Divorce By Default In Arizona

Mesa’s Expert Divorce Attorneys Explain Everything You Need To Know About Default Divorce

Divorce is an unfortunate and increasingly common part of life for married couples in Arizona. The process can be even more difficult when one spouse refuses or avoids participation. If you or your spouse struggle with paperwork and meeting deadlines, you may want to inform yourself about the Arizona default divorce process. The spouse who files for divorce is known as the petitioner, while the spouse who is served with the petition is known as the respondent.

What Is The Default Divorce Process In Arizona?

What Is a Default Divorce?

A default divorce is a dissolution of marriage granted because the respondent spouse fails to respond to the petitioner’s petition for divorce within the applicable time frame. Sometimes, a spouse is difficult to locate for service (whether intentionally or not), or a spouse procrastinates too long, or simply doesn’t want to respond to the divorce petition.

A divorce petition will go over several issues relevant to dissolving the marriage. Property division, support payments, and more, will need to be addressed in order for a divorce to be finalized. The respondent spouse should admit and deny all allegations made by the petitioner. Any issues listed in the petition by the petitioner that the respondent fails to address will be deemed to be admitted. So if a spouse fails to respond to a divorce petition entirely, they theoretically are agreeing to everything the petitioner listed in the petition. When a default divorce is granted, it is done so by all the terms requested in the petition.

What Is The Process To Getting a Divorce By Default In Arizona?

The first step of the divorce process will always be to file your divorce petition. You will also need to have the petition served on your spouse by a process server. Then, you will need to wait and see if your spouse responds to the divorce petition within the appropriate time frame. If your spouse lives in Arizona, that is 20 days. If your spouse lives out of state, it will be 30 days. Once the applicable time frame has elapsed, you will need to file an Application and Affidavit of Default with the court.

Once the Application and Affidavit of Default has been filed, you must also have them delivered to your spouse. Then, the respondent will have another 10 days to respond. If the spouse again fails to respond within the deadline, you can then request a default hearing. You may want to consider hiring an Mesa divorce attorney to represent you at this hearing.

What Will Happen In My Default Divorce Hearing?

Presumably, you will be the only spouse attending the default divorce hearing. If you hire a Phoenix divorce attorney, they will also be present. At this hearing, the judge assigned to your case will ask you questions, some of which vary by jurisdiction. The judge will need to check that you meet Arizona’s residency requirements for a dissolution of marriage. The judge will ask if your differences are truly irreconcilable, and impossible to solve with marriage counseling if offered free of charge. If it is the wife in attendance at the default hearing, the judge may confirm whether she is currently pregnant. The judge will also ask if the terms in the petition are fair and equitable with regard to property division. If the couple shares minor children, the petition’s terms surrounding child custody must be in the children’s best interests.

Once the judge has asked all the necessary questions in your case, the judge will sign the Default Divorce Decree. You will then need to serve your former spouse with the decree. This must be completed within 3 days.

What Are The Risks Involved With Trying To Get a Default Divorce In Arizona?

If you are the petitioner seeking a default divorce in Arizona, you may run the risk that your spouse can later fight the divorce orders. Your spouse will need to prove to the court that you didn’t put in sufficient effort to locate or serve them with the divorce petition. Even if your spouse is unlikely to succeed in such an argument, it could still be a hassle you have to deal with in the future. It can also be costly in terms of time and attorney’s fees.

If you are the respondent agreeing to a default divorce in Arizona, there is a risk that you may be surprised by the terms of the divorce petition. To ensure that you fully understand everything in the divorce petition before agreeing through default, you should have it reviewed by an experienced Gilbert family law attorney.

Can We Divorce By Default If We Agree On Everything?

If you agree with everything in your spouse’s divorce petition, you are free to not respond and let your spouse proceed with the default process. Your other option would be to proceed with an uncontested divorce through a consent decree. This is also referred to as an uncontested divorce. After waiting the mandatory 60 days after the petition is filed, you and your spouse will file your consent decree with the court. The consent decree will describe how you will address issues like property division, child support, child custody, and spousal maintenance. The consent decree must be notarized and approved by the judge. One special requirement for a consent decree is that if the spouses share minor children, they must attend a parental education course before the consent decree can be finalized.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Divorce By Default In Arizona?

In most Arizona divorces, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period after the divorce petition is filed before the divorce can be finalized. When the spouses disagree on core issues in the divorce petition, it can take far longer- if not months, possibly years. However, divorce by default can be a much quicker process than a standard divorce. Your divorce will be finalized in the default hearing if you divorce by default. That means it will take the amount of time your spouse has to respond to the initial divorce petition (20 or 30 days) plus the 10 days your spouse has to respond to the Application and Affidavit for Default, and any additional time it takes you to complete these steps.

Contact Skilled Family Law Attorneys In Mesa, AZ

When you’re trying to divorce your spouse, the last thing you want to deal with is tracking them down because they refuse to cooperate. An experienced AZ family law attorney can assist you in drafting your divorce petition, locating your ex and serving it on them, and when necessary, complete a divorce by default.

Navigating the complex laws and deadlines around a default divorce is much less stressful when you have a seasoned professional on your side. However, many people are too intimidated to even seek such help because of the high costs of legal representation. Our attorneys believe cost shouldn’t be prohibitive to hiring a knowledgeable, dedicated lawyer to represent you in your divorce. That’s why our service comes at competitive rates, with payment plans designed to be affordable for everyone. Whether you’re just starting to consider divorce, or if your spouse has already failed to respond to the divorce petition, our attorneys are here to help.

To get started with your free case evaluation, call our Arizona Family Lawyers at (480) 263-1699 or use our online form for scheduling today.


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