Keep Your Arizona Divorce From Wrecking Your Finances

Keep Your Arizona Divorce From Wrecking Your Finances

Going through a messy divorce is sadly semi-common, but there are ways to avoid conflict. Besides open and clear communication with your ex-spouse, having a necessary grasp on your assets, childcare responsibilities, and financial accounts is key to beginning the divorce process. Avoiding bringing your case to court is a great way to save the hassle of tough proceedings, along with the expensive price tag.

One of the most important aspects of a divorce is financial stability. Ensuring your paperwork is signed and filed properly can save you time and money during your divorce proceedings.

How to File for a Divorce in Arizona

As with any legal process, the first step in filing any legal paperwork is determining the petitioner, the person filing for divorce, and the respondent. In AZ Family Court, the petitioner needs to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the Superior Court of their current residential district. Copies of each form must then be sent to the respondent. Within 20 days for in-state residents or 30 days for out-of-state residents, the respondent can file a response to the dissolution petition. After a minimum of 60 days from the delivery of the petition to your spouse, the court can decide whether to grant the dissolution.

In the initial filing, a variety of payments and agreements are outlined by the petitioner, giving the respondent a detailed list of spousal maintenance and child support stipulations. A dissolution petition is primarily used to outline the list of assets and responsibilities held by both the petitioner and respondent in the case.

The terms outlined in these proceedings can often lead to strife between you and your spouse, especially when it comes to money. For example, if you make substantially less than your spouse and want to ensure you can maintain your current standard of living with alimony payments, asking for these payments can become a major point of contention. 1

What Is a Covenant Divorce?

In Arizona, the option to have your marriage declared as a covenant marriage is available for those looking to declare their union a lifelong commitment. However, as with any former binding commitment, circumstances change. These rules may not accurately describe your current circumstances.

Before filing for a divorce, couples in a covenant marriage must seek counseling from a marriage counselor or clergy member before proceeding with the divorce. There also must be tangible evidence for your divorce, including:

  • Adultery, or having extramarital relations
  • Imprisonment of spouse
  • Abandonment by spouse
  • Proof of physical or sexual abuse against you or your family
  • Proof of domestic violence, including emotional abuse
  • Previous residential separation for at least two years
  • Residential separation for at least one year from legal separation
  • Drug use by spouse
  • Mutually agreeing to a divorce

At the moment, a covenant marriage may seem like the best way to prove your eternal love for your spouse. If you start to hit a rough patch at some point during your marriage, though, these unions can become unreasonably tricky to undo.

Between compiling a case to attending legally mandated marriage counseling, covenant marriages and their subsequent divorces can become extremely time-consuming and expensive. Although somewhat complicated, covenant marriage dissolution is possible, and with the right attention to detail and evidence, you can properly file for a divorce. 2

Why Do Divorce Proceedings Become Hostile?

Why Do Divorce Proceedings Become Hostile?

When it comes to family law, one of the most tension-filled practice areas is divorce litigation, which tends to bring out hostility in both parties involved. Before filing for a divorce, the reasoning behind why you file a divorce can impact the relationship you have with your spouse, which then transfers into your divorce trial.

However, Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, meaning either party can file for divorce without any allegations of adultery, domestic violence, or other issues. Still, if you are the filing party and your spouse is not ready for a divorce, this can make any further divorce proceedings far more complicated.

Besides adultery, abuse, and unwillingness to get a divorce, finances are a common issue that creates excess tension in divorce proceedings. Ranging from proposed settlements to asset division, any aspect of a divorce that has a price tag can become a point of hostility. Suggested alimony payments and decisions concerning who retains what assets can be the source of conflict due to the monetary value placed on each.

In cases involving children, child support payments and custody arrangements can cause strife between spouses, especially if both want full custody. Fortunately, the best interests of the children are the primary concern of the court, and any final decisions concerning the child’s well-being rest in the state’s hands.3

Options for Avoiding Hostile Divorce Proceedings

Lengthy divorce proceedings overseen by the court is not the only option for legal marriage dissolution. In the movies, depictions of courtroom divorce hearings have created the expectation of going to court to obtain a legal separation or divorce, but this is only true on screen. Avoiding the courtroom, whether that be through faster, more streamlined legal filing or individualized legal counsel is always beneficial for a divorce case.

Besides helping you efficiently determine the terms of your divorce, keeping your case out of the courtroom is better for your peace of mind and your wallet. Here are some of the most common ways to avoid taking your divorce to court.

Filing a Response to the Dissolution Petition

If you end up as the respondent in a divorce case, filing a response to a dissolution petition is a great way to combat any unfair stipulations laid out by your former spouse. For example, consider a situation where you primarily take care of your children and handle any of their personal paperwork, doctor’s appointments, and sports games, but your spouse is asking for full custody in their dissolution petition. As the de-facto primary caregiver for your children, you have a better handle on how to care for them, so filing to become the primary caregiver for your children could be in your best interest. This is still the beginning of the process, and clearing up any issues like this is crucial for creating a more streamlined divorce process.

Utilizing a Consent Decree

A consent decree is a legal document that can grant a divorce if all terms laid out by both spouses are agreed upon without renegotiations. Payment plans for child support, child visitation schedules, and property division are all outlined in these proceedings. For couples on better terms, or those filing an uncontested divorce, a consent decree helps expedite divorce proceedings. One of the best ways to help facilitate this process is by getting help with legal documents from a reputable firm or legal service. This can help you lay out an accurate, feasible divorce plan achievable by both you and your spouse.

Deciding in Mediation

Fortunately, with divorce proceedings, reaching the mediation stage is required before going to trial. In most cases, this phase of the divorce process is crucial for working out any big issues between you and your spouse. To avoid going to trial, mediation can create a space where both you and your spouse can explain and outline the reasons for each request in your statements. For example, if you request a certain amount in alimony that may seem exorbitant to your spouse, but you helped pay for the necessary schooling they needed to make the money they do now, explaining your reasoning behind the amount can help provide evidence to help support your claim.

Divorce proceedings do not need to be hostile, and the available avenues for avoiding a “War of the Roses” style of divorce are endless. One overarching factor crucial for ensuring a productive divorce hearing is filing the right paperwork for the right claims. If you are filing a response to a dissolution petition, clearly outlining which stipulations you are contesting is crucial for the process. For consent decrees and mediation, tactfully advocating for your necessary provisions is crucial for keeping your case from going to trial and getting out of hand. 4

Is Divorce Always Expensive?

The length of time the divorce process takes, especially the amount of time it takes to settle your case once filed, is where the bulk of the expense originates. Between paying lawyers, going through rounds of mediation, and making your court appearance, the price tag on a divorce trial can quickly get expensive. Not to mention, the deliberation process for asset division will determine how much money, alimony, child support, and other valuable assets you must give to your spouse as an outcome of the trial.

The speed of your trial all comes down to the efficiency of your filing process. For example, if you are the respondent of a case and take more than the allotted time to respond to a claim, your feedback on the case, along with your input on the different stipulations in the dissolution petition, could be cast aside.

That means you need to find a legal team to take up your claim as a last-ditch effort to get your perspective on the petition considered during the deliberation process. Utilizing an easily accessible document preparation service with an online platform can not only help you get ready for your divorce and get prepared for the legal process ahead, but can result in reduced stress and other mental health benefits. 5

Easier Divorce Filings in Arizona

Easier Divorce Filings in Arizona

Finding affordable divorce lawyers in Mesa may seem tricky, but getting expert help with legal documents like divorce paperwork is essential for streamlining your divorce. Filing deadlines, paperwork requirements, and general knowledge about the legal process behind a divorce are crucial for creating a faster, less expensive trial.

After tightening up the paperwork side of your divorce, the subsequent deliberations and meetings can be conducted and settled promptly. This efficient take on the divorce process begins with a competent legal team with expert knowledge in the realm of Arizona family court.


default divorce in Arizona

Understanding Default Divorce in Arizona

Divorce is never easy. In general, one party will file a divorce complaint to be served to the other party. Then both parties come together to complete the process of legally dissolving the marriage. In certain circumstances, there is a failure of the receiving party to acknowledge the divorce proceedings. This can result in what the courts call a default divorce.

Divorce Options in Arizona

Mediation is one approach that can help improve outcomes, but it requires open communication and the ability to work together. 1 In mediation, the two parties come together with a third party who acts as a mediator. This process can take place in a law office or in a space that works as a neutral ground for both parties.

Through mediation, the splitting couple makes important decisions together concerning property division and child support. Successful mediation can expedite the divorce process and set a solid foundation for the fair division of assets and healthy co-parenting. In mediation, you may not need the assistance of separate attorneys for each party since you are making decisions collaboratively with your ex-partner.

Most divorce proceedings are accomplished in a court of law. In a court setting, it is normal for each party to retain their own attorney to clearly and effectively communicate their needs to a judge. This is ideal for divorces that may be more complicated due to assets, property, or children. In this scenario, both parties present their side of the situation to a judge who will make the final decisions regarding child support and the division of assets and property.

On some occasions, one party may be uncooperative. They may even ignore the paperwork and refuse to take part in the proceedings. When this happens, a default divorce could be granted. A default divorce can move along quickly, but this speed often comes at the expense of the served party’s wishes or desires.

The Divorce Process

In Arizona, any divorce begins with one party petitioning for divorce. The petition will detail the reasons (or grounds) for the divorce and include contact information for the other party involved. The person filing for the divorce has a responsibility to ensure that the other party is served the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.

This is an official document the Clerk of Court issues. It clearly states that the receiving party must file a response to the petition that admits or denies any listed allegations and also provides the served party the means to add any counter allegations to the case. This response must be in writing and is then filed with the court. There is a specific timeframe within which the court must receive the petition.

It is crucial that this important paperwork isn’t ignored. Most receiving parties will choose to hire a quality attorney at this point. An attorney can help ensure that the response is well-developed, meets the needs of the receiving party, and is submitted on time to the right location. It is also important that the response is in written form.

A verbal acknowledgment of the petition doesn’t stand up in court. So even if the receiving party told the filing party what they wanted out of the proceedings, without it in writing, that communication can be ignored in a court of law. If there is a failure to respond, the filing party can continue with the divorce. This is known as a default divorce.

What Makes a Default Divorce Different?

Arizona divorce information

The process of default divorce differs drastically from other divorce proceedings. A default divorce is a proceeding where one party receives a judgment of divorce based on the other party’s failure to file a response during the timeframe provided by law. The circumstances that can allow for this type of divorce vary.

These circumstances include:

  • Non-filing spouse refuses to participate
  • The filing spouse is unable to locate the other
  • Both parties agree to enter a default judgment

Default Divorces tend to process faster since the demands and desired outcomes of the divorce are one-sided. This can lead to less than ideal settlements for the party who failed to respond to the initial divorce filing.

In Arizona, a spouse has 20-30 days to submit their written response concerning the divorce decree. 2 It depends on if the receiving party was properly served as well as whether that person resides in the state of Arizona. Twenty days are the norm for those living in Arizona and 30 days for those living out of state. If this time passes and there is still no formal, written response, the filing party will need to file an Application and Affidavit of Default within the court. This application also needs to be sent to the spouse, who will have 10 days to respond. If they continue to fail to respond within the deadline, you can request a default hearing.

Default Divorce Proceedings

Discussing divorce in Arizona

The hearing process for default divorces can proceed rather quickly once it has been determined that no response will be received. Odds are the filing party will be the only one in attendance at the hearing. The judge will have questions that need to be answered and will vary depending on the jurisdiction. The judge will normally check to make sure that the filing party meets the residency requirements for a marriage dissolution in Arizona.

A judge will determine if the marriage is truly irreconcilable and can’t be salvaged through marriage counseling. The judge will also ask if there is a pregnancy or other extenuating circumstances involved. The judge will conclude by asking if the terms of the dissolution are fair when it comes to property division.

If a child is shared, a judge will also confirm that the orders surrounding custody and child support are in the child’s best interest. 3 Once the judge has asked all the required questions, they will sign a Default Divorce Decree. This decree needs to be served to the former spouse within three days.

In some circumstances, the receiving party may choose not to respond because they agree to everything in the filer’s petition. Under such circumstances, the process should continue forward rapidly. Your other option would be an uncontested divorce through a consent decree. This decree will cover all the important information of the marriage and its breakdown, much like the information that would be included in a standard petition for dissolution of marriage.

Risks of Default Divorce

Any type of divorce comes with unique challenges and risks. Even in the most amicable divorces, there is still stress and risk involved. 4 When it comes to default divorces, there are unique risks for both the petitioner and the receiving party. For the petitioner, there is a chance that the former spouse could fight the default divorce process. This would require adequate proof that the petitioner didn’t put in the effort to locate their spouse and serve the petition correctly.

Failing to properly serve the receiving spouse changes proceedings dramatically and could even cause a court to reopen and amend a completed default divorce. Even if the decision ultimately stands, this process is still a hassle. It can take up a lot of time, resulting in additional attorney fees.

The respondent also has a number of risks to consider. It is understandable that divorce can feel overwhelming, and it can make it difficult to respond within the timeframe you’re legally required to. 5 However, not responding can result in the biggest decisions being made without your input. The largest risk is your voice and concerns going unheard.

The judge will base his decisions on the allegations and decisions covered by the initial petition. This petition often covers several issues, such as property division and support payments. With no response on file, the judge may make a decision that doesn’t represent what you would have liked to accomplish through the divorce proceeding. As a respondent, you can petition the court if you feel as though you weren’t properly served or notified. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to contact a divorce attorney who understands the complex rules and guidelines of divorce proceedings in Arizona.

How Long Does a Default Divorce Take in Arizona?

In most cases, divorce finalization in Arizona requires a mandatory 60-day waiting period after the divorce petition is filed. The time frame largely depends on the type of proceeding. With mediation, the process can move along rather quickly since the two parties have a willingness to work together.

In court proceedings, this largely depends on disagreements concerning major issues in the petition. Depending on the severity, this could drag divorce proceedings into months, sometimes years, of court sessions before a final decision is met. A default divorce, however, tends to move quickly.6

A default divorce can be finalized at the default hearing. This means that you’ll have the mandatory response time from the initial petition, which is 20-30 days, as well as the 10 days they are given to respond to the Application and Affidavit for Default. This means your default divorce could be finalized in as little as 30-40 days if everything goes smoothly.

Default Divorce in Arizona

Proceeding with a divorce is never easy. In Arizona, you have a few different options for divorce proceedings. Divorce proceedings all begin the same with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. What follows largely determines the path of the divorce. A default divorce is rarely the ideal situation but can happen due to the failure of the other party to respond.

In many instances, this means the filing party will receive exactly what they were hoping to get through the divorce proceedings. This can also mean that the other party gets no say in terms of the divorce, potentially including custody of minor children. This process can move extremely fast since there is no back and forth to work through.





    • Dew, J., Britt, S., Huston, S. (2012). Examining the relationship between financial issues and divorce. Family Relations, 61(4), 615–628.


    • Lehr, R., & MacMillan, P. (2001). The Psychological and Emotional Impact of Divorce: The Noncustodial Fathers’ Perspective. Families in Society, 82(4), 373–382.



Tips for Protecting Children From Conflict During Divorce in AZ

Tips for Protecting Children From Conflict During Divorce in AZ

It’s no secret that divorce can be a difficult time for children. From feeling caught in the middle of their parents’ arguments to dealing with the stress and anxiety of change, kids often struggle when their parents split up. However, parents can do things to help make the transition easier for their kids while they deal with their own emotions. By working together to keep conflict to a minimum, communicating openly with their children, and seeking outside support when needed, divorcing parents can help their kids adjust to this new chapter in their lives.

Remove the Cause of Conflict

The first step to protecting children from conflict during divorce is to remove the cause of the conflict. The specific cause will be different in every situation, but some common examples include financial stress, infidelity, or constant arguing.

If the cause of the conflict is not removed, the impact this can have on children can be significant. They may feel stuck in the middle of their parents’ arguments. They might also worry that the divorce means one parent will leave them, or they may feel like they need to choose sides.

All these scenarios can lead to anxiety, depression, and behavioral issues in children. These are very personal decisions that need to be made on a case-by-case basis, but if parents can find a way to remove the cause of conflict, it can go a long way in protecting their children from unnecessary details about the divorce.

Learn New Skills for Dealing With Conflict

Learn New Skills for Dealing With Conflict

The next step is to learn new skills for dealing with conflict. This can be done through therapy, support groups, or books. Some skills divorcing parents can learn include:

  1. Active Listening

    This is a strategic form of listening that involves giving your full attention to the person speaking, paraphrasing what they say, and making sure you understand their perspective. 1

  2. Assertiveness

    This is the ability to state your needs in a clear and respectful way that doesn’t involve putting down the other person.

  3. Compromise

    Compromising means reaching an agreement that is acceptable to both parties, often by giving up something important to you in return for something that is important to the other person.

  4. Empathy

    This involves the ability to deeply understand and share the feelings of another person by putting yourself in their shoes.

  5. Conflict Resolution

    This is the process of coming to an agreement when there is a disagreement. From identifying the problem and brainstorming solutions to implementing the agreed-upon solution, conflict resolution skills can help divorcing parents reach a resolution that is in the best interest of their children.

Keep Children Out of the Middle

Another important step is to keep children out of the middle. This means parents should avoid talking about the divorce in front of their children. They should not use their children as messengers to communicate with the other parent, and they should not ask their children to take sides. 2

While it may be tempting to use children to get information from the other parent or to vent about the divorce, it is important to remember that this puts a lot of pressure on children. They did not ask for this divorce and they should not be put in the position of feeling like they need to choose sides. This can lead to a lot of guilt and confusion for children, which can impact their mental and emotional health.

If parents can find a way to communicate with each other without involving their child, it can go a long way to protect the child from the stress and anxiety that can come with being caught in the middle.

Control Your Emotions to the Best of Your Ability

It is also important for parents to try to control their emotions to the best of their ability. 3This means avoiding yelling, name-calling, and put-downs. It also means avoiding making threats or ultimatums.

When emotions are running high, it can be difficult to control what you say. But it is important to remember that your words can have a big impact on your children. They are likely already feeling scared and confused, and they don’t need to see their parents fighting.

If you find you are having trouble controlling your emotions, it may be helpful to step away from the situation and take some time to calm down. Once you have had a chance to cool off, you can then approach the situation in a more constructive way.

Prepare for Long-Term Conflict

While it is important to try to resolve conflict in a positive way, it is also important to prepare for the possibility of long-term conflict. This means having a plan in place for how you will deal with conflict if it arises.

Not all conflicts can be resolved. In some cases, you may need to agree to disagree. This doesn’t mean you can’t still be civil to each other, but it does mean that you may need to find a way to co-parent without agreeing on everything. Reminding each other of your mutual goal of what is best for your children can help you stay focused on what is important, even when you don’t see eye to eye.

If you are preparing for a divorce, it is important to talk to a lawyer about your rights and responsibilities. They can help you understand the legal process and what you can expect. The long-term conflict may not always be avoidable but having a plan in place can help you deal with it in a more constructive way. It is also beneficial to seek out support from adult friends and family. They can provide you with a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.

No matter what, remember that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you through this difficult time and be best prepared for the future.

Divorce Resources

Contain Any Anger or Frustration

Feelings of anger and frustration are common emotions during and after a divorce. However, it is important to try to contain these emotions as much as possible, especially when around your children.

Active displays of anger, such as yelling or name-calling, can be very scary for children. They may not understand what is happening, and they may feel like they are to blame.

It is okay to feel angry and frustrated, but it is crucial to find healthy ways to deal with these emotions. This may mean talking to a friend or therapist, going for a run, or writing in a journal.

Avoid Fostering Any Loyalty Conflicts

During and after a divorce, it is common for children to feel loyal to both parents. They may love both parents and want them to be happy, even if they are no longer together. This can lead to conflict if children feel like they have to choose between their parents.

Some examples of loyalty conflict include:

  • A child may feel like they must choose which parent to spend holidays with.
  • A child may feel torn between parents if they have different rules or expectations.
  • A child may feel like they need to keep secrets from one parent to avoid upsetting the other.

To avoid this, it is important to try not to put your children in the middle of any conflict. This means avoid talking about your ex in a negative way, asking your children to take sides, or using them as a sounding board for your own emotions. It is also important to be respectful of your co-parent in front of your children. This means avoiding talking badly about them, arguing with them, or trying to undermine their authority.

If you find yourself having conflicting emotions about your loyalty to your ex, it is important to talk to a therapist or counselor. They can help you work through these emotions in a constructive way.

Focus on Constructive Arguments

It is normal for divorced parents to disagree with each other from time to time. However, it is important to try to keep these disagreements constructive. This means avoiding arguing in front of your children, name-calling, or making personal attacks.

If you find yourself disagreeing with your co-parent, try to remain calm and respectful. Listen to their point of view, even if you do not agree with it. It is also important to avoid getting defensive and try to see their side of the issue.

In some cases, it may be helpful to take a break from the conversation if you feel like it is getting too heated. This means walking away or agreeing to disagree. Once you have both had time to calm down, you can try to resume the discussion in a more constructive way. This can protect your children from being caught in the middle of a heated argument that they have no control over.

Never Deny Parenting Time

Never Deny Parenting Time

It is important to remember that even though you are divorced, your children still have two parents. This means they should have the opportunity to spend time with both parents, even if it is not equal. 4

To avoid conflict, it is important to never deny parenting time to your co-parent. This means if they have scheduled visitation, try to keep it as scheduled. If there is a legitimate reason why the visitation must be changed, work with your co-parent to find a solution that works for both of you. When this happens, openly communicate with your children about exactly why this change is happening. If they can follow the logic behind the decision, it will be less likely to cause conflict.

Keep in mind that your children may not always want to spend time with both parents. This is normal and should not be seen as a sign of loyalty conflict. It is important to encourage your children to spend time with both parents, but ultimately, the decision should be up to them. They may already be feeling pulled in different directions and may need some time to adjust to the new family dynamic. Children feel a lack of control when parents go through a divorce, so it is important to try to give them some control back when it comes to decisions about parenting time.

Focus on Positive Affirmations About the Other Parent

To help reduce loyalty conflict or combat negative feelings, be sure to focus on the positive aspects of the other parent. This means looking for things that you appreciate about them as a person or as a parent and ensuring your children hear the same message. 5

It is also crucial to avoid speaking negatively about the other parent in front of your children. This can be difficult, especially if you are still angry about the divorce or have a difficult relationship with your ex. However, remember that your children love both of their parents, and hearing negative things about either one can be very confusing and upsetting.

If you find yourself struggling to say anything positive about the other parent, it may be helpful to take some time to reflect on why you feel that way. If there are legitimate concerns, address them in a constructive way. This means communicating directly with the other parent or, if necessary, involving a third party such as a therapist or mediator.

When Children Are a Cause of Conflict

In some cases, children can be a cause of conflict between parents. Common emotional or behavioral problems, such as acting out or not listening, can be frustrating for parents. As these issues progress and do not resolve, they can lead to more serious conflict between both parents. A lack of communication about how to discipline the child or how to handle the behavioral issue can further divide the parents.

If you find yourself in this situation, try to remain calm and constructive. It can be helpful to talk to your co-parent about your concerns and see if you can mutually deal with the issue. If you cannot reach an agreement, you may need to seek out the help of a mediator or counselor. Remember, you are not alone. Many parents find themselves in this situation, and there is no shame in seeking help.

It is also important to remember children are not to blame for conflict between parents. In some cases, conflict may be due to differences in parenting styles or values. If this is the case, you’ll want to try to find a way to respect differences and work together for the sake of your children. Remember that children are not purposely trying to cause conflict. In most cases, they are just trying to express their own emotions and needs.


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