Arizona Divorce Laws Infidelity

Arizona Divorce Laws Infidelity | Effect upon a Divorce in Arizona

Arizona divorce laws Adultery | Does it impact an Arizona divorce case? Although going through a divorce can be a devastating emotional process, the intensity of those emotions are typically intensified when the divorce is the result of adultery. Many people have questions regarding the effect an adultery has in a divorce in Arizona. Arizona is a “no fault” state, which means neither party is required to provide a reason to justify a divorce. All that is needed is for one of the parties to testify that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”.

However, this doesn’t mean that a spouse’s affair does not play a role in the Arizona divorce process. It also doesn’t mean that both the adulterous spouse or their paramour do not potentially face serious consequences relating to their infidelity; both criminal and civil. Specifically, there are certain issues in the divorce case that render the infidelity relevant and, therefore, evidence of the infidelity necessary to establish a claim of “waste of community assets”.

Arizona Divorce Laws Infidelity | Legal Claims

To start, both spouses owe a fiduciary duty to each other in the management of their assets and debts similar to the duty partners in a business owe a duty to protect their mutual interests for the good of their jointly owned business. Therefore, any money spent by the adulterous spouse on their paramour or in furtherance of their adulterous actions may be considered waste of a community asset. The innocent spouse would receive more of the community assets or, perhaps, less of the community debts that he or she would have otherwise received to compensate the innocent spouse. A qualified Arizona divorce attorney will look at cash withdrawals from ATM’s, credit card statements, and bank statements.

Some states also recognize a personal injury claim of tortious interference with a marital relationship, which may enable the innocent spouse to file a lawsuit against the paramour of the adulterous spouse. Such actions are referred to as civil causes of action and may be filed in state court or in federal court if the paramour and the innocent spouse live in separate states. These cases are typically presented in front of a jury. Understand that not all states recognize these types of lawsuits, so consult with an attorney in your state.

Lastly, Arizona Revised Statute Section 13-1408 makes adultery leading to sexual intercourse illegal in Arizona. Both the adulterous spouse and their paramour can be criminally charged and tried before a jury. If found guilty by a jury, they will be guilty of a class three misdemeanor and can face jail time. The statute, however, specifically provides that the law may only be enforced upon the complaint of the innocent spouse. Law enforcement may not arrest, nor may a prosecutor file charges, upon the complaint of an uninvolved third party.