Getting a divorce may seem like a big, intimidating event, but it’s a fairly easy process that’s broken down into a series of individual steps. It’s typically the emotional side that’s uneasy, not the legal part. Here are the basic steps of filing for divorce in Arizona.
Whoever is filing for the divorce in Arizona will need to file all of the initial forms, such as the petition for dissolution of marriage. With a regular marriage, you won’t need to state that either spouse did anything wrong, just that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” One of you will also need to have been a resident of Arizona for 90 days before filing. The one filing the petition will also need to serve the spouse with the divorce papers or have her/him sign a waiver of service.
Whichever spouse was served with divorce paperwork will need to file their response. If this is your part, don’t put off responding. You have only 20 days to respond to the petition for divorce in Arizona, or 30 days if you live out of state. If you don’t respond, your spouse will be granted everything they asked for, which is known as a default divorce.
If you’re in a covenant marriage, seeking a divorce in Arizona is a little different. In this case, unless the divorce is mutually agreed upon or you’ve already been separated for at least a year, you’ll have to prove that your spouse has cheated on you, abandoned you, abused you, or is abusing drugs or alcohol.
Part of what is so hard about divorce in Arizona is all the uncertainty for the future. Once the paperwork is filed, temporary orders will follow that will help to relieve some of that uncertainty. They will dictate a temporary plan for who will stay in the home, where the kids will be, and spousal maintenance and child support. If both of you can agree, you’ll probably be able to make these decisions yourselves. However, if you can’t, the court will give one parent final decision making in a temporary order hearing.
Discovery and Disclosure
This is where we get into the nitty gritty of divorce in Arizona. Both parties must provide financial and other records in order to disclose all property and help everyone see what kind of division will be the most fair. For instance, you’ll need to provide documents regarding income, financial accounts, business ownership, and property ownership.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on how to divide everything up, your divorce is considered a contested divorce in Arizona the Court may assign it to mediation. You can hire private mediators, typically retired family law judges or the Court-appointed mediators will try to help you come to an agreement on anything that’s in question. Mediation is still allowing the two of you to make the decisions, just with impartial mediators to attempt to remove some of the heated emotional conflict that often occurs during a divorce.
If you cannot come to an agreement during mediation, the final step for divorce in Arizona is the trial. When a divorce goes to trial, it’s because even mediation has failed to offer a resolution, and an impartial judge is needed to make a decision. The court can rule on property division and maintenance, as well as child custody and support.
A Legal Guide
While the process of divorce in Arizona has only a few steps that must be completed, the emotional involvement can make it difficult to navigate. Contact Simon Law Group, PLLC, today and let us simplify your divorce by helping guide you through the process.