High-Quality Documents for DIY Divorce in Arizona

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Divorce in Arizona?

In the state of Arizona, many divorces can proceed through the legal system efficiently without either party hiring a lawyer. Arizona is what’s known as a no-fault divorce state, so couples do not need to file a specific reason for their divorce. In the eyes of the Arizona court system, an adult simply no longer wishing to be married is sufficient cause for proceeding with a divorce. This process of unilateral divorce has increased the divorce rate in states like Arizona.1

Couples with complex estates may be better served by hiring an AZ lawyer specializing in high asset divorce before heading to divorce court. This will also be true if there are contentious child custody issues that need to be worked out.

However, if your shared property is simple to divide, your marriage has been fairly short, and you and your ex are amicable about making the split work for everyone involved, you may be able to proceed without the extensive services of an attorney. 2 This leaves more assets on the table for you to divide between yourselves to start your new lives. It also creates a more accessible path out of bad marriages for citizens of modest means. 3

Situations where you may want to consider obtaining the services of a lawyer for your divorce include:

  • Extensive debt
  • Child custody and child support issues
  • Large, complex estates with questions about who owns what
  • Alimony or child support battles

If none of the above apply to you, it’s a good sign that you and your ex may be candidates for a simple, low-cost DIY divorce. This process can be begun by finding and completing the proper forms.

filing your own paperwork

Alternatives to an Arizona Divorce Lawyer:

  • Completing and filing your own paperwork and representing yourselves in court
  • Hiring Arizona divorce paralegal services to help you correctly prepare and file forms without the steep costs associated with retaining a divorce attorney

Arizona Divorce Forms

When you decide to proceed with filing your own divorce in Arizona or any other state, the single most important aspect is getting all the paperwork right. You not only need to obtain the correct forms and fill them out properly, but you also need to know how and when to serve them to other parties and file them with the court.

This will often seem daunting to someone with no legal experience, at least when you first begin to research the process. You may even second guess your choice to proceed without legal counsel when you see the list of forms that can be needed for a divorce proceeding.

While it is true that all of the paperwork and supplementary materials necessary to complete a divorce can sometimes be tedious and confusing, and the help of a skilled attorney can indeed be a valuable resource, most couples with simple, uncontested divorce situations are quite capable of filling out the paperwork for themselves.

They will be equally capable of representing themselves in the simple court proceedings that typically ensue in amicable divorces where both parties are on the same page about the end of the marriage, the division of assets, and parental responsibilities.

Retaining the services of a paralegal professional with experience in divorce and family law can also be a cost-effective way to get help with divorce paperwork while still representing yourself in court and not investing in the full cost of retaining a divorce attorney.

Our informative blog will also be an invaluable resource as you move ahead and dig deeper into the process of conducting your own divorce. Your local public library is another excellent resource for self-help materials on preparing and filing a divorce.

Divorce Paperwork: Arizona Courts Are Another Resource

The Maricopa County Courthouse
Historic Maricopa County Court House

The Maricopa County Superior Court has a self-serve area with basic divorce forms and instructions that can be obtained at no cost. Other Arizona courts may offer similar materials — check with your local court clerk. Basic divorce forms can also be found online. While these materials are free, the filing party (or the plaintiff) will still need to pay any court filing fees or costs related to serving the papers to the defendant (which must be performed in a specific, legally verifiable way).

What to Consider When Filing Your Own Divorce in Arizona

Even fairly simple divorces tend to have their own complexities and considerations to be made. Every marriage and every family are different, after all. Here are some of the potentially tricky situations you may have to consider, some of which may require additional, specialized paperwork.

Minor and Dependent Children

Children are often the innocent victims who feel the brunt of the emotional trauma in a divorce. All divorce proceedings must be approached with the best interest of any involved children in mind. Custody, legal authority over decision-making, the division of parenting time, and child support will all need to be worked out. There are legal standards that must be met, so the court will need to approve any plan agreed upon between you and your ex-spouse.

Spousal Maintenance or Alimony

Spousal maintenance, also called alimony, is a legal instrument by which the party in a divorce with the more significant income remits their ex-spouse a regular payment so that they can maintain their standard of living while rebuilding their lives. If you and your ex-spouse had a simple life with an equal division of assets and have no wish to set up spousal maintenance payments, it will make the divorce faster and simpler to process.

Child Support

In the State of Arizona and many other states, child support will largely be determined by a court-established formula. The purpose of child support is similar to alimony in that it is meant to be of an adequate amount so that it allows the children of divorced couples to maintain their standard of living after the divorce. When completing paperwork related to child support, it is essential that you fill out all information about your finances and living situation completely and accurately. Any false or misleading information on such documents intended to either make you look like the better parent or make your income appear less than it truly is will subject you to serious liability if disproven in court.

What to Consider When Filing Your Own Divorce in Arizona
African student guy sit at desk hold papers tasks having difficulties with test, company lawyer read contract terms and detail feels discontented, received bad news from bank unpleasant letter concept

Shared Debts

Married couples share bank accounts on a routine basis, but they also often share credit cards, mortgages, and car loans. When a marriage ends with shared debts on the line, the divorcing couple must decide who will take responsibility for them — and if they can’t decide, the courts will. We don’t always think of debtors as a factor in divorce, but they can be major factors and stand to gain or lose a significant amount.4

Business Interests

If the couple owns one or more businesses together, the terms of the divorce will need to establish what happens with these business assets. This will begin with determining the value of the business and what share of the business can rightfully be claimed by each party. Whether the business was established during the course of the marriage or brought into the marriage by one of the parties will also play a major role.

Separate and Commingled Property

Sometimes court intervention is needed to determine what property belongs to which party in a marriage, and what property should be considered community property. 5 The value and ownership of all such property needs to be established if the parties cannot amicably divide such assets among themselves to the court’s satisfaction.

Assets and Financial Instruments

Bank accounts, retirement accounts, and investments all need to be considered just like business interests and real property. The better you and your ex-spouse can do dividing such assets up among yourselves before filing for divorce, the cheaper and faster your divorce will likely be.

If any of the above situations apply to your divorce you may want to enlist the services of a qualified attorney. If, however, you can come up with a plan to amicably work out these issues with your ex, you may be able to continue representing yourself in the divorce case.

Representing Yourself in an Arizona Divorce

If you choose to represent yourself in divorce court in the State of Arizona, you will essentially be treated as though you are an attorney. This means you will be expected to know the area of the law in which you’re practicing — in this case, family law, and divorce specifically. Make sure to read up on every step of the process before you ever serve your ex-spouse the initial divorce papers.

Know exactly what to expect, and make sure you have the following tasks in order.

  • Knowing which documents are necessary, and obtaining or drafting them
  • Understanding where to file which documents
  • Meeting important deadlines for filing documents and responding to notices
  • Keeping a court schedule and not missing hearings or appearances

Something as simple as missing a deadline can jeopardize the success of your DIY divorce and even lead to you being limited in your ability to further participate in your case on your own behalf. If you should accidentally fail to appear at a scheduled hearing, the consequences may be similarly dire as the case will likely proceed without you being there to speak for yourself.

Timeline for Initiating a Divorce Without a Lawyer in Arizona

Timeline for Initiating a Divorce Without a Lawyer in Arizona
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To be able to file for divorce in the State of Arizona, you and/or your spouse need to be a resident of the state for at least 90 days. If you do not meet these criteria, you should look into the divorce laws for the state you previously held residence or wait until you meet the 90-day Arizona criteria before proceeding with your divorce.

In the State of Arizona, the first action to be taken in a divorce case is for one spouse (who henceforth becomes the plaintiff) to file a document called a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage” with the court clerk and pay the necessary filing fee. This fee can vary by county or jurisdiction and is routinely in the hundreds of dollars.

At this time, the other spouse (who takes on the role of defendant) must also be served with a copy of the petition, which will include a summons to court. The defendant then has 20 days from the date they were served the papers to file their written response to the court. This window is extended an additional 10 days if the party being served is out of state. In amicable cases where the spouses are working together to get the divorce processed, the formal service process can be waived through a notarized legal instrument called an “Acceptance of Service.”


*Editor’s Note: This article was originally published March 14, 2018 and has been updated July 25, 2022.



  1. Friedberg, L. (1998). Did unilateral divorce raise divorce rates? Evidence from panel data. American Economic Review, (88) 3, 608-627 Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://www.nber.org/papers/w6398
  2. Sales, B. D., Beck, C. J., & Haan, R. K. (1992). Is self-representation a reasonable alternative to attorney representation in divorce cases. Louis ULJ, 37, 553. Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/stlulj37&div=33&id=&page
  3. Yegge, R. B. (1994). Divorce Litigants Without Lawyers. Family Law Quarterly, 28(3), 407–419. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25739993
  4. Ratner, J. R. (2010). Creditor and debtor windfalls from divorce. Est. Plan. & Cmty. Prop. LJ, 3, 211. Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/epcplj3&div=16&id=&page
  5. Patton, M. (2005). Quasi-Community Property in Arizona: Why Just at Divorce and Not Death. Ariz. L. Rev., 47, 167. Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/arz47&div=12&id=&page
Jobs With High Divorce Rates

Pay Raise or Divorce Papers? Some Careers Sink Marriages

Though both marriage and divorce rates are declining, divorce is still fairly common in Arizona. 1 Every year, thousands of couples decide to go their separate ways and begin new lives apart from one another. For those who are in or are entering into a marriage, divorce can be an intimidating and outright scary concept.

Many people wish to know how to foretell which marriages will end in divorce. Unfortunately, there is no perfect algorithm that can determine which marriages will last and which won’t. A lot of marriages end because of a combination of factors that become insurmountable.

However, individuals in certain professions may be more likely to divorce than other people. In some cases, this may be because the job does not pay enough; economic hardship has been shown to lead to divorce.2 However, there are other factors that can lead employees in some industries to be more prone to divorce.

Bringing Work Stress Home

It should be no surprise that jobs and divorce are correlated in some way. For most people, work is a large consumer of time. It makes sense that one’s work would have some impact on one’s home and personal life.

Stress is a common part of having a job. 3 Whether you are working with your hands, sitting at a desk, or have variable responsibilities, you have likely faced tension and stress about your job. Most people want to perform their tasks well, and this adds pressure to one’s daily performance. The stress of the tasks themselves, coupled with the pressure of providing for one’s family, can create significant stress for employees.

When employees are stressed, they often bring their concerns home with them. Sometimes, they are able to discuss their concerns. In other situations, they simply bring tension from their work environment into their home. This can ignite arguments and create an unpleasant home environment if not properly managed. This kind of environment creates a situation in which pent-up outside concerns, issues, and resentments can easily arise in an argument. When these kinds of explosive fights occur between couples, they can begin to erode the marriage.

If employees are not cautious, the stress from their job can do major damage to their families and relationships. When people do not safely and properly express their emotions, they create unpleasant situations throughout their lives. These unpleasant situations often lead their partner to consider divorce.

What Jobs Are Most Associated With Divorce?

As mentioned, workers in some professions are at a higher risk for divorce than others. In some situations, the industry has added stressors that create tension in a marriage. In other situations, the employees work strange hours or long shifts, which can create a work-home imbalance. Yet, other professions create environments where it is easy to make choices that affect a marriage, such as drinking too much, going on work outings, or being unfaithful. No matter the reason, it is important to be aware if you or your spouse works in one of these industries. You may be at an elevated risk of divorce.

Gaming Managers

Gaming Managers

Gaming and casino managers seem to have the highest divorce rate of any profession, with around 52% of marriages ending in divorce. There are many possibilities regarding why this may be. Casino employees keep abnormal working hours, as their industry is busiest on nights and weekends. Gaming managers are often given drinks on the job, meaning that they may arrive home inebriated after a shift. What’s more, there are many other salacious activities that occur at casinos and gaming halls, which can easily get employees into trouble with either the law or their spouses.



Members of the armed forces often have high divorce rates as well. Military jobs are high-stress and require intense dedication. Many families have to move from base to base without having a say in the decision, and the work is often underpaid. In order to remain with their loved ones, military employees often marry young, which is also a risk factor for divorce.4 Military members are often stressed or on high alert, which can take a significant toll on their mental health. This can create issues and increase the tension in their marriage.

In many of these marriages, the couple does not have the time, energy, or financial resources to properly address and resolve their issues. In others, frequent deployments, military schools, and other separations can create stress, reduce the marital bond, and even invite temptation. For some military members, divorce is a solution to unhappiness.

Food Service

Food Service

Individuals who work in the food service industry are more likely to get divorced than in other industries. This includes professions such as bartending, serving, or cooking at a restaurant, nightclub, or bar. Generally speaking, long hours play a significant role in this statistic. Most food service workers have to work nights and weekends, often without significant pay. Even with tips, waitstaff and bartenders do not usually make the kind of money that would be required to offset the detrimental lifestyle.

The service industry is also highly stressful, despite the inadequate pay. Restaurants and bars are often busy, and the stressful work environment can lead to mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. Substance abuse is also common in the service industry, which can lead to significant problems within a marriage.

Healthcare Support

Healthcare Support

Healthcare support staff positions have high rates of divorce. This category includes positions such as nursing assistants, home health aides, hospice careers, physical therapy assistants, etc. They often have to take care of a patient’s most basic needs, such as bathing and general hygiene. Some patients face terminal illnesses or end-of-life plans. These situations can easily leave an individual feeling emotionally and physically drained at the end of the day.

Though these individuals are in highly emotional and demanding situations, they do not get paid as much as nurses, physical therapists, or doctors do. This means that they may lack the resources to pay for couples’ counseling or therapy, which can often help to avoid divorce. They likely feel stressed about their financial situation, which can further erode their relationship with their spouse. Similar to military personnel, healthcare support staff may lack the time, energy, and resources to repair or maintain their marriage.

Flight Attendants

Flight Attendants

As part of their job, flight attendants travel from city to city. This often means staying overnight in hotels to wait for the next flight they must work. Sometimes they are on call for days at a time and are unable to see or speak to their families while they work. These hours can make it difficult to maintain a relationship, as it is difficult to plan time together with such an erratic schedule. If a couple is looking to get counseling, it may also be difficult to schedule appointments around flights and overnight stays. So much time apart can make it difficult to build a life with someone, and many end up getting divorced.



No one likes to receive calls from telemarketers, but it turns out being on the calling end of things is not so pleasant either. Telemarketing is a repetitive job with little room for advancement or job growth. As marketers change their methods frequently, there is little job security. What’s more, the pay is very low with very few rewards and perks.

These kinds of jobs breed unhappiness, resentment, and mental illness. Many people suffer low self-esteem when their job does not give them fulfillment or reward for their work. Telemarketing is one such job, and employees bring their frustration home to their spouses. This can quickly damage even the most stable of marriages.

Lowest Divorce Rates

It is worth noting that not all professions have a grim outlook as far as divorce is concerned. There are many common professions that have particularly low divorce rates, which can provide hope for some couples. Some of the professions with the lowest divorce rates include:

  • Actuaries
  • Clergy members
  • Scientists
  • Software developers
  • Physicians and surgeons
  • Chemical engineers

marriage counseling

While a job in one of these fields cannot guarantee that a couple will not get divorced, it does illustrate a key point about the connection between jobs and divorce. Many of the above positions offer competitive salaries and benefits are often included. With the additional income and healthcare support, many couples can afford counseling to work through their problems. They also likely have access to mental health support, which can help a marriage even if only one member participates.

Divorce Options for a Smoother Process

For many people, divorce is a frightening situation. Changing one’s entire life and family structure is certainly intimidating, and it can be difficult to traverse the emotions that occur during this time. What’s more, divorce often represents a significant cost. As we have seen, employees with low incomes are more likely to get divorced, meaning that the cost of the process is likely significant.

It may be helpful to know that you have options when it comes to seeking a divorce. There is no single way to get divorced, and you can tailor the process to your unique situation. Though you will have to get legal assistance during this time, you do not have to spend thousands of dollars for a litigation expert. In some cases, divorces can be relatively smooth and peaceful if both parties work together.

Explore Separation

Before you go through the legal process, it can be helpful to explore separation. This allows you and your spouse to get a reprieve from the stress of your marriage without going through the legal divorce process. In some cases, couples find that their problems reside outside of their marriage. Knowing this can save you a significant amount of time, money, and heartache.

Seek Mediation

Many couples find that mediation is a helpful alternative to courtroom litigation when negotiating divorce terms.5 Not only does this save a significant amount of time, it can lower the cost of a divorce significantly. Paying for two attorneys to represent you and your spouse in court can be oppressively expensive. However, with a mediator, there is only one person in the room with you. You and your spouse discuss your assets and how to divide them equally. The mediator is present to help move you through any disagreements and to ensure that your terms are fair and legal.

Though you will still have to appear in court for your divorce to be official, this can be a great way to negotiate the terms of your divorce. This is especially true if you and your spouse are divorcing fairly amicably and can communicate with one another with a professional present.

Disclose All Assets

Some people believe that hiding assets will help them to retain 100% of those hidden assets during a divorce. This never works the way it is intended and only slows the divorce process down. The court nearly always finds the hidden assets, and they may need to ensure that you aren’t hiding anything else. This can extend the court process and add additional fees and fines for both you and your spouse.

Use Online Document Drafting

Use Online Document Drafting

Rather than hiring an in-person attorney to draft your divorce documents, it can help to use online document drafting services. An online legal document preparer can save you time and money, while still giving you the professional divorce documents required to make your divorce legally binding. These documents are created and reviewed by attorneys who understand the needs of couples and the challenges of the divorce process. You can feel confident about your divorce documents without spending unnecessary money and time on expensive in-person divorce document drafting.

*Editor’s Note: This article was originally published Mar 13, 2018 and has been updated July 18, 2022.


  1. Sbarra D. A. (2015). Divorce and health: current trends and future directions. Psychosomatic medicine, 77(3), 227–236. https://doi.org/10.1097/PSY.0000000000000168
  2. Scott, S. B., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Allen, E. S., & Markman, H. J. (2013). Reasons for Divorce and Recollections of Premarital Intervention: Implications for Improving Relationship Education. Couple & family psychology, 2(2), 131–145. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0032025
  3. Mensah A. (2021). Job Stress and Mental Well-Being among Working Men and Women in Europe: The Mediating Role of Social Support. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(5), 2494. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18052494
  4. Cohen P. N. (2019). The Coming Divorce Decline. Socius : sociological research for a dynamic world, 5. https://doi.org/10.1177/2378023119873497
  5. Hahn, R. A., & Kleist, D. M. (2000). Divorce Mediation: Research and Implications for Family and Couples Counseling. The Family Journal, 8(2), 165–171. https://doi.org/10.1177/1066480700082009
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