Can my spouse do things like empty our joint bank accounts or cancel my health insurance, or kick me out of the house?
When a divorce is filed, the parties are subject to what is called the Preliminary Injunction. That is a court order prohibiting most of the vindictive actions a person faced with divorce may contemplate doing. A spouse who violates the preliminary injunction is subject to sanctions by the court including being ordered to pay the other spouse’s attorney’s fees.
Can I make my spouse move out of the house (or can my spouse make me move out of the house)?
When the divorce is filed, unless there is an order of protection in place against one of the spouses, both spouses have the right too occupy the marital residence. In most situations, this is not what either spouse wants. If the spouses cannot agree on who will move out, the judge can decide and enter an order granting one of the spouse the right to occupy the house (and ordering the other spouse to move out). However, nothing happens automatically in a divorce case. To get the judge to make an order regarding use and possession of the marital residence, your lawyer will file appropriate pleadings with the court to ask the judge to hold a hearing and enter the appropriate orders.
Will I be entitled to alimony (or will I have to pay alimony)?
Alimony, now called spousal maintenance in Arizona, is money that one spouse is ordered to pay the other after (and possibly during) the divorce case to help the receiving spouse meet their living expenses. There are many factors that the judge will consider in determining whether to award spousal maintenance including (but not limited to) the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, the earning power of each spouse, the expected future expenses of each spouse, and the assets and debt awarded to each spouse during the divorce.
What if my spouse hides assets (or can I hide assets from my spouse to avoid having them divided as part of the divorce)?
Hiding assets to avoid having them divided during the divorce is a terrible idea. People think that they will be able to hide assets, and if they do not mention an asset, there is no way for the other party or the court to know about it. They are wrong. There are many, many ways to find undisclosed assets. Arizona is a mandator discovery state. Parties to a divorce are required by law to disclose a wide variety of information during the divorce case. Violation of the rules mandating discovery can result in a variety penalties including being barred from introducing any of the information which was not disclosed during trial, being ordered to pay the other party’s legal fees relating to tracking down the undisclosed information, and even having entire assets awarded to the opposing party without any offset for the party who tried to hide the asset.