Arizona Divorce Process | Step by Step Timeline

The Arizona Divorce Process Explained

Most people feel going through a divorce feel scared for many reasons. One of the reasons people are afraid of the Arizona divorce process itself is because they do not know what the Arizona divorce process entails or how to choose the right attorney for their divorce. This is understandable but, fortunately, very easily fixed. We are are going to do that for you now in this step by step guide. A divorce, or dissolution of marriage as it is referred to legally, is the court procedure used to end a marriage. Knowing the Arizona divorce process before you hire an attorney is important. You should know as much as you can about the things that must be done in your case, as well as the things that should be done, but are optional, to come out on top. We are going to share the entire divorce process in Arizona with you, so you can be strategic in your divorce.

Filing for Divorce is the First Step of the Divorce Process in Arizona

Arizona Divorce Process | A Step by Step Timeline.

Arizona Divorce Process | A Step by Step Timeline.

The individual who “starts” the divorce is termed the Petitioner, while the other party in the divorce is termed the Respondent. Either spouse may begin a divorce in Arizona by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage, but one or the other must have been a resident of the state of Arizona for at least 90 days before filing. To file for divorce, you must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, a Preliminary Injunction, a Summons, a Notice to Convert Health Insurance, a Sensitive Data Sheet, a Notice to Creditors, and information on the Arizona Parenting Class if children are involved. Let us explain what each of these documents is and what they mean.

Filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Arizona

A Petition for Dissolution of Marriage contains statements about when and where the parties were married, a statement that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the names and dates of birth of the parties children and the addresses the children have lived for the past five years, a statement pertaining to the payment of child support and spousal maintenance, general statements about the division of community, common, joint and separate property, and any requests for attorney fees.

Jennifer, thank you for being my attorney. I could not have been more pleased with the outcome of my family court hearing. Everything you have done for me throughout this case reflects in the final ruling of the judge. You helped me keep my head together and taught me a lot about myself as a person. I learned so much about my life from observing and listening to you. I will take all the advice you gave me to continue taking responsibility for my choices, continue to put the kids' needs first, and always stay truthful. Your diligence, dedication, and persistence in my case made what seemed impossible, possible. You are a wonderful person and an amazing attorney and I am stronger and more confident because of you.
A Google User
A Google User
20:31 20 Sep 17
I just want to again thank the Firm for working with me all that it has. I could not have done anything without everyone's assistance. You, Chris and Stacey have been and continue to provide me with compassion and hard work towards my case. Also a very special thanks to Kip for taking my case in the beginning. Also continued support from him and his dedication to providing me with his expertise in this matter.
A Google User
A Google User
21:41 07 Nov 17
After interviewing several law firms, I came across Jennifer Shick, and her firm, who I hired to represent me for my Family Court case. Jennifer has extensive knowledge of the law and is determined to bring the truth to every issue involved within the case. Throughout my case, Jennifer was prepared meticulously as well as went above and beyond all of my expectations. Even when the other party tried to differ from the truth, lie to the Judge, and turn situations around, Jennifer remained attentive and provided substantial evidence to show the judge the facts as well as the proof to support what was the best interests of my children. Additionally, Jennifer helped me endure many difficult experiences, situations and inspired me to remain positive throughout the entirety of my case. Her kindness, compassion, and professionalism helped me through very difficult times and made the process feel a thousand times lighter on my shoulders. She truly has my children and my best interest at heart and I trust her perspective as well as her honesty on each and every aspect of my case. She lessened the burden on my shoulders and even when I felt like the case was not going to go in my favor, Jennifer was open-minded and reassured me that the Judge would, in fact, see the truth, which he did and the case went in my favor. After nine months of court, everything finally came together. I cannot declare how much Jennifer has been an outstanding attorney. She addressed each and every issue with diligence, she cares about her clients and their families. Jennifer genuinely cares about her clients and her dedication to the details of the case was remarkable. Overall, I am extremely pleased with Jennifer’s services and I am truly thankful that I was so blessed to have her represent my children and me. I highly recommend Jennifer as one of the best attorneys in Arizona and if the situation ever arises, I will definitely have her represent my children and me again.
Google User
Google User
14:58 04 Oct 17
Dear Stacey and Kip, How can I ever thank you enough for helping me through the most difficult time in my life? I couldn't put into words my heartfelt gratefulness. You both were so compassionate and professional at every given moment throughout this process with me. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped me to regain my freedom.
A Google User
A Google User
16:03 22 Nov 17
I was a client of Attorney Kevin Park for the dissolution of a divorce in 2016. And since I had never had the need to hire an attorney before for any purpose, I was somewhat apprehensive of the process. But the very calm and professional demeanor of Mr. Park eased my fears. He adeptly answered all my questions and I clearly knew the process and what to expect. And the skilled manner he communicated with opposing counsel was perfect. When it came down to negotiating with my spouse’s counsel, I knew I had selected the best attorney for my situation. What I noticed and appreciated was that he was using just the right amount of pressure with opposing counsel as was necessary. If you find yourself in this situation, you will want a seasoned professional like Mr. Park on your side. I'm very grateful that he was my attorney and not the opposition!
A Google User
A Google User
22:14 28 Jun 17
Chris is a smart and aggressive attorney for his clients. Chris always tries to reach a fair settlement of his cases. I’ve represented clients when Chris was the opposing counsel and while he is professional and amicable to work with, he does not back off on what he needs to do for his client
A Google User
A Google User
18:16 18 Sep 17
Kevin Park of Arizona Estate Planning Attorneys was just what I needed for my divorce. He was very approachable and personable. He was quick to recognize what I needed and provided it quickly and efficiently. I hope to never need a divorce lawyer again, but if I know anyone else who does, I will definitely recommend Kevin.
A Google User
A Google User
19:22 23 Aug 17
I feel that Tracey Van Wickler is certainly one of the best family lawyers around. She is logical, intelligent, and truly cares. Tracey always does what is in the clients best interest, does it well, timely and with integrity. She is good at keeping her clients informed as to what is going on and clear in her communication both written and verbally. I have recommended Tracey to other people and will continue to recommend her. I recommended Tracey to someone who was having issues with their ex-wife and his response was, “I know how good she is because I went up against her and she ate me for lunch”. This same person was so impressed with her, he even recommended her to someone else, WOW, that is impressive! I am exceptionally happy with her attention to detail, her ability to explain things in ways that are easy to understand, as well as her ability to keep everyone focused on the most important things. I would recommend Tracey to anyone who may be in need of her services.
A Google User
A Google User
17:44 23 Jun 16
I retained Hildebrand Law after interview a number of firms in the valley. Working with Michael C. was incredibly easy and informative. My case progressed in such a organized and thought out way to ensure that my needs were met. Michael was incredibly proactive and was able to see far ahead into my case to steer clear of some roadblocks. I would not hesitate to recommend Michael Clancy, and Hildebrand Law in general, to anyone.
Bassam Ziadeh
Bassam Ziadeh
21:20 02 Apr 18
I have worked with Hildebrand law for about 8 years. They are always ready to serve, provide guidance and give you a few options. When they provide you options they also take the time to walk you through the pros and cons of each and give you a recommendation of what is best, but will listen to you and support whatever course you choose after making and educated choice. I’d recommend them to my closest friends and feel Chris Hildebrand is now a friend to me.
Larry Flint
Larry Flint
21:53 27 Feb 18
Despite the unfortunate situation I found myself in, Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law helped me maneuver every step with professionalism, expertise, and even a sensitivity that was an added bonus.Chris and his staff helped me even when I didn't know I needed the help. In other words. . . they made sure we did not leave anything undone. And in the rare instance we needed the expertise of another professional, Chris knew exactly who to recommend.Chris also knew, because of his experience, what to anticipate down the road of litigation. That meant we were better prepared to meet the challenges head on, which lead to a more equitable and fair outcome. I appreciated that Chris did his best to meet my every need in a timely fashion, even if I had a simple question that required only a phone call or e-mail or if we needed to talk face-to-face.I highly recommend Chris Hildebrand @ Hildebrand Law, PC.
Sam Franchimone
Sam Franchimone
22:09 12 Sep 13

The Preliminary Injunction in Arizona

A preliminary injunction is an order of the court issued by the clerk of the court upon the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. It is immediately effective upon the person filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and is effective on the other spouse when it is served upon that other spouse. The injunction prevents either party from concealing assets, transferring ownership of assets, and removing the children from Arizona among other things.

The Summons in Arizona

The summons is a document that is served on the other spouse and contains information on what that spouse must do to avoid the court entering a default judgment of divorce. It notifies the person the divorce has been filed and informs them how much time they have to file a Response to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to avoid the entry of a default divorce decree.

Notice to Convert Health Insurance in an Arizona divorce

A spouse covered by his or her spouse’s health insurance plan has a right to retain that plan and convert his or her plan to an individual health insurance plan. The notice to convert health insurance notice simply informs the spouses of their right to convert their health insurance into their own individual plan without losing health insurance coverage.

Sensitive Data Sheet in an Arizona divorce

The court needs a lot of information from the parties in a divorce, including dates of birth, social security numbers and the like. To ensure this information remains protected, this information is all listed on the sensitive data sheet, which is not available to the public.

Notice to Creditors in an Arizona divorce

In Arizona, creditors are required to provide information to a spouse regarding the debts owed by the other spouse in a divorce. The court, therefore, provides a form notice to creditors informing them of that right to enable each spouse to obtain credit card and other debt statements in a divorce without incurring the cost of issuing a subpoena.

Arizona Parenting Class Notice in an Arizona Divorce

If parties in a divorce have children, they are required by Arizona law to attend a parenting class and file proof of completion of that class with the court prior to the entry of a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. The notice informs the parties of the necessity to take the class and provides address and telephone numbers of class providers.

What Happens After You File for Divorce in Arizona

Since Arizona is a no-fault state, neither spouse needs to give a reason to obtain a dissolution of marriage. At least one spouse needs to be able to assert the marriage is irretrievably broken. Additional laws apply to couples that chose to have a “covenant marriage.”

While everyone is entitled to represent themselves in their divorce, if you do so, the court will expect you to follow all the applicable laws and correct Arizona divorce processes that apply to the case at hand even though you are not a divorce attorney. If you choose to represent yourself and you do not follow the laws and the Arizona divorce procedures applicable to your case, it may damage your chances of obtaining certain benefits and utilizing your legal rights. This can be particularly problematic if your case goes to trial, as the judge could determine you not be allowed to present evidence or call certain witnesses to the stand.

If you are at all unsure of the Arizona divorce process and laws about your divorce case, you should contact an experienced Arizona divorce attorney as soon as possible. In some situations, a judge could order your spouse (or ex-spouse) to pay all or part of your lawyer’s fees accumulated as a result of the proceedings.

Once you have contacted an Arizona family law attorney and obtained legal representation for your divorce, they will ensure all necessary documentation is filed and compliance with the Arizona rules of procedure as needed. If you were filing for Dissolution of Marriage as the Petitioner, the list of necessary documentation would begin with an actual Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and associated documents.

Divorce Process in Arizona | Step by Step Guide.

Divorce Process in Arizona | Step by Step Guide.

Once the Dissolution of Marriage and related documents are filed, the other spouse (Respondent) has 20 days to respond after being served if served in Arizona or 30 days to respond if they are not an Arizona resident and were served outside of Arizona. If the Respondent fails to respond within the 20 (or 30) day period, the Petitioner may file for a default. Once this request is filed, the Respondent has only 10 to 15 days to respond; depending on how they were served with the Motion and Application for Entry of Default (i.e., personally served or mailed). If the 10-day rule applies and the Motion was sent, the other party receives an additional five days to file an Answer to avoid the default. If they do not, they run the risk that the divorce is granted on the terms of the Petitioner.

If the Respondent does not respond and is correctly defaulted, the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage may cover major issues including:

  • Termination of the marriage
  • Determination of custody and parenting time for the children and child support
  • Determination of spousal maintenance or alimony
  • Division of property that was obtained throughout the marriage/affirmation of property that was owned by either spouse before the marriage to the individual who owned it
  • Determination of responsibility for debts accrued during the marriage as well as an affirmation of debts accrued by either spouse before marriage
  • Determination of liability for attorney fees, costs, etc
  • Optional restoration of the last name of the requesting spouse

Discovery and Disclosure Phase of an Arizona Divorce

If the other spouse files his or her Response to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the case enters the discovery and disclosure phase of the divorce. In this phase of the Arizona divorce process, each party accumulates and shares information and documentation in the divorce.

Disclosure refers to the legal obligation to provide certain routine documents needed in a divorce. It includes the obligation to turn over income tax returns, copies of debt statements, copies of titles to property, income statements and the like.

Discovery refers to the process whereby both spouses can request additional documentation that falls outside the normal routine disclosure obligations. Discovery can include a request for the other spouse to produce certain documents, a request for the other party to admit certain facts, a standard list of questions the other spouse is required to answer under oath, and depositions, which enables your attorney to question your spouse under oath regarding the details of their position on issues and the alleged facts that support those positions

Temporary Orders Hearings in an Arizona Divorce

Either spouse may file a Motion for a Temporary Orders Hearing. The purpose of the hearing is for the judge to issue orders that will be in place until they are modified or a final divorce decree is issued. The court will schedule a hearing and listen to evidence after which he or she will issue orders pertaining to temporary custody of the children, child support, alimony, used of community assets, payment of community bills and even attorney fees.

Pretrial Procedures in an Arizona Divorce

When the case is ready to go to trial, both parties will be required to attend a Resolution Management Conference so the judge may determine what issues need to be set for trial and how long that trial make take to complete. The judge will also issue orders dictating what needs to be done by both parties prior the day of trial.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Conference in an Arizona Divorce

The Process of Divorce in Arizona.

The Process of Divorce in Arizona.

Most judges will schedule the parties to attend a mandatory Dispute Resolution Conference. This is a legal way of referring to a settlement conference. This conference is scheduled well in advance of any trial and includes both parties, their attorneys, and a court assigned mediator. The parties are also ordered to provide the mediator with separate and confidential mediation statements detailing their positions on the contested issues. If the case is settled in mediation, the parties file a Notice of Settlement with the court requesting the court vacate the trial.

Joint Pretrial Statement in an Arizona Divorce

If the parties did not settle their case in mediation and have to go through with the trial of the case, each party will be required to cooperate with drafting and filing a Joint Pretrial Statement with the court in which both parties state their positions of the contested issues, their witnesses, their exhibits, a statement as to whether all discovery and disclosure has occurred, and a statement indicating they can complete the trial in the time allotted by the Court.

Divorce Trial in Arizona

Lastly in the Arizona divorce process, if the parties cannot agree on all of the issues the case proceeds to a divorce trial. When the trial is completed the judge has up to sixty days to issue a decision and the case is over. Well, the case is almost over. Let’s talk about what can happen after the trial in an Arizona divorce.

Post-Trial Motions and Appeals

After a ruling is issued, either party can file a Motion for Reconsideration, a Motion for a New Trial, or an Appeal in objection to the court’s decision. A Motion for Reconsideration simply contains arguments and citations to the trial with an explanation why that person feels the judge should change his or her mind and, consequentially, the ruling. A Motion for New Trial is similar to a Motion for Reconsideration but argues there was some defect in the trial process. A Notice of Appeal puts the judge and the Arizona Court of Appeals on notice that a party intends to have the Arizona Court of Appeals review the judges orders and decisions in hopes some decisions can be set aside by the Arizona Court of Appeals. As you can see, it is very important to understand your how your divorce may be handled.

You can call the experienced Scottsdale and Phoenix Arizona divorce attorneys at (480)305-8300 to get your questions regarding the Arizona divorce process answered. Our attorneys have over 100 years combined family law legal experience.


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