Do I Have to Go to Court for a Divorce?

When filing for divorce in Arizona, it is common to believe that a court appearance is required. Getting your case heard in court doesn’t have to be a long, costly process—quite the contrary. We can file several types of divorce documents so that you never have to step foot in a courtroom, regardless of whether you have children or not. The following are some basic things you should know before filing for divorce in Arizona.

Divorce processes vary based on whether both parties agree on all terms. It may be necessary to hire a Prescott divorce attorney if you cannot agree on everything from property division to custody arrangements. Depending on how your divorce is settled, you may or may not have to go to court. The Settled Agreement document does not need a judge’s approval if both spouses agree, which means they are proceeding by consent.

If you and your spouse cannot agree, filing for divorce by default will expedite the separation process. If both spouses do not have minor children in common or if one party requests spousal maintenance before applying under the “marital property” laws of their state, they may file motions asking for any final orders to be made without having attended court hearings – this could save time during proceedings while maintaining the quality of service provided by our firm.

A hearing is required when divorcing with a minor child or seeking spousal maintenance from your spouse. In-person proceedings can take place before a court commissioner. Make sure you contact the court commissioner beforehand so they know what date works best for both parties.

Divorces are usually contested, so you’ll have a lot of court hearings. These dates and times are set according to what is available at the time for all parties involved – you cannot schedule them yourself. Early Resolution Conferences (ERCs) are held if spouses do not yet have an attorney representing them before the Court.

If you want your divorce case to be resolved, you will need to prepare for court appearances. The first one is an ERC (estimated response time), which includes both spouses and divorce lawyers, so it can be done quickly without any delays due to attorney consultations or scheduling conflicts on either end of things like travel schedules, etcetera; there are also RMCs, which often lead up into trials/evidentiary hearings if you don’t come to some sort of agreement beforehand- and these last ones require a lot of negotiation power to get through.

Understanding the Divorce Process
Arizona divorce timelines vary greatly. A divorce in Arizona is different from a legal separation. The reasons may be similar, but there are significant differences under Arizona law.

Uncontested Divorce in Arizona
Generally, an uncontested divorce can be completed in as little as 70 days. However, between 90 and 120 days is the average time for an uncontested divorce.

Uncontested divorces are exactly what they sound like. There is no disagreement between the couple regarding any aspect of the divorce. However, that doesn’t mean your spouse will agree right away. An agreement can be reached by working through issues.

Arizona Contested Divorce
In a contested divorce, the couple cannot resolve at least one issue. There’s no need to have an all-out brawl. Family law, including divorce, can be civil whether you agree or disagree. However, contested divorces usually indicate that the couple has major disagreements. Contested divorces take longer because you must undergo the Arizona divorce process. Uncontested divorces do not require all the steps—you can skip straight to the end in many cases.

How to Get a Divorce in Arizona
The first few steps of the divorce process are the same regardless of whether it is contested or uncontested.

Step 1: Ensure that you are ready for divorce
There are times when divorce is straightforward, but there are also times when it is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make. There is a lot of emotion involved. Getting a divorce depends on your circumstances; no one can tell you if it’s the “right” thing to do. You are the only one who can decide when a divorce is right for you.

The decision to end a relationship is not uncommon among couples. Arizona divorce requires more than mental and emotional preparation; you must prepare in other ways, too. Organizing your finances, for instance, can be a big challenge. When you move from two incomes to one income, it is a big change.

Step 2: Find a Divorce Attorney
Divorce can be filed on your own, but it is not recommended. A divorce attorney will be invaluable for guiding you through the divorce process. The advice of a divorce lawyer will help you navigate the process. In addition to providing sound legal advice, he or she will be a good sounding board for your arguments.

Depending on Arizona law, they can tell you if your request is possible. Choosing a family law attorney who is suitable for you is also important. The person you choose should be knowledgeable and trustworthy. You can make better, more informed decisions if you speak to someone who cares about you and your situation.

It is also important to consider the cost of hiring a family law attorney when looking for one. You should ask about attorneys’ fees upfront and discuss your budget honestly. Your family law attorney can be beneficial in determining the cost of divorce right away.

Step 3: File for Divorce
In Arizona, you’ll need an attorney to prepare the paperwork for your dissolution of marriage. Family law in Prescott, AZ, requires you to file a petition for dissolution of marriage. You must follow this formal process to file your request with the court. Moreover, your lawyer will arrange for your spouse to receive this paperwork through a process server. After the service date, your spouse will typically file an “Answer” within 20 days. Having completed those two steps, you can begin the most time-consuming part of the divorce process.

Step 4: Arizona’s Temporary Order Hearing
Divorce often occurs when a couple is already living apart. During the divorce process, the court addresses important issues. For example, deciding where the kids will live while the divorce is pending cannot wait. Most of the time, the couple will resolve these issues between themselves. Among the things they will decide on are:

– Legal custody of minors
– Matters related to child support
– Spousal support, maintenance, or alimony
– Living arrangements in the marital home

During a Temporary Order Hearing, the court addresses these immediate issues. However, these issues will only be brought before the court if the couple cannot agree. If the couple can agree, the court will generally permit whatever they decide. When it becomes clear that you cannot reach an agreement without court intervention, your attorney (or your spouse’s attorney) will request a temporary order hearing.

As soon as possible, the court will attempt to schedule a hearing to address these important issues. In many cases, but not all, the temporary order is very similar to the final order. Therefore, preparing for your Arizona temporary order hearing is essential. Setting up routines for children, for example, will help create a strong argument for maintaining the status quo once the court considers the case’s outcome.

Step 5: Discovery and Disclosure
Any legal case begins with gathering information. It is especially crucial in divorce proceedings since the court’s decision will profoundly impact your life and often that of your children.

There are certain disclosures that couples are required to make under Arizona law. However, these disclosures are not always complete, sometimes because of an error or because one spouse intentionally hides information. A few examples of disclosures are:

– Income from any source
– Detailed information about the property
– Investments, securities, etc.
– Ownership of a business
– Other support obligations

These disclosures should contain complete information unless there are appropriate objections. If this is not done, the court may impose sanctions.

You will also exchange discovery in your divorce along with these disclosures. As part of discovery, you might find:

– The answer to a written question
– Responses to document requests
– Information obtained from third parties
– Facts or other information requested
– In addition to answering these requests, your attorney will seek information about your spouse through discovery.

Step 6: Out of Court Resolutions
Your divorce case can be resolved at any time by settling with your spouse. A settlement can speed up the divorce process and reduce the time and effort required to present the case to a judge if you can reach a mutual agreement.

Divorce settlements outside of court are extremely common. The court will generally allow whatever the couple decides as long as they can agree. The reason for this is that Arizona law requires couples to have at least one good-faith discussion before settling. Creating a settlement allows you to craft an agreement that suits everyone’s needs.

Step 7: Trial Preparation
The case will go to trial if a settlement cannot be reached. In preparation for your divorce trial, you and your attorney will use all the information you obtained during discovery.

A pretrial statement detailing all relevant facts and Arizona law citations will be created during trial preparation. Additionally, your attorney will prepare exhibits. Discuss the trial process with your lawyer. You and your divorce attorney will discuss issues such as timelines, your role as a witness, and other witnesses.

Step 8: The Final Hearing
A final hearing is the last step in the divorce process. A divorce proceeding can be stressful because you are required to testify about many aspects of your marriage, children, finances, etc.

Divorce final hearings usually involve the following:

– The testimony of both spouses
– Expert testimony about children, finances, etc.
– An explanation of the evidence, including financial information
– Lawyers’ arguments

Having your family law attorney help you prepare well will reduce your anxiety during this final step. Remember that this is your chance to tell the judge your story and explain why you want or need what you need.

Finding the Right Divorce Lawyer
You will need to hire a divorce attorney in Prescott, AZ, who can handle your divorce efficiently. If your divorce attorney is organized, he or she can speed up your divorce through the steps more quickly than a disorganized attorney. For more information, click to call or fill out our online contact form.

Willison Law, PC

Willison Law, PC

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