responsibilities, and financial accounts is key to beginning the divorce process. Avoiding bringing your case to court is a great way to save the hassle of tough proceedings, along with the expensive price tag.

One of the most important aspects of a divorce is financial stability. Ensuring your paperwork is signed and filed properly can save you time and money during your divorce proceedings.

How to File for a Divorce in Arizona

As with any legal process, the first step in filing any legal paperwork is determining the petitioner, the person filing for divorce, and the respondent. In AZ Family Court, the petitioner needs to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the Superior Court of their current residential district. Copies of each form must then be sent to the respondent. Within 20 days for in-state residents or 30 days for out-of-state residents, the respondent can file a response to the dissolution petition. After a minimum of 60 days from the delivery of the petition to your spouse, the court can decide whether to grant the dissolution.

In the initial filing, a variety of payments and agreements are outlined by the petitioner, giving the respondent a detailed list of spousal maintenance and child support stipulations. A dissolution petition is primarily used to outline the list of assets and responsibilities held by both the petitioner and respondent in the case.

The terms outlined in these proceedings can often lead to strife between you and your spouse, especially when it comes to money. For example, if you make substantially less than your spouse and want to ensure you can maintain your current standard of living with alimony payments, asking for these payments can become a major point of contention. 1

What Is a Covenant Divorce?

In Arizona, the option to have your marriage declared as a covenant marriage is available for those looking to declare their union a lifelong commitment. However, as with any former binding commitment, circumstances change. These rules may not accurately describe your current circumstances.

Before filing for a divorce, couples in a covenant marriage must seek counseling from a marriage counselor or clergy member before proceeding with the divorce. There also must be tangible evidence for your divorce, including:

  • Adultery, or having extramarital relations
  • Imprisonment of spouse
  • Abandonment by spouse
  • Proof of physical or sexual abuse against you or your family
  • Proof of domestic violence, including emotional abuse
  • Previous residential separation for at least two years
  • Residential separation for at least one year from legal separation
  • Drug use by spouse
  • Mutually agreeing to a divorce

At the moment, a covenant marriage may seem like the best way to prove your eternal love for your spouse. If you start to hit a rough patch at some point during your marriage, though, these unions can become unreasonably tricky to undo.

Between compiling a case to attending legally mandated marriage counseling, covenant marriages and their subsequent divorces can become extremely time-consuming and expensive. Although somewhat complicated, covenant marriage dissolution is possible, and with the right attention to detail and evidence, you can properly file for a divorce. 2

Why Do Divorce Proceedings Become Hostile?

Why Do Divorce Proceedings Become Hostile?

When it comes to family law, one of the most tension-filled practice areas is divorce litigation, which tends to bring out hostility in both parties involved. Before filing for a divorce, the reasoning behind why you file a divorce can impact the relationship you have with your spouse, which then transfers into your divorce trial.

However, Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, meaning either party can file for divorce without any allegations of adultery, domestic violence, or other issues. Still, if you are the filing party and your spouse is not ready for a divorce, this can make any further divorce proceedings far more complicated.

Besides adultery, abuse, and unwillingness to get a divorce, finances are a common issue that creates excess tension in divorce proceedings. Ranging from proposed settlements to asset division, any aspect of a divorce that has a price tag can become a point of hostility. Suggested alimony payments and decisions concerning who retains what assets can be the source of conflict due to the monetary value placed on each.

In cases involving children, child support payments and custody arrangements can cause strife between spouses, especially if both want full custody. Fortunately, the best interests of the children are the primary concern of the court, and any final decisions concerning the child’s well-being rest in the state’s hands.3

Options for Avoiding Hostile Divorce Proceedings

Lengthy divorce proceedings overseen by the court is not the only option for legal marriage dissolution. In the movies, depictions of courtroom divorce hearings have created the expectation of going to court to obtain a legal separation or divorce, but this is only true on screen. Avoiding the courtroom, whether that be through faster, more streamlined legal filing or individualized legal counsel is always beneficial for a divorce case.

Besides helping you efficiently determine the terms of your divorce, keeping your case out of the courtroom is better for your peace of mind and your wallet. Here are some of the most common ways to avoid taking your divorce to court.

Filing a Response to the Dissolution Petition

If you end up as the respondent in a divorce case, filing a response to a dissolution petition is a great way to combat any unfair stipulations laid out by your former spouse. For example, consider a situation where you primarily take care of your children and handle any of their personal paperwork, doctor’s appointments, and sports games, but your spouse is asking for full custody in their dissolution petition. As the de-facto primary caregiver for your children, you have a better handle on how to care for them, so filing to become the primary caregiver for your children could be in your best interest. This is still the beginning of the process, and clearing up any issues like this is crucial for creating a more streamlined divorce process.

Utilizing a Consent Decree

A consent decree is a legal document that can grant a divorce if all terms laid out by both spouses are agreed upon without renegotiations. Payment plans for child support, child visitation schedules, and property division are all outlined in these proceedings. For couples on better terms, or those filing an uncontested divorce, a consent decree helps expedite divorce proceedings. One of the best ways to help facilitate this process is by getting help with legal documents from a reputable firm or legal service. This can help you lay out an accurate, feasible divorce plan achievable by both you and your spouse.

Deciding in Mediation

Fortunately, with divorce proceedings, reaching the mediation stage is required before going to trial. In most cases, this phase of the divorce process is crucial for working out any big issues between you and your spouse. To avoid going to trial, mediation can create a space where both you and your spouse can explain and outline the reasons for each request in your statements. For example, if you request a certain amount in alimony that may seem exorbitant to your spouse, but you helped pay for the necessary schooling they needed to make the money they do now, explaining your reasoning behind the amount can help provide evidence to help support your claim.

Divorce proceedings do not need to be hostile, and the available avenues for avoiding a “War of the Roses” style of divorce are endless. One overarching factor crucial for ensuring a productive divorce hearing is filing the right paperwork for the right claims. If you are filing a response to a dissolution petition, clearly outlining which stipulations you are contesting is crucial for the process. For consent decrees and mediation, tactfully advocating for your necessary provisions is crucial for keeping your case from going to trial and getting out of hand. 4

Is Divorce Always Expensive?

The length of time the divorce process takes, especially the amount of time it takes to settle your case once filed, is where the bulk of the expense originates. Between paying lawyers, going through rounds of mediation, and making your court appearance, the price tag on a divorce trial can quickly get expensive. Not to mention, the deliberation process for asset division will determine how much money, alimony, child support, and other valuable assets you must give to your spouse as an outcome of the trial.

The speed of your trial all comes down to the efficiency of your filing process. For example, if you are the respondent of a case and take more than the allotted time to respond to a claim, your feedback on the case, along with your input on the different stipulations in the dissolution petition, could be cast aside.

That means you need to find a legal team to take up your claim as a last-ditch effort to get your perspective on the petition considered during the deliberation process. Utilizing an easily accessible document preparation service with an online platform can not only help you get ready for your divorce and get prepared for the legal process ahead, but can result in reduced stress and other mental health benefits. 5

Easier Divorce Filings in Arizona

Easier Divorce Filings in Arizona

Finding affordable divorce lawyers in Mesa may seem tricky, but getting expert help with legal documents like divorce paperwork is essential for streamlining your divorce. Filing deadlines, paperwork requirements, and general knowledge about the legal process behind a divorce are crucial for creating a faster, less expensive trial.

After tightening up the paperwork side of your divorce, the subsequent deliberations and meetings can be conducted and settled promptly. This efficient take on the divorce process begins with a competent legal team with expert knowledge in the realm of Arizona family court.


The Human Side

Divorce Report 2018: The Human Side

We all know the divorce rate is high, though it’s thankfully not as high as the 50% we often hear. It’s actually lower but the exact number varies depending on the study. Since divorce is still a common problem and grey divorce (among people over age 50) is on the rise, WP Diamonds decided to do some research on the human side of divorce. To that end, they conducted a survey of 1,018 divorcées in the United States and asked them about their personal experiences and insights.

Study: The Basics

The average age of participants was 23.2 years old when they first married and 38.7 when they separated, making 15.5 years the average length of a marriage. Notably, those who married under 25 stayed married longer (16.8 years) than those who got hitched when they were older (11.3 years).

 Why Divorce?
‘We just didn’t love each other anymore’ say one in five when asked why they got divorced. But the number one reason turned out to be communication problems, though this seems to be a more important reason for younger participants. One in four who married before 25 names it, compared to only one in five who married after 36. So, what does it mean exactly? Well, turns out ‘communication problems’ is a euphemism for some seriously toxic forms of interaction: contempt, criticizing the other’s personality, defensiveness and stonewalling (not communicating at all).

For 24% of those who married under 25, infidelity was a factor. After that, the other main motivators cited for divorce are: the inability to resolve conflict (22.2%), incompatible life goals (10.2%), lack of individual freedom (12.6%) and financial problems (12.6%). Domestic violence was given as a reason by 3.5%, though unfortunately that relatively low number doesn’t mirror data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

 Selling the Wedding Ring
Since 49% of respondents said their separation cost more than $10,000 (the longer the marriage, the costlier the divorce), it’s no wonder many divorcées look for creative ways to bulk up their bank accounts. Interestingly enough, the majority of the participants sold jewelry (the old wedding ring as a symbolic gesture perhaps), clothes and other personal belongings. Women also preferred to borrow money from friends if necessary, whereas men would rather go to the bank for a loan.

 Seeking Help
Most participants sought help from a lawyer (40%) and one in four considered visiting a therapist to navigate the emotional stages of separation. Those people seeking therapy reported dealing with aspects of grief: denial, pain, uncertainty, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression and acceptance.

Tying the Knot, Again
But to end on a positive note, all this hasn’t made us lose our faith in marriage at all. Only 9% of respondents said they would never marry again, compared to almost three-fourths who said they would consider getting remarried or had already even tied the knot for a second or third time!

By Dorien Dijkwel

Source:, “”, Dorian Dijkwel, 3/1/2018.

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