Uncontested Divorces in Arizona
Arizona allows for both contested and uncontested divorces. An uncontested divorce typically occurs when both spouses agree on divorce terms, such as child custody, support, property division, and alimony. In the state of Arizona, there are two ways to obtain an uncontested divorce:
- Divorce by Consent Decree – This occurs when one spouse files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and any other necessary forms, the other spouse files a response to the petition, and then both file a Marriage Settlement Agreement, which a judge will sign.
- Divorce by Decree – This may occur when one spouse files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and the other spouse does not respond within the mandated time frame (20 days for those residing in Arizona, and 30 days for those out-of-state). The petitioner can then ask the court for a divorce by default, which a judge may choose to grant.
Rules for uncontested divorces vary by county, with some counties in Arizona only permitting uncontested divorce by one of the two methods.
Uncontested divorces are typically quicker and less expensive than contested divorces since they don’t require multiple court appearances, negotiations, and litigation. Most can be finalized within three to four months. Additionally, the spouses will typically not need to appear in court. They are most commonly found between spouses who do not have minor children together and who have little to no major assets.
Regardless of the type of divorce, it is still important that all the details of the divorce are mapped out accurately and to their full extent. The Marriage Settlement Agreement must sufficiently cover all financial obligations, as well as property division, spousal support, child support and parenting plans (if applicable), and any other matters, such as pensions and insurance.
While it may be tempting to try and handle an uncontested divorce yourself, it is always recommended to use a divorce attorney instead. This ensures that all items within the Marriage Settlement Agreement protect your rights, are accurate and reasonable, and that the documents are filed timely and according to law. Uncontested divorces that are not well-thought out may end up turning into contested divorces, adding both time and money to the process, or needing to go to court in the future to amend the agreement. This can occur if one of the spouses ends up disagreeing with even a single term of the divorce proceedings.
To learn about court processes related to divorces in Arizona, visit the websites for the superior court in the county where you intend to file. Examples include:
Rideout Law Group handles cases throughout the entire state of Arizona, with offices located in Scottsdale and Lake Havasu City. Our attorneys are experienced in handling uncontested divorces. For a free consultation, call 480-584-3328.