Divorce & Annulment Article


Divorce in Arizona

Only the court can legally end a marriage. However, spouses are free to agree to as many terms of the divorce as possible. Court services are available in several counties to assist in reaching agreements about such matters as parenting time and custody of children. Because agreements between spouses leave fewer issues for the court to decide, the result often is more satisfying to the people involved and may speed the process of concluding the court case.

If you have children and issues of child custody or parenting time are involved, other information is provided on this website under Child Custody and Visitation and Child Support. When seeking a divorce and a party has requested that the Superior Court determine custody, specific parenting time or child support, parents of minor children are required by state law (section 25-351 et seq. Arizona Revised Statutes) to attend an education class. Information about the Parent Education Class is available on this web site under the subtopic Other Family Issues.

What is divorce?
Divorce is a court process to legally end a marriage. In Arizona a divorce is called a "dissolution of marriage." In addition to ending the marriage, a divorce may also deal with how property and debts of the spouses are divided between them and whether one spouse should pay support (alimony) to the other. If children are involved, a divorce also resolves custody, parenting time and child support issues.

What is a divorce "Decree?"
The Decree is the final order of the court legally ending the marriage. Spouses are not "divorced" until the court grants the divorce and the Decree is signed by the judge. The Decree may also contain other orders deciding how the spouses' property and debts will be divided and what financial support, if any, will be paid by one spouse to the other. If children are involved, the Decree also will provide for custody, parenting time and child support.

Where do I get a divorce?
In Arizona, only the Superior Court can grant a divorce. To get a divorce, one spouse must start a court case in the Superior Court. Although the Superior Court has a facility in each Arizona county, a court case to end a marriage must be started in the county where the person requesting the divorce lives.

Who can start a divorce case?
In Arizona, either spouse can ask the court for a divorce. A divorce is not awarded to either spouse; rather, it simply changes the status of the marriage relationship.

When can I start a divorce case?
Before starting the court case, either the husband or wife must have lived in Arizona for at least 90 days or have been a member of the armed forces stationed in Arizona for at least 90 days. Unless Arizona was the last state where you lived together with your spouse, issues regarding custody of children may require a longer residence time in order to deal with those issues.

How do I need to start a divorce case?
Unlike some other states, for most marriages Arizona does not require that one of the spouses prove blame or responsibility in order to end the marriage. Under Arizona law, the only question for the court is whether the marriage is "irretrievably broken," meaning that there is no reasonable chance that the spouses want to keep the marriage together. If you have a covenant marriage (see Covenant Marriage under the subtopic Other Family Issues), however, under state law the court cannot grant a divorce unless certain things such as adultery, abandonment, physical abuse or regular substance abuse are proven or unless both spouses agree that the marriage should end. (The reasons for ending a covenant marriage are listed in section 25-903, Arizona Revised Statutes.)


Comments:

On 11/1/07
A said
i have not seen my "husband" for 5 years and we had a child . i now want to get re married . the only thing i know of my "husband" is that he may be in california. i have not had contact with him for 5 years how can i get a divorce?

On 9/14/07
Curt said
I am just starting the divorce process and representing myself. My wife and i are interested in creating our own "joint custody agreement" including support and visitation to submit with paperwork. where can we find a draft? any ideas

On 8/31/07
gloria said
I was divorced in 1978 and he was order to pay child surport and I got half of our property we where married in oklahoma I was from Phx. He never paid anything not one cent now he owns a house in Ok. What ca I do to get whats owed to us, being poor.

On 8/22/07
sean said
MY EX- WIFE FILED FOR DIVORCE AND GOT A DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST ME, NOW I FIND OUT THAT WE MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN MARRIED IN THE FIRST PLACE; CAN I FIGHT THE DEFAULT JUDGMENT??

On 8/9/07
Claudette said
I filed a divorce in Phoenix, Az. I don't know if it became final or not. My husband was suppose to pay for it.

View all Comments

QUESTIONS

  • I got married in Morocco, got my husband to U S we have been married for 3 years. One day, he decided to leave and two weeks later, I found out he was filing divorce for domestic violence, I confronted him and he said it was the only way to get his legal status. I hired an attorney and got divorced but not for domestic violence, it was for irreconsiliable marriage. Can he still get a chance to get his green card?
  • If a husband moves out unexpectedly while you are at work and takes your car that is in your name can you call police and report it stolen?
  • Where can I find a divorce packet for a covenant marriage?
  • Where can I find a court approved parenting class?
  • Divorce layer died before divorce became final. What is my recourse?
  • What happens if my husband or spouse refuses to sign the divorce papers?
  • My wife and I are living separate and have divided all of our assets and financials. Also we signed a contract to protect one another. Will this hold up in court if we decide to get divorced later?
  • Is the self-help booklet available in Spanish?
  • I am a resident of AZ. My wife and I were married in AZ. My wife is a resident of Minnesota and has filed for divorce there. The laws of which state govern in the divorce settlement?
  • I am wanting to divorce my husband who is currently incarcerated. His parental rights were severed by the courts and I have full custody of our only son. How does this change what documents I need to be filed and how he is able to respond ?

STORIES

  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .
  • If you get a divorce, make sure your date of birth is on the Decree if your name is changing!. . .
  • He told me that I could actually get all the money I needed by using my home as collateral. . .

LegalLEARN

YOUR FEEDBACK IS NEEDED

FIND LEGAL HELP

  • Please select your county of residence below.

    County:
     

OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

ORGANIZATIONS