Annulment Laws in Arizona

Having your marriage annulled is not the same as getting a divorce. A divorce ends a valid marriage while an annulment states that the marriage was never valid and, therefore, never existed. Annulments are not favored in Arizona and the case may be dismissed if there are no grounds for an annulment. While annulments are harder to get in Arizona than a divorce, they are not impossible.

There are several valid reasons for requesting an annulment: underage marriage, mental illness, bigamy, fraud, temporary insanity at the time of marriage, intoxication at the time of marriage, incest, duress, or one or both parties failed to consummate the marriage. While this list is not complete, these are the most common grounds for an annulment. Once the reason for annulment has been identified, it is recommended to utilize the resources of a family lawyer, like those at The Sampair Group, in order to properly complete the process.

Paperwork will need to be filed at your local courthouse before an annulment can continue. Your family lawyer will be able to help you correctly fill it out. A judge of the superior court will then review the case to decide if the reason for an annulment is valid. If it is, the marriage is then null and void. However, if the judge decides against an annulment, it’s not the end of the road. The party asking for the annulment can file a petition. Both parties will be summoned to court where testimonies will be heard in order to come to a conclusion.

Often, people think an annulment brings their paternity into question. In the eyes of the court, the child or children are seen as being born to two single parents if the marriage is annulled. Under Arizona law, the courts have decided that parents of children who are born outside of marriage have co-equal custody following the established paternity.

If you find yourself considering an annulment, the family lawyers at The Sampair Group can help. Any legal matter can be confusing and we would like to help you to better understand the annulment process. Visit today for a free consultation.

How to Be An Excellent Divorce Client

How you are as a client is just as important as how your attorney is as representation for you during such a difficult time. The Phoenix Family Law attorneys at The Sampair Group know that there is rarely a ‘nice’ divorce, and proceedings can create a great amount of stress on all participants. Attorneys and clients usually have a love/hate relationship during the legal battles of divorce. To prevent high stress and tension, which could lead to a bad relationship between a divorce attorney and their client, there are some simple rules of behavior that you, as the client, can follow so that you can both come out of this case with enough financial and emotional resources to start a new life.

Be Organized and Keep Record
When meeting with your attorney, be sure to have all questions you have for them prepared ahead of time. Make sure you have a goal and agenda for each meeting with your Phoenix divorce lawyer so that all topics are covered and you leave the meeting feeling confident that your problems are being addressed and taken care of.

Despite the anxiety and stress you are experiencing during the divorce, it will only feel worse if you are unorganized. You will also feel more in control if you keep track of your own records and everything that is going on instead of depending fully on someone else to do it for you. Documents should be labeled, stapled and assembled in an orderly fashion before you give them to your attorney. This will save them time and money and give them more time to focus on you and your case.

Keep a detailed diary of all significant events that pertain to your case, and share copies with your attorney. These can be used in preparing testimony for your case and addressing issues in a more effective way.

Don’t Annoy Your Attorney
Continuously calling and emailing your lawyer for non-legal problems related to your case can end up costing you, and will also result in a very annoyed attorney. Most attorneys charge by the hour not just for physical visits but also for phone calls, emails, and other forms of communication. If you must call for legal assistance, have all of your questions prepared at once so you are not calling every day with a different question or concern any time one pops into your head. Also, any non-legal issues may want to be address with someone other than your lawyer such as a therapist or family member.

Be Realistic
Have reasonable expectations that not everything is going to go your way. Listen to your attorney and the advice they have for you to resolve the issues surrounding your case. A good divorce attorney will work with you as a team to make the process as fair as it can be, and to work effectively with them you need to determine your unrealistic goals up front so there are no disappointments. Also be sure to remember and constantly remind yourself that divorce is a long process, and results will not be reached immediately. Be patient with everyone involved, especially your divorce attorney.

At The Sampair Group, our high conflict resolution attorneys take the time to get to know you and the circumstances of your case. Contact an experienced divorce attorney today for a free initial consultation. 

When You Are Served With Divorce Papers

Phoenix, Arizona divorce lawyerBeing served with divorce papers means that you have been formally informed with a notice that your spouse has filed for divorce action. Once you receive the papers, you should review them to assess the basis for the divorce and how long you have to respond to the papers.

The papers you are served with will usually detail the reasons for the divorce in accordance with state statutes.

Usually you will have 20 days from the date you were served the paper to file an answer. Your answer will inform the court on whether or not you agree or disagree with the action that your spouse wants the court to take.

If you agree with the request, a consent answer form should be filled out and filed with the court and you will proceed with an uncontested divorce. If you disagree, you can submit a contested answer and counterclaim form. A divorce that is contested will usually involve a lengthy court process.

Once you, the receiver of the papers, have filed a petition, the divorce process begins. You should immediately consult the help of a divorce attorney at The Sampair Group to ensure that your legal rights are being protected throughout the entire process.

Your attorney will help you file papers that present any arguments or defenses you may have. You can discuss at any length with your attorney how you should proceed to work out a settlement, including requests to review distribution of property and assets, alimony and child support issues.

If a mutual agreement cannot be made on these conditions, a trial may be necessary. At trial, both you and your spouse will have the chance to present each side of the argument, and you will both be required to provide evidence relating to the basis for the divorce and any other issues being presented.

If you are served with divorce papers and do not answer them, the court may think you do not want to participate in the case, and you will not be notified of a hearing, causing much trouble for yourself.

If you do not file an answer, your spouse will likely be unable to file for a no-fault divorce because both the husband and wife must sign an agreement that the divorce is being processed on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. However, if your spouse can prove a fault ground for the divorce, they may still be able to go through with the process. All in all, not filing an answer means you are taking a big chance.

For more information on how to approach a situation where you are served with divorce papers, contact a Glendale divorce attorney at The Sampair Group. Visit today.

Strange Divorce Laws in the U.S.

Divorce is complicated enough, even when you follow all specific legal regulations to a T. But what happens when you mix into the mess some wacky divorce laws? Here are some interesting, quite strange divorce laws that actually exist in the United States.

In Wichita, Kansas, if you are rude to your mother-in-law, your spouse has the legal right to file for divorce. So don’t forget to practice your best behavior when around the maternal grandmother of your kids!

If you live in Delaware and, for some reason, accepted a dare from your friends to marry someone, you and your spouse will have the right to file for an annulment.

Say your spouse becomes severely insane after about 5 years into the marriage. This will give you the right to annul the marriage as long as you live in New York. Also in New York: if you receive any type of professional degree or license, such as a medical degree, nursing degree or law degree, during the marriage, it is considered marital property.

In New Mexico and Mississippi, you can get your friends a lot more involved in your divorce than they probably wanted to be. In these states, you can blame a third party for the disintegration of your marriage.

In Alabama, you have it made if you’re the wife. If you’re the husband, you may not be so lucky once you get divorce. Alabama law allows the wife to retain all property that she owned prior to the marriage, as well as any property she may be entitled to after the divorce.

New York, yet again with some more wacky divorce laws: State law says that a couple who cannot agree on anything in a marriage must agree that they do not agree in order to get a divorce in the Big Apple.

If you live in Kentucky, you may want to think twice about remarrying your ex-spouse multiple times. In this state, it’s illegal to remarry the same person four times. Third times a charm, right?

Fortunately, Arizona doesn’t have any crazy divorce laws, but just in case you have some interesting aspects of your divorce, The Sampair Group is here to help. Visit to schedule a free consultation with a Glendale divorce lawyer today.

Remarriage And How It Affects Children

While divorce is a very big transformation for a family, remarriage is another massive transition for everyone involved. While divorce and remarriage is common, it still has quite an impact on children in the family. Many of these changes require a lot of attention, care and time for adjustment.

When a parent divorces and remarries, the child may lose it’s sense of family and what it means to be a joined unit of love and care, now that there are stepparents involved and often new brothers or sisters and other family members suddenly making way into the picture.

The response to these changes is different for all children. The age of a child can be a big factor in how they are impacted by a remarriage. If the child is very young they may not be able to comprehend the situation fully, so therefore they may not be as overwhelmed by the new changes. However, if the child is a bit older, they could become very confused as to why this new person is in their parent’s life when they are so used to just their biological parents. This could impact how the child functions on a daily basis, impacting their schooling, self esteem and attitude.

Another problem the child faces is how they should refer to grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles from the family of the new spouse. In the end, their biological parents should allow the child to refer to them as they please, and should not force the child to call their new parent “mom” or “dad” or force relationships. This could cause the child to feel pressured and confused about the role that their other biological parent plays in their lives.

It is important that if you have been divorced and are remarrying, that you are very open and honest with your child about what is happening. Do not try and influence the child to take sides or feel a certain way about the situation. Be patient with them, and always answer their questions as honestly as you can without negative comments.

At The Sampair Group, our Glendale child custody attorneys can help you make remarriage an easy transition when it comes to child custody agreements and how to make a smooth transition with your family. Visit us today at for a free consultation.

Can an entered Decree for Legal Separation be converted to a divorce or do you need to file a new petition for dissolution?


Can an entered Decree for Legal Separation be converted to a divorce or do you need to file a new petition for dissolution?

If my husband and I decide to do a legal separation and complete the process, for example, our assets are divided and we receive a Decree of Legal Separation that is entered of record. Can it later be converted to a Decree of Dissolution without the filing of a new petition? Or would we be required to file a new Petition for Dissolution and pay the fees all over again?


Yes you will need to file a new Petition for Dissolution. You will also have to pay the $321 court cost again too. All of the issues that are resolved in the Legal Seperation will stay resolved, except child support and spousal maintenance can be revisited.

Good luck!

Patrick Sampair
The Sampair Group, PLLC

Offices Valley-wide:
Arrowhead: 17235 N. 75th Avenue, Suite E-100, Glendale, AZ
City North: 5450 E High St #300, Phoenix, AZ
East Valley: 1830 S. Alma School #114, Mesa, AZ

West Valley: 623.218.1000
Phoenix: 602.997.7717
East Valley: 480.636.1333

To read more of Phoenix divorce lawyer Patrick Sampair’s answers on Avvo and be sure to check out his divorce page, or if you have a question for Mr. Sampair ask him directly at: