In the state of Arizona, a divorce is considered to be uncontested when one of two scenarios exists:
(1) The parties both wish to participate in determining the terms of the divorce, but they do not want to fight or go to trial in the Arizona Court system; or
(2) One party files for divorce, and the other party chooses not to participate in the divorce process. The Arizona divorce then proceeds by default, meaning the filing party goes to a default hearing, and the Court enters a divorce decree without the other party’s participation.
With scenario 1, there are a number of ways to go about getting a divorce without litigating the matter. For example, if the parties are fully in agreement, they can simply fill out forms located at the Maricopa County Superior Court website. The parties can also both “lawyer up” and pay attorneys to work out the terms.
However, where the parties can use some (or a lot of) assistance reaching agreements, and/or figuring out what terms to include in the final papers, a smart option is Mediation.
In Arizona, Mediation is a process where a neutral third party facilitates a full settlement, reduces the agreement to a contract and helps the parties complete the appropriate documents to submit to the Court. The mediator is not acting as a judge who decides which party is right or wrong or who “wins” or “loses.” Rather, the professional mediator uses conflict resolution tools to help the Mediation participants find solutions to disagreements and mutually agreeable terms for their divorce.
Mediation is not anything like litigation. It is an amicable process, which is completed quickly and generally for much less money than litigation. Mediation in Arizona is also confidential, less stressful and less uncertain than going to court (if you end up in Court, a Judge could rule contrary to one or both parties’ desires). Using Mediation allows parties to end their marital relationship (or family law dispute) in a more pleasant and powerful way.
Alona M. Gottfried is a mediation specialist and attorney in the state of Arizona. If you have questions about family law or mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or alona(at)sglawaz.com. You can also visit her mediation website: AZMediator.com. This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice. See a legal professional before making legal decisions.