In Arizona, divorce is referred to as a “Dissolution of Marriage.” Divorce is governed by the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) and the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure (A.R.F.L.P). To file for divorce in Arizona, one or both of the parties must have been domiciled or been stationed as a member of the armed services in the State for a time period of no less than ninety (90) consecutive days prior to filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. See A.R.S. § 25-312.
Arizona is considered a “no fault” state, meaning that so long as the jurisdictional requirements are met under A.R.S. § 25-312 neither spouse need present independent grounds for the court to dissolve the marriage. All that is required is that one spouse claim that the marriage is “irretrievable broken.”
The person who initiates the divorce is called the petitioner, and the other party is call the respondent. To initiate a divorce proceeding, the petitioner files a petition for dissolution of marriage along with any related and necessary documents. After filing the petition, the petitioner must serve copies of the documents filed in court on the other spouse so that the other spouse has notice of the divorce proceeding. If the other spouse is served within Arizona, he or she will have 20 days to respond to the petition. If served outside Arizona, he or she will have 30 days to respond.
Sometimes the parties will work out an agreement on their own as to issues like child custody, property division, and spousal maintenance (alimony). If the parties reach agreement, they can submit to the judge what is called a Consent Decree of Dissolution, detailing the parties agreement. See A.R.F.L.P. 45(B). If the parties do not agree on certain issues in the divorce, it will be necessary for the judge to decide those issues at a trial.
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