Divorce Guide

Divorce Guide

Getting a Divorce in Arizona

Divorce is a court process which legally ends a marriage. In Arizona, divorce is known as “dissolution of marriage”. Arizona is a no-fault divorce state; in a no fault state either spouse cannot blame the other for divorce. While getting a divorce in Arizona, the only question asked by the court in terms of standard marriage is whether the marriage is irretrievably broken. This means there’s no practical chance the spouses want to be in the marriage.

Grounds for Divorce

Arizona has a second marriage type, known as a “covenant marriage”. It is different from a regular marriage as the steps needed to get married, such as premarital counseling and grounds for separation are different. The grounds for divorce for this marriage type are:

  • The respondent spouse has committed adultery
  • Respondent spouse has discarded the matrimonial domicile for at least 1 year before the petitioner filed for dissolution of marriage
  • Respondent spouse has been convicted of a crime with a prison or death sentence
  • Domestic violence against child, spouse, or relative
  • Living separately and continuously for two years without reunion
  • Living separately for more than 1 year after a legal separation is obtained
  • Use of drugs or alcohol habitually.

Residency Requirements for Divorce

Either of the spouses must be a resident of Arizona for 90 days before filing for divorce. You need to file a “Petition for Dissolution of Marriage” in the higher court in the county where you live. Your divorce could be granted without a trial if you and your spouse agree on issues of child custody and support, property and debt division.

Waiting period of 60 days is required between service of court papers to the other spouse and the court’s granting of a divorce. In this period, the spouses have to solve all their key issues. If these issues aren’t solved, then ruling of your case depends on the court’s schedule and complexity of your case.

Division of Property

While getting a divorce in Arizona, it is understood that property owned before marriage can remain the separate property of that spouse, who keeps it. Gifts or inheritance received during the marriage is also considered to be a spouse’s separate property. Property that is considered as a separate property involves:

  • Income generated by a separate property investment, provided it’s not mixed with marital property.
  • Inherited property received only to you from your family during your marriage.
  • Assets you possessed before marriage; provided you had kept it separate from community property.

Arizona is a community property state, which means property acquired during marriage is treated as owned by you and your spouse. It’s the court’s job to try to divide marital or community property equitably, unless one spouse shows excessive or abnormal expenditures by the other spouse.

While getting a divorce in Arizona, you and your spouse may have a written agreement which is known as a separation agreement, addressing all the issues should both of you divorce. This agreement is a contract which describes the spouse’s decisions about ownership of real estate, financial support, dividing property, child custody and support etc.

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