If you are considering divorce or you and your spouse have decided you want to move ahead with getting a divorce in Arizona, you may be wondering how the process works.
A divorce in Arizona begins when either spouse files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. This is a document that officially opens a divorce case and begins to lay out the issues that need to be addressed. Once this document is filed, it and other papers must be served on the other spouse and he or she has 20 days (if he lives in Arizona – 30 days if he lives out of state) to respond to the petition. If the spouse who has been served does not respond within the time frame, then the filing spouse can file a request to make the divorce a default divorce. In a default divorce, only the spouse who filed the documents appears before the court. The other spouse has waived his or her right to appear and the Default Decree of Dissolution of Marriage will be granted to the spouse who filed.
If the respondent spouse does reply, there is an opportunity to reach a settlement in the case. A Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage can be filed together and the judge then can approve the settlement.
If no agreement is reached, the case moves forward as a contested divorce. One option is to have the divorce held for up to 60 days while the spouses attend a conciliation meeting in an attempt to resolve their problems and make the marriage work. If conciliation is not attempted or it fails, then the case moves to a trial. In a trial both side present evidence and testimony and the judge makes a decision about each issue in the divorce and then issues a divorce decree.
The Sampair Group is your divorce law firm Maricopa County. Our attorneys are skilled and experienced in family law and ready to resolve your case. Make an appointment today.