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Divorce in Arizona

Some Arizona residents contemplating divorce may be interested in knowing what the proper procedure is. Divorce is legally referred to as a dissolution in Arizona, and one spouse is able to file and claim that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The petitioner must be a resident of the state for a minimum of 90 days.

Once the divorce petition is filed, the paperwork is served on the spouse. Within 20 days, the respondent must answer the divorce petition if he or she was served in the state. The time limit is extended another 10 days if the respondent was served out of state. If the respondent does not reply, the petitioner may file a default petition. The respondent must answer within 10 days, or the petitioner will be granted a divorce after 60 days. The terms will correspond to those asked for by the petitioner.

Items that make up a marital dissolution can include child custody, visitation and alimony. It also includes a plan for community property distribution and debt responsibility. Attorney fees may be part of the divorce decree as is the request to reinstate a spouse's use of her maiden name. While a divorce is pending, it is possible to petition the court for temporary orders concerning child custody and alimony among other things. A preliminary injunction is issued at the beginning of the divorce process that prevents either spouse from harassing one another, moving with children out of Arizona or selling off community property before the divorce is finalized. If domestic violence is evident during the divorce, an order of protection may be granted.

The divorce process involves the completion of certain steps in an orderly fashion. A family law attorney can be of assistance to a client throughout the entire process.

Source: State Bar of Arizona, "Understanding Divorce", accessed on Jan. 28, 2015

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