How to File for Divorce in Arizona
The divorce process can seem overwhelming, but in reality, it's just a series of very specific steps that you need to follow. This guide can tell you how to file for divorce in Arizona using easy, step-by-step instructions.
1. Fill Out Divorce Paperwork
Before you can file for divorce in Arizona, you will need to complete divorce forms. These forms will include a sensitive data sheet, a creditor notice, a sumons, and a preliminary injunction. You will also need to file the divorce petition itself, which is the document that initiates divorce proceedings.
The petition will ask you to list details about you and your spouse, including your addresses and whether you have any children. You will need to specify when and where you were married and whether you had a pre-nuptial agreement. You will also want to ask the court for anything you want out of the divorce: spousal or child support, child custody, and even changing your last name to a previous name.
2. File Your Papers
Once you have filled out the divorce papers, you are ready to file for divorce in Arizona. You will take the completed forms to your local Superior Court and pay a $276 filing fee to the court clerk. The documents must be complete and accurate in order for you to file for divorce in Arizona successfully.
3. Serve Your Spouse
After you file for divorce in Arizona, you are required to give your spouse official notice. You can use UPS or registered mail with a return receipt to officially notify your spouse, or you can hire the sheriff's office or a private process server to deliver the paperwork personally to your spouse's home or place of employment.
4. Waiting Period
The next step, after you file for divorce in Arizona and serve your spouse, is to wait up to 20 days for them to file a response. If your spouse does not respond within 20 days, you will get whatever you asked for in your divorce petition.
More often, a response will be filed and you and your spouse will negotiate a divorce settlement after you file for divorce in Arizona. If you and your spouse can agree on how to divide your property and parental responsibilities, you will have to wait for a statutory 60 day waiting period before your divorce can be final.
If you file for divorce in Arizona but cannot come to an agreement with your spouse about dividing your property and parental responsibilities, your case will be scheduled to go to trial. Because trials are expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally difficult, very few divorces go all the way to the trial phase. It is much more likely for you will settle out of court after mediation or a pre-trial conference. Your divorce will not be complete until your trial is finished if you go all the way to trial, which may take months or (in extreme cases) even years.