In Arizona, divorce is referred to as dissolution of marriage. The first step to understanding how divorce works is to know something about marriage. In very general terms, Arizona allows two types of marriages, standard and covenant. The key difference between the two lies in the standards that spouses must meet to enter into, and to legally dissolve a marriage.
To enter into a covenant marriage, the couple must first have counseling from a member of the clergy or a marriage counselor. Also, when applying for a marriage license, both persons must show their intention to enter into a covenant marriage by signing a special declaration on the application form.
Courts are more limited in their ability to dissolve a covenant marriage. To obtain a divorce when a covenant marriage exists, both spouses must either agree to the divorce or one of the spouses must meet at least one of several statutory requirements. If there is no agreement, the court may only grant a dissolution of marriage for one of the following reasons:
- One spouse commits adultery.
- One spouse is convicted of a serious crime.
- One spouse abandons the other for a period of a year or longer.
- The spouses have been living separately, and without reconciliation, for more than two years.
- One spouse or a relative of that spouse who lives permanently in the home commits domestic violence or abuses a child.
- One spouse abuses drugs or alcohol.
In standard marriages, the sole question that courts ask is whether the marriage is irretrievably broken. This is because Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, which means that courts do not assign blame in divorce proceedings. Although a spouse’s behavior may be relevant to the issues of child custody and parenting time, it is typically not relevant to the question of whether a dissolution proceeding may go forward.
Simple Uncontested Divorce
An uncontested divorce is generally the least costly type of dissolution proceeding. It is only possible, however, if both spouses agree on the key terms of the dissolution. Unfortunately, in many dissolution proceedings, spouses have difficulty reaching mutual agreements, even if doing so would save them time and money.
Spouses create the terms of the dissolution without involving the courts in an uncontested divorce proceeding. The spouses, either by themselves or with assistance of counsel, agree on terms such as child custody and property division. If spouses fail to reach an agreement on even one term of the dissolution, and they involve the courts, the divorce is no longer uncontested.
Parties to a divorce are not legally required to hire an attorney, however it is always in their best interest to do so. Whether the divorce is uncontested or filled with conflict, an Arizona divorce attorney can help facilitate a fair and just proceeding. If you are considering an uncontested divorce in Arizona, call JacksonWhite at (480) 467-4348 to schedule a consultation with our Arizona divorce lawyer.
Complex Contested Divorce
Not all marriage dissolution’s go uncontested. In fact, many proceedings are complicated and adversarial, ; and courts will do not issue a decree of dissolution until all of the key terms are in place. This means that courts do not dissolve marriages until they ensure that the parties to the divorce have clear direction on issues such as property and debt division, alimony, child support and child custody.
In many contested divorces, courts have to resolve child support issues. Courts also step in to establish child custody and visitation rights, which are many times the most contested issues in a dissolution proceeding. Furthermore, courts sometimes require one of the spouses to pay spousal maintenance, or alimony, on a temporary and permanent basis. These issues are rarely easy to resolve, and an Arizona divorce attorney can be extremely helpful in ensuring a fair proceeding. To speak with an experienced Arizona divorce lawyer in the greater Phoenix area, call JacksonWhite at (480) 467-4348. Consultations can be held at both the JacksonWhite Mesa office and the JacksonWhite Peoria office.
Choosing a skilled Mesa, AZ divorce lawyer isn’t easy, but a call to JacksonWhite Family Law is the one-stop solution to all your worries. We understand that few things are more emotionally draining or unpleasant than the process of dissolving a marriage; even in the most amicable of separations, you need someone in your corner, committed to defending your interests. Our team of experts knows what goes into getting you a beneficial settlement while minimizing the stress and emotional havoc that many experience throughout the process, particularly if there are minor children involved.
Unlike many other states, Arizona grants no-fault divorces, which means that when a couple files a petition to dissolve the marriage, the issue of why isn’t a relevant one. Even though behavior such as adultery, drug or alcohol abuse, a history of violent behavior, or physical or emotional abandonment play a huge role in determining custody of any minor children and as factors in requests for child support, the state of Arizona doesn’t assign blame when dissolving a marriage. This helps keep both partners on equal footing throughout the process.
Whether you’re seeking a simple, uncontested divorce, or are in the middle of a messy and volatile situation you’re ready to resolve, you need a Mesa, AZ divorce lawyer on your side. The professional legal team at JacksonWhite Family Law have over a decade of experience handling common family law issues, and can help you settle yours as quickly and as amicably as possible.
Call today to schedule your consultation! We are ready to help those in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa and all of Arizona.
Learn More About Divorce