Divorce in Arizona Without Children
There are many people who are going through divorce in Arizona without children. An Arizona divorce without children is far less complicated than a divorce involving children because it eliminates the highly emotional disagreements parents have regarding legal decision making and parenting time. Despite the fact children are not involved, however, does not eliminate any of the steps you need to complete a divorce in Arizona without children.
We want to provide you with some information regarding the steps you will encounter in you divorce in Arizona, as well to define some terms you will likely hear during your divorce in Arizona without children. Since every Arizona divorce case is unique, you may not necessarily have to deal with every term or part of the case defined below, but it is a good idea to be aware of your options.
Divorce in Arizona Without Children | Divorce Process
We suggest you use the following list as a means of gaining a general overview of what to expect in an Arizona divorce case.
Terms and Procedures in a Typical Arizona Divorce Case Without Children:
Arizona Legal Separation: Arizona is a community property state, which means property acquired and debts incurred during the marriage are presumed to be community property. However, there are many exceptions to that very general rule. A legal separation results in the termination of the community such that any debts incurred or property acquired after service of the Petition for Legal Separation is the sole and separate property and debt of each party.
Again, there exceptions to that general rule as well. The court will divide the community debts and assets equitably and can award spousal maintenance, among other things. Although the parties are deemed to be legally separated, they are not restored to the status of a single person and may not, therefore, be remarried.
Arizona Divorce or Dissolution of Marriage: Everything described above with respect to a legal separation applied in an Arizona dissolution of marriage. The only difference is the both parties are legally restored to the status of single persons who may then remarry. Understand, you may convert a legal separation into a divorce at any time.
Arizona Petition for Dissolution of Marriage: This refers to a set of documents, which includes the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage that must be filed to begin a divorce in Arizona without children.
Arizona Temporary Orders: This is an optional hearing that will be scheduled by the Court only upon the written request by either party. If requested, the court will schedule a hearing to permit the parties to present evidence on temporary financial support, such as alimony, or an award of attorney fees in which one party requests an order requiring the other party to contribute to their attorney fees either because the other party is being unreasonable or simply has more income or other assets to fund the litigation expenses of the divorce.
Arizona Preliminary Injunction: This is one of the documents that must be filed at the same time the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed. It, among other things, orders the parties not to hide assets or harass the other party. It is immediately effective upon the party filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and is only effective upon the other party (i.e., the “Respondent”) when served upon him or her.
Service of Process of Summons: This is another document that must be filed with the initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, which directs the Respondent to file a Response to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage within a certain time frame.
Arizona Default Judgment: If the Respondent fails to file a written Response to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the original filing spouse may file an Application and Affidavit of Default. That document must be mailed or served upon the opposing party. If the opposing party, thereafter, still fails to file a written response to the divorce petition, the court may schedule a default hearing upon the request of the spouse who filed the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and a divorce hearing will be set at which time the filing spouse will present their form of proposed divorce decree to the judge, answer some questions the judge must ask to establish it has jurisdiction and to satisfy some other statutory requirements, and then enter the Default Decree of Dissolution of Marriage or Default Decree of Legal Separation.
Arizona Discovery Process: This refers to both the obligation of each party to disclose certain documentation and information, as well as each parties right to use the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure to issue a subpoena to obtain documents directly from a company or person, the right to take the other party’s deposition, and the write to request written answers to questions in the form of interrogatories.
Arizona Alimony: An Arizona judge has the discretion to order one spouse to pay the other spouse alimony, which is sometimes referred to as spousal maintenance in Arizona. The alimony payments are tax deductible by the spouse paying the alimony in Arizona and constitute taxable income to the spouse receiving the alimony payments.
Property Division of Marital Assets: The court is required to award to each spouse all of their sole and separate property and debts and to equitably divide the community property and debts. In a majority of cases, the court will define equitably as equally; however, there are some circumstances when the court will do an unequal division of the parties’ debts and assets.
Conciliation Services: This is a division of the Court that performs various services, including providing mandatory marital counseling if requested by either party or doing limited child custody assessments.
Consent Decree and Marital Settlement Agreement: The parties are free to settle their case by submitting both a written Marital Settlement Agreement setting forth the terms of their agreement and a separate written Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage containing the orders the judge will sign into effect based upon the parties’ Marital Settlement Agreement. There are very strict laws that dictate certain language that must be in the Marital Settlement Agreement and Consent Decree, so you may with to hire an attorney to draft those documents for you.
Arizona Divorce Trial: If the parties do not settle their case, they will have to present their evidence at a formal divorce trial after which the court will issue orders resolving those issues.
If you are unfamiliar with the divorce process in Arizona, we strongly urge you to speak to a qualified and experienced Arizona divorce attorney to answer any questions you may have about the divorce process. While divorce in Arizona without children is typically a much easier case to resolve, the processes and procedures to do it correctly can be overwhelming.
Each step of the Arizona divorce process is necessary for certain purposes, but some will not be applicable to your particular circumstance. For instance, some couples prefer to begin proceedings with a legal separation, but others will skip this step and go straight to a dissolution of marriage. Others will spend a large majority of their time on the case working on resolving spousal maintenance issues while other cases will find the issue moot as the parties are equally financially solvent.