What Reasons Do I Need to Show to File for Divorce in Arizona?
You may have many reasons why you want to divorce your spouse. However, asserting every reason why you want a divorce in Arizona is not required. Although all states have different laws regarding marriage and divorce, you do not need to prove you are entitled to get a divorce in Arizona.
What are the Grounds for Divorce in Arizona
Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. That means the only thing you need to prove is that your marriage is irretrievably broken. The court will accept your statement the marriage is irretrievably broken to enter a divorce decree. You do not need to testify why your marriage is irretrievably broken. The only exception to this general rule pertains to covenant marriages.
In a fault-based system, a spouse would have to prove the other spouse is at fault in some way for the divorce. Some of the reasons people would need to prove in a fault-based divorce system was that the other parent was abusive, was cheating on them, had a substance abuse problem, had been convicted of a serious crime or was sexually deviant. The need to obtain evidence in a fault-based system to get a divorce resulted in people having to hire private investigators to help prove a reason for the divorce existed. This significantly increased the cost to get a divorce.
To obtain a divorce in Arizona, at least one of the spouse’s must have been an Arizona resident for at least 90 days. The residency requirement is designed to prevent a spouse from forum shopping their divorce case in Arizona because he or she believes an Arizona judge may rule more favorably in their divorce than a judge in another state.
When Reasons for the Divorce are Relevant
Even though you do not need to prove your spouse was at fault to obtain a divorce in Arizona, there are reasons when a spouse’s fault may become important to other issues in the divorce. If your reason for divorce in Arizona is based on your spouse cheating on you, you may assert a claim of the waste of community assets if your spouse spent community money on the affair.
The reasons for the divorce can also play a role in the child custody orders issued in your case. An abusive spouse or a spouse with a substance abuse problem may have his or her parenting time rights limited and even supervised by a third party. Fault can also play a role in how the court rules on a claim for spousal maintenance in some cases.
You should speak to a qualified Arizona divorce attorney to determine how the reasons you are filing for divorce may have on the other issues in your case.
Divorce vs. Legal Separation
You have the option of choosing a legal separation instead of divorce in Arizona. Regardless whether you choose a divorce or a legal separation, your assets and debts will be divided, child custody and child support orders will be issued and alimony, in some cases, will be awarded. The main difference between a divorce and legal separation is that you are not returned to the status of a single person in a legal separation and cannot, therefore, get remarried.
Some people choose a legal separation because they want to increase a spouse’s social security benefits or may want to stay on their spouse’s group health insurance plan. Other people choose a legal separation because their religious beliefs prohibit a divorce.
Speak with a Qualified Arizona Divorce Attorney
If you are in need of a divorce lawyer in Arizona, the family law firm of Hildebrand Law, PC is only a phone call away. Our attorneys handle all types of divorce cases in Arizona. Please call (480)305-8300 if you wish to speak with our Arizona divorce lawyers or have additional questions regarding Arizona divorce laws.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about what you need to show to file for divorce in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about community divorce laws in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.