File for Divorce in Maricopa County, Arizona (AZ) | Divorce in Maricopa County
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Divorce in Maricopa County

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Online Divorce in Maricopa County

divorce in Maricopa County

Please note: OnlineDivorce.com in Maricopa County, Arizona, is not eligible to provide legal advice. Being a document preparation service, not a law firm, Online Divorce provides the information below for informational purposes only.

The easiest and fastest way to get a divorce in Maricopa County, Arizona, is by not contesting the case. Nowadays, the majority of couples across the US prefer an uncontested dissolution to avoid lengthy and costly litigation. An uncontested dissolution of marriage means that the spouses settle all the disputed issues of their case out-of-court, by signing a Settlement Agreement. By opting to have an uncontested divorce, the spouses will have a lot of options on how to arrange the entire process from collaborative divorce, mediation, and counseling to do-it-yourself divorce.

However, filing for divorce on your own may be complicated even if the spouses want to part amicably. There are lots of legal papers needed to be filled out, and sometimes, it can take a lot of time to sort through them all and complete them correctly. In such a case, OnlineDivorce.com provides a quick and affordable solution.
OnlineDivorce.com has already helped thousands of couples get a divorce without a lawyer in Maricopa County, making the dissolution process as simple as possible.

As a document preparation company, OnlineDivorce.com provides an inexpensive and efficient service. The customer can start the case online by answering a questionnaire, and receive the completed printable divorce paperwork kit within two days by email. Online Divorce takes into account the Family Law of the state and the local rules of a specific county, to provide the correctly completed documents and guarantees that the court will approve them. The spouse who initiates the case needs just to print the ready forms, sign them, and file for divorce in the Superior Court of Maricopa County.

When legal paperwork is an issue, Online Divorce in Maricopa County is a cheap, fast, and reliable alternative to using an attorney's help in an uncontested case. Step-by-step guidance through the process makes using this online service simple, and the customer support team is always available to answer any questions.

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Valid grounds to get divorce in Maricopa County

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Arizona is one of three US states in which covenant marriage is legally recognized. In a covenant marriage, the parties agree to obtain pre-marital counseling and accept more limited grounds for later seeking a divorce.

Thus, grounds for divorce in Maricopa County vary depending on whether the marriage is traditional or covenant.

Fault-based grounds are related to a covenant marriage. Under the Sec. 25.903 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, they include adultery, felony conviction, abandonment for at least one year before filing for divorce in Maricopa County, sexual or physical abuse, drug or alcohol abuse, living separate and apart for at least two years before the commencement of an action, and living separate and apart without reconciliation for at least one year from the date the decree of legal separation was entered. The petitioner must prove all these grounds before the court.

In traditional marriage, the spouses can obtain a no-fault divorce in Maricopa County, Arizona. Thus, under the Arizona Statutes, Sec. 25.312, the court shall enter a decree of dissolution of marriage if the marriage is irretrievably broken.

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Custody of the child in Maricopa County

Custody of the child in Maricopa County

In Maricopa County, as well as in other Arizona counties, divorce with children involved must be decided following the best interests of the child.

Like with other states, in Arizona the parents decide between two types of child custody: legal and physical, called legal decision-making and parenting time in Arizona. Both types of custody arrangements may be either entered as sole or joint.
If the spouses reach an agreement about how to share their parental rights and liabilities, the judge will consider this parental agreement and the ability of the parents to cooperate. Otherwise, the court decides at its own discretion. However, in any case, in a divorce in Maricopa County with a child involved, the court evaluates numerous factors associated with a child's physical and emotional well-being.

Under the Arizona Statutes, Sec. 25.403, these factors include:

  • the preferences of both parents;
  • the child's desires if he or she is of suitable age and maturity to express their preferences;
  • the past, present and potential future relationship between the parents and the child;
  • the child's adjustment to their home and school environment;
  • the mental and physical health of the child and parents;
  • the ability of one parent to allow the child more frequent contact with the other parent;
  • any facts of domestic violence in the family (if the court finds the existence of significant domestic violence it shall not award joint custody);
  • and any other relevant factors.

Unless the court finds that parenting time would be harmful to a child, each parent is entitled to reasonable parenting time, regardless of whether he or she is granted legal decision-making power.

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Rules for child support in Maricopa County

Under the Arizona Statutes, Sec. 25.320, in a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, the court may order either or both parents to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for the support of the child, without regard to marital misconduct.

In Maricopa County, child support is determined following the Arizona Income Shares Model, meaning that the amount of money that would have been available to the children if the marriage had not faltered should be estimated. And then, this resulting amount shall be divided proportionally according to each parent's income. An exact amount of child support should be calculated using the Arizona child support worksheet.

As is stated in Sec 25.320 of the Arizona Statutes, the Supreme Court shall base the guidelines on all relevant factors, including:

  • the financial resources and needs of the child;
  • the financial resources and needs of the custodial parent;
  • the standard of living the child would have if parents had not separated;
  • the physical and emotional condition of the child;
  • the child's educational needs.
  • the financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent;
  • the medical support plan for the child;
  • the duration of parenting time and related costs.

Along with it, the amount of child support is typically reviewed every four years in order to meet all the basic needs of the child more accurately.

Rules for spousal support in Maricopa County

Rules for spousal support in Maricopa County

In a divorce proceeding in Maricopa County, alimony can be granted by the court for either spouse for any of the following reasons:

  • In the process of division of property, the reasonable needs of the spouse were not met.
  • The party seeking alimony is not able to support himself/herself, or he/she is the child's custodian, which does not allow him/her to work outside the home.
  • Either spouse has significantly reduced his or her income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other party.
  • The separation occurred after 10 years of marriage or more, or either spouse reached such an age that he or she was unable to get a job that would allow him or her to support himself/herself.

According to the Arizona Statutes, Sec. 25.319, the amount and duration of the alimony largely depends on the financial resources of the spouse who will provide support. Besides, the court shall also consider various factors when deciding on maintenance, including but not limited to:

  • the length of the marriage;
  • the standard of living established during the marriage;
  • the sources of income of each spouse;
  • each spouse's' age, as well as physical and mental health;
  • the time required for the receiving spouse to acquire the necessary professional skills;
  • and any other relevant factors.

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Property division in Maricopa County

Property division in Maricopa County

To understand how property is divided in a divorce in Maricopa County, it is worth knowing that Arizona is a community property state. In a community property state, the Superior Court shall divide the spouses' property equally if they cannot do it before filing for divorce in Maricopa County on their own. All the marital property that the couple acquired in marriage, up until the filing date, is subject to division. In Maricopa County, the court shall not divide assets, which are considered as separate property of each spouse, including anything acquired before the marriage or gifted to or inherited by either spouse.

Although Arizona is a no-fault state and the court shall not consider marital misconduct when dividing marital property, according to the Arizona Statutes, Sec. 25.318, the court does consider economic fault and dissipation of community property. Thus, the court may consider all debts and obligations that are related to the property, including accrued or accruing taxes that would become due on the receipt, sale, or other disposition of the property. If it is proved that either spouse wasted any marital assets, the innocent spouse should not be responsible for those expenses and can receive compensation for any waste.

Mediation support in Maricopa County

When getting a divorce in Maricopa County, all spouses involved in a contest case have to go through mediation sessions before going to a divorce trial. The mediator is a neutral party which directs all its efforts to helping the spouses overcome disputes and find a compromise. At the same time, the intermediaries do not force the spouses to make decisions and do not take anyone's side.

If the divorce is uncontested, the court has the right to postpone the case for a period not exceeding 60 days to allow the couple to use the services of intermediaries and to try to reconcile.

Spouses who have minor children from the marriage are required to take parenting classes. The classes last an average of 4-6 hours. Parenting classes are needed to help parents and children cope with the stress in the divorce process and to reduce the emotional pain.

How to file for divorce in Maricopa County | Step-by-Step

1

Foremost, to apply for divorce in Maricopa County, the couple has to meet Arizona residency requirements. According to the Arizona Statutes, Sec. 25.312, one of the spouses must be a state resident and live in Arizona for at least 90 days before filing for divorce. Members of the armed forces who are not residents of the state but are stationed in Arizona for at least 90 days also have the right to get a divorce within the state.

2

To start the divorce process in Maricopa County, the petitioner has to file the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage together with other required initial divorce forms at the Clerk of the Superior Court in the county of residence of either spouse.

3

The plaintiff has to make at least two copies of all documents and leave one copy with the Clerk of Court which is stamped with the date and time. The plaintiff is required to pay a court filing fee unless he or she is eligible to file the Application for Deferral of Filing Fee.

4

After filing the Petition, the plaintiff should decide how to serve divorce papers to the spouse. In Maricopa County, serving divorce papers means delivering copies of the Petition and the Summons to the respondent within 120 days of the date of filing. It may be accomplished:

-  directly or via U.S. Postal Service (with a blank "Acceptance of Service" form);

-  with the Sheriff's Office assistance;

-  by hiring a private process server;

-  or with service by publication, which can be used as a last resort if the respondent cannot be located.

If the other party will have 20 days from the date of service to file a Response. If they filed to respond within the required time frame, the petitioner may apply for a default judgment from the court.

5

Following the Maricopa County divorce timeline, once all the required papers have been filed in court, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period.
So even if both parties agree on the important matters of their dissolution, it still takes a minimum of 60 days to get a divorce in Arizona, though typically, the average uncontested dissolution process takes about 90 days to be finalized.

6

A final court hearing is the last step for obtaining a divorce in Maricopa County. Unless the spouses have minor children, it is not mandatory for the spouses to attend the hearing. The court may appoint the hearing at its discretion on a case-by-case basis.

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Filing fees for divorce in Maricopa County

How much a divorce can cost in Maricopa County depends on many factors. Nevertheless, the court filing fee, which is about $300, is mandatory for all couples, except for those qualified for a fee waiver due to financial hardship. To apply for a waiver, the plaintiff has to disclose their financial information and fill out the Request to Waive Court Fees.

How long will it take?

How long it takes to finalize a divorce in Maricopa County typically depends on whether both parties agree on child custody, spousal support, distribution of the property, and other issues. An uncontested process is usually fast and takes much less than a contested one. An average uncontested divorce takes between 90 and 120 days.

Filing for divorce in Maricopa County | Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a divorce cost in Maricopa County?
The cost of any dissolution of the marriage in Maricopa County, Arizona, starts with a court filing fee. The other expenses vary depending on the unique circumstances of the case. Many dissolution options are available - from a do-it-yourself process to traditional litigation. Thus, the cost of the whole procedure will depend on whether the spouses seek the help of legal representatives, and whether they contest the case or can cooperate and organize an amicable dissolution process.

How do you file for divorce in Maricopa County without a lawyer?
In Maricopa County, the spouses can proceed without legal representatives and arrange a DIY divorce. This option allows the spouses whose case is simple enough to save money. The central issue of such a procedure is drafting the paperwork on your own, and OnlineDivorce.com provides the solution.

What forms are required for an uncontested divorce in Maricopa County?
The primary legal paperwork the plaintiff has to file with the court to start the case in Maricopa County, Arizona, includes:

  • Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
  • Summons
  • Parent's Worksheet for Child Support Amount
  • Child Support Order
  • Joint Custody Parenting Plan
  • Affidavit of Service
  • Acceptance and Waiver of Service
  • Decree of Dissolution of Marriage

Can I file for legal separation in Maricopa County, Arizona?
Arizona Family Law allows married couples to file for legal separation instead of dissolution of marriage. The procedure of legal separation follows similar requirements as a dissolution of the marriage. The spouses have an opportunity to allocate their rights and liabilities but without the right to remarry.

When is it allowed to remarry after a divorce?
The state of Arizona does not require any waiting period to remarry after the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage is signed by the judge. Once the marriage is legally terminated, parties are free to remarry, if they want to do so.

Divorce in Maricopa County online

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Here is how OnlineDivorce.com makes completing divorce papers easier:

  • We provide the full divorce packet required by the local court - clients do not need to drive to their local courthouse to get the blank forms or search for the right divorce forms online. In rare cases, local county forms can vary in color, paper material, size, or bar code, so they may need to be obtained directly from the county clerk's office.
  • We complete the necessary forms for clients based on their answers given in a simple guided online interview - clients do not need to understand family law or read through complicated instructions to figure out how to fill out the forms themselves.
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Divorce Courts in Maricopa County, Arizona

Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County
Clerk Name:
Michael K. Jeanes
Court Address:
201 West Jefferson, Phoenix, Arizona 85003
Phone:
602-37-25375
Fax:
602-506-1561
Clerk Hours:
8am-5pm