Trust Your Rights in a Firm that will
Fight to Insure Your Family's Future
The Arizona Family Law Attorneys at Donaldson Stewart, P.C. have handled numerous family law matters. The Firm consists of a knowledgeable team of professionals committed to providing quality services at reasonable rates.
Donaldson Stewart, P.C. is dedicated to the representation of people who are involved in family law matters. Our lawyers will work with you in all areas of your concern that relate to family law. Our goal is to resolve your family law conflicts and concerns, in a timely and efficient manner. This will result in greater emotional and economic benefit for you.
Donaldson Stewart, P.C. focuses on the following family law matters:
- Divorce/Legal Separation
- Legal Decision Making (formerly known as “Child Custody”)
- Parenting Time
- Child Support
- Spousal Maintenance
- Orders of Protection
- Enforcements and Modifications of Family Law Issues
- Grandparents Rights
- Prenuptial Agreements
If you or someone you know has a family law matter and needs to discuss the situation with a qualified family law attorney, do not hesitate and call Chandler, Arizona Divorce Lawyers at Donaldson Stewart, P.C. at 480-792-9770, or by completing the attached online contact form. Your concerns will be taken seriously by someone who genuinely cares.
Family Law FAQ's
What is the general process of obtaining a divorce?
- A Petition is filed. The Petition gives the Court information about the parties, the children (if any) and the assets/debts. Since Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, the Petition must allege that the marriage is "irretrievably broken with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation." In Maricopa County, the Petitioner must pay a filing fee to the Court in the amount of $338. Under certain circumstances, the Court can waive or defer this fee.
- The Petition is served. Service can be accomplished in several ways: (a) personal service by a process server or law enforcement officer; (b) if the Respondent does not reside in Arizona, certified mail/return receipt requested; (c) acceptance of service; and (d) publication, if the Respondent cannot be located after diligent efforts have been made.
- A Response is filed. The Respondent has twenty days (thirty if served outside of Arizona) to file a written response if he/she disagrees with any of the requests made in the Petition. In Maricopa County, there is a filing fee of $268 for the Response.
- Decree of Dissolution. The Decree is the document the Court signs to signify that your marriage is dissolved. There are three ways to get this accomplished: (a) After Trial. If the parties are unable to resolve their contested issues after reasonable attempts, the Court will conduct a trial to hear evidence and testimony, then rule on the outcome; (b) By Default. If the Respondent does not file a timely Response, the Petitioner can attend a hearing during which the Court will confirm that the final orders match the requests in the original Petition, and the Decree will be signed during the hearing; (c) By Consent Decree.
What are the issues involved in a divorce?
- Legal Decision Making/Parenting Time. Legal Decision Making (formerly known as "Child Custody") refers to decision-making authority, primarily regarding non-emergency medical and educational decisions as well as personal care decisions. Legal Decision Making can be "joint" (where the parents share authority), or "sole" (where one parent has authority). Joint legal decision making does not mean equal parenting time. If the parties share joint legal decision making, the parents may share equal time, or the child may reside primarily with one of the parents.
- Child Support. Child support is calculated according to a statutory formula. The relevant factors are the parents' gross (before taxes) monthly incomes, the number of children, the ages of the children, the cost of medical insurance, the cost of daycare, and the amount of parenting time exercised by the non-residential parent. The parties' incomes are generally based on a regular 40-hour workweek, but if one party is unemployed or underemployed, the Court has the discretion to attribute additional income.
- Spousal Maintenance. In Arizona, there is no statutory formula for calculating spousal maintenance (known as "alimony" in some states); rather, there is a list of factors set forth in the statute, and the judge is required to address each factor in making a spousal maintenance determination.
- Division of Assets/Debts. Since Arizona is a community property state, the Court presumes that any asset or obligation acquired during the marriage is community (except for gift or inheritance), and anything acquired prior to the marriage or after the date the Respondent is served is separate property.
- Attorneys Fees. In most cases, each party will pay his or her own filing fees and legal fees. The Court has the discretion to award attorneys fees after considering the parties' comparable financial resources and the reasonableness of the position each party has taken during the proceedings, as well as other statutory considerations generally based on the conduct of the parties during the proceedings.