Procedural Steps of a Divorce

There are generally four steps involved in a divorce.

The First Step

The first in preparing for a divorce is the processing of the paperwork. This generally includes preparation of the following pleadings:

  • Summons;
  • Petition;
  • Preliminary Injunctions against both parties;
  • Affidavit of Financial Information;
  • Response, if appropriate; and
  • Order to show cause pleadings, if temporary orders are necessary;
  • Response to Order to Show cause, if appropriate.

Following our first meeting, we generally prepare all necessary paperwork in order to either initiate the processing of the divorce or to respond to the Petition for Dissolution. The Pleadings are then served upon the other party, the purpose of the service “starting the clock ticking.” Once the pleadings are served upon the other party, the final Judgment of Dissolution can be granted, at the earliest, 64 days from the date of service. The purpose of the 64 day waiting period is for the court to allow time for reconciliation between the spouses.

The Second Step

After the pleadings have been drafted and served, the next step is a Motion for Temporary Orders, if necessary. Generally, the following issues can be addressed:

  • Spousal Support;
  • Preliminary injunctions against both parties;
  • Primary use if the residence or vehicles;
  • Joinder of any pension plans;
  • Request for attorney’s fees and costs;
  • Any other miscellaneous relief which may be necessary in order to maintain the stability for the benefit of the parties; and
  • Payment of debts.

Once the Motion for Temporary Orders is filed, the Court schedules a hearing. This can be set anytime within four to six weeks (depending on the judge assigned and their court schedule). At this hearing, the attorney’s will argue the case. Temporary orders could than be issued pending the final outcome of the divorce, including a wage assignment for spousal maintenance.

The Third Step

The third step involved is generally the discovery phase. This can often include the taking of depositions. A deposition is generally conducted in our conference room or the office of the opposing counsel. A court reporter is present. At this time, our family law attorney would be asking questions of the opposing party for the following purposes:

  • To secure information;
  • To solidify testimony so it may not be changed at future hearings or trial;
  • To obtain necessary documentation to adequately present your case; and
  • For the purpose of evaluating witnesses.

In addition, often time subpoenas are sent out to verify the information obtained at the deposition.

By the time the first three steps are completed, the emotional involvement of the parties has generally subsided to the level where many cases are, in fact, resolved by settlement. We can then discuss a settlement offer for the purpose of resolving the case. If both parties reach a settlement, the consent decree and other documents can be prepared to finalize the matter to avoid further court action. No offer of settlement will be made without your knowledge. The agreement identifies which assets and debts will be allocated to the Wife, and which assets and debts will be allocated to the Husband.

The Fourth Step

If the matter cannot be resolved by agreement, the matter will proceed to trial. You are generally assigned a date for trial within four (4) months from the date on which the trial is requested.


The above-described procedures outline the general steps utilized in a contested divorce proceeding. If you feel your matter is able to be settled from the very beginning, our office encourages working out a settlement once the initial pleadings have been filed with the Court. This has the obvious advantage of saving attorney’s fees, costs and emotional distress to both parties.

Convenient Location

Blumberg & Associates
3600 N. 19th Ave.
Phoenix, Arizona 85015

Tel: 602-716-0800
Cell: 602-909-8006
Fax: 602-889-9167
Toll Free: 1-866-465-8797