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Nobody likes going through a divorce, regardless of its necessity. Filing for a divorce is emotional and draining, and the endless arguments and fights associated with the divorce process is never healthy. They accomplish nothing and only add to the pain and overall cost of the divorce. The countless court visits and lawyer fees are simply not worth it if you can come to an agreement on your own. Such a scenario is known as an uncontested divorce, and we’ll go over the process for getting one in Arizona in the following article. If you and your spouse are looking to go through a peaceful divorce process, then you will find this information quite helpful.
What is a Contested Divorce?
Typically, in the United States, there are two types of divorce, one being contested and the other being uncontested. As the name suggests, a contested divorce is when you and your spouse are not on the same page and have disagreements related to the divorce. This is something that becomes a major obstacle in making the divorce official. It could be something as basic as one of the spouses not wanting a divorce or something more complicated like the division of assets or the allocation of child custody. Contested divorces lead to court trials, requiring expensive attorneys to help argue your case and a judge to decide on issues for the couple.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is the complete opposite. It usually ends on good terms for you and your spouse. In an uncontested case, you come to an agree with your spouse about all aspects of the divorce, including how to split your property, assets, and debts, custody and visitation rights for any children, the amount of child support, if spousal support will be paid, and any other factors related to your separation.
The custody of children is often the biggest pain point in any divorce. An uncontested divorce means you will have to come to an agreement about how your children’s custody will go. You also have to agree on visitation and on the amount of financial support that you or your spouse will each provide for their upbringing.
If you can resolve all of these issues on your own, you will not need to have a divorce trial in Arizona. In addition, the state laws of Arizona allow you to represent yourself in the court during uncontested divorce proceedings. The best thing about an uncontested divorce is that they take much less time, involve less pain, and cost significantly less.
Arizona State Requirements for Getting Uncontested Divorce
If you are looking to get an uncontested divorce in Arizona, there are a few requirements that you need to meet. The following list provides the requirements that you must meet to make your DIY divorce process official.
– It has to be a no-fault divorce. Therefore, you must clearly state that your marriage is “irretrievably broken” as per Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-312 (3).
– You must finalize your affairs regarding the division of property and debts.
– You have come to an agreement on the provision of spousal support matters.
In the case of minor children, there must be agreement on the following as well:
– Physical custody of the children (with whom will the children primary live).
– Legal custody of the children (who will get to make the major decisions regarding the upbringing of the children). Typically legal custody is shared by both parents.
– Payment of child support from the designated parent and the amount to be paid.
– Visitation schedule for the parent who is not the custodian.
To be eligible for a divorce in Arizona, you must also meet the residential requirements for the state. Arizona requires that you live in the state for a minimum of 90 days prior to filing the petition. For couples with children, at least one of the spouses needs to be a resident of the state for at least six months and should currently be living in the state of Arizona.
The Process to Follow for Uncontested Divorce
The first thing that you need to do for obtaining an uncontested divorce is to file a petition. Each county has its own forms for filing the petition so you can get the appropriate forms from your county’s Superior Court.
The person filing the petition is called the “petitioner” and the other spouse is known as the “respondent” to the petition. The petition typically includes basic data about you, your spouse, and your children. In addition to that, the papers will also include information about relevant matters, such as division of debts and properties, child and spousal support, visitation rights, and child custody.
You must pay a filing fee when you submit the divorce papers to the court. This is true even when filing for divorce without an attorney. After the submission of the forms and payment of the fees, you have to choose how you want to proceed with the uncontested divorce.
– Divorce by Default: This first method requires the petitioner to file the petition and then “serve” their spouse with the divorce papers. The spouse, aka the respondent, needs to respond within 20 days if they live in Arizona. If they are outside the state, they have 30 days to respond. If the spouse does not respond within the required time period, you can ask the court for a default hearing. For this, you need to submit a form called Application and Affidavit of Default. The court will grant your divorce based on the petition papers that you submitted. The uncontested divorce will be finalized after a waiting period which lasts 60 days.
– Consent Decree Divorce: This process requires the same steps for the petition as above. However, you and your spouse also need to file a Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage jointly, 60 days after you have served your spouse. This will include all the information regarding the division of assets, debts, child custody, and spousal and child support. This form will need to be signed in front of a notary, after which you can either mail it to the court or submit it in person. After submission, you can set a date for your hearing. This can be arranged via the online divorce services found on the court website. At the hearing, the judge will sign the decree and it will be turned into a court order. For parents with children, it is mandatory to go through a parent education class and complete it before the judge finalizes the consent decree.
All the things that you need to know to apply for divorce are shared here for easy reference. However, most couples opt to get help in the process to ensure that everything goes smoothly.