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

  • My wife kicked me out by threatening to call the cops on me and tell them im violent. I left because she was the one slapping me. How do I get my items? Do I still have to pay rent due on 5th? Kicked out on the 1st.
  • I just found out the person I married 6 yrs., ago is wanted in Mexico for attempted murder, she uses a false identity, our marriage may not be legal, she is a fraud and only married me for Immagration purposes. I went to immigration for assistance and guidance and they took the complaint but showed very little concern. I am told I should file for an annulment but I need an attorney do take care of the paperwork and file with the court. I need a domestic attorney, I dont have much funds, she has taken everything and left me in a poor financial state. Can someone recommend an attorney.....
  • I am out of State and was told I need to petition the judge to accept the parenting class. I do not know what form to use to petition the judge to accept the class.
  • I was divorced in 1987. My former spouse has been living with the same person in SC since before the divorce. My former spouse still recieves 30% of my pension. SC is a common law state. Do I have any recourse in proving she is living in a martial state and stopping this benefit?
  • I got married in the state of Philadelphia, PA in 2004 and I have been separated since the year of 2012. I moved to the state of AZ in May of 2014 and I want to know if I can get a divorce here in the state of AZ.
  • does the parent paying for the insuranse for the child have to pay what ever the insurance does not cover
  • My wife and I are separated and will file for divorce. She is refusing to let me see my girls who are 9 & 11. I am a good dad who does not do anything illegal, never committed domestic violence or other crime. Up to this point, I have raised and cared for my girls with the most love. It is killing me not to be able to see them. Can she keep them from me? What can be done until the divorce papers are filed? What are my rights?
  • How can my ex-husband file court papers changing the custody orders made with our divorce, stating that i can not take my son out of the county they live in. hes not even his son. its a long story and i need help getting my kids back.
  • Hello, once a divorce judgement is entered, what documents need to be filed with the court in order to split a pension? The marriage was for 45 years.
  • Is there a form to amend a divorce petition i am filing for an annulment but i made a mistake and it turned into a request for divorce judge said i needed to file an amendment

STORIES

  • If you get a divorce, make sure your date of birth is on the Decree if your name is changing!. . .
  • I just helped my mother, age 89, deal with her Medicare HMO. . .
  • Age discrimination in the workplace. . .

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  • State Bar of Arizona
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    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
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    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
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