Divorce Without a Lawyer: How We Can Help
The thought of a divorce can be scary, especially for those who have never been through the process before. Lawyers, courtrooms, arguing—there is so much drama involved. While a dramatic divorce case is what is often portrayed in the media, it does not have to be that way for you.
You may think that you have only two options: hire a lawyer or do it yourself. By doing it yourself, you save on legal costs, but without knowledge of the divorce process, you risk missing imprtant filing deadlines. While lawyers will help you get things done the right way, they are very expensive.
Fortunately, there is a way to hire someone with legal experience without the high price. Divorce paralegals certified by the Arizona Supreme Court can help you with all the paperwork you need to file for your divorce.
The important part is to make sure that the divorce document preparers you choose are certified legal document preparers familiar with the laws of the state of Arizona. Many companies advertise their services online, but do not have proper certifications. AZ Statewide Paralegal is an affordable legal document service that is familiar with the local laws regarding divorce. For just $375 (without children) or $400 (with children), plus fees, you can get all aspects of your divorce handled without the drama. All it takes is four steps.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce
If you are considering divorce, it is much easier if your spouse is on board. When you both are in agreement, the process is often quicker and less expensive than a drawn-out, contentious battle.
When both spouses agree to the divorce and decide to work out all the details amicably, this is called an uncontested divorce. It starts with one party filing a petition to divorce. The other party is then served the paperwork and can choose to ignore it or respond to it. After the party is served the paperwork, the divorce is finalized in 61 days, providing that both parties agree to the divorce, or it goes into default.
If the divorce is contested, this means that one party does not want to get divorced or that the opposing party does not agree with your proposed division of assets and debts or your arrangement for parenting time or custody. The result is that your spouse files a Response to your Petition and pays the appropriate appearance fee to the Court. This could lead to a delay, as there is back-and-forth between the parties as they try to reach a compromise on all the important issues. We are able to help in the event that the parties ultimately come to an agreement. The parties can avoid the hassel of going to trial by signing a Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage which is the final order. This final order spells out all of the issues and the agreement is indicated by both parties signature. If they cannot agree, then the case may go to trial and their are trial documents that are required to be prepared and filed in preparation for the trial. This makes the divorce more time-consuming however with our service, the fees will be drastically lower than that of an attorney. If your divorce becomes contested and you no longer wish to represent yourself, consult the representation of an attorney and they may provide you with limited scope representation in order to save you some money.
Phone Interview Start Online
The nice part about this first step is that you do not have to take off work and travel across town for a three-hour-long meeting. All we require is a 30-minute phone interview or get started any time 24 hours a day online or call us to schedule an in person office appointment. We will just need to ask you some important questions so we can start the paperwork. We will require personal information such as your name, address, phone number, birth date, the date and city where the marriage took place, and employers for you and your spouse. If children are involved, we will need the parents’ Social Security numbers, as well as the names, birthdates and city of residency of the children.
In an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse will have hopefully come to an agreement regarding issues such as asset division, alimony, and child custody. If you have not, we can walk you through the process. However, we cannot give legal advice.
We can handle your divorce when children are involved and we can include your agreements regarding child legal decision making and child support.
If there are children involved and you are ready to proceed, we will go over child support guidelines with you. Income, medical insurance, school/medical expenses, amount of visitation and ages of the children are all factors that will determine how much you will pay or receive from the paying spouse, depending on your situation.
Real estate issues can be made simple during a divorce, and we can help you with property transfer by deed. We have the ability to draft specific language for a variety of situations. In order to fill out the paperwork properly, we will need to know some information, such as title information, whether or not the property will be sold or if a party will maintain ownership, if both parties will sign a quitclaim deed, and equity.
Using the information you give us, we will complete a variety of forms, including:
- Civil Cover Sheet
- Petition for Dissolution
- Preliminary Injunction
- Confidential Information Sheet
- Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance
- Notice to Creditors
- Affidavit Regarding Minor Children
- Order to Complete Parenting Class (if you have children)
These forms are personalized to your case and are filled out professionally, using the same type of paper that a lawyer would use. They are well-organized and easy to understand so the courts can easily see how assets and debts will be divided. You and your spouse will each get a copy of the forms, with the original ones filed with the court.
While the majority of the divorce paperwork can be done without the need to meet in person, you will need to come into the office to sign the paperwork once completed. This will likely be the only time you will need to show up in person. Once we obtain your signatures, we will take care of the rest. We will go to the courthouse to file paperwork, pay fees, and obtain hearing dates.
Serving the Paperwork
If you can not locate your spouse or believe he or she may be in hiding to avoid being served with divorce paperwork, do not worry. We will handle the service of process for you. We have to make sure that the other party receives legal notice of the divorce and that the court receives notification that your spouse has been served.
We will prepare an Acceptance of Service of Process form that the other spouse must sign. We can send the divorce paperwork via certified mail or have it delivered by a process server. We can also notify your spouse by publication (if you are not aware of his or her whereabouts) for a three-week period. We would publish a summons in a newspaper and file proof of publication.
Once the paperwork has been served and filed, the countdown begins. You may not know when the next step will happen, but that is OK. Let us stress about the deadlines. We will keep track of everything for you. We have the experience to know when each step will occur, so count on us to keep you posted.
The first deadline is 20 days after the person has been served (this increases to 30 days if the spouse lies out of state). Your spouse must respond to the paperwork; otherwise, the the divorce can be granted by default. If the spouse was notified va publication, then default occurs 30 days after the first publication.
Some Arizona counties may have their own laws and deadlines, as well. We are familiar with all local rules and regulations. We will make sure they are followed and respond appropriately. Place your trust in us and you will not have to worry about a thing.
Finalizing the Case
In an uncontested divorce, everything can be finalized in as little as 61 days from the date the other party is served. The process may take longer if either party is contesting the divorce or there are issues that cannot be settled in that amount of time.
You can avoid going to court by signing a Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. We can prepare this document for you, and you and your spouse will both need to sign it. For an additional fee, we can present this document to the judge and get everything signed off and finalized without the need for you to come to court. If you and your spouse have no further issues to discuss and are ready to move on, this is a quick, easy, and convenient way to finalize the divorce.
If your spouse never responded to the divorce paperwork, this is called a default divorce. If you want to get your divorce finalized as quickly as possible (on the 61st day after the service of process), then you will need to go to Default Court. This may seem like an intimidating process, but we make it easy for you.
We handle hundreds of divorces each year, so we are familiar with all the details. We will help you make an appointment, tell you where to go and what to expect, and give you all the information you need.
For this meeting, we will prepare the Default Decree of Dissolution for you. If there are children involved, we will also prepare the following documents:
- Parent’s Worksheet for Child Support
- Child Support Order
- Joint Parenting Plan
- Income Withholding Order
- Fact Sheet
On the day of your court hearing, the judge will ask you some questions about the divorce. You will most often find the answers in the divorce paperwork, so it is a good idea to peruse it beforehand. Some of the questions you may be asked include:
- Did you petition for the divorce?
- Were you a resident for at least 90 days before you filed for divorce?
- Is there any hope of reconciliation, or is the marriage broken?
- Were you aware that marriage counseling is available to you?
- Are assets and liabilities fairly divided in the Decree of Dissolution?
- Is the custody arrangement in the best interest of the children? (if there are children involved)
The judge will sign the paperwork once questioning is complete and the divorce will be legally finalized.
Learn More About Our Services
The team at Arizona Statewide Paralegal serves all counties in Arizona and is certified by the Arizona Supreme Court. We are paralegals who are trained at filing the appropriate paperwork and following the correct procedures. We have been helping customers like you with legal documents since 1992.
Going through a divorce can be costly. In fact, the average cost of lawyer fees alone is nearly $13,000. Why spend thousands for dollars when you can spend under $1,000 and get the same services? From document preparation to filing to serving to providing notice to tracking deadlines, we do it all without any hassles. We also offer in-person consultations for those who desire the ultimate in customer service.
You can find many legal services online that prepare paperwork for divorces and other legal cases. However, they do not offer any other benefits. Once the documents are prepared, you are on your own. They do not file the paperwork or serve the other party. They do not help you with any other aspects of your case. If you have any questions about the process, you will have to pay to get advice elsewhere.
Arizona Statewide Paralegal does not leave you stranded and confused in a mountain of legal paperwork. It is important to note, however, that we cannot legally practice law. While we can prepare the appropriate documents and guide you through the process, we cannot give out legal advice to our customers. Therefore, if you have questions about your legal rights and what you are entitled to receive in a divorce settlement, those questions need to be directed to a family law attorney.
If you are considering divorce, and both you and your spouse consent, see how the team at Arizona Statewide Paralegal can help. We provide fast, friendly service and offer convenience at a low price. Contact us to learn more about the document preparation services we offer for those going through a divorce.