Picture of attorney Paula J Burnstein and the Tucson Courthouse building behind
Your Family Matters

Phoenix Divorce Lawyer

Family Law Attorney Vigorously Representing Phoenix Residents

If you are considering filing for a divorce or are currently involved in a divorce proceeding, you likely have questions about the legal procedures involved and how you can protect your rights. Divorces can be emotional and contentious, which makes it even more important to have an experienced Phoenix divorce lawyer representing you who can ensure that the other side is playing fair. Arizona has specific laws and procedures that apply to divorce proceedings. Attorney Paula J. Burnstein has assisted many Arizona residents with this process, so she understands the wide range of emotions and concerns that you are experiencing during this time. Whether you need an advocate to help you navigate through your initial divorce, or you are dealing with post-decree issues involving the enforcement of spousal maintenance, child support, or parenting time orders, Paula J. Burnstein is ready to fight for you.

The Basic Requirements for Filing for a Divorce in Arizona

Each state has its own approach to divorce. In Arizona, a divorce is technically called a dissolution of marriage. This term describes the court procedure that married parties must undergo in order to terminate the marriage. In order to file for a divorce, your spouse or you must have been a resident of Arizona for at least 90 days. Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, which means that you do not need to provide a reason why you are requesting a termination of the marriage relationship. Instead, you only need to state that the marriage is irretrievably broken. Also, Arizona is one of the few states that recognizes a covenant marriage, which is a different type of marital proceeding. If the parties entered into a covenant marriage, they must show that there is a specific, legally recognized basis for seeking a divorce.

Although you are not required to have a lawyer represent you in the proceedings, it is usually a good idea to retain a divorce attorney in the Phoenix area because the court will still expect you to follow all of the specific rules and procedures that govern divorce proceedings. Educating yourself about these rules and ensuring that you are protecting your rights can be daunting on your own, especially when complex issues like property settlement agreements are involved. If your spouse does file a response, the proceeding turns to determining whether the spouses agree about the terms of the divorce. Depending on the length of the marriage, shared assets, shared children, and spousal maintenance (alimony) issues, the spouses may require the involvement of the court to resolve certain disputes and allocations of resources. This is where it is particularly advantageous to have a seasoned Phoenix divorce attorney at your side.

Once you file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, you must serve copies of the papers on your spouse unless he or she waives service in writing and files the waiver with the court. After being served, your spouse has 20 days to respond if he or she resides in Arizona or 30 days if he or she resides outside Arizona. If your spouse does not respond to the petition, you can apply for a default. This provides your spouse with 10 days to file a Response to the petition. If he or she does not respond, the court has the authority to grant the divorce on the terms that the requesting spouse has specified. The court must allow a “cooling off” period of 60 days before entering a Default Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.

Meet with a Diligent Divorce Lawyer in the Phoenix Area

Divorce proceedings can be some of the most stressful, emotional, and draining events in a person’s lifetime. While you are coping with the adjustments to your life, we can work meticulously to make sure that you are treated fairly and that your rights are protected. Paula J. Burnstein assists people in divorce, child custody, child support, and other family law matters in cities such as Phoenix, Peoria, Paradise Valley, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa, Scottsdale, Surprise, Tempe, Laveen, Litchfield Park, New River, Sun City, Sun City West, Prescott, and Prescott Valley. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 623-486-9797 or contact us online.

Client Reviews
★★★★★
Paula Burnstein is an amazing Attorney for Family Law! My case is part of my messy story. I had a daughter with a mentally ill man, that believed he was Jesus. I lived on a compound and was able to escape with her. After 8 years he came back after me to get her. Paula fought the whole brutal way, so I could protect her. It was a tough case against lies and surprises. She was brilliant with all the different judges we had. Was super reliable and always answered all my crazy questions. She was very concerned for my whole families' well fare along the way and very patient. I would call her again in a heartbeat. She helped protect and kept our family together. Thank you Paula! We will be forever grateful! Anonymous
★★★★★
It is very difficult to maintain compassion and empathy while delivering tangible results for your client in a process that is, by its very design, oppositional, yet Paula Bernstein is the consummate professional who manages to strike just the right balance in such a trying time. She delivered an excellent outcome for me, while maintaining a level-headed, professional, yet caring, and realistic advisory role. I very much appreciated her style, restraint, effectiveness and flexibility. We communicated via email, phone, and in person, and she was always available, as needed. I enjoyed very much working with Ms. Burnstein throughout the stressful roller-coaster of my divorce, and while I obviously hope to never require her services again, I can wholeheartedly recommend her in the unfortunate event of a divorce. Anonymous