Divorce Petition vs. Divorce Decree

Divorce Petition-

What is a divorce Petition? The Petition is the first pleading in a divorce case signed by the person filing.  The person filing is either the Husband or Wife and is called the Petitioner. The Petition is filed in the Superior Court of Arizona, in the county in which either Husband or Wife resides.


What elements are normally included in a Petition for Dissolution? The Petitioner states the basic information about the Petitioner and Respondent.  The Respondent is the person who is not filing the Petition and who is either Husband or Wife.  Basic information that is included is Name, Address, Phone Number, Occupation etc. of both parties, and date and place of marriage.


In the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the Petitioner requests that the court order a division of property and debt consistent with the Petitioner’s statements in the pleading. Examples of community property in Arizona could include the following:

  1. Bank Accounts held jointly and bank accounts in each parties’ separate names;
  2. Personal Property including furniture, pets, household appliances;
  3. Motor Vehicles including cars, boats, motorcycles and yes mobile homes and trailers
  4. Real Estate
  5. Retirement Plans for example IRA, pension, 401(k) plans,
  6. Life Insurance Policies
  7. Business Interests
  8. Investments


In a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage the Petitioner will request that the court order each party to pay certain debt that was incurred during the marriage jointly or separately


If the Petitioner is asking for the court to order the Respondent to pay spousal maintenance, then the amount requested is stated and for how long payment should occur.  There is no formula that has been adopted in the same way that the formula for child support has been adopted.  However, there are rumors between Family Law judges that an unwritten formula is used when the dispute is in effect.  Unfortunately for the general public we have no spousal maintenance guideline for spousal maintenance calculation.

These are only a few of the elements included in a divorce petition. However, the Petitioner can ask the court to order anything in their divorce petition.  The Petition is simply a request for an order to be made.


The Divorce Decree is the final order that is submitted by the Petitioner in a default divorce case.  A default divorce in Arizona is a divorce in which the Respondent has not filed a Response.  So long as the Respondent has not filed a Response, the Petitioner can submit their Divorce Decree to the Judge for signature.  In a default divorce case, everything that was asked for in the divorce petition is ordered in the divorce decree.

If the Respondent files a Response to the divorce petition then, the final order or divorce decree may be prepared after trial by the judge or the judge may enter a Minute Entry with everything that is ordered and request that the Petitioner or Respondent submit a Divorce Decree consistent with the Minute Entry for signature after a trial.

If you’re looking for a paralegal in Tucson or Phoenix to handle your Arizona divorce, we can prepare your divorce petition and divorce decree according to your direction.  Give us a call and you will be happy you did.

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