How to Obtain a Divorce After a Decree of Legal Separation Has Been Issued in Arizona
Divorce After Legal Separation in Arizona
Some people want to know how to obtain a divorce after a Decree of Legal Separation has been issued in Arizona. If the court has already issued a final Decree of Legal Separation and one of the parties wishes to obtain a divorce later, a new initial Petition for Dissolution of Marriage would need to be filed using the same case number as the legal separation case.
You would need to notify the Court in that petition that a Decree of Legal Separation was previously issued and that you now wish to dissolve the marriage. That petition for divorce can be filed at any time after a Decree of Legal Separation has been issued by the court.
You will then need to go through the same process as you did with the legal separation. After you file your divorce petition, your spouse will have to file a response. You should incorporate all of the orders from your Decree of Legal Separation in your divorce petition. If everyone agrees to simply keep things as they were previously ordered (which they should), you can complete the divorce by both parties signing a Consent Decree for Dissolution of Marriage.
Depending upon the orders contained in your Decree of Legal Separation regarding alimony, you may or may not have to litigate those issues if they are contested. Likewise, child support may be an issue and require a hearing if either party believes they have a basis to modify child support. If the parties do not agree on all of the issues in the divorce proceeding, the case will have to go to trial to convert the legal separation into a divorce in Arizona.
Cost of Converting a Legal Separation into a Divorce
Converting a legal separation into a divorce will almost always be more costly than simply filing for divorce instead of a legal separation. However, there are many reasons people choose a legal separation over a divorce; cost savings simply is not one of those reasons.
You should also be aware that you are not divorced simply because you obtained a legal separation from your spouse. So, if you wish to remarry in the future, you are going to have to put those wedding plans on hold until you can complete your divorce.
You should speak to an experienced divorce attorney regarding your options and the legal benefits and disadvantages of a legal separation in Arizona. Our Arizona legal separation and divorce attorneys can explain everything you need to know about legal separation and divorce to enable you to make the right decision in your Arizona family law case.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about how to get a divorce after a legal separation in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about divorce and legal separation 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 legal separation or a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.