You’ve just received a Divorce petition from your spouse, and it’s caught you off guard. There were some differences, but you never thought he/she would want to end a marriage, after twenty years, with children, and shared memories. But, perhaps your spouse has met another, and wants to end the marriage, and remarry this partner. Since Arizona is a ‘no fault’ state when it comes to ending a marriage, does it give you any chance to oppose the divorce? This is a guide to understanding the divorce procedure, and using it for your benefit.
Get a Lawyer
You are facing the end of your marriage. Maybe this came as a shock; you thought your marriage was strong, but your spouse wants to end it, and perhaps marry somebody else. You’re under a great deal of stress—this is a major change in your life, and you need the help of an objective professional to guide you through the divorce. There are many procedures, and ignoring them or missing deadlines could cost you future spousal support, or a chance to negotiate a fair settlement.
Never Ignore the Petition
If you fail to reply to the divorce petition, your spouse could be granted a decree within 60 days. Once a petition is filed with the court, it becomes a legal proceeding, and it is never wise to ignore a court. The minute you are served with the petition, you get 20 days if you are within Arizona, and 30 days if you are outside the state. Go to a lawyer; have them review the petition and help you craft a response that addresses your wishes and concerns.
How the Process Works for You
Arizona law imposes a 60 day ‘cooling off’ period. Even if you did not respond to the divorce petition, the 60 day period still holds before your spouse can get a ‘default divorce. That means you have two months to attempt a reconciliation. Rather than attempt to mend the marriage on your own, you would be better off contacting a family lawyer to manage the divorce process.
Your lawyer, in the response, can ask for a Conciliation hearing. That gives you a 60 day pause on the divorce—if the attempt at reconciliation fails, the divorce proceeding resumes 60 days after the meeting. On the other hand, if the reconciliation takes place, that’s the end of the divorce. It gives both you and your spouse time to think about the past, present and future.
Arizona law firms recognize the importance of mediation in divorce. There’s enough trauma to you, your family and even your ex-spouse. With good legal advice, you can minimize the pain of divorce.
Whether or not you get a reconciliation or divorce, you need legal help. A family law firm has the staff to help you manage every aspect of divorce, from getting a fair division of community property to making a plan for your financial future. You need to start a new life and the right family law firm will work with you to make it a reality.