Before a divorce case can be brought to court certain requirements must be fulfilled. Arizona law states that the proper residency requirements need to be filled for the correct jurisdiction. If a case is brought to the incorrect court, then the case will be automatically dismissed.
Residency requirements in the state of Arizona specify that at least one individual must reside in Arizona during the action’s commencement. This can mean a military stationing for at least ninety days according to Arizona Statues Chapters four hundred one, three hundred twelve, and three hundred twenty-nine.
Divorce residency requirements for Arizona
To be able to file form 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:
- 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.
- Dissolution of marriage will normally be filed in the same county in which the filing spouse resides. Arizona Statutes – Title 12 – Chapters 401 and Title 25 – Chapters: 312, 329.
Grounds for Divorce
A divorce case will need to be based on specific grounds for filing, or why the marriage needs to be terminated. These grounds must be lawful under Arizona Statutes and be recognized by the court. Only one individual is required to file for marriage termination and he or she will state the grounds for the divorce. Arizona has two sections for divorce filing: fault filing and no-fault filing. No-fault filing means that the marriage cannot be mended.
Arizona also has a marriage that is recognized as a higher kind of marriage and is called covenant marriage. The grounds for the divorce from a covenant marriage include a committed act of adultery; a committed act of a felony that resulted in the state, federal, municipal, or county imprisonment or death; physical marriage abandonment for at least one year with a refusal of return; sexual or physical abuse from the other individual on the basis of domestic violence of either a relative, child, or spouse; permanent and continuous separation for a minimum of two years before divorce filing; permanent and continuous separation for a minimum of one year after divorce proceedings were commenced; habitual drug abuse or alcohol abuse; or an agreement between the husband and wife for the marriage to be dissolved, according to Arizona Statutes Title twenty-five chapters three hundred twelve, nine hundred one, and nine hundred three.
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 recognized in Arizona, which is named a “covenant marriage”
- 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
Divorce proceedings include many different forms of paperwork and documents that will need to be finalized through Arizona law. Depending on the case at hand, a single divorce case can have anywhere between ten documents to twenty documents.
Some of these include Acceptance and Waiver of Service, Marital Settlement Agreement, Credit Notification Form, Preliminary Injunction, Request for Hearing and Notice of Hearing, and Affidavit Regarding Minor Children. The court clerk’s office will be able to assist in the management of these documents and will be able to designate which are necessary in each divorce case.
Arizona law states that all the property obtained during the course of the marriage be called Community Property, which will be divided through the court only if the individuals cannot find an agreement themselves. The property will be divided by which individual has sole rights to the property and what is consider to be community property.
The community property may be divided equally between the individuals or may be distributed according to the grounds for divorce. For instance a divorce on the grounds of adultery may not divide the community property equally.
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 were accumulated from the date of the marriage up until the cut-off date of the marriage are classed as community property. If the spouses are unable to reach an agreement to split the property amicably then the courts will share it 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 judgments or damages that resulted from the conduct of criminal conviction by either of the spouses.
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 the interaction between siblings and any other individual who may affect the child’s best interests
- How well the child might adjust to 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