Scottsdale Phoenix Tempe Arizona Divorce Attorneys | Arizona Divorce Laws
We want to provide straight forward answers to your divorce questions. We encourage you to view our Arizona Divorce Laws | Frequently Asked Questions page, which contains an outline of the divorce laws and process in Arizona. You will also find many informative videos regarding more frequently asked questions regarding divorce.
You should also consider visiting our Family Law Blog, which contains even more detailed information in the form of articles on key cases decided by the Arizona Court of Appeals and Arizona Supreme Court. Each case study discusses the facts of the case, the court’s analysis of the facts and the law, and the decisions in these cases. You will likely find the answer to you question by checking out our blog.
Divorce in AZ | What to Expect
The Arizona divorce process begins when a person files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and related documents. Those documents are filed in the Superior Court in the county in which either spouse lives. Once filed, the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and related documents are then “served” upon the other party by a private process server.
A spouse may not legally “serve” those documents on their spouse. However, the spouse being served may sign an acknowledgment of receipt of the documents from the other spouse along with a written waiver of formal service by a process server. Some law enforcement agencies may serve the documents as well.
Once served, the other party has twenty days to file a written Response to that Petition for Dissolution of Marriage if they were served in Arizona. If the person was served while outside the state of Arizona, he or she will have thirty days to file a Response.
Both parties may file a Motion for Temporary Orders. This motion asks the the court to set a hearing to determine temporary orders for the care custody and control of their children and a temporary parenting time schedule. The court can enter orders for temporary spousal maintenance and child support. The court may even assign responsibility for the payment of community bills and use of property. The court can even award attorney fees.
Many Arizona family court judges will schedule a Resolution Management Conference. The purpose of the Resolution Management Conference is to enable the judge to speak to the parties, or their attorneys, to determine the complexity of the case. The Court will also likely schedule a mediation.
If the issues are not resolved at that Resolution Management Conference, the Court will schedule a hearing. That hearing will either be a Temporary Orders hearing or a final trial. The parties will appear on the date scheduled and present evidence in the way of witness testimony and the introduction of exhibits into evidence.
The judge will then either issue its decision with everyone in the courtroom or may take the matter “under advisement”. Under advisement simply means the judge wants to review the evidence before making his or her decision. If the ruling is on Temporary Orders, those orders will only last until final orders are issued by the court.
Perhaps one of the more complicated aspects of a divorce is the preparation of the case for a hearing or final trial. Both parties are required to disclose certain information and documentation. There are also discovery rules that permit depositions to be taken, subpoenas to be issued, and other “discovery” to be conducted.
For more information on the Arizona divorce process, please review our article entitled “How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Arizona”.