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Unlike in some other states, in Arizona, there’s just one path for filing for divorce. It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing a collaborative divorce, or you don’t agree at all, you must file the same documents to proceed. The process is the same for everybody. One party will file a petition and petition packet, then the other person files the response. This gets the process started.

Once Someone Files for Divorce in Arizona, What Is the General Timeline and Steps That Happen, Up to the Point Where the Decree Is Finalized?

The timeline and process leading up to a finalized divorce are largely dependent on whether the parties are working together or not. In the beginning, the timeline stays the same, but the divorce can end much earlier if the parties are negotiating and working together. For couples that can work together the steps that occur are:

  • One person files a petition.
  • The other person files a response.
  • 60-day cooling-off period begins.
  • Court signs off on the consent decree and the divorce is final.

The 60-day cooling-off period is required by the court to give folks time to work together to negotiate and create a consent decree. If everyone can work together, that consent decree can be completed, signed, and delivered to the judge on the 60th day. In Arizona, it’s possible to never have to go to court if you’re working together.

Now, if those 60 days pass and the parties aren’t working together, the court will typically set a resolution management conference. This is a short, 15-minute conference, where the judge tries to determine if the parties are going to be able to settle on anything and if not, discover deadlines are set and a court date is scheduled.

After the resolution conference, a lot of things can happen, but generally, the next thing is going to trial. A trial does not usually happen until about nine months or more after a petition is first filed. Then, once the trial is complete, the judge gives you a divorce decree, as opposed to a consent decree.

In Arizona, When a Couple Is Divorcing, How Is Time-Sharing or Custody Determined? What Is the Best Interest of the Child Standard?

In Arizona, we don’t use the term custody, we call it legal decision-making authority. When a couple is in the process of divorce, the court typically will grant both parties equal legal decision-making authority, so both parties have an equal say in the child’s schooling, religion, medical decisions, etc.

The court presumes that it is in the best interest of the child to be with both parties, as much as possible. If both parties express an interest in wanting to be with the child equally, the court is likely to give that to the parties. The only real exception to this is when one party can show that the other party is doing things that are dangerous for the child, such as using drugs, drinking around the child, driving and drinking, or acts of domestic violence or child abuse.

There’s no definition in the statutes regarding the best interest of the child; however, the term refers to the process the court undertakes when deciding where a child will be best cared for. They will review if it is in the child’s best interest to be with both parties, or not. For example, you have one parent refusing to allow a child to receive the standard vaccinations required by the public school system and the other that says the child needs to be vaccinated because they’re going into preschool. The parent that is refusing vaccinations will probably not get equal decision-making authority, as far as medical decisions are concerned. The court is trying to decide what is in the best interest of the child and in that decision-making process will weigh the fact that it is generally accepted that vaccinations are needed for children.

For more information on Family Law in Arizona, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (623) 526-5597 today.

We Serve Clients Throughout Arizona. Call Now For A Consultation (623) 526-5597

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