What Type of Divorce Should I Get – Most Common Types
Written by Mary Ann Hess

How Do I Get Divorced?

Once you make the decision to divorce, 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 process is right for you.

Before you serve your soon to be ex-spouse with divorce papers (which might signal the start of a long legal battle), why not try and see if collaborative divorce might be a better option? Collaborative divorce is one of the best legal options when you are looking for a peaceful divorce, since it can be less costly, less time-consuming and less stressful than traditional divorce litigation.

No Fault Divorce

First and foremost, 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.

Contested Divorce

A contested or “traditional” divorce 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

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.

Default Divorce

If you file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage 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.

Fault Divorce

Most states no longer recognize fault divorce, including Arizona. Fault divorce is where you request that your divorce be granted based on the fault of your spouse. Grounds for fault divorce include domestic violence, prison confinement, abandonment, adultery, and more.

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce 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. In most collaborative cases, the spouses work with a neutral financial professional to help gather and interpret information about their assets and debts as well as their income and expenses. A communication specialist will help the spouses to have difficult conversations and to keep the focus on their family’s future. A child specialist can help the children to have a voice in the process. The professional team will help the spouses to focus on solutions that will produce the best outcome for the entire family.

Learn more about Collaborative Divorce

Divorce Mediation

Mediation 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 letting a judge decide. In mediation, the parties have the option to be represented by attorneys or to represent themselves.

Learn more about Divorce Mediation

Legal Separation

In Arizona, the process of legal separation 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. Neither may feel like a great option, but understanding what each means can help. Your unique situation drives your decision.Learn more about Legal Separation


  1. Doskow, Emily. “The Different Kinds of Divorce.” Www.divorcenet.com, Nolo, 7 Apr. 2013, www.divorcenet.com/resources/divorce/the-different-kinds-divorce.htm.
  2. McGrath, Victoria. “What Kinds of Divorce Are There?” LegalZoom Legal Info, 18 July 2016, info.legalzoom.com/kinds-divorce-there-25023.html.
  3. McKinley Irvin. “What Kind of Divorce Do You Want?” McKinley Irvin, 6 Apr. 2018, www.mckinleyirvin.com/family-law-blog/2017/march/what-kind-of-divorce-do-you-want-/.

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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. The legalfinancial, and communication professionals at Best Legal Choices can help you navigate this difficult time in your life.


The collaborative divorce process is designed to help people who are willing to work together to make an agreement that benefits the family. Resources that help parents communicate effectively during this process can help them model appropriate behavior for their kids. With love and support, children can more effectively deal with their parents’ divorce. Contact a professional at Best Legal Choices if you’re ready to take the first step toward starting your new life.