I have included a link to the Maricopa County Superior Court’s website, which has free forms and instructions for filing a divorce without an attorney:
The form sets are different depending upon whether or not the parties have minor children. If no children are involved, but a party is pregnant, use the forms for a divorce “with minor children.”
New divorces require the following forms to be completed and filed with the Clerk of Court:
• Cover Sheet / Sensitive Data Sheet
• Preliminary Injunction
• Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
• Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance
• Notice Regarding Creditors
Divorces with minor children require the following additional documents to be completed and filed with the Clerk of Court:
• Parent Information Program Order and Notice
• Affidavit Re: Minor Children
It may seem daunting at first. However, most of the forms require little more than basic demographic information with no real choices to make. In fact, the only document that will require a party to take a position or make real choices is the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
I offer the following pointers to make the process easier. Download each of the forms into a folder on your computer. The party filing for divorce is the “Petitioner” and the other party is the “Respondent.” After downloading the forms, go back and input your information in the blanks, saving the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage for last because it is more complicated and can have very serious legal consequences.
In my practice I have found that it is very rare for a non-attorney to fully and accurately understand concepts such as: community property, sole and separate property, community debt, sole and separate debt, community liens on separate property, legal decision making authority, parenting time, spousal maintenance factors, child support calculation, marital waste claims, attorney fee award factors, equal possession of liquid resources, retirement account division, and many more. It is understandable. There is a real reason attorneys go to school for this stuff and are required to take several hours of continuing legal education each year.
So, anyway, now that the easy forms are filled out, read the available choices contained in the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. You don’t need to complete it by yourself. Just read it so that you are at least somewhat familiar with the document.
Finally, do an internet search for divorce attorneys who offer free consultations. Call one of them and let them know that you have complete all of the initial divorce documents from the Court’s self-help website except the Petition. Ask if they will allow you use a free initial consultation to learn what each of the available choices means and what risks might be associated with making them. Tell them you are seeking legal information; not legal advice. If they will not give you an hour of their time to help you, then you should call me. I will.
Dustin T. Dudley, Esq.