Filed under: Affordable, Agreement, Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, Cheap Family Law Firm, Cheap Fees, Consent Decree, Discount Arizona Family Firm, Discount Arizona Family Lawyer, Dissolution, Divorce, Divorce Laws, Evidentiary Hearing, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Documents, General Family Law, Grandparents Rights, Great-Grandparents Rights, Maricopa County, Phoenix Family Law, Phoenix Family Law Attorney, Phoenix Family Law Firm, Post Judgment, Settlement
A settlement conference is an alternative dispute resolution mechanism that the Court will generally appoint and refer parties to partake in prior to a trial or evidentiary hearing. All pre and post decree dissolution cases, paternity and maternity matters, as well as grandparent visitation matters are eligible for referral for a settlement conference.
A Judge Pro Tempore is appointed by the court to conduct the conference and is likewise provided with the authority to enter stipulated orders pursuant to Rules 66 and 67, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure (“ARFLP). A Judge Pro Tempore is a neutral attorney who is court appointed to perform specific duties for the courts based on their experience and qualifications. Unlike a parenting conference, parties are allowed and advised to bring counsel with them to this conference. The experienced family law attorneys at Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC provide reliable, proven, and discounted representation for settlement conferences.
During this pre-trial meeting, the Judge Pro Tempore will act as a neutral facilitator, who will evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of both sides in efforts to assist the parties in reaching agreement(s). At a settlement conference, be prepared to provide a general description of the issues in the case, including your views; explain all previous negotiations and results; discuss the possible consequences if your case proceeds to trial; bring relevant financial, property, debt, and income information; bring any other relevant information for discussion, and communicate your needs fully, honestly, and respectfully with the judge pro tempore and the other party and/or their counsel.
If full or partial agreements are reached during the conference, then the ADR office will alert the assigned judge that the parties participated in a settlement conference and a full or partial agreement was reached. Keep in mind that a trial date may be vacated only if full agreements have been reached, resolving all matters.
This is just a basic overview of the settlement conference process. For more information it is suggested that you meet with an experienced Arizona family law attorney. Our law firm is well versed in settlement conference procedure and can be reached directly at 602-515-0841.
Legal Overview Regarding Arizona Jurisdictional Requirements, Grounds for Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce), and Expected Issues Which May Arise.
Filed under: 25-103, 25-311, 25-312, 25-316, 25-319, 25-403, Affordable, Alimony, Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Best Interest, Cheap Family Law Firm, Cheap Fees, Child Support, Custody, Discount Arizona Family Firm, Discount Arizona Family Lawyer, Dissolution, Divorce, Divorce Laws, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Documents, General Family Law, Maricopa County, Opinion, Phoenix Family Law, Phoenix Family Law Attorney, Phoenix Family Law Firm, Spousal Maintenance
In Arizona, Dissolution of Marriage (“Divorce”) is governed by relevant sections of Title 25, Arizona Revised Statutes (“A.R.S.”). In particular, A.R.S. § 25-311 states that Arizona Superior Court’s are vested with original jurisdiction to hear and decide all matters pertaining to Divorce actions. In order for a Divorce action to be brought in a Superior Court, A.R.S. § 25-312 expresses that at the time the Divorce action is commenced, one of the parties to that action must have been domiciled in the State of Arizona for at least ninety (90) days prior to commencement of the action. “Domicile” is considered to mean that of being a permanent resident in a particular jurisdiction. For instance, a party to a Divorce action that is domiciled in Maricopa County, Arizona would have to commence the Divorce action in a Superior Court located within that county. The Domicile requirement is without regard to where the parties marriage occurred.
Arizona is considered a “no fault” State with regard to Divorce actions. For example, in Arizona, pursuant to A.R.S. § 25-316 one party to a Divorce must only demonstrate to the Court that the marriage is “irretrievably broken with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.”
Parties to a Divorce action in Arizona must also be aware that Arizona is a community property jurisdiction. This means, that but for few exceptions, all property and/or debts acquired by the parties during the course of their marriage are subject to equitable division and allocation. Equitable is known to mean as close to 50/50 as possible. It should also be noted that property and/or debt acquired outside of the State of Arizona during the marriage is likewise subject to community property principals. Meaning that in determining equitable apportionment of marital property and/or debts, Arizona courts will characterize any assets and/or liabilities as if they were incurred in the State of Arizona. By doing this, Arizona courts can adhere to community property principals in equitably diving otherwise community property and/or liabilities equitably or as close to 50/50 as possible.
There are many other issues that may arise during the course of a Divorce action in Arizona. For instance, if the parties have children, then custody will be determined by the Court through application of the “best interest” factors listed in A.R.S. §§ 25-103, 25-403, and 25-403.03. Without too much explanation, it is the public policy of the State of Arizona, that absent evidence to the contrary, that it is in a child’s best interest to have substantial, frequent, meaningful and continuing parenting time with both parents. That both parents participate in decision-making about the child. Simply put, there is a presumption of joint custody in Arizona as related to child custody issues.
When children are involved in a Divorce action, in addition to child custody, the parties must be aware of Arizona child support laws. In calculating child support, Arizona courts must comply with the Arizona Child Support Guidelines. Without too much detail on this subject, child support will be factored using each parties gross monthly income(s), parenting time awarded, and other relevant and/or authorized deductions. There is an online calculator that can be used by parties to a Divorce action in Arizona to determine a preliminary child support amount.
As a final consideration to Divorce actions in Arizona, parties must be aware of and consider the possibility of spousal maintenance or alimony. A.R.S. § 25-319 governs the issue of spousal maintenance and set forth several factors for the Court to consider in making a finding for or against such award. Unlike child support however, there is no spousal maintenance calculator and therefore judges are often left with the task of subjectively identifying an appropriate amount and duration based upon the relevant factors listed in A.R.S. § 25-319.
The above listed items should in no way be construed as an exclusive list of all issues and/or matters that can be expected to arise in a divorce action in Arizona. However, the above content is meant to provide a basic overview of the main issues that generally arise in Divorce actions in Arizona. In addition to these general issues, there are many procedural requirements and/or paths that parties can employ throughout a Divorce action in Arizona. For more information on Divorce procedure, please contact me direct.
For more detailed answers, it is suggested that you contact an experienced Arizona family law attorney to discuss the specifics of your unique and individual matter prior to commencing a Divorce action in Arizona.
After reading this legal opinion / overview if you are left with unanswered questions or concerns, it is strongly suggested that you contact me direct so that we can speak at further length about your particular matter.
Filed under: Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, Custody, Discount Arizona Family Firm, Discount Arizona Family Lawyer, Discovery, Dissolution, Divorce, Divorce Laws, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Documents, General Family Law, Maricopa County, Mental Evaluation, Phoenix Family Law, Phoenix Family Law Attorney, Phoenix Family Law Firm, Physical Evaluation, Pleadings, Rule 63
Rule 63, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, (“ARFLP”) provides authorization, in certain situations, for the court to order that a party to a Family Court action submit to a physical, mental or vocational evaluation.
Rule 63, expresses that, with regard to Arizona Family Law Cases, when the mental, physical, or vocational condition of a party or any other person is in controversy, the court may order that person to submit to a physical, mental, or vocational evaluation by a designated expert or to produce for evaluation the person in the party’s custody or legal control.
The order may be made only on motion for good cause shown and upon notice to the person to be evaluated (unless the person to be evaluated is a minor child of one or both of the parties), and to all parties and shall specify the time, place, manner, conditions, and scope of the evaluation and the person or persons by whom it is to be made. The person to be evaluated shall have the right to have a representative present during the evaluation, unless the presence of that representative may adversely affect the outcome of the evaluation.
Rule 63 can be an invaluable mechanism in custody cases where the physical or mental health of one or more of the parties is in question. Meaning that in some way, the requesting party believes that another’s ability to “parent” because of mental or physical defects is paramount to the court’s custody determination. This Rule should not be employed in all cases, nor used to simply harass a party. There are very limited and specific reasons why requests should be made under Rule 63. For more information on whether your case warrants relief under Rule 63, it is strongly suggested that you meet with an experienced Arizona Family Lawyer prior to filing such request.
Finally, Rule 63 provides very specific requirements both procedurally and timing that must be met in using or suggesting evaluators to conduct such examinations. For this reason it is again urged that prior to making this request with the Court, that one meet with an experienced Arizona Family Law Attorney.
Having used Rule 63 many times and in many cases, Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC can assist during your free consultation in determining whether your desired Rule 63 request is reasonable. Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC, Arizona’s 24 Hour Family Law Firm can be contacted at 602-515-0841 or by visiting www.familyattorneys-arizona.com
Filed under: Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, Default Rules, Disclosure, Discovery, Divorce, Divorce Laws, Early Resolution Management Conference, ERC, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Documents, General Family Law, Resolution Management Conference, RMC, Settlement
An Early Resolution Conference (ERC) is generally scheduled when both parties are unrepresented. The ERC is conducted by a conference officer, and during the time set (usually up to 2 hours), the parties and the conference officer discuss which issues have been agreed and which are still in dispute. If all issues are agreed, the conference officer may be able to write up the agreement and take it to a judge to sign and finalize the divorce. If there are still disputed issues, the conference officer will provide a date that the parties return to court to see the judge for a trial.
A Resolution Management Conference (RMC) is generally scheduled when one or both parties are represented by counsel. The RMC is conducted by the judge assigned to the case, and usually lasts 15-30 minutes. This is not a time to present evidence and testimony; rather, it is a time to let the judge know whether or not there are agreements, and to decide what type of services might be appropriate to move the case forward (e.g. mediation, settlement conference, etc.). The judge will generally set a trial date as well as the deadlines for pretrial activities.
Filed under: 25-329, Alimony, Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, Child Support, Consent Decree, Custody, Dissolution, Divorce, Divorce Laws, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Documents, General Family Law, Phoenix Family Law, Phoenix Family Law Attorney, Phoenix Family Law Firm, Response, Settlement, Spousal Maintenance, Waiting Period
The simple answer is because your elective officials have created a law that says you have to. Arizona Revised Statute § 25-329 states:
“The court shall not consider a submission of a motion supported by affidavit or hold a trial or hearing on an application for a decree of dissolution of marriage or legal separation until sixty days after the date of service of process or the date of acceptance of process.”
To put the above provision into context, the Court simply cannot finalize a decree of dissolution of marriage until at least sixty (60) days from the date in which the Respondent was served, either by acceptance of service, signature return receipt confirmation, personal service (process server) or through publication.
It is the opinion of this writer that this requirement has been put into place for two specific reasons. First, the court calendars are simply too overloaded to deal with matters within the first sixty (60) days after service upon the Respondent. Second, public policy is for the promotion of harmonious marital relations. That is by requiring parties to wait sixty (60) days before finalizing their divorce, the Court is affording spouses an opportunity to “cool” off to determine whether reconciliation can be reached in hopes that the marriage may be salvaged.
It’s worth noting that although the Court cannot finalize your divorce until at least the sixty (60) day period is met, the parties remain free to reach binding agreements pursuant to Rule 69, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure during this “waiting” period. These agreements are per se enforceable as a valid contract between the parties. Therefore, although you have to “wait” to make your divorce final, you are free to work out arrangements for property distribution, spousal maintenance, child custody, and child support during this period.
If you and your spouse desire to reach formal agreement(s) during the “waiting” period it is strongly suggested that you meet with and have an experienced family law attorney draft codify your desires in accord with Rule 69.
Filed under: Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Dissolution, Divorce, Divorce Laws, Family Law Attorney, General Family Law, Phoenix Family Law, Phoenix Family Law Attorney, Phoenix Family Law Firm
Today’s blog is not dedicated normal legal insight. If you are looking to be legally enlightened you should stop reading this article now. I my normal quest to keep abreast of legal issues nationally, I came across an article proclaiming, of all things, “January is National Divorce Month.” The article declares that each year divorce professionals notice a spike in divorce inquiries during the month of January. Personally, I believe this proclamation to be a bold statement mainly because no evidence is presented to corroborate such finding other than “couples want to wait until after the holiday season”.
Lets assume for a moment that this notion is true, that in fact January as whole does yield the most amount of divorce inquiries. Why then could this be? Yes, possibly people do want to wait until the holidays are over. Even more, as oddly as it may seem maybe these are “New Year’s Resolutions for some? If this proposition is true, I am not sure that you or I will ever know the answer.
However, as a practicing family law attorney I have compiled a bit a data of my own to determine if my divorce inquiries have historically risen in the month of January. Unfortunately or fortunately, however you may view the situation, my findings do not support the assertion that divorce inquiries increase in the month January. Oddly enough, what I did find however was an increasing trend of related inquires during tax season. I without any substantive evidence to support my position, my theory is that this increase is directly attributable to parties receiving tax refunds and thus having a disposable income source to retain an attorney. Although these findings are of course circumstantial in nature I propose that the correlation suggested is much more plausible than that offered for the alleged basis in the spike of inquires during the month of January.
You be the judge……………………………………
Filed under: Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, Disclosure, Discovery, Divorce, Divorce Laws, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Documents, General Family Law, Phoenix Family Law, Phoenix Family Law Attorney, Phoenix Family Law Firm, Pleadings
The answer to this question is specifically laid out in Rule 49, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. The relevant portions of that rule have been provided for your review. However, the rule itself is rather extensive and often to a pro se party difficult to comply with. For that reason, it is suggested that you meet with an experienced Arizona Family law attorney to ensure that you are providing proper disclosures in your family law matter.
In relevant text, Rule 49 states:
The requirements of this rule are minimum disclosure requirements for every family law
case. Unless otherwise provided for in this rule or agreed to by the parties, within forty (40) days
after the filing of a response to an initial petition, each party shall disclose in writing to every
other party the information set forth in this rule.
Section “A” of Rule 49 governs “resolution statements” and proclaims:
Each party shall disclose a written Resolution Statement in a form that substantially complies with Rule 97, Form 4 or 5, as applicable, setting forth any agreements and a specific, detailed position the party proposes to resolve all issues in the case, without argument in support of the position.
Proposed resolution statements can be found online through the Maricopa County Superior Court and State Supreme Court websites.
Section ‘B” of Rule 49 governs what items must be disclosed in cased where child support is at issue. The following demonstrates the minimum disclosure requirement in child support matters:
1. a fully completed Affidavit of Financial Information on a form substantially in compliance with Rule 97, Form 2;
2. proof of income of the party from all sources, specifically including complete tax returns, W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and K-1 forms, for the past two (2) completed calendar years, and year-to-date income information for the current calendar year, including, but not limited to, year-to-date pay stub, salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income, annuities, capital gains, social security benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, recurring gifts, prizes, and spousal maintenance;
3. proof of court-ordered child support and spousal maintenance actually paid by the party in any case other than the one in which disclosure is being provided;
4. proof of all medical, dental, and vision insurance premiums paid by the party for any child listed or referenced in the petition;
5. proof of any child care expenses paid by the party for any child listed or referenced in the petition;
6. proof of any expenses paid by the party for private or special schools or other particular education needs of a child listed or referenced in the petition; and
7. proof of any expenses paid by the party for the special needs of a gifted or handicapped child listed or referenced in the petition.
Section “C” of Rule 49 governs items that are to be disclosed in cases of spousal maintenance and Attorneys’ Fees and costs. In relevant text, in such situations, the parties must disclose to the other:
1. a fully completed Affidavit of Financial Information on a form substantially in compliance with Rule 97, Form 2; and
2. those documents set forth in subdivision B(2) above.
Sections “D” & “E” of Rule 49 govern items that are to be disclosed in cases where property and debt are at issue. This list is rather expansive and often leads to questions regarding production. Therefore, the specifics thereof of be purposely omitted from this article. If your matter is one involving property or debts, it is highly recommended that you meet with an experienced Arizona Family Law Attorney.
Sections “F” & “G” of Rule 49 require further that both parties properly disclose to the other a list of intended lay and expert witnesses and provide appropriate information and proposed testimony of each.
Finally, Rule 49 mandates that both parties to a family court action have a “continuing” duty to disclose after acquired or newly discovered information related to any of the Rules governing terms. It is important that if any such information is obtained, that you supplement your initial disclosures within thirty (30) days of acquiring such information.
For more information on this or any other Arizona Family Law Matter, contact the experienced Phoenix, Arizona based Family Law Firm of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC.
Filed under: Agreement, Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, Consent Decree, Disclosure, Discovery, Dissolution, Divorce, Divorce Laws, Early Resolution Management Conference, ERC, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Documents, General Family Law, Phoenix Family Law, Phoenix Family Law Attorney, Phoenix Family Law Firm, Resolution Management Conference, RMC, Rule 49, Settlement
The prior installments of this series have focused on the dissolution process prior to the defending party’s filing of a responsive pleading. Part three of this series will focus on the process and procedure of a dissolution matter once both parties have appeared in the case. Meaning, a Petition and supporting documents have been filed, served, and a Response thereto filed by the defending party.
Once a responsive pleading has been filed in your dissolution matter, each party will have forty days (40) days to provide to the other “initial disclosures” outlined in detail by Rule 49, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, (ARFLP).
In addition to initial disclosures, there are many court and private alternative dispute resolution services (ADR), which either party may request referral to by the court. For a better understanding of what ADR services are available, it is suggested that you contact an experienced Arizona family law attorney or the experienced Phoenix, Arizona Family Law Firm of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC.
It should be noted that at anytime, the parties can come to a settlement agreement and/or other partial agreements in accord with relevant sections of the ARFLP. Keep in mind that agreements reached should always be in writing and executed by both parties. If a full settlement is reached in your matter, you may file a notice of settlement with the court and after expiration of the required “waiting” period submit a consent decree and supporting documents to the court for processing.
In the event agreements are not reached, and temporary orders have not been requested, the court will next set either an “early resolution conference hearing” or “resolution management conference hearing”. The purpose of the resolution conferences is to afford the parties an opportunity to discuss reasonable settlement of their matter if they have not already done so. Again, at a resolution conference, the parties can agree on everything, some things, or nothing. A judge will be inclined to enter as binding orders that or those items agreed upon by the parties as a result of a resolution conference.
If a resolution conference proves unsuccessful in fully resolving the matter, then the discovery process will continue or if ready, the parties can ask that the court set a trial date in the matter. After a trial date has been set, it is important to gather and disclose all evidence that a party desires to use to support his or her positions. There are many different ways to go about collecting pertinent evidence. If you have questions or concerns about what information is or is not relevant to your case, it is again suggested that you meet with an experienced Arizona family law attorney or the experienced Phoenix, Arizona Law Firm of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC.
Parties should understand that ADR and settlement is still encouraged even after a trial date has been set in their matter. Likewise, often times appraisals, custody evaluations, interviews, etc. are needed to prepare your case in the event a full settlement is not reached prior to the trial date. To this note, the family court system in Arizona is set up in a way to afford the divorcing parties with every opportunity to settle the matter on their own terms. This generally ensures that both parties are somewhat happy with the outcome of the dissolution. If agreements are not reached and a trial concludes, parties must understand that the judge and not them will make final determination regarding the terms and conditions of dissolution. In this case, more often than not, one or both parties is left feeling unhappy with the terms of dissolution.
This article is meant to be a basic overview of the dissolution process and should not be read as absolute. For more information on this or other Arizona family law matters, it is recommended that you contact and meet with an experienced Arizona family law attorney.
Filed under: Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, Default Rules, Dissolution, Divorce, Divorce Laws, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Documents, General Family Law, Maricopa County, Phoenix Family Law, Phoenix Family Law Attorney, Phoenix Family Law Firm
Following up on the previous installment of this series, if upon expiration of the requisite response period, the defending party has failed to file a response and appearance fee, then the filing party may move for entry of default in the matter pursuant to relevant portions of the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure (ARFLP).
In order to initiate default proceedings, the filing party must file a verified “application for entry of default” with the clerk of the court and deliver the same to the last known address of the defending or defaulting party. Once properly filed and entered by the court, an application for default shall become effective ten (10) days after the filing of the application. It is important to note, that a default shall not become effective if the party claimed to be in default pleads or otherwise properly defends prior to expiration of ten (10) days from the filing of the application for entry of default.
Upon expiration of the ten (10) day period, if the party claimed to be in default has not defended, then the filing party may move for “Judgment by Default”. In certain situations, this judgment may be entered by motion and without a hearing, while in other circumstances judgment by default may only be entered after a court hearing. To better determine whether a hearing will be necessary in your default matter, it is recommended that you consult with an experienced Arizona family law attorney or the experienced Phoenix, Arizona Law Firm of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC.
It is important to note that in domestic relations matters the party claimed to be in default is often given liberal latitude in complying with the rules. To this point, even in a situation where the ten (10) day period has expired, a party claimed to be in default may nonetheless seek to have entry of default or a judgment of default set aside pursuant to Rule 44 (C), ARFLP. In relevant text, a party claimed to be in default may set aside default “for good cause shown.” Furthermore, a party claimed to be in default can seek to set aside a judgment of default by complying with provisions of Rule 85 (C), ARFLP.
From the perspective of a non-lawyer, the default process often presents itself as confusing and convoluted. Therefore, it is again suggested that if you believe your matter is entitled to move by default, that you consult with an experienced Arizona family law attorney to ensure compliance with the rigid procedural requirements.
Filed under: Arizona Family Law, Arizona Family Law Attorney, Arizona Family Law Firm, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, Default Rules, Dissolution, Divorce, Family Law Attorney, Family Law Documents, General Family Law, Maricopa County, Phoenix Family Law, Phoenix Family Law Attorney, Phoenix Family Law Firm
Arizona is a no fault State. Meaning that in order to be divorced, one party must only demonstrate that the marriage is “irretrievably broken with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.” The initiating party to a dissolution action in Arizona is known as the Petitioner. The defending spouse is referred to as the Respondent.
Whether the dissolution involves children or not your action must be commenced by filing a proper Petition with the court of proper jurisdiction. It is important to designate whether your dissolution involves children. If it does, then you will need to file additional forms when initiating your action that would otherwise not be necessary in cases without children. For more information on the filing requirements related to your matter, contact an experienced Arizona family law attorney or the experienced Phoenix, Arizona Family Law Firm of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC.
In addition to preparing the correct paperwork, you must also ensure that you meet the jurisdictional requirements prior to filing. That is, with only a very few exceptions, which will not be discussed herein, one or both parties must have lived in Arizona for a period of at least ninety (90) days prior to commencement of the dissolution action. If this requirement is satisfied, you must then file the dissolution documents in a court of proper jurisdiction in Arizona. That is, the dissolution papers should be filed with the proper court of a county where one or both spouses reside. For instance, parties living in Maricopa County, Arizona would file the dissolution action at one of four Superior Court locations.
After the proper paperwork has been completed and you determine where to file, you must be prepared to pay a filing fee with the clerk of the court to initiate the dissolution action. Filing fees vary by county. Therefore, it is suggested that you contact or visit the clerk of court website in your county prior to filing. At a minimum, this will put you on notice of the fees involved for commencing your action. If you are currently unable to pay the court filing fee, contact the clerk of court in your county to determine how to prepare an application for a fee deferral or waiver.
After your documents have been filed and the proper fee paid, you must now serve all required documents upon the defending party. Correct service of these documents puts the defending party on notice that a lawsuit (dissolution) action has been commenced against them. Without obtaining an extension from the court, the initial documents filed must be served upon the defending party within one hundred and twenty (120) days from the date of filing. If proof of service is not obtained within the requisite time, you run the risk of your action being dismissed by the court. The Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure (ARFLP) allow several different ways for service to be accomplished. Therefore, it is suggested that you contact an experienced family law attorney or the experienced Phoenix, Arizona Family Law Firm of Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC to assist with the service process.
Once the initial documents have been served and proof thereof filed with the Court of proper jurisdiction, the defending party will have twenty (20) days if served in State or thirty (30) days if served out of State to file a proper response with the Court. The Defending party must likewise pay a filing or appearance fee or obtain a deferral or waiver of such fees.
If upon expiration of the response period, the defending party has failed to respond, the filing party may move for “default” in the matter. For more information on the default and further dissolution process, stay tuned for part two (2) of this blog.