To go through a divorce may not be easy, but unfortunately for someone, it is inevitable. However, this does not mean that a marriage termination must be complicated and exhausting. In Arizona, there is an uncontested divorce, which is an inexpensive and convenient way to dissolve a marriage.
What is an Uncontested Divorce in Arizona?
In all states, not excluding Arizona, there are two types of divorce: contested and uncontested. A contested divorce implies that spouses have disagreements over key aspects of their termination, and they will participate in court hearings so that the judge resolves all disputed issues. On average, a contested divorce in Arizona takes at least six months. Nevertheless, the duration mainly depends on how many issues between the spouses and how complicated they are. Therefore, a process can last a year or more. Besides, the contested divorce is quite expensive, since the spouses will have to spend a lot of money to cover lawyers fees.
An uncontested divorce implies that a husband and wife can resolve all disputed aspects of their termination without any help. It is also called an amicable dissolution. In this case, the pair doesn’t need to participate in legal proceedings, since they resolve all contentious issues independently. At the same time, the judge only has to grant a divorce based on the Settlement Agreement, which the couple signs. On average, an uncontested divorce in Arizona lasts from 60 to 120 days, although in some cases it may be longer depending on the schedule of the court. Besides, spouses can get an uncontested divorce without the help of a lawyer, which will be much cheaper.
Who is Eligible for an Uncontested Divorce in Arizona?
Indeed, an uncontested divorce is an easy and affordable way to terminate a marriage, but unfortunately, not all couples qualify. To amicably dissolve the marriage, the husband and wife must fulfill the following conditions:
- Both spouses want to dissolve the marriage.
- One of the spouses lives in Arizona for at least 90 days prior to filing a lawsuit.
- The marriage is over because it is “irretrievably broken,” and there is no way to reconcile.
- Spouses have an agreement regarding the division of joint property and debts.
- The couple resolved the issue of spousal support.
- If the couple has common minor children, they must agree on all the nuances of custody division, including who will have legal and physical guardianship, create a visitation plan, and agree on the financial support for the child until he comes of age.
Also, based on all their agreements, the spouses must draw up and sign the Settlement Agreement.
What are Forms Needed for an Uncontested Divorce in Arizona?
For the court to accept the divorce case, the plaintiff must prepare all necessary papers. The basic list of divorce forms in Arizona consists of:
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Forms 100a-b, 101, 102, 104, 105
- Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, Forms 200a-b, 201. 202. 203, 204a, 204b
- Family Law Sensitive Information Sheet, Form 240
- Petitioner’s Declaration of Information For Conciliation Court, Form 300.
- Preliminary Injunction Against Both Petitioner and Respondent, Forms 350a-b
- Summons, Forms 400a-b
- Affidavit of Service, Form 450
- Acceptance, Form 500
- Declaration of Service Out-of-State, Form 600
- Declaration of Service by Mail, Form 650
- Motion and Affidavit for a Default Decree Without a Hearing
- Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance, Form 1000
- Notice of Obligations to Creditors, Form 1100
If the spouses have common minor children, they will need to submit additional forms:
- Parent’s Worksheet for Child Support Amount, Forms 110a-b
- Child Support Information Forms, Forms 115a-c
- Child Support Order (Most Courts Except Maricopa County), Forms 205a-d
- Child Support Order (Maricopa County), Forms 206a-d
- Joint Custody Parenting Plan, Forms 225a-b
However, forms may vary by county, and probably you will need to sue additional papers. Therefore, before filing a lawsuit with a court, consult with the court clerk which particular package of divorce documents is required in your case. Note that all blanks can be downloaded from the web site of Arizona courts.
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Arizona?
To begin a divorce, the plaintiff must sue the Petition and other divorce papers established by the county. But, previously, these forms need to be filled out according to legislation. Spouses can do it on their own, which is also called the Pro Se divorce, on the website of the courts of Arizona you can find instructions on how to do this. At the time of filing a lawsuit, it will also be needed to pay a court fee of about $ 200, but it can be different depending on the county.
After that, the claimant must provide the respondent with copies of all documents that he or she has filed with the court. This can be done in one of the legally ways: licensed process server or using sheriff. After receiving the copies, the defendant must sign Acceptance of Service, for which he has ten business days. Once it is done, the waiting period of 60 days begins. Only after the expiration of this period, the court will appoint the first hearing at which the judge will decide on the divorce. If the process involves common minor children or alimony, the spouses are required to attend a court hearing, as well as sign the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. If a couple does not have common minor children and does not have an issue regarding spousal support, they can ask for a default hearing or sue a Motion and Affidavit for a Default Decree Without a Hearing, but they still have to sign the decree.