Everything You Wanted to Know Before Filing for a Divorce in Arizona

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Having key information is very important before you file for a divorce in Arizona. However, going through a divorce is not easy especially if you are not knowledgeable about the divorce process or laws that govern divorce in Arizona

Here are some of the things that you need to know before filing for a divorce:

· Your spouse or you must have lived in Arizona for a minimum of 90 days before you file for a divorce. Additionally, you must wait for another 60 days before finalizing the divorce. Remember that Arizona does not have common-law marriages. However, if you had established a common-law marriage elsewhere and then relocated to Arizona, the laws of this state will recognize it. 

· You do not have to give a reason for divorcing your spouse. As a no-fault state, Arizona requires you to simply assert that you believe that your marriage has been irretrievably broken. However, if you had a covenant marriage, the petitioner must provide grounds for the divorce according to the Arizona Revised Statutes. 

· If any party in a marriage does not agree to divorce the other, he/she can request for a reconciliation meeting. This implies that the divorce process will be stopped for upto 60 days during which the court and the parties will try to reach an amicable agreement and avoid further litigation. However, if there is no agreement to postpone the dissolution of the marriage, the divorce process will continue after 60 days.  

· If you and your spouse fail to reach an agreement on certain things at the time of the divorce proceedings such as spousal maintenance, property allocation or division and child custody, it might be necessary to let the judge decide on such issues on your behalf. In that case, you have to make a trial request so that your divorce can be finalized. Making a trial request is a process that may require advice from a qualified attorney. 

· Although you are allowed by the court to represent yourself, you can hire a divorce lawyer. However, if you choose to represent yourself, the court expects that you will follow all the laws and procedures correctly as they apply to your divorce case even if you have not undergone any form of legal training. Failure to follow the procedures correctly exposes you to the risk of losing your rights and the ability to seek some benefits forever. In the event that your case reaches the trial stage and you fail to follow procedures correctly, the judge might bar you from presenting certain evidence or even calling witnesses. The judge and the court personnel cannot provide legal advice. As such, it is advisable to seek legal assistance if you are unfamiliar with the divorce law and legal proceedings in Arizona. 

What a divorce covers in Arizona 

In Arizona, a divorce covers: 

  • Marriage termination 
  • Determination of child/children custody, minor children’s support and parenting time. 
  • Determination of spousal maintenance if awarded.
  • Assignment of the responsibility of debts that were incurred at the time of the marriage and affirmation of debts that were owed before the marriage to the spouse that owed them. 
  • Restoration of the last or surname of the spouse if it had been changed at the time of the marriage. 
  • Determination of the responsibility of paying the attorney fees and other divorce costs if any. 

Preliminary injunction

Preliminary injunction refers to a restraining order that the court issues when the divorce case starts. This order or injunction bars either of the spouses from harassing the other, selling community property, removing minor children from Arizona without permission from the court or a written consent from the other parent or removing the other spouse from the existing insurance. 

Going through a divorce is a draining process for both spouses. If you are not knowledgeable about Arizona divorce law, you are likely to make mistakes that will haunt you in the future. Therefore, it is advisable that you seek professional assistance from a qualified and reputable divorce lawyer. A good divorce lawyer in Arizona will offer you professional legal advice and guidance throughout the divorce process at a reasonable fee.