Divorce In Arizona
Written by Monica Donaldson Stewart

Divorce in Arizona

Date:

The legal name for divorce in Arizona is Dissolution of Marriage. According to the State Bar of Arizona, “A divorce, legally called a “dissolution of marriage,” is a court procedure to end a marriage. The party who starts the divorce is known as the Petitioner. The other party is known as the Respondent.

If you are still married and thinking about getting divorced, you should know that Collaborative divorce is one of the most peaceful divorce options. There are many benefits of choosing a collaborative process when you want to promote a healthy separation.

How to Get a Divorce in Arizona

Once you make the decision to divorce in AZ, there are several ways to go about doing it. Some of the options described in this article only apply if you and your spouse agree to the manner of your divorce. Other options are available even if your spouse is not cooperative. This article will help you understand your options so you can decide which Arizona divorce process is right for you.

Contested Divorce in Arizona

A contested or “traditional” divorce in Arizona is the path the case will follow if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on the terms of your divorce. With a contested divorce, you may try to negotiate a settlement, but if the negotiations don’t succeed, you may be leaving the decisions in the hands of a judge. These issues may include child-related matters such as legal decision-making, parenting time and child support, plus financial issues such as distribution of property and assets, allocation of debts, determination of spousal maintenance, and more. This process can be lengthy, expensive and emotionally-exhausting.

Uncontested Divorce in Arizona

If you and your spouse have agreed on the terms of your divorce from the outset, your divorce might be considered “uncontested.” You can work together to file the necessary paperwork setting forth your agreements and the case can be completed without involving a judge. This is often accomplished without involving attorneys. Uncontested divorce options in Arizona include:

Collaborative Divorce in Arizona

Collaborative divorce in Arizona is a private, out-of-court process that can provide a path to a peaceful divorce even if you and your spouse are not necessarily in agreement on financial and child-related issues coming into the process. In a collaborative divorce, each spouse has a lawyer to advocate for their interests. Learn more about Collaborative Divorce

Divorce Mediation in Arizona

Divorce Mediation in Arizona is a process where a neutral third party, known as a mediator, works with both parties to facilitate agreements regarding all of their divorce issues. Mediation is usually less expensive than a traditional/litigated divorce and often helps the parties reach full agreements. This process allows the spouses to determine the outcome of their divorce rather than a judge. Learn more about Divorce Mediation

Default Divorce in Arizona

If you file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Arizona and your spouse doesn’t file a Response within 20 days (30 days if he or she lives out of state), you may be able to ask the court to allow you to proceed by “default.” This means that the divorce process can go forward without the other party’s involvement. In these cases, the court might grant a default divorce decree, finalizing the divorce according to the terms in the Petition.

Legal Separation in Arizona

The process of legal separation in Arizona is a similar to divorce in that the court enters orders regarding legal decision making, parenting time and child support, as well as division of assets/debts and spousal maintenance; however, the parties are still legally married at the end of a legal separation, whereas the marriage is terminated at the end of a divorce. Learn more about Legal Separation

Arizona Divorce Laws

Learn more about Arizona divorce laws that pertain to spousal maintenance, community and separate property, legal decision making, and inheritance.

Arizona Divorce Laws on Property

Diving household items, retirement benefits, valuable collectibles, securities, vehicles, and a home are where most divorcing couples run into issues. State laws vary when it comes to dividing assets in a divorce.

In community property states like Arizona, the presumption is that property acquired during the marriage (with limited exceptions) is owned 50% by Husband and 50% by Wife.

The 50/50 division rule doesn’t apply to separate property , which generally includes assets owned before the marriage, income generated from property owed before the marriage and property received during the marriage by gift or inheritance.

Community property can include furniture, real estate, brokerage accounts, art, boats, raw land, business entities, checking and savings accounts, investments, retirement accounts and other personal or real property. Community property can also include debts, liabilities and obligations.

Arizona Divorce Laws on Child Custody (Legal Decision Making)

Arizona law provides that in most cases a parent not granted custody of the child is entitled to reasonable parenting time rights to ensure that the child has frequent and continuing contact with that parent. As a part of its custody order, the court also will decide what amount of parenting time is appropriate. Even if parents share joint legal custody, the child may live primarily with one parent or share residential time with both parents, making it important to decide what parenting time schedule should be ordered.

While the “best interests of the child” continues to be the standard that the court will use in making its ruling, some believe that equal time and decision-making will now be the “starting point” in making that determination.

However, if a parent has abused drugs or alcohol, or has been convicted of a substance abuse offense within the past 12 months, there is a presumption that sole or joint legal-decision making by that parent is not in the child’s best interest.

Arizona Divorce Laws on Alimony (Spousal Maintenance)

In a divorce proceeding, the court may grant spousal maintenance to the spouse seeking maintenance if they lack sufficient property, are unable to be self sufficient, had a long duration marriage, or reduced their income for the benefit of the other spouse according to A.R.S. § 25-319.

Arizona Divorce Laws on Inheritance

Arizona considers inheritances as separate property if you treated as such during your marriage. The only way your spouse can control that property is if it was commingled into community money. Meaning, the inheritance money was combined with community money to make a purchase. On the other hand, if only the inheritance money was used to make that purchase, it would still be considered separate property, which your spouse has no legal right to spend according to LegalZoom.

How Much Does it Cost to File for Divorce in Arizona?

You can expect a straightforward divorce in Arizona with court proceedings to average around $5,000 to $10,000. If you have a higher net worth or property that is to be divided it will cost more. And for couples who simply cannot come to an agreement and need a judge to decide, costs could reach as high as $50,000 or more! Read more about the cost of divorce in Arizona.

How to File for Divorce in Arizona

To file for divorce in Arizona, one partner needs to file a form called a Petition for Dissolution with the Superior Court Clerk in the county where at least one spouse lives. However, according to A.R.S. § 25-312 the spouse who files must have been a resident of AZ for at least ninety days.

The spouse filing the petition becomes known for legal purposes as the ‘Petitioner’.

When one spouse files the petition, things move forward and the court can begin ending the marriage legally.

This petition to end the marriage also issues orders that will instruct the court on how to divide debts and property, split custody of the children, determine alimony (spousal support) and child support.

If both spouses are in agreement about the divorce or are willing to work together on the details of the divorce, the court can then issue what is called a Consent Decree. At this point, they may want to consider working with a collaborative divorce attorney to help with the finer details. A collaborative divorce attorney can actually help lower your divorce costs by avoiding costly mistakes.

Learn how to file for divorce in Arizona by using documents provided by Maricopa Superior Court. You can try to file for divorced yourself in Arizona, but Maricopa Superior Court suggests, “The first step in your case should be to speak with a lawyer to get legal advice. This will help you determine the best course of action for you.

How to File for Divorce in Arizona without Minor Children

How to File for Divorce in Arizona with Minor Children

Is Arizona a No Fault Divorce State?

Arizona is a no-fault divorce state This means that the only grounds for divorce is that the marriage is “irretrievably broken, with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. Neither spouse needs to prove the reason they want to end the marriage, and in fact these reasons might never come up during the process itself. Learn more about No-fault divorce in Arizona.

Arizona Divorce Process

The divorce process in Arizona include:

  1. Filing the Petition
  2. Waiting for a Response
  3. Ask for Temporary Orders
  4. Discover & Information Collection Process
  5. Settlement Negotiation
  6. Settle Case or Go to Court

How Long Does a Divorce Take in AZ?

You can receive a divorce decree is 60 days but according to Arizona Revised Statute 25-329, “The court shall not consider a submission of a motion supported by affidavit or hold a trial or hearing on an application for a decree of dissolution of marriage or legal separation until sixty days after the date of service of process or the date of acceptance of process.”

On average, it takes between 90 to 120 days to finalize an uncontested divorce in Arizona. On the other hand, contested divorces in Arizona that involve children can stretch up to 6 months or longer depending on your case.

What Does a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage in AZ Cover?

According to AZBar.org, a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage will:

  1. Legally end the marriage
  2. Determine legal decision making, parenting time and child support, if any.
  3. Determine alimony (spousal maintenance), if any.
  4. Divide community property obtained during the marriage, and declare separate property owned before the marriage (if any) to the spouse who owned it.

Appoint responsibility for any debts incurred during the marriage, and declare any debts owned before the marriage (if any) to the spouse who owed them.

  1. Appoint responsibility for lawyer costs and fees, if any.
  2. There is an option of restoring the last name of a spouse that requests it.

Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer in Arizona?

You may not need a divorce lawyer to end your marriage in Arizona. But there are some situations where hiring a divorce lawyer would be a good idea.

You should consider hiring a divorce lawyer in Arizona if you want ideal outcomes for spousal support, property division, child support, parenting time, and legal decision making. You may also want to hire a divorce lawyer in AZ when:

  • Your spouse made more income and you want to request spousal support
  • You are concerned about how to divide assets and property acquired during the marriage
  • You or your spouse has debt that you aren’t sure how to divide
  • You have children and want information about how child support payments will be determined
  • And more

You may not need a divorce lawyer in Arizona if you have no children or marital assets. You might not need a divorce lawyer in AZ when:

  • You are not making a claim for spousal support and do not believe your spouse will make a claim
  • You do not have assets or property to divide such as stocks, retirement accounts, or real estate
  • You do not have children or pets
  • And more

Arizona Divorce Lawyers

If you are searching for divorce lawyers or divorce options in Arizona, the independent professionals at Best Legal Choices can help. We can explain many out-of-court divorce options such as collaborative divorce and divorce mediation in PhoenixScottsdaleMesaChandlerGlendale, Arizona and surrounding areas.

By choosing to use an Arizona divorce lawyer listed on this site, you are more likely to experience a civil divorce where both parties are comfortable with the terms.

Where to Get Divorce Papers in Arizona

You can complete require divorce papers online through ezCourtForms.

Arizona Divorce Courts

You can find the divorce court for your county in AZ by visiting Arizona courts locator or just click the link below.

Maricopa County Divorce Forms

You can find a full list of Maricopa County Divorce Forms on the Superior Court website.

Collaborative Divorce is a Peaceful Divorce Option

Divorce litigation can be scary and emotionally draining for you, your spouse, and your children. But it doesn’t have to be that way with collaborative divorce. The collaborative process can result in a less expensive, more efficient, and less harmful outcome for everyone involved. One of the legalfinancial, and communication professionals at Best Legal Choices can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.

OUR PROFESSIONALS CAN HELP WITH THE COLLABORATIVE PROCESS IN ARIZONA!

Divorce litigation can be scary and emotionally draining for you, your spouse, and your children. But it doesn’t have to be that way with collaborative divorce. The collaborative process can result in a less expensive, more efficient, and less harmful outcome for everyone involved. One of the legalfinancial, and communication professionals at Best Legal Choices can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.