Divorce

Divorces are handled in Family Court. The primary function of Family Court is to hear and decide cases relating to legal separation, the dissolution of marriage and child custody issues. Parties in a divorce with minor children, by law, are required to attend a Parent Education Class conducted by the Conciliation Court. The purpose of the class is to share information with parents about the court process and the impact divorce has on children and families. The Arizona Supreme Court’s booklet entitled Divorce in Arizona provides more information relating to this topic.

If appropriate, the court may also order parties participate in Dispute Resolution services through Conciliation Court. Dispute Resolution is required when individuals are unable to agree on child custody or parenting time matters. Dispute Resolution must be completed before the parties’ final court hearing. Either parent may submit a request that, once approved, will require both parties to complete the process.

In addition, counseling services are available to couples to help reduce family conflict and to bring about positive adjustments to a difficult situation. Counseling can also help make the court experience easier and assist individuals in maintaining dignity and self-worth during and beyond the divorce process. If a party requests counseling, he/she may file a Petition for Conciliation with the court. If granted, the court will order the parties to attend counseling sessions. To obtain a Petition for Conciliation, contact the Conciliation Court or your attorney.

Because of the complexity of most divorce cases, it is strongly recommended parties be represented by legal counsel especially if children or property are involved. However, parties may chose to represent themselves without the benefit of an attorney. Parties who pursue this option MUST complete the appropriate forms, file them with the court and adhere to Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure and its time frames.

Under certain circumstances, parties may divorce without a court hearing. Those circumstances include:

  • If you and your spouse agree on all issues in your divorce, then you can submit to the court what is known as a “Consent Decree”. The Court can sign the Decree and formally dissolve your marriage, provided that it complies with the requirements of the law. This process can greatly expedite the resolution of your case.
  • If you file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and your spouse does not file a response within the time provided under the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, you may apply for a “Default Judgment”. A Default Judgment essentially means that your spouse has given up his/her right to contest what you have requested in your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. If your spouse defaults, the Court may grant you dissolution of marriage on the terms you requested provided those terms are consistent with the requirements of the law. The Court may grant you the dissolution of marriage by default, WITHOUT A HEARING, if:
    1. there are no minor children of the relationship;
    2. the wife is not currently pregnant; and
    3. neither party is entitled to spousal maintenance.
The process for obtaining a default decree of dissolution of marriage is generally not difficult and allows you to avoid the inconvenience and delay of having to schedule and attend a Court hearing.

Parties may receive additional information and forms from the following resources:
Clerk of the Court
971 N. Jason Lopez Circle, Bldg A
Florence, Arizona 85132
520-866-5300.

The Clerk’s Office also has satellite offices in Apache Junction, Casa Grande and Mammoth.

Pinal County Superior Court Law Library: Self Help Center
971 N. Jason Lopez Circle, Bldg A
Florence, Arizona 85132
520-866-5466.

Online forms are also available at the following websites:

Arizona Supreme Court

You can view the applicable Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure (Rule 44 for default decrees and Rule 45 for consent decrees) on-line at:

Arizona State Court Rules

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