How an uncontested divorce works in Arizona

1:40 PM, Sep 13, 2021
Divorce can be a difficult decision

If you are going through an uncontested divorce, the process will likely end up being faster, less expensive, and less stressful than a contested divorce.

“Having an uncontested divorce makes the process simpler,” writes attorney Bryan Levy of local law firm Burggraff Tash Levy PLC. “Although this isn’t a specifically identified ‘type of divorce’ in Arizona, in these situations, usually, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse sign all the appropriate paperwork, and a settlement agreement is determined.”

So, what makes a divorce uncontested?

If both of you have agreed to end your marriage and agree to the terms of the divorce, then it is uncontested. However, if one of you has not agreed to divorce or if you disagree on any issues — custody, asset division, and so on — you have a contested divorce.

How to file for an uncontested divorce

Even when your divorce is uncontested, you can hire an attorney to help you through the process and to ensure you follow all the legal steps.

“You can file for divorce on your own — but it is rarely a good idea,” Levy writes. “Instead, having someone to guide you through the divorce process in Arizona will be an invaluable resource. A divorce attorney will provide you with the guidance you need to work through the process.”

To start, you or your spouse should file a petition for dissolution of marriage — the legal name for a divorce in Arizona — with the state at the superior court in your county. The person filing is called the petitioner, and the other person is called the respondent.

The petitioner will need to ensure the respondent is served — i.e., has received the paperwork — and then the respondent will need to sign the petition. You will then need to submit information about your agreements on assets, parenting time, and so on.

“If both parties agree to all issues within the case, the case may proceed by the parties filing a consent decree,” according to Maricopa County’s judicial branch. “If the Petition for Dissolution has been filed and served on the other party and a response has not filed within the allotted time period, the filing party may apply for a default.”

This process is generally less expensive because you aren’t having to pay all the filing fees on a lot of paperwork nor having to pay your attorney to prepare all that paperwork and attend multiple hearings. Rather, your divorce can be settled in a matter of months rather than dragging on.

How child custody works

While you will need to agree on all the issues, an area that can get thorny is child custody. An uncontested divorce means you will need to decide together how you will handle holidays, schooling, child support, and so on.

An attorney can be particularly helpful with ensuring you don’t forget important details. Additionally, the way families deal with custody has changed over time to encourage cooperation.

“The law has evolved when it comes to custody cases, and there is more of an emphasis on creating a framework that allows parents to parent and make decisions together,” Burggraff Tash Levy says. “Instead of just custody, the courts recognize different amounts of decision-making authority. Instead of physical custody, the courts now refer to parenting time.”

Your attorney can help you answer the necessary questions and protect your rights while still encouraging cooperation.

For help navigating your divorce, visit Burggraff Tash Levy PLC for more information and to schedule a consultation.

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