What is the Best Way to Get Divorced in Arizona?
Divorce is probably the toughest time in the life of any married couple. However, when two individuals find it difficult to stay in a committed relationship, they have every right to file for a divorce.
If you reside in Arizona and want to end your marriage, there are many options couples must consider with regards to getting a divorce. For example, you can file for an online divorce, hire an attorney to carry out the legal proceedings, or think about getting a divorce without an attorney.
Since the circumstances of every divorce are different, it is impossible to categorically state which process would be most suitable for you. That’s why we have created the perfect guide to help you understand the best way to get divorced in Arizona. Once you become familiar with all the legal requirements and the divorce process, you won’t feel as confused.
Different Ways to End a Marriage:
In Arizona, a married couple has three options to end their marriage: Legal Separation, Divorce, and Annulment.
If a marriage is not working and one of the spouses has moved out of the home, this would be referred to as physical separation. In Arizona, only the courts can grant a legal separation. The legal separation process is more or less the same as a divorce. Asset division, custody, and support issues are worked out and approved by the court. Legal separation in Arizona does not allow the spouse to remarry, and in a majority of the cases, a legal separation does not lead to a divorce. Ultimately, the couple can choose to sort out their differences and save their marriage.
In Arizona, once a couple is granted an annulment, the marriage is regarded as null and void, and both the spouses can move on in their lives. Annulment is granted if the marriage was actually void from the very beginning or if there is sound reason to declare a marriage as void. A marriage could qualify for an annulment if one of the partners was a victim of incest or bigamy, was underage at the time of marriage, or was forced into the marriage.
Permanent separation between the couple is referred to as Divorce. In Arizona, when a divorce is finalized, it frees the spouses of all of their marital responsibilities. The couple will need to sort out several issues including child custody and support related conditions, asset division, and other aspects. When both the individuals agree to all the conditions of a divorce, the court will issue a final decree that will legally end the marriage.
Different Ways to Get Divorced in Arizona:
It is a good idea to understand all your options for getting divorced in Arizona, as you will be able to decide about the right way to end your marriage. You can pursue an uncontested divorce to save your time and money by attempting to negotiate a settlement with your partner or lawyer up and settle in for a long expensive trial in an attempt to take as much from the marriage as possible.
Did you know that you can file for divorce over the internet? It is one of the best ways of getting a divorce in Arizona. There are many companies in Arizona offering web divorce services for as low as a few hundred dollars.
If you have chosen to apply for divorce online, you simply pick an online divorce company, pay the charges, and receive full support throughout the divorce process. The company will take care of preparing the required divorce papers with all the right information required by the court, preventing the risk of errors or misrepresentation of information and allowing the entire process to move forward smoothly.
Divorce without an Attorney:
Although filing for divorce with an attorney is a better strategy, it isn’t mandatory at all that you must hire an attorney to represent you in the court. It is possible to employ a do it yourself approach. You can easily file for a divorce all on your own, but this would only be a suitable option if you and your spouse agree on all the issues that are to be determined during a divorce settlement. If this is the case, divorce without an attorney would be an ideal option to get divorced in Arizona, as it would be cost-effective and quick.
For a DIY divorce, both the spouses need to complete the divorce papers and submit them to the court, following all the rules and procedures that attorneys normally do. The paperwork must be completed and filed correctly, and you cannot seek legal advice from any court personnel if you have opted for a DIY divorce process. Before issuing the final decree, a judge will review your divorce settlement proposal and grant you the divorce if there isn’t any disagreement between the spouses.
Dissolution of Marriage through Court:
If you want to get divorced through court, here is a comprehensive overview of the process and its requirements.
Proof of Residency:
To file for a divorce in Arizona, you first have to prove that you are a resident of Arizona. To qualify to file for a divorce in Arizona, one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least 90 days, and if you are part of the armed forces, you must be stationed in Arizona for 90 days or more.
Filling the Forms:
To begin the divorce process in Arizona, the one of the spouses (known as the petitioner) has to file a petition with the Clerk of the Superior Court. If you intend to file for divorce, make sure to file the petition in your county of residence.
Read also: Online Divorce vs Traditional Divorce
The petition asks the court to intervene and initiate the process to end the marriage. The court will then issue orders to deal with many key aspects like child custody, child support, property, alimony, and debts, etc. For a consent decree, both the spouses can jointly file for the divorce.
Along with the petition, the petitioner has to file for the following forms:
This will inform the non-filing partner/spouse (known as the respondent) that a divorce case has been filed and he/she will need to take some action within the given timeframe. The summons will be sent with a Superior Court Clerk stamp, and once it has been received by the respondent, the divorce process will formally commence.
A Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance:
Converting health insurance is the right of every spouse, and this notice will help in deciding about the rights and responsibilities of any existing health insurance policy that the couple shares.
A preliminary injunction prevents the spouses from doing anything with their property, money, children, and insurance until the court resolves the issues or the parties mutually agree on a settlement in writing. It is a court order and will stay in effect until the divorce is finalized. Any violation of the order can result in jail time.
Notice to Creditors:
To help the spouses understand their rights and responsibilities regarding debts acquired during the marriage, a notice to creditors will be issued.
- In most counties, the petitioner will have to fill out and file a Family Court or Domestic Relations cover sheet.
- In cases in which children are involved, an Affidavit Regarding Minor Children will be filed along with an Order and Notice Regarding the Parent Information Program.
- Three copies of all the forms will be created; the original will be sent to the Clerk of the Superior Court, one will go to the petitioner for record-keeping, and one will be sent to the other spouse.
- The filing fee for each country is different, so you should contact your local court to determine the exact amount.
Cost of Divorce in Arizona:
To start the divorce process in Arizona, the petitioner must pay the filing fee, which generally is around $300, but may vary by county. For an uncontested divorce, the other spouse will be required to respond through Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage and will have to pay an additional filing fee.
You may be eligible for a fee waiver or fee deferral if you cannot afford the fee. To qualify, you must be receiving state assistance such as Supplemental Social Security income or nutritional assistance. If you file for a fee deferral or waiver, the court will determine whether or not you earn enough to meet your day-to-day living needs. If you meet the conditions and your application is approved, you may be allowed to pay your fee at a later date or get it completely waived, depending upon the situation.
If you decide to file for a divorce using an attorney, the cost of divorce will be significantly higher. You may need to pay between $150 and $500 per hour along with any upfront retainer fee for starting the process. If you choose to involve an arbitrator or mediator, this service usually costs between $3,000 – $7,000.
How long does it take to get divorced in Arizona?
As per the Arizona State law, there is a 60-day mandatory waiting period starting from the date when the court papers are delivered to the respondent. In the case of an uncontested divorce, the process can be completed immediately after the 60-day waiting period is over. However, if the couple needs more time to sort things out and do not agree on some issues, the divorce process may take longer to be completed. It will depend on the nature and complexity of the issues and the availability of the judge.
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