DIVORCE

In order to file for divorce in Arizona, (“Petition for Dissolution”), the following main requirements must be met: (there may be additional requirements for a covenant marriage)

You or your spouse have been domiciled in Arizona for at least 90 days or one of the parties has been stationed here for 90 days while a member of the armed service; and

  • The marriage is irretrievably broken without a reasonable prospect of reconciliation.
  • The conciliation provisions either do not apply or have been met.

Divorce with Minor Children

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In a dissolution action where there are minor children common to the parties, the “home state” of the child has exclusive jurisdiction to make custody determinations. A child’s home state is generally the state where the child has resided for at least six months prior to the dissolution action.

Additional considerations apply during a divorce with minor children, such as the determination of custody and child support.

The parties are required to complete a Parent Information Program course within 45 days after the spouse has been served with the initial divorce petition (“Petition for Dissolution”).

Click this link for a list of court approved programs.

Division of Assets and Debts

Arizona is a community property state, which means that all real and personal property acquired during the course of the marriage (except by inheritance, gift, bequest or devise) is the “community” property of both spouses. Arizona law states that upon dissolution of a marriage, all “community” property is to be divided equitably amongst the parties, though not necessarily in kind.

The same goes for debts incurred during the marriage by either spouse; all debts incurred during the marriage are the obligation of both spouses.

Essentially, Arizona law requires that the distribution of community property and community debts between the parties is fair and reasonable.

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ANNULMENT

In Arizona, married couples can get an annulment rather than a divorce (dissolution of marriage) if there is an impediment to the marriage. An example of an impediment which makes the marriage void is if one of the parties was already married to someone else or one of the parties is a minor and did not obtain consent of a guardian. Other examples such as intoxication, lack of mental or physical capacity may also be grounds for annulment.

LEGAL SEPARATION

In order to file for a “Legal Separation” in Arizona, the following main requirements must be met:

Either you or your spouse have been domiciled in Arizona for a period of at least 90 days or one of the parties is stationed in Arizona while a member of the armed service:

  • One or both of the parties desires to live separate and apart; and
  • The other party does not object to a decree of legal separation
  • The Legal Separation Decree, similar to the Divorce Decree, resolves all pertinent issues pertaining the disposition of community property and debts, spousal maintenance, child custody, and child support.

Why file for Legal Separation instead of a Divorce?

While a Legal Separation Order affects the disposition of property or determination of custody in much the same way as a Divorce Decree, generally it is a personal decision for individuals who wish to circumvent a divorce due to religion, insurance, taxes, age, or medical coverage reasons.

Can you convert a legal separation to a divorce after the fact?

Yes. You must file a motion to convert the legal separation to a divorce.

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CONCILIATION

Either spouse may petition the court for conciliation services prior to or after the filing for a dissolution of marriage (divorce), legal separation or annulment.

The objective of the Conciliation Court is to resolve any marital controversy existing between the parties and preserve the marriage. Once a spouse files a request for conciliation services, then neither of the spouses may file an action for Dissolution (divorce), Legal Separation or Annulment for a sixty (60) day period (referred to as a “stay”).

If a divorce or legal separation action has already been started, when a spouse files a request for conciliation services, the “stay” will freeze the current action for sixty (60) days. If the controversy between the parties has not been resolved within the sixty (60) day period, the divorce, legal separation, or annulment action may be initiated or continued.

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