Getting a divorce under any set of circumstances can be traumatic and stressful. In most cases, only the passage of time will provide solace, but knowing some general information about Arizona divorce laws will at least give you a basis to start.
What are the Grounds for Divorce in AZ?
Under most circumstances, you are not required to show grounds for divorce in the state of Arizona. In order to get a divorce, you only need to state to the court that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” Arizona, however, is one of only three states in the union that has covenant marriages. If you’ve entered into a covenant marriage, you do, in fact, need to provide grounds for the divorce. These include:
- The at-fault party committed adultery.
- A court sentenced the at-fault party to death or imprisonment pursuant to a felony conviction.
- One of the spouses abandoned the home for at least one year prior to filing for divorce.
- The petitioning spouse is the victim of abuse, or the at-fault spouse abused another family member.
- The at-fault spouse abuses drugs or alcohol.
Remember, these grounds are only required for covenant marriages in the state of Arizona.
Other Divorce Requirements
In order to file for a divorce in Arizona, one of the spouses must have resided in Arizona for 90 days prior to the filing date. Once you’ve filed for divorce, there is a 60-day waiting period before a judge can review your divorce and approve it.
Important Considerations for an AZ Divorce
An uncontested divorce is one where both parties agree that the marriage is irretrievably broken. In most cases, these are among the faster and easier types of divorces. Oftentimes, there are mitigating circumstances that make even uncontested divorces more complicated. Issues of child custody, child support, division of marital assets, division of debt, and a myriad of other concerns can complicate and lengthen the divorce process.
In the state of Arizona, both parents have rights when it comes to spending time with the children. The Arizona courts prefer parents to come up with their own shared parenting plan, but will generally only favor a plan that is in the best interests of the children. Terminating a parent’s custodial or visitation rights is difficult in Arizona unless one of the parents can demonstrate that the other parent is a danger to the child.
You can petition to file child support at the time of divorce or anytime after. If there is a question of paternity, you can file for a paternal DNA test. Child support in Arizona is based on a weighted-income calculation.
Division of Assets
Arizona is a community property state, which means that with limited exceptions, the property and debt accumulated during the marriage belong to both spouses. This does not mean that all assets have to be liquidated. Certain assets can offset each other. The courts may allow a disproportionate sharing of assets if both parties agree to it.
Under certain circumstance, the Arizona family law courts will assign alimony or spousal maintenance to one of the parties. This may be on a temporary or indefinite basis. It can also be awarded in a lump sum. If you are seeking alimony in the state of Arizona, you should retain the services of a qualified family law attorney.
When Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you are seeking a divorce in the state of Arizona, it’s generally to your benefit to hire a divorce attorney. For uncontested divorces with no mitigating factors, you may be able to file without assistance. Even with simple divorces, however, you may want to speak to a legal expert. In Phoenix, a call to the Law Office of Laura Gillis will get you the immediate answers you need.