What Does “Disposed” Mean in an Arizona Divorce Case?


The legal world is full of complex terms and divorce is no different. Someone may be considering a divorce and/or currently in the process of filing for one and hear the word “disposed”.  Although you may have heard this word before you may be wondering, what does disposed mean in a divorce case? It is a stage of the divorce proceedings.

Stages of Divorce Proceedings

Exactly what disposed means in reference to a divorce case will be discussed. But in order to answer that question, we must first take a look at the stages of divorce proceedings.

Divorce Petition or Divorce Papers

A divorce begins with the divorce petition or divorce papers. It’s written by one spouse and served to the other. It is then filed in the state court in the residential county of one of the spouses.

The place where the marriage occurred is inconsequential.

The petition states important information, such as names of the spouses, property, children, and child custody and child support.

Service of Process

This is basically where the other spouse gets served the papers and signs them if he or she is agreeable to the divorce. This establishes a date of separation and starts the ball rolling on your state’s waiting period. Once this is done, neither of the spouses are allowed to sell or borrow against property, take the children out of state, or sell or borrow insurance on the other spouse.

The other spouse can file a divorce petition response saying whether he or she agrees with the petition. If he or she agrees, the proceedings continue. He or she can also use this to dispute information in the petition.

Working on an Agreement

Each spouse must reveal all of the information pertaining to their income, assets, and expenses. At this point, they will work on an agreement and once a satisfactory one is reached, the agreement will be forwarded to the judge for a final signature. At this point, the divorce decree becomes final and the terms of the agreement cannot be changed except due to extraordinary measures such as fraud perpetrated by one of the parties.

What Does Disposed Mean in a Divorce Case?

Up until the final divorce decree is signed, the case is known as “active.” This is known as a case status and refers to whether or not a divorce has been finalized.

When your case is active, the court is still waiting on finalizing it.

This may be due to the timetable required for divorce. This may also be due to the additional paperwork you need to file. So if active means the proceedings are still going on, what does disposed mean in a divorce case?

When a divorce case has been disposed, it means that the divorce decree has been signed by a judge and the case is therefore closed. Depending on what state you file in, the length of time between an active case and a disposed case can vary.

In rare instances, the term disposed can be used by the court to mean that the case has been dismissed. In layperson’s terms, it was thrown out. This can be due to faulty documents. Check to make sure your case has been closed, not thrown out, when it has been disposed.

How to Check the Status of Your Divorce Case

In order to check the status of your case, you have several resources. You can call your divorce attorney who will have the newest information about your case on hand. You can also check the status of your divorce online, since the status of a divorce case is considered the public record, it’s usually easy to find.

Many states have an online database you can search, you can typically search by your case number. Some searches will also ask for the date of filing, the courthouse in which the divorce was filed, and the first and last names of the parties involved.

If You Can’t Find the Information Online

If your state doesn’t have an online database, you can call or visit the courthouse itself. Again, know the case number. Certain clerks will need to know identifying information such as social security numbers. Gather as much information as possible before making the call or trip so that you can help in the search for what you need.

Finally, you will get a notice once your divorce has been finalized so make sure you give the correct address to the court. You’ll be able to check your notice for the information you need.

Final Thoughts on Disposed Divorce Cases

Divorce is complicated enough without all of the legal jargon. Before your divorce agreement is signed by a judge your case is considered active.

What does disposed mean in a divorce case? It’s basically a term for when your case is finalized and closed. Remember, however, in rare instances disposed can also mean dismissed. If the paperwork is not in order, the judge can throw the case out and dispose it that way. The case is still closed, but it has not been finalized with a divorce decree.

More Questions About a Disposed Case

If you have questions about your disposed case, you have several options to turn to. The first and easiest is your attorney. He or she will have the information you need on hand and be able to answer all of your questions. This is the easiest route to take, especially if you have additional inquiries about your divorce decree. Next, you can go online and check for your case there.

Get Things Taken Care of While Your Case is Active

When your case is active, you can still make changes to your agreement, so make sure that everything you want goes into it.  Ensure that you are taken care of to the best of your ability.

A divorce decree is a contract that both parties must follow so once it is signed by a judge, it becomes law to follow it. After your case is disposed, there is little chance of changing anything except through extraordinary circumstances. Talk to your attorney every step of the way so that you don’t get lost in all of the legal terms.

Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.

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