Uncontested Divorce in Arizona
There are two ways the divorce process can unfold in Arizona: contested and uncontested.
- A contested divorce means that the spouses cannot agree on one or more of the issues that must be resolved as a part of the divorce process. These disputes typically involve property division, child-related issues like child support and custody, or a spouse who lacks sufficient property and is seeking alimony.
- An uncontested divorce means that both spouses agree on the terms of their divorce and do not need the court to divide their marital property, calculate child support, allocate parenting time, etc. Instead, the spouses submit a Marital Settlement Agreement that defines their postmarital rights and obligations.
An uncontested divorce is generally a more straightforward, fast, and cheap way to dissolve the marriage than litigation.
To resolve their disagreements out of court, the spouses may resort to alternative dispute resolution, seek limited legal advice without hiring a full-scope attorney, or take advantage of online divorce services to deal with divorce paperwork.
Get Your Divorce Forms Completed Online
DivorceOnline is a reliable online divorce assistance service with long experience in preparing Arizona divorce papers.
We help our customers select all the blank divorce forms required in a particular case and fill them out correctly, following Arizona Family Law and local court requirements.
Using our simple self-guided online questionnaire, you can get your completed divorce papers in only two business days, along with step-by-step court filing instructions.
In addition to the quick process and affordable price, the main advantage of DivorceOnline is that you can complete your divorce forms at your own pace and go back to make edits if needed, whenever and wherever is comfortable for you.
DivorceOnline is an excellent alternative to lawyers in an uncontested divorce in Arizona. Although we do not provide legal advice, our online divorce service helps make the paperwork part of preparing for dissolution of marriage easier, including selecting the required divorce forms for the filing process.
Steps for Filing a Divorce in Arizona
Arizona divorce includes several consecutive steps.
Arizona divorce law requires a couple to meet the state's residency requirements to begin the divorce process.
According to the Arizona Statutes, at least one of the spouses must be an Arizona resident for a minimum of 90 days before filing divorce papers.
However, if the spouses have minor children and child custody is an issue, the required residency period is extended to six months.
Arizona recognizes both regular and covenant marriage.
Since Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, the only ground for regular divorce provided by law is that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In other words, this means that the spouses do not get along and cannot repair their marital relationship.
In contrast, in a covenant marriage, the spouses agree to obtain pre-marital counseling and accept more limited, fault-based grounds for divorce, which must be proven before the court.
These fault-based grounds include:
- A criminal conviction involving a sentence of imprisonment or death
- Abandonment for at least one year before divorce process starts
- Physical or sexual abuse, child abuse
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Living separate and apart for at least two years before filing for divorce
- Living separate and apart without reconciliation for at least one year after the decree of legal separation was entered.
To start the divorce process in Arizona, the plaintiff has to submit a divorce petition along with other Arizona divorce forms to the local County Clerk of the Superior Court in the county where either spouse resides.
Divorce Papers in Arizona
The Arizona divorce papers required in a particular divorce case may vary depending on many circumstances (for example, whether the spouses have mutual children, etc.). Besides, some divorce papers must be filed to initiate the divorce, and some are filled out later. The initial Arizona divorce forms include:
- Family Court / Sensitive Data Cover Sheet, DRSDS10F-A
- Preliminary Injunction, DR14F
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage Without Children, DRDA10F (With Children - DRDC15F)
- Notice of Your Rights About Health Insurance Coverage When a Petition for Dissolution (Divorce) is Filed, DRD16F
- Notice Regarding Creditors, DR16F
The spouse filing the divorce petition should make copies of all documents and leave one copy with the Clerk of Court. They must also pay a court filing fee.
A filing fee is mandatory for all plaintiffs except those who cannot afford it and thus qualify to request a deferral or waiver. In Arizona, divorce filing fees are about $350, varying slightly from county to county. The exact amount can be found on the local court website.
Arizona has a mandatory 60-day waiting period for getting a divorce. The court cannot issue a divorce decree until 60 days after the divorce petition is filed, even if the spouses agree to all of the provisions of their divorce.
When the filing is done, the plaintiff must deliver copies of completed divorce papers to the other spouse (the defendant) within 120 days of the date of filing. This is called the "service process" and can be accomplished directly or via the U.S. Postal Service (with a blank Acceptance of Service form) by:
- a deputy county sheriff;
- a private process server.
The process server must complete an Affidavit of Service form and file it with the Clerk of Superior Court as an acknowledgment of service.
After being served, the defendant has 20 days to file a Response. If they agree with everything in the divorce petition, they may file a Consent Decree.
To have an uncontested divorce by consent, the spouses have to draw up a property settlement agreement covering child custody, parenting time, child support, and other issues. Then, 60 days after the service of process, the court can grant a decree based on the spouses' Consent Decree.
The last step for getting an uncontested divorce in Arizona is a final court hearing at the local county courthouse. It is mandatory if the spouses have minor children. At the hearing, the judge reviews the spouses' documents and asks questions about their parenting plan and marital assets. If the judge approves the spouses' agreement, the final judgment of divorce is entered.
Getting a Divorce With Children
There are two types of child custody in Arizona: legal decision-making and parenting time (referred to as legal custody and physical custody in other states).
Family Law generally presumes that joint custody (joint legal decision-making) is in the child's best interest unless the court finds that sole custody works better in a particular divorce case.
Thus, when determining custody, the court considers numerous factors, including:
- the child's and parents' mental and physical health;
- the child's relationship with each parent;
- the preferences of both parents;
- the child's wishes if they are of suitable age and maturity to express their preferences;
- the child's adjustment to their home, school, and community;
- the each parent's willingness to allow the child more frequent contact with the other parent;
- any history of domestic violence (if the court finds the existence of significant domestic violence, it shall not award joint custody);
- and any other factors the court deem relevant.
All parents going through a dissolution of marriage with minor children must take a parenting class. Besides, the divorcing parents may be required to file additional forms:
- Family Court / Sensitive Data Cover Sheet with Children
- Order and Notice to Attend Parent Information / Education Program Class
- Affidavit Regarding Minor Children
- Child Support Order (the appropriate amount of child support shall be determined by Arizona Child Support Guidelines)
- Arizona Child Support Worksheet
As for child support, Arizona Child Support Guidelines apply in almost every case to ensure that each parent contributes a proportional share. For that, the Schedule of Basic Support Obligations is used. This table determines the basic monthly support amount based on the parents' combined adjusted gross income, number of children, and everyday child-related expenses. Along with that, some adjustments like expenses for education, daycare, medical expenses, or extraordinary child needs can increase the child support obligation, so the amount suggested by the Schedule is approximate. Generally, child support lasts until the child turns 18 unless they graduate from high school after age 18.
Filing for Divorce in Arizona Without a Lawyer
Arizona divorce laws do not oblige divorcing spouses to hire a full-service attorney to handle their case. If both spouses are willing to settle their differences out of court, they can reduce divorce costs by resorting to alternative dispute resolution methods.
Arizona courts encourage mediation as a means of resolving all the divorce-related issues without litigation or even turning a contested case into an uncontested one. Mediation can begin either with a court order or by the spouses' agreement.
And if a couple needs some help with their divorce paperwork, they can use DivorceOnline.com and generate all the required divorce forms themselves, following simple step-by-step instructions.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Arizona
- A do-it-yourself divorce is a process of representing yourself in a divorce case, and such an approach is legit in any Arizona court. It can be a beneficial solution for divorce by consent.
- In a DIY divorce, the spouses take responsibility for filling out Arizona divorce forms and completing the filing process. So that the court approves the papers, you should be well aware of divorce laws, civil procedure rules, and your legal rights and obligations.
- If you need some help handling divorce paperwork without a lawyer. Our online questionnaire helps to choose and complete all the necessary documents quickly and easily.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The length of divorce in Arizona depends on whether both parties agree about getting a dissolution of marriage and other issues. Divorce by consent typically takes much less than a contested one (between 90 and 120 days, given a mandatory 60-days waiting period).
The cost of divorce in Arizona starts with a court filing fee, but legal fees can vary greatly (on average, from $3,500 to $7,000 per uncontested case).
However, since multiple options are available, from a DIY divorce, online divorce, mediation, etc., to traditional litigation, the spouses may choose between the forms of legal representation and manage their divorce costs depending on the unique circumstances of their case.
In theory, an entirely free divorce is only available for plaintiffs who arrange a DIY divorce and do not seek legal advice and, along with it, claim a fee waiver due to financial hardship.
To ask the court to waive fees, the plaintiff must disclose their financial information to prove their inability to pay and complete the Application for Deferral or Waiver and Consent to Entry of Judgment.
Otherwise, the dissolution of marriage is not free, though no one is obliged to hire high-priced attorneys. The spouses can arrange a divorce without a lawyer or reduce the divorce costs by choosing affordable legal aid or online divorce paperwork preparation services.
The legal forms for getting a divorce in Arizona include but are not limited to Family Court / Sensitive Data Cover Sheet, Preliminary Injunction, Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Notice of Your Rights About Health Insurance Coverage When a Petition for Dissolution (Divorce) is Filed, Notice Regarding Creditors, Affidavit of Service, Acceptance and Waiver of Service, Affidavit Regarding Minor Children, Arizona Child Support Worksheet, Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.