What happens in a dissolution or divorce?
State laws require that you wait 60 days from the date the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is served upon the Respondent before you can proceed with a divorce. After the 60 days from the date of service passes, the steps necessary in obtaining a divorce will greatly depend on your situation.
A dissolution (divorce) where the parties have been married for a relatively short period of time, have no children, and little property or debt can be less involved. A divorce where the parties have been married for a long period of time, where there are minor children, or where there is a significant amount of property or debt to be divided and the parties are in disagreement may take additional time.
If both parties agree to all issues within the case, the time for processing the case will be less. If the parties are in complete disagreement, the time it takes to get divorced will be prolonged.
The person filing for the divorce is called the Petitioner. The person responding to the divorce is called the Respondent.
Where can I get more information?
It is important to get legal advice from a lawyer. However, the Self-Service Library Center and the Clerk of Court has forms that you can use. You can also go to the Pinal County Clerk of Court and download forms.
You may also complete required forms online through ECOURT.
What is ECOURT?
eCourt is the Superior Court of Arizona's portal for preparing court documents. This Website contains interactive interviews that will assist you in completing the forms necessary to create court documents for Legal Separation, Dissolution of Marriage, Conciliation and more. You can use these forms instead of the forms from the Self Service Center.
To complete the forms follow these instructions: During each interview process, you will answer questions. Please read each question carefully before you answer. Click on the Help link at the top of the page for answers to frequently asked questions, glossary terms used in each interview, and technical support. A review page will display at the end of each section to give you the opportunity to correct any errors made during the interview. The forms can be printed and taken to the Pinal County Clerk of Court for filing after your final review and the interview is finished.
This interview process is provided as a public service, but is not intended to give legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact an attorney qualified in the area of your questions.
This site requires Internet Explorer 5.5 or above. In addition, if you have a popup blocker running, please disable it while using this site.ECourt Forms
Forms are also available at the Pinal County Clerk of Court
How do I start the divorce?
Completing and Filing the Petition.
The first step in your case should be to speak with a lawyer to get legal advice. This will help you determine the best course of action for you.
In Arizona, a divorce is called a Dissolution of Marriage. To start your dissolution or divorce, you must complete a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with Children or a Petition for Dissolution Without Children ” and file it with the court. The form is available at the ECourt site and/or the Pinal County Clerk of Court.
When you file the Petition for Dissolution at the Clerk of Court, you will be given a case number. Your case number will begin with DO. Always keep this number with you when you call or come to court. “Pre-decree” petitions are those filed before a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, Legal Separation or Annulment, or Judgment of Paternity is entered.
The Petition is an important legal document and should be completed carefully. The Petition should include all the information about what the Petitioner is asking for on all issues in the divorce. The Court cannot grant anything that has not been requested properly. With the petition, the initiating party must also complete additional documents that must also be filed with the court. These documents include:
All of these forms are available at: ECourt
Or go to: Pinal County Clerk of Court
How do I file the divorce papers with the Court?
After you have completed the petition and other documents based upon whether your case is with children or without children, you will need to file the paperwork with the Clerk of Court at one of the following locations:
- 971 N. Jason Lopez Circle, Florence, AZ 85132
- 575 N. Idaho Road, Suite 109, Apache Junction, AZ
- 820 E. Cottonwood Lane, Building B, Casa Grande, AZ
There is a fee when you file for divorce
After you have filed your court papers with the Clerk of the Court, you must serve the papers on the other party. “Service” means that you deliver the papers to the other party through a registered process server or a law enforcement officer or by having the other party sign a document to accept service. There are specific rules about how to serve the other party that must be followed. (F.L.R.P 40 and 41)
How do I serve the Respondent with the divorce papers?
Service is required because it is the way that you give legal notice to the other party that you have filed court papers. “Service” means that you deliver the papers to the other party through a registered process server or the sheriff or by having the other party sign a document to accept service.
If you use the process server or sheriff, the process server or sheriff will then file an Affidavit of Service with the Court, when service is completed. This proves that party has been served.
If the other party agrees to accept service, you can serve the other party with an Acceptance of Service form The other party must sign it in front of a notary. This form then must be filed with the Clerk of Court. This proves that the party has been served.
If the Respondent lives out-of-state, he or she may be served by certified or registered mail, return-receipt requested. A Proof of Service Form along with a copy of the return receipt must be filed with the Clerk of Court. This proves that the party has been served. (F.L.R.P. 40, 41, 42 and 43)
The Petitioner must serve the Respondent with a copy of the petition and all of the forms filed with the petition within 120 days after the petition has been filed with the Clerk of Court. If service is not complete, your case will be dismissed.
All of the documents associated with the Petition that are required to be served on the other party include:
If the County Attorney Child Support Division
has been involved with your family, or if you have an ATLAS number, you MUST serve the County Attorney’s office. The County Attorney’s office will ACCEPT service. You must deliver an Acceptance of Service form
to the Child Support Division of the County Attorney’s office.
After the Child Support Office signs the Acceptance of Service, you MUST file the signed Acceptance of Service form with the Clerk of Court. This proves that the County Attorney Child Support Division has been served.
How do I let the Court know that I have served the other party?
Once service has been completed, a Proof of Service form must be filed with the Clerk of the Court. Proof of service shows that you have given a copy of the divorce petition to the other party. (F.L.R.P.43) You can get the service documents through Ecourt.
If you use the process server or sheriff, the process server or sheriff will then file an Affidavit of Service with the Court, when service is completed.
If the other party agrees to accept service, you can serve the other party with an Acceptance of Service form. The other party must sign it in front of a notary. This form then must be filed with the Clerk of Court. This proves that the party has been served.
If the Respondent lives out-of-state, he or she may be served by certified or registered mail, return-receipt requested. A Proof of Service Form along with a copy of the return receipt must be filed with the Clerk of court. This proves that the party has been served.
How long do I need to wait after service?
After the papers are served, you must wait a certain number of days before you can file any other papers. The waiting period varies, depending on the type of service and where the other party resides. The waiting period is the time allowed for the Respondent to file a response to the Petition for Dissolution. If the Respondent does not respond within the time allowed, the case may be able to proceed by default.
After a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed, the Petitioner must serve the Respondent with a copy of the petition within 120 days. Alternatively, a Respondent may sign an Acceptance of Service form. After service of the petition, the Respondent must file a response within 20 days if he or she lives in Arizona. If the Respondent lives outside of Arizona, he or she would have 30 days to file a response.
What happens if the Respondent files an answer or response?
The Respondent can file a reply or Response to Dissolution to the petition.
A Response is a written document filed by the Respondent that gives the Respondent a chance to rely upon and agree or disagree with the requests made by the Petitioner in the Petition. The Respondent must file the response with the Court within a certain number of days and must make sure the Petitioner receives a copy of the response.
There is a fee for filing a response.
Depending on the Response, you may be required to attend a hearing or conference. If a hearing is set, you will receive a notice from the court.
Make sure to change your address with the Court to ensure that you receive all court notices. You must attend all hearings or conferences set by the court.
You may also receive an Order from the court telling you and the other party to attend an Early Resolution Conference (ERC). You both must come to that conference. The purpose of the ERC is to determine whether the Petitioner and Respondent agree on any parts of the divorce. If there are agreements, the Resolution Attorney will assist you in completing paperwork that outlines your agreements. This will expedite the divorce process for you.