How Long Will It Take to Finalize My Divorce in Arizona?

Wife returning her wedding ring as she filed divorce.

Getting a divorce is not a decision that anyone arrives at quickly. Yet, once you make the decision to go through with a divorce, you will probably want to get through the process as soon as you can in order to move forward with your life. It may help you to have a realistic idea of the timeline ahead.

In some circumstances, it is possible to get a divorce in Arizona in as few as 60 days. However, in most cases, a divorce will take anywhere from two to four months to finalize. Of course, in some situations, the situation may take even longer.

Because each divorce is unique, it is important to work with a skilled divorce lawyer who can advise you regarding the specific facts and circumstances in your case. At Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, our Sun City divorce lawyers can discuss how long it may take to finalize your own divorce, and we can address any other questions that you may have about the process. Call or reach us online today to learn more.

Is Arizona a No-Fault Divorce State?

One important consideration when thinking about the length of a divorce is the role of fault. In fault-based divorce states, the divorce may be dragged out considerably, as the party alleging fault will have to prove it. Fault-based divorces are often contested, too, which can make the process even more complicated.

Arizona is purely a no-fault divorce state. In other words, if you are seeking a divorce, the only reason that you must give for why you want the divorce is that you believe that your marriage is “irretrievably broken.” You do not have to prove fault such as adultery or habitual drunkenness.

However, one exception to this rule exists. If you are in a covenant marriage, then you will have limited grounds for the dissolution of your marriage. You must establish grounds such as:

  • Serious felony
  • Adultery
  • Abandonment of the other spouse
  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Living separate and apart for two years.

If you have not met the two-year separation requirement or established any of the other above grounds, a court will not enter a divorce decree. For this reason, if you have a covenant marriage, you should consult with a Sun City divorce lawyer from our office to learn more about your options.

How Long Do You Have to Wait to File for Divorce in Arizona?

Unless you have a covenant marriage, you will have no waiting period to file for a divorce. However, you will need to go through what is often called a “cooling off” period once you file for a divorce. This waiting period last for 60 days after you file for a divorce Arizona. So, your divorce could not be finalized until the 61st day from the date that you filed your petition for divorce. Even when both parties agree to all of the provisions of the divorce, the 60-day waiting period still applies.

While 60 days may be the mandatory waiting period, most divorces will take longer than this period to resolve, especially if any issues in the divorce are contested. If the divorce is contested, it may take well beyond 60 days from the date that the petition for dissolution of marriage is filed in order to complete the divorce.

What Happens After You File for a Divorce?

Each couple’s divorce case is a little different. It varies from case to case. However, some of the general steps that you can expect after you file a petition for dissolution of marriage:

  • After you file the petition, you must serve your spouse with the divorce papers.
  • If you served your spouse within the state of Arizona, your spouse will have 20 days to file a response. If you serve your spouse with divorce papers outside of the state of Arizona, the time period will be extended by 30 days.
  • If your spouse fails to file a response within the required amount of time, then you can file for a divorce by default.
  • If your spouse does file a response, and the two of you agree on all issues in the divorce, then you can proceed with the divorce case by filing a Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.
  • If your spouse files a response, and you are not in agreement with your spouse, then you will need to mediate whatever issue led to your disagreement or schedule a trial (during which time a judge will issue a decision about the issue) before you can finalize the divorce.

Can Mediation Help to Expedite the Divorce Process?

Disagreements about issues in the divorce such as child custody, property division or alimony can delay the divorce process and even lead to a trial in some cases. For this reason, a couple should aim to resolve issues as early on in the divorce process as possible. Mediation can help.

Mediation is a process in which couples meet to discuss issues with the guidance of a third-party mediator. The mediator is impartial and helps to facilitate the conversation with the goal of getting the parties to arrive at a compromise regarding disputed issues. Because mediation can be effective, often saving individuals a great deal of time and money, some courts will offer free mediation services. Mediation is especially useful in cases involving children, as litigation can be detrimental to young persons.

How Can a Sun City Divorce Lawyer Help You?

One of the many ways in which a Sun City divorce lawyer can help you is by answering that pressing question: How long does divorce take in Arizona? Once an attorney has an understanding of the details of your case, the attorney can provide you with more information about your case’s probable timeline. At Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC, we can do much more than that. We can also assist you by gathering evidence to support your case and by representing your best interests in mediation and in the courtroom. To schedule a confidential consultation, contact us today.

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About the Author

Heather Baker-Mushkatel graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2001, and obtained her Juris Doctorate from Brooklyn Law School in 2004. Heather is an Arizona native that left the state for school, but returned home to practice law in 2004 with her primary area of focus being family law….