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

  • Where can I find a divorce packet for a covenant marriage?
  • My husband and I have been separated for three years. We have an adult daughter aged 23 and another who is nearly 20- she is getting married in a month. We wish to file co-petitioner divorce but do we file the packet for with children or not? She is not emancipated, but does live on her own and will be married as I said in a month.
  • I just filed for divorce and filed the proof of service at the central courthouse. My husband and I decided that we will provide the consent decree for divorce, but I was curious about the portion that directs us to pay a response fee. How and when do we pay that? Does he need to submit a response if we are going to do the consent decree for divorce?
  • What can I do if my husband is not filing his set of divorce papers, mine have been filed already and I waited the required amount of time, but he will not file his papers saying he is too busy. We have no children together and we agreed on everything. I believe I need to file a default form, but does that mean we have to have a hearing? Is there anyway to file the default form and have no hearing? Especially being we have no property/assets to divide.
  • In our Divorce Decree, my ex is ordered to make payments to me every month for the Equity from our home and property. He has been late in his payments half of the time; sent a NSF check or only partial payment. I accepted the payment plan because he said he wanted to keep the house, and was unable to get a loan for the amount he would owe. The total amount he would owe me is only $21,000.00. Is there anything I can do to have the Decree changed so that he has to pay the balance to me in a lump-sum now?
  • I wish to file for a divorce. My wife left the country with my daughter. Do I use the "with children" or "without children " packet since the judge does not have child support jurisdiction here? I do not know the whereabouts of my daughter at this time. Thank you.
  • I got a divorce about 7 years ago and it stated that my ex owes me some money but he has yet to pay in full. He had since moved to NC and gotten remarried. Can I go after them for the money? The decree doesn't state an expiration for the money to be paid but he refuses to make further payments to me. I also learned that he has recently bought a house. Can I put a lien out and file a document with the court to hold him in contempt for not paying me?
  • I would like to enforce my divorce decree. In the decree my ex husband was to buy me out of a portion of our business. He had 2 years to buy out my portion with an agreed upon amount. He is refusing to do so. What do I need to file in order to enforce this? The business is still operating and he is employed by it.
  • I am a homemaker and I found out my husband of 9 years cheated on me. When confronted he left and has not been back, . We do not own our house but he has abandoned me and everything else leaving me with no vehicle, no money, and also cleaned out our bank account. What are my legal rights and where can I get help when I have no money for one?
  • How do I get married?

STORIES

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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

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