While marriage is a life-altering event, so is divorce. When a marriage ends in divorce the spouses are not the only ones who are affected by the broken relationship – the ripple effect touches the kids, family members, and even friends. A divorce can be emotionally and financially distressing, whether the separation was an agreeable or hostile one. Even more, the reasons behind why can be various and may stir up mixed emotions.
Legal Basis for Divorce
Arizona law allows for fault and no-fault divorce. Under a no-fault divorce, the party or parties petitioning for divorce must establish the marriage is irretrievably broken. Should a fault divorce be sought, the possible grounds include:
- Sexual or physical abuse;
- Separate living arrangements without reconciliation for a time period of at least two contiguous years prior to petitioning for divorce;
- Separate living arrangements without reconciliation for a time period of at least one contiguous year prior to a decree of legal separation being entered;
- Drug or alcohol abuse; or
- The dissolution of marriage is not contested.
The majority of divorces in Arizona are no-fault. In other words, it is not necessary for a spouse to prove marital misconduct or that an innocent spouse was harmed in order to obtain a divorce decree. Generally, the court will not even consider any wrongdoing in a no-fault divorce because it is not a factor under the law. When it comes to adultery, however, there is one exception to Arizona’s no-fault rule: covenant marriages. Under Arizona law, covenant marriages are identical to typical civil marriages except that the spouses underwent special premarital counseling to strengthen the marital bond. If a couple entered into a covenant marriage rather than a civil one, a spouse is entitled to a fault-based divorce on the grounds of adulterous conduct by the other spouse.
That being said, adultery does not affect alimony. Arizona judges are strictly prohibited from considering any evidence of adultery when deciding whether or not to award alimony, how much spousal support to award, and for how long it should be paid. Arizona alimony orders must be just and considered without regard to spousal misconduct.
Divorce is not easy. Not only does it affect the relationship between the former spouses and their loved ones, but also impacts finances and other intimate matters. This includes distribution of marital assets and liabilities, child and spousal support obligations as well as child custody.
Divorce Help in Tempe
If you or someone you know has questions about divorce or any other family law related issue contact the knowledgeable alimony attorney at the Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack. With decades of experience servicing clients across Arizona, he will explain your rights and obligations under state law. Click here today to schedule your initial case evaluation.