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

  • how do i get divorce forms?
  • where can i get free or very low help in filling out a qualified domestic relations order (qdro)
  • I am currently married but we have been living very separate lives since 2011. My spouse has just "married" someone else. I have checked with the courts and there is no marriage certificate filed, however I was informed if they are presenting as a married couple, sent out wedding invitations, etc.. that this still falls under A.R.S. 13-3606(A) Anti-Bigamy Act. I will not be the one to actively pursue divorce as I took sacred vows and getting divorced was not one of them though I will not be difficult if a divorce is presented to me. In the interim what he is doing is wrong so what do I do?
  • I am legally divorced, I was a stay at home mom. I have just started working pt, but do not have enough money to get a lawyer. Will his income be counted as mine, even though I have no access to it. I'm wondering if I qualify for free legal assistance. We are not agreeing on custody.
  • How long after your final hearing, does it take to receive your divorce decree?
  • if i was married in nevada can I get a divorce in az?
  • If I am married to an Illegal Alien, am I legally married and if he is in Mexico and not coming back, How do I divorce him?
  • I am a Utah native and moved to Arizona about 2 years ago. I got married in AZ in October 2014. I recently have moved back to Utah in January and want to get my marriage annulled and my husband still lives in az. Do I file for annulment in UT or az? It is an az marriage license.
  • I got married in san luis Az. when I was a legal resident, but now I'm no longer a legal resident and I live in san luis mexico, I been separated for 13 years and I want to get a divorce, I don"t know what to do.
  • my husband walked out on me a week after we found out i was pregnant. we had bought a car together and he let his dad put the title in his name without me knowing and a week after we found out i was pregnant he left? what can i do and can i get an annulment?

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  • 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
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