Arizona Divorce Laws

Divorce residency requirements for Arizona

To be able to file for Petition for Dissolution in Arizona the Superior Court must have jurisdiction over your case. Being able to meet these requirements is generally only a concern for those whose spouse has moved out of the state or who will be moving. Requirements for filing for divorce are outlined below:

  1. One of the parties was living in the state, or was stationed in the state whilst being in the armed forces, at the time of the action commencing and in either of these cases they must have been doing so for 90 days prior to applying for the dissolution of marriage.
  2. Dissolution of marriage will normally be filed in the same county as which the filing spouse resides. Arizona Statutes – Title 12 – Chapters 401 and Title 25 – Chapters: 312, 329.

Grounds for divorce

Dissolution of marriage is the initial document, which must be filed with an Arizona court when a divorce is requested. The spouse that is filing for divorce may file under certain conditions, which are outlined below:

No-fault based grounds

The marriage cannot be repaired and there is no chance of reconciliation.

Covenant marriage based grounds – For covenant marriages only

A “higher” form of marriage is recognised in Arizona, which is named a “covenant marriage”

  • Adultery
  • If the party has been convicted of a felony and imprisoned. This can be imprisonment in any state, municipal or county facility
  • 1 year of abandonment
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • The partners have been living apart for a period of at least 2 years before applying for dissolution or marriage and there is no chance of reconciliation
  • The partners have been living apart for a one year period from the date that the decree of legal separation was entered
  • Alcohol or drug abuse

Property division

Property division is usually agreed upon by the parties involved upon which time a marital settlement agreement will be signed, however if they cannot reach an amicable agreement then the property will be awarded by the Superior Court within the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.

Arizona is a community property state and as such all properties and debt that was accumulated from the date of the marriage up until the cut-off date of the marriage is classed as community property. If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement to split the property amicably then the courts will share it out equally. They will take into account the following:

  • The community, joint tenancy and any other marital property will be divided without any regard to any marital misconduct.
  • Any property acquired by either of the partners outside the state will be seen as community property providing that the property would have been community property if it were acquired in this state.
  • The court will not be prevented from considering judgements or damages that resulted from conduct of criminal conviction by either of the spouses.

Child custody

The Arizona court will take into account all factors, which are relevant when deciding on child custody issues. These will include the following:

  • The wishes of the parents of the child
  • The preference of the child
  • Interaction between parents and child along with interaction between siblings and any other individual who may affect the child’s best interests
  • How well the child might adjust in the community, school and home
  • The physical and mental health of everyone concerned
  • Which of the parents would be the most likely to encourage a healthy and meaningful relationship with the other parent
  • Who has previously provided the child with primary care
  • Whether either of the parents has been convicted of falsely accusing the other of neglect or child abuse under section 13-2907.02 Arizona Statutes – Title 25 – Chapters: 401