According to reports, Arizona’s divorce rate is about 15% higher than the national average. Without a doubt, filing for divorce is difficult, both emotionally and physically. Even when you are sure that this is the right step, it is still a complicated decision. That is why it is very important to understand the basics of the process before you start. You must be armed with the information to be able to navigate through the undulating terrain.
How do you file the papers? What documents do you need to submit, and what are the likely problems you may encounter in the process? In this post, you will learn all about the fundamentals of divorce in Arizona to make informed decisions. However, let’s start by looking at the relationship between divorce and separation.
Divorce and Legal Separation: What is the Difference?
Ending a marriage is one of the hardest decisions to make. Since divorce is final, many couples opt for a legal separation as a first step.
What is Legal Separation?
In many ways, a legal separation is similar to a divorce. That is why many people start the process with a legal separation. A couple must reside in the state to request a legal separation in Arizona. The petitioner will also be required to show reasonable grounds for the separation. Before the process can go through, both parties will need to negotiate and agree on the terms of the legal separation, including child custody, spousal support, property division, and so on.
All these are also required when going through an uncontested divorce. The major difference between a the two is that a divorce is irrevocable. It is the absolute dissolution of a marriage. When the process is complete and finalized, the two parties will be recognized as single in the eyes of the law. They are independent of one another. However, couples are still legally married in a legal separation. They cannot remarry, and they still share many things in common.
There are many reasons to choose a legal separation, including for religious purposes, tax benefits, and just not being ready to end the marriage forever. But If you have made up your mind to go through with the process, here are some basic details that you must know.
Grounds for Divorce
Arizona is known as a no-fault divorce state. This means couples can end their marriage on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. Some states within the United States require that couples have specific reasons for wanting a divorce. However, Arizona law allows couples to divorce on a ‘no-fault’ ground. This means you can apply for on the ground that your marriage is irretrievably broken, and you would not be required to provide any proof of fault to get it
What are the Requirements?
There are eligibility requirements that must be met to file for it, the main one being the couple’s residency status. To be eligible to complete the paperwork, one of the parties must reside in Arizona for a minimum of ninety days before applying.
Before a decree is signed, the couple can request free marital counseling to save the marriage. This request should be made within the first 60 days, known as the waiting period after the other party has been served the petition.
The parties must settle all pending issues, such as child custody, child support, alimony, property division, and spousal support before the court can enter a divorce decree.
How to File?
The process involved in filing for divorce can be complex. That is why a professional’s services, such as an attorney or an online service, is recommended. You can complete your divorce over the internet if it is uncontested. This makes the process less cumbersome because the online service will select and complete the documents for you, saving you lots of hassle and time.
Once the forms are completed, you will need to submit the required documents to the Clerk of the Court. These documents include a Summons, Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Sensitive Data Sheet, Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance, and Preliminary Injunction.
The petition should have pertinent information, including the birth date, address, and occupation of each party, and information related to the marriage, such as the date, location, and type of marriage. It will also contain details of the children common to both parties (natural or adopted) and the agreements related to custody, support, alimony, and parenting time.
The petitioner will be required to pay a $349 filing fee to the Clerk of the Court to complete the submission. You can apply for a waiver on the filing fee if you cannot afford the payment. If you require help with the paperwork, you can opt for an internet divorce. You will find companies online that will be ready to help you simplify the process.
What is the Duration?
An uncontested divorce is usually fast in terms of the completion of the process. It means there are no complicated issues, and the process can be completed as soon as possible. For this type of divorce, you can expect the process to be completed within 60 to 120 days. However, if it is contested, the process will be more complicated and may drag longer. It can take one to two years. It may require that a psychologist will be called in to evaluate the marriage, especially if there is a significant issue relating to child custody. If the dispute is associated with financial matters, a financial expert may be required to make some evaluations.
The filing fee is not the only cost associated with divorce in Arizona. The average cost is around $15,000. However, you should know that each case is different, and the actual amount will depend on the couple’s specific situation. Uncontested divorces are considerably less expensive by default since you won’t be paying an attorney for a long drawn out period. To significantly reduce the cost more, you may choose to go through the process without an attorney. An online service such as arizonaonlinedivorce.com can handle paperwork preparation at an affordable rate.
One major consideration during a process is child custody. Of course, both parties would have parental rights over their children, including custody, support, and decision-making. However, issues might arise when it comes to child custody and the schedule for each parent. The law of the state expressly provides the factors that are considered in a case when it comes to child custody. These include:
- the child’s relationship with each parent in the present, past, and future;
- the child’s interrelationship and interaction with the parent, siblings, and other people that may influence the child’s best interests;
- the child’s adjustment to the home, community, and school;
- the maturity and age of the child will also be considered; and
- the physical and mental health of the child is also part of the consideration for child custody.
Like in every other state in the United States, divorce in Arizona requires patience from both parties. Many issues need to be resolved, and the parties involved must be willing to work together. Although it is not always easy, you must be prepared to agree on major issues. If your divorce is uncontested, things will be much easier, and you will have the option of DIY or online divorce.