Arizona Marital Settlement Agreement

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An Arizona marital settlement agreement is a contract the enables spouses to define their postmarital rights and obligations. The orders imposed in the agreement will affect the spouses’ child support obligations, alimony payments, and the future of their property and debt. If the divorce involves minor children, part of the settlement terms will often include a parenting plan indicating the spouses’ respective parenting rights and responsibilities. Before deciding how marital assets will be divided, the spouses must exchange financial disclosures to reveal their income, liabilities, and the value of their real and personal property. Failing to disclose such information may result in negative consequences for the withholding party.

Table of Contents

Divorce Laws

Statutes – Title 25, Ch. 3 (Dissolution of Marriage)


Alimony (§ 25-319) – An Arizona court may grant maintenance (alimony) if, for any of the following reasons, it is determined that the spouse seeking alimony:

  • Lacks the property needed to support their reasonable needs;
  • Is unable to be self-sufficient through proper employment or labor;
  • Is the custodian of a child whose circumstance allows the spouse to abstain from seeking employment away from home;
  • Has significantly contributed to the training, skills, education, career, or earning ability of the other spouse;
  • Was married for a long duration and, due to their age, may be unable to obtain employment necessary to be self-sufficient; and
  • Has reduced their earning opportunities to benefit the other spouse.

To determine the amount of alimony and the term of payment, the court will consider the following:

  • The living standard established while married;
  • How long the marriage has lasted;
  • The employment history, earning ability, age, and emotional and physical condition of the receiving spouse;
  • Whether the supporting spouse can meet their needs while paying alimony;
  • The financial resources of each spouse and their earning abilities;
  • The contributions made by the receiving spouse to the earning ability of the supporting spouse;
  • The degree to which the receiving spouse has reduced their income or career opportunities to benefit the supporting spouse;
  • The ability of both spouses after divorce to contribute to their children’s future educational costs;
  • The financial resources of the receiving spouse and their ability to meet their needs independently;
  • The time needed to obtain sufficient training or education for the receiving spouse to acquire employment, and whether such training or education is accessible;
  • If either spouse has caused any excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, or has wrongly concealed or disposed of marital property;
  • The cost incurred by the receiving spouse to find health insurance, and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the supporting spouse if unable to transfer family health coverage to employee health insurance after marriage;
  • The damages and judgments of either spouse that resulted in a criminal conviction in which the victim was the other party or a child; and
  • All other relevant factors.

Alimony Calculatorcalculators.law

Child Support (§ 25-320) – Child support obligations are made according to the procedures set forth in these guidelines.

Child Support Calculatorazcourts.gov

Division of Property (§ 25-318) – Arizona courts employ community property law to divide marital property. Therefore, the assets and debts acquired while married will be distributed equally between the spouses, unless such division is deemed inequitable by the court.

Grounds for Divorce (§ 25-312 & § 25-903) – A divorce will be awarded if any of the following grounds have been met:

  • The marriage is irretrievably broken;
  • A spouse committed adultery;
  • A spouse committed a felony and has been sentenced to imprisonment in a correctional facility or death;
  • A spouse has abandoned the marital home for one (1) year and refuses to return;
  • A spouse has physically or sexually abused the other party, a child, or a relative who permanently resides in the marital home;
  • A spouse has abused the other party emotionally or has committed an act of domestic abuse as defined in § 13-3601;
  • The spouses have been living apart without reconciliation for a continuous period of two (2) years before filing for divorce;
  • The spouses have been living apart without reconciliation for a continuous period of one (1) year from the date the couple received a decree of legal separation (if one was issued);
  • A spouse is a habitual user of drugs or alcohol; or
  • Both spouses agree to divorce.

Interim Support (§ 25-315(B)) – Temporary alimony or child support may be awarded to either spouse for the duration of the divorce proceeding.

Residency (§ 25-312(1)) – One (1) of the spouses must maintain a domicile in Arizona for ninety (90) days before filing for divorce.

How to File for Divorce in Arizona

  • Where to FileSuperior Court
  • Filing Fee – $349 in Maricopa County; fees may vary in other counties
  • How Long Does it Take? Around ninety (90) to one-hundred and twenty (120) days (source: btlfamilylaw.com)

Divorce Forms

Uncontested Divorce with No Children:

Uncontested Divorce With Children:

Couples seeking an uncontested divorce judgment must agree on all aspects of their divorce before a final decree is issued. Prior to initiating the divorce lawsuit, the person filing for divorce (the petitioner) and their spouse (the defendant) should negotiate conditions such as alimony, child support, parental obligations, and the separation of marital property. The spouses should then draft a Marital Settlement Agreement to set forth the settlement terms in writing.

Step 1 – Determine the Proper Filing Procedure

The documents provided throughout this tutorial pertain to the dissolution of non-covenant marriages only. If attempting to terminate a covenant marriage, the petitioner should contact a court clerk to see if the filing process differs in their county (review this brochure to see the differences between the two (2) marriage types).

Step 2 – Divorce Forms

Some Arizona courts provide their own county-specific divorce documents. For divorces taking place in any of these counties, the petitioner must replace the forms in this tutorial with the ones provided by their local Superior Court. If the divorce is taking place in any other county, the petitioner may use the documents provided on this webpage.

Step 3 – Prepare Initial Paperwork

The petitioner will need to complete either a Petition for Dissolution of a Non-Covenant Marriage (without children) or a Petition for Dissolution of a Non-Covenant Marriage (with children). This document provides the court with information about the spouses, and describes the reason for the divorce request, among other things. Once filled out, the petitioner must sign the document in the presence of a notary public.

Note: If the petitioner wishes to restore their former name, the request must be stated in their petition.

Step 4 – Additional Documents

Additional documents must be prepared by the petitioner and included with their Petition for Dissolution. The additional documents are as follows:

Step 5 – Parental Documents

If the spouses have minor children together, the petitioner will need to complete the following documents and include them with their divorce filings:

  • Affidavit Regarding Minor Children
    • This affidavit is used to assign parental rights to the spouses. The petitioner must sign the form in the presence of a notary public.
  • Order and Notice to Attend Parent Education/Information Program Class
    • After the petitioner files for divorce, this court order will be issued to the spouses to inform them of their obligation to attend a parenting class.
  • Parenting Plan
    • In this form, the spouse(s) will specify their decisions for child custody and parental rights. Depending on the desired type of custody, both spouses may need to sign the document.

Step 6 – File for Divorce

The petitioner must submit their divorce documents to a clerk of the Superior Court in the county where either spouse has lived for ninety (90) days. Other than the Family Court/Sensitive Data Cover Sheet, an additional two (2) copies of each document must be filed. The petitioner will be charged a fee upon submission (contact the clerk for current rates). If they cannot afford the fee, a fee waiver may be used to request an exemption. After filing, the photocopied court forms will be returned to the petitioner.

Step 7 – Serve Papers on Defendant

The petitioner will need to serve the defendant with one (1) set of the photocopied court forms. Service can be accomplished using any of the methods listed below. However, service requirements vary in some counties; the petitioner should contact a clerk of the Superior Court to find out what service procedures are accepted in their county.

  • Mail or Hand-Delivery
    • The petitioner must obtain an Acceptance of Service from the Superior Court where they filed for divorce. The photocopies and the Acceptance of Service must be mailed or hand-delivered to the defendant. After delivery, the defendant will sign the Acceptance of Service in front of a notary public and return it to the petitioner. The petitioner must then file the Acceptance of Service with the court.
  • Service Process Server
    • The petitioner can hire a process server to deliver the photocopies to the defendant. Once delivered, the server will complete a Service by Process Server and return it to the petitioner. The Service by Process Server must be filed with the court.
  • Service by Sheriff
    • The petitioner can hire the sheriff in the defendant’s county of residence to deliver the photocopies to the defendant. After service has taken place, the sheriff will complete a Service by Sheriff and deliver it to the petitioner. The Service by Sheriff must be filed with the court.

Step 8 – Answer by Defendant

After receiving notification of the divorce lawsuit, the defendant can file a written response to request court orders (e.g., alimony, child support) or object to the petitioner’s allegations. Note that in order to obtain an uncontested divorce judgment, the defendant’s response must be in agreement with all statements made in the Petition for Dissolution. The defendant’s answer must be stated in either a Response to Petition (without children) or a Response to Petition (with children), and it must be filed with the court within the timeframe indicated in the Summons. A copy of the response should be mailed to the petitioner by first-class mail.

Step 9 – Parenting Program

Spouses who have minor children together must attend a Parent Information Program within forty-five (45) days after the petition was served. To register for this program, the parties must contact one (1) of the court-approved program providers. More information on the topic can be found here. After attending the class, each spouse will receive a Certificate of Completion (see sample), which they must file with a clerk of the court.

Step 10 – Child Support Obligations

Spouses with children must use the Supreme Court’s child support calculator to establish their child support obligations. After the calculations are complete, a Parents Worksheet for Child Support will be generated, which should then be printed. Next, the spouses must input the calculations into a Child Support Order. Both spouses must sign the Child Support Order after it has been filled out. Lastly, the spouse providing child support will need to complete an Income Withholding Order for Support, which will be used to deduct pay from their income.

Step 11 – Consent Decree of Dissolution

The parties will need to complete one (1) Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) or Legal Separation in a Non-Covenant Marriage – With or Without Children. In this form, the spouses will restate much of the information contained in their Marital Settlement agreement, such as their decisions for alimony, child support, parental obligations, and the separation of marital property. Each spouse must sign the decree in the presence of a notary public. The child support documents completed in Step 10 must be attached to the Consent Decree. Once prepared, the entire package should be photocopied.

Step 12 – Finalize Divorce and Name Change

Once sixty (60) days have passed after the petition was served on the defendant, the petitioner can submit the Consent Decree to the Superior Court. A judicial officer will review the decree and, if everything has been filled out correctly, award the couple a divorce judgment to terminate the marriage. If either party asked the court to restore their former name, they must obtain a certified copy of their decree to use as evidence of the change.

(Video) Arizona Marital Settlement Agreement – EXPLAINED