If you’ve been contemplating getting a divorce, you aren’t alone. A lot of people in Arizona find that the best course for them going forward is to get a divorce. It can often feel overwhelming, and it’s sad even when it’s the best decision. If you find yourself in this situation, you need to start learning more about the basics of divorce so you understand what needs to happen next.

Arizona Is a No-Fault State

Arizona, like many other states, is a no-fault divorce state. This means that the spouse who is asking for the divorce does not need to prove that their spouse did anything wrong. No one needs to be at fault for the divorce. If you don’t get along and don’t want to be married any longer, you can file for divorce. Of course, you have to pay attention to the requirements for filing.

How Long Do I Need to Have Lived in Arizona Before Filing for Divorce?

First, you should know the residency requirements. In Arizona, you or your spouse will need to have been a resident of the state for at least 90 days before you can file. If you do not feel you can wait this long to get the divorce process started, you can consider filing in a different jurisdiction. Just keep in mind the laws in the jurisdiction where you have residency. You will want to determine which one will be more advantageous to you.

How Long Does a Divorce in Arizona Take?

There’s no easy answer for this because the timeframe will vary from one divorce to the next. In cases where the spouses agree on everything in the divorce and want to get it done as quickly as possible, they will still have to wait 60 days before the divorce will be finalized. This is a cooling-off period just in case the couple decides that they would rather try to work things out than proceed with the divorce.

How Do I Start the Process of Divorce?

The person who wants to get the divorce, the petitioner, will file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the court clerk and then pay the fee. The current fee is $349, but this could change. They will then serve their spouse with a copy of the petition and summons. The recipient will then have 20 days to file a written response if they are living in Arizona. If they are outside of Arizona, they will have 30 days to respond.

Is Spousal Maintenance Always Awarded?

In Arizona, spousal maintenance is not always guaranteed. Alimony is usually only paid in cases where the judge determines that it will be needed for the spouse who earns less. The maintenance could be awarded while the divorce is happening, which is known as temporary support or pendente lite. It could also be awarded after the divorce is final, which means that the support will continue for a fixed term after the divorce.

It is rare for the court to provide permanent spousal support in Arizona. The goal is to provide people with the financial help they need until they can get a job or more training or education for a better career. It is not meant to be permanent. In extreme cases that include advanced age, disability, or illness, the court might require permanent support.

How Is Child Support Calculated?

Child support is calculated using a calculator. The court considers a range of factors when determining the amount of child support that will be paid. This includes the amount of parenting time each of the parents has with the child, the income of both of the parents, etc. Child support will end when a child is 18 years old or when they graduate from high school.

What Is the Mandatory Arizona Parent Education Program?

When you and your spouse have children, the court requires that both of the parents go through a mandatory parenting class before the divorce is granted. This class is to help the children and the parents better deal with the changes and the trauma associated with divorce. The class is between four and six hours. In some cases, the court might grant a waiver to one or both of the parents. The fee for the class will be $50 or less, and parents who have limited financial means can apply to request that the fee is not charged, or that it is payable in installments.

Should You Get an Attorney?

You don’t always need to have an attorney when you are getting divorced. If you have an uncontested divorce where you and your partner both agree on all aspects of the divorce, there’s no reason to use lawyers if you don’t want to. Those who have few assets and debts and who do not have children can save a lot of time and money when they have a DIY divorce.

Of course, in contested divorces, where the couple does not agree on things like the division of assets, custody, or support, you’ll likely need an attorney. Although the law does not require that you have a lawyer, it will often be a better option than representing yourself in complex cases where a lot is at stake.

Talk with a Divorce Attorney in Arizona

Above are some of the most important divorce basics you’ll need to understand if you are getting a divorce in Arizona. Of course, you likely have quite a few other questions you will want to have answered, as well. The best way to get the information you need is to set up a consultation with a divorce attorney in Arizona. They can provide you with the answers you need and can represent your best interests in a divorce case.

As mentioned above, you may not always need to have an attorney, and you could DIY a simple divorce in many cases. However, for complex cases or when your spouse has an attorney, you should have a lawyer working on your behalf.