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Delays in filing for divorce can create problems

Some married couples in Arizona drift apart, and may wind up being separated for a long time, living in different residences without any formalities. Some put off filing for divorce, sometimes for an extended period of time. This can lead to a variety of problems.

One such issue is that a separation that goes on for an extended period of time may provide a basis for a spouse to try to hide assets. After you have lived in another household for a while, you will have far less personal knowledge of you estranged spouse's financial affairs. Additionally, you may have little knowledge of or control over how they are handling their finances, which may result in them dissipating what should be marital property to be divided, and incurring substantial new debts that you may be liable for.

If your spouse's economic situation deteriorates, your settlement could be much less than you anticipated. A spouse could also decide to move away to another state or even another country, putting themselves and their assets out of reach of the jurisdiction of the courts of Arizona. If spousal support or child support are issues in an eventual divorce, a substantial delay could possibly result in the law being altered in a manner that is less advantageous to you.

Failure to file for divorce in a timely fashion can also be a barrier to moving on with your life, and possibly to meeting someone new and entering into a relationship with them or even remarrying. Additionally, because the standard of living in your separate household may be less than what you had been accustomed to when living together with your spouse, this may convince a court that you need less to live on in the way of spousal support.

With all those possible problems looming on the horizon, the sensible thing to do if it is clear that the marriage is already over, is to consult with an experienced family law attorney to discuss your options, and then go forward to initiate a divorce proceeding.

Source:  Forbes, "Putting Off Divorce? Ten Ways Long-term Separations Can Do Women More Harm Than Good" Jeff Landers, Oct. 03, 2013

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