How to File Divorce

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To file a Petition for Dissolution, legal separation or annulment in Maricopa County, the court must have “jurisdiction” over the litigants, or “parties” to the lawsuit. “Jurisdiction” is defined as the “power” of the court or the “authority” of the court to make determinations concerning the parties to the lawsuit.

In Maricopa County, one or more of the parties must have resided in Maricopa County for 90 days or more, although if a person is in the United States military and has been stationed in Maricopa County for 90 days or more, that person may file a Petition or a Response to a Petition and the Maricopa County court will have jurisdiction over that person. Also, someone who does not reside in Maricopa County may agree “or submit” to jurisdiction in Maricopa County.

In addition to the Arizona statutes applicable to family law matters (Title 25 of the Arizona Revised Statutes) and the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure, each county has local rules. While the Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure state that the Rules of Family Law Procedure take precedence over any local rules, in practice, this is not always the case. Judges in Maricopa County will order parties and their attorneys to comply with both local rules of practice and the Arizona Rules of Family Law Rules and if a local rule requires more than a Family Law Rule, the parties and their attorneys must comply with the local rule.

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