Phoenix Family Law Lawyer

Divorce Attorney Providing Experienced Counsel to Arizona Residents

Family law involves matters ranging from divorce to parenting time to prenuptial agreements. Although some family law matters are relatively straightforward and can be resolved efficiently, other matters involve serious disagreements, strong emotions, and conflicting points of view. This can make it difficult to understand your legal rights and to know which decisions or strategies will serve your best interests. Proudly serving people throughout Maricopa, Pinal and Yavapai Counties, Phoenix family lawyer Paula J. Burnstein has assisted many spouses and parents with navigating both simple and complex family law matters. Whether you are interested in learning more about a potential issue or you are currently embroiled in a legal battle, we are prepared to provide you with the compassionate, responsive, and knowledgeable counsel that you need.

Obtaining a Divorce in Arizona

To obtain a divorce in Arizona, you must first meet a specific residency requirement. Either your spouse or you must have been a resident of Arizona for at least 90 days before you officially file your Petition seeking a dissolution of your marriage. There are specific notice requirements that the filing party must follow to ensure that the other spouse becomes aware of the petition and has a sufficient opportunity to respond. Arizona law allows the respondent only 20 days from the date that the petition is served to file a response, or 30 days if the respondent resides outside Arizona. You must state the grounds for seeking the divorce in your petition. Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, which means that you do not need to prove that the other spouse is at fault. (The exception to this rule involves a covenant marriage, which is a special type of marriage proceeding that involves pre-marital counseling.)

A family attorney in the Phoenix area can assist you with determining whether you can approach your divorce in a way that allows you to avoid court, particularly if your spouse and you agree to the terms of your divorce. If both parties agree about all of the terms, including spousal support and parenting issues, they can use the Consent Divorce Process to obtain a consent decree dissolving the marriage.

Addressing Issues Related to a Divorce

Spousal support and parenting issues are common matters discussed during divorce proceedings. Even after a final divorce decree, you may still run into issues with enforcing the terms of the decree in these areas. Or you may need to seek a modification of the terms if your family circumstances change.

When it comes to parenting issues, Arizona courts are generally required to determine an arrangement that would be in the best interests of the child, based on a long list of factors. Courts can award either sole or joint legal decision making authority (custody) and can review a broad range of evidence in deciding the ultimate parenting arrangement. A Phoenix family attorney can advocate for the arrangement that you feel is appropriate.

Meanwhile, spousal support can be obtained in certain specific situations. If a spouse lacks sufficient assets, for example, the other spouse may be required to provide support payments. Support can also be ordered when one spouse lacks the ability to be financially independent or has primary care of a child who requires continuous supervision, or when one spouse contributed to the other spouse’s educational advancement. There are also situations in which one of the parties is of an age that may make it difficult to obtain gainful employment that would allow for self-sufficiency. There are other factors that the court considers when making a spousal support order, including the ability of the providing spouse to make payments.

Contact a Family Lawyer in Phoenix or Surrounding Cities

Family law matters can be stressful. Having a seasoned and compassionate attorney at your side can take the confusion and uncertainty out of navigating the legal system and give you peace of mind when it comes to knowing that you are doing everything that you can to protect your family’s future. Attorney Paula J. Burnstein and her staff have counseled people in cities such as 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 a free consultation, contact us at

Paula J. Burnstein

About Arizona Family Law Attorney Paula J. Burnstein

Paula J. Burnstein is experienced in family law matters including divorce, custody, child support, and property division. She has practiced solely in the area of family law for the past two decades and has the knowledge to serve your needs, both outside of and in the courtroom. She will help you work through your family law situation while protecting your interests and those of your family.

Contact us to schedule your free 15-minute phone consultation.

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...


"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 Burnstein is the consummate professional who manages to strike just the right balance in such a trying time. She delivered an...


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