What is a contested Arizona divorce?
If you and your spouse are unable to reach agreements about your divorce, one of you will file a petition, and the other one will file a response. These are the first two steps that lead to a contested divorce.
To file a response, means “to contest”. In Arizona, we call it a response, but it means the same thing as contesting. This is why you people refer to this kind of divorce as a “contested divorce”.
Many people think the next step of the process is to go to trial with a judge, but that is not the case. In Arizona, there are steps that occur before a trial begins. After a petition and response is files, the next step will be mediation. Most divorces end in mediation.
Areas of disagreement may be regarding any aspect of the divorce. Some examples are child custody, spousal maintenance (alimony) and/or division of property.
It is important to know that sometimes a judge will require a couple to attend more than one mediation to work out their differences. A judge can force the couple to go to multiple mediations before they allow a trial to begin.
If mediation fails— and that is rare— then you will attend a Trial/Evidentiary Hearing. Each of you will present evidence and testimony to the Judge assigned to your case.
The Judge is then allowed sixty (60) days from the date of the Trial/Evidentiary Hearing to issue their orders regarding each and every aspect of your divorce. The final document the judge will prepare for the contested divorce is called a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.