man looking at his divorce papers

How Do I Begin Divorce Proceedings?

Have you decided that a divorce is the best path forward? It can be a difficult, but necessary, decision to make. While you may have made this choice, it is a big first step, you are probably aware that there are many more steps you will need to take and many more decisions you will need to make. We are here to set forth the initial steps that will need to be taken in order for you to begin divorce proceedings in the hope that it eases some of your anxieties surrounding the process. After all, sometimes the most stressful steps are the initial ones.

How Do I Begin Divorce Proceedings?

Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. This means that either spouse can file for divorce and there is no need to assert or prove fault. All that needs to be claimed is that the marriage is beyond repair or “irretrievable broken.” This will be included in the initial filing that needs to be made with the court. In order to start the divorce process, a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must be filed with the court. It is a written request that a marriage be terminated. The petition will also set forth what you are seeking in the divorce, such as alimony, child support and custody, as well as attorney’s fees and court costs.

The petition seeking dissolution of marriage must be filed with a required filing fee. Furthermore, the petition itself must observe and comply with all relevant state laws and court rules. One copy of the petition will be kept in the court file and another will be provided to both spouses. Divorce papers will need to be served on the non-filing spouse. In fact, the court cannot take action until the non-filing spouse is given the opportunity to review and respond to the petition. To start the process, the filing spouse may use a process server or sheriff’s deputy in order to accomplish this. Service must be made on the non-filing spouse within 120 days from the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage.

The court will be alerted to the fact that the non-filing spouse has been served through the receipt of a notice provided by the process server. The non-filing spouse will have 20 days from the court to receive this notice in order to respond. If the non-filing spouse lives out of state, he or she will be given 30 days to respond. Should the non-filing spouse fail to respond to service, then the court may proceed in holding a default hearing. Pursuant to Arizona law, however, the court will not hold a default hearing until a minimum of 60 days from service has passed. Should the non-filing spouse respond and the two spouses are unable to reach an agreement on all necessary issues incident to divorce, a trial will be scheduled to address and resolve such issues.

Family Law Attorney

Starting the divorce process can be difficult and it is just the beginning. For dedicated legal support throughout the divorce process, lean on the dedicated attorneys at Cohen Family Law. Contact us today.