By many accounts, divorce is one of the most stressful events of a person’s life. If you have an impending divorce, you might be nervous, and you might want to know how the process is going to go. Here is a brief overview of the entire divorce process, from the moment you initiate the divorce to the moment the judge signs the final divorce decree into effect.
The first steps
Arizona has a 90-day residency requirement for filing for divorce. If either you or your spouse has lived here for at least 90 days, you can start the process by filing a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court.
After that, you will have to wait sixty days until the next step of the process can commence. During that time, the spouse that didn’t file the petition for divorce can either accept the terms of the petition for dissolution, or can fight the divorce. If they decide to fight the divorce, the process can take longer.
Divorce agreement negotiations
Next, you and your spouse have the option of negotiating a divorce agreement if you wish to. Alternately, you can leave the divorce agreement up to the court. But negotiating your own divorce agreement can often be advantageous, as it allows you to take your divorce into your own hands and gives you the opportunity to fight for what you most want and need.
This agreement will have to cover things such as child custody and support, spousal support, property division (including things such as retirement accounts and investments), and parental visitation time.
You and your spouse can hire a mediator to assist you in coming to an agreement, or you can each hire an attorney to negotiate on your behalf, or both. However you do it, the resulting agreement must be fair and just in order for a judge to agree to adopt and enforce it.
If you are unable to come to an agreement, you will have to go to trial to litigate your divorce. During this trial, both sides will present evidence and arguments for their position. In the end, the judge will create a final divorce decree. Either party can appeal the decree if they claim that the judge made a mistake.
The divorce process is long, and can be quite frustrating. Knowing what to expect can help you to prepare, so that you can come out the other side in the best position possible to start your new life.