The divorce process can be a long one with numerous steps you have to go through before you can finally reach the dissolution of marriage. Between filing a petition and getting your final divorce decree, divorce proceedings usually include the service of process, the response of the served party, the temporary orders, and possibly a negotiation period and trial as well.
Generally, the process takes about a year to complete. It could be quicker, however, if you opt for an online divorce and agree on matters such as division of property, alimony, and child custody. It could definitely take much longer if you and your spouse disagree on different points.
The following details a general guide. The states may differ in specific requirements for various kinds of divorce and the stages of the process of divorce. That’s why it’s important that you consult an Arizona divorce lawyer. You can get divorced pro se or without legal representation, but while a do-it-yourself divorce may be possible, it’s not recommended. Keep in mind that failing to follow Arizona’s requirement could prolong your divorce process, elicit an unfavorable end for you, or even bring you more legal issues to face. It’s best to get legal help with this legal matter.
Filing for Divorce
Filing a petition for divorce involves filing this legal document with a circuit or superior court in the county where you live. Even on the occasion of an amicable divorce, either you or your spouse still has to file for divorce.
The typical information included in the divorce petition includes:
- Names and address/es of spouses.
- Marriage date and place.
- Name/s and address/es of children.
- Duration of residence in Arizona and the county where you’re filing for divorce.
- Grounds for divorce (Arizona is a purely no-fault divorce state, so the reason cited would be “irreconcilable differences.”)
- Requests on matters like assets, child custody, visitation, support, etc.
Service of Process
The divorce petitioner must provide evidence that the petition was given to his or her spouse. If you’re the one who’s filing, the usual course is to arrange for a process server to hand the petition to your spouse’s lawyer. If your spouse is missing, there’s a way to get around this step. Consult your divorce attorney on how to divorce a missing spouse.
When needed, a judge may issue a temporary court order to cover issues like the following until the final divorce judgment is granted.
- Child custody
- Child visitation
- Spousal support
- Who stays in the family residence
- Bills payment
- Other pressing concerns
Response to the Petition
The other spouse is given the chance to respond to the complaint. An opposition may be directed toward the request regarding the division of marital property, child custody, child support, alimony, etc. If the spouses agree on the proposed terms, they will have an uncontested divorce, which is the quickest and cheapest route.
Negotiation and Mediation
If there’s any disagreement at all, you and your spouse will have a contested divorce. This leads to a negotiation stage. In contested divorce cases, divorce courts arrange various meetings, mediation, parental evaluations, and other requirements that will help determine how to divide assets and liabilities, arrange custody, and detail alimony payments.
Going to Court
If all the disputes can’t be resolved with a mediator, the spouses will have to go to divorce court, which will cost them more time and money, as well as bring forth worry of unpredictable results.
The judge will issue a divorce decree, which is a legally binding document. It covers all the details on the rights and responsibilities of both parties. Getting it modified is possible, but is costly and quite rare. It usually happens when the financial status of one party changes and there has to be some adjustment in terms of alimony or child support.
Getting a Divorce? Contact an Arizona Family Law Attorney Now!
It’s usually a time of emotional and mental distress when you’re getting divorced. You need not only support from friends and family but the legal advice and guidance of a divorce attorney. Divorce, after all, is a legal process that you should strive to go through correctly and in the most painless way possible. If you want to get a divorce or if your spouse wants to divorce you, call us at Zolman Law to speak with one of our experienced divorce lawyers.