How Does The Divorce Process Work In Arizona?
The divorce process begins when one of the parties to the marriage files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Court. The filed Petition must be served on the filing party’s spouse. If the spouses are not communicating, then the other spouse may be served by a licensed process server or sheriff’s deputy. If the party to be served is willing, that spouse may be served using an Acceptance of Service, which is a form signed by the spouse being served. The signed Acceptance of Service is then filed with the Court.
Once served, the spouse receiving the Petition must file a written response with the Court within 20 days if served in Arizona or 30 days if served outside of Arizona.
If the spouse that was served with the Petition does not file a written response with the Court within either the 20 days or 30 days, then the Court may enter a default against that spouse and issue a Default Decree of Dissolution without notice to that person.
At least one of the parties must have lived in Arizona for 90 consecutive days to file the Petition.
In Arizona both parties must wait a minimum of 60 days before the Decree of Dissolution can be signed by the Judge. The 60 day period begins when the other spouse has been properly served.
If the spouse being served files a written response to the Petition within either the 20 or 30 day period, then the parties move through disclosure/discovery and mediation – if minor children are involved and parenting time is an issue. If they are able to reach agreement on all issues, then they may submit a Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage to the Judge for signature. Once the Judge signs the Consent Decree and it is filed the parties are divorced without having to go to Court. If the parties are unable to agree on all issues, then they will go to Trial where the Judge will decide the issues upon which the parties are unable to agree and grant the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.
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