Getting a divorce with the help of a Mesa divorce attorney doesn’t have to be a contentious and divisive process. In fact, many couples are not only in agreement about their divorce but also committed to working together to resolve any issue in the divorce–such as how property will be divided–without litigation. For these couples, getting a divorce via a consent decree may be the easiest and most cost-effective way to dissolve a marriage. Here’s what you should know about divorce by consent decree in Arizona.
What Is Divorce By Consent Decree?
A consent decree refers to a legal document that sets forth a couple’s decisions regarding all issues in a divorce and is submitted for a judge to sign, ultimately finalizing the divorce. According to AZCourtHelp.org, published by the Arizona Bar Foundation, a consent decree can only be filed when a couple does not have a covenant marriage, has agreed on all terms of the divorce, and has agreed to a consenting divorce. This is a simplified divorce process that avoids litigation, saving the couple time and money.
Agreeing to Issues in a Consent Divorce
Perhaps the most pressing of the three requirements above is ensuring that all parties to the marriage agree to all issues in the divorce; if parties are in disagreement about any issues, they cannot file a consent decree. Issues that couples will need to resolve include:
- Parenting obligations and child support – Parents will need to fill out a parenting plan and attach it when filing their paperwork. An agreed upon child support order must also be included.
- Spousal maintenance – The couple will need to determine whether or not spousal maintenance will be part of their divorce judgment, and if so, how much the recipient spouse will receive and for how long.
- Property division – Couples will need to divide property, and submit the agreed-upon terms regarding division of property and debt to the court.
In some cases, parties have a very amicable relationship and agree to these issues from the start without complications. In other cases, parties may seek legal counsel for representation in negotiations from an Arizona divorce attorney. Sometimes, a couple will pay a professional third-party mediator to facilitate negotiations and assist the couple in reaching an agreement.
Filing a Consent Decree
If you have your spouse have reached an agreement and you want to save time and money by filing a consent decree, here’s what you need to do:
- File the consent decree at least 60 days from the date that you or your spouse was served the original petition for divorce;
- Make sure both you and your spouse sign the consent decree in front of a notary;
- File a copy on your consent decree with the county clerk; and
- Attend a hearing if requested by a judge or receive your signed consent decree.
Filing a consent decree isn’t for everyone, but it can be a quick and cost-effective way to end your marriage and get a court order regarding issues in the divorce without actually going to court.