Divorce & Annulment

questions & answers

Question: my husband & i filed for legal separation in 2001. we reconciled in 04/2003 and lived together as husband & wife in arizona until end end of september 2006. he has filed for a dissolution of marriage, according to arizona law, are the terms of the 2001 legal separation still valid?

Answer:

Arizona does not recognize common law marriage, so the phrase "lived together as husband and wife" is virtually meaningless - at least as it pertains to your marital status. (But it could potentially affect property division, and perhaps other issues, too). If you were legally separated, then you were legally separated. Both you and he should respect any court orders that were entered as a consequence of that separation decree except as modified by the judge presiding over the new divorce case, or except as required by operation of state law once the new divorce case was filed.

For example, A.R.S. § 25-315 automatically imposed special prohibitions on both of you (once the divorce petition was served), that preclude the waste, concealment or sale of marital property, warn against harassing behavior by one spouse against the other, forbid cancellation of health insurance coverage, and disallow removal of minor children from the court's jurisdiction without written permission of the "left behind" parent or a court order.) Also, the AZ family law rules permit either of you to petition the court for temporary orders (Rule 47)  while the divorce case is pending. Such orders could involve child support, maintenance, property division or possession of the marital home.

QUESTIONS

  • my husband & i filed for legal separation in 2001. we reconciled in 04/2003 and lived together as husband & wife in arizona until end end of september 2006. he has filed for a dissolution of marriage, according to arizona law, are the terms of the 2001 legal separation still valid?

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