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What is a Covenant Marriage in Arizona

An Explanation of a Covenant Marriage in Arizona

Some people have asked what is a covenant marriage in Arizona. The Arizona Legislature passed a law creating a type of marriage called a “covenant marriage.” A covenant marriage offers an option to couples who wish to marry. A covenant marriage differs both in the steps necessary to get married and the reasons why the court may grant a legal separation or divorce.

To enter into a covenant marriage, the couple must first participate in counseling (referred to as “premarital counseling”) from a member of the clergy or a marriage counselor. Then, both persons must show their intention to enter into a covenant marriage by signing a particular statement (or “declaration”) on the marriage license application form.

In a covenant marriage, legal separation or divorce (in Arizona, a “dissolution of marriage”) may only be granted by the court for particular reasons listed in the statute. To be married in Arizona, a couple legally qualified to marry must first get a marriage license. (Sections 25-101 and 25-102 of the Arizona Revised Statutes indicate who may legally marry.)

To get a license, a written application must be filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court in any county of the state or with some justices of the peace, city clerks or town clerks.

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For a covenant marriage, certain information must be included in the marriage license application. By law (Section 25-901 of the Arizona Revised Statutes) a person must state their intention to enter into a covenant marriage. This statement (or “declaration:) must contain several things:

  • A written statement, printed exactly as follows: We solemnly declare that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman who agree to live together as husband and wife for as long as they both live. We have chosen each other carefully and have received premarital counseling on the nature, purposes, and responsibilities of marriage.
  • We understand that a covenant marriage is for life. If we experience marital difficulties, we commit ourselves to take all reasonable efforts to preserve our marriage, including marital counseling. With full knowledge of what this commitment means, we do declare that Arizona law will bind our marriage on covenant marriages and we promise to love, honor and care for one another as husband and wife for the rest of our lives.
  • The signed and sworn statement of both people that they have received premarital counseling from a member of the clergy or a marriage counselor. In premarital counseling, both people must be advised that a covenant marriage is a commitment for life. Premarital counseling also must include a discussion of the seriousness of covenant marriage, the requirement to seek marriage counseling if marital difficulties develop and the limited legal reasons available for ending the marriage by legal separation or divorce. The couple also must receive a copy of this pamphlet.
  • The signatures of both parties witnessed by a court clerk. The parties must submit with the license application a sworn, notarized statement from the member of the clergy or marriage counselor who provided the premarital counseling. This statement must confirm that the parties were advised about the nature and purpose of a covenant marriage and the limited reasons for ending the marriage by legal separation or divorce. The counselor’s statement also must show that a copy of this informational pamphlet was given to each person.

If you need more information about a covenant marriage in Arizona, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona divorce and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in divorce and family law cases.

Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.

Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your divorce or family law case around today.

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