In the past, if someone wanted to separate from their spouse, they would need to prove to the courts that there were sufficient grounds for divorce. Today, most states, including Arizona, do not follow this antiquated method. Instead, either of the spouses is allowed to file for separation once they have met the minimum residency requirement of 90 days.
However, this doesn’t mean that there are personal grounds for divorce in Arizona. People get divorced because they feel that the marriage is no longer working for one reason or another.
Below, you can learn more about what it means to be in a no-fault state, as well as some of the top reasons that people file for divorce. Additionally, we’ll discuss covenant marriages, which are somewhat different from the norm.
Arizona Is a No-Fault State
As mentioned, Arizona is a no-fault state, so you don’t have to prove that your spouse did something wrong and was responsible for ending the marriage. Only one of the parties needs to want to have a divorce for it to take place. These grounds for divorce help to make things easier and can allow people to get out of problematic, dangerous, or loveless marriages without needing to go through the trauma of proving what happened.
Of course, this wasn’t always the case. In the past, it would be required to prove that there was some sort of misconduct committed by your spouse before you could get a divorce. This would include things like being incarcerated, domestic violence, or adultery, for example.
Today, there is no “legal blame” that takes place for the reason behind the divorce, even though it’s quite possible that your ex did something to cause it. Still, it’s not used as grounds for divorce.
The only exception to the no-fault rule would be covenant marriages and divorce, which are discussed below.
Covenant Marriages and Divorce
A covenant marriage differs from a traditional marriage in a few ways. This type of marriage was not legal in Arizona until it became law in 1998 to allow them. Only three states in the country have these types of marriage—Arizona, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
They have more requirements before the marriage can take place, and there are more restrictions when it comes to getting a divorce or even a separation. Most of the time, people enter these types of marriages for religious reasons. Some churches have doctrines against grounds for divorce, so a couple might choose a covenant marriage because they feel that it more closely aligns with their beliefs.
Before Getting Married
Before entering into a covenant marriage, certain requirements need to be met, which are meant to help prevent divorces. A couple is required to go to marriage counseling before they can be married. This could be done by a marriage counselor or a clergy member. The only time counseling is not required is when a couple is converting their non-covenant marriage to a covenant marriage.
The couple can then apply for a marriage license. This will differ from a traditional marriage license, as it will include a Declaration of Intentions and an affidavit from the marriage counselor.
The Declaration of Intentions states that both people are agreeing to the covenant marriage, agree that it’s between two people who will spend their lives together and that they understand the responsibilities of marriage and will work toward getting through any issues in the marriage rather than seeking and establishing grounds for divorce.
Divorcing in a Covenant Marriage
These types of marriage are meant to be for life, but there are still certain reasons that a divorce can take place. However, even though Arizona is a no-fault state, they will have to provide a reason for the divorce in court. Not all reasons are considered valid.
Some of the reasons that are deemed acceptable include committing a serious crime by the partner against the person who is initiating the divorce, infidelity, substance abuse, domestic violence, and abandonment. It could also be granted if the couple has been living separately without reconciliation for at least one year or if both parties agree to dissolve the marriage.
It’s important to keep in mind that it’s expected that the couples have made a good faith effort to handle and resolve issues before seeking a divorce.
Personal Grounds for Divorce
If you have a traditional marriage, you might have some personal grounds for divorce and reasons for wanting to separate.
One of the biggest reasons that people end up wanting to get a divorce is because of financial problems. One of the spouses might not want to work, which causes financial issues, or perhaps they are spending too much money. They might be wasting money on frivolous things, for example, which causes problems in the marriage.
Other times, a couple might start to grow apart over time. It happens even in cases where the marriage might have started strong. People change and grow, and sometimes, they aren’t moving in the same direction. It’s often better for them to realize this and then go their separate ways.
Of course, infidelity can also be a problem. Most people do not want to remain with a cheating spouse for a host of reasons. There could be disagreements over how to raise the children, lack of attention from the spouse, or a host of other issues. Many issues are similar to those that might be used in a covenant divorce. This includes substance abuse issues, for example.
Of course, since this is a no-fault state, you don’t have to have any reason other than the fact that you want to get out of the marriage. Regardless of the reason you have, you want to be sure that you handle the divorce the right way.
Do You Need to Get a Divorce?
Whether you are in a covenant marriage or a traditional marriage, it’s a good idea to consult with an attorney. They can help you to figure out the best path forward with your divorce.