How to File a Divorce in Arizona
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

How to File a Divorce in Arizona

What follows is a fundamental guide to no fault dissolution, spousal maintenance, division of property, and child custody in the state of Arizona.

In Arizona divorce proceedings is known as the dissolution of marriage. The dissolution for married couples will achieve 2 things: disuniting the marital relationship, and the splitting of assets and debts.

Furthermore, if the couple has been married for a considerable amount of time and one of them won’t be able to support themselves, the matter of spousal maintenance may come up. If minor children are involved, the couple will be required to resolve matters of child custody, support, and visitation rights.

Dissolution Proceedings

For filing for dissolution of marriage in Arizona, both you or your spouse must have been a resident in the state for at a minimum of 90 days.

To be “domiciled” has a requirement of taking actions signifying your intention for making Arizona your principal state of residence (for instance, voter registration, acquiring an Arizona driver’s license, or registering a vehicle).

While it is feasible to be a part-time resident of 2 or more states, you may only have your domicile in just one. You start proceedings by filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the Superior Court of the county that you reside in.

In the most straightforward procedure (an uncontested divorce), you, and possibly your spouse, will need to go to a court hearing. The judge is going to question you, so be sure you comprehend and are in agreement with everything, and then will enter a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage.

Grounds for Divorce

Grounds for divorce are legally accepted reasons for getting a dissolution and the disuniting of the marital relationship.

Arizona has what are typically known as no fault grounds for dissolution. You are required to state in your Petition for Divorce that: “The marriage of the parties is irretrievably broken.”

Arizona is odd because this is the solitary ground for dissolution.

Covenant Marriage

Arizona is just one of a handful of states that have produced a covenant marriage. You’ll definitely know it if you have a covenant marriage.

For the dissolution of a covenant marriage you both are required to agree on a dissolution or have previously gone through the legal separation process. You can also demonstrate a fault-based ground like adultery, the other being a convicted felon, desertion for a minimum of one year, sexual and/or physical, domestic abuse, drug or alcohol abuse.

Property Division in Arizona

When splitting property and debts, Arizona implements the idea of community property, whereas property obtained throughout a marriage is marital property.

Usually, each spouse will retain their “sole and separate” property. If the judge needs to divide the property, might deem any “excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.”

Alimony in Arizona

In Arizona alimony is known as spousal maintenance. In determining whether to grant spousal maintenance, and it’s amount and length, the judge needs to consider elements (1) through (5) listed above for property division, including the division of property and other elements the court decides are of relevance.

Spousal maintenance in Alaska may be for a limited or an indeterminate length of time, and in a lump-sum or by installments. The two parties can agree that spousal maintenance can’t be altered. Spousal maintenance might be granted if the parties agree, or if the court finds that the spouse wanting spousal maintenance:

  • Lacks adequate property to furnish for their needs
  • Lacks adequate earning capability, or has custody of a child in which age or condition is such that the custodian shouldn’t be required to look for employment
  • Furnished to the other spouse’s education
  • Had a marriage of long period and is of an age that prevents employment acceptable to be self-supporting

The amount and period of spousal maintenance considers the following elements:

  • The standard of living throughout the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age, employment, earning capability, and emotional and physical state of the spouse wanting maintenance
  • The ability of the other spouse to meet their needs while paying maintenance
  • Comparable financial capital and earning capabilities
  • Benefaction of the spouse wanting spousal maintenance to the other’s earning capability
  • Degree to which the spouse wanting maintenance has decreased income or career prospects for the benefit of the other
  • Capability of both to impart to the educational costs of the children
  • Financial capital, and ability to meet needs, of the party wanting maintenance
  • Time required to obtain education or training to find suitable employment
  • Unreasonable or unusual expenditures, ruination, cover-up or deceitful disposition of community or jointly owned property
  • The cost of health insurance for each party
  • judgments and compensation from a criminal conviction of one or the other spouse where upon the other spouse or child was the injured party

Child Custody in Arizona

If there are any minor children involved, a custody resolution will be required. Customarily, one parent was granted custody, and the other was allowed visitation rights. The current movement of keeping each parent proactive in their children’s lives, has led to new nomenclature. The terminology legal decision making and parenting time are applicable in Arizona. It all comes down on how to figure out how the children’s time is going to be divided amongst the parents, and how decisions are going to be made.

In accordance with Arizona child custody laws, if you both cannot come to an agreement on decision making and parenting time, both of you will need to present an intended parenting plan to the judge. The judge will then make their decision based on the following:

  • The previous, present, and subsequent relationship among the parent and child(ren)
  • The relationship among the child and parents, siblings, and/or other significant individuals
  • The physical and mental health of everyone engaged
  • The child’s settling into home, school, and their community
  • The desires of child, if of appropriate age and matureness
  • Which parent is more probable to promote contact with the other
  • In the event one parent deliberately misled the court to incite a delay, heighten the cost of litigation, or sway the court to give precedence to that parent
  • The agreement or not having an agreement in regard to joint legal decision making
  • Any domestic abuse and/or child abuse
  • Any intimidation by a parent in acquiring an agreement
  • In the event a parent has gone through a class on the effect of divorces on families
  • In the event either parent was convicted of maliciously informing of child abuse or neglect
  • In the event of a parent’s lack of an agreement is irrational or motivated by a matter unrelated to the child’s best interests
  • The ability of the parents working together in decision making
  • Whether or not joint decision making is rationally possible

Child Support in Arizona

The Arizona child support mandates, that can be acquired by the Superior Court clerk, examine the child’s needs and the parents’ competence to meet those needs.

Miscellaneous Issues

An ex-spouse’s previous name may be reestablished as part of the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage. If either party should seek reconciliation, an appeal for conciliation can be filed.


  1. Edward A. Haman, E. (2020, September 04). How to File a Divorce in Arizona. Retrieved September 23, 2020, from

Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer in Arizona

Regardless of the choice you make, it’s important you make the best choice for you when hiring a divorce attorney. Remember: The decisions you make now can affect your future. Ultimately, choosing the best lawyer will depend on which lawyer feels best for you and your situation.

If you want to learn about Michelle N. Ogborne and see if she is the right attorney to represent you in your collaborative divorce in Arizona, contact us today!

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