Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will it take to get a divorce?

According to Arizona Revised Statute, Section 25-329 and Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure 4.1(c), you must wait at least 60 days from the date your spouse was served before going to court and having the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage entered. This assumes you and your spouse have agreed on the terms or your spouse is in default. When the spouses cannot agree on how to settle issues such as assets and debts, the length of time to get divorced can be longer. If you litigate the issues, it can take up to a year.

How much does it cost to file for divorce in Maricopa County?

The petitioner (initiator of the divorce) must pay Maricopa County $338 as of January, 2015, and the respondent pays $269 for filing an answer.

Who actually divorces me?

The divorce decree will be signed by the judge or commissioner assigned to your case who works for the Superior Court of Maricopa County, which is a state court.

Where do I file for my divorce?

There are currently four courthouse locations in Maricopa County, which are located Downtown, Northeast, Northwest and Southeast. These include:

Central Court Building                   201 W. Jefferson, Phoenix, 85003-2243

Family Court Administration:          (602) 506-1561

Old Courthouse                               125 W. Washington, Phoenix, 85003-2243                    Family Court Administration:           (602) 506-1561

Northeast Courthouse                   18380 N. 40th Street, Phoenix, 85032

(602) 372-7601

Northwest Regional Center   4264 W. Tierra Buena Lane, Surprise, 85374

(602) 372-9400

Southeast Courthouse 222 E. Javelina Ave., Mesa, 85210

(602) 506-2020

You can file your documents at any courthouse, but the judge assigned to your case will most likely work in the courthouse closest to the home address of the petitioner (the person who files first).

Other courthouses in the state of Arizona are listed in Appendix D.

Can my spouse and I file for divorce together?

No. Arizona does not have a provision for any type of joint filing.

Am I considered the “bad guy” if I file first?

Someone has to be the petitioner and someone has to be the respondent. There is no advantage or disadvantage to either, other than perhaps assignment of the courthouse nearest to the petitioner.

What if my spouse filed and I do not want to get divorced?

You cannot stop your spouse from divorcing you, but you can file a request with the court to order a one-hour conciliation meeting to try and reconcile. These rules change; depending on the budget, there may be a fee associated with reconciliation. During this “time out” for 60 days, there can be no “discovery” (see glossary) taking place.

Do I need an attorney for my divorce?

Arizona law allows you to do this yourself. You are considered pro se or pro per; you must follow all the same rules as parties with attorneys. You may have to go into a courtroom, and you are held to the standard of an attorney. Even if you do this yourself, it is always a good idea to have an attorney review your work and give you legal advice. Maricopa County has a self-help web site at:

Does it matter if my spouse was having an affair?

No. Arizona is a “no-fault” state, which means that the court does not require one spouse to prove blame or responsibility in order to end the marriage. But, in a Covenant Marriage (see below), a court will not enter a decree of dissolution of marriage unless certain criteria are met. (See Arizona Revised Statute, Section 25-903 for the specific requirements).

What is a Covenant Marriage?

You will most likely know if you have one of these; it is an optional type of marriage created by the state legislature that requires partners to complete marital counseling prior to marrying and to sign a special declaration to obtain a marriage license. In a covenant marriage, a legal separation or divorce may be granted only for certain reasons listed in state law. The law regarding covenant marriages can be found in Sections 25-901 through 25-906 of the Arizona Revised Statutes.

Is it possible to represent myself in court?

Yes, as it is not a requirement that you have an attorney to represent you in divorce proceedings. The same rules and procedures apply whether you have an attorney or not, which means all papers must be correctly completed and filed on time.

What if I change my mind after starting a divorce?

If you and your spouse decide to stay married, the divorce case can be canceled or dismissed by filing a request with the Clerk of Superior Court that is signed by both parties.

What is a divorce “decree?”

Arizona Revised Statutes §25-312 and §35-325 provide that a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage is the final order of the court which makes each party a single person again, and includes separate orders concerning child decision-making and parenting time, child support, division of property and debts, spousal maintenance and any other appropriate orders. The decree is the final order of the court, legally ending the marriage. Spouses are not divorced until the court grants the divorce and the decree is signed by the judge. A Decree of Dissolution is a court order and can be enforced just as any other order of the court. A certified or duplicate copy of the decree can be obtained from the Clerk of Superior Court for a small fee.

Where do I get a divorce?

In Arizona, only the Superior Court (a state court) can grant a divorce. To get a divorce, one spouse must start a court case in the Superior Court. Although the Superior Court has at least one facility in each Arizona county, a court case to end a marriage must be started in the county where the person requesting the divorce lives.

Who can start a divorce case?

In Arizona, either spouse can ask the court for a divorce. A divorce is not awarded to either spouse; rather, it simply changes the status of the marriage relationship.

Next: Your Goals, Our Guidance

You’re reading this book to save money; you want what is best for your family, even while recognizing that this divorce is necessary. We are here to help you figure out your rights, your issues, your choices and your solutions. We are experienced family law attorneys who have seen first-hand the devastation and damage caused...

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