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How Do Changes in Family Law Affect Divorce Proceedings in Glendale, AZ?

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What is Family Law as it Relates to Divorce?

Family law is a branch of law that focuses on resolving legal issues that relate to family and domestic situations. Divorce is one of the many areas that family law addresses. Other areas that are covered in family law include marriage, legal separation, annulments, spousal support, marital asset distribution, child custody and visitation, child support, adoption, paternity, and domestic violence.

How Can Family Law Be Changed?

Family law is created by the legislative branch of each state, in this case Arizona. Elected legislators may also make changes or amendments to existing family law that affect citizens seeking to resolve domestic or marital situations.

The judiciary branch also carries the power to establish procedural guidelines that have the force of law in the courts. These guidelines, called court rules, do not change the existing law but direct precisely how the legal process should be carried out. If your family law attorney does not keep themselves consistently informed of frequently updated court rules, you could find yourself in violation of procedural requirements, costing you valuable time and money to complete your legal action.

Who Makes or Amends Court Rules for Family Law?

The Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court formed the Arizona Judicial Council (AJC) in 1990 to assist the Supreme Court in creating court rules. Court rules are intended to provide consistent policies to manage all state courts. The Family Court Improvement Committee, a standing committee of the AJC, creates the court rules for family law and is additionally charged with the following:

  • Making recommendations that would improve family law statutes, rules, and court processes.
  • Developing policies and strategies to improve the likelihood that child support will be paid.
  • Conducting the federally mandated quarterly review of the state’s Child Support Guidelines.
  • Identifying and responding to emerging trends and issues impacting family court services.
  • Providing advice regarding the use of online dispute resolution in family court cases.

How Often are Court Rules Changed or Updated?

Court rules are updated each year. Petitions to create, change, or cancel an existing court rule must be submitted to the Arizona Supreme Court by January 10th each year to be considered at the Court’s annual meeting on court rules the following August or September.

What Effects Can Changes to Arizona Law Have on Divorce Proceedings in Glendale?

When family law court rules are changed by the judiciary or statutes are amended by the legislature, the ramifications can be felt in Glendale, Arizona. If you are considering filing for divorce or have been served papers by your spouse, you should be aware that yearly changes could affect the following areas related to your divorce:

  • Child Custody: Updates to family law may alter requirements used to decide child custody arrangements.
  • Child Support: Modifications in child support legislation could raise, lower, or change the way it is calculated or awarded.
  • Spousal Support: Changes to the rules may affect how much money you can expect to pay or receive as part of spousal support.
  • Property Division: Arizona is a “community property” state, meaning all assets acquired while married are considered equally owned by the individual members of the couple, regardless of who paid for it. Changes to this law may affect the outcome of your divorce in terms of the amount of property you can keep.
  • Mediation: Mediation is not currently a blanket requirement for individuals pursuing divorce. New laws could make mediation or alternative dispute resolution a higher priority, affecting your divorce.
  • Parenting Plans: Updated laws regarding parenting plans and visitation may affect how parents are able to share time with their children post-divorce.

What Are Some Recent Examples of Arizona Law Changes Affecting Divorce?

While there are scores of new law amendments each year that a Glendale family law attorney must review to stay up to date, here are a few changes that may be of interest concerning divorce.

Family Law Timeframe Amendments

Prior to a series of recent amendments, specific family law-related legal proceedings did not have a clear time delineation. Updates now make clear that a judge must set a hearing date or issue a decision on a specified timeline. The court must notify the appearing parties of a set hearing date or issue a ruling (decision) no later than 21 days after the filing date of motions for:

  • Dissolution of marriage (also known as divorce)
  • Legal separation
  • Annulment
  • Judgments of maternity or paternity
  • Financial judgments or attorney’s fees

There are some exceptions to this; for example, if you filed a divorce petition less than 60 days ago and a new motion is entered on the case, the judge may have a longer time to respond.
If children are involved, new amendments stipulate that the court must rule (issue a decision) no later than 21 days after requests are made for the following.

  • Temporary Orders
  • Child Support Orders
  • Parenting Time Orders
  • Warrant to Take Physical Custody
  • This makes it possible for matters involving children to be addressed in a more timely manner.

Spousal Maintenance Calculations Update

In a divorce that has been mutually agreed to, a document called a “consent decree” can be filed. This filing gives the details of your consensual separation and plans regarding the division of property, parenting time, if applicable, and any spousal support. A new court rule has amended the method by which the consent decree is filed. It is now required that each party use the Spousal Maintenance Calculator and submit a Spousal Maintenance Calculator Worksheet. This allows the court to verify that the amount and duration of spousal support are enough to help the receiving spouse become self-sufficient.

Stay on Top of Law Changes with The Turner Law Firm PLLC

Family law is complex and ever-changing. At The Turner Law Firm PLLC, we keep track of everything, so you don’t have to. Our firm provides a wide range of services to assist you with all your divorce needs. Divorce can be trying and emotionally taxing; figuring out the legal details shouldn’t have to be. The Turner Law Firm will provide you with compassionate, zealous advocacy to ensure your case is resolved. Call us at (480) 618-1221 and find out how we can help.

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