Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure

Rule 23. Pleadings: Petition and Response

(a) Petition. A “petition” is the initial pleading that begins a family law case or a post-decree matter. A party begins an action by filing a verified petition seeking:

(1) annulment (A.R.S. § 25-301);

(2) dissolution of a marriage (A.R.S. § 25-312);

(3) legal separation (A.R.S. § 25-313);

(4) dissolution of a covenant marriage (A.R.S. § 25-903);

(5) legal separation in a covenant marriage (A.R.S. § 25-904);

(6) to establish paternity or maternity (A.R.S. § 25-806);

(7) to establish legal decision-making or parenting time (A.R.S. §§ 25-403, -803(C), and -1001 et seq.);

(8) third party rights (A.R.S. § 25-409);

(9) to enforce, register, or modify legal decision-making or parenting time (A.R.S. §§ 25-403, -411, and -1001 et seq.);

(10) to establish, enforce, register or modify support (A.R.S. §§ 25-320, -503, -1201 et seq.); or

(11) relief otherwise authorized by statute.

(b) Summons and Order to Appear.

(1) Summons. A petition under subparts (a)(1 through 7) must be served with a summons, as described in Rule 40. A petition in a new action under subpart (a)(8) also must be served with a summons; but see subpart (b)(2) below for an existing action under subpart (a)(8).

(2) Order to Appear. A petition under subparts (a)(9 through 11), or in sections (c), (d), and (e), must be served with an order to appear, as described in Rule 25(f). A petition in an existing action under subpart (a)(8) also must be served with an order to appear.

(c) Notice of Filing a Foreign Judgment.

(1) A party may file a foreign judgment or decree pertaining to the disposition of marital property or debt under A.R.S. §§ 12-1701 to -1708.

(2) A party may begin an action for disposition of property (A.R.S. § 25-318(A)) or maintenance (A.R.S. § 25-319(A)) under a foreign court’s decree by filing the foreign judgment under A.R.S. §§ 12-1701 to -1708. Once the party has filed the foreign judgment, the party may file a petition for an order to appear specifying the relief sought.

(d) Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. A party seeking to voluntarily acknowledge paternity may file any of the documents listed in A.R.S. § 25-812.

(e) Appearance of Parties and Child; Warrant to Take Physical Custody of a Child. A party may request a court order under A.R.S. § 25-1040 for the appearance of parties and children or may request the court under A.R.S. § 25-1061 to issue a warrant to take physical custody of a child.

(f) Response. A response is a document that substantially answers a petition.

(1) Required Response. A party who is served with a petition described in subparts (a)(1 through 7) must file a response. A party is also required to file a response in a new action to establish third-party rights under subpart (a)(8). If a party does not file a response, the petitioner has the right to request a default and obtain a default judgment against that party.

(2) Permissive Response. A party who is served with a petition described in subparts (a)(9 through 11), an existing action under subpart (a)(8), and sections (c), (d), or (e) may file a response.

Currentness