If it looks like divorce may be in your future, remind yourself that you are not a failure. The marriage has failed, not you. Over 50 percent of marriages in the United States today end in divorce, so statistically, you are in the majority.
Even though it is a highly emotional time for you and your family, you also need to realize that the divorce should be “divorced” from emotions. From a legal standpoint, you are likely to get better results by treating the marital dissolution like a business transaction.
An experienced Chandler divorce lawyer can review your situation and give you the objective guidance and specialized expertise you need to deal with the legal complexities of a divorce at such a difficult time.
The process for getting a divorce, and how long it takes
Unfortunately, divorces are not as quick and easy as most people assume. In Arizona, it takes at least 90 days to get a divorce. Most divorces take anywhere from six months to one year to complete. It all depends on the circumstances.
If you and your spouse have no children in common, have little to no assets or debts, and are fairly cooperative, the process is much quicker and simpler. If you and the other party agree on all terms that the court requires you to address in the divorce, the best plan is to file a petition that covers all those agreements. Then you agree that the other spouse will not file a response, and you both wait at least 60 days after service is effected on the other spouse to submit a consent decree that each of you has signed. You may have to wait a few days to a few weeks for a judge to get around to signing it—technically they have up to 60 days to rule—but you should receive the order finalizing your marital dissolution no more than three months or so after starting the process.
If the other party does not respond, you can ask the court to start default proceedings against him or her for failure to timely appear or file a response. He or she gets another 10 days’ grace period after that to file a response without penalty. If the other person still does not file a response, then you would file a final request for a default judgment along with a proposed default decree. Likely you will get everything you asked for in the petition, as long as it was reasonable. But you still have to wait at least 90 days from the date of filing the petition before a judge will sign off on the default decree.
If all these conditions are not present, the process usually is more complicated: A response is filed, preliminary hearings are set, usually a mediation session through Conciliation Court takes place, and then there is the final hearing or trial. Because the courts are swamped with divorce cases and their dockets, or calendars, are overbooked, the longest part of the process in a contested divorce typically is waiting between hearing dates. The delay may seem excruciating, but unfortunately, there is nothing you or your divorce lawyer can do about it other than try to be patient.