By Brandon M. Sander, Associate Attorney
Very few people give any thought to divorce until the need arises or the other party has already filed. Thus, very few people have taken the time to educate themselves about the divorce process prior to being involved in one. So, here is a general overview.
First - how long will it take?
It depends. An uncontested divorce will generally take 4 to 6 months. The reason for the delay is a mandatory 90 day waiting period required under Arizona law. In a contested divorce, it can take a year or even two years.
Second - how do I get started? One party files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and serves it on the other party. The party that was served is called the Respondent and he/she has 20 days from the date of service to file a Response to the Petition.
Third - now that the divorce is filed what happens next? After the initial filing and Response, the parties are both required to exchange information and documentation that is relevant to the issues of the case. This document exchange process is known as the discovery process or disclosure.
Fourth - what is mediation or ADR? As part of the divorce process the Court will require you to attend mediation or a settlement conference to attempt to resolve the issues that you don't agree on.
Fifth - what if ADR doesn't work - what happens next? If you are unable to resolve the disputed issues at mediation, your case will be set for trial. That means a Judge will set a date and time to hear the lawyers present your issues and evidence to the Court and the Judge will decide what is going to happen.
In our new four part blog series Overview of the Divorce Process, we will address some additional questions regarding topics such as:
- What is a covenant marriage?
- What does it mean that Arizona is a No Fault State?
- What is legal decision making authority?
- How is child support calculated?
Check out the Owens & Perkins website and our blogs this month as we discuss all of these topics and more.