The contested divorce process in Arizona can take anywhere between one and two years or more to complete, and that has everything to do with the fact that spouses do not agree on key tenets of the divorce, such as child custody, child support payment amounts, spousal support payment amounts, and how both the assets and debt(s) should be split up in the divorce.
What Causes the Slow-Down in Contested Divorce in Arizona?
When your Arizona divorce is contested, as with all other types of divorce, the very first step is to petition for divorce, and then your spouse, usually with the help of his or her Phoenix divorce attorney, will draft a written response to the petition for divorce — legally, the response to the Arizona divorce petition must be completed and submitted within 30 days of the submission of the divorce petition.
Discovery: The Second Step of Divorce, Where the Process Often Stalls
In the next step of the Arizona divorce process, known as discovery, the Phoenix divorce lawyers on both sides of the process will convene to go over and verify the sum total of the jointly held assets, debts, and yearly income of the spouses combined — this collection of financial data allows the divorce lawyers to best determine who will be given which assets, who will be assigned what debt(s), and who, if either of the spouses, will be required to pay spousal support, and how much that support will amount to.
Additionally, in this second step, your Arizona divorce attorney will communicate with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s attorney in an effort to best determine who will be in control of the child(ren), who will make decisions on the behalf of the child(ren), and how much, if any, child support will need to be paid on a monthly basis until the child(ren) reach the age of 18.
This critical step in the process is where many Arizona divorces are slowed down, because the spouses themselves — before being counseled by their dissolution of marriage attorneys — contest, or disagree with the decisions about custody, financial support for the child(ren), and alimony to be paid by one spouse to the other.
Discovery and disclosure in an Arizona dissolution of marriage can take as little as 60 days, but due to disagreement on the part of one or both spouses can take as much as one year to complete, and that means that neither of the divorce lawyers nor the court itself can move on to the next step in the dissolution process.
Further Standstills in Arizona Divorce: The Calling of Expert Witnesses to Testify in Court
Expert witnesses can be called to testify on just about every single aspect of a divorce proceeding, including to help the court better determine:
- Who should have custody of the children based on what the expert witness discovers about how much time each spouse spends with the child(ren) and how much s/he is invested in the activities and education of the child(ren)
- What the expert witness recommends regarding child custody based on an in-depth evaluation of the family unit, the activities they take part in on a regular or semi-regular basis, and which spouse generally handles arrangements for the child(ren) when it comes to their medical, educational, and religious needs and activities, both inside and out of the house, including which educational facilities they go to before, during, or after school, which church(es) they attend, and where they go for sporting events or events such as after-school clubs and programs
Financial Experts May Also be Called to Testify About Your Jointly Held Financials and Other Assets
Beyond expert witnesses to determine child custody, financial experts may also be called to the stand to evaluate and best determine how much money each spouse is earning as well as a financial evaluation to clarify the value of any business(es) either or both spouse owns.
This type of financial evaluation by an expert like a forensic accountant or other type of expert witness can have a profound impact on the amount of time it takes to complete the divorce process, and in most cases, you can expect the calling of such witnesses to take an additional eight months.
Further Delays: Waiting for the Judge to Hear Your Divorce Case in Arizona
What’s more, the civil judges who handles divorce trials in the state of Arizona are generally scheduled many months out — that means that even if you have gone to the trouble of taking the added time to call forth expert family and/or financial witnesses and patiently waited for that process to be completed, the judge will very likely not be able to see you as soon as this process it complete. You will likely have to wait another six months before s/he can be present for your divorce trial.
Setting a Court Date for Your Divorce Trial: The Next Step in an Arizona Contested Divorce
If, through the process of having expert witnesses evaluate your family and finances to determine the division of assets and debt, spousal support, and to determine child custody and child support, you and your spouse still disagree on these core issues, your Arizona divorce case will have to be set for a trial, and the scheduling of that trial date can be impacted by a number of variables, such as:
- How financially complicated your divorce case is in the eyes of the court
- When the judge has time to hear your divorce trial in court
- The potential need for even more financial or other experts may need to be assigned to evaluate the details of your divorce case
Get Started Today: We’ll Ensure Your Divorce is Resolved as Quickly and Favorable as Possible
If you are in the midst of, or will soon face a deeply financially complicated divorce, or one fraught with disagreements between you and your spouse when it comes to issues of child custody, you need to have an experienced Arizona contested divorce attorney on your side. Whether you have already tried and failed at either negotiation or mediation, or you’re just getting started and know you face an uphill battle, get in touch with the Barreda Law Office today.
We understand the complexities associated with Arizona dissolution of marriage, and we know what it takes to get agreements on deeply controversial issues such as child custody and support. We will fight aggressively on your behalf to ensure that you get what is fair and equitable out of your divorce proceedings, whether that means more time with your kids or having to pay spousal support that is commensurate with what experts research and reveal about your unique divorce case.
Give us a call today for your no-cost legal consultation so we can begin to shape the defense you need to get what’s fair out of your divorce trial. Dial (480) 438-8014 today to get started.