Making the decision to end your marriage is perhaps one of the most eventful decisions you will ever make. Years from now, you will likely see your life in two halves: one before the marriage ended, and one after the divorce was finalized. With that in mind, it may be easier to understand why it’s important for you to know some of the basics of how divorce works in Arizona.
One of the big questions many people ask when considering divorce is whether they need to hire an attorney. The short answer is no, but going into a divorce without proper legal representation can be a risky proposition. For example, judges will not show deference to you and take it easy on unrepresented spouses. Family Court judges will hold you to the same standards and requirements as they would if you had an attorney.
Not following the correct procedures is arguably one of the biggest pitfalls for self-representing spouses during divorces. One crucial consequence of not knowing what to do and when to do it is that you could lose critical rights plus your opportunity to request key benefits permanently if you fail to follow the court’s specific procedures. Court employees such as clerks, bailiffs and court reporters are not allowed to provide assistance in your divorce.
Some other key Arizona divorce facts:
— Arizona recognizes “no-fault” divorces. This means that in most cases, either spouse can initiate a divorce without first having to establish liability for the marriage not working. All that is required is that at least one spouse assert that the marriage cannot be repaired.
— To become eligible to file for divorce, either you or your spouse must have resided in Arizona for at least 90 days prior to your filing date.
— A spouse who does not consent to the divorce is allowed to request a conciliation meeting. This essentially places the divorce on hold for as much as 60 days. This call for conciliation is free of charge to both parties. If neither party is willing to postpone the divorce, then it will move forward after the conciliation period expires.
Of course, these are just a few of the state’s divorce rules. A family law attorney experienced in divorce can advise you on all of the significant rules and proper procedures.
Source: AZ Central, “Call 12: Know the facts before a divorce,” Veronica Sanchez, accessed April. 15, 2015