Documents & Their Meanings

Cindy Best

 

The Individual Documents

Each of these documents has a significant meaning for the courts and for you. Below is a list of the forms and their purpose.

 

Family Court Cover Sheet

This form helps the courts set up your file in their computer system. It should be the top form you present to the clerk when you file these forms. The clerk will want to see that all of this information is filled out, so that their court records are complete. Throughout the divorce process, the court will periodically send out minute entries or court orders to you. It is important that your personal information (especially your address) is updated with the court, so that you will receive all of these necessary documents.

 

Sensitive Data Sheet

The purpose of this sensitive data sheet is to provide the court other relevant information. Please be cautioned that this information may become public record and be available for everyone to see. Do not provide complete account numbers or Social Security numbers, due to the risk of identify fraud.

 

Summons

The summons officially notifies the respondent that a lawsuit (divorce) has been filed against him/her and he/she is a party to the action. The summons also informs the respondent how long he/she has to answer the divorce. This document is signed by the clerk of court who, at the time of filing, will emboss the document with his official seal.

 

Petition for Dissolution With Minor Children

This document is the most important of the nine documents initially filed. This document sets out the necessary facts of your divorce and lets the court know exactly what you are seeking in the divorce. In this petition, you are able to tell the court what kind of custody arrangement you want for the children, how you want your property divided and whether you or your spouse is entitled to child support or spousal maintenance.

This document should help you provide a good picture of what you want at the end of the divorce process. You should ask the court for everything that you want, even if it is not what you would settle for at the end of your dissolution. You want to request that you be awarded certain things, because if the other party does not answer the petition and you get a default (see glossary) against your spouse, your requests in that initial petition are what will be awarded to you.

The following petition is a generic, sample petition for a divorce with children. In drafting your own petition, you should be more specific than the example. Maricopa County also provides a form on their website that allows a party to be more specific. It is helpful at this stage to have consultation with an attorney or allow an attorney to draft your documents for you to ensure that you ?plead? all that you need to in this petition. It is common for judges and opposing sides to refer back to your initial petition. Again, please take your time in filling out this document.

 

Notice of Your Rights About Health Insurance Coverage

This legal notice outlines how your health insurance coverage could be affected after your dissolution is final. It includes information as to whether you are included on your spouse?s insurance policy, what insurance coverage applies to you and how to get it, what coverage applies to your children, preexisting conditions or exclusions from insurance coverage, and limits on rights to insurance coverage for you and your children. This document must be served on the party in a dissolution. It is not usually applicable to legal separations, but you may want to check with your insurance company.

 

Notice Regarding Creditors

This notice is required for all actions of divorce and legal separation. This document explains that you and your spouse are responsible for community debts. It also suggests that you may want to contact your creditors to discuss the debts and the effects of your divorce or legal separation.

 

Preliminary Injunction

The preliminary injunction is a new set of rules that must be followed by you and your spouse after a spouse is served with dissolution or legal separation paperwork. These rules are explained in the Preliminary Injunction document you filed and served upon the other party. These rules are mandated for every couple going through the process of dissolution or legal separation. It is important not to violate any of these rules. See Chapter 9 for a more complete explanation of the preliminary injunction.

 

Parent Information Class

This form gives your spouse notice that he or she must attend a parent information class. This is a mandatory class for both parents to attend. Parents do not attend this class together and each parent is able to choose a convenient location and time to attend. Try to take this class early in your dissolution process. When you have taken the class, the instructor will give you a form to file with the court. It is important that you file it with the court; the court is then on notice that you filed it. Prior to filing, make additional copies of the form for yourself and for your spouse. You cannot get any custody without having filed this certificate.

If you are unable to take this parent information class because you are on military duty, it is possible to ask your judge if you can be exempt from taking it. There is a form, Motion to Request Exemption from Parent Information Class that you can fill out and file with the court. It is within the court?s discretion whether or not to grant your request to be exempted from this requirement.

 

Affidavit Regarding Minor Children

In this affidavit, you are confirming who the minor children are and where they have lived during the past five (5) years. This document also asks whether there are any court cases that you have been a party to or witness to that involved the custody or parenting time of the children. The document requires you to answer whether there are any pending court cases related to the custody of the children and whether you know of any person, other than the petitioner or respondent, who has physical custody or who claims custody or parenting time rights of any of the children named in the affidavit.

Are you ready for a consultation? GET CONSULTATION