Dissolution of marriage (often referred to as “divorce”) is the legal process by which a marital relationship is terminated and recognized as dissolved under the law.
Dissolutions of marriage are extremely personal with more emotional and psychological cost than any other legal process. Our firm does not handle dissolutions of marriage involving minor children. If you are contemplating a dissolution, we urge you to consult with us to determine the necessity of the dissolution, the alternatives thereto, and financial cost of such procedures.
Please follow the links below to learn more about dissolutions in Arizona and the process you must follow prior to obtaining a legal dissolution of marriage in Arizona.
Dissolution (a.k.a. divorce) is simply the legal termination of a valid marriage by a court. There are various types of divorce proceedings and definitions. A brief list of these definitions are set forth below.
A divisible divorce is a divorce whereby the marriage itself is dissolved but the issues incident to the divorce, such as alimony, child custody, and visitation, are reserved until a later proceeding.
An ex parte divorce is a divorce proceeding in which only one spouse participates or appears in court.
A foreign divorce is a divorce obtained outside of the state or country in which one spouse resides.
A limited divorce is a divorce with no provision that one spouse must provide financial support to the other – loosely, a limited divorce is also known as a legal separation.
A migratory divorce is a divorce obtained by a spouse who moves to, or temporarily resides in, another state or country to get the divorce.
A no-fault divorce is a divorce in which the parties are not required to prove fault or grounds beyond a showing of the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage or irreconcilable differences.
An uncontested divorce is granted after only the plaintiff appears at the proceeding (since the defendant contests nothing).
Filing a “Petition of Dissolution of Marriage” on behalf of the “Petitioner”and other court required documents in the local Superior Court starts the proceeding.
The other spouse (the “Respondent”) then has 20 days to respond to the Petitioner if living in the State, or 30 days if living outside of Arizona.
The dissolution procedure then follows the court ordered time line for discovery through settlement conference through trial.
The parties may reach agreement either before the filing of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and proceed on an uncontested basis with the Respondent agreeing to have the Decree of Dissolution entered, so long as the Decree incorporates all of the terms of the settlement previously agreed upon.
Failure to reach agreement on all terms of division of property, debts, or spousal support will require litigation on the specific issues not previously agreed upon.
The court procedures are designed and intended to allow the parties to reach agreement up to and including the date of trial so that the trial, if any, will be on only those issues not previously settled. This, of course, reduces court time, saves legal fees and costs, and facilitates out of court settlement.
One must have resided in the state of Arizona for at least 90 days prior to filing for a dissolution of marriage.
One must have the legal capacity to either commence the proceeding or to defend the proceeding.
“Dissolutions & YOU”
What if YOU are in need of a dissolution of marriage?
We firmly endorse and follow preventative counseling and encourage all persons embroiled in domestic problems to seek counsel early, know the rules, and know the anticipated cost of dissolving the marriage in the form of likely division of property, debts, maintenance, and legal fees and costs to be incurred.
We encourage pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements where substantial property involved or if the health of one spouse may adversely affect or impact the resources or credit of the other spouse.
We encourage all clients who are having domestic problems to seek marital counseling and to exhaust all alternatives before seeking our services. We do not offer marital counseling, but we do fully endorse reconciliation whenever it possible (no matter what stage of the dissolution proceeding).
Our office does NOT handle dissolution matters involving minor children of the marriage.