Divorce Process in Arizona
If you’re thinking of getting a divorce or just decided that you and your partner will be separating, you’ll need to know what the divorce process entails before you go through with it. Knowing what to expect will make the process a lot easier and less overwhelming. When going through a divorce, that last thing you want it to be confused by the entire process, which is why many decide to hire a Chandler Divorce attorney for those living in Arizona.
Divorce, or the Dissolution of Marriage, as the courts call it can be a complicated process depending on if you have children, shared finances, property, and other complex situations. While some decide to go through an Arizona divorce court on their own, it’s best that you hire the Arizona divorce lawyer with the best reputation in the state! This way, you have professional help when it comes to making decisions about any children, pets, alimony, debt and property division and other issues needed to be reconciled during the divorce process.
The Complexity of Divorce Cases
The process can be different depending on what state you’re in, so it’s important to find the right Arizona divorce attorney to represent you in such a trying and difficult time. When you’re working with the experienced Arizona divorce lawyer of your choice, you’ll find the process a bit easier since they’ll be helping you along the way. The amount of time it takes to divorce in Arizona will vary from case to case, but State law requires that you wait at least 60 days from the date of service before you can go ahead with the divorce.
One huge factor to consider in a divorce is children, which can prolong the entire process. Another important variable to consider when figuring out how long the process will be is whether you and the other party can work together to reach an agreement on things that must be decided in the divorce. The right Arizona divorce lawyer can help you with both these matters.
Here’s a helpful guide on what the Arizona Divorce Process usually entails:
1. Filling Out Paperwork
To get a divorce in motion, you’ll need to fill out all the necessary and required paperwork. This can be a tedious task given how much paperwork you’ll need to complete to start the divorce case. Here are a few forms you’ll need to fill out:
- Summons to appear or respond
- Preliminary injunction that will tell both parties what can be done or not done while the divorce is pending.
- Family Court/Sensitive Data Coversheet with sensitive and private information that includes your Social Security, birthdates and the like.
- Health insurance notice and Creditor notice
- Petition for Dissolution of (Non-Covenant) Marriage With/Without Minor Children
- Notice of Appearance if you’re going to have a Chandler divorce attorney represent you.
There will be filing fees associated with the paperwork, but the Arizona divorce attorney you choose might include this in their fees. They’ll also be able to submit the necessary paperwork to the court.
The person starting the divorce is called the Petitioner, while the other party is the Respondent. If there are children involved, you’ll need to go to a parenting class. This is for everyone and does not reflect that you’re a bad parent. You’ll need to find a certified course and that fee can vary. Your Chandler divorce lawyer will be able to help you sign up for a parenting class if needed, too.
It is also good to know about the child custody process if you are engaging in the divorce that involved children. Check out this guide below we explain it very clear:
2. Documents Need to Be Served
Once you’ve filled out all the paperwork necessary for Arizona divorce court, you’ll then need to serve the other party involved using a process server. This can be done with certified mail or hiring a process server to go out and serve them the paperwork. The Respondent now has 20 days to respond after being served if they are in Arizona, or 30 days if they are out of state.
3. If the Respondent Has No Response
If the Respondent doesn’t respond within that time frame, the Petitioner can now file for default. Now the Respondent only has up to 15 days to respond. If they still don’t respond, then the divorce will most likely be granted on the terms of the Petitioner. If the case has defaulted, the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage might cover the following issues:
- Termination of the marriage
- Custody and parenting time for the children
- Any child or spousal support
- Division of property
- Determination of responsibility of debt accrued during the marriage
- Determination of liability for fees
- Restoration of the person’s last name for the Respondent
4. If the Respondent Responds
If the Respondent does respond to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, then now both parties have the option of settling all issues in their divorce. If they are able to settle the case, they can submit the agreement to the court with a proposed divorce decree. But they can’t submit these documents until 60 days from the date the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage was first served to the Respondent.
5. If the Parties Can’t Settle Their Case
If both parties can’t settle their case, then it will enter the discovery and disclosure phase of the divorce. According to the Arizona divorce law process, each party will accumulate and share information and documentation in the divorce proceedings. Things like income tax returns, copies of debt and the like will be turned into the court. Discovery is the process where both parties can ask for additional documentation that isn’t normally obligated, such as phone records if the Petitioner is trying to argue that the Respondent cheated.
If no resolution is agreed upon, then the case will go to trial in an Arizona divorce court. The judge will have up to 60 days to issue a decision after the trial is completed and the case is over.
This is the process in a nutshell, and each divorce will vary from case to case, which is why you’ll want an experienced Chandler Family law attorney on your side throughout the process!