Divorce and Legal Separation
When you make the decision to end your marriage, either by divorce or legal separation, it begins a huge life transition. There’s nothing easy about divorce – or legal separation. With the right family law team, like The McCarthy Law Firm, you won’t go through it alone. Our Tucson family law team’s legal services aim to get the best outcome for you when it comes to: spousal support, child support, and community assets.
What is the difference between Divorce & Legal Separation?
Think of legal separation as doing everything you would during a divorce. Except at the end, you’re not divorced. You might wonder, “Why would I go through all of that and then still not be divorced?” A few reasons:
- Religious objections (either personal faith or the denomination’s rule)
- Medical insurance (coverage and cost)
- Social security benefits (be sure you’re not leaving money on the table)
- Financial reasons (separate finances to settle money disagreements)
- The “soft landing” option (avoiding confronting your spouse with the harsh reality)
Divorce aka Dissolution of Marriage
Arizona has “no fault” divorce statutes. That means your marriage can be dissolved without placing blame on a person or a situation. (The only bump in the road on this is if you are in a Covenant Marriage. That will show on your marriage license. Be sure to tell us right away if you’re in that situation.)
In divorce, the Court dissolves the marriage completely. That means there’s an order for a fair division of assets and debts related to securities and savings, real estate, family owned business, retirement funds and so forth. The Court awards each party’s separate property to that person. It also makes orders for any spousal maintenance (aka spousal support, alimony). At the end, you are no longer married.
If there are children involved, expect the Court to determine specifics around legal decision-making, parenting time (aka visitation) and child support. Your McCarthy Law Firm team will help lay out the optimal plan in your new family dynamic.
Most importantly, we will work non-stop to protect and guide you through the divorce, legal separation, or annulment process. It could be that you and your spouse reach an agreement without needing family court litigation. Even then, we will need to address topics like:
- Child support and parenting plans
- Spousal support
- Who has responsibility for paying which obligations
- What security there is for future payment obligations
- What happens if there’s failure to pay
- Attorneys’ fees
- Property transfers
- Life insurance (if appropriate)
- Tax allocations
A Note on Annulments
Annulments are rare. There isn’t much in Arizona statutes to guide what an “impediment rendering the marriage void” means. Maybe one lied to the other to trick them into marriage. Some try to use the reason that the marriage wasn’t consummated. However, that’s not dispositive. In other words, it’s hard to prove as a fact. Regardless, there are a number of things to be aware of if the Court does annul your marriage:
- Community property principles do not apply.
- There will be no Court order for spousal support.
- If you have a contracted debt that happened during the marriage, it’s not community, it’s your debt alone.
- Keep in mind, tax filings may also need to be amended.
Every divorce is different because every marriage is different.
No matter how complex or straightforward your divorce may be, you need family law specialists you can rely on.
Call on The McCarthy Law Firm to be yours.