The process for a divorce in Arizona is rather straightforward. Arizona is a no-fault state, so the only requirement to get a standard divorce is that both parties are no longer willing to remain married. However, some state laws regarding divorce may differ from what has conventionally considered as common to all divorces. Here are several things spouses divorcing in Arizona must know:
1. Arizona has a Residency Requirement
At least one of the spouses must have lived in Arizona for at least 90 days to file for divorce in the state. Either that or one spouse must have been a member of a military branch stationed in the state for at least 90 days. One of these requirements are essential for getting a divorce in Arizona.
2. Hire a Good Divorce Attorney
Technically, it is possible to represent yourself in your own divorce proceedings. However, it is strongly recommended to hire a divorce attorney in Scottsdale, Phoenix or in your local area. A lawyer would know all the rules of the courtroom and will be able to navigate with ease. Without knowing the law, it can be difficult to make your case. Hire an attorney that specializes in divorce to get the best representation.
3. File a Petition to End the Divorce
A divorce typically involves a lot of paperwork. The first of these is the petition the spouses must file with the Clerk of the Superior Court in the residing county (if the spouses live in two different counties, filing with one is enough). The petition is a formal and legal request to end the marriage and divide assets. When filing a petition, some other paperwork is also necessary, including summons, a notice of right to convert health insurance, preliminary injunction (which stops either spouse taking action involving money or children until the court resolves contentious issues), and a notice to creditors in case of debt.
4. Prepare for Custody
Most counties in Arizona require the petitioners to file a domestic relations cover sheet for processing the divorce. This sheet includes an affidavit regarding minors. This is necessary to decide child custody if the divorcing parties have minor children. A filing fee will be involved. It differs from county to county so call your County Superior Court to inquire about costs.
5. Be Aware of County Rules
In addition to state law, each county has its own rules regarding how divorce cases move forward. Most counties require that the spouse that files for the divorce sends copies of the court files such as the petition mentioned above to the other spouse within 120 days of filing. Afterwards, a written document must be provided stating that copies were sent. There could be other such county rules and it is strongly recommended to know about them.
In Arizona, there’s a mandatory 60-day waiting period until the petitioner serves documents to the spouse. The divorce is finalized once the waiting period is over. It can be done quickly if both parties agree to the terms of divorce such as how to share child custody or divide property. If not, the case will have to go to court to a judge.