divorce mistakes to avoid

5 Common Divorce Mistakes to Avoid

Divorce is a challenging process that can put even the most cordial of partners under stress. The grueling nature of the process means it’s easy for partners to make mistakes that may hurt their case.

You must proceed cautiously to avoid wasting time, energy, and money. Our Tucson divorce lawyer team will cover five common divorce mistakes to avoid in this article.

1. Rushing Through the Divorce Process

If you’re too eager to end the divorce process, you may end up with divorce judgments that do not come out in your favor. Before you choose to enter into any marital settlement agreements, you have to weigh your options carefully. You need to take time to arrive at a mutually beneficial settlement.

Remember, divorce hinges heavily on negotiation. You need to give yourself enough time to review the terms of any settlement with your divorce attorney. It’s impossible to change certain details once you agree to them.

2. Allowing Emotions to Influence Your Decisions

It’s normal for couples to get emotional during the divorce process. However, allowing your emotions to take over completely can lead to fighting for the wrong things.

It’s in your best interest to remain rational and in control throughout the divorce proceedings.

3. Trying to Exact Revenge Via the Court

People unhappy with a spouse for initiating a divorce often make the mistake of trying to get some sort of revenge during the divorce proceeding. They do this by prolonging the case, fighting for assets, and more.

However, this is a mistake that most people regret once the initial satisfaction has worn off. Trying to get revenge via the courts often leads to:

  • Avoidable increases in legal expenses
  • Increased stress on all affected parties (especially the children)
  • Feeling dissatisfaction with the outcome of the case

4. Hiding Marital Assets 

Lying to the court is one of the common divorce mistakes to avoid. Regardless of your feelings about your spouse, you should avoid all forms of dishonesty in court.

Disclose all marital assets and your financial situation. You should also be honest when filling out any affidavits and other such documents.

When you hide assets or lie, you may:

  • Lose your standing in the case
  • Void any previously-agreed settlements
  • Face fraud-related charges
  • Receive unfavorable judgments during property division

Be honest and allow the courts to handle the process, even if it doesn’t go the way you’d like.

5. Discussing Divorce Proceedings on Social Media 

It may feel good to rant about your divorce proceedings on your social media page. However, it’s in your interest to desist from any such actions. The words in your social media post may work against you on the next court date.

Don’t discuss proceedings with anyone other than your lawyer.

Learn More Divorce Mistakes to Avoid

Failing to entrust your case to a qualified attorney is a mistake you should avoid. Our experienced lawyers will help you navigate this strenuous and complicated process. You’ll learn other mistakes to avoid, make sense of what is in a divorce decree, and more. 

Call Randle Palmer & Associates PLLC at 520-327-1409 to speak with our Tucson, AZ, divorce lawyers today.

division of marital assets

What Happens During the Division of Marital Assets in Arizona?

Going through a divorce is always stressful, but facing unexpected legal challenges can make the process even worse. Therefore, understanding how different aspects of the divorce will go in court can help dramatically reduce your stress. In this article, we’ll cover the division of marital assets in Arizona and explain how the process works.

Although an amicable split is always preferable, divorce proceedings often become adversarial and heated. When that happens, having experienced attorneys on your side is crucial. Arizona residents can rely on divorce law representation in Tucson by Randle, Palmer, & Associates.

How the Court Divides Property 

When a married couple files for divorce, a legal separation process begins. During this process, the court will divide joint property between the parties, taking relevant factors into account to strive for equitable distribution. In the following sections, we’ll explain what types of personal property count as communal and how the court handles the division process.

What Counts as Community Property

In Arizona, any property you acquire during the marriage counts as marital property. This includes tangible and intangible property as well as debts in the state of Arizona. Some exceptions to this rule exist, but Arizona courts consider nearly everything earned during marriage to be communal. 

Steps of Property Division in Arizona

Once the divorce begins, the court works through multiple steps to determine how to divide the property. Read the following few sections for the steps of the division of marital assets process.


The first step in the division of marital assets is to identify all the assets the couple currently holds. This information helps the court make an informed decision and includes all bank accounts, real estate, stocks, or other assets. Providing this information promptly and accurately can help your case progress efficiently.


After identifying all the involved property, it’s important to classify which party owns what. Although property you acquired before getting married is separate property, anything a party earned during marriage is a marital asset, even if only one name is on the deed or receipt.


Placing a value on personal items can be challenging, but it’s an essential part of the division process. Deciding which items to prioritize can help the parties reach an agreement, as each party has something they want. However, if the parties don’t agree, the judge can make final determinations at his or her discretion.


Once the court receives the information it needs, the judge will finalize the division of marital property. This step awards each party their property to provide the most equitable split possible. In some cases, the court may award additional payments to one of the parties, but generally, this completes the process.

Get Expert Divorce Representation in Arizona

Now that you know how the division of marital assets works, explore our website if you want to know the tips on how to soften the effects of divorce on a child. Then, if you need divorce representation in Arizona, call Randle, Palmer, & Associates at 520-327-1409 for an attorney who will fight for you.

how to divorce without hurting your child

How to Divorce Without Hurting Your Child: Four Best Tips

Call (520) 327-1409 to schedule a free consultation with a caring Tucson lawyer.

Divorce is emotionally draining, but it’s even harder to cope with if you have a child that’s as stressed about the separation as you are. Even though Randle Palmer & Associates PLLC, your trusted divorce lawyer in Tucson, can guide you through your problem points, easing your child through the process is a different story.

Below, we’ll discuss how to divorce without hurting your child and make the separation as easy to bear as possible.

Careful Communication

Talking to your child honestly and early in the divorce process can help them cope with the change and understand why their parents are separating. 

You don’t have to tell them every detail, but explaining why you and your partner are separating and how their family life will change is ideal prepare them for the dramatic shift. However, you must be careful with your words.

Keep a level head, answer your kid’s questions, and don’t slander your ex-partner during your conversation. Following all these communication steps is a crucial tip for how to divorce without hurting your child.

Help Them Through It

Ending a bad marriage will benefit you and your partner, but that doesn’t mean your child sees it that way. They might feel stressed, angry, or even depressed seeing their parents separate, but spending extra time with them alleviates those feelings and shows that their parents still care for them.

Spending extra time on activities your child suggests rather than the ones you plan is even better. It shows that you’re listening to your kid’s needs and that you’ll do whatever it takes to make them happy.

Save Your Arguments for Private Settings

Arguments are impossible to avoid during divorce, but they add to your child’s stress and sadness if you have them within earshot. Though difficult, it’s wise to stop mid-argument and move somewhere private if you have one in a public setting.

Calling an extended family member to look after your kid for a few hours during tense, emotional arguments can also give you the freedom to voice your feelings without fear of upsetting your kid.

Give Your Child Some Control

The dramatic lifestyle changes from the divorce process are hard on single parents, but children have an especially challenging time adjusting when they feel like they have no control. Giving your kid something they can be in charge of can give them a sense of ownership during a stressful time when they feel they have little authority.

That control can be anything from letting them furnish their new room however they want to having them decide weekend plans. Any small way you give them ownership makes a massive impact. 

Call Your Trusted Tucson Divorce Lawyers 

Hopefully, you now know a little more about how to divorce without hurting your child. If you need further legal advice throughout your divorce, look no further than Randle Palmer & Associates PLLC.

Call our team today at (520) 327-1409 to schedule a consultation or learn what’s best for children when going through a divorce.

what is the divorce decree

What Is the Divorce Decree: Everything You Need to Know

Contact a Tucson family law attorney today by calling (520) 327-1409.

Divorce can be a long and drawn-out process that is anything but simple. Randle Palmer & Associates PLLS family law services in Tucson can help you navigate Arizona’s divorce process.

One of the most common questions we get regarding divorce proceedings is, “What is the divorce decree?” The divorce decree is similar to a divorce certificate in that it acts as proof of divorce; however, there are key differences between the two documents.

What Is the Divorce Decree?

The divorce decree is the final decision or judgment from the divorce court. Essentially, it is the final step that officially and legally ends your marriage.

A divorce decree contains several pieces of case information, including:

  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Division of property
  • And more

Any critical information used in your divorce case appears on the divorce decree.

If your divorce case involves a trial, the divorce decree will contain the specific terms of the judge’s decision. If your case does not go to trial, the decree will show the settlement terms.

When Do You Get Your Divorce Decree?

Once the judge approves and finalizes your divorce, the court will issue you and your former spouse a divorce decree. If you attend court in person for a hearing, you will receive it once the judge signs it. Otherwise, you will get your divorce decree in the mail, or the court will have you pick it up.

Can You Get a Copy of Your Divorce Decree?

You can get a certified copy of your decree after finalizing your divorce, whether it’s months or years later. You can request a copy of your divorce decree by going to the court clerk’s office or courthouse. In some cases, you can receive a copy from the county clerk’s office; however, this depends on your state of residence.

Who Can Get a Copy of the Divorce Decree?

The court will only allow certain parties involved in the case to receive a copy of the divorce decree. Generally, this includes the divorcing parties and their lawyers.

What Makes a Divorce Decree Different from a Divorce Certificate?

What is the divorce decree, and what is a divorce certificate? Both are official documents that act as proof of your divorce. However, the main difference is that a divorce decree consists of much more information than a divorce certificate.

A divorce certificate is a simple document that includes basic information such as the names of the former spouses, the divorce date, the divorce location, and that the two parties are officially divorced.

You will generally use a divorce certificate to change your name, receive a travel visa, get re-married, or show proof of your divorce without revealing the case details.

Your Tucson Family Law Firm

What is a divorce decree? How does divorce work in Arizona?

Many people in Tucson, AZ, have several questions about getting a divorce. Let Randle Palmer & Associates PLLC help by calling us at (520) 327-1409 to schedule a consultation.

International law divorce

The global nature of today’s world and reduced airfares make for the high number of international marriages that you see today. However, the long-distance takes its toll sooner or later, resulting in a divorce.

international law divorce agreement

Going through a divorce is never easy. In more than one way, it is messy, even more so if it is international. The process of obtaining an international divorce is complicated. What makes it difficult is that divorce and child custody laws are not the same as in other countries. This results in a lot of child abductions and international child custody disputes.

In this article, we discuss the process of international law divorce and the laws governing child custody.

Are International Marriages Legal?

woman pulling out ring in distress

International marriages are legal in the US as long as it is legal in the country where they take place. Hence, the validity of an international marriage depends on the laws of the host country. However, to be recognized in the US, you have to submit specific documentation. For more details contact the office of attorney general in your state.

How does International Law Divorce Work?

International divorce is when you separate in a country where you do not have a permanent home. This happens due to any of the following scenarios:

  • You work abroad
  • You and your (ex) spouse live in different countries
  • You and your (ex) spouse have different nationalities

In this case, you do not have to divorce in the country you were married in. Or in the country, you were living when you decided to divorce. You can divorce in the country you (or your spouse) are living in right now. However, you and your (ex) spouse should be recognized as married couples.

How do I Divorce My International Spouse?

While you can divorce your international spouse, the process is quite complicated. The laws that govern your divorce change depending on the state you are in right now. The first step is to notify your (ex) spouse and get their signature acknowledging the receipt. If they live overseas, the legal process because a little more complex. Here are the steps you undertake for a person who is out of the country.

  • Get the forms from a family court and complete the petition. Then, file them in the local court. Ensure that the petition covers the separation of assets, child custody, visitation, and child support.
  • Next, you need to serve your (ex) spouse in their country of residence. You can get the embassy’s help in appointing a process server. You can also serve by mail or by publishing in a local newspaper. Ensure that you have proof of delivery to show in court.
  • Your spouse can also waive being served (which happens during an uncontested divorce).
  • Once served, you can continue with the divorce. If it’s a contested divorce, your (ex)spouse gets time to address their concerns.
  • If your (ex) spouse doesn’t reply to the court document, you’d have a waiting period. Once the waiting period is over, you can go ahead with the divorce.

Keep in mind that divorce laws vary depending on the state. Ensure that you understand the laws and where you can file for divorce. It also dictates how and when to serve your ex-partner.

Who Gets the Custody of a Child after Divorce?

Generally, both parents share the child custody after a divorce. However, in rare circumstances, the court grants primary custody to one parent. For example, this happens during an international divorce when both the parents live in different countries. In this case, both the parents do not share equal custody. Instead, one parent, often the mother, gets sole custody. They also have the responsibility of raising the child.

What Laws Govern Child Custody Disputes?

child custody in international law divorce

Not all divorces are amicable, especially when it comes to international divorce. Often, they have prolonged international child custody issues. Some of the most complex custody issues revolve around the wrongful removal of the child from its home country. Or they are retaining the child in a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.

In both these cases, the wronged parent could invoke the Hague Convention Treaty to help rectify the situation. The convention protects the right of a child taken from parent’s custody.

Hague Convention

The USA signed the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction in 1980. It is an international treaty enacted to deal with the rising problem of international child abductions. The Convention aims to deter international child smuggling. Its primary goal is to provide a peaceful means to bring the children back to their home country. It also gives a legal process for the prompt return of the kidnapped via the local courts.

The Hague Convention applies only to the countries which have adopted the treaty. And it provides remedies only if a child has been wrongfully removed from such a country. The members of the convention have agreed to abide by the Civil Aspects of the Hague Convention. At present, 92 countries have signed the treaty. However, while most countries abide by the treaty, it is not the same everywhere. Non-compliance has been an issue in Central and South American countries.

Remedies available Under Hague Convention

The Hague Convention does not provide or deal with substantive custody rights. But instead, it specializes in procedural aspects of the judicial proceedings. It also helps to return the children to the other signatory governments. When there is a violation, the parent seeking remedy, files for a custody hearing in the local court. And during the hearing, they request for the local court to invoke the Hague Convention.

The courts determine whether the countries are signators of the Convention. And then decide which country has the authority to resolve the conflict. Once invoked, the signatory states and their courts act fast and enable the return of the child. It also ensures that an action will be taken within six weeks of being invoked.

In order to invoke the Hague Convention Treaty, the parent must be able to prove that they are a habitual resident of the signatory nation where the motion was filed. They should also prove that the child was wrongfully removed to the other country.

International Custody Arrangements

Child custody arrangements are a cumulative process that dictates the rights of both parents. One of which is the child custody order which specifies the child visitation in a divorce case. It will award the custodial parent the right to make crucial decisions. The parent also has the right to have the child live with them.

Child custody arrangements may take different forms and will involve both the parents. These orders can be used when one parent does not become part of the child’s life. In this case, the child custody order also provides some parental rights without permission from the other parent. Here are a few situations when the child custody order would be beneficial:

  • The other parent lives in a foreign country where it may be difficult to seek permission.
  • One of the parents wishes to move to another country or state with the child.

In these cases, the parent can move to the court to change the child custody order. However, they cannot move to a different place without court approval. If they move, the courts can charge the parent with the crime of abduction under several federal laws.

Wrongful relocation generally happens when parents look to avoid their child-support obligations. Often a foreign court will refuse to execute the child custody orders when a parent relocates.

Which Country has the Jurisdiction Over the Child Custody?

a paper art showing divorce impact on family

The UCCJEA or Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act dictate which country has jurisdiction over child custody. However, it can be challenging to determine which country has jurisdiction in the international custody dispute.

Foreign countries are not required to abide by the laws of the United States. If both parents do not live in the same country, the question of jurisdiction is complicated. The same factors apply when the parent living in one country has applied for custody. Factors determining the proper jurisdiction include:

  • Where the parent resides
  • Where child lives, attends school, and receives medical care
  • The child’s age

Most likely, the foreign court has jurisdiction, and the US has no say in a child custody case. However, even American courts will defer to foreign courts if your family members are overseas.

Who is Responsible for Travel in Child Visitation?

Generally, both the parents take turns paying for visitation. International child visitation is an expensive affair and is an extraordinary situation. With the visitation costs high, you can ask the courts to factor the travel expenses into child support. You can apply to the courts to modify the child custody order to address the travel expenses. Ensure that you have the receipts and records of previous flights.

Can a Mother Take a Child to Live in the Other Country?

Unless the mother has sole custody, she cannot take the child to live in another country. If both the parents share child custody, they should consent to the child being taken out of the country. If the mother has child custody that allows the child to live with her, the situation is different. She need not seek permission from the other parent or the court.

What Happens if One Parent Takes a Child Out of Country?

Only a parent who has sole custody can take the child out of the country without the permission of the other parent. Even in this case, the parent should be able to show the custody agreement for a passport. When a parent takes a child out of state without consent, they can commit kidnapping. The parent with custody rights would then notify the police and the courts to return the child.

How Does Child Custody Work When Parents Live in Different Countries?

When the parents reside in different countries, the child custody matters are quite different than in the United States.

When parents live outside of the USA, the best option is to develop their parenting plan. Alternatively, parents can get private mediation to address the matter. A private mediator can help come up with a workable plan to share parenting time and arrange visitation.

If parents take the child out to a country that is not part of the Convention, the situation becomes much more complex. It may require private or diplomatic negotiations to resolve the international child custody dispute.

Suppose the child moves to a foreign country which is a part of the Hague Convention. In this case, then the convention becomes the foundation of the child custody case. So, the parents are bound to respect the regulations of the convention. In addition, local authorities would also try to be compliant with the convention.

If the child comes under physical or psychological harm, the judge may award custody to the peaceful parent. This may be the case even if the violent parent is a US citizen. The same goes for neglect. Again, the custody will shift to the other parent for the child’s well-being no matter the country.


Divorce is ever easy, especially when it comes to international law divorce. The likelihood of issues increases when both parents do not live in the same country. These international child custody disputes often lead to one parent abducting the child. In some cases, parents may also try to obtain custody via a legal system of a country not a part of the Hague Convention.

international law divorce firm

International child abduction is a delicate situation. Care must be taken to safeguard the best interest of the child. If a parent takes the child from their habitual residence, they violate the custody right. And must be returned to where the child was habitually resident, immediately.

However, if the child has settled in their new home, the courts may not facilitate the child’s return. In the same way, if the return puts them at grave risk, the courts may decline to return them. Likewise, the court may rule against the return if it is not in the child’s best interests.

In any case, contact an experienced family law attorney for legal advice. Wait until you establish an attorney-client relationship to share any confidential information. You may also want to have a law firm on retainer for any legal advice. One such law firm that comes highly recommended is Randle, Palmer & Associates. They have many years of experience in their practice of adoption and parental rights and can assist you with any issues or concerns you may have. Contact Randle, Palmer & Associates for your free consultation today!

How Does Divorce Impact My Bankruptcy Case?

By: Alex Coomer


November 24, 2020

©Alex Coomer Law, PLLC, All Rights Reserved.

It is a sad reality that financial stress is a major cause of marital problems.  Similarly, marital stress or living within an unhappy marriage can lead to bad financial decision-making and debt. Either way it goes down, bankruptcy and divorce law often overlap.  When these sad and difficult situations occur, there is a complex interplay between two different types of law that generates a lot of confusion.  This FAQ article seeks to provide very basic information and help you understand the issues when divorce and bankruptcy overlap.

Disclaimer — Both divorce and bankruptcy are complex fields of law in their own distinct forms. And, when these two areas of law mingle together, it gets even more complex.  Therefore, if you are presently going through or contemplating both divorce and bankruptcy, it is highly advised that you seek legal representation immediately.   

What is community debt and community property? 

To understand the interplay of divorce and bankruptcy, it starts with a simple understanding of community debt and community property.  

Arizona is a community property state. This means that any property (other than gifts or inheritances) you and your spouse acquired during the marriage belongs equally to both parties and any joint debts incurred during the marriage are the equal responsibility of both parties. It does not matter whether one spouse worked during the marriage and the other did not. Community property includes real property, personal property, money, stocks and bonds.

All debt incurred during the marriage, no matter by whom, is generally considered to be the community debt of both parties. This is true even if the debt was incurred for purchase of an item that only one of the parties uses.  As with community property, generally, debts owed by one party prior to the marriage remain a separate debt of that party and do not become transformed into a community debt just because the parties got married.

If I am contemplating filing for bankruptcy AND divorce, should I get divorced before, after, or at the same time as my bankruptcy case?  

This is a very difficult question to answer and there is no one set answer to this question.

 The best strategy for you and your family here will depend on the nature of your debts, assets, and relative level of cooperation you have with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.   As there are many variables to consider here, there is not one conventional strategy that fits most people.  

With the understanding that every case is different, here are some important things to keep in mind in terms of timing, logistical issues, and costs of the two legal processes.  

If you file your bankruptcy case prior to divorce, you will be able to lawfully double your exemptions pursuant to the bankruptcy code as a joint-filing couple.  This could be meaningful to your family if, for example, you own fairly nice furniture (worth more than $6,000) that you do not intend to divide equally or if your family owns a single vehicle that has substantial equity (between $6,000 and $12,000).    

If you file your bankruptcy case prior to divorce and wish to only hire one attorney to represent both debtors to save on fees and costs, there are serious ethical considerations regarding conflicts of interest to consider in this situation.  As such, you can really only consider filing for joint bankruptcy with one attorney prior to divorce if the parties are amicably divorcing and without controversy on splitting of exempt marital assets.  Keep in mind that non-exempt assets will be frozen when filing for joint bankruptcy before getting divorced. Only exempt property will be eligible for division between the spouses.

If there are disputes about finances leading into the bankruptcy or disputes over property, it is not advised for one attorney to represent both parties in the bankruptcy.   In this case, like your divorce case, it would be advised that the parties retain separate counsel and file separate bankruptcy cases in conjunction with divorce litigation that splits exempt marital assets.   

One of the worst steps to take is filing for bankruptcy in the middle of divorce proceedings without consulting with qualified lawyers. In most cases, filing for bankruptcy will put the divorce proceedings on hold and may only continue once the bankruptcy case is completed or if a divorce attorney files a motion to move forward with the legal separation.  In these situations, communication is king.  It is critical to keep all attorneys up to date with all relevant developments, including financial stress.  

Don’t forget that community debt acquired during the marriage becomes joint debt, even after the divorce was finalized. The divorce will also lead to the apportioning of the debt between the two spouses. As such, the creditors may still go after the spouse who did not file for bankruptcy and demand debt payments. Therefore, it is advisable that two separate filings be done after the divorce to keep creditors from pursuing one of the spouses.

My ex-spouse owes me money and I got notice that he/she is now filing for bankruptcy.  Can my ex-spouse discharge alimony or child support payments owed to me in bankruptcy?   

No.  Alimony and child support are considered priority unsecured debt.  Alimony and child support are a special form of debt.  This type of debt is paid first by debtors under repayment plans in Chapter 13 and cannot be discharged at all in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  

If you receive notice that your ex-spouse has filed for bankruptcy and you are listed as a creditor, you have rights that you should understand.  If you have questions, concerns, or want representation to protect your rights, it is highly advised you consult with a creditor lawyer immediately upon learning of the bankruptcy filing by your ex-spouse who owes you money.   

Can my ex-spouse discharge personal loan debts that they owe to me from prior to our marriage?  

Yes.  If you loaned your spouse money at some point prior to marriage, this is considered unsecured non-priority debt.  If your ex-spouse files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and lists this loan correctly, this type of debt can be discharged by the borrowing party. 

What if he/she promised me over and over that he/she would pay me back?

Unfortunately, a subsequent promise to repay does not change anything in a bankruptcy case.  Barring some unusual exception, such as your ex-spouse committing fraud, personal loans given prior to marriage will be dischargeable debt.  


Disclaimer: The information in this web site is not intended to provide legal advice or to create an attorney-client relationship; but is intended for general education and information purposes only. Laws change periodically, therefore the information in this site may not always be accurate. It is imperative that you seek legal counsel in order to determine your rights and obligations under the law and based upon your specific circumstances.

Alex Coomer Law, PLLC is a debt relief agency and helps people file for bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code. The material and information contained on these pages and any pages linked to from these pages is intended to provide general information only and not legal advice. You should consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction before relying on any of the information presented here. You are advised that the acts of sending e-mail to or viewing or downloading information from this website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

© Copyright 2020 – Alex Coomer Law, PLLC – Tucson Bankruptcy Attorney.

Divorce. What is best for the children?

Divorce. What is best for the children?

Divorce. What is best for the children? Divorce is not only challenging for the two people involved in the relationship, but it can also take a significant toll on your children.

While children often can pick up on the tension between their parents, studies indicate that a whopping 80% of children who experience a split between their parents when they are young, do not show any signs of being negatively impacted by the decision.

How divorce affects children of a certain age

On average, children aged 6-10yrs old are least affected by divorces; however, children aged 1-2yrs old’s seem to be the most affected. Every marriage goes through its good times and bad times; however, when children become involved in the equation, the stakes become even higher.

If you’re someone who is currently experiencing issues in your marriage and are considering divorce, it’s crucial that you think about what is best for your children and not just the two parents involved.

There are several aspects to a divorce that must be considered to ensure that both parties are satisfied with the end results, while also making sure that your children aren’t affected adversely by the whole ordeal.

The good news is that if you are trying to get a divorce, you can do a few things to make sure your children feel safe and loved while you and your significant other split up.

Every child handles divorce differently, while some children enjoy both parents being the home regardless of whether they fight all the time or not. Some children understand the dynamic between their parent’s relationship and can pick up on signs that there may be unhappiness looming. This is why it’s so important to speak with your children about how they feel when going through a divorce so that you can make sure everyone in your home is happy with whatever decision you two decide to make.

Below, we’re going to give you some helpful tips and information that you can use to get a divorce from your partner in the most amicable way possible.

Figuring out what’s best for your child during a divorce

One of the significant factors that impact children during a divorce is the custody arrangement that goes into place once the divorce is finalized. If your child has a great relationship with both parents, a custody arrangement will likely have little to no effect on them.

However, this can change in situations where a child may have a stronger relationship with one parent as opposed to another.

Divorce. What is best for the children?

Your divorce dynamics will also play a huge role in determining how well your child reacts to the split. For example, some couples are able to separate without any bad blood or bickering during the process. If this fits your situation, the good news is that you will likely not have to worry about your child experiencing any adverse side effects after you and your partner decide to do a split.

If you and your significant other have been having problems for quite some time now, the odds of your child being able to pick up on the tension between you two is very high. If your child is coming to you and asking questions about why “mommy and daddy” are arguing, the odds are they are able to sense all of the hostility between you two. In this circumstance, it can be beneficial to sit down with your child or children so that both of you can explain to them exactly what’s happening in order to get their input about how they would feel in the event of a divorce.

The good news for those out there dealing with marital issues is that a new phenomenon known as joint physical custody or JPC is slowly but surely on the rise within the United States. Joint physical custody is essentially “equal opportunity” parenting as both guardians are required to share equal splits for their children in terms of child support, housing, and the overall amount of time that each parent gets to spend with them.

Making the split happen

Once you’ve spoken with your child about the decision that you and your partner are about to make, you can proceed with the official court hearings so that you can make your divorce final.

Every divorce hearing is different, given that each couple will have unique elements to their situation that may not apply in other circumstances.

It’s best that you speak with a family attorney anytime you plan on getting a divorce so that they can give you advice on the best steps to take with your case on an individual basis.

People Also Ask

Q: Can divorce ever be good for a child?

A: According to statistical data, about 80% of children who experience a divorce can adapt without showing signs of any negative impacts on their social abilities, school grades, or mental health. This commonly happens when a child has developed a strong relationship with both parents.

Q: How do I help my kids through a divorce?

A: There are many things you can do to make the divorce process much easier for your children. This includes things like offering support during the separation process, maintaining good health, help them verbalize how they feel about the entire situation, and encouraging an atmosphere of honesty with your child.

Q: At what age does divorce affect a child?

A: Research shows that children’s worst age to experience a divorce is between the ages of 6-10. Alternatively, the best periods for a child to experience separation are between 1-2yrs old.


Now that you know how to handle a divorce while also considering your children’s feelings and emotional state, it’s time for you to make it happen. Before filing for a divorce, ask yourself these two questions: “Have I noticed any odd behavior from my children since my partner, and I have decided to split?” and “What is my child’s relationship like with both my partner and me?” These questions can be used as litmus tests to determine whether or not divorce is right for you.

Further reading: A self-help guide to best practices for parents getting divorced where children are involved.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us

Arizona Divorce 101 – How Does it All Work?

Arizona Divorce 101 – How Does it All Work?

Arizona Divorce 101.

One of the questions most often asked when someone walks into our offices to pursue a divorce is; “How does this all ACTUALLY work?”.  The more we are asked this question, the more we realize that there is a lack of plain information for the average person wanting to know about the basics of divorce in Arizona.

So we will attempt to put it all together here, in a nutshell, so that someone who wants to understand the basics, the ideal timeline, the requirements, can walk away better informed.

Here at Randle Palmer & Associates, we do not want to have clients hire us who in fact do not need our services. We regularly send people away with the “self-service” forms the court provides (they charge $10,  we do it for free) if the matter they are facing is straight-forward and can be handled without the help of an attorney. We do not subscribe to the “every case would be better if a lawyer was involved” theory, rather, we prefer to maintain our credibility and integrity through every action, even if it means we do not get hired.

This brief outline is not meant to substitute for legal guidance and is not legal advice. It is meant to give a general road-map of the process. Depending on the complexity of your situation a divorce can be finalized in as little as 61 days in Arizona or can stretch on for over a year in the worst cases.

In that vein, please see this fairly straight-forward explanation of the divorce process in Arizona. essentially the Arizona Divorce 101.

The Basic Principles in Divorce:

  • Arizona is a purely no-fault divorce state, which means that neither spouse has to prove blame or responsibility to end the marriage. The only question that must be answered is whether the marriage is “irretrievably broken”, which simply means that there is no chance that the spouses want to continue the marriage. A.R.S. §25-312 (Unless it is a covenant marriage)
  • Arizona is a community property state. This means in short, each party is “owner” of half of everything acquired during the marriage. Real property, retirements, debt, etc… A.R.S. §25-211(There are some exceptions).
  • When it comes to the kids; The Court is supposed to design a plan “that maximizes their respective parenting time. The court shall not prefer a parent’s proposed plan because of the parent’s or child’s gender. A.R.S. §25-403.02

The Minimum Requirements:

  • One party must have lived in the County they file in for the previous 90 days consecutively.
  • If there are children in common (the parties are the biological parents) the children must have resided in the County of filing for at-least 6 months prior to the date you file.
  • Because Arizona is a “no-fault” state all that must be “proven” is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”, which simply means that there is no chance that the spouses want to continue the marriage.

The First Steps:

In order to begin a divorce in the state of Arizona, one of the spouses (the Petitioner) must file a Petition with the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county of residence of either spouse (filing fees vary from county to county). The petition asks the court to legally end the marriage and to issue the orders that are necessary to deal with the spouses’ property, debts, child support, custody and alimony. Generally, the court will not give a spouse anything that isn’t requested in the petition.

When the petitioner files the petition he or she must also file:

  • Summons
  • A Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance
  • Preliminary Injunction
  • Notice to Creditors
  • Domestic Relations or Family Court Cover Sheet

If there are children involved the Petitioner must also file:

  • Affidavit Regarding Minor Children
  • Order and Notice Regarding the Parent Information Program

The Petitioner must create three copies of the aforementioned forms.

  • The original must go(be filed) to the Clerk of the Superior Court
  • The next to his or her spouse
  • The final copies are for the Petitioner’s records.

Notice to the Other Party:

The Constitution guarantees that in both the 5th and 14th Amendments that a person be given notice before a lawsuit can be filed against them. This applies in divorce actions: In order to let your spouse know that you are filing for divorce, copies of the above forms (the summons, the petition etc.) must be served within 120 days of the filing of the petition.

The other party is not “on notice” and thus the divorce action isn’t really “live” until one of the accepted forms of service has been completed and the notice of such is filed with the Clerk of the Court.

To Respond or Not to Respond:

This is where the road begins to fork; The Respondent has 20 days to respond if they live in the same state the petition was filed in and 30 days if they live out of state.

If the Respondent does nothing, you can, and should, file for a default. Provided the Respondent has been appropriately served, and they do not respond, your petition will likely be granted in its entirety and the divorce will be done. This is subject to some specific rules and requirements (like most of the stuff in this process).

However if a response is filed, the case will move forward to the next steps.

The 60 Day Waiting Period

In the state of Arizona, a divorce cannot be granted until at least 60 days have passed since the petitioner served his or her spouse. Once this waiting period is over, if both couples agree on the terms of the divorce, or if proceeding by default, then the divorce can be finalized rather quickly. However, if the couple cannot agree on the terms, than the case will go to court and a judge will settle the terms.

Curveballs and Detours

TEMPORARY ORDERS: Because some cases require significant research, negotiation or, in the worst cases full-blown trials, the court can establish “rules” for the in-between times. This is done at a “mini-trial” where the court hears evidence and argument and then decides things like: Parenting Time, Child Support, Spousal Maintenance (alimony), who stays in the home, who pays the bills, etc. These rules last until a final agreement, order, or decree is in place.

CHILD INTERVIEWS: In some cases it is appropriate to ask the Court to have the child(ren) interviewed to ascertain how they feel about things. Please note that the Court is not obligated to allow this, and generally decides based on the age and maturity of the specific child.


In any case where there are minor children involved the Courts generally require that the parties attend mediation to try and work out an agreement on issues specific to legal decision making and parenting time ONLY. No agreements are required, but as a general rule the case will go much smoother in the long run if the parties can agree on at least a few things during this process. Mediation is done without the lawyers or judge. A trained mediator works with the parties in a neutral environment to maximize the potential for agreements to be made.

Disclosure & Discovery

The rules that govern the divorce process outline the very specific things that each party can ask the other party to provide in the way of information and documents. Many of these things are mandatory to provide, such as a financial affidavit, and depending on the issues involved, this process can be very complex and significantly stretch out the length of the divorce.

Setting For Trial

When all the disclosure/discovery has been completed, or is very close to being completed, the case can be set for a trial. When this happens the Court will set a date for the trial and some other specific events. These are:

Settlement Conference

This is a meeting between the parties, their lawyers, and a neutral 3rd party (usually a Judge Pro Temp) where the issues are worked on and any agreements are put on the record to narrow the scope of what will be argued at trial.

Final Pre-Trial Conference

This is a short hearing in front of the Judge where the issues for trial are nailed down and any last minute administrative details are worked out.


This is largely self-explanatory but trials can last anywhere from an hour to several days depending on the complexity, amount of issues, evidence to be presented, witnesses, etc.

Final Decree

This is the piece of paper (several pages actually) that finally outlines the terms, conditions, and rules of the divorce moving forward. The decree details property division, child support, spousal support, parenting time, legal decision making, returning maiden names, terms for future enforcement or changes, and any other final or binding orders.

If you have questions or think it may be too much for you to handle on your own, call us for a FREE consultation at (520) 327-1409 today.

Read more on divorce in Arizona 

Continue reading

Staying For the Kids

Staying Together For the Kids

Staying Together For the Kids, We often hear from clients that the reason they are still in a bad marriage is “for the kids”. While the logic is understandable, the reality is that this is actually much worse for everyone involved, especially the kids!

The experts agree that what children need and want more than anything are stability and calm. If the “normal” state of the home is chaos and fighting the damage can be long-lasting and much worse than working through a divorce.

However, creating a “new normal” where the marriage ends, but so does the cycle of anger and venom, can significantly improve the quality of life for everyone in the family, ESPECIALLY THE KIDS!

If you are in an unhealthy marriage and are looking for a better way for everyone involved, give us a call today for a free consultation at (520) 327-1409


Staying Together For the Kids

Here are important links to both Child Custody and also Child Support

Here is a link to a great article on Staying together for children

The 10 Documents You Need to Gather to Prepare For a Divorce

The 10 Documents You Need to Gather to Prepare For a Divorce

Prepare For a Divorce.

When someone is considering ending a marriage, they often start by gathering the information they think they need…

Even with the best of intentions, most people don’t get the things they will actually need to provide to either their lawyer, the other party or the Court. Some lawyers would have you believe that the information you need to gather is a secret, or is a matter of their specific expertise, and that just isn’t true.

We want to take the mystery out of the process, so with that in mind, here are the 10 most important documents to gather in preparation for a divorce. This list is not all-inclusive, nor is it exhaustive, but it is the minimum you should gather to give the case an easy start.

Prepare For a Divorce

1. Financial Documents in Divorce

Specifically – proof of income from all sources, completed tax returns, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and K-1 forms, for the past two (2) calendar years, and year to date income information for the   current calendar year, including, but not limited to, year-to-date pay stubs, salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest,  trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, recurring gifts, prizes, and spousal maintenance.

  1. Proof of court-ordered child support and spousal maintenance actually paid in any case other than this one;
  2. Proof of all medical, dental, and vision insurance premiums paid for any child listed or referenced in the petition;
  3. Proof of any child care expenses paid for any child listed or referenced in the petition;
  4. Proof of any expenses paid to private or special schools or other particular education needs of a child listed or referenced in the petition; and
  5. Proof of any expenses paid for the special needs of a gifted or handicapped child listed or referenced in the petition.

2. Property Paperwork for divorce

Unless you and the other party have entered into a written agreement disposing of all property issues, or no property is at issue, each of you must provide to the other the following information:

  1. Copies of all deeds, deeds of trust, purchase agreements, escrow documents, settlement sheets, and all other documents that disclose the ownership, legal description, purchase price and encumbrances of all real property owned by either party;
  2. Copies of all monthly or periodic bank, checking, savings, brokerage and security account statements in which either of you has or had an interest for the period commencing six (6) months prior to the filing of the petition and through the date the information was provided to the other party;
  3. Copies of all monthly or periodic statements and documents showing the value of all pension, retirement, stock options, and annuity balances, including Individual Retirement Accounts, 401 (k) accounts, and all other retirement and employee benefits and accounts in which you have or had an interest for the period commencing six (6) months prior to filing of the petition and through the date of the disclosure, or if no monthly or quarterly statements are available for this time period, the most recent statements or documents that disclose the information;
  4. Copies of all monthly or periodic statements and documents showing that cash surrender value, face value, and premiums charged for all life insurance policies in which either party has an interest for the period commencing six (6) months prior to filing of the petition and through the date of the disclosure, or if no monthly or quarterly statements are available for this time period, the most recent statements or documents that disclose the information;
  5. Copies of all documents that may assist in identifying or valuing any item of real or personal property in which you or the other party have or had an interest for the period commencing six (6) months prior to the filing of the petition, including any documents that the party may rely upon in placing a value on any item of real or personal property.
  6. Copies of all business tax returns, balance sheets, profit or loss statements, and all documents that may assist in identifying or valuing any business or business interest for the last two (2) completed calendar or fiscal years with respect to any business or entity in which any party has or had an interest; and
  7. A list of all items of personal property, including, but not limited to, household furniture, furnishings, antiques, artwork, vehicles, jewelry and similar items in which any party has an interest, together with the party’s estimates of current fair market value (not replacement value) for each item.

3. Debts

Unless you and the other party have entered into an agreement disposing of all debts issues, you will need to provide the following information:

  1. Copies of all monthly or periodic statements and documents showing the balances owing on all mortgages, notes, liens, and encumbrances outstanding against all real property and personal property in which the path has or had in interest for the period commencing six (6) months prior to the filing of the petition and through the date of disclosure, or if no monthly or quarterly statements are available during this time period, the most recent statements or documents that disclose the information; and
  2. Copies of all credit card statements and debt statements for all months for the period commencing six (6) months prior to the filing of the petition and through the date of disclosure.

4. Health/Dental/Vision Insurance Plans

With premium breakdowns for all plan options.

5. School Records

This is specifically for the kids common to the parties.

6. Employment Records

(to include your schedule, length of employment, position, etc.).

7. Text or Email

Communication With the Opposing Party

That would benefit you. Remember that this sword cuts both ways, and the Court is far from stupid, they have seen the old “only show 1/2 of the conversation” trick and the other party will likely bring the whole record.

8. Any Police Reports, Orders of Protection or Court Records


Concerning you, the opposing party or children. Domestic violence, abuse, neglect, etc.

9. Disclosure of Witnesses

You will need to provide the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of any witness whom you expect to call to trial, along with a statement fairly describing the substance of each witness’s expected testimony. You have to provide this information to the other party at least sixty (60) days before trial unless a different deadline is ordered by the court.

10. Continuing Duty to Disclose

You have a duty to make additional or amended disclosures whenever new or different information is discovered or revealed.

Here is the link to the main divorce page

Additionally, here is a link to Divorce in Arizona with children

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The information contained in the Randle Palmer & Associates website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as tax or legal advice on any subject matter. Randle Palmer & Associates provides legal advice and other services only to persons or entities with which it has established a formal attorney-client relationship.