Divorce in Arizona

What are the requirements for residence?

A person cannot file for divorce in Arizona 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 in Arizona?

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 belief 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 spousal maintenance. 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.

In order to get an annulment in Arizona, there must have been something called an impediment that renders the marriage void. A.R.S. § 25-301. “Void” as used in this statute includes “voidable” and grounds for annulment are not limited to those specified by A.R.S. § 25-101.

A void marriage is defined by A.R.S. § 25-101 as a marriage “between parents and children, including grandparents and grandchildren of every degree, between brothers and sisters of the one-half as well as the whole blood, and between uncles and nieces, aunts and nephews and between first cousins” or “between persons of the same sex.” A void marriage is a nullity. Though it has no legal validity an annulment action is necessary to establish its invalidity as a matter of record.

A voidable marriage continues until a party exercises his or her right to have it annulled. Some examples of situations that may qualify as “voidable” are an undissolved prior marriage, one party being underage, a blood relationship, the absence of mental or physical capacity, intoxication, the absence of a valid license, duress, refusal of intercourse, fraud and misrepresentation as to religion.

The jurisdictional requirements and procedure for obtaining an annulment are the same as for a divorce. A.R.S. § 25-302(A). See the Divorce page for more information. The court will divide the property of the parties and determine matters concerning the children of the marriage. A.R.S. § 25-302(B).

It should be noted that legal annulments are not the same as religious annulments.

The grounds for annulment differ from state to state depending on the annulment rate, rules and regulations of the state. According to Arizona annulment laws grounds for annulment are:

✓Misrepresentation

  • Fraud or misrepresentation is one of the major Arizona annulment grounds. If a fraudster commits any fake contract or misrepresents his/her partner, the injured party can claim an annulment in Arizona under the Arizona annulment laws.

✓Concealment of Disease

  • If a person is infected with any harmful disease (STD) and conceals this from his/her partner, the victim has the right to file for Arizona annulment.

✓Concealment of Crime

  • Involvement in any crime or in case of imprisonment and not disclosing it is a fraud and is a valid ground for Arizona annulment under Arizona annulment laws.

✓Inability to Consummate the Marriage

  • Arizona annulment can also be obtained if a person is unable to sexually satisfy his/her partner or refuses to have sexual relations.

✓Addiction to Drugs

  • Drug addiction is ground for annulment according to Arizona annulment laws. If your spouse is a habitual alcoholic or drug addict, you can file for Arizona annulment.

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.