Divorce Process in Arizona
Even when spouses amicably decide to separate, divorce is often a difficult time for all involved. No matter the circumstances surrounding your divorce, you’re likely to have many questions and wonder what to expect from the divorce process.
In Flagstaff, Arizona, and across the state, divorce proceedings require at least sixty days from the date divorce papers are served by a partner until your case can proceed to divorce court. In Arizona, divorce proceedings occur in the Superior Court of the county in which at least one of the spouses resides, provided they have lived there for at least 90 days. If the separation involves a child, the child must also have been a state resident for at least six months before filing for dissolution of marriage.
Many of those we speak to about filing for divorce in Arizona want to know what they can expect from the legal process. Every termination of a marital union is different, and the circumstances of your situation will determine the steps involved and how long your divorce will take. We’ve put together this guide for husbands, wives, and gay couples to help you understand the steps involved and gain a better understanding of what to expect when seeking a marriage annulment in Arizona.
The Divorce Process in Flagstaff, Arizona
Among the first questions, you’re likely to ask your divorce attorney is, “how long will my divorce take?” Arizona law dictates that there be at least 90 days between serving your spouse with divorce papers and finalizing your marriage cancellation. The circumstances of each divorce will play an influential role in determining whether your divorce takes three months or stretches out a year or longer.
You can expect to complete some or all the following steps when proceeding through your divorce:
1. Filing and Serving the Divorce Petition
To begin the divorce process in Arizona, one spouse will file a Petition for Dissolution and several related documents. The spouse who files is referred to the Petitioner throughout these documents, while the spouse served with the petition is known as the Respondent.
To file for divorce in Arizona, at least one spouse must have resided in Arizona for the previous 90 days. If any children are involved, they must have been residents of Arizona for the last six months.
When you file for Dissolution of Marriage in Arizona, you or your divorce lawyer will need to complete and submit the following documents to your county’s Superior Court:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
- Preliminary Injunction
- Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance
- Sensitive Data Sheet
- Notice to Creditors
- Information on the Arizona Parenting Class(if children are involved)
2. Temporary Orders
Either spouse may file a Motion for a Temporary Orders Hearing. At a Temporary Orders Hearing, the judge will issue temporary orders regarding child support, interim custody agreements, alimony, the use of community assets, and other matters. These temporary orders will remain until they are either modified by the court or until the final divorce decree is issued.
If your separation is not contentious, it isn’t uncommon for spouses to agree on their own about these matters. However, if you cannot reach an agreement, a judge can enter a Pendente Lite order to decide them.
3. Serve Your Spouse and Wait for a Response
The spouse who files for divorce in Arizona is required to file a Summons; this document is served to your spouse and includes instructions for how they must respond. If the Respondent does not respond in the allotted time, the Petitioner may ask the court to begin default proceedings. After default proceedings start, the Petitioner will have another grace period in which to file a response. If they fail to do so, the Petitioner may submit a final request for default judgment accompanied by their proposed default decree, which the judge in your case can sign off on 90 days after the petition is filed.
4. Negotiate a Settlement
After your spouse responds to the petition, your proceedings enter the discovery and disclosure phase. During this time, your and your spouse’s divorce lawyers will gather the information needed to set the terms of your settlement or present at trial. If there are disputed matters, you may be scheduled to attend a Dispute Resolution Conference.
Both spouses may sign a consent decree after 60 days if they agree to the terms they are required to address by the court. If children are involved in the agreement, you may be required to attend one or more hearings and attend a parenting class.
5. Divorce Trial
Suppose you don’t reach an agreement with your spouse. In that case, your case will go to trial. It may involve testimony from both spouses, witnesses, and submitted evidence to help the judge decide how to divide your assets and settle any other unresolved matters.
After the trial, either spouse may appeal the judge’s decision to a higher court, file a Motion for Consideration, or a Motion for a New Trial.
6. Finalizing the Judgment
If you have children, Arizona law requires that both parents attend a parenting class before your dissuluation is finalized. This class helps separating spouses learn how to minimize the adverse effects that ending the bonds of matrimony may have on their children and how to co-parent once their divorce is finalized.
Flagstaff, Arizona Divorce Lawyers
Though there is no law requiring that either spouse be represented by a divorce attorney, those representing themselves are held to the same standards as attorneys when filing and appearing in court. Representing yourself requires a significant investment of time so you can gain the knowledge necessary to navigate the Superior Court system. Therefore, many opt to find a nearby divorce lawyer who can help guide them through the process and ensure the best possible result.
Though you can find ample options by searching “divorce lawyers near me,” it’s essential to carefully vet your options to ensure your divorce attorney has experience with Arizona family law and will listen to your concerns. Everyone involved in a divorce has differing priorities, so your divorce lawyer should take the time to understand your priorities to ensure you get the best possible outcome. If your top concern is child custody and the lawyer behind the top result of your search for “divorce attorney near me” is only concerned with getting through the process quickly, retaining their services may not lead to the results you hoped for.
At Antol & Sherman, PC, we understand that everyone comes to divorce with different perspectives, and no two cases are the same. When you meet with one of our attorneys, we take the time to understand your goals and the outcome you desire. Our skilled legal team brings more than 60 years of experience to each case, and we make it our duty to represent your priorities at every stage of the divorce process.
Divorce Process Summary
Though Arizona’s divorce process is straightforward, making a marriage null and void is often an emotionally challenging time for those involved. As a no-fault divorce state, neither you nor your spouse will be required to prove that there are grounds for divorce, so amicable separations can often be settled without contest. If you cannot agree to the terms of your marriage’s dissolution, however, you may need to go to trial.
If you are planning to get divorced in Flagstaff, Arizona, you can expect to take part in some or all the following steps:
- Prepare and file divorce documents in your county Superior Court
- File for any necessary temporary motions
- Serve your spouse and wait for their reply
- Negotiate the terms of your divorce decree
- Attend any required parenting classes or mediation sessions
- Go to trial if terms cannot be settled
- A judge finalizes your Dissolution of Marriage
If you have decided to end your marriage, you should have a divorce attorney on your side to help you understand your rights and guide you through the process while protecting your interests. While most think of divorce as the end of a relationship, it is also the conclusion of a legal and financial partnership. An experienced divorce attorney can help get you the best possible results.
At Antol & Sherman, PC, our team of experienced and reputable attorneys treat each client with respect, professionalism, and personal attention. We are here to make sure that your rights, as well as your financial and parental interests, are protected throughout every stage of your divorce proceedings.
Our divorce and family law services include:
- Spousal support
- Property and asset division
- Child custody agreements and visitation rights
- Child support
If you are seeking a divorce in Flagstaff, Arizona, or the surrounding areas, please don’t wait to contact the law firm of Antol & Sherman online or call 928-214-6339 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys at law today.