Divorce Procedures in Arizona
Arizona Divorce Procedures
If you have decided to get a divorce in Arizona, you need to familiarize yourself divorce procedures in Arizona and the specifics of the Arizona divorce process. Divorce is the legal process required to end a marriage. In Arizona, the legal term “divorce” has been changed to the dissolution of marriage. There are many issues, considerations and decisions to be made regarding the Arizona divorce procedures that should be pursued in your case.
Some of the main topics that need to be addressed are child custody, referred to now as legal decision-making, parenting time, child support, alimony (i.e., spousal maintenance), a division of marital assets and debts, and the payment of attorney fees, expert witness fees, and court costs.
In some cases, divorcing parties can address these issues and come to an agreement outside of court with or without attorneys through mediation. If the issues cannot be agreed upon by both parties outside of court, an Arizona domestic relations judge will make the decision after conducting a trial.
Step-by-Step Divorce Procedures in Arizona
The Petition – a document that notifies the court and your spouse, once they are served, that you intend to end the marriage. The Petition will list what you are asking for in the divorce.
The Response – the Respondent is required to file a response to the divorce petition. In Arizona, the response must be submitted within 20 days if you are in state or 30 days if you are out of state. If a Response is not filed, the opposing spouse may lose his or her right to present their side of the case to the court. If this happens, the court may give your spouse everything he or she requested in his or her Petition. This is called a default divorce.
Temporary Orders – a hearing scheduled to set temporary orders relating to child custody, family support, payment of community debts and use of community assets while the case is pending.
Discovery – the legal procedure for obtaining the information you are entitled to from the opposing party regarding the case.
Marital Settlement Agreement – It is often best if parties can resolve a case by agreement rather than by trial. If the parties can settle their case, they submit their agreement to the court in a written Marital Settlement Agreement.
Trial – When the parties cannot agree on the issues in their dissolution of marriage, the case will be scheduled for a divorce trial.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about divorce procedures in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about how a divorce is handled in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and child custody 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 in a divorce.