Arizona Divorce FAQ’s – Miscellaneous

This is about miscellaneous issues for divorce in Arizona, including residence requirements, grounds for divorce, common law marriage, annulment, legal separation, and any requirement for parent training in Arizona.

This information is from Alexander Nirenstein, the DivorceInfo Network Lawyer for Arizona. Click here to visit his firm’s web site.

What are the requirements for residence?

In Arizona a person cannot file for divorce unless one of the spouses was a resident for 90 consecutive days prior to the filing of the action.

What are the grounds for divorce?

Arizona is what is known as a no-fault state, meaning a spouse does not have to prove cruelty, or infidelity in order to get the divorce.  Arizona will grant the divorce as long as the court finds that the marriage is irretrievably broken with no prospects of reconciliation.

Is there such a thing as common law marriage?

Arizona does not recognize common law marriages.  So parties living together in Arizona holding themselves out as husband and wife will not create a common law marriage.  So if people are living together and what the protections of a marital community they would need to get married.  If people are cohabiting and then separate they may still need to address the issues of dividing property and debt.  However the court will treat the parties like a business partnership rather than a marital community.  If children were born to the parties a paternity action should be done.

How does annulment work?

In Arizona annulments will be granted if there is some impediment to having a valid marriage.  Simply put this means the marriage will be annulled if it is learned that the marriage was not valid because one of the parties was under age, was still married and not divorced from the other spouse,  and the marriage ceremony was not valid either due to the marriage being performed by an unlicensed authority or not properly witnessed.

In most cases involving annulment the parties agree to having their marriage annulled and the courts rarely deny the parties’ wishes to have their marriage annulled.  However if one party objects to the annulment and there are not valid reasons for the annulment the annulment may be denied.  It is an erroneous believe that courts will annul a marriage just because one of the parties was untruthful as to their chastity, fertility, or lack of having a sexually transmitted disease.

The advantage of an annulment is that the marriage never existed thus no financial marital community was created, also there is no grounds for alimony.  Of course even without a financial community the parties may have joint property and debts and other property and debts that will need to be addressed.  If children were born during the period the parties were together and the marriage is annulled a paternity action may be necessary.

Is there such a thing as legal separation? If so, how does it work?

Legal separation can be described as “one step short of divorce” and is in essence a financial divorce but not a dissolution of the marriage.  In Arizona the court will not grant a separation unless both parties agree.

In a legal separation the parties’ financial marital community is terminated, meaning that the parties no longer have an interest in the other’s future income, earnings, assets and debts.  However their marriage is not dissolved so they can not marry another person unless the separation is converted to a divorce.

Separations are used if the parties wish to have some time away from each other with hopes of getting back together, but during the period they are apart they do not want to be liable for the other parties’ debts or have an interest in each other’s assets.

Do parents of minor children have to go through parent training? If so, how much does it cost, and how long does it take?

In the late 1990’s Arizona made it mandatory for parents to take a parenting class if they wish to get divorced.  One of the documents necessary for starting a divorce is an order requiring both parents to take a parenting class.  The order also provides a list of classes for the parties to choose from.  The parties do not have to go to the same class provider and in fact are prohibited from going together at the same time.   The classes costs between $25.00-$50.00 and usually last three hours.  Parents who are in very high conflict regarding the children may be ordered to go to further classes if deemed necessary by the judge.

Other issues in Arizona:

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