The New Summary Consent Decree

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What is a Summary Consent Decree of Dissolution of Marriage and how is it different than a regular Consent Decree process?

Maricopa County Superior Court has instituted a process called a Summary Consent Decree. It is anticipated that other counties will follow along.

A Summary Consent Decree is a newer process that allows parties that are in full agreement on all of the terms to be able to divorce in an easier process without being adversarial, no process server, no court appearances, etc. It is a simpler, easier, and often times less expensive process to divorce.

In order to qualify to submit a Summary Consent Decree, the Court requires:

  • Both parties desire to be divorced and
  • Both parties agree to all of the terms of the divorce and will work together to complete, sign and file the necessary papers, and
  • You do not have a “covenant” marriage. and
  • One of the parties has lived in Arizona for the last 90 days before filing; or either spouse is a member of the armed forces and has been stationed in Arizona at least 90 days before filing and
  • If you have minor child(ren), they have resided in Arizona for a minimum of six (6) months before filing and
  • Your marriage is irretrievably broken and
  • You have attempted conciliation Services or there is no point to pursue conciliation to reconcile your marriage.

The process is simpler because it requires a joint petition and response. Because parties file together, there is no need for service upon the other party. This reduces costs. Both parties would sign the petition and decree at the time of filing of the action. The Court will hold on to the signed Decree until the statutory “60 day cooling off period” has expired before submitting to the Judge to sign the Decree.

Summary Consent Decree will address all issues including legal decision-making (previously called custody), parenting time for both parents, child support, spousal maintenance and division of community and sole and separate property and debts.

Because our firm knows what is needed to complete the service, we can offer a flat fee for Summary Consent Divorce. You will know exactly what it will cost to get divorced before getting started. Often parties have no idea the total cost, as divorces are billed on an hourly basis.

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Brittany Labadie is the Managing Partner at Lewis Labadie. She has been working with Lewis Labadie since it opened.  Her current focus is with adoption cases, including juvenile adoptions, adult adoptions, foster care adoptions, same-sex adoption, surrogacy adoptions, and when necessary termination of parental rights. She works throughout the State of Arizona.

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