The Arizona Divorce Process Timeline
Need to get out of your marriage and file for divorce? Only the court can legally end the marriage, and it certainly benefits you to have a Phoenix divorce lawyer guide you through the process.
Who can file for Divorce?
In Arizona, either one of the partners can ask for a divorce and there is no need to show fault; Arizona is a ‘No Fault State’, meaning the court is not interested in who is to blame for the breakup of the marriage.
All the court wants to know is that the marriage is “Irretrievably Broken”.
Covenant Marriages are the only ones that require a strong reason and proof of such things as adultery, abandonment, substance abuse, or physical abuse for a divorce to be granted.
The Divorce Process & Timeline in Arizona
Filing With The Clerk
- One of the spouses starts a court case in Superior Court by filing with the Clerk of the court a “Petition” – a written request to end the marriage. There is filling fee of $171.00 which has to be paid at the time of the filing. Maricopa County, for example, charges an additional $20.00.
- The Petition is a legal document that asks the court to end the marriage and to issue orders to deal with property and custody. It must comply with the court rules and state laws. It has to include Summons, Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance, Joint Preliminary Injunction and Creditor Notice. One copy is kept in the court file, one is kept by the spouse who filed and one copy has to go to the other party.
- The court can’t act until the other party has a chance to read and react to the Petition, so it makes sure the party gets the papers by serving it by “process servers” or a sheriff deputy.
Divorce Papers Must Be Served To Other Party
- The papers have to be served to the other party within 120 days from filing the Petition. The court knows the Petition was served when it gets a notice from the process server. That is when the clock starts ticking.
Response Must Be Filed Within 20 Days
- The other party files a response within 20 days. If no response is filed the court may end the marriage by a “default divorce”. It does not take affect for another 10 days to allow the respondent time to answer.
- By Arizona state law, the court will not hold a default hearing for at least 60 days after the date the summons and petition are served.
- When the other party does answer and an agreement between the parties cannot be reached a trial is scheduled to resolve the issues in contention. Court rules, procedures and schedules determine when the trial will be held.
The Divorce Process In Arizona Is At Least 60 Days
- The Arizona divorce process timeline is at least 60 days from the time the answering party was served. If the parties are in complete agreement about their divorce, the one who initiated the proceedings will write a “Consent Decree” to be signed by the judge or the commissioner.
- If the parties are not in agreement the judge will decide in matters of property, debt, orders of financial support and orders regarding the minor children. He may order further hearing to decide on the matters.