Failure to Sign Verification of Divorce Petition in Arizona
DUE TO COVID-19 AND OUR NEED TO ENSURE THE HEALTH OF OUR CLIENTS, ALL INITIAL CLIENT CONSULTATIONS WILL BE CONDUCTED BY PHONE. YOU MAY CALL US AT (480)305-8300 TO SCHEDULE A TELEPHONE CALL WITH ONE OF OUR EXPERIENCED FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS.
We want to talk about what happens when there is a failure to sign a verification of a divorce petition in Arizona. In Arizona, a divorce decree entered without opposition is termed a default decree of dissolution of marriage. Generally, where spouses agree to a divorce, one spouse files a verified petition for divorce, and the other spouse signs a document swearing that he received the petition, then they both sign a divorce agreement.
In the case of Duckstein v. Wolf, 230 Ariz. 227, 282 P.3d 428, (App. 2012) the Arizona Court of Appeals reviewed a case involving a default divorce decree. However, in this case, the spouse failed to verify the divorce petition and the notary public failed to notarize the acceptance of service properly. The Court reviewed the effect of these matters on the divorce court ruling.
Sonja Wolf and David Wolf were both attorneys in Arizona. They married in 2001 and decided to divorce in 2010. Sonja filed for divorce, and filed an acknowledgment of service signed – she claimed – by David. The court entered default judgment according to an agreement with both spouse’s signatures on it, Ten months later, David moved to set aside the default divorce.
The lower court rejected his arguments and he appealed. The question was raised as to whether Sonja’s failure to have a verification of divorce form rendered the divorce decree invalid. David’s first claim was that the court should have set aside the divorce because Sonja did not verify the divorce petition. A verification is simply a form that a party fills out swearing that the facts set out in the petition are true.
The Court of Appeals agreed that no verification was filed, but ruled that its absence did not mean the divorce court wasn’t able to rule on the case. It noted that the law permits a judge to punish a party who filed an unverified petition by a variety of sanctions.
This, the Court of Appeals ruled, must mean that the verification is a matter of procedure, not jurisdiction. Therefore, the absence of the verification did not mean that the divorce decree was invalid.
Notary’s Failure to Affirm David’s Signature Did Not Make Judgment Invalid
David also argued that the fact that the notary did not affirm his signature on the acknowledgment of service made the judgment invalid. Generally, when one spouse brings a lawsuit against the other, she must have the petition hand delivered to him by a third party adult.
That is called service of process and is intended to make sure that the second spouse actually is informed of the divorce petition.
However, if the divorce is amicable, the second spouse can just agree to accept service rather than requiring a third party brought in to hand it to him. In that case, he signs a document called acceptance of service in front of a notary who affirms his signature.
Here, the notary acknowledged but did not affirm David’s signature. The Court of Appeals said that if the party gets a copy of the petition, the lack of affirmation on the acknowledgment of service did not make the judgment void.
The remaining claim David made on appeal was that the lower court should have held a hearing on the issue of whether Sonja forged his signature on the acknowledgment of service. He had offered the court an affidavit from a handwriting expert who said it was forged.
Sonja presented an affidavit from another expert saying it was not forged, but David’s actual signature. The divorce court declined to hold a hearing, basically disbelieving David’s position. However, the Court of Appeals said that when there is a dispute of material fact, the court should hold a hearing before making its decision. For that reason, it remanded the case to the lower court.
If you need information about the effect of failing to sign a verification of a divorce form in Arizona, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona divorce attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in divorce cases in Arizona.
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 Arizona divorce case around today.
Arizona Family Law Attorneys in Scottsdale and Tucson Arizona
More Articles About Divorce in Arizona
- The advantage of Filing Divorce First in Arizona
- Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in Arizona
- Arizona Divorce
- Arizona Divorce Attorney Reviews
- Arizona Divorce Child Custody
- Arizona Divorce Debt
- Arizona Divorce Forms
- Arizona Divorce Laws
- Arizona Divorce Laws Alimony
- Arizona Divorce Laws and Statutes
- Arizona Divorce Laws on Adultery
- Arizona Divorce Papers
- Arizona Divorce Practice
- Arizona Divorce Process
- Arizona Divorce Records Search
- Arizona Marriage Laws
- Asset and Property Search in an Arizona Divorce
- Arizona Divorce When You Can’t Find Your Spouse
- Change to Maiden Name After Divorce in Arizona
- Changing Orders in an Arizona Divorce Decree
- Children and Divorce in Arizona
- College Expenses After Divorce in Arizona
- Complex Divorce Cases in Arizona
- Conciliation Court Services in Arizona
- Consent Required for Marriage of Minors in Arizona
- Considering the Children during a Divorce in Arizona
- Convert to a Covenant Marriage in Arizona
- Coping With Divorce in Arizona
- Court Services to Save a Marriage in Arizona
- Custody of the Family Pet in a Divorce in Arizona
- Dissolution of Marriage in Arizona
- Divorce After Legal Separation in Arizona
- Divorce and Children in Arizona
- Divorce Arizona
- Divorce Case is on the Inactive Calendar in Arizona
- Divorce Court Jurisdiction in Arizona
- Divorce in Arizona Without Children
- Divorce Procedures in Arizona
- Divorce Records in Arizona
- Divorce Statistics in Arizona
- Divorce Support Groups in Arizona
- Domestic Violence and Divorce in Arizona
- Effect of Adultery on an Arizona Divorce
- Effects of Divorce on Children in Arizona
- Enforceable Arizona Prenuptial Agreements
- Failure to Include an Issue in an Arizona Divorce
- Filing for Divorce in Arizona
- Filing for Divorce to Receive Alimony in Arizona
- Guide to Divorce for Men in Arizona
- High Asset Divorce in Arizona
- High Conflict Divorce in Arizona
- High Net Worth Divorce Arizona
- How is a Divorce Finalized in Arizona
- How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in Arizona
- How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Arizona
- How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced in Arizona
- How Long Does Uncontested Divorce Take in Arizona
- How Long To Be Separated Before Divorce in Arizona
- How long to get Temporary Orders in Arizona
- How Much Does it Cost to Get a Divorce in Arizona
- How to Appeal a Divorce Decree in Arizona
- How To Find Good Divorce Attorney in Arizona
- How to Start a Divorce in Arizona
- Learn About Uncontested Divorce in Arizona
- Legally Separated File Divorce in Arizona
- Marital Settlement Agreement in Arizona
- The merger of the Settlement Agreement in Arizona
- Military Divorce Laws in Arizona
- Misled Into Signing Divorce Settlement in Arizona
- Modifying a Divorce Decree in Arizona
- No Contest Divorce in Arizona
- No-Fault Divorce in Arizona
- Order to Pay Spouses Attorney Fees in Arizona
- Parenting Class During a Divorce in Arizona
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Arizona
- Protect Children in a Divorce in Arizona
- Quick Divorce in Arizona
- Reasons for Divorce in Arizona
- Reasons to File for Divorce in Arizona
- Represent Yourself in Arizona Divorce Case
- Same-Sex Divorce in Arizona
- Sealing Court Records in an Arizona Divorce
- Sell Home During Divorce in Arizona
- Selling Property During a Divorce in Arizona
- Served With Divorce Papers in Arizona
- Serving Divorce Papers by Publication in Arizona
- Should I Keep the House in a Divorce in Arizona
- Social Media Evidence in Divorce in Arizona
- Stop an Arizona Divorce
- Stop an Arizona Divorce if You Change Your Mind
- What Happens at a Resolution Management Conference in Arizona
- What Happens If the Divorce Case Goes to Trial in Arizona
- What Happens Temporary Orders Hearing in Arizona
- What is a Covenant Marriage in Arizona
- What is a Default Divorce in Arizona
- What is a Family Law Master in an Arizona Divorce Case
- What is a Preliminary Injunction in an Arizona Divorce
- What is a Temporary Orders Hearing in Arizona
- What is the Divorce Process in Arizona
- What Reasons Do I Need to Obtain a Divorce in a Covenant Marriage in Arizona
- What to do When Served with Divorce Papers in Arizona
- When Can I File For Divorce in Arizona
Chris Hildebrand wrote the information on this page about the effect of a failure to sign the verification of a divorce petition in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and 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, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.