A Guide to Divorce in Arizona

While divorce is far from rare in our region —  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the divorce rate in Arizona is nearly 15 percent higher than the national average — actually going through a separation is never easy. Even if you are 100 percent certain that getting divorced is the right decision for you and your family, there are still so many complicated issues that need to be resolved.

At Edwards & Petersen, PLC, our Arizona divorce attorneys want to make sure that you know your rights and that you are fully informed about the legal process. Before you actually file for a divorce, you should take the time to prepare yourself for the road that is ahead. To help you get started, our legal team has put together a Guide to Divorce in Arizona as a free resource.

What You Need to Know About Divorce in Arizona

You need to know all of the basics. How do you file for divorce? What documents need to be submitted? What common problems arise during separation? How long will the divorce take? What issues will be at stake in your case? You can never be too prepared.

What are the Grounds for Filing Divorce?

Arizona is a ‘no-fault’ divorce state. You can end your marriage on the grounds that it is irretrievably broken. If you are having problems in your marriage in Arizona and are thinking about getting divorced, you will need to understand the grounds for filing for divorce. When we talk about grounds for divorce, there are both legal grounds and personal grounds. In other words, legal grounds for divorce are required in order for a couple to dissolve their marriage legally, while personal grounds for divorce simply are reasons that it may be time for a couple to make the decision to end their relationship.

Legal Grounds for Divorce in Arizona: No-Fault Divorce State

Some states in the U.S. still have grounds for legal divorce, which means that a party petitioning for a divorce must state a specific reason—or “grounds”—in order to get a divorce. However, under Arizona law, Arizona is what is known as a “no-fault” state. This means that, in order to get a divorce, the party who files a divorce petition only needs to state that there are irreconcilable differences and that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” There is no legal necessity to show fault in order to get a divorce.

At the same time, there is a timetable that anyone filing for divorce in Arizona must recognize. In order to be eligible to file for divorce in Arizona, at least one of the parties—the person filing for divorce or his or her spouse—must have been a resident of Arizona for at least 90 days beforehand.

How a Covenant Marriage Can Change

Although Arizona is a “no-fault” state when it comes to divorce, which means there need not be legal grounds (or fault) in order for a couple to get divorced, this changes if the parties entered into a covenant marriage. Arizona is one of only three states that continues to offer the option of a covenant marriage. Parties in a covenant marriage will have a much more difficult time getting divorced than those who are not, and those in a covenant marriage who want to get divorced will need to show legal grounds for divorce.

What is a covenant marriage? It is a distinct type of marriage in which both spouses promise to participate in counseling before filing for divorce and to wait for a longer period of time before being eligible to file for divorce. A covenant marriage is only available in Arizona, Arkansas, and Louisiana. In addition, under the covenant marriage statute, if the parties want to get divorced one of them must allege fault-based grounds for the divorce. Those fault-based grounds must include one of the following allegations about the other spouse:

  • Committed adultery;
  • Committed a felony offense and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment;
  • Abandonment;
  • Committed physical or sexual abuse;
  • Has been living separate and apart from the other spouse for at least two years;
  • Has been living separate and apart from the other spouse for at least one year following a legal separation; and/or
  • Has abused drugs or alcohol.

Personal Grounds for Divorce

In addition to legal grounds for divorce, there are many personal reasons that a couple might decide it is time to file for divorce. An article in Psychology Today cites the following as the most common reasons—or personal grounds—for divorce:

  • Growing apart;
  • Financial difficulties;
  • Infidelity;
  • Lack of attention from the other spouse;
  • Problems with a spouse’s personal habits;
  • Sexual problems;
  • Alcohol or other substance abuse problems;
  • Arguments over the division of household duties; and/or
  • Disagreements about how to raise the children.

What is a “Covenant Marriage”?

Arizona is one of just three states that still allows for ‘Covenant Marriage’. If you have one, there are special rules that will apply to your case.

How to File a Petition for Divorce

Are you ready to file the divorce petition? Find out the most important things that you need to know.

Divorce Mediation

For many divorcing couples, mediation is the best way to reach a fair settlement agreement on the most complex and sensitive issues.

Preparing for Divorce Hearings and Divorce Litigation

Not all divorces move to trial, but some of them certainly do. Learn the basics of divorce hearings and trials in Arizona.

Can I Just Represent Myself in My Divorce Hearing?

It is often a big mistake. To best protect your rights and interests, it is strongly recommended that you hire an experienced Arizona divorce lawyer.

Understanding Property Division in Arizona

Disputes over assets and debts are often among the most contentious in divorce cases.

How Does Spousal Support Work in Arizona?

The financially advantaged spouse may be required to pay their former partner alimony following the divorced.

Child Support Payments

Parents have a duty to provide support for their children. Learn about Arizona’s child support guidelines.

When Can the Court Deviate from the Child Support Guidelines?

While the state has put child support guidelines into place, family law courts can deviate from these guidelines when the circumstances warrant doing so.