Arizona Contested Divorce Lawyers Advocate for Your Rights
Scottsdale attorneys litigate vigorously to attain fair results
If you’re like most people, you’d like your divorce to be quick, inexpensive and painless. At Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C., we agree that settling your divorce issues and avoiding trial is generally preferable. However, if avoiding trial would mean surrendering some of your rights and interests, our Arizona contested divorce lawyers are ready to litigate. We have the skills necessary to present a strong and persuasive case for the outcome you deserve.
What is a contested divorce?
In Arizona, all divorces are based on irreconcilable differences, so the grounds for divorce are not contested. Rather, a contested divorce means the spouses have not agreed on terms for settling one or more essential financial or parenting issues. Outstanding issues go to trial and are decided by a judge based on evidence presented in court.
Contested divorce vs uncontested divorce
A divorce is contested if the spouses disagree on terms relating to alimony, child custody, child support, division of marital property or other matters of importance. Contested divorces take longer and are more expensive, even if some of the issues are eventually resolved without a court decision.
An uncontested divorce is a marital dissolution in which the spouses have reached a complete marital settlement agreement. This is often preferable, because a settlement saves time and money by avoiding a trial. However, care must be taken to make sure the settlement is fair.
How does a contested divorce work?
The process begins with the filing of a petition for dissolution in the court of the county where at least one of the spouses resides. The petition contains a request for the court to dissolve the marriage and specifies the terms the petitioner would prefer for alimony, child custody, child support and division of property. The petitioner then arranges for a copy of the petition to be served on the other spouse along with a court summons. The other spouse then has 20 days to file a response, which includes the terms he or she would prefer.
The court holds a hearing and may enter a temporary order on such issues as custody and support during the divorce proceeding. The case then moves to discovery, where both sides make requests for information and financial disclosures. It may be necessary to consult experts on financial and parenting matters. This is also the time to pursue negotiations.
If negotiations do not result in a complete agreement, the unresolved issues proceed to trial. A judge decides those matters. Either spouse may appeal a divorce judgment, but that appeal concerns only the way a judge applied the law, not whether a spouse liked the outcome.
How long does a contested divorce take in Arizona?
Contested divorces can take anywhere from a few months to two years, depending on such factors as how many issues go to trial, how complicated those issues are and how willing the spouses are to cooperate. Spouses with opposing views on parenting may fight long and hard over custody. Wealthy couples can dispute alimony and property rights in great detail. One spouse may try to hide assets, forcing the other to pursue additional means of locating that property and returning it to the marital estate.
Is it worth contesting a divorce?
A good general rule in a divorce is not to fight over the past but to be willing to fight for your future. As your divorce attorneys in Scottsdale, Arizona, we help with a detailed cost-benefit analysis, so you can decide on the best strategy for achieving your goals.
Contact a trustworthy Scottsdale divorce attorney for a free consultation
Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. provides reliable representation for Arizona contested divorces. Call 602-789-3497 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation. Our office is conveniently located on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale.