Recently, the Maricopa County Superior Court introduced something called a Summary Consent Decree, a process that was designed for cases in which the parties have reached a full settlement before even filing anything with the court. This new system is great for divorcing couples who want things to be as quick, easy, and amicable as possible.
The Summary Consent Decree is basically a “one-stop-shop.” It allows the parties to submit all documents jointly on the same day. The initial filing of the Petition serves as both the Petition and Response as well as a waiver of service of process. This will be filed with the Clerk of Court. Then, the filing party can go to the Family Court Administration (in the same building) to deliver the original set and 2 copies of the Consent Decree. Family Court Administration will deliver the documents to the judge who is assigned that case. After the statutory waiting period (60 days) has ended, and assuming all of the documents are in order, the judge will sign the decree, file it with the clerk of court, and the divorce will become final.
In order to use the Summary Consent Decree process, the following factors must be met:
- Both spouses want to get a divorce; AND
- Both spouses agree to ALL the terms of the divorce and are willing to work together to complete, sign and file the necessary papers; AND
- You do not have a covenant marriage; AND
- Either spouse has lived in Arizona for at least 90 days before filing; AND
- If you have minor children, they have lived in Arizona for at least 6 months before filing, or you’ve spoken to a lawyer who advised you that you could pursue the case in Arizona; AND
- You both agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken; AND
- You have either tried to resolve your marital problems through Conciliation Services (like mediation), or you both agree the marriage is over.
One of the great things about this process is that everything can be filed in just one day. It streamlines and shortens the process of getting a divorce. You can obtain a divorce, provide for legal decision-making and parenting time of children, arrange for child support and/or spousal maintenance, and divide all your property quickly and easily. You are not required to file a separate Petition and Response. The “Petitioner” is not required to formally serve the legal paperwork on the responding party. You do not have to wait to file a proposed Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. And you are not required to make any further appearances or re-submit any additional documents, other than proof of completion of the Parent Information Program, if applicable.
As of right now, this process is only available in Maricopa County; but I’d expect that eventually it will be rolled out statewide. This process has been a huge success so far, and it will likely continue to be a huge help to litigants going through this process!
by Logan Matura
At the Law Firm of Gary J. Frank P.C., our Arizona Family Law Attorneys Gary Frank, Hanna Amar, and Logan Matura are strong litigators and compassionate counselors. Gary Frank is a Phoenix Family Law Attorney with over 30 years of experience as a litigator and mediator. He has also acted in the capacity of a Judge Pro Tempore in the Maricopa County Superior Court and served on the Governor’s Child Abuse Prevention Task Force. Law firm Partner, Hanna Amar is a highly-skilled Arizona Family Law Attorney with a passion for Family Law and children’s issues. She has extensive courtroom experience and is also a certified mediator. Hanna has also acted as the President of the Young Lawyer’s Division of the Maricopa County Bar Association. Associate Attorney Logan Matura is an Arizona Family Law Attorney who received her Juris Doctor degree from New York Law School in Manhattan, NY. While in law school, she served as an intern for a Family Court judge in the Bronx, NY, and was a member of the Family Attorneys Mobilizing club. Logan is passionate about children and families and provides expert representation for her clients. Our firm handles Family Law cases in the areas of divorce, custody (now called “Legal Decision-Making and Parenting Time), relocation (move-away), division of property, spousal and child support, modification actions, enforcement actions, grandparent and step-parent and non-parent rights, as well as other matters pertaining to families and children. If you are in need of a consultation, call us today at 602-383-3610; or you can contact us by email through our website at www.garyfranklaw.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
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Let's Discuss Your Case - We're Here For You.
When dealing with a family matter issue, you do not have to go at it alone. Give us a call and we can discuss the entire case during a comprehensive attorney consultation.