Divorce and Moving Out of State in Arizona

divorce and moving out of stateIt should come as no surprise that divorces can become complicated. It should also not surprise anyone that there are times when one or both spouses want to put some distance between them. But what happens if one spouse decides to move out of state while a divorce is going on?

Can they do this?

What if they take the kids?

Today, we want to answer those questions and give you some general divorce information. Please consider seeking help from a qualified Arizona family law attorney to help you through this entire process so you can be sure you are being treated fairly throughout the entire process.

The Divorce Process

In Arizona, when one party wants to get a divorce, they must undergo a 60-day waiting period. Many states have a waiting period which gives the two parties times to reconcile their differences. It is during this waiting period that you and your spouse can also come up with a plan for the divorce. At any time during the 60 days, the spouses can submit their finalized plans for an uncontested divorce which will be signed off on by a judge shortly after the waiting period is up.

However, if any of the following cannot be agreed upon, you and your spouse are likely heading to trial:

  • Property division
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Visitation
  • Spousal maintenance

What If One Party Is Out-Of-State?

Divorce can be filed even if one spouse has left the state. For an uncontested divorce, it really will not make a difference which state the divorce is filed in. However, for contested divorces, you may want to strategically plan where to file for divorce. Divorce laws are different from state-to-state, particularly when it comes to the division of assets.

When you file for divorce from a spouse who is in another state, you must ensure they receive a notice of the divorce. This can involve a process server or even the sheriff in their jurisdiction serving them with the required paperwork. You can also use certified mail which will ensure that your spouse is the one who receives the notice.

What If They Take The Children?

You should avoid moving to another state or even moving a significant distance away from a spouse within a state if you have children. This will almost certainly require you to obtain a court order to do so and you need to know that the courts do not like that kind of upheaval during the separation process. If your spouse has taken your children to another state during a separation process and the courts have not approved, you need to file a claim with the court.

The family court must approve of final child custody arrangements and visitation schedules as well as required child custody payments. You should be aware that, even if a spouse is granted sole physical and legal custody, they may still need a court order to move the children away from the non-custodial parent. A “move-away” order can be objected to by the non-custodial parent which will result in the case being heard in court.

What Can An Attorney Do To Help

Divorces are complicated, especially when issues of child custody, visitation, and child support payments must be determined. If your spouse has moved out of state, with or without children, during the divorce process, you should seek assistance from a qualified Arizona family law attorney who can walk you through the necessary steps. You need to have an advocate by your side during a divorce to ensure that everything is being done correctly.

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