Online Divorce In Arizona
Before filing for divorce in Arizona, at least one of the spouses must meet the residency requirements. Under Arizona law (A.R.S. § 25-312), one or both spouses must have been a state resident for at least 90 days before filing the petition for dissolution of marriage. If the spouse filing for divorce is a member of the armed forces and stationed in Arizona, they must have been in the state for at least 90 days before filing.
What Are Grounds for Divorce in Arizona?
Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, meaning there is no need to prove that one spouse is responsible for the breakdown of the marriage. The only ground for divorce in Arizona is the “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” (A.R.S. § 25-312(1)). This means that either spouse can file for divorce if they believe the marriage is beyond repair and there is no hope for reconciliation. It’s important to note that the court will not consider any evidence of wrongdoing, such as adultery or abuse when deciding whether to grant the divorce. Instead, the focus is solely on whether the marriage is irretrievably broken, and no specific law number is needed to establish this ground for divorce.
Types of Divorce in Arizona
A. Uncontested divorce
An uncontested divorce occurs when both spouses agree on all divorce terms, including the division of assets and debts, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance. In such cases, the couple can file a joint petition for dissolution of marriage, which may expedite the divorce process. This type of divorce is generally quicker, less expensive, and less emotionally draining than a contested divorce.
B. Contested divorce
A contested divorce arises when the spouses cannot agree on one or more issues related to the divorce. In this situation, the court must intervene and make decisions on the disputed matters. Contested divorces typically take longer, are more expensive, and involve more emotional stress. The parties may need to attend multiple court hearings and engage in negotiations or even a trial to resolve the disagreements.
C. Collaborative divorce
Collaborative divorce is an alternative dispute resolution process in which both parties and their attorneys work together to agree on all divorce-related issues. This process is based on cooperation, open communication, and a commitment to reaching a mutually beneficial resolution without going to court. Collaborative divorce can be less adversarial and may result in a more satisfactory outcome for both parties.
D. Legal separation
A legal separation is an option for couples who wish to live apart and divide their assets and debts without ending their marriage. It is a court-ordered arrangement that addresses property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance issues. Legal separation may be preferred by some couples for religious, financial, or personal reasons. However, it’s important to note that a legal separation does not terminate the marriage. The spouses are not free to remarry unless they later decide to convert the legal separation into a divorce.
Steps to File Divorce In Arizona
Step 1. Filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
The first step in the divorce process is to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where one of the spouses resides. The petition includes information about the spouses, their children (if any), the grounds for divorce, and the desired terms for property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance. The spouse who files the petition is called the “petitioner,” while the other spouse is referred to as the “respondent.”
Step 2. Serving the divorce papers
After filing the petition, the petitioner must serve the divorce papers on the respondent. This includes a copy of the filed petition, a summons, and other required documents, such as a preliminary injunction and a notice about the availability of parenting classes (if the couple has minor children). The respondent must be served in person, typically by a private process server or a sheriff’s deputy. Good service is essential, as it provides the respondent with notice of the divorce proceedings and the opportunity to participate.
Step 3. Responding to the petition
The respondent has 20 days (if served within Arizona) or 30 days (if served outside Arizona) to file a response with the court after being served with the divorce papers (A.R.S. § 25-334). In the response, the respondent can agree or disagree with the claims and terms proposed by the petitioner. Suppose the respondent fails to file a response within the designated time. In that case, the petitioner can request a default judgment, which means the court may grant the divorce based on the terms proposed by the petitioner without the respondent’s input.
Step 4. Negotiating the terms of the divorce
If the divorce is contested, the spouses will need to negotiate the divorce terms, either directly, through their attorneys, or during mediation. The goal is to reach a mutual agreement on property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance issues. If the couple can reach an agreement, they can submit a Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage to the court, which outlines the agreed-upon terms.
Step 5. Attending court hearings and mediation (if necessary)
Suppose the spouses cannot reach an agreement. In that case, they may be required to attend court hearings or participate in mediation, which is an alternative dispute resolution process facilitated by a neutral third party. Mediation can help the parties find a mutually acceptable resolution to their disputes without needing a trial. If mediation is unsuccessful, the case may proceed to trial, where a judge will make the final decisions on the contested issues.
Step 6. Finalizing the divorce
Once the spouses have reached an agreement or the judge has decided on the contested issues, the court will issue a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, which legally terminates the marriage (A.R.S. § 25-325). The decree outlines the divorce terms, including property division, child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance. Both spouses must abide by the decree’s terms, and failure to do so may result in legal consequences.
Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
A. Types of spousal maintenance
In Arizona, spousal maintenance, or alimony, is a payment made by one spouse to the other to provide financial support after a divorce. There are two primary types of spousal maintenance in Arizona:
- Temporary spousal maintenance: This type of maintenance may be awarded during the divorce process to help the lower-earning spouse meet their financial needs while the case is pending. Temporary spousal maintenance ends when the divorce is finalized, and the court determines the appropriate long-term maintenance arrangement, if any.
- Post-divorce spousal maintenance: This type of maintenance is awarded as part of the final divorce decree and is intended to help the lower-earning spouse transition to financial independence after the marriage ends. Post-divorce spousal maintenance may be awarded for a specific duration or indefinitely in rare cases.
B. Factors considered in determining spousal maintenance
According to Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-319, the court considers several factors when determining whether to award spousal maintenance, the amount to be awarded and the duration of the maintenance. These factors include:
- The standard of living is established during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age, employment history, earning ability, and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance.
- The ability of the spouse to provide maintenance to meet their own needs while also meeting the needs of the spouse seeking maintenance.
- The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their earning abilities and separate property.
- The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse, such as by supporting their education or career.
- The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced their income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse or the family.
- The ability of both spouses to contribute to the future educational costs of their children, if applicable.
- The financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, including their ability to meet their own needs independently.
- The time necessary for the spouse seeking maintenance to acquire sufficient education or training to enable them to find appropriate employment and become self-sufficient.
- The productivity and value of any community property awarded to the spouse seeking maintenance.
- Any actions or agreements by either spouse that affected the value or preservation of their community or separate property.
- The cost for the spouse seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance, and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse providing maintenance if the spouse seeking maintenance is provided insurance under the providing spouse’s policy.
- Any other factors the court deems relevant to achieve a fair and equitable spousal maintenance arrangement.
It’s important to note that Arizona has no fixed formula for calculating spousal maintenance. The court has broad discretion in weighing these factors in determining an appropriate maintenance award based on the specific circumstances of each case.
Child Custody and Parenting Time
A. Types of custody arrangements
In Arizona, child custody refers to parents’ legal rights and responsibilities regarding their minor children. Child custody has two primary aspects: legal decision-making authority and parenting time.
- Legal decision-making authority: This aspect of custody involves the right and responsibility to make significant decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religious matters. Parents may be awarded joint legal decision-making authority, meaning both parents share the responsibility for making important decisions, or sole legal decision-making authority, where one parent is responsible for these decisions.
- Parenting time: This aspect of custody refers to each parent’s time with the child. Parenting time schedules can vary significantly, ranging from equal parenting time to situations where one parent has primary physical custody, and the other parent has visitation rights.
B. Factors considered in determining custody and parenting time
According to Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-403, the court considers the child’s best interests when determining legal decision-making authority and parenting time. Factors the court may consider include:
- The wishes of the child’s parents regarding custody.
- The child’s wishes, if the child is of sufficient age and maturity to express a preference.
- The interaction and relationship between the child and each parent, as well as the child’s relationship with their siblings and other significant individuals.
- The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community.
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
- Which parent is more likely to encourage frequent, meaningful, and continuing contact between the child and the other parent?
- Whether one parent intentionally misled the court to gain an advantage in the custody proceeding or engaged in domestic violence or child abuse.
- The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding custody.
- Whether a parent has completed a court-ordered parenting education course.
- Any other factors the court deems relevant to the child’s best interests.
C. Modifying custody and parenting time arrangements
Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-411, either parent may petition the court to modify an existing custody or parenting time order if there has been a significant and continuing change in circumstances since the entry of the original order and if the modification is in the best interests of the child. Generally, a parent must wait at least one year from the date of the previous order before requesting a modification unless certain exceptions apply, such as the child’s immediate physical or emotional health is in danger.
When considering a modification request, the court will evaluate the same best interest factors listed in A.R.S. § 25-403 and any additional evidence demonstrating that the change in circumstances warrants a modification of the existing custody or parenting time arrangement.
A. Guidelines for child support
In Arizona, both parents are legally obligated to financially support their minor children. The state has established child support guidelines to ensure that children receive adequate support from both parents. The guidelines are based on an “Income Shares Model,” which considers both parents’ incomes, the number of children, and other relevant factors to calculate the child support amount. The Arizona Child Support Guidelines in the Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-320 are designed to ensure that the child support obligations are fair and equitable.
B. Factors affecting child support obligations
Several factors are considered when determining child support obligations under the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, including:
- The gross income of both parents, including wages, salaries, bonuses, commissions, and other sources of income.
- Any spousal maintenance payments being made or received by either parent.
- The amount of parenting time each parent has with the child, as affects the allocation of certain expenses.
- The cost of medical, dental, and vision insurance premiums for the child.
- Any childcare expenses are necessary for the parents to maintain employment or attend school.
- The child’s educational expenses, including tuition for private or special schools, if applicable.
- Any extraordinary expenses related to the child’s special needs or extracurricular activities.
C. Modifying child support
Child support orders can be modified if a substantial and continuing change in circumstances affects the child support calculation, such as a significant increase or decrease in either parent’s income, a change in the child’s needs, or a change in parenting time arrangements. According to Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-327, a parent may request a review of their child support order for modification if it has been at least three years since the last order was entered, modified, or reviewed or if a significant change in circumstances has occurred that would result in at least a 15% change in the child support amount.
To request a modification, a parent must petition the court, providing evidence of the changed circumstances and the proposed new child support amount. The court will review the petition, along with any supporting documentation, and determine if a modification is warranted based on the best interests of the child and in accordance with the Arizona Child Support Guidelines.
Forms Needed To File Divorce In Arkansas
Forms For Divorce Without Children (Free Download)
Form DRSDS10F-A-030617 – Sensitive Data Cover Sheet
A sensitive Data Cover Sheet is a form used to protect sensitive or confidential information in certain court filings. It is a separate document attached to a filed document to keep sensitive information restricted and accessible only to authorized individuals, such as court personnel, parties, and their attorneys.
The purpose of the Sensitive Data Cover Sheet is to prevent public exposure of sensitive data like Social Security numbers, financial account numbers, or other personal information, thus helping to maintain privacy and avoid potential identity theft or fraud.
In simple terms, a Sensitive Data Cover Sheet protects confidential information in certain court documents, ensuring that sensitive details are not exposed to the general public when documents are filed with the court.
Form DR11F-041017 – Summons
This form is an essential document in divorce. It serves as a formal notification to the other spouse (the respondent) that the filing spouse (the petitioner) has initiated a divorce action.
In simple terms, the Summons form:
- Informs the respondent that they are being sued for divorce.
- Provides instructions on how and when to respond to the divorce petition.
- Specifies the deadline for the respondent to file a response, typically within 20 days of receiving the Summons (or 30 days if they are located outside Arizona).
- Advises the respondent of the consequences of not responding in time, which may result in a default judgment granting the petitioner’s requests.
The Summons form helps ensure that the respondent is aware of the divorce action and has an opportunity to participate in the legal process. It is crucial to follow the proper procedures for serving the Summons and the divorce petition on the respondent to avoid delays or complications in the divorce process.
Form DR14F-041017 – Preliminary Injunction
A Preliminary Injunction is a court order that sets certain rules and restrictions for both parties during the divorce process. Simply put, it aims to maintain the status quo and prevent either spouse from taking actions that could negatively affect the other spouse or marital assets. Some common restrictions may include the following:
- Selling, transferring, or hiding marital assets.
- Harassing, threatening, or causing harm to the other spouse.
- Changing or canceling insurance policies.
- Relocating out of state with joint assets.
The Preliminary Injunction helps protect both parties’ interests and ensures a fair resolution of the divorce case.
Form DRDA10F-031717 – Petition for Dissolution of a Non Covenant Marriage (Divorce) Without Minor Children
This is a legal document filed in Arizona to initiate the divorce process when the couple does not have minor children together and is not in a covenant marriage. In simple terms, this form serves to:
- Officially request the court to dissolve (end) the non-covenant marriage.
- Outline the reasons for seeking divorce and the grounds for dissolution.
- Specify the petitioner’s (the spouse filing for divorce) requests regarding the division of assets, debts, spousal support, and other relevant matters.
- Provide necessary information about the marriage, such as the date and location, current residency of both spouses, and the length of time they have lived in Arizona.
The petitioner formally begins the legal divorce process by filling out this form. The court is asked to consider and grant the requested relief, subject to the applicable laws and regulations.
Form DRD16F-111716 – Notice of Your Rights About Health Insurance Coverage
This form serves to:
- Inform both parties of their rights and responsibilities for maintaining health insurance coverage during and after the divorce process.
- Notify each spouse about their options to continue health insurance coverage under the other spouse’s plan through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) or the Arizona state continuation law if they lose coverage due to the divorce.
- Explain the responsibilities of the spouse who provides health insurance to notify the insurance carrier about the divorce and the other spouse’s right to continue coverage.
This form helps ensure that both spouses know their rights and options regarding health insurance coverage, and it promotes transparency and fairness in handling health insurance matters during the divorce process.
Form DR16F-041017 – Notice Regarding Creditors
The Notice Regarding Creditors form is used in the divorce process to inform both parties about their rights and responsibilities concerning joint and individual debts during and after the divorce. In simple terms, this form serves to:
- Remind both spouses that they are responsible for any debts incurred during the marriage, regardless of which spouse incurred the debt.
- Explain that the court may allocate the responsibility for paying off marital debts between the spouses as part of the divorce settlement.
- Notify the parties that they may be held individually responsible for the entire debt if the other spouse fails to make the required payments on a joint debt.
- Encourage the parties to keep each other informed about any changes in their financial situations, including any new debts they may incur.
This form aims to promote fairness and transparency in handling debts during the divorce process and ensure that both spouses understand their rights and obligations regarding marital debts.
Form DRDA31F-051217 – Response to Petition for Dissolution of Marriage Without Children
This form is used by the respondent (the spouse who did not initiate the divorce) to agree or disagree with the requests made in the divorce petition and present their requests to the court.
Form DRAD10F-061917 – Alternative Dispute Resolution Statement to the Court
The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Statement to the Court is a form used to inform the court about the parties’ willingness to participate in alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration, to resolve their disagreements during the divorce process instead of going through a trial.
Form DRD61F-043012 – Application and Affidavit for Default in Family Court Cases
This form is used when the respondent (the spouse who did not initiate the divorce) fails to respond to the divorce petition within the required time frame. The petitioner files this form to request the court to enter a default judgment, granting the requests outlined in the original divorce petition.
Form DRD68F-011516 – Motion and Affidavit for Default Decree Without Hearing
The petitioner files this form in a divorce case when the respondent has failed to respond, and a default has been entered. This form requests the court to finalize the divorce and grant the petitioner’s requests without scheduling a hearing based on the information provided in the divorce documents.
Form DRTP52F-031414 – Motion to Set Trial Date and Certificate of Readiness
This form is filed by a party in a divorce case to request the court to schedule a trial date. The form also certifies that the case is ready for trial and that all required steps, such as exchanging financial disclosures and attempting mediation, have been completed or attempted.
DR71F-010123 – Consent Decree for a Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation
This form is used when both parties agree on all divorce or legal separation issues. The form outlines the terms of their agreement and requests the court to approve and finalize their divorce or legal separation based on the agreed-upon terms.
DRDA81F-113017 Decree of Dissolution of Marriage Without Minor Children
This is the final court order that legally ends a marriage when no minor children are involved. This document outlines the court’s decisions regarding the division of assets, debts, and other relevant matters, effectively finalizing the divorce process.
Forms For Filing For A Divorce With Minor Children (Free Download)
DRSDS10F-C-030117 – Sensitive Data Cover Sheet with Children – Free Download
Form DR11F-041017 – Summons – Free Download
Form DR14F-041017 – Preliminary Injunction – Free Download
Form DRDC15F-041217 – Petition for a Dissolution of a Non Covenant Marriage with Minor Children – Free Download
Form DRD16F-111716 – Notice of Your Rights About Health Insurance Coverage – Free Download
Form DR12F-041217 – Order and Notice to Attend Parent Education Program Class – Free Download
Form DRCVG13F-030217 – Affidavit Regarding Minor Children – Free Download
Form DR16F-041017 – Notice Regarding Creditors – Free Download
Form DRCVG12H-121516 – Parenting Plan – – Free Download
Form DRS88F-072519 – Current Employer Information Form – Free Download
Form DRDC31F-042517 – Response to Petition for Dissolution of a Non Covenant Marriage with Minor Children – Free Download
Form DRAD10F-061917 – Alternative Dispute Resolution Statement to the Court – Free Download
Form DR71F-010123 – Application and Affidavit for Default in Family Court Cases – Free Download
Form DRTP52F-031414 – Motion to Set Trial Date and Certificate of Readiness – Free Download
Form DR71F-010123 – Consent Decree of a Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation – Free Download
Form DRDC81F-113017 – Decree of Dissolution of a Non Covenant Marriage with Minor Children – Free Download[/column]
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