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 husband wants a Divorce and we have a boat that has His Name OR my name. Does the word OR make it community property? He says it was a gift to him and won't sell it. What does the word OR mean on the title? Is it community property?
  • If I am the respondent . what name goes in the person filing on the form myself the respondent, or my spouse the petitioner
  • My husband and I have been seperated for 6 months and I want a divorce. I am looking at moving out of state to be closer to my family. I need help filing for divorce as I have a limited income. He wants joint custody but he is not her biological father. After we got married he signed paper claiming paternity. How do I go about getting the divorce with full custody when I have no money? Thank you
  • Will a judge grant my request to change my name to something other then a former name during a divorce proceeding
  • My husband filed for divorce and I was served the papers. I was unable to go to the court date so divorce was granted by default. Decree says I went to parenting classes which I didn't. Also ex doesnt have to pay child support or alimony even though he left the family and was having affair. Can I file for child support and alimony since we were married for 20+ yrs.? We get adoption subsidy for our daughter and he wants half of that but only has her 48hrs/wk. What can I do?
  • I was granted a divorce from my husband in January of this year. He was to pay me a certain amount of cash by February and hasn't and was to place the house up for sale and didnt. The house has gone into foreclosure. All this was stated in the papers. Doesn't he have to pay?
  • My husband and I were married in 2000. We separated in 2001 and have no lived together or been in a relationship ever since. He was deported to Mexico. How can I file? He agreed to sign and get papers notarized in Mexico immediately. Would they be valid in Arizona?
  • I am deploying to go to afghanistan. I want to file for divorce but am concerned that may not go in my favor at this time. Can my spouse file for a divorce legally? I am leaving in july. How long does a divorce take , can it be finalized w/o me being present? If we have our own vehicles, both names r on each, could it possibly be divided where I keep my truck? Thank u
  • I was married thru the Catholic Church. Got divorced thru the state 5 years ago, but have not gone thru the church to get the marriage annulled. Legally, do I need to do this before I remarry?
  • I am disabled and my husband has abandoned me now for close to a year. He filed a order to stop me from being able to talk to him as he refuses to divorce me but is living with another woman.He failed to tell the judge we r in a covenant marriage. I need free/cheap legal help. PLZ!

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