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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on May 8, 2015

A divorce, legally called a “dissolution of marriage,” is a court procedure to end a marriage.The party who starts the divorce is known as the Petitioner and the other party is known as the Respondent. If you are going through a divorce in Arizona, here are five things you should know:

Residence Requirements

To file for a divorce in Arizona you or your spouse must have 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, you must wait until it is true.

Grounds for Divorce
divorce law arizona
In general, Arizona is a no-fault state, which means that you don’t need to give a reason why you want a divorce. If either party asserts that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” that is grounds for a divorce. The exception to this is when a couple chooses to have a “covenant marriage.” Arizona is one of three states that allows a covenant marriage, in which the party seeking the divorce must prove grounds based on A.R.S. §25-903.

Property Division

Arizona is a community property state. This means that all property you and your spouse acquired during the marriage will be divided equally between the parties. Property acquired before marriage or after separation is considered the separate property of the person who acquired it. “Property” includes personal possessions, real estate, and income. When dividing community property, the court will also assign all of the community debts equally to the spouses.

Child Custody

Child custody in Arizona is determined based on the best interests of the child. The court may order custody to one parent (sole custody) or both parents (joint custody) and will base its decision on various factors. If you’re seeking joint custody, you must submit a proposed parenting plan to the court.

Legal Representation

You are entitled to represent yourself in court. However, if you represent yourself, the court will expect you to follow all laws and the correct procedures that apply to your case, even if you are not an attorney. If your case goes to trial and you do not follow the correct procedures, you could lose a lot of your rights. This is why it’s recommended that you contact an experienced divorce attorney who is aware of all the laws and procedures.