1What does a divorce cost?
The cost depends on what’s involved (kids, property) and if your spouse will cooperate or not (cooperation is NOT required). When you call for your FREE phone consultation, a certified preparer will review your case and tell you EXACTLY what your divorce will cost (although most are around $300, excluding court & runner fees.)
2How long does it take?
In Arizona most divorces are complete within 60 days. When you come to our office, unlike other companies that have you come in for a consultation, only to return numerous times to review and sign, because we do a free phone consultation, your papers will be prepared at that first (and only) appointment. So you'll walk out with complete papers that first day. We’ll file the next day, get them to your spouse, and then 60 days later the divorce can be final. Or we can delay it if you want. It's all up to you.
3What if my spouse disagrees?
Good news - Arizona divorce does NOT require your spouse agree - neither to the terms or the divorce itself. This means they do not have to sign anything. Simply once your spouse gets the papers, he or she has time to file an objection. But that's easier said than done, costing much in time & money. So while many people say they’ll fight it, they don't. Also, as so much today is set by law, there's usually not much that's worth fighting.
4Does it matter who files?
Often, yes. So even if you’re not the one who wants the divorce, you may want to be the one file. As this way the papers will say what YOU want. And then your spouse is the one who must choose what to do. They can 1) ask you to make changes (and if you agree, we'll do them) , 2) fight it (which costs a lot, both in time and money), or 3) they can just do nothing (in which case, you get what you asked for). But if your spouse files first, then YOU are the one stuck trying to get them to make changes. Or hiring an attorney to fight it. Or stuck with what they put. Even if its not fair. Sure, you could fight it yourself, but representing yourself in a contested divorce isn't easy (something we don't usually handle). Also, in divorces with children, who files may effect the fees. Don't make an uninformed decision and pay more than you have to. IMPORTANT FOR NAME CHANGES: If you want to return to your former name, it's FREE if you file for the divorce. But if your spouse files, the name change will cost close to $200.
5How do I serve papers?
This is called “service of process”. There are several ways including your spouse cooperating to sign a receipt for the papers, sending the papers by mail or electronically, hiring a process server, or publishing them in the newspaper. There are pro’s and con’s to each method, along with varying costs. Many of the laws about this changed recently and many document preparers and even attorneys aren't aware. Even the court forms (at least as of 7/10/2019) aren't current. Call us for more information or read more here
6How is child support determined?
Child support in Arizona is set by guidelines, These guidelines use facts including both parents’ incomes, the cost of medical insurance for the kids, daycare costs and how often each parent has the kids. Of course, sometimes these figures aren’t so factual (what does the person really make? how often is that parent really gonna see the kids?) and that’s where it can get complicated. Although most things people think will make a big difference, doesn't. So not worth fighting over. But our office has been working with the guidelines since they were first implemented (longer than any document preparer in Tucson!) so we know the in’s and out’s. Call us for more information or read more here LEARN MORE
7What is custody, visitation, parenting time & legal decision making?
Arizona law changed in 2013 and we no longer use the term “custody”. Instead, we have “legal decision making” and “parenting time”. (The word “visitation” used more for someone other than a parent, like a grandparent.)
“Legal decision making” is the right and responsibility to make decisions about the children. “Parenting time“ is how often each parent may have them. And while your papers can certainly say these things will just be “as agreed upon”, the court will still require a Parenting Plan detailing what happens if you later can't agree. It's amazing what the court is picky about. And what it isn't.
8Why use a document preparer or paralegal over an attorney?
Mostly to save money, but also to keep the divorce peaceful. An attorney’s job is to do what’s best for his or her client…but that isn’t always what’s best for the family as a whole. Attorneys are worth their fees when you need one. But in most Arizona divorces, because our laws are quite clear on so many issues, an attorney isn't always needed. A legal document preparer can provide you with much of the same information and even discuss your options…just only an attorney can tell you WHICH options are best for YOU. But once provided with the proper legal information, most people can decide what is best for them. If you are uncomfortable or unable to make any decisions on your own, talking to an attorney first may be wise, but a simple consultation may be all you need (rather than hiring the attorney to do the whole divorce). So after consulting the attorney, you'd then come to us to prepare and process your divorce. This way you have the best of both worlds: the attorney’s advice and our inexpensive preparation and processing.
For more information about the history of document preparers in Arizona, including owner, Linda Seger's crucial involvement in it LEARN MORE
9Why use Divorce Packet Processing over another paralegal firm?
We’ve been doing this in Arizona (and specifically in Pima County) for nearly 30 years. We know the laws and procedures here, most of the judges and many attorneys, and exactly what the court here wants. (As while we have state laws, each county and even each judge has their own preference for how they want certain things done.) We also handle ONLY divorce, so we do one thing and we do it right! Our owner has a degree as a paralegal and was one of the first to be certified in the state. We are an A+ member of the Better Business Bureau and in nearly 30 years, have had not one complaint filed. Most important, while professional, we’re not a bunch of stuffed shirts with fancy offices and expensive suits.– we're people just like you! Divorce shouldn’t be scary, and we try to make you as comfortable as possible in this most uncomfortable of times.
10What do you mean by "preparation whle-u-wait"?
We know your time is precious, especially while going through a divorce. Most firms have you either answer questions online or go to their office to meet and fill out a questionaire. (And isn't the main reason you're looking for help is you DON'T want to fill out any forms or questionaires?) Plus they make you come in numerous times to sign this or that. Whereas we meet with you just once and prepare your papers right then and there. So you'll walk out with a copy that very day. And completely understanding the process. (And then if there are changes, we can do that by phone and/or email.) Yes, it may take 30 minutes to an hour, but its a very interactive process, so your papers say exactly what you want. Divorce isn't one size fits all and neither are our papers.