Written by Craig Cherney

How to get a divorce in Arizona

Marriage is not one-size-fits-all. Sometimes a marriage doesn’t work out, no matter how much you want it to. If you reach the point that you need to move on, though, understanding that is only the first step. You need to know how to obtain a divorce.

Divorce is not a single step, though. You must follow a process the government requires. And you need an attorney to help you work through it all correctly so you can move on with your life with maximum assets, and if children, maximum child custody.

Service and Cooling Off Period

To set a divorce in motion, you or your spouse files divorce papers. Whoever serves the papers will be the Petitioner, and the other spouse is the Respondent. Since Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, it does not matter which one you are. It also does not matter why you are getting a divorce, it’s not relevant to the case.  There is no joint filing option, even if you agree at the outset that you need the divorce. If one of you wants a divorce, the other cannot prevent it.

The one exception comes with a statutory covenant marriage. If you have obtained a covenant marriage license in Arizona, either both parties have to agree to divorce or one of you has to allege specific wrongdoing under the statute.  The vast majority of Arizona marriages are not covenant marriages.

A key element to how to get a divorce in Arizona is the cooling off period. You have to wait at least 60 days after serving the initial divorce papers before the final documents can be filed with the court. This gives time for both of you to talk it over and reconsider. After the waiting period ends, the final paperwork can be submitted.

The Process

From here, the divorce can follow different paths. You can choose collaborative divorce or mediation, which are out-of-court options, or traditional divorce, which may mean court proceedings and litigation.

How to get a divorce depends on what your goals are, and your ability to work together. Collaborative divorce might provide you a less painful path because the process requires cooperation and communication. However, if you cannot communicate or work together, you may need to go a different route through conventional litigation.

Eventually, all divorce cases end.  The end product is a Divorce Decree. To finalize, a judge needs to approve the terms of any settlement outlined in the Decree. And if you have children, both of you must attend a Parent Information Program. This can be in person or online. The final settlement or Decree must include a Joint Parenting Plan and Child Support Worksheet.

Finding the Help You Need

Just as all marriages follow different courses, not every divorce works the same way. Understanding how to get a divorce in Arizona means more than following a checklist. You need guidance from someone who understands the law–and who will take the time to understand you and your relationship with your soon-to-be ex.

Whether you decide on collaborative divorce or a more adversarial approach, you need someone on your side. Your attorney represents you and your interests, regardless of the path you choose. He or she will discuss your options with you and help you decide what is best for you each step of the way.

Divorce is not easy, in Arizona or anywhere else. You need an attorney who both understands the legal aspects of the process and takes the time to know you and what you need to get through the process intact and whole. If you are ready to take the step toward divorce, don’t go it alone. Contact the professionals at BestLegalChoices.com to start down the next path in your life.