Had my default hearing today. It was a snap! I am now officially divorced! Yipee!
The way it worked is that after the required time had elapsed since filing the "Application and Affadavit for Default," I called to schedule a default hearing. (You could always do that in phoenix, but Mesa just added that feature in mid-April.) I was disappointed to have to wait nearly three weeks for the hearing date, but so be it.
I showed up for my hearing and a clerk went over the forms to ensure they were AOK. Then, about 7-8 women all trooped into the courtroom and one-by-one, the judge went through our cases, asking all of us the same questions (such as "is this marriage irretrievable broken?" "Would counseling help?" "Is the division of property in this decree fair and equitable?" etc. Basically, the same stuff as was stated on both petition and decree.) Then the judge makes a few conclusory statements (such as "this court finds that the marriage is irretrievable broken" etc.) and he says "you are now divorced."
An interesting question he kind of focused a bit on is about spousal support (alimony) for those of us not asking for any. He asks something to the effect of: "you do understand that according to the laws as they are now, by not asking for spousal support now you won't be able to request it later?" All the cases that session were default cases where it is almost impossible to award--and get support since the other party isn't involved/didn't respond. It seems the judge wanted to be sure the petitioners knew their rights to at least *ask* for support.
I didn't stick around long enough to hear how he handled cases with children and CS requests.
All in all a fairly painless process, that cost me a total of $272 to file and a few more bucks at Kinkos to copy stuff. Everything I filed subsequent to the original petition did not incur any additional fees. The hearing was also free. What amazes me is the number of people who pay someone else to complete the forms for them (at an additional cost of anywhere from $199-300) or worse yet, pay an attorney at least $3500 for an uncontested case!!
My case began 3/7/05 and was complete and finalized today, 6/1/05. A lawyer would not only have charged an exhorbitant fee, but the process would take twice as long.