Only the Court can legally end a marriage
In Arizona, divorce is called "Dissolution of Marriage" and Court papers use this term instead of divorce. During a divorce, the Court has the authority to divide certain property and debts of the spouse and in some cases order one spouse to pay spousal maintenance (alimony) to the other. If children are involved, the Court can also decide custody (legal decision-making authority), parenting time (visitation) and child support issues. Only the Court can legally end a marriage.
Although it is not a requirement for a party to retain a divorce attorney, a party is required to follow the same rules and procedures as attorneys. A divorce lawyer can also mediate on a party’s behalf. Even without a lawyer, all papers must be in the proper form and filed on time. The judges, clerks, and staff of the Court are not permitted to give a party legal advice. Divorce cases often involve important issues about child custody (legal decision-making authority), parenting time (visitation), property and debt division and financial support. The resulting decisions can have a life-long impact on the family.
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