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Scottsdale AZ Divorce Attorney

Scottsdale AZ Divorce Attorney

As they take their vows and say their “I do’s” most couples don’t contemplate ever going through a divorce. The unfortunate reality is that about one half of all marriages will in fact end in divorce. When a marital union does dissolve, property may have to be divided, child custody established and debts assumed by one of the parties. When couples can’t agree on these important issues, the divorce process can become adversarial, time-consuming and expensive. If you’re considering a legal separation or divorce, or if you’ve been served with a divorce petition by your spouse, it’s important that you consult with an experienced family law and matrimonial attorney who can help you navigate the complex divorce process and protect your best interests.

Grounds for Divorce

The reasons for divorce are plentiful. Some of the more common ones are adultery, domestic abuse, abandonment, physical incapacity or incarceration of one of the parties. Unlike other states that require one of these grounds be met for divorce, Arizona is a “no-fault” state meaning that either party can file for divorce without giving a reason or blaming the other spouse for wrongdoing. In many cases, the party initiating the divorce, referred to as the petitioner, will simply cite that he or she believes the marriage is “irretrievably broken” with no chance of reconciliation.

The Divorce Process in Arizona

In order to initiate the divorce proceeding, known as the dissolution of marriage, one of the parties must have lived in the state of Arizona for a minimum of 90 days. Provided that he or she meets the residency requirement, the party can file a petition for dissolution of marriage with the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county of residence. This petition requests that the marriage be terminated and addresses issues of property division, spousal maintenance and child custody, if applicable. Along with this petition, the filing party must submit a number of required documents including a summons, a Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance, a preliminary injunction and a notice to creditors. An experienced attorney can help you to identify what is needed and make sure that all of these documents are completed correctly and clearly set forth your wishes for the dissolution of your marriage.

After the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed, the other spouse, commonly referred to as the respondent, must be served with a copy of the petition and all accompanying documentation. In the response, the respondent will indicate whether or not he or she agrees with the provisions laid out in the petition. If the parties fail to agree on the terms of the divorce, a trial must be scheduled so a judge can decide on the issues at hand. If a response is filed and both parties are in agreement, a judge will still need to review the terms and sign the order to officially dissolve the marriage.

If the respondent fails to respond in the given timeframe, the petitioning spouse may apply for a default, giving the other spouse an additional few days to respond. If a response is still not filed, a Default Decree of Dissolution of Marriage may be issued; this generally upholds all of the terms in the petitioner’s filing.

Following a 60 day waiting period (which begins at the time the petition is filed), required by state law, a divorce may be granted provided the parties are in agreement at which time they may ask the court to grant them a Consent Decree. If the parties disagree, a trial will ensue and the time frame of the divorce proceedings can be much longer with many taking six to nine months before the union is dissolved.

Once all of the issues have been decided on, the court will issue a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. This legal order officially terminates the marriage and includes provisions on the following matters:

  • Division of marital property
  • Spousal maintenance (or alimony)
  • Child custody and parenting time guidelines
  • Child support payments
  • Responsibility for marital debt

This order may also restore the legal name of either party before they entered into the marriage.

While there are many do-it-yourself solutions for individuals who wish to file for divorce, these services fail to adequately guide individuals through the complex process, advise them on legal and practical issues that may arise and ensure that the terms of the agreement are structured in a manner that protects their best interests. While you may believe that your divorce will be a simple one, that is rarely the case once the proceedings begin and conversations about money and child custody commence. For years, the legal team of Garnice Law PLLC has provided knowledgeable legal counsel on matrimonial matters to individuals in Scottsdale and throughout much of Arizona. We understand that this is a difficult time in a person’s life and we work closely with each of our clients to ensure the matter is resolved in an efficient and cost effective manner. Call 480-351-4804 to schedule your free consultation and learn how you can move past your divorce and on with your life.


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