How to Begin the Divorce Process in Arizona: 5 Helpful Tips

Are you thinking about filing for divorce in Arizona? 

For many, this process can be a daunting task. It’s no secret that divorce can turn into a complicated, lengthy, and even messy process. But it doesn’t always have to be so complex. 

Understanding the basic steps to starting your divorce can be useful and take a big weight off your shoulders. By following these useful tips, you can approach your divorce with more confidence.

1. Know the 3 Different Ways to Get Divorced in Arizona

Generally, there are three ways you can file for divorce in Arizona:

  1. Traditional legal representation
  2. Do-it-yourself (DIY)
  3. Divorce online

Each of these methods will correspond to different needs.

Traditional Legal Representation

This approach is what most people are familiar with. If you decide to get divorced through an attorney, they will be responsible for managing your process from start to finish.

Even if you ultimately decide on another option, it is best to consult with a family law attorney before beginning the divorce process. An attorney will give you advice and help you identify potential snags that could complicate the process.


“DIY” divorce is an option for people who don’t foresee a complicated process. Some couples who are not fighting for assets or child custody choose a DIY divorce. In a DIY divorce, you will file all of the necessary paperwork and represent yourself in court.

Divorce Online

This is a quick and easy option for people who meet certain criteria. The process involves going through a third-party service. The provider will process your divorce online without the need for court appearances.

The Next Steps Toward Divorce

Once you’ve decided which approach to take, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with some important measures as you continue your divorce process.

2. Meeting Residency Requirements and Jurisdiction in Arizona

Arizona has a strict 90-day rule for divorces. To get a divorce, you or your spouse must have resided in Arizona for at least 90 days before filing. 

If you have children, “jurisdiction” must be established for custody. In most cases, minors must have lived in Arizona with one parent for at least six months. Any exceptions need to be addressed through the family courts.

3. Is your divorce “contested” or “uncontested”?

An “uncontested” divorce is when you and your spouse sign a “marital settlement agreement.” This document establishes that you both agree to your divorce conditions and won’t need a judge to make decisions.

If this is not your situation, your divorce will be “contested,” and the courts will rule on circumstances such as the following: 

  • Division of property and debts 
  • Alimony
  • Child support amounts
  • Child custody and parenting arrangements

These are just a few of the many factors that can be contested in a divorce trial.

4. Getting the Right Forms

To begin a divorce process, you’ll need to get the right forms that correspond to your specific situation. Fortunately, the state of Arizona publishes packets of forms that can make the process easier.

Choose the packet that better suits your circumstances. Being thorough and submitting the required paperwork will ensure things go smoothly.

5. Know How to File Your Documents

After you’ve prepared the required documents, you’ll be ready to file them with the court — usually at your local county clerk’s office. These documents are always notarized, so remember to bring a valid government ID.

You’ll also have to pay the respective filing fees. Check with your local county about the costs. These usually range between $200 and $300. If you are facing financial hardships, you can also apply for a fee waiver.

Get in Touch with Our Phoenix Divorce Attorneys

Every divorce situation is different, and knowing what option is best for you will be important before starting the process. 

Cohen Family Law represents divorce clients throughout the Phoenix, Arizona, area. If you are considering a divorce, contact Cohen Family Law to learn more about getting started.