Divorce in Arizona
Divorce in Arizona: Get the Right Answers
We want to provide straightforward answers to your questions about divorce in Arizona. We encourage you to view our Arizona Divorce Laws | Frequently Asked Questions page, which contains an outline of the Arizona 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 the 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 your question by checking out our blog.
Divorce in Arizona | The First Steps
Divorce proceedings in Arizona begin when a person files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and related divorce forms. 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 in an Arizona divorce proceeding 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 to a divorce in Arizona.
Divorce in Arizona | Temporary Orders
Both parties may file a Motion for Temporary Orders. This motion asks 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 during a divorce in Arizona. The court may even assign responsibility for the payment of community bills and use of the property. The court can even award attorney fees.
Many Arizona family court judges will schedule a Resolution Management Conference during a divorce in Arizona. The purpose of the Resolution Management Conference is to enable the judge to speak to the parties and 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 divorce 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.
Divorce in Arizona: The Trial
If you are unable to reach a settlement agreement with your spouse, you will have to present your case to a judge at trial. Perhaps one of the more complicated aspects of a divorce in Arizona 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”.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about divorce in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about divorce and family law in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.