If you are considering getting a divorce in Arizona, you must understand some of the requirements for divorce that need to be met. This is a no-fault state, and it’s not overly difficult to get a divorce started. However, other requirements need to be met before you can get your divorce.
What Is No-Fault?
Most states are no-fault, which means they allow people to marry and divorce when they want and for whatever reason they want. One of the spouses might simply not be happy in the marriage and want to leave. This is possible in a no-fault state and there will not be any need to prove to the state that you should be able to get a divorce.
In the past, it wasn’t like that. States would often require proof of wrongdoing before a divorce could be granted if the other party contested it. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can simply head down to the courts and get separated today. There are still some requirements that need to be met first. Among these are the residency requirements for divorce.
What Are the Residency Requirements for Divorce?
In Arizona, there are state-specific requirements for those who want to divorce. They have to be met before you can file for a divorce.
Let’s look at the actual statute. The first section of Statute 25-312 says that “one of the parties, at the time the action was commenced, was domiciled in this state, or was stationed in this state while a member of the armed services, and that in either case, the domicile or military presence has been maintained for 90 days prior to filing the petition for dissolution of marriage.”
Simply put, this means that you will need to have lived in Arizona for at least 90 days before you can file a petition to get divorced. If your spouse lives in a different state because you haven’t been staying together, you can file in Arizona if you have been there for 90 days. You may both be living in the same state or even the same house, but you don’t need to be.
The dissolution of marriage will generally be filed in the county where the spouse who files lives. For example, if you live in Maricopa County, you will file with the court there.
What If You Don’t Meet the Requirements?
If you meet that simple requirement, it’s relatively easy to file the petition. If you don’t meet the requirement at this point, you can wait until you have been there 90 days to file. Keep in mind that you don’t need to wait 90 days to get the documents together to start the process on your own. You just can’t file them yet. It’s often better to get the paperwork you need and to have everything filled out so as soon as the 90 days are up, you can file.
Another option might be to have your spouse file for divorce if they have lived in Arizona for at least 90 days. If you are both on the same page when it comes to getting the divorce, this can be a good option. It will mean that you don’t have to wait to establish your residency in the state.
Of course, this doesn’t always work. Sometimes, the other party doesn’t want a divorce, or they might not know that you are planning on getting divorced. If that’s the case, simply wait.
There is a third option that you could consider, too. You could choose a different state where you or your spouse meet the residency requirements for divorce. Since all states have different divorce laws, this is often possible. Because the divorce laws are different, though, you will want to learn more about them before you file for divorce in a different state. Sometimes, it may be more advantageous for you to wait to file in Arizona.
What If You Have Children?
If you have kids who are minors, the rules are a little different. The petitioner can still file after 90 days. However, the court will not have jurisdiction for matters relating to the children, such as custody, unless the children have resided in the state for at least six months before the divorce is filed. If you feel that there will be issues with the kids the courts will need to resolve, it may be better to wait the six months.
Proving Residency in Arizona for Divorce
Most of the time, you will not have to prove that you have been in Arizona for the required length of time. However, you will have to testify under oath that you were a resident for at least 90 days.
If your spouse contests that you were not a resident, you may need to prove that you were living in the state. This could be done using tax records, a driver’s license, vehicle registration, phone bills, utility records, lease agreements, etc. These will help to establish that you were living in Arizona for the required length of time.
Although it might be tempting to lie so you can get the divorce started, not being truthful will come back to haunt you later. Be honest and wait the required length of time.
How Long Will the Divorce Process Take After Filing?
After you have filed for the divorce, it still can’t start right away. You will have to wait an additional 60 days after the first court papers were delivered to your spouse. You can and should be preparing for the divorce during this time, though. Start getting all of the information you need and speak with a divorce attorney.
The attorney can help you with everything related to your divorce. In some cases, for example, you might want to get a separation before you get divorced. You don’t have to wait for a separation, and you can then start filing separation paperwork once your residency requirements for divorce are up.