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This document notifies the court and your spouse, when served, that you want the court to end your marriage.

It also lists what you are asking for, such as child custody, child visitation, child support, spousal maintenance alimony , property division, attorney's fees and costs. After a Petition is served, the other spouse the Respondent is entitled to file opposing papers. In Arizona, if you are served with a Petition, you must file your opposing papers as the Respondent within twenty days if you are in state or thirty days if you live out of state, or you will lose your right to present your side of the case to the court, and the court might give your spouse everything asked for in the Petition.


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Temporary orders, also called pendente lite orders, set the rules while the case is pending. Either spouse can ask the court to make temporary orders stating, for example, who stays in the house, who is responsible for the children, who pays which bills and restraining inappropriate conduct. It is in both spouses' best interest to agree upon reasonable arrangements while the case is pending rather than incur additional legal fees and add to bad feelings by having to go to court for temporary orders.

In Arizona, when children are involved, the court will automatically create temporary orders for child support when a divorce proceeding is filed or the other spouse is served. However, this process can take several months to be completed. To have this issue settled more quickly, the spouses can make a temporary order themselves and file it with the court. Each spouse is entitled to information from the other about the case. The legal procedures for obtaining that information are called discovery.

Discovery may be a simple, speedy process or one consuming a great deal of time, energy and money. Often times the depth of discovery depends upon the size and value of the estate and the length of the marriage. There are several different discovery procedures, sometimes referred to as discovery devices. Your attorney will usually submit and receive information on your behalf during discovery, but he or she will need your input along the way. Your lawyers may also be able to conduct discovery informally, without the formal procedures described above.

Informal discovery is almost always more efficient and therefore less expensive than formal discovery. Most lawyers and judges agree that it is better to resolve a case by agreement than to have a trial in which a judge decides the outcome.

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Negotiated settlements provide much more privacy and control than a trial. Also, ex-spouses are more likely to adhere to their own agreements, rather than orders imposed on them by a judge. Voluntary compliance is important because enforcement procedures available from the court are usually expensive and sometimes inadequate.

For these reasons, negotiating a settlement is often to both parties advantage. In Arizona, mediation may be ordered by the judge in an attempt to settle many if not all of the issues pertaining to the dissolution of marriage. Although your lawyer may recommend that you accept or reject a particular settlement proposal, the decision to settle or not to settle is yours.

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Your lawyer cannot and will not make that decision for you. If a case is settled by agreement early on in the process you may never see the inside of the courthouse. However , you and your lawyer will still have to follow additional legal procedures in order to turn your agreement into a judgment and end your marriage.

If you and your spouse cannot settle your case, it will go to trial. At trial you each tell your story to the judge. It is told through your testimony, the testimony of other witnesses, and documents called exhibits. Trial is likely to be expensive and unpleasant. However, it can be the only alternative to never-ending unreasonable settlement demands. Still, trials are risky. No lawyer can predict the outcome of a trial because every case is different. In a trial, a judge — who is a stranger who may have a viewpoint, a temperament, and values very different from yours -- tells you and your spouse how to reorder your lives, divides your income and assets, and dictates when each of you may see your children.

Sometimes, a trial does not end the case. If either spouse is unhappy with the outcome of the trial, he or she may appeal the decision in a higher court. An appeal adds more time and expense to the divorce process and is hard to win. Ordinarily parents make decisions about their children together. But when parents divorce, the hostility between them sometimes causes them to disagree on what is best for the children. In addition, divorce presents a whole new set of child-rearing challenges. Even the best parents may find it useful to consult a child development expert for help in meeting these challenges.

Issues related to children can present challenges for your lawyer as well. While your lawyer's loyalty is to you, your lawyer also has an obligation as an officer of the court to keep the best interest of the children in mind, even if that interest is inconsistent with yours. Physical custody is the responsibility of having the children live with you. The parent with whom the children are at the time has the responsibility for making day-to-day decisions about them.

These day to day decisions include what the children eat and wear, who they play with, and when they go to bed. Legal custody is the right to make important long-term decisions affecting your children's welfare. Long-term decisions made by the parent with legal custody may include decisions about the children's education, religion, and non-emergency medical care.

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Understanding Divorce

Many variations of sharing parenting responsibilities are possible. Or, if one parent has all of the responsibilities, it is called sole legal custody or sole physical custody. Joint legal custody does not necessarily mean that there is equal time sharing of the children.

And if one parent does not have primary physical custody , he or she may have visitation rights, also called access or secondary physical custody. The terminology is less important than how the arrangement works in practice. There is no one standard joint custody arrangement. Some parents alternate weeks with the children, others alternate months. Still others divide the children's time unequally, but in a manner that meets the needs of each particular family. Parents who work out these arrangements themselves are usually more creative than courts are when the parents can't agree.

The amount of child support which you will have to pay or be entitled to receive depends on income, the custody arrangement, and other factors.

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The amount of child support is usually determined by guideline formulas — these are standard calculations that lawyers and the court use to figure out how much child support a parent should pay. These formulas make the amount of support more predictable, but also more rigid. The behavior of parents before and after divorce has a great influence on the emotional adjustment of their children. The following guidelines may be helpful:.

The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site. A Preliminary Injunction is a form of restraining order which is issued at the beginning of every divorce case. The Preliminary Injunction is issued tobothparties and requires that neither party harass the other, that no community property is sold, that existing insurance is maintained and that minor children not be removed from the state without court permission or the other parent's written consent.

If your spouse has committed domestic violence or may become violent during the dissolution proceedings, you may apply for an Order of Protection. You will see a judicial officer on the same day that you fill out the Petition for Order of Protection. There is no charge to apply for an Order of Protection.

If the parties have a minor child or children together, both parties must attend a court- mandated education program about the impact of divorce on children.

How Much Does A Divorce Cost In Arizona?

Both parents must attend, even if there is no disagreement regarding custody and parenting time. The parties may not attend the same class at the same time.


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  • The Divorce Process in Arizona.

You may be eligible to have your court filing fees and service of process fees waived or deferred depending on your financial circumstances. Forms to request that the filing fees and service of process fees be waived or deferred are available at no charge at the office of the Clerk of the Court of each county. After you fill out the forms, a judge will determine whether or not your fees will be waived or deferred. If your fees are deferred, you must make payments toward those fees as your case progresses.

If your fees are waived, you are not responsible for paying those fees.

How to Get Divorced in Arizona in 90 Days (Without Going to Court!)

Understanding Divorce What is a divorce? What is A.