What You Need to Know About Serving Divorce Papers in Arizona
There are formal procedures that one must follow when filing for a divorce. Here is everything you need to know about how to serve divorce papers in Arizona.
Arizona law requires any individual who files for a divorce to notify the other party by serving court papers. There are various ways a petitioner can serve court papers, such as using a process server, a sheriff, mail, or publication.
Arizona Divorce Laws
The law describes the following requirements for filing a divorce in Arizona:
- One of the parties must have resided in Arizona for 90 days before filing the petition for dissolution of marriage; or
- One of the parties is an armed forces member, and they have maintained their military presence in Arizona for at least 90 days before the filing.
How to File for a Divorce in Arizona
In Arizona, the process of filing for divorce is called a dissolution of marriage. The law considers the person filing for divorce the “petitioner,” and the person responding to the divorce is the “respondent.” Arizona requires the petitioner to go through the legal procedure of filing a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage” with the court and pay the necessary filing fee.
Arizona Law For Serving Divorce Papers
When initiating the divorce process, Arizona law requires the petitioner to give the other party notice that they have filed court papers by serving the respondent with divorce papers and other necessary documents. Such documents include:
- “Family Court Cover Sheet”
- “Preliminary Injunction”
- “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce) With or Without Children”
- “Notice of Right to Convert Health Insurance”
- “Notice Regarding Creditors”
How to Serve Divorce Papers in Arizona
Petitioners can use the following methods to serve court papers to the respondent:
1. Service by Acceptance
Service by acceptance requires the petitioner (or the petitioner’s friend/relative) to include an “Acceptance of Service” form when giving or mailing court papers to the other party. The respondent must sign the form in front of a notary or clerk of the Superior Court. The respondent’s signature on the “Acceptance of Service” form indicates that they have received the court papers.
2. Service by Registered Process Server
The petitioner can hire a registered process server to give the court papers to the respondent. A process server will find the respondent and serve them the court papers at home, work, or other locations. After the process server gives the documents to the respondent, they will mail the petitioner a copy of the “Affidavit of Service” to file with the court.
3. Service by Sheriff
The petitioner can serve documents by contacting the Sheriff’s Office in the county where the respondent lives and paying a fee to have a sheriff’s deputy serve court papers to the respondent. If the petitioner cannot afford the fee and meet the financial requirements, they can get a fee waiver or deferral form at the Law Library Resource Center. After the sheriff serves the other party, they will either mail the petitioner a copy of the “Affidavit of Service” or file the documents themselves.
4. Service by Mail or National Courier Service
This method requires the petitioner to serve the other party court papers through the United States Postal Service or other national courier services. The petitioner must ask the clerk for a signed delivery confirmation and a copy of the signature on the confirmation receipt. Once the delivery service is complete and the petitioner receives the other party’s signature, the petitioner must attach a copy of the signature confirming receipt to their “Affidavit of Service by Signature Confirmation” and file it with the court.
5. Service by Publication
The petitioner can use service by publication when they cannot find the current address of the other party. This method requires the petitioner to file a motion with the judge to request permission to serve by publication. The petitioner must show the judge that they have made “reasonably diligent efforts” to find the respondent’s current address. Once the judge grants the petitioner a court order to use service by publication, the petitioner can publish the summons in the local newspaper where the respondent’s last known address is. The service will be complete 30 days after the first publication date. The newspaper will send the petitioner an “Affidavit of Publication.” The petitioner must attach the “Affidavit of Publication” with the “Declaration Supporting Publication” and file both documents with the court.