What happens after I decide to get a divorce?

Many people feel overwhelmed, scared, regretful or guilty when they think about divorce. The legal process seems cloaked in secrecy and the filing clerks sure aren’t helping. If you have to hear they can’t give you “legal advice” one more time, you may lose your cool. Modern Law is your Arizona divorce attorney and we are here to help.

You are reaching out for information and it seems like it is either not available or there is simply too much to process. You have friends telling you conflicting stories about what you can expect in terms of child support, alimony or spousal maintenance, and who will keep the house.

Have no fear! Modern Law provides step-by-step email instructions on the Arizona Divorce Process, free webinars on all aspects of Arizona Divorce, and an entire Do-it-yourself Divorce website too. This article will walk you through the following subjects:

What is a No-Fault Divorce?

Arizona is a no-fault divorce state. This means that unless you have entered into a covenant marriage, anyone can get divorced if they want to do so. Even if your spouse “won’t agree.” By following the Arizona divorce laws, you will be ensured a divorce regardless of whether or not your spouse will agree to your terms.

What is a Covenant Marriage? How do I know if I have a covenant marriage?

Arizona became the second state in the country to adopt the ability to enter into a “covenant marriage” in 1998. When a couple enters into a covenant marriage, they are publicly declaring a commitment to traditional “fault based” divorce requirements. They must take premarital counseling prior to the marriage and agree that they will only divorce where proper grounds exist. The couple makes the following promise:

  • 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 our marriage will be bound by Arizona law on covenant marriages and we promise to love, honor and care for one another as husband and wife for the rest of our lives.

A marriage may be converted to a covenant marriage by submitting an affidavit with the oath.

Grounds for divorce of covenant marriage include:

  • Adultery
  • Conviction of a felony
  • Cruelty or domestic violence
  • Abandonment
  • Living separately continuously without reconciliation for at least two years prior to the filing of a divorce; one year prior to the filing of a legal separation
  • Chronic alcohol or drug abuse
  • Both spouses agree to a divorce

In reality, if a spouse wants a divorce, there is little you can do to stop them. The courts do not treat the dissolution of a covenant marriage significantly different than they do a non-covenant marriage. Even with the covenant marriage, breach of the promises, or breaking the marital vows, does not create a tort- or civil claim for damages. Domestic violence can create a claim for damages.

What is the residency requirement for an Arizona Divorce?

In order to file for divorce in Arizona, at least one of the parties needs to have lived in Arizona for 90 days. There are special rules for military members who claim their residence to be the state of Arizona.

Does Arizona have Common Law Marriage?

The Arizona Legislature has not created a way for people to enter into an Arizona Common Law Marriage. However, Arizona does recognize all out of state marriages validly entered into in the state or country where the marriage took place. For instance, in Texas if a couple lives together and “holds out” or claims to be married to the public, they have entered into a valid common law marriage. In Kansas, the couple needs a marriage agreement plus the holding out as a married couple. Arizona will perform a divorce for  a couple married in another country or a tribal marriage as long as the marriage was validly entered into.

When you have hit the last straw, call or text Modern Law. We are your trusted Arizona divorce attorney’s.