Divorcing If the Spouse Lives Outside Arizona Can Be Complex

Anyone who wants to end their marriage in Arizona must meet the general criteria set forth by the courts. At least one spouse must be a resident of Arizona for at least 90 days prior to filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. While the process is slightly more complex, divorcing if the spouse lives outside Arizona can easily be completed with help from a skilled family lawyer.

Starting the Arizona Divorce Process

The first step is to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Arizona allows couples to divorce because their relationship is irretrievably broken, also known as a no-fault divorce. The person filing the Petition is the Petitioner. The Petitioner must have the divorce petition served to the Respondent. Service is best completed through private process server if you do not believe, or do not know if, your spouse will cooperate with service. If you think your spouse will cooperate, the papers may be mailed via certified mail with return receipt. This will serve as proof that the papers were received by the respondent. Send the petition to the respondent’s last known address. Once the papers have been served, the divorce will proceed unless the spouse does not agree with it and the Court cannot find that the marriage is irretrievably broken. It is important to know, though, that the Court will almost always find that the marriage is irretrievably broken if at least one of the spouses alleges that it is.

Response to the Divorce Petition

Once the petition has been properly served, a spouse living outside Arizona has 30 days to respond by filing a Response to the Petition for Dissolution. This will signal the Court that your spouse intends to participate in the action.

If You Don’t Know Where Your Spouse Lives

Sometimes you may not know where your spouse is living. This can create a more lengthy process but you can still obtain a divorce. You must make an attempt to locate your spouse through reasonable means which may include internet searching, social media profile searches, speaking to their family and friends, or reaching out via e-mail or text if you at least know how to reach them that way. If you cannot find your partner you may be able to get a default divorce through a process known as service by publication. You may ask the court for a default divorce after having completed specific criteria.

When Kids are Involved

When children are involved in your divorce, you must know that the only court that will have “jurisdiction” (or “power”) to make decisions about your children’s care and custody will be the court of the state where the children have lived for the past six months. Jurisdictional litigation can often be contentious and complex.

If the situation is contentious your attorney will help try to resolve the issues while protecting your rights. If you are seeking an Arizona divorce and your spouse lives in another state you may have some questions and concerns. Contact the experienced family law attorneys at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation today.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Divorcing If the Spouse Lives Outside Arizona, or any other family law issue, please feel free to contact Steven H. Everts at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.