There are certain requirements when filing for divorce in the state of Arizona, whether it is a contested or uncontested legal action. Sometimes marriages cannot be fixed and the only sane course of action is to get out of the union.
Contested divorces usually cost more in money and time adding to the stress load for both parties, possibly adversely affecting children. The common factors of a contested divorce include:
- Disputes over value of marital property.
- Disputes over wages or earning potential of either spouse,
- Disputes over child custody regarding the primary residence of the child/ren.
Expert witnesses may be necessary to support a position for financial claims in the divorce proceeding raising divorce costs and attorney hours. Trial witnesses can include real estate, vocational, mental health screenings, small business valuations and accountants to name a few. They are necessary to prepare reports to be used as evidence to bring the parties close to a viable settlement for both of them.
Uncontested divorce actions are those where both parties to the marriage agree that it should end. There are two types of uncontested divorce actions, one through default and one through consent. Both processes begin the same with legal filing, but a default action occurs when the respondent fails to respond to legal divorce documents, in which case the petitioner needs to file a default action to proceed with the finalization of the divorce.
Arizona is a no-fault state for non-covenant marriages and state law requires a 60-day waiting period from the date of service before obtaining a final divorce decree, despite the circumstances of the parties. There are requirements when filing divorce actions in Arizona to include:
- One of the parties must live in the state when the court action begins, and if a party to the divorce is in the military, they must have maintained military presence for ninety days in-state before the petition for dissolution of the marriage is filed.
- Grounds for Filing. There are Fault and No-Fault grounds for filing for a divorce, and both parties must agree to them. The marriage must be irretrievably broken. If it was a covenant marriage, the respondent party must have broken one of the rules in the pre-marriage agreement.
- The Petitioner is the person filing the divorce action, and the Respondent is the other spouse.
- Property Distribution. Arizona is a community property state where property is divided equally between the two parties, unless there is a mutual agreement that states otherwise. Community property includes homes, cars, furniture, wedding gifts, wages of one or both parties, depending on who is working, and any interest or ownership from business ventures or investments. The debts associated with the items owned by the couple are also divided equally. The court may assign certain debt responsibility to one or the other spouse depending on each individual’s financial situation.
- Child Custody. When minor children are involved in the divorce process, action is required to establish who the child will live with, or if the child’s time will be shared among both parents who will maintain a mutually agreed upon schedule.
- Child Support. Arizona child support guidelines are based on the Income Shares Model for calculating child support. The monthly support amount determined by applying the guidelines is divided proportionally according to each parent’s income. The amount of funding that is required to maintain a healthy standard of living for the minor children to the divorce action is the hopeful outcome to cover expenses incurred for raising a minor child to the age of majority. In special circumstances support will continue past 18 years of age and will be outlined in the divorce agreement.
- Mediation Requirements. Counseling and mediation are remedies that are not necessary in an uncontested divorce action.
When a divorce action is imminent, it is best to seek out qualified professional legal counsel to help navigate through the end-of-marriage hurdles. The Zachary Law Group may advise you when you make an appointment for an initial consultation to see if services are required for your contested or uncontested divorce action.
Zachary Law Group
3100 W Ray Rd #201
Chandler, AZ 85226
Phone: (480) 699-3607
By appointment only
625 N Gilbert Road #201
Gilbert, AZ 85234
Phone: (480) 389-3533