Making Your Divorce Quick and Painless

Perhaps you and your spouse have been waiting for the new year to file for divorce. Now the issue is how fast can this happen. Even if you agree on everything, there are a number of time requirements for obtaining a divorce in most states, including Arizona. In Arizona either you or your spouse must have been domiciled in the state for at least 90 days prior to the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage. After you file your divorce, your spouse must be given notice of the divorce.

A sixty-day waiting period is required for every Arizona divorce. This period begins on either the date a process server or the sheriff hand delivers the petition for dissolution on you or your spouse or the date that a voluntary appearance signed by your spouse is filed with the court.

A decree of dissolution of marriage cannot be entered until the sixty-day waiting period has expired, although most cases do not resolve this quickly. The length of time it takes to resolve your case or to go to trial depends in large part upon the extent to which you and your spouse reach agreement on the issues without the necessity of trial, the court where your action is pending, and the judge’s caseload. Your divorce becomes final once the judge signs the decree of dissolution of marriage and it is filed with the Clerk of the Court.

Unlike marriages, where parties often go to a different destination outside their home state for the marriage ceremony, divorces must be obtained where the Court has jurisdiction to adjudicate the issues.

You may be able to obtain a divorce in another state or country if you are able to meet the jurisdictional requirements. That means you must meet that state or country’s residency requirements and waiting period. In addition, the other state or country must have jurisdiction over your spouse, the marital assets and the children to enter orders that will be recognized in Arizona.

If you are domiciled in Arizona, your marital assets are in Arizona, and the children reside with you here in Arizona it is much better to simply go through the process of obtaining an Arizona divorce. Otherwise, you may have found that you spent a lot of time and money on obtaining a “quickie” divorce that is not going to be recognized in Arizona.

About the Author:

Marlene Pontrelli is a Member in our Phoenix office. Marlene is a certified specialist in family law. Her practice focuses on all aspects of family law including dissolution, post-dissolution, paternity, child custody and child support matters. She is admitted to practice in California and Arizona. She is a member of the State Bar’s Family Law Practice and Procedure Committee and is a judge pro tem for the Superior Court of Maricopa County in family law. She has extensive trial and appellate experience including appearing before the Arizona Court of Appeals, Arizona Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ms. Pontrelli has written several books, including as a co-author of the Divorce in Arizona book. She is a frequent lecturer in the area of family law and has conducted workshops throughout the country. Ms. Pontrelli is also an adjunct professor at The Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University, where she teaches the family law class. Marlene may be reached in our Phoenix office at 602-285-5081.