The divorce process is initiated by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage in Arizona. The petition needs to be filed in Superior Court by paying a filing fee of $321. Those who cannot afford to pay the divorce petition fee can ask the court to waive or defer the payment by submitting a written application for deferral or waiver with the court. The purpose of the divorce petition is to allege certain facts about the property rights of the parties, and issues like child support, custody and spousal maintenance. Any other rights of both parties that are related to the marriage are also alleged in the petition.
Documents that need to be filed
Apart from the divorce petition, you also need to file the following documents in court:
Serving Documents on your spouse
Once all the above mentioned documents have been compiled, the petition for divorce and related documents need to be served on your spouse. This will ensure that your spouse had the opportunity and is given legal notice to respond. Once the spouse is properly served, a notice of services needs to be filed with the court.
Response to the divorce petition
A response has to be made within 20 days from the service of the petition by your spouse. They can file a responsive pleading where they will either deny or admit any allegations made in the petition.
If your spouse fails to respond within 20 days, you can file a request for default. Once a default is granted, your spouse won’t have the power to contest any of the allegations mentioned in the petition.
What happens after the divorce petition and response are filed?
When both parties agree on all the issues mentioned in the petition, they have to wait for 60 days. After that they can file a “consent decree” which is available only is both parties agree on every issue in their divorce such as property division, child support and custody, division of property, assets, and debts, as well as spousal maintenance etc.
If the parties cannot reach an agreement on all the issues, they may go to court to start the litigation process. The case will be taken to court before a judge, depositions will be set, witnesses will be called, and ultimately all the issues will be resolved by court.
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