Is there anything I should expect from the courts as far as them making one of us pay child support or alimony? We plan on 50/50 custody of our 3 year old boy and splitting cost of day care and any other expenses.
---> Given that your incomes are pretty much equal and you will have shared custody, as long as you fill out ALL the forms...even with 'zeros'...the courts (at least in Maricopa) will go along with whatever ya'll agree with.
Also does it matter who files the papers?
---> Not really. There is no more 'power' to being the Petitioner as opposed to being the Respondent. And ya'll are going to file a Consent Decree and that makes everything so much easier.
---> You can download the forms at [censored]://[censored].superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/Self-ServiceCenter/Forms/FamilyCourt/fc_dr7.asp and then just fill in the blanks. Make sure they are signed in front of a notary, make the appropriate number of copies and file with the Clerk. You will both then receive notice of a court date in which you will appear in front of the Judge and if s/he doesn't have any objections...they sign in and you're divorced.
---> Another option is 'eCourt'. It was just getting started when I lived in Arizona and it was fascinating to discover that my login-[censored] was still good. You basically answer questions and then it fills in the blanks for you and then you print out your documents.
---> You can also find a reputable paralegal/service to draft the documents for you. I did it for six years while living in Phoenix. Understand though, that if you have any questions, both the Clerk of the Court and non-attorney service cannot give you any legal advice. The best I could do was explain what the law did/did not allow and let you make your own decision.
---> A fourth option is that there are many attorneys who have jumped on the 'pro se' bandwagon and will charge you a fee to answer your questions, give advise and prepare your documents, but NOT represent you....aka boutique services. It's a bit spendy for a 'slam dunk', but can save you money if there is going to be an argument.
---> I'm a big proponent of pro se litigation...lawyers have a tendency to complicate and escalate simple matters. One of the things I loved about the Maricopa Courts was that they are very 'pro se' friendly. If you have any questions...feel free to PM me.
If you air your dirty linen in public, expect people to comment on the skid marks!