Our office only handles uncontested dissolution of marriage (divorces), legal separations or annulments. Please click on the Divorce Q&A tab for basic information as to divorce.
A legal separation governs the separation of the parties, but they remain married. Both parties must agree to obtaining a legal separation.
An annulment is a declaration by the court that the marriage is void because it was never legal. The grounds for an annulment are very specific and include such things as bigamy, related by blood, one was a minor at the time of the marriage and did not obtain the consent of a parent or guardian, and the list goes on. An annulment requires a court appearance and the testimony of both parties, so it is preferable to have an attorney representing you.
We also can prepare a Consent Decree or Property Settlement Agreement. This document is used where the parties cannot proceed by default because a Response has been filed, but the parties reach an agreement as to all issues in a divorce, legal separation or annulment.
We can also draft a Premarital Agreement. Also called a Prenuptial Agreement, this is an agreement between prospective spouses that is made in contemplation of marriage and that is effective on marriage. As you know, Arizona is one of the minority of estates that have community property laws. You may want a premarital agreement for any of the following reasons:
- One party is substantially wealthier than the other
- One party has the potential to earn a large amount in the future (stocks or inheritance)
- One party owns a business
- One party has previous children or elderly grandparents that must be cared for
Premarital agreements must be fair to both parties and willingly entered into. If challenged in court, a judge may dismiss an agreement that overtly puts one of the spouses at a disadvantage. If you are already married and wish you had drawn up a premarital agreement, a postnuptial agreement can then be drafted.