The process of filing for divorce in Arizona has a lot of variables. Regardless of your financial status, you have a lot to lose if the divorce isn’t filed properly. It can be costly if you make an error when filing for divorce. However, it is may be your best option when you are certain all other options are exhausted and your marriage is beyond salvaging. Hiring an attorney to help you through the process of filing for divorce in Arizona is your first step.
How Divorce Works in Arizona
One of the most important points about filing for divorce in Arizona is that Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. This means when you file for a divorce, neither side has to provide any proof of blame or personal responsibility to the court.
The marriage can simply end.
All you and your spouse need to do in order to start the divorce is acknowledge that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” This term means that the marriage is over and cannot be saved.
Living in Arizona
Filing for divorce in Arizona requires at least one spouse to live in Arizona for at least the past 90 days.
If both spouses still live in the state, this can make the divorce process simpler.
And if they are in the armed services, they can fulfill the 90-day residency requirement by living in military housing.
Filing 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. 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 costs by avoiding costly mistakes.
The process of filing for divorce in Arizona involves several pieces of paper.
The spouse who does not file, also known as the ‘Respondent’, receives a Summons. This says what actions they need to take moving forward. Without a Summons, the process will not proceed.
You’ll receive a Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance, so both spouses will know their right to convert their health insurance coverage. The Preliminary Injunction goes out to stop either spouse from doing anything regarding their insurance, children, property, and money without the agreement of the other party.
Further, the court sends out a Notice to Creditors to both spouses about any debts that came about during their marriage. This document reviews your rights, creditor rights, and the impact that a divorce may have on your debts.
Finalizing the Divorce
Within 120 days of filing the petition, the Petitioner must serve copies of the Petition for Dissolution to the Respondent.
The Petitioner must file a Proof of Service after serving Respondent with the forms.
Even if you and your spouse agree to everything quickly, there is a mandatory 60 day waiting period before you can file the Decree of Dissolution with the Court. There is the default decree if the Respondent chooses not to respond to the Petition for Dissolution.
Considerations for the Divorce Process
There are so many pieces that must come together when filing for divorce in Arizona. Which is why we recommend you consult an attorney to guide you through the process. The attorneys, communications, and financial professionals of Best Legal Choices will be able to answer your questions and guide you and your spouse through this difficult process.