Divorce in Arizona: Part 2

Updated info and links about domestic violence, benefits of counseling


Emotional trauma can be overwhelming

Many people inherently understand that divorce, or “dissolution of marriage,” is an emotionally charged process that is  painful to even contemplate. Likewise, many understand that at least consulting with an attorney is a wise move. However, often overlooked is the depth of emotional trauma and the benefit that can come from professional counseling. A compatible, experienced divorce attorney can not only help with the legal matters of divorce but also can provide referrals to appropriate grief counseling.

Addressing domestic violence a priority

Furthermore, experts and legal authorities warn us that if the family equation includes domestic violence, it must be addressed immediately. An attorney can be of immense help in this arena, from securing shelter to filing appropriate protective or restraining orders. Arizona has a wealth of online domestic violence resources:

A “pure” no-fault state–with major exception

With one caveat to which we’ll return, Arizona is a purely “no-fault” state. Therefore, no “blame” or “wrongdoing” need be assigned to either party; what counts is simply that either party believes the union is irretrievably broken and can not be repaired.  Furthermore, no legal advantage is created by being the first one to file.

Residency requirements

According to the Superior Court’s page for Maricopa County, residency requirements vary according to the complexity of the divorce action requested (plus, here’s a link to the court in Pima County):

To file for a divorce in Arizona you or your spouse must have been domiciled (lived) in Arizona or been stationed as a member of the armed forces here for at least 90 days before you filed. If that is not true, DO NOT FILE until it becomes true.

Also, if you are asking the judge to decide matters about children like custody and support, you should generally have resided here for 6 months with the children immediately before you file for divorce. The State of Arizona must be the children’s primary place of residence, according to the legal definition of residence. If you are not sure if Arizona is the primary place of residence for your children, talk to a lawyer before you file for divorce.

The exception? Ending a ‘covenant marriage’

OK, the caveat mentioned earlier is that Arizona is one of the few states that has made provision for what is known as covenant marriage, about which see more in “Divorce in Arizona, Part 1.” Basically, covenant marriage is an outgrowth of a religious/philosophical movement that requires state-mandated counseling before marriage and does require grounds beyond the more common “no-fault” divorce. Bottom line? More hoops to jump through to get married in the first place, and subsequently it’s tougher to get divorced. If you’re in a covenant marriage, chances are you are well aware of the distinction, but just in case here’s a link to a Wikipedia article; also, please check the links in the “Divorce in Arizona, Part 1” article.

Also see “Getting a divorce in Phoenix.”

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Regardless of your situation, we can help–even if you find you need to end a covenant marriage. If you’re ready to begin the search for a compatible, well trained, experienced divorce attorney, you can start with our free case evaluation. If you need more information, please browse our site, using the tabs at the top of the page.