09 Oct Filing for Divorce in Arizona? Here’s What You Need To Know
Divorce is not an easy matter to discuss and understand, and at times people tend to focus too much on emotions while missing to look at divorce from a legal and technical standpoint. Divorce does not happen in one snap of a finger; it involves paperwork, court proceedings, and money. It is imperative, therefore, for people planning to file for divorce to know what they are getting themselves into.
Now that you have decided to pursue the divorce, there are things you need to know about filing for divorce in Arizona. Here are just some of the important points to get you started:
• Divorce in the state of Arizona is legally called “dissolution of marriage”. Divorce proceedings in the state are handled by different superior courts, depending on your exact location in Arizona. For the metropolitan area of Phoenix, divorce cases are handled by the Maricopa County Superior Court (http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/FamilyCourt/DivorceProceedings/Index.asp).
• Duration of the divorce proceedings are not set, and will depend on the situations surrounding the case. For instance, couples who have less conjugal responsibilities (i.e. newly married, no kids, little to no properties or liabilities) are expected to finish their court proceedings faster.
• Arizona is a “no-fault” state. What it basically means is that neither of the two parties figuring in a divorce case has to prove that the separation was the other party’s fault. Instead, proof should be established by either spouse that the marriage is already broken and cannot be continued or repaired.
• Filing for divorce involves the following legal time considerations:
1. One of the spouses must have resided in Arizona for 90 days or more, or have been assigned as part of the Armed Forces in the state for a minimum of 90 days.
2. State law requires that the parties should wait 60 days from the date of the initial petition, before the divorce is finalized.
3. A contested divorce must be answered by the responding party within 30 days.
• If you are the party filing the divorce, you are called the Petitioner. Meanwhile, you are the Respondent if you’re the party responding to the case filed.
While the state allows both parties to proceed with the divorce even without professional assistance (or what is loosely called a DIY divorce), I highly recommend that you hire the services of a Phoenix divorce attorney like myself. Lawyers have extensive knowledge about the law, and they can help you iron out any inconsistencies in the case or read the documents on your behalf before you ink your signature.
Fortunately, there are a lot of resources available online if you want to do everything on your own. What’s important is that you are aware and familiar with the requirements and rights before filing the divorce.