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If I get joint custody, will I still have to pay child support?

Joint custody is a legal arrangement where both parents share the rights and responsibilities of raising their child. While the specifics of each joint custody agreement can vary, most cases involve an equal or 50/50 split of physical and legal custody.

Because child-rearing duties are often split evenly in joint custody scenarios, this can leave questions surrounding child support. Although child support arrangements are stereotypically associated with scenarios where one parent has primary custody of the child, a parent in a joint custody scenario may still be ordered to pay some form of financial support to the other.

Continue reading to learn more, then contact Blanchette Law PLLC for personalized guidance from an Arizona family law attorney about joint custody child support.

joint custody child support

Factors determining child support in Arizona

All parents, regardless of custody status, have a legal responsibility to financially provide for their children. Each state approaches this basic principle differently, with Arizona using the Income Shares Model.

The main idea of the Income Shares Model is that the child of divorced or unmarried parents should have access to the same standard of living that they would’ve received if the parents were living together. In other words, the child should receive the same proportion of parental income that they would have received if the parents were married. The reasoning behind this is simple: intact households typically pool the income of both parents for the benefit of the children, and this principle should continue to apply to a split household.

However, this doesn’t mean that parenting time or custody has no bearing on child support obligations. In Arizona, parenting time is factored into the calculation of how much each parent will pay. The courts look at both the incomes of each parent and the amount of time they have with the child to determine who will pay what.

The court may also consider the child’s needs, such as medical bills or daycare costs, and factor this into the calculation of child support. Ultimately, the child’s best interests remain at the forefront of any child support ruling.

How child support is determined in joint custody scenarios

In a joint custody child support arrangement, it’s possible that neither parent will be required to pay child support to the other. This most commonly occurs when both parents earn similar incomes and have 50/50 custody.

High earners

On the other hand, the court may order child support in a 50/50 custody scenario if one parent earns significantly more money than the other. Remember, the purpose of the Income Shares Model is to make sure that children are receiving the same proportion of parental income as they would have if the parents were still intact. By ordering the higher-earning parent to pay child support to the lower-earning parent, the court ensures that the child receives a similar standard of living when spending time with both parents.

Parenting time

Some joint custody scenarios involve an unequal share of parenting time. For example, one parent may have 60% of the parenting time, and the other parent may have 40%. In this case, it’s likely that the court will order the parent with less parenting time to pay child support to the parent with more parenting time.

However, the court will also consider the income of each parent in proportion to this parenting time, so if the parent with 60% of the parenting time earns more money than the other parent, they may need to pay child support instead, or there may be no support obligation for either parent.

Learn more from a skilled family law attorney

The calculation of joint custody child support in Arizona can be complicated, even when both parents share equal custody. If you’re unsure about whether or not you may be required to pay child support in a joint custody scenario, it’s best to consult a Tempe child custody lawyer from Blanchette Law PLLC.

Our team can help you understand your potential rights and obligations in child support matters, allowing you to plan for the future and give your child the best life possible. Contact our law firm today at (602) 881-1748 to get started.

What should I do if the other parent violates our parenting plan?

A parenting plan is a written document that outlines the responsibilities of each parent. It’s designed to protect the best interests of your children and help ensure a smooth co-parenting relationship between you and your ex.

This document is legally binding, meaning both parents must abide by its terms. If one parent fails to do so, the other parent has legal recourse and can take action. Continue reading to learn more, then contact Blanchette Law PLLC for personalized guidance from a Tempe child custody lawyer.

what to do if a parent violates parenting plan

Understand the violation

Each parenting plan includes terms that are unique to that case. Typical terms include details about when and where the children will spend time with each parent, who takes care of medical decisions, and how communication will occur.

The details of a violation will depend on the specific terms of the parenting plan, but common examples include:

  • Failing to keep scheduled visitations
  • Refusing to allow contact between the child and the other parent
  • Not providing timely notice of plans or changes
  • Undermining the decisions and authority of the other parent
  • Enrolling the child in an activity without the other parent’s consent

If you suspect the other parent is violating your parenting plan, start by taking a look at the original court-issued documents. The terms of the parenting plan will be outlined here, and you can use this as a reference when taking action.

Document the incident

If your suspicions are correct and you believe that the other parent is in violation of your parenting plan, you’ll want to start gathering documentation. Keep detailed records of each instance, including times, dates, and any witnesses to the event.

It can also be helpful to screenshot any text messages or emails that show that the other parent is disregarding the parenting plan, such as refusing to discuss visitation times. Be sure to keep these records in a safe place so you can easily access them if needed.

Keep in mind that documenting a parenting plan violation doesn’t necessarily mean you have to jump right into legal action — rather, it’s a way to proactively protect yourself if the situation escalates. In some cases, a simple conversation may be enough to remedy the situation.

Try to communicate with the violating parent

If possible, start by trying to talk with the other parent about their behavior. Let them know that you take the parenting plan seriously, and explain why it’s important for both of you to uphold its terms. You don’t have to be confrontational; instead, focus on creating a positive dialogue that emphasizes your shared investment in ensuring the best interests of your children.
This conversation can be an excellent starting point to explore potential solutions. Many parenting plan violations arise from a genuine misunderstanding or a change of external circumstances that aren’t reflected in the current parenting plan, such as an altered work schedule. If this is the case, you may be able to resolve the issue by agreeing to modify the parenting plan through the family court system.

Consider taking legal action

Unfortunately, not all violations can be solved through mutual collaboration. If the other parent is unwilling to cooperate, you may need to take matters into your hands, and you should contact a family law attorney. A lawyer can help explain your legal rights and advise on the best course of action. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to petition the court to enforce the parenting plan or even seek a modification.

This is where your documentation will be helpful. If you can prove that the other parent is violating the parenting plan, the court will likely intervene on your behalf and compel the other parent to comply with its terms.

When the judge reviews your situation, they will make decisions based on what they believe is in the best interests of your children. This may involve modifying the parenting plan or issuing sanctions against the violating parent.

A family law attorney can help you seek relief

If you’re struggling with parenting plan violations, Blanchette Law PLLC is here to help you find a resolution. We understand the vital role that parenting plans play in preserving relationships between children and their parents, and our Tempe child custody lawyer is committed to protecting your rights. Don’t wait to take action — contact Mrs. Blanchette today at (602) 881-1748 to start exploring your options.

What are some unique issues in same-sex divorce?

Unique same-sex divorce issues deal with child custody and how long a couple was married. A clear understanding of same-sex divorce issues is a must if you are preparing to go through the divorce process in Tempe, Arizona. With an experienced divorce attorney in Tempe at your side, you can navigate any same-sex divorce challenges that come your way.

At Blanchette Law PLLC, we can offer insights into the same-sex divorce issues to consider. For more information, get in touch with our Tempe divorce attorney. In the meantime, take a look at our answers to some of the most common issues that come up in same-sex divorce.

unique issues same sex divorce

What are the unique issues relating to child custody in same-sex divorce cases in Arizona?

Legal issues can come up if a same-sex couple has a child born through surrogacy. Who will have custody, as well as the type of custody depends on the terms of the surrogacy agreement, the type of surrogacy, and other factors.

A divorce lawyer in Tempe can review the terms of the divorce in which surrogacy and help their client argue their case for custody accordingly.


Co-parenting can be a consideration in a same-sex divorce case. If two parents are sharing custody of a child, each must be able to co-parent with the other to accommodate the child’s best interests. If a parent is unwilling or unable to co-parent effectively, the court may award the other parent full or primary custody.


Adoption can be a factor in a same-sex divorce case, too. If a couple adopts a child but divorces, a court may be required to determine if one parent is granted full or primary custody. The court will consider a wide range of evidence to determine an appropriate custody agreement.

How does the length of a same-sex marriage affect a divorce case in Arizona?

It can be confusing to determine the length of a same-sex marriage due in part to statutes that vary from state to state.

For example, a same-sex couple may enter into a partnership or civil union in one state, become domestic partners in another state, and get married in a third state. In this scenario, it is nearly impossible to determine exactly when the couple’s marriage was considered legal.

With help from a Tempe divorce lawyer, you can get insights into when your same-sex marriage was legally enacted. Your attorney reviews all of the information surrounding your marriage. Next, your lawyer can help you figure out when your marriage became legal in Arizona.

What steps must I follow to file for a same-sex divorce?

It is in your best interests to seek out a Tempe divorce attorney. This enables you to work with an attorney to move through the divorce proceedings. Your lawyer will ensure that your request for a same-sex divorce is filed properly and aligns with your best interests.

File a petition

Initially, you will need to file a petition to dissolve your marriage. After you file the petition, your spouse has an opportunity to respond to it. Depending on the issues at hand, you may be able to move forward with an uncontested or contested divorce.

Agree to full terms or go to trial

If your divorce is uncontested, you and your spouse agree to the terms and can finalize your pact. Comparatively, in a contested divorce, various issues must be settled before the agreement can be finalized. Each party must agree to the full terms, and if they cannot, a trial may be required to finalize a divorce agreement.

How can I proceed with a same-sex divorce in Arizona?

Adriana Blanchette of Blanchette Law PLLC can help you initiate the same-sex divorce process in Arizona. To learn more, please call us today at (602) 881-1748.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Arizona?

In many instances, it takes about three to four months to finalize a divorce in Tempe, Arizona. However, in a contested divorce, the process can take years. This is due to the fact that various financial issues may need to be resolved.

Keep reading to learn how certain factors and situations can extend or reduce the divorce process.

how long does it take to get a divorce in arizona

How long does a divorce take in Arizona?

Every divorce is different, and the answer depends on whether a divorce is contested or uncontested. The length of time tends to be longer if multiple issues are contested during the divorce proceedings.

In a contested divorce, neither party can agree to terms. Comparatively, in an uncontested divorce, both parties are in complete agreement. Thus, a contested divorce requires additional time to resolve all of the issues at hand in contrast to an uncontested one.

At Blanchette Law PLLC, we help people as they move through the divorce process. Reach out to our Tempe divorce lawyer. At this point, our attorney can get details about your case and help you navigate the divorce process.

What is the shortest possible amount of time to complete a divorce in Arizona?

The shortest possible amount of time to finalize a divorce in Arizona is 61 days. This involves an uncontested divorce. If neither party has any issues to resolve, the divorce can move forward without delay.

Typically, an uncontested or contested divorce in Arizona takes 90 to 120 days to resolve. Both parties must submit the appropriate paperwork to finalize their divorce. Meanwhile, both parties must resolve any issues between them before a divorce can be completed.

Lengthy divorce proceedings last anywhere from several months to several years. These proceedings may require frequent negotiations between the parties. If either party is unwilling to compromise, the divorce proceedings can linger.

What are common disputes that can slow down the divorce process in Arizona?

Child custody, child support, and asset distribution are three of the most common issues in a contested divorce in Arizona. These issues can make divorce proceedings contentious. They can require the court to get involved to review all of the facts surrounding divorce to determine what is in the best interests of the parties involved in it.

Mediation can help

Mediation may be an option for resolving a contested divorce. In a mediation session, the parties meet with an independent third party in the hopes of settling any disputes between them. The mediator considers the sides of both parties and offers insights on how to resolve their disputes.
If mediation is unsuccessful, a court may be required to settle a divorce case. Each party can hire a divorce attorney to represent them. They can go to court, share their side of the story, and get a decision from the court that finalizes their divorce.

If you’re going through or considering divorce, it’s a good idea to speak with certified mediator Adriana Blanchette. She can help you reach an agreement through respectful, open dialogue.

What are the steps that need to be completed for a divorce in Arizona?

To begin the divorce process, you will need to file a dissolution petition to tell the court that you are seeking a divorce. This petition is sent to your spouse. Once your spouse receives your petition, they have 20 days to file a response if they are still living in Arizona or 30 days if they are living out of state.

If a divorce involves children or one spouse is dealing with financial hardships, a judge may establish temporary orders. Or, a couple may establish these orders on their own. The orders enable the parties to set temporary parameters until the divorce is finalized in court.

For divorces that are uncontested, each party will be able to finalize their divorce agreement in the months to come. In a contested divorce, a trial may be required to complete the divorce. In either scenario, it is paramount to hire a divorce attorney.

Where can I find a divorce attorney in Tempe?

Blanchette Law PLLC can connect you with a Tempe divorce attorney right away. To get started, please contact us at (602) 881-1748.

How do courts determine child support?

Parents have a legal obligation to support their children financially. As such, family courts in Arizona often order that one parent must pay child support to the other parent, usually the child’s primary caretaker.

Child support payment amounts are determined on a case-by-case basis – however, there is a general set of guidelines used by the courts to help calculate a fair amount.

how do courts determine child support

Process of determining the cost of child support

There are two ways that child support payment amounts may be decided in Arizona: by a settlement between the parents or by the court.

If the parents can agree

During the divorce process, parents may decide the terms of their divorce, including the amount of child support, without court intervention. If both parties agree on an amount, they may draft a settlement agreement that includes the agreed-upon child support amount and submit it to the court for final approval.

An agreed-upon support order isn’t required to adhere to the state guidelines, and the parents are free to negotiate a mutually agreeable figure as long as it meets the child’s needs.

If the parents cannot agree

In cases where parents can’t agree on an amount, the court will likely issue a ruling based on the state’s Child Support Guidelines using a computer program that automatically calculates a figure based on various points and inputs of data. However, the judge isn’t required to adhere strictly to this calculation and may make adjustments based on the particular circumstances of a case if a deviation is in the child’s best interests.

A court-ordered child support amount could be higher or slightly lower than the calculation suggests if it still meets the state guidelines.

Arizona Child Support Guidelines

The Arizona family court system aims to have each parent contribute to their child’s financial needs in a way that’s proportionate to the share of income each parent earns. For that reason, the Arizona Child Support Guidelines consider both parents’ incomes when determining child support amounts.

Calculating incomes

The court begins by assigning a figure called Child Support Income, rather than gross income, to each parent. This is the income earned by the parent from any source before deductions or withholdings, which may include:

  • Salaries and wages
  • Commissions and bonuses
  • Capital gains
  • Disability benefits
    And more

This means that “income” for child support purposes isn’t limited to what’s reported on tax returns, especially for self-employed parents.

Sometimes, the court may attribute income to a parent who is unemployed or underemployed but capable of working full-time. The court may set an amount based on state and local labor market statistics as well as individual factors such as the parent’s job skills, educational background, and health status. This ensures that the child support amount accurately reflects the earning potential of each parent and is fair to both parties.

Adjustments may also be made when a parent currently has other child support obligations or pays spousal maintenance.

Arriving at a child support obligation amount

After the court calculates a Child Support Income amount for each parent, it combines these figures into a Combined Adjusted Child Support Income. Using the Schedule of Basic Support Obligations table, the court compares that amount to the number of children involved.

Possible adjustments

This suggests the basic amount of child support payments for the family. However, there may be adjustments to this amount based on factors such as children aged 12 or older, medical insurance coverage for the child, childcare, and education expenses, and costs to support a child with special needs.

Adjustment for parenting time

The court then arrives at a Combined Child Support Obligation amount and divides it between both parents proportionally to their Child Support Incomes.

Further adjustments may be made to account for costs associated with the amount of parenting time each parent has been assigned. Parents with a higher parenting time typically have their child support obligations reduced accordingly. Once this factor is accounted for, the court can issue its final ruling on the amount of child support the paying parent must provide.

For example, here’s a small section of the Schedule of Basic Support Obligations. If the parents’ Combined Adjusted Gross Income is $900 and they have two children, then the amount of child support owed is $290. Likewise, if they had five children, $431 would be owed in child support.

schedule of basic support obligations

An attorney can help you navigate your child support matter

There are many nuances to the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, and a qualified attorney at Blanchette Law PLLC can help you understand how they apply to your case. If you need further support, our Tempe child support lawyer can represent your interests in court or settlement negotiations and help you secure an outcome that’s fair for everyone involved. Contact Mrs. Blanchette today at (602) 881-1748 to get started.

Can child support be used for rent?

In Arizona, a custodial parent can use child support costs for rent. Child support is designed to help a parent cover their child’s expenses. Arizona lawmakers have established guidelines to ensure that a parent can receive a fair amount of child support based on their income.

If you have concerns or questions regarding child support in Arizona, get in touch with Blanchette Law PLLC. Our child support lawyer in Tempe, AZ can give you information about Arizona’s child support laws. In the meantime, we have answered some of the most common questions about whether child support can be used for rent and similar topics.

can child support be used for rent

Can child support be used as income for rent?

Yes, if you are a parent receiving child support in Arizona, you can use the money you get to cover your child’s basic needs. This means you can utilize child support funds to pay for rent or a mortgage. These funds can also be used for costs relating to your child’s healthcare, transportation, and any others required to help you raise your child.

“Income shares model”

Arizona uses an income shares model to determine how much a parent should pay in child support. The model is based on how much each parent would financially contribute to a child’s well-being if they were together. Typically, the non-custodial parent is required to pay a portion of their income as child support to a custodial parent.

If you are paying child support in Arizona but do not believe the money you provide is being used properly, a Tempe child support lawyer at Blanchette Law PLLC can help. We can review your child support order and help you figure out if a request for modification is warranted. If so, our attorney will make sure your request is filed properly and put you in the best position to get your child support costs reduced.

What are the basic needs that child support covers in Arizona?

Child support is intended to cover a child’s basic needs, including:

  • Appropriate clothing for each season
  • Rent or mortgage
  • Electricity, gas, and other utilities
  • Medical care
  • Transportation expenses for getting to home, school, and various places and activities

In a custody case, each parent may be required to provide a copy of their taxes to verify their income. A judge can review this information to understand how much each parent earns and determine an appropriate amount of child support. The judge will follow Arizona’s child support guidelines to decide on a child support amount but can deviate from them as needed based on the case.

What is considered “appropriate” housing?

Appropriate housing is considered any type of residence where a child is deemed safe, such as:

  • House
  • Condo
  • Apartment

A judge considers the housing that parents can provide to their children. If one parent cannot provide a child with a safe place to live and the other cannot, a judge may provide the former with full or primary custody. The judge may also request this parent receive child support as well.

How can I get started with a Tempe child support attorney?

Child support cases in Arizona can be complicated, but having an attorney at your disposal can be beneficial. A child support attorney in Tempe considers each case as its own entity and can work with you to address any child support issues. Plus, your attorney advocates for you and makes sure that your best interests are represented in court.

Blanchette Law PLLC can help you with your Tempe child support case. To learn more or request a consultation, please call us today at (602) 881-1748.

Can you serve as a mediator in my divorce?

If Adriana didn’t previously serve as the attorney for either you or your spouse, and neither of you consulted with her, then yes, she can serve as a mediator for your divorce. However, mediation isn’t the right path for every divorce.

a mediator for divorce

If you’re going through a divorce and you want to take a healthier, more peaceful path, or if you’ve tried mediation but you want to try a collaborative divorce, or if a contested divorce seems like your only option, schedule a consultation with Tempe divorce lawyer Adriana Blanchette by calling (602) 881-1748.

In the meantime, continue reading to learn more about mediation and if your divorce is a good candidate for mediation.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a voluntary negotiation process where a neutral person, a mediator, tries to help two people reach an agreement to resolve all or some aspects of their divorce. The following people are involved or can be involved in divorce mediation:

  • The mediator
  • Both spouses
  • An attorney for each spouse, if they choose to have independent legal representation
  • Financial planner
  • Child custody specialist or therapist.

Anything that can be ordered by a judge in court can be part of an agreement reached in mediation, including:

  • Property division
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Payment of attorney’s fees
  • Use of or access to property pending the completion of the proceedings.

The mediator and their role

In family law mediation, the mediator is often an experienced family law attorney who’s completed additional training such as in dispute resolution, or they could be a retired judge. Because the mediator is a neutral person, they cannot give legal advice to either party.

Unlike a judge or arbitrator, mediators can’t make decisions or issue binding orders, nor can they force the parties to reach an agreement. Their role is simply to present each party’s position to the other and to help guide them toward a peaceful, middle-ground resolution that they’ll both sign.

Mediation is confidential

Unlike the court process, mediation is entirely confidential, and nothing said or offered during or in contemplation of mediation can be used against you or be told to the judge. If mediation wasn’t confidential, no one would be inclined to make good faith or reasonable settlement offers, and they wouldn’t have any reason to compromise in order to reach a settlement.

Cases that are ripe for mediation

Although mediation can be used for all types of family law cases, even divorces involving child custody disputes, support, and significant assets, not all of them are good candidates for mediation. If you and your spouse communicate well, can generally work together toward resolution on most issues, and if you’ve already reached an agreement on some aspects of your divorce, you’re likely a good candidate for mediation. 

Ready to move forward with your divorce? Call Blanchette Law PLLC

Going through a divorce, even one without children or substantial assets, can be complex and emotionally challenging, but you don’t have to go through it alone and with questions. Certified mediator and experienced Tempe divorce attorney Adriana Blanchette and her team provide the compassionate and knowledgeable representation you deserve.

Call Blanchette Law PLLC at (602) 881-1748 today to schedule your consultation to learn more about divorce in Arizona, mediation, or collaborative divorce to find out which type of representation is best for you.

What should I do after my divorce is finalized?

You’re finally at the finish line – your divorce is almost finalized, but you might be asking yourself: now what? If you believe that there’s going to be some work still to do after the divorce decree is received, you’re correct. Here’s a quick checklist to run through to ensure you’ve done everything you need to do following your divorce.

divorce finalized

If you’re getting or are contemplating a divorce in Arizona, contact Tempe divorce lawyer Adriana Blanchette at Blanchette Law PLLC today. Adriana has years of experience as an attorney and a family law mediator, and as a mother, she understands the emotional turmoil (and freedom) that divorce can cause. To schedule your consultation, call (602) 881-1748.

Complete all terms contained in your divorce decree

Obtain a copy of your final divorce decree and do all things required of you in the decree, including in the property division section, or ensuring that your co-parent has been added to your children’s emergency contact information if they weren’t already listed or if you were ordered to add them. 

The property division aspects of your final judgment might require you to:

  • Refinance a home or loan into your sole name to remove your former spouse from that obligation
  • Remove your former spouse from your banking, investment, retirement, or credit card accounts
  • Close jointly-held accounts
  • Conduct the division of the marital estate as outlined in your agreement or decree
  • Issue an equalizing payment to your spouse in order to complete the equitable division of the marital estate
  • Sign the title to any vehicles or property that were awarded to your former spouse or ensure they sign any that were awarded to you
  • If the division of any retirement accounts needs to occur through a specific instrument, such as through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO), ensure that those are completed and filed
  • If not prohibited by your decree, remove your former spouse from all insurance policies.

If, as part of your divorce, you opted to revert to your maiden name, ensure that you update your:

  • Social security card
  • Driver’s license or ID card
  • Car title and registration
  • Bank accounts
  • Passport
  • Insurance policies

Other important tasks and documentation

Although they aren’t part of the divorce, there are several other pieces of information you’ll want to change or update following your divorce. Although your attorney can discuss a list that’s more tailored to your specific situation, generally, the following should be done after a divorce:

  • Ensure your mailing address is correct for all accounts and for all important documents, including setting up mail forwarding if necessary
  • Change all passwords, security questions, and recovery emails/phone numbers for the electronic access to all accounts including financial accounts, email accounts, social media, cloud storage drives, iCloud, etc., and ensure that all other devices that were previously connected to those accounts are disconnected or removed from access.
  • If it’s not prohibited by your judgment, update the beneficiaries on all retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and other accounts
  • Update your tax withholdings through your employer
  • Create a new estate plan

Need help finalizing your divorce? Call Blanchette Law PLLC

If you feel that your divorce has stalled or if you’re just starting and you don’t know where to start or what to do, don’t hesitate to contact Tempe divorce lawyer Adriana Blanchette. The longer you wait, the more daunting your divorce will seem. Call (602) 881-1748 today to schedule your consultation.

What do I do if my spouse refuses to negotiate divorce?

When discussing divorce with your spouse, promises might be made to negotiate all terms and to reach an agreement together. However, when it’s time to put that into action, your spouse might suddenly be uncooperative or they might outright refuse to engage in the process.

This can be incredibly frustrating, but thankfully there are ways to deal with the stalled divorce and methods to move the process forward, even without your spouse’s cooperation.

If you’re getting a divorce but don’t know your options or what’s required to put the process in motion, contact Tempe divorce lawyer and mediator Adriana Blanchette of Blanchette Law PLLC. To schedule your consultation, call (602) 881-1748.

Have empathy – Consider why they’re being uncooperative

Although you might be emotionally ready for your divorce and the next chapter of your life, even if you haven’t been considering it for long or if your spouse initiated the process, it’s still a difficult and emotional process. spouse refuses to negotiate divorce Your spouse might not be intentionally uncooperative, but they might feel lost and are afraid of starting over alone. They might be worried about the financial impact and strain of the divorce, they could be worried about how your children will handle it, if they’ll be judged by their friends and family, or they simply don’t know how to process their emotions.   Try to remain calm when speaking to them about the divorce and your desire to move forward with the process and be empathetic toward their feelings. It might be helpful to kindly direct them to people or resources who can help them work through and process their emotions in a healthy manner such as a therapist, a member of their church, a support group, or a trusted friend or family member. Your sympathy and support might help them muster the courage to take the next steps in the divorce.

Remember your goals

It’s easy to be sidetracked by your spouse’s refusal to respond or cooperate with the divorce, so you might need to remind yourself of your goals. These will be specific to your situation and your divorce, but they could include:
  • Maintaining civility between you and your spouse
  • Reaching an agreement outside the courtroom
  • Ensuring your children know both parents love them and the divorce won’t change that
Your attorney can also help you develop goals and strategies to entice your spouse into cooperating with the divorce, and if they won’t, they’ll help you move your divorce forward.

Contested divorce is still an option

Even if you set out on the hopeful path of mediation or a collaborative divorce, those simply aren’t viable options in every situation. If you can’t negotiate an agreement or if your spouse isn’t responding or cooperating with the process, you can still pursue the divorce through the contested divorce process.  If you need to proceed with a contested divorce, your attorney will help you file motions and present evidence to the judge so that they can issue orders, eventually issuing permanent orders and your divorce decree. A judge can rule on all issues of your divorce, including:
  • Property division
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Child support
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Payment of attorney’s fees
  • Use of or access to property pending the completion of the proceedings
You might feel hopeless and like you’re stuck in a standstill divorce, but with Tempe divorce lawyer Adriana Blanchette on your side, you can ensure that your divorce will progress as needed, even with a little bit of involvement. To learn more about your options and to schedule a consultation, call Blanchette Law PLLC at (602) 881-1748.

What’s the difference between mediation and collaborative divorce?

Both mediation and collaborative divorce can be extremely beneficial and cost-saving tactics in a divorce. However, the processes are handled differently depending on who’s involved and the role of each individual.

difference between mediation and divorce

Adriana Blanchette is a certified mediator in the State of Arizona. If you’re interested in Adriana’s mediation services or if you want her to represent you in your collaborative divorce, call (602) 881-1748 to schedule your consultation today.


Mediation relies on a neutral third party who works to help spouses reach an agreement on some or all of the issues they’re facing. Mediators are expert problem-solvers and can clear up issues while maintaining mutual respect and dignity. However, there’s a very important caveat to mediation: A mediator cannot offer legal advice to either party.

They do not make decisions or force the spouses into an agreement. In family law mediation, the mediator is often an experienced family law attorney who’s completed additional training such as in dispute resolution, or they might be a retired judge.

Each spouse can choose to represent themselves or retain their own attorney, who will guide and advise them, review offers, and help craft counteroffers. The parties can choose whether or not they want their attorney present during mediation or if they’ll simply consult behind the scenes. 

Collaborative Divorce

In a collaborative divorce, Ms. Blanchette represents one party and provides them with legal advice throughout the process.

Before engaging in the collaborative divorce process, each party must sign a contract or agreement which outlines their commitment to proceed with the divorce outside of court. The agreement will also outline what will happen if spouses are unable to reach an agreement, making it necessary to bring the issues in front of a judge.

Ms. Blanchette will work cooperatively with the other party in an attempt to reach a resolution on all or some of the issues of the divorce without putting the matter before the court to decide. 

When Ms. Blanchette represents one party, she will not give legal advice to the other party because she has a duty to her client and isn’t acting as a neutral mediator.

Which is faster?

Like the answer to most legal questions, the answer here is: it depends. There’s no definitive duration or time to completion for either mediation or a collaborative divorce because it depends on the number of issues in dispute and how cooperative the parties are with each other. 

Generally, both can be completed fairly quickly if it’s a simple divorce, like one without children, or if there are few issues in dispute because the parties work well together. However, typically a collaborative divorce takes slightly longer than mediation because in addition to having a sit-down meeting, your attorney will exchange disclosures, communication, and offers with the other party or their attorney, and they might not receive prompt or immediate responses.  

Is mediation cheaper than a collaborative divorce?

The cost of collaborative divorce or mediation also depends on the disputed issues, the relationship between the spouses, the number of professionals involved, and the extent to which they’re involved.

For example, in a mediation where both parties have an attorney and they’re sharing the costs of mediation, if they attend a four-hour mediation, they’ll both be paying for two hours of the mediator’s time plus four hours of their attorney’s time. If they simply consult with their attorney outside of mediation to review disclosures or offers following the four-hour mediation, they’ll still pay for two hours of the mediator’s time and the amount of time they discuss things with their attorney. 

In a collaborative divorce, you aren’t paying mediator fees in addition to your attorney’s fees, however, there could be more back-and-forth between your attorney and your spouse or their attorney, which could ultimately cost the same as mediation but it might take longer.

Do you want an easier divorce? Blanchette Law PLLC can help.

Adriana Blanchette and her team at Blanchette Law PLLC are experienced in both mediated and collaborative divorces, all with a focus on healthy communication and assisting the parties in reaching an agreement that’s best for them and their families. 

To schedule your consultation with Ms. Blanchette, call (602) 881-1748 today.