Requirements To File For A Divorce In Arizona & Other Frequently Asked Questions

Cindy Best

There are three requirements to file for divorce in Arizona.

1.? One party must have domiciled?(lived) in Arizona for at least 90 days at the time the divorce was filed. If one party was stationed here in the military, that party must have been stationed in Arizona for 90 days.

2. Conciliation has been attempted and not worked or has not been attempted and will not work.

3: The marriage is irretrievably broken. The marriage is not a covenant marriage, as designated on your marriage certificate, or if it is a covenant marriage, the requirements have been met. Very few marriages are covenant and you would know if yours was.

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 $321 as of March, 2010, and the respondent pays $256 for filing an answer.

Who actually divorces me?

The divorce decree will be from 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

Southwest Regional Center

4264 W. Tierra Buena Lane, Surprise, 85374

(602) 372-9400

Southeast Court

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, but you are held to the standard of an attorney. Maricopa County has a self-help web site at:

http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/SuperiorCourt/Self-ServiceCenter/index.asp.

Even if you do this yourself, it is always a good idea to have an attorney review your work and give you some legal advice.

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. However, in 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. However, 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 and 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 custody and visitation, 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.

What if I do not have money to pay the filing or response fee?

You may request that the court waive or postpone payment of the filing or response fees. Forms must be completed and signed by you and submitted to the court. The forms are free of charge and are available in the office of the Clerk of Superior Court.

When is my dissolution final? (A.R.S. ?25-325)

Your dissolution of marriage is final after the judge or commissioner signs the decree and files it with the clerk of the court.

Will I have a jury if my divorce proceeds to trial?

No, even if your case is litigated, you will not have a jury. One judge will make all the decisions that the parties cannot agree on.

When can we start mediation?

You can start this at anytime, even before you file.

I cannot afford health insurance. If I file for divorce, can my husband stop paying for it while we are in the divorce proceedings?

No. After one spouse is served with the dissolution or legal separation documents, no insurance of any kind can be cancelled or modified to the detriment of the other spouse.

Are you ready for a consultation? GET CONSULTATION