Getting a divorce in Tucson
Self-service packet lists the numerous forms involved in filing
As alluded in "Divorce in Arizona, Part 2," it's a good idea to at least consult a lawyer even if you and your soon-to-be-ex are in agreement about every aspect of your divorce. Many authorities contend that even in the most amicable of divorces the Petitioner (the "one who files" the suit) should have an attorney in order to ensure the paperwork is legal and the eventual decree will be enforceable.
As discussed, sometimes those who file know they need an attorney but forget to budget time, energy and money for professional counseling. Even if both parties recognize that the relationship has run its course, the emotional trauma can feel like a death in the family. Grief counseling can be an immense--especially if children are involved. Your attorney can help with appropriate referrals.
Domestic violence resources in Pima County
Another thing experts tell us is that if domestic violence is involved it should be addressed immediately. An attorney can be vitally useful in such cases. In Pima County, local resources are also available, including:
- facilities and organizations listed at AZLawHelp.org;
- Pima County Attorney's Victim Witness Program (read about county initiatives here);
- Pima County Juvenile Court's Domestic Violence Program.
Either party can begin process; no legal advantage obtains
According to the Arizona Superior Court, Pima County Self-Service Packet, either party can begin the process, with or without an attorney; without an attorney begins thusly: "To start a divorce you must fill out a written Petition and other paperwork. In the divorce Petition you will give the judge information about you, your spouse, your children, your property, your debts, and your need for spousal maintenance (alimony). You will tell the judge how you think issues should be resolved, such as child custody, parenting time and child support; who should keep what property; who should pay what debts; and, whether either spouse should pay spousal maintenance. When you fill out and file the Petition, you will also need to fill out and/or file the Summons, Preliminary Injunction, Affidavit Regarding Minor Children, Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance, Order to Complete Course in Domestic Education on Children's Issues and Sensitive Information Sheet.
Office of the Clerk, Pima County Superior Court
"After ALL the paperwork is filled out, you must go to Superior Court to file the Petition and related papers. If a Deferral or Waiver of the Fees/Costs was not requested or approved, you will also have to pay the filing fee at this time. All documents in a divorce case must be filed in the Office of the Clerk of the Court, Pima County Superior Court, 110 West Congress St., Tucson, AZ. Court is open from 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (except for legal holidays). Be sure to get to the court at least an hour before closing to file the papers as it takes time to process the papers.
Serving the filing
"After you file, you must have the Petition and related papers served on your spouse to give him/her notice about the lawsuit. There are several ways to serve papers. These are:
- by acceptance,
- by process server,
- by sheriff,
- by mail, or,
- as a last resort, by publication if you have tried very hard but you cannot find your spouse.
"Service by publication may not get all of the orders you want. Each method of service has special requirements that
you need to know before you try to use that type of service. Instructions about each type of service are in the packet
entitled 'Service of Papers on The Other Party.' "
For more on topics such residency requirements, ending a covenant marriage, and state statutes, please see:
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