What is the Divorce Process in Arizona?
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It is important to have a clear understanding of the divorce process in Arizona if you are contemplating a divorce. A divorce in Arizona begins when a person files a petition for dissolution of marriage and related documents. Once the petition is filed with the court, a private process server will serve (i.e., “personally deliver”) the other spouse with a copy of the petition and related documents.
The spouse served with divorce papers has twenty days to file a written response to that petition if the person was served in Arizona. If the individual was served in another state and does not reside in Arizona, he or she will have thirty days to file a written response with the court.
It is important to know that the spouse being served must have substantial connections to the state of Arizona; otherwise, the court lacks personal jurisdiction to proceed upon any issues other than child custody and the dissolution of the marriage.
In such cases, the court will not be able to order child support, alimony, the payment of attorney fees or the division of the spouses’ debts and assets. The Arizona Court of Appeals in the case of Schilz v. Superior Court ruled that a divorce decree issued by a court that lacked personal jurisdiction over a party can be overturned.
However, assent to personal jurisdiction can occur, either voluntarily or involuntarily, in particular circumstances. You should review the Arizona Court of Appeals decision in the case of State Ex Rel. Dept. of Econ. SEC. v. Burton for a discussion of personal jurisdiction and waiver of a personal jurisdiction argument.
Once a divorce is filed, the divorce process in Arizona permits either party may ask the court to schedule a “Temporary Orders Hearing.” The purpose of a Temporary Orders Hearing is to obtain court orders for custody of the children, child support, alimony, exclusive use of homes and vehicles during the case, the payment of debts, and a request to make the other spouse pay your attorney fees.
These Temporary Orders are just that; meaning they are only valid during the case and automatically terminate when the final divorce decree is signed and filed with the clerk of the court.
The court will typically schedule a Resolution Management Conference (i.e., “RMC”) as a part of the divorce process in Arizona before setting the case for a Temporary Orders Hearing. A Resolution Management Conference gives the judge a chance to listen to what the parties agree upon, as well as what they do not agree upon. The court may send the parties to mediation or schedule a Temporary Orders Hearing after the RMC.
The judge may order a follow-up status conference after the scheduled mediation to determine if the remaining issues in the case have been resolved or narrowed. After these hearings have resolved or narrowed the remaining issues, the court will set your case for a final trial. After your trial has been completed, the judge has up to sixty days to issue a final ruling in your case.
If you need more information about the divorce process in Arizona, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona divorce and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in divorce and family law cases.
Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.
Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your divorce or family law case around today.
Arizona Family Law Attorneys in Scottsdale and Tucson Arizona
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Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about the divorce process in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about divorce laws 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.