December 12, 2017

Do I Need An Attorney To Get Divorced In Arizona

One does not have to hire an  Arizona Divorce Attorney to get a divorce.  In fact one does not have to go through a traditional litigated case to get a divorce.  The following are three options getting a divorce in Arizona, with and without attorneys.

1.     Traditional Litigation. Traditional litigation includes filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the supporting documents, serving it on one’s spouse and then, if the spouse files a response, gathering evidence and witnesses to put on at trial and any temporary orders hearing.  One does not have to hire an attorney for this process.  However, it is helpful to have an attorney to help you understand legal rights and to navigate the Court system.

2.     Mediation. Mediation is a process wherein both parties select a mediator to help them resolve their issues and get a divorce without having to go to Court.  A mediator is a neutral party who is trained in conflict resolution.  While a family law mediator is usually also an attorney, the mediator cannot take sides and, therefore, does not give legal advice to one side or the other.  Mediation focuses on what the parties feel is a fair result.  Therefore, the parties can enter creative agreements that the Court would not have the authority to enter.  Mediation is generally much less expensive, time consuming and stressful than litigation.  What is more, it provides participants with certainty – they do not have to risk a negative outcome in Court.  Mediation is successful at resolving disputes almost 90 percent of the time.  Parties can choose to consult with attorneys in mediation or even bring attorneys to mediation.  However, because the attorneys do not have to write letters, conduct formal discovery or prepare for and attend trial, the cost is much less significant.  Many mediators can prepare all of the paperwork for the parties as well.

3.     Collaborative Divorce. Collaborative Divorce is a team approach to getting divorced without going to Court.  The team generally consists of collaboratively trained attorneys for each party, coaches (mental health professionals who help the parties through the process) for each party, one child specialist if there are children and one financial specialist.  The parties must agree to resolve their dispute out of Court.  If either party chooses to litigate, the entire team dissipates and cannot be used for the litigation process.  While attorneys are involved, they use a collaborative model, which means they give advice but do not engage in adversarial conduct.

Alona M. Gottfried is a family law mediator and attorney in Arizona.  If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or alona@sglawaz.com.  This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice.  See a legal professional before making legal decisions.

Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260

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This is a general interest website only and is not intended to be legal advice. See a legal professional before making legal decisions.