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How to File For Divorce in Arizona

The legal term for divorce in Arizona is dissolution of marriage. It is the formal process of dissolving a marital union between two living parties. Title 25 of the Arizona Revised Statutes provides interpretation and rules on divorce. On the average, it takes about 90 days to complete a divorce process. It could take longer in the presence of adjoining issues like the involvement of children, property and debts division, and also the caseload of the court. Each divorce case is unique in terms of what issues are alloyed with the marriage. Therefore, it is important to understand clearly the state laws regarding divorce. The application of the same rules to a divorce case is equally important. Superior Courts handle divorce cases in the state

The United States Census Bureau ranks Arizona at position 26 in divorce rates, the latest updates being eight divorces per 1000 women of 15 years old and above. This value represents a fall within a 10-year period by 4 divorces per 1000 women aged 15 and above.

Do I need a Reason for Divorce in Arizona?

Not necessarily. Arizona uses a no-fault principle for non-covenant but formal marriages. The no-fault principle states that there does not have to be a good reason for divorce other than that the marriage is irreparably broken. Covenant marriages in Arizona require grounds for dissolution whether fault or no-fault. Examples are:

  • Adultery: the evidence of an extramarital affair of one partner can provide grounds for divorce in covenant marriages.
  • Felony conviction with an imprisonment or death sentence: if one partner gets convicted of a felonious crime and is to serve imprisonment or receive a death sentence. The other party can file for a divorce is such a case.
  • Abandonment for at least one year before filing for divorce. In the meantime, the court can grant orders regarding spousal support, child support, and parenting time.
  • Domestic abuse: it includes all forms of physical and sexual abuse of either the spouse, a child, or relative living in the couple’s home.
  • Separation spanning two years and above: separation here may be legal or not yet legal. However, the couple must meet the conditions of the two-year period of separation. Also, the court can issue temporary orders concerning child welfare, spousal support, and parenting time during the time frame.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse: it is a fault kind of divorce that requires an established lifestyle of regular drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Consensual divorce: it is a no-fault ground divorce acceptable in covenant marriages. Here, both spouses agree to dissolve the marriage for no reasons of fault.

The state laws in Arizona require one party must be resident in the state before they qualify to file for a dissolution of marriage. A 90-day residency prior to filing is a requirement.

The records contained in documents related to family court include both marriage and divorce records. Both types of records contain information that is considered very personal to the parties involved, and it is recommended that those parties maintain these records with care in order to make changes in the future. The personal nature of these records results in both being considerably more difficult to find and obtain when compared to other types of public records. In many cases, these records are not available through either government sources or third party public record websites.

Why do I need a Divorce Lawyer?

Getting a divorce in Arizona may not be as straight-forward as it seems. Other adjoining issues such as child custody, debt division, property settlements, can bring a twist to the case that may or may not favor either party. Therefore, the services of a divorce lawyer are pertinent to a smooth process and a predictable outcome. Divorce lawyers in Arizona provide legal advice to their clients before embarking on the process. They also represent involved parties should there be a need to protect them from assaults they could face if exposed to the other party.

How do I Get Started in a Divorce in Arizona?

  • The filing spouse must file a petition for dissolution of marriage in the Superior Court or his or her resident county. A copy of all documents must get to the non-filing spouse through the service of process.
  • Service of process: sections 4.1 and 4.2 of the Arizona rules of civil procedure state that the respondent or non-filing spouse must receive an official notice of the initiation of a dissolution case. The respondent has 20 days to respond by filing in response to the petition. Non-resident respondents have 30 days.
  • Find out from the Clerk of the relevant Superior Court, the county case time limit. The case time limit depends on the current caseload, the availability of staff during the time of the year, etc. Overall there is a 60-day waiting period after serving court papers to the respondent.
  • Suppose the non-filing spouse does not respond within the imposed time frame. The court enters a default judgement by granting the request made in the petition. The filing spouse must file an application for a notice of default and serve a copy to the respondent if they know their address. The default judgement takes effect after 10 days from entering the default judgement. The 10-day gap in order to give the respondent an opportunity to file a response. If he or she does, the case proceeds as though there was no default. Otherwise, the court may dissolve the marriage and issue attendant orders.
  • If both parties agree to all the terms and conditions of divorce, the case can proceed without a trial. The Arizona Court system calls this a consent divorce process. If both spouses sign all the necessary documents for a consent decree and they attend the parents educational class for cases involving children,the court will issue a legal order ending the marriage based on the agreement of both spouses.

How to File for Divorce without a Lawyer?

A divorce process may not need a lawyer in Arizona if it is a consent decree process. Here, both parties agree on the divorce and other adjoining matters such as child custody, spousal support, parenting time, property settlement, debt division and other issues. When this happens, the court issues a consent decree because both parties have signed all required documents to make it happen. Also, the services of a lawyer may not be necessary if none of these adjoining issues exists between both parties. For example, if there is no need for a restraining or protection orders for either spouse if they both consent to the divorce.

How Does Arizona Divorce Mediation Work?

Superior Courts in Arizona operate a Conciliation Court branch under ARS § 25–381 that provides services that protect and preserve marriage and family life. Child interests are also paramount in this unit. Getting the services of the conciliation court could be your request by one party or by court order. When a spouse files for a conciliation conference, they do so by invoking the jurisdiction of the court to preserve the marriage or assist them in arriving at agreements. When the court mandates one, it is for the purpose of reconciling a covenant marriage where possible, or leading to agreements that will stem further litigation of associated issues.

How Long After Mediation is Divorce Final in Arizona?

It depends. If mediation at the conciliatory courts was the first step, and it fails, the process is likely to progress more quickly to trial. If mediation came in for the purpose of reaching agreements on adjacent tissues, then the process will have to wait to resolve them before progressing to a finalization. In any case, a successful mediation process will shorten the entire process whether it ends in divorce or resolution.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

Are Divorce Records Public in Arizona?

When a divorce is final, the information is a court record in Arizona according to state laws. Therefore, it is considered public information. The only conditions that may lead to a withdrawal of a divorce record from public access is if they are under a seal. Most times, the motion to seal comes from one or both parties involved in the divorce.

How do I Get Arizona Divorce Records?

The Superior Court with current jurisdiction on the case generates and maintains divorce records in Arizona. Parties to a divorce case information file can access information using the electronic case record filing system of the Superior Court of interest. Non parties to the case who wish to view records or minute entries are to visit the facility in person.

Eligible persons must follow these steps:

  • Be specific about the divorce record, whether it is a decree or adjacent agreements. Also, indicate if it is for a change of name with the social security administration.
  • Expect a fee assessment via mail or email as provided by the applicant. The clerk’s office receives money order payments made out to the Clerk of Courts bearing the name, address and phone number of the customer. Credit or debit card payments are also acceptable by calling (602) 37-CLERK, or (602) 372–5375. The court charges 50 cents per copy of record and $30 for the certification of any document. For mail requests, prepare an extra $7 for postage and handling

. Allow for 7 to 10 business days processing time. It may take longer for mail request because of the postal service.

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