Changing Your Mind After Filing For Divorce In Arizona
How To Stop The Divorce Process In Arizona
When a spouse files a divorce petition, it usually signifies the end of a marriage. However, this isn’t always the end of the line for some couples. Whether your spouse promised to change, you entered couples counseling, or you simply decided you regret your decision, you may come to a point where you no longer want to continue with a divorce. So, is it legal to stop a divorce that has already been initiated in Arizona? In short, yes. Read on to learn more about how to halt divorce proceedings in Arizona if you’re questioning your choice. For more information, call 480-833-8000 to schedule your free consultation.
The Arizona Divorce Process
The Arizona divorce process begins when one spouse creates a divorce petition. In the divorce petition, that spouse, also known as the petitioner, should lay out how they would like the issues of spousal maintenance and property division to be settled. If the spouses share minor children, the divorce petition should also address child custody and child support. The petitioner will file the petition with the court and have a process server serve the petition on the other spouse, known as the respondent.
The respondent has 20 days to respond to the divorce petition if they live in Arizona. If the respondent lives in another state, they will have 30 days to respond. If your spouse fails to respond within the applicable time frame, you can petition the court for a default divorce decree. Here, you will generally be granted everything you requested in your divorce petition.
After filing your divorce, there is a mandatory 60-day waiting period in Arizona before your divorce can be completed. If your spouse responds to your divorce petition with terms of their own, you will need to work on negotiating those issues in the meantime. You may be required to at least attempt mediation before your case can proceed to the trial stage. This is a guided discussion about your divorce issues conducted by a neutral third party. If you can work out all your issues on your own, you will create a consent decree and bring it to the judge to sign. Otherwise, you will proceed towards trial.
Stopping a Filed Divorce In Arizona
How you stop a divorce will depend on its current stage. If you have filed the divorce but not yet served it upon your spouse, you can file a notice of dismissal with the court. If your spouse has already been served with the petition, you will need to use a different procedure. Then, you will need to file a motion to dismiss your divorce. If both spouses agree to dismiss the divorce, you will file a stipulation to dismiss the divorce. In a stipulation, both spouses will have to attest to the fact that they have reconciled, no longer wish to proceed with the divorce, and neither were under duress nor coerced into signing the stipulation. After completing the stipulation, you should file the original with the court and mail copies of the stipulation as well as the order to dismiss to yourself and your spouse. When the judge signs off on the stipulation to dismiss your divorce, you will receive a copy of the notice in the mail.
Should We Attempt Couples’ Counseling?
Sometimes, with the guidance of a qualified mental health professional, divorcing spouses can work out their differences with counseling. However, less than 10% of them seek therapy to work on their marital issues. On the flip side, about 97% of couples found counseling helpful, whether it “saved” their marriages. It does help some couples work out their issues and cause them to withdraw their divorce petitions. But it also provides benefits, even if the spouses do end up going through with the divorce.
One of the main benefits of attempting couples’ counseling before getting a divorce is that you will be more confident in your decision, should you proceed. It can help you improve communication with your spouse, which will be helpful whether you stay married. These communication skills can help you while you negotiate issues like property division and spousal maintenance in your divorce. It can also help you be a more effective co-parent, if you share minor children with your spouse. It will also help you develop stronger relationships in the future after your divorce.
Arizona Family Court Conciliation Services
In an ideal world, spouses would always at least attempt couples’ counseling before filing for divorce. Depending on your circumstances or resources, this simply may not be possible. However, Arizona divorce courts actually offer conciliation services for divorcing couples. To begin this process, you will need to fill out a Petition for Conciliation Court Services. If you are represented by a Gilbert divorce attorney and file this petition without your attorney, it most likely will be dismissed.
If you file a petition for conciliation court services after serving your spouse with the divorce petition but before the mandatory 60 day waiting period has elapsed, it will put the divorce proceedings on hold. However, if the couple has requested court conciliation services within the past 12 months, the divorce proceedings will not be put on hold. You can also request conciliation services before you actually file your petition, and are only in the consideration phase.
There are five types of conciliation services provided by the family courts in Arizona. Conciliation court services are available for spouses contemplating divorce. This is not couples’ counseling, but a service to help the spouses predetermine divorce issues like parenting plans and legal decision-making of minor children. Mediation can also help spouses in the midst of a divorce with these issues. Evaluation services are used when the parents are unable to agree upon a parenting plan. The parent information program is meant to educate parents about what their children experience during the divorce process. If custody proceedings are especially tumultuous, the parents can utilize parent conflict resolution classes. Additionally, you must file an additional petition if you wish to withdraw from court conciliation services and continue the divorce process.
Free Consultations. Experienced Arizona Divorce Representation
Whether you’ve made the decision to file a divorce petition, the guidance of a family law attorney can give you clarity and perspective. You may reconsider once you learn how issues like community property and child custody are actually handled in Arizona. And if you wish to withdraw a divorce that has already been filed, you will need to work quickly and make sure that your paperwork is accurate and filed and served correctly.
At My AZ Lawyers, our experienced family law team strives to offer top quality legal representation at affordable rates. Whether you need divorce advice, to modify your child support and custody arrangements, or whatever else your family needs may be, our legal team is here to help you. Our rates are competitive, and we offer payment plan options for affordability. Therefore, you can make the choice for yourself without the strain of paying for consultations, we offer our initial case review absolutely free of charge. To schedule your free appointment today, fill out our online form or call 480-833-8000.
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