Phoenix and Arizona Top Divorce Lawyers
Divorce is never easy but we can help you do it right.
While ending a marriage is probably one of the hardest decision that anyone can face, it is extremely important to have the right guidance during this process from the very beginning.
Even if you are just considering whether or not you should get divorced or not, knowledgeable and truthful legal advice can help you avoid costly and irreparable mistakes. No other mean can replace the value of proper legal advice from a qualified lawyer who has understood the specifics of your situation and who can give you counsel based on what you are trying to achieve.
There are many steps to be taken in order to dissolve a marriage, as well as multiple forms to approach this process depending on your circumstances and whether your partner would like to cooperate or not. In addition, the specifics of the relationship such as the length of the union, the presence of children amongst others, can greatly affect what avenue should you take.
Types of Divorce
“Once you do embark upon the separation or divorce process, it is very important to remember three key things: Be kind, be reasonable, be brief. Remember that this person will no longer be your spouse, but he or she will continue to be your co-parent, family member, and perhaps a business partner in certain assets or entities.”
- Uncontested Divorce: Both parties reach an agreement as to all the issues, and submit a response or Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage to the Court, that sets forth all of their agreements for the judge to sign, as indicated in A.R.F.L.P. Rule 45(B).
- Contested Divorce: When the spouses cannot agree to a divorce, a conciliation meeting can be requested for both parties to attend. There is a hold on the legal process for up to 60 days while that meeting takes place. If at the meeting any of the parties wants to continue with the divorce, the divorce goes forward. If the spouses still cannot reach an agreement on how to settle the divorce (custody of children, spousal maintenance, or division of property) it may be necessary to take the case to trial where a judge will decide for them. In this case, the parties must then request a trial in order to conclude their divorce.The procedure for requesting a trial varies from county to county. In the event of a contested divorce, the parties should seek the advice of an attorney if they have not already done so.
Divorce and Finances
Finances and children are usually the most stressful topics to resolve when a marriage is ending. With our team of expert lawyers, we can help make this process less stressful as you are guided by a team who is reputable, experienced and highly knowledgeable.
Even if you are just considering the possibility of ending your marriage, please seek the proper legal advice. Following the recommendations made by a professional in family law can greatly help you steer away from turmoil and have a smooth as possible divorce process from start to finish.
Arizona is a No-Fault state, this means that there is no need to prove grounds for a divorce. All that you need is that one of the spouses decided to end the marriage and files the petition with the court. This also means that all assets get divided 50%/50% in most cases unless special provisions have been set in place.
In a divorce, usually the claims over financial assets consist of:
When it comes to getting advice about your divorce and finances, our expert team of divorce attorneys can assist and guide you to make sure that you understand and are aware of what you are entitled to and there is also full and relevant financial disclosure of the value of all assets (including business interests, pensions, bank accounts, business shares, investments and others) in order to get a reasonable and sensible financial divorce settlement. Such financial claims can also include any relevant children.
A financial disclosure is often needed in order to decide how to divide the spouses’ finances and arrive at a divorce settlement. This means that all of the relevant assets (including business interests), liabilities, income, outgoings, and pension provisions are disclosed by the spouses with documents that support them. In addition, any relevant taxation or risk issues also need to be taken into account.
On some occasions, a valuation from an appointed professional may be needed as evidence. This commonly relates to the family home, a spouses’ or couple’s business, investments, pension and so on.
Once this financial disclosure is completed then the parties, with their family law attorneys, can start to properly and sensibly negotiate a financial divorce settlement.
The most common divorce settlement factors that a court takes into account are:
- The welfare of any minor children
- Income, earning capacity, assets and financial resources of each spouse
- Financial needs, obligations, and responsibilities of each spouse
- The couple’s standard of living
- The age of each party and the length of the marriage
- The health condition of each spouse
- Contributions (financial and non-financial)
- Loss of certain rights
Once an agreement is reached it must be signed off by a judge. In the case that the parties cannot agree, the court will make the decisions regarding the division of the assets for them.
Arizona Divorce Process
The steps below summarize the different stages of a divorce procedure in the state of Arizona with a brief overview of what each step entitles.
Step 1: Filling Out and Preparing the Divorce Forms
In order for a divorce proceeding to take place in Arizona, either one of the spouses must be a resident of Arizona for at least 90 days before filing for a divorce in Arizona (a. A.R.S. 25-312). The required forms and fees may vary slightly from county to county.
The spouse seeking a divorce should file the Petition for Divorce in the Superior Court of the county where he or she resides. This spouse is called the Petitioner, while the other spouse is called the respondent, and who will be served with the divorce papers.
Before filing for divorce, the petitioner must select the packet to be completed depending on whether or not there are children in the marriage and fill out the corresponding forms to the best of their abilities.
Step 2: Filing the Paperwork with the Court
Before filing the papers to the clerk of the courts, the petitioner should make two copies of all documents – one for the respondent, and one to keep. The original packet goes out to the court.
The petitioner must pay a fee for filing unless he or she completes the Application for Deferral of Filing Fee, which will be reviewed by the court. If the court agrees that the fee should be waived because the petitioner cannot afford it, he or she does not have to pay to file the divorce papers.
The petitioner then proceeds to sign the complaint in the presence of the clerk of court who date- and time-stamps the divorce papers and notarizes. The papers should be served on the respondent as soon as possible after filing.
Step 3: Serving the Documents to the Respondent
After filing for divorce at the Superior Court of the County, the petitioner should try to immediately serve the respondent with the divorce papers. This action is called the Service of process, and it ensures that the other spouse receives notice of the petition for divorce from their spouse and is given the opportunity to appear, argue or refuse this petition. The service of process ensures that both parties are aware of the process and that their side of the story is heard too.
The state of Arizona gives the petitioner a maximum of 120 days to serve the divorce papers on the respondent. Failure to do this means the clerk of court will automatically dismiss the case, and the petitioner who wants to get divorced will have to start the process all over again.
After being served, the respondent must respond to the summons and petition within 20 days (or, if he or she lives out of state, 30 days) or the court will award the petitioner with a default judgment. A default judgment means that the court gives the petitioner everything requested by the petitioner, without any input from the respondent.
Step 4: Disclosing Financial Information
Both the petitioner and the respondent must complete an Affidavit of Financial Information, which is a statement sworn in front of a notary. This document outlines the complete details of each spouse’s financial picture and it covers information about employment, assets, taxes, liabilities and monthly expenses. Supporting documentation must be attached such as bank statements, pay stubs and tax returns. This document is also filed with the court and served to the respondent as well.
Step 5: Finalizing the Divorce
After the respondent is served with the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, there will be a mandatory 60-day “cooling off” period before the divorce procedure continues and is finalized. It is not possible to get a divorce in Arizona any faster even if both spouses completely agree.
If the parties do not agree on the terms of the divorce, a trial will be set. Depending on the county, these proceedings could take as long as six to nine months before a divorce can be finalized.
Additional Issues in Divorce Cases
Video Courtesy of the Arizona Superior Court
- High Net Worth Divorce
- Collaborative Divorce
- Legal Separation
- Dissolution Petition
How We Approach Divorce
We are a specialist family and divorce law firm and leaders in this field. This is reflected by the many independent legal directories awards that our firm has received as well by the strong track record of our partners. When the time comes to make legal decisions that will affect your future, Collins & Collins. L.L.P. will focus on your needs and goals and will represent you aggressively, fairly, ethically and competently. Collins & Collins L.L.P. has a reputation for competence and dedication to the needs of our clients.
At Collins & Collins, L.L.P., we are experts at practicing family law. We understand that every case if different and that our clients have options when it comes to divorce. While in some cases tough and aggressive representation may be necessary, in others, mediation may be the best option.
Additionally to the emotional turmoil related to the process of divorce, you may have many questions about divorce that we can help you answer with certainty such as:
- Should I get divorced?
- What will happen to the children?
- How can the property and debts be divided?
- Is divorce the right option for me?
- What can I do if my partner does not want a divorce?
- How can I reduce costs in my divorce?
- How long will a divorce take?
- What am I entitled to?
- What can I expect during my divorce?
- Should I update my Will?
Often a divorce legal situation does not end with an agreement or court order; as situations change, adjustments may need to be made to accommodate those changes. Therefore, our representation does not end at the negotiating table or in court. We stand beside you throughout the divorce legal process and afterward as you implement court orders and decisions.
Where court proceedings are necessary, our attorneys will robustly deal with the case to ensure the best possible outcome and aim to minimize the divorce financial cost. Please be aware that extra care needs to be taken in cases facing an international divorce.
You may have many more questions and it is highly likely that as time passes on new ones may arise. However, we are positive that we are the best divorce attorney phoenix for our clients who have expressed their satisfaction in our multiple testimonials.
The Collins Law firm has been a staple in my family now for the last decade
The Collins Law firm has been a staple in my family now for the last decade. When my wife and I were faced with desperate financial distress, Joe Collins stepped in to assist us with bankruptcy
, all the while helping us to maintain our dignity.
When the ex-wife was being unrealisti
c with child support requiremen ts, John drove all the way to Holbrook Arizona to defend me in the matter. John had the issue resolved in a profession al manner and kept everything fair for both parents and the children involved.
When my mother was involved in a serious car accident and the police were unable to definitive
ly deduce a person at fault, John was able to prove my mother was not at fault. He was able to replace her vehicle and ensure her medical bills were handled.
When my wife’s best friend was not receiving child support from her ex, we were quick to refer the Collins law firm. We are happy to say she is now receiving benefits for her daughter.
We shall soon be utilizing Collins and Collins once more, for finally seeking custody of my two eldest teens. I trust win or loose in the matter, the Collins firm will deliver as always, exceptiona
lly just and fair results.
We have referred the Collins & Collins firm on no less than three occasions.
My parents, my wife’s friend and another family friend whom the Collins firm was so fair to, they outright told her she could handle the issue herself and not to be nervous to do so. That is the honesty that can be found at the Collins and Collins firm. Well now I proudly say I’m referring the Collins and Collins Law firm to any of you who need legal assistance and are viewing this page. Schedule your consultati on today.
Excellent Lawyer: knowledgeable and accurate
I would highly recommend Jonathan S. Collins to anyone in need of an excellent attorney.
He is very knowledgeable and always answered my questions very quickly. All of his recommendations as to how to proceed in my case and in my business relationships were accurate and beneficial.
He always is quick to respond to inquiries and provides comprehensive advice. My legal issues can be complicated and Jon has made difficult times much easier to handle. He is an excellent attorney.
Excellent Business Lawyers
Excellent law practice. Really nice people and very assertive when it comes to complex business litigation and business disputes. They did a wonderful job and I won’t hesitate if to contact them if I ever need legal advice in the future.
Couldn't Have Chosen a Better Attorney
Jonathan has been a great support through all of my custody issues. I was married to my ex-husband when he was going through a high conflict divorce, so I didn’t expect our divorce to be any different. Jonathan has been a life saviour in so many situations, keeping me level headed and reasonable through the entire situation.
Some of my friends attorneys will tell them whatever they want to hear, and let them fight court battles they won’t win, just to get the extra legal fees, but Jonathan has never once done that with me.
He will tell me directly if I’m asking for something I can’t realistically get, so it’s not worth my time and money. Because of this, not only have I not wasted money and time on unnecessary legal endeavours, but every time I have gone to court, I have known exactly what to expect and have always gotten exactly what I have asked the court for. Sometimes it’s not always what I initially wanted, but because he keeps me honest and reasonable in this situation prior to going to court, I have been able to focus on what’s really important with these custody issues, and definitely come out looking like the reasonable one.
He’s very in touch and familiar with the Judges and Parenting Coordinators. Explains what to expect from each one, and how to adjust your requests based on who is proceeding your case.
If you’re going through a divorce or custody battle, especially a high conflict one, I would highly recommend Jonathan to represent you. I have been represented by him for over 5 years. If you listen to his guidance, he will not let you down.
Complex Business Litigation
I had a great experience. My business litigation case was quite complicated, I felt that pressured and like the other party, my ex-business partner was trying to take advantage of me; but the attorneys at Collins & Collins were with me all the way and I didn’t feel alone in this. They tried very hard to make things easy for me and to explain everything since I had no idea about these things and legal issues, I have never had to deal problem before in my life. I think that the Collins are very good
s and legal issues, I have never had to deal problem before in my life. I think that the Collins are very good business lawyers. Would highly recommend.
Collins Law Firm
Mr. Joseph did a wonderful job at all my cases since we knew him 15 years ago.
He is taking care of all my needed advice all the time, we do ask for his advice day and night we never hear a complaint at all. He pulled me out of a major problem that I put myself in.
Child and Grandparent's Rights
J Collins has been our family attorney for many (about 6 ) years. He has never given up on finding ways to keep my granddaughter in our lives. He has been true to the laws even when the court didn’t abide by the laws. Trying to keep the bills down and fighting hard for the child’s and grandparents rights were difficult, but not impossible for Mr. Collins. He and all of them are helpful and caring.
Mr. Collins was referred to me from a co-worker in 2010.
I’ve required Mr. Collins services a number of times and each time he has been phenomenal.
Mr. Collins is honest, trustworthy, and seeks the best solution for his client. Mr. Collins constantly reminded me of what would be in the best interest of my children. He helped me see the bigger picture and explained each step of the legal process in a way that I could understand.
Jon came recommend to me in 2008 when I found myself facing divorce. I was being thrown into a situation I never thought would happen to me. Jon was sensitive and caring and truly did was in my best interest.
He answered my never ending questions and concerns and walked me through every step of the process. On and off throughout the years other questions have come up and Jon has always made himself available to me for answers and advice.
Recently our parenting plan needed some adjustments so I again went to Jon. He was patient with me and helped me do what was best for my children and I.
I was nervous about going to court and child support adjustments and everything else that comes along with that process. By the time we actually made it to court I was confident in what to expect and felt Jon had properly prepared both me and himself to go in front of a judge.
I am truly grateful for him and all he has done for my children and I over the years. He is much more than an attorney to us, he is a friend.
Absolutely Recommend Joe Collins Services
Joe and his father Bob Collins have been excellent assets throughout my family court proceedings that were complex and lengthy. Joe Collins is well known in the family court system being both knowledgeable of the other litigating attorneys, and the judges that rotate on and off the bench.
An added perk was that Bob Collins has a police background and he is skilled in the analytical methods used by law enforcement.
I prevailed in my lengthy court proceedings because I had an excellent, savvy, cost-effective, tenured legal team representing me and the best interests of my dependents.
Understanding the legal status of prenuptial agreements:
Prenuptial agreements are often used by couples who want to agree – before they marry or become civil partners – how they would divide their money, assets, and property, should they decide to separate or get divorced.
Over the last decade, there has been a surge in the number of Prenuptial agreements. However, courts will generally take them into account as one of the circumstances of the international divorce case and will give significant weight to them provided certain safeguards have been met. For example:
- The financial needs of the children are adequately taken care of.
- Both parties had taken legal advice on the implications of entering into the agreement before signing it.
- Whether they are treated as being legally enforceable.
- Establishing where you can divorce or dissolve your marriage or civil partnership.
It’s normally a better idea to take advice from a lawyer who specializes and has experience in divorce cases and marriage dissolution. But be aware that this will make it much harder to reach an amicable agreement with your ex-partner.
Pros of first taking legal advice for a Divorce Lawyer:
You should seek legal advice from specialist family law attorney. It is recommended that you do this before negotiating with your ex-partner or before exploring mediation with them. This is because the risk of losing control of where you decide to start divorce proceedings can have serious implications.
We are Experts at International Divorce
Divorce is a legal process that can be lengthy and expensive if not handled properly. This is especially true when one of the parties refuses to cooperate. This situation can be aggravated by the fact that more and more people from different countries or different nationalities get married making the divorce process even more complex.
Decisions in an International Divorce regarding topics such as asset division, jurisdiction, child relocation become even more complicated and need special knowledge and expertise in order to abide by local, US and international laws and regulations. Failing to do this can have devastating repercussions that may affect greatly your future and that of your loved ones.
At Collins & Collins, we specialize in international family law and have had a vast experience in this field with successful outcomes for our clients. We understand the importance of making the knowledgeable and speedy actions.
Issues that commonly arise in an international divorce are:
- Divorce Jurisdiction: where a divorce should take place and the rules that govern it.
- Financial Outcome: making sure that your assets are protected and recognized properly in an international divorce.
- Relocation of Children: getting proper permission to relocate overseas.
- Child Abduction: what to do if your child is taken without your knowledge or consent.
What You can Expect from our Law Firm
We are a family law firm in Arizona with offices in Phoenix and Payson. We have worked with several embassies and consulates as well as clients from all over the world to help them resolve their international divorce case.
At Collins & Collins, L.L.P we are selective when it comes to the cases that we take on. The reason? Simple, we want to make sure that we are able to provide or clients the best possible legal representation that we can provide in order to meet their demands and individual circumstances.
Our practice is not focused on volume, and since we are a family business, we are proud to keep it this way and we are able to promise to deliver the best possible representation to clients that we decide to take on with professionalism and the utmost respect towards them.
For local or international family law advice or to talk about your international divorce case, we invite you to make use of our divorce / international divorce lawyers in Phoenix AZ Free consultation, so that you can come and talk to one of our expert attorneys and start getting answers and advice.
Phoenix Office: (602) 788-7227
Payson Office: (928) 363-8004