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Divorce Without A Lawyer In Arizona

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Divorce Without a Lawyer

Quick Steps How to Get a Divorce in Arizona Without Hiring a Lawyer

  1. Know the Requirements and the Law
  2. Decide Whether to take a chance and Represent Yourself, Hire an Affordable Divorce Legal Paraprofessional, or Retain a Costly Divorce Lawyer
  3. Determine Whether You Should Pursue an Uncontested vs. a Contested Divorce
  4. File the Petition for Dissolution in the Appropriate Court
  5. Serve the Petition to your Spouse
  6. Resolve the Issues Through Negotiation or Trial
  7. Finalize Your Paperwork with a Legal Paraprofessional


The decision to end a marriage is rarely easy and can be scary if you have never gone through the process in the past. While you might believe that divorces are always dramatic, your divorce does not have to be filled with bitter conflict and protracted litigation.

Many Arizonans think that they must hire a divorce lawyer to get divorced or represent themselves. However, you can choose the third option and hire a licensed legal paraprofessional at a significantly more affordable divorce cost as compared to a traditional Phoenix divorce attorney.

Stephanie Villalobos at De Novo Law is a licensed legal paraprofessional with decades of experience in family law. She is licensed to represent her clients throughout their divorce matters, including divorce trials.

Below are 7 steps you can follow to get a divorce with the help of a Licensed Legal Professional without needing to hire an expensive divorce lawyer.

1. Know the Requirements and the Law

If you are planning to divorce, you need to understand the following requirements to file a petition in Arizona:

    • You or your spouse must have lived in the state of Arizona for at least 90 days before you can file your petition.
    • If you and your spouse share children, your children must have lived in Arizona for at least six months before the Arizona court will have jurisdiction over child custody and parenting time.
    • Once you file your petition, there will be a minimum waiting period of 60 days before your divorce can be finalized.
    • As a no-fault state, Arizona does not require you to prove fault to obtain a divorce.

2. Decide Whether to Represent Yourself, Hire a Licensed LP, or Retain a Divorce Lawyer

You will need to decide whether to try to represent yourself to obtain a divorce without a lawyer, hire a licensed Arizona legal paraprofessional to obtain a divorce without a lawyer, or retain a divorce attorney.

Representing Yourself (The Cheapest but Potentially Disastrous Method)

While spending money while dealing with the issues of filing for divorce is the last thing on people’s minds, there is always the ability to file paperwork yourselves.

However, many things can go wrong. If documents are not completed correctly, or within strict deadlines, many things can go against your favor. The cleanest way that you could represent yourself in a divorce is if the following circumstances apply:

  • You and your spouse agree on all divorce issues.
  • You do not share children.
  • You have little or no marital property. 
  • You understand the forms and the filing requirements. 

The forms are available online on the website of the Arizona Judicial Branch

As mentioned, it is imperative that you complete them correctly. If you don’t understand the paperwork and your requirements, you might find yourself adding much more stress to the situation.

Similarly, if you have accumulated substantial property during your marriage, cannot agree on the issues, or share children with your spouse, you also might be better off getting help from a legal professional for an affordable divorce. 


Hiring a Licensed Legal Paraprofessional vs. Divorce Lawyer

If you cannot agree with your spouse on the issues in your divorce, known as a contested divorce, your case might need to go to trial. Similarly, even if you and your spouse can agree, you will want to hire a professional who can represent your interests in court. Arizona provides two options, including hiring a licensed legal paraprofessional or hiring a divorce attorney.

Like a divorce lawyer, Stephanie Villalobos is licensed to practice divorce law and represent clients in family court. She can do so at a much more affordable cost as compared to a typical high-priced divorce attorney.

Ms. Villalobos has decades of experience practicing in the area of family law and is fully equipped to represent you in your divorce case.

Hiring a licensed attorney is the most expensive method of getting divorced in Arizona. It might make more financial sense for you to hire an Arizona licensed paraprofessional to represent you instead of an attorney.

3. Determine Whether You Should Pursue an Uncontested vs. a Contested Divorce

Your next step will be to decide whether you will be pursuing a contested or an uncontested divorce. You will be pursuing a contested divorce if you and your spouse cannot agree on the various issues of your case, including property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. If you and your spouse agree on everything, your divorce will be uncontested. 

If your divorce is contested, your Arizona legal paraprofessional can negotiate with your spouse to try to resolve the outstanding divorce issues in a way that is favorable to you and protective of your interests. If children are involved, a contested divorce can become an intense legal battle that will require extensive knowledge and experience to fight for you.

Contested divorces typically take a longer time to resolve and might end up going to trial. As such, reaching an agreement through negotiations short of trial can help you achieve a more affordable divorce than litigating the issues at a divorce trial. 


Petition for Dissolution of Marriage Divorce without a Lawyer

4. File the Petition for Dissolution in the Appropriate Court

If you’re working with an LP, you won’t need to know how to file the proper paperwork. Your legal paraprofessional will handle the process for you. However, if you are choosing to represent yourself to obtain a divorce without a lawyer, you will need to know how to file for divorce. 

The process involved with how to file for divorce begins with drafting and filing a petition for dissolution in the appropriate court. You can download the petition from the Arizona Judicial Branch website with the other required documents. If you are filing the petition, you will be known as the petitioner.

Your spouse will be known as the respondent. You will want to ensure that you check with the court in the county in which you intend to pursue your divorce to make sure you have the right forms and know the filing fees. 

You will choose between a divorce without children or a divorce with children. These two different types of divorce have different paperwork requirements. Make sure you select the right packet. 

If you are the petitioner who wants to know how to file for divorce, you will need to file all of the following documents:

    • Petition for dissolution with or without children
    • Summons to notify your spouse to respond
    • A preliminary injunction to prevent both you and your spouse from engaging in certain actions until your decree is issued
    • Domestic relations cover sheet to provide information about you and your spouse

If you share children with your spouse, you will also need to file the following documents:

    • Affidavit regarding minor children
    • Proposed parenting plan
    • Parent information program

You will need to make three copies of your documents, including the original to be filed with the court, a copy for your records, and a copy to serve on your spouse. You will also need to remit the filing fee at the time you file for divorce unless you are granted a deferral because of your inability to pay it. 

If the court determines that spousal support is warranted, it will decide the amount and duration to order based on other factors. Spousal support will automatically end when either spouse dies or when the recipient remarries unless otherwise agreed to in writing. 


Serving a Petition for Divorce

5. Serve the Petition to your Spouse

After you have filed your petition, you must properly serve it to your spouse. Your papers must be served within 120 days of your filing date to avoid your case from being dismissed. 

If your spouse is unrepresented, you must serve the paperwork on him or her at his or her house. If he or she has retained a divorce lawyer or a licensed legal paraprofessional, serve the documents at the lawyer’s or LLP’s office.

The service of process must be proper and must be handled in one of the following ways:

    • Through the sheriff’s office in your county
    • Through a process server
    • Via certified, return-receipt mail if your spouse lives in a different state

If you can’t locate your spouse, he or she is in the military or is incarcerated, different service process rules might apply.

Your Arizona Legal Paraprofessional can help you understand the rules and effectuate proper service. 


Divorce without a Lawyer Arizona Negotiations or Trial

6. Resolve the Issues Through Negotiation or Trial

The major issues in most divorces include property division, child custody and parenting time, child support, and spousal support.

Arizona is a community property state for property and debt division in divorce cases. This means that all of the property that you or your spouse accumulated during your marriage should be divided equally.

Any property that you or your spouse owned before your divorce is separate property that won’t be divided. Similarly, if you received assets through inheritance or by gift, they will also be considered your separate property. 

However, if you spent money from your community property to improve your separate property, a lien will be created against the separate property and divided equally. 

Moreover, if you commingled your separate property with your community property, it might lose its separate nature and be subject to division in your divorce. Debts accumulated during the marriage will also be divided equally between you and your spouse.

If you share a child with your spouse, two major issues will include child custody/parenting time and child support. If you and your spouse can agree to a parenting time and custody arrangement, you can file a joint parenting agreement with the court.

The Arizona family law courts use child support guidelines to determine the appropriate amounts of child support to order. Your legal paraprofessional can help you understand what you might expect to pay or receive based on your combined income and other factors. 

Spousal support might or might not be an issue in your case. While either you or your spouse can ask for spousal support, courts do not have to order it. Instead, the spouse that asks for spousal support will need to prove the following things:

  • Has insufficient assets to support his or her needs
  • Long duration marriage
  • Is unable to support himself/herself through employment
  • Is a child’s caregiver, making him or her unable to get a job

If the court determines that spousal support is warranted, it will decide the amount and duration to order based on other factors. Spousal support will automatically end when either spouse dies or when the recipient remarries unless otherwise agreed to in writing. 


Finalize Divorce Paperwork with a Legal Paraprofessional

After you have filed everything and have resolved your outstanding issues with your spouse, you can file a consent decree with the court with everything you have agreed to. The court will include your consent decree as a part of your divorce decree, and you will receive your divorce without having to appear in court. 

If your spouse does not respond to your petition within the proper time, you can ask the court for a default divorce.

If you are granted a divorce by default, your spouse will not have the right to contest your claims, but he or she can participate in the hearing and argue about the amount that should be awarded.

You can also come to a partial agreement and file it with the court, allowing the court to decide the remaining issues at a divorce trial. Your LLP will represent you at a divorce trial if necessary.

Once you or the judge have decided on the issues, you will receive a signed copy of the decree from the judge. This document permanently ends your marriage and resolves the issues.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

Talk to an Affordable  Divorce Lawyer Alternative at De Novo Law

If you are wanting to get a divorce without a lawyer to obtain a more affordable divorce, talk to Stephanie Villalobos, LP at De Novo Law.

Ms. Villalobos is a licensed legal paraprofessional who can help you with all aspects of your case.

Call us today at (480) 725-2200 to schedule your consultation.

Call Stephanie Villalobos, LP For Immediate Help

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Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.


Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.