Divorce Process

Arizona has one of the quicker divorce (dissolution) processes in the Country. The sole time limitation in Arizona for a divorce is that the Court cannot grant a divorce for 60 days after service of the divorce petition. In Maricopa County, the average divorce takes between 8-10 months, if it is contested and requires a trial. Settlement is clearly the more cost effective and timely process.

Divorce Requirements

To file for divorce in Arizona, you must meet the following requirements.

  • You, or your spouse, must have resided in Arizona for at least 90 days prior to filing the petition.
  • If children are involved, then the children must have resided in Arizona for at least six consecutive months prior to filing.

Divorce Process Timeline

  • The process of dissolution begins with the filing of the Petition for Dissolution and service upon the other party.
  • The other party then has 20 days (30 if out of state) to file a Response to the Petition.
  • The Court can enter a Decree after 60 days, if the parties have agreed on all terms of the dissolution, and submit the appropriate documents.
  • If the parties don’t agree on the terms, there are various intermediary steps that can be taken, such as:
    • Discovery – to ascertain the value of assets, to pin down positions, or to learn how and where funds were expended. Discovery can also be utilized to depose relevant witness, or have experts complete reports on everything from business values to custody evaluations. We can also subpoena any records that are needed, such as school records, pay records, mental health records or bank statements.
    • Mediation – Our attorneys strongly recommend the use of mediation during the dissolution process as it is highly effect for both the overall result, as well as for costs.
    • Arbitration – If the parties agree, they can skip going to court and have a private arbitrator
  • After the discovery process is complete, and if the case is not settled, then the parties will attend an initial hearing, usually referred to as a Resolution Management Conference or Return Hearing. Prior to these hearing the Court will usually require the parties to meet face to face to try and settle any issues. If no settlement occurs, then the Court will set a final trial, or mediation. Many times this hearing occurs prior to the beginning of the discovery process.
  • Trial – Although not the preferred route in most cases, a trial is always available should the parties be unable to settle the case themselves. At trial the Court will listen to evidence, without a jury, and then rule on the issues. The Court has 60 days to enter a final ruling after trial.

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