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How Long Does Divorce Paperwork Take?

Posted On March 13, 2024 In Divorce

Divorce is never easy either legally or emotionally, but being prepared by knowing what to expect helps take some of the stressful edge off the difficult prospect ahead. Like most states, Arizona is a no-fault divorce state where spouses only need to divorce on the grounds that their marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Although this allows for a smoother process than in the past when spouses had to prove fault in the other spouse such as adultery or abandonment, it doesn’t mean the divorce process flows smoothly. Spouses must file a great deal of paperwork, make full financial disclosures, and settle all aspects of dividing one family into two, including deciding on sharing child custody and the division of marital assets.

Many divorcing spouses hope to get through the process as painlessly as possible and ask, “How long does divorce paperwork take?”

What is the Best-Case-Scenario for Divorce With Little Paperwork?

The length of time it takes to complete the divorce process depends on the circumstances of the divorce. If the spouses have little shared property and agree on all aspects of divorce, including child custody, child support, and the division of community property and debts. Even in the best-case scenario of divorce, one spouse must file a divorce petition which typically requires an attorney’s legal guidance. They’ll also file a summons for the respondent. Then each spouse files a preliminary injunction. If the divorce is uncontested and the spouses agree on all terms, the divorce takes at least 60 days. Arizona has a “cooling-off” period that requires divorcing spouses to wait 60 days after their filing date to finalize the divorce. During this time, the respondent must file a response to the petitioner and a discovery period takes place.

Divorce Paperwork and the Discovery Process

A great deal of paperwork takes place during the discovery process. Each spouse must make full financial disclosures and submit any documents requested by the other party. They also file a “sensitive data sheet” as part of their paperwork for determining child custody. There may be further documents requested and filed for child support and spousal support when appropriate as well as a notice to health insurance providers.

Finally, both spouses must file a “notice to creditors” informing them of the terms of the divorce as each debt is allotted to one spouse or the other.

Divorce Paperwork in a Contested Divorce

When a divorce is contested, there’s far more divorce paperwork as both parties negotiate back and forth with mediation attempts and then take the disputed matters to court for a judge to decide. Your Chandler divorce attorney will guide you through the paperwork involved in a divorce trial. A contested divorce is a far more complex process and requires more billable attorney hours as the attorneys prepare to present testimony and evidence supporting each client’s side of all disputes.

Finally, in both contested and uncontested divorces, both spouses sign the final dissolution of marriage order. Some divorcing spouses fill out additional paperwork to restore their previous last name.