Steps to Filing Your Dissolution or Legal Separation Documents

Cindy Best

1. Review your documents one last time to ensure their accuracy.
2. Sign the petition in blue ink. There are TWO places. The verification page needs a notary, as well. (Do not sign it until you are in front of a notary. Notaries are found at various locations, including law offices, banks and photocopy stores. There is sometimes a charge for this service. Usually, the bank that you bank with will do this service for free).
3. If there are minor children, sign the Affidavit of Minor Children in blue ink. This page needs a notary. (Do not sign it until you are in front of a notary).
4. Copy each document three (3) times. Staple each individual section (such as pleadings) together.
5. Keep each document in an individual pile. The original document should be on top, with the three copies underneath. Paperclip these four documents together.
6. If you are getting divorced with minor children, you will have nine separate piles paper clipped together. Otherwise, you should have six or seven stacks.

Your stacks should look like this:

Stack #1: Original family court coversheet plus three copies
Stack #2: Original Sensitive Data Sheet plus three copies
Stack #3: Original Summons plus three copies
Stack #4: Original Preliminary Injunction plus three copies
Stack #5: Original petition (signed with blue ink) plus three copies
Stack #6: Original Notice of Your Rights about Health Insurance plus three copies
Stack #7: Original Notice Regarding Creditors plus three copies
Stack #8: Original Affidavit Regarding Minor Children plus three copies
Stack #9: Original parenting information class plus three copies

7. Take these documents to your nearest courthouse. Maricopa County has four different courthouses, the locations of which are in Chapter 1 of this book. Courthouses outside Maricopa County are listed in the Appendix under ?courthouses.? The court clerk will date stamp all of these documents. The court clerk will also assign you a case number. You must use this number when you file subsequent documents with the court. This filing date may become important, because the court uses this date as a starting date for the dissolution or legal separation.
8. Make sure you have your filing fee ready?$321.00 for initial petitions, $256.00 for responses. You can pay by cash, cashier?s check or credit card. (There is a possibility for a deferral or waiver of this fee if you are unable to pay it. Such forms are located online.)
9. The Court Clerk will keep the original copies and will date stamp your remaining copies.
10. Now, to ?start the clock,? you need to serve (officially give a copy) the documents on the other party. The instructions for service are below.

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