From a procedural standpoint, here is what one needs to know:
The Summons and Petition should have been served along with a number of other documents. The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is the only document that requires a formal written response (unless the documents also contained a Petition for Temporary Orders).
Although the Petition may be the only document that requires a formal written response, it is important to read and understand the other documents as well. For example, one of the documents, called a Preliminary Injunction, is a Court Order that must be followed. It contains very important restrictions that litigants must adhere to now that a divorce is pending. Read it carefully and do not violate it.
Keep track of the date of service. A litigant has 20 days in which to file a Response to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. That Response must be filed with the Clerk of Court. A filing fee (presently $341.00) will be required in order to file the Response unless the responding party qualifies for a fee deferral. A copy of the conformed (filed and stamped by the Clerk of Court) Response must be delivered to the assigned Judge. Another copy of the conformed Response must be delivered to the opposing party or their attorney if they are represented.
It is very important to consult with an attorney immediately after being served with divorce papers. Plenty of us provide initial consultations free of charge. At least take advantage of a free consultation to learn your rights and obligations in an Arizona divorce. More information about this process and free forms and instructions are available on the Maricopa County Court Clerk’s website, which can be found with a simple internet search (Maricopa County Forms and Instructions for Divorce).
Dustin T. Dudley, Esq. (602) 300-6777