Arizona has two different levels of jurisdiction for family law cases: Superior Court and Justice of the Peace. A Superior Court is a higher court with more authority and scope over your case. If you live in Maricopa County, the correct place to file will be the Superior Court at 201 W. Jefferson Street, Phoenix, AZ 85003. The other place to file would be your local Justice of the Peace in your city or town.
The first thing that you need to do is find the jurisdiction where your case is filed. The easiest way to do this is by using the Arizona State Court’s website and looking for jurisdiction information under “How Do I Find My Case?” on their “My Cases” page.
The “Where Do I File My Family Law Case in Maricopa County, AZ” is provided by the Arizona State Courts, so it is authoritative. It was last updated in October 2018.
This Article Details The Following
- A practical guide to finding your family court jurisdiction online if it’s listed on the state court’s website
- If your family law case is not listed on their site, how can you find that information using other sources?
Information You Can Find From The Arizona State Court’s Website
1) If your case is in a specialized list or jurisdiction, it will be listed under “Specialty Courts.”
The Specialty Courts are listed in order of date and added to the state’s list of courts. For example, the Maricopa County Superior Court was added first in 1969, so it is at the top of the list. The last specialty court added to the list was the Black Canyon Justice Court in 2010.
2) The following section lists all counties containing a Family Court. The Family Court is listed under the county that has jurisdiction over your divorce case (e.g., “Maricopa: Phoenix (Family).”)
3) The Family Court is also listed by the judge’s name. This section also includes the judges who may hear your case. (The County Recorder’s office will list the judges for you.)
4) The following section lists the judge’s address, phone number, and email address. These are different from the information in #2. These addresses are what you should look for when contacting the judges.
5) The final section lists the court’s hours of operation. For example, “Phoenix: 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Friday.”
If you file for divorce, the case will be assigned to the Probate Division. If you want to take your spouse’s assets to pay for your divorce attorneys, this is called an “equitable distribution of property.” Equity means fairness. What is fair to one person may not be appropriate to another person or couple. You will have to hire attorneys specializing in this area to represent you. You will find a competent attorney for this at the Law Office of Cosmas Onyia – Phoenix AZ Lawyers
Keep in mind that all people involved in a divorce case are considered either “pro-se” or “pro-per,” which means they are representing themselves or the other party (couple). Some states have specific ways of filing the papers with your local judges. These can be done via an online form sent to the courthouse of your choice. They can also be filled out at the courthouse and filed directly with the court. If you are filling them out in front of a judge, they may ask you questions that will help determine if your case is simple or will take an extended period. A couple who knows what they want in their divorce is more likely to get it than those who do not know what they want.
In Arizona, if you are filing for a divorce, it is essential to know the grounds for divorce. The only settings for you to grant a divorce in Arizona are desertion and cruelty. Desertion means that your spouse has left you. If your spouse left you with no warning and no real reason or cause, then that person can be considered to have left you without just cause or reason.
If your spouse has verbally or physically abused you, that person is considered to have committed an act of cruelty. The person committing the act of cruelty does not have to live with the victim for it to be regarded as domestic violence. The action of desertion and cruelty must be continuous, meaning that it cannot just happen once and then end. There must be a pattern of degradation over the period between your spouses’ departure and their return for it to count.
If you meet the obligations of filing for a divorce in Arizona, then you will be deemed as having been legally divorced no matter where your residence is. If you are outside the state of Arizona and remain there, then your divorce will not be recognized in Arizona.