How to Respond to Divorce Petition in Arizona
Receiving a divorce petition from your spouse makes things much more real because this step initiates the legal process for you. You may feel angry and confused once you’re served. You probably won’t know how to move on from there and what’s the best thing to do.
If you have been served with a petition for the dissolution of marriage in Arizona, you will need to respond. There are a few choices for responding, each one determining the coming steps. Your response is mainly dependent on whether you agree with the alleged facts and the divorce terms.
How Much Time Do You Have to Respond?
There’s a legal timeframe in Arizona, during which you’ll have to respond to a divorce petition.
Once you’re served with the petition for marriage dissolution, you’ll have 20 days to respond. If you fail responding within the 20-day period, your spouse can move forward with a request for default. Once the default is granted, you no longer have the right to contest the divorce terms and conditions.
Possible Divorce Petition Responses
You have a certain timeframe in which you’ll have to address the petition but what’s the best way to respond to it?
You have several choices. If you don’t understand what they are or what they entail, you can consult an Arizona divorce attorney to gain more clarity.
The first option is to ignore the papers, which will eventually enable your former spouse to get a default judgment and finalize the divorce on their terms and conditions.
Alternatively, you can consent to the divorce or you could file a response.
If you consent with the divorce, you’ll get an outcome that’s similar to ignoring the papers. Your former partner will get a divorce that meets all of their requirements in terms of asset division, alimony, child support, etc.
The right to respond enables you to disagree with any aspect of the divorce. This is why you need to exercise the right within those first 20 days in order to present your terms and eventually reach a mutually-beneficial agreement with your ex.
A decision to file a response disagreeing with the terms and conditions proposed by your spouse means you’ll be initiating the so-called contested divorce procedure.
A contested divorce doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult. Once you respond to your ex’s petition, the two of you could reach an agreement. Some compromise will be required to get there but both of you will receive the desired outcome.
If you don’t agree on all aspects of the divorce and you can’t make a compromise, you will have to go to trial. In this instance, both spouses will have to submit a pretrial statement with the Arizona court. The court encourages efforts to file a joint pretrial statement but this isn’t always possible.
Preparing and filing the documents can be a daunting process, which is why you need to hire an experienced Arizona divorce attorney.
In the beginning of the process, the court magistrate will typically schedule you for a settlement conference. The aim of this process is to sort things out before going to court. There will be a settlement judge that will preside over the interaction with your ex. In the end, the judge will prepare an order that outlines all issues you managed to resolve and the ones that will still need to be addressed during the contested divorce court session.
As you can see, there may be a long way to go before your marriage is legally dissolved. You are not obliged to agree to the divorce but there’s no need to contest it “just because.” To determine the best course of action, go over the divorce terms and conditions carefully. Talk to a lawyer about the legal aspects you don’t understand and inquire about the ways in which these could affect your life later on.
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