Services & Fees
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Divorce in Arizona
- In Arizona, unless you entered into a Covenant Marriage, the only grounds for divorce is that "the marriage is irretrievably broken" or "no fault." Adultery, abandonment or abuse are not grounds for divorce.
- The Residency requirement is that at least one of the parties has been domiciled in the State of Arizona for at least 90 days prior to filing a divorce.
- Members of the armed forces whose home of record is Arizona may also file for divorce, regardless of how long they have been stationed outside of Arizona.
- If there are children involved in your divorce, the children should have resided in the State of Arizona for at least 6 months prior to filing the divorce.
- A divorce decides property, debts, custody, visitation and child support issues. Arizona is a community property state, which means (with very few exceptions) that all assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage are joint assets and liabilities subject to division, regardless of whose name they are in.
You can file a Legal Separation in the State of Arizona if you want to live a separate life from your spouse. You or the other party must reside in Arizona to file a Legal Separation. A Legal Separation separates the property and debts of the parties so you will no longer be legally responsible for your spouse. A Legal Separation decides custody, visitation and child support issues. You will remain married to your spouse with a legal separation. If you want to marry someone else you will still need to get a divorce from your spouse. A legal separation will not terminate any life or health insurance until a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage is signed by a judge. Spousal Maintenance and retirement benefits can be revisited when the divorce is filed. If you believe that divorce is inevitable you may want to consider filing for dissolution of marriage, as filing for Legal Separation will only double the cost and time before you will be able to finalize this chapter of your life and move on.
To get a marriage annulled in the State of Arizona, you must have legal grounds. Annulments are not based on time. Annulments are harder to get than a divorce. Grounds for an Annulment include: That you or the other party were still married to someone else when you were wed, you or the other party were under age and did not get proper permission to get married, you and the other party are blood relatives up to first cousins, you or the other party were married with the intention to defraud some other person, business, or government agency, you or the other party married with the intent to lie about your past history of criminal record, mental health history or other reasons as described by law, you and the other party did not consummate the marriage (did not have sexual relations after the marriage was officiated). The petition and decree must state the legal basis for the annulment and the circumstances.
Temporary Orders for Divorce / Legal Separation / Annulment / Paternity
Petition for Temporary Orders can be filed when either party needs temporary help regarding: child custody, child support, visitation, spousal maintenance, use of the family home, cars, or other community property. You can also request drug testing or a family psychological evaluation for a recommendation regarding custody or visitation. If there is immediate threat to life or property, Emergency Orders can be filed WITH TEMPORARY ORDERS in order to see the Emergency Judge on a "right now" basis, as opposed to waiting for your court date. You can not file the Emergency paperwork without the Temporary paperwork. You MUST have either a divorce, legal separation, annulment or a paternity action pending in order to file for Temporary or Emergency Orders.
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs)
A Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO, is a Court Order that legally allows a retirement plan to distribute money to someone OTHER than the plan participant such as a former spouse. A Divorce Decree states how the retirement benefits are to be divided, but a QDRO has very specific language that is unique to each plan and is required to be signed by a Judge, after the divorce decree is signed.
When you have been served with papers and you do not agree with what the other party is asking for, you must file a Response or the other party will automatically get what they asked for.
Paternity & Child Support
File or respond to a Paternity Action (Paternity, Custody, Support or Visitation)
Visitation & Guardianship
In Arizona a guardian can be appointed to make personal, health care and living arrangement decisions for a minor or an incapacitated adult. While the processes are similar, there are important differences between guardianship for minors and for adults.
Wills & Trusts
If you die without a Will OR Living Trust, the State Probate Court decides some very personal and important matters such as: who manages and inherits your estate, who will raise your minor children. In addition, if you have minor children, they will receive their inheritance at age eighteen (18). A complete set of documents should also include a General Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Power of Attorney and a Living Will.