In a divorce without children, if your case involves spousal maintenance or service was accomplished by publication, you are required to attend a hearing to obtain your default decree. If your case does not involve spousal maintenance or publication, you may attend a hearing but also have the option to file a motion to obtain your default decree without attending a hearing.
Step 1: Initiating the Case
All cases start the same by initiating the action. The initial documents are prepared, reviewed, revised and signed by the Petitioner, the person initiating the case, and filed with the Court. The Petitioner will either pay the required filing fee, or file an application to defer or waive the filing fee, at the time of filing the initial documents.
Step 2: Service
The next step is to serve the documents filed with the Court. Service is accomplished by one of the following methods:
Acceptance of Service
Certified Mail and an Affidavit of Service by Certified Mail
Publication (used as a last resort when you cannot locate the other party for service)
Step 3: Wait for the Response Time to Pass
The other party has either 20 days to respond (if served in Arizona) or 30 days to respond (if served outside of Arizona).
Step 4: File an Application and Affidavit of Default
If the other party, the Respondent, does not respond within the appropriate time period, the next step in this process is to file an Application and Affidavit of Default. This document is filed with the Court and a copy mailed to the other party. The other party has 10 additional business days to file a response and pay their filing fee, or have it deferred or waived. If they fail to do so, an automatic entry of default will be entered against them.
Step 5: Schedule the Default Hearing
Once the 10 business days have passed after filing the Application and Affidavit of Default, the default hearing may be scheduled either online or by phone.
There is also a 60 day waiting period for divorce in Arizona pursuant to state law. This period begins the day after service and runs concurrently with the 20/30 day response time. A default hearing can be scheduled prior to completion of the 60 day waiting period but the court will not schedule the hearing until after the time period has passed.
Step 6: Prepare for the Default Hearing
The Default Decree and other required documents are prepared and/or the proper number of copies made. A self-addressed, stamped envelope for the other party is prepared, unless service was accomplished by publication.
Step 7: Attend the Default Hearing
The final step in obtaining a default decree is to attend the hearing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the default decree is signed by the Default Commissioner and filed with the Court. A set of the documents are provided to the Petitioner and a set mailed to the Respondent.
The information provided is based on Arizona family court procedures. This information is strictly informational and not legal advice. If legal advice is required, please consult with an attorney. Arizona Legal Document Services, L.L.C. has references available for family law attorneys.
You may contact us at 480-307-9306 or 602-595-7478 or visit our website arizonalegaldocs.com. We are located at the Court Center, 1837 S. Mesa Dr., C100, Mesa, Arizona 85210 and at 2916 N. 7th Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85013.