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* DIVORCE INFORMATION *

IF A "COVENANT" MARRIAGE, PLEASE CLICK <HERE>

Divorce or the legal term, Dissolution of Marriage, in the state of Arizona can be processed by either  "default", "stipulated" or "consent". Arizona is a "no-fault" state. This means  no "reason" needs to be stated to obtain an divorce, only that the "marriage is irretrievably broken and there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation". The simplest, fastest and least expensive process is by "default" and can possibly be completed with one office visit and one default hearing.

All Divorces start out the same whether one does the documents themselves, goes through a certified legal document preparer or an attorney. One of the parties must have physically resided in Arizona for 90 days prior to filing the petition for a divorce and then one of the parties (Petitioner) asks for or requests the divorce by filing or petitioning the court for the Dissolution of Marriage. As Arizona is a community property state, the petition calls for an equitable division of the community assets and obligations incurred during the marriage, and will also talk about  spousal maintenance and minor children, if applicable (see below).

Once the initial documents have been filed with the court,  the other party (Respondent) has to be notified of the proceedings by LEGALLY receiving a copy of those filed documents. The two easiest ways to do this are; 1) Respondent voluntarily signs a document called an "Acceptance of Service" in front of a notary public stating their receipt of a copy of the documents including a "proposed" Decree of Dissolution of Marriage; or 2) The documents are hand delivered (served) to Respondent by an authorized officer of the court (private process server, sheriff, etc.) Once Respondent has received the copy LEGALLY, the clock starts ticking for a 60 day waiting period.

The court allows the first 20 days (or 30 days if Respondent is out of the State of Arizona) of the 60 days in order for Respondent to contest or fight the divorce by filing a written response with the court and paying an appearance fee. Once the 20 (or 30 if applicable) day response period has past and Respondent hasn't filed a written response, Petitioner may apply for the divorce to go through by "default" by filing an "Application for Default and Entry of Default".

If Respondent STILL does not file a response, then Petitioner simply attends a "default" hearing to have the judge/commissioner sign the final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. In PIMA county the hearing may be attended on the 61st business day after the day of service. Default hearings are generally held every business day. Petitioner would simply call the court a few day beforehand to schedule the hearing.

If Respondent does file a response but now agrees AND has not retained an attorney -OR- simply chooses to agree to the terms in the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, a stipulated (agreed) Decree of Dissolution of Marriage can be completed to be signed by both parties. Petitioner is then able to attend the default hearing to have the stipulated Decree entered. As both parties sign the stipulated decree, the court may charge an appearance fee at the time of the hearing.

* DIVORCE WITH CHILDREN INFORMATION *

Per Arizona State Law, when the domestic action (divorce, legal separation or paternity complaint) involves children, both parties are required to attend what is called the "DOMESTIC RELATIONS EDUCATION OF CHILDREN'S ISSUES" Course within 45 days of the filing of the petition.

Please review the information regarding CHILD LEGAL DECISION MAKING AND PARENTING TIME AND CHILD SUPPORT AND ARIZONA CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE INFORMATION, CLICK <HERE>

DIVORCE
DID-U-KNOW? FAQ

  • Arizona is a community property state. This means that both parties are equally entitled to any assets incurred during the marriage as well as equally responsible for any debts. Remember! You are STILL married until you are legally divorced even when living apart from one another.

  • Signing a Quit Claim Deed usually does not dissolve any responsibility for the mortgage. It simply takes the name of the person off of the deed.  If something happens to the party receiving the property, the other party will have no rights to the property but will still be responsible for the debt. (Sort of like paying on a car that has been totaled -- you don't have the car anymore but you still have to pay the loan)
     

  • At this time, there is no common marriage law in the State of Arizona. This means that if both parties are cohabiting (living together) and were never legally married, they will not become married after a certain amount of time. In fact, up until fair recently, cohabitation was illegal in the State of Arizona.
     

  • You are married until you are divorced. During the 60 day waiting period from the day of service until the divorce is final, you are still married. Also, you are NOT Automatically divorced after being physically separated for any length of time.
     

  • In Arizona, in order to have a marriage annulled, an element of fraud usually needs to be stated. An annulment will probably not be granted based solely on the length of the marriage.