How to File for Divorce in AZ
Providing Compassionate Guidance Through the Divorce Process
No matter which side of a divorce case you are on, the process can be very difficult financially and emotionally. One of the best resources that you can have during this difficult time is a knowledgeable Scottsdale divorce attorney who can provide you with answers and be your guide through your case.
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From contested divorce to divorce mediation, we are ready to help you take advantage of a host of legal options that can help you resolve even the most complex issues in divorce.
Call Owens & Perkins, Attorneys at Law at (480) 630-2464 to schedule a free 30-minute phone consultation to discuss a strategy.
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Understanding Arizona Divorce Law
Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, which means that the only requirement for a divorce is that one party wants it. Arizona is also a community property state. When it comes to property distribution, most assets or debts acquired during the marriage will be shared. In addition, each party owns or owes an undivided interest in the assets or debts. There are, however, a few exceptions to this general rule.
Exceptions include if you receive those assets in the following ways:
- Acquired prior to the marriage
- By gift or devise (by a will)
- By descent (inheritance)
The courts presume that assets and debts accrued during the marriage are community property. As a result of that generalization, if a spouse wants to claim an item as his or her sole and separate asset, then he or she must prove that it was acquired in one of the above ways. With a valid pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement, this property division process can be made much easier.
What Issues Do I Need to Resolve in a Divorce?
During a divorce, the following issues will be addressed:
- Child custody
- Parenting time
- Child support
- Spousal maintenance
- Division of property
- Allocation of debts
- Confirmation of sole and separate property
- Attorney fees
Going through a divorce is traumatic for most people, especially when there are children involved. It is certainly a life-altering experience. Not going through it alone is one of the best decisions you will ever make for yourself and children. Discover how our trusted, award-winning lawyers can help you.
Divorce Process in Arizona
The amount of time the divorce or dissolution process takes varies from case to case. A quick divorce will take approximately six (6) months. Factors that can prolong the divorce process include how long the parties have been married, if there are minor children and if there are significant assets or debt to be divided.
The single most important factor that will prolong a divorce is if the parties are in disagreement regarding any one of the issues. The person filing for the divorce is called the Petitioner. The person responding to the divorce is called the Respondent.
- 1. Petition
After the Petitioner files the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, they must serve the Respondent with a copy of the petition within 120 days. With every divorce case state law requires that you wait 90 days from the date of service before the divorce can be finalized. This is called the "cooling off" period. If the parties are in agreement, the 60 days can be used to draft the final documents.
After service of the petition, the Respondent must file a Response to the Petition for Dissolution within 20 days if he or she was served in the State of Arizona or 30 days if the respondent was served in a different state.
3. Temporary Orders
Temporary orders are orders from the court that stay in effect while the case is pending and those orders last until trial or an agreed upon resolution of the case.
Discovery is the legal procedure for obtaining information from the other party.
There are four main types of discovery procedures:
- Interrogatories are a written list of questions sent to your spouse and they must response with a formal written answers.
- Requests for production are when you request specific documents from your spouse.
- Depositions are when your lawyer is able to ask your spouse certain questions, under oath, pertaining to your divorce, while a court reporter transcribes the entire process.
- Subpoenas are orders issued by the Clerk of the Court compelling a third party to disclose documents in their possession to the person that issued the subpoena.
5. Negotiated Settlement
A negotiated settlement is when both parties create their own divorce agreement without going to trial and having a judge deicide their outcome. This can also be done through mediation. In Arizona, a mediation or settlement conference will typically be ordered by the judge, prior to trial, as an attempt to settle some or all of the issues in the divorce.
When the two parties are not able to come to an agreement they will go to trial. At trial, both parties explain their story though testimony. The judge will then make a decision regarding all issues pertaining to your divorce.
If either spouse is unhappy with the outcome of the trial, they may appeal the decision to the Court of Appeals. If you enter into a negotiated settlement, it cannot be appealed and you are free to move on with your life.
Want to be represented by Owens & Perkins, Attorneys at Law? Contact us at (480) 630-2464 for a free 30-minute phone consultation!
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