When a marriage is over, planning for divorce can be crucial to protecting yourself as you move forward. In fact, the divorce plans you make before you file your paperwork with the court1 – and possibly even before you discuss divorce with your partner – can be pivotal to:
If you are considering ending your marriage, the following guide presents some of the most essential aspects to consider when preparing for divorce in Arizona.
While the first part of our divorce planning guide focuses on financial planning issues, the second part is dedicated to answering some of the most frequently asked questions about divorce preparation in Arizona.
An indispensable aspect of preparing for divorce can involve making certain financial plans. Although the specifics of this financial planning for divorce will hinge on the details of someone’s situation, in general, some of the most important factors to incorporate in this aspect of divorce planning can include (but may not be exclusive to):
Aside from the financial plans for divorce, there can be other plans that are important to make and carry out before you discuss divorce with your spouse and/or move forward to file the divorce petition with the court.
To shed some light on these aspects of divorce planning, below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the logistics of planning to file for divorce in Arizona.
A – Yes. In order to be able to file for an Arizona divorce, at least one partner in the marriage has to have lived in Arizona for at least the past 90 days. When this requirement has been met, couples can file for divorce in Arizona on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences,” as Arizona is a no-fault divorce state.
For “covenant marriages,” however, grounds for divorce in Arizona can include (but are by no means limited to) infidelity, addiction/alcohol abuse, and abandonment.
A – Yes, as long as you meet the other state’s residency requirements and have an acceptable grounds for divorce in that state2, you are free to file for divorce in that state (as opposed to in Arizona). Deciding when and where to file for divorce can be an important part of the divorce planning process, especially considering that:
If you are considering filing for divorce in a state other than Arizona, states that do not have any residency requirements for divorce include:
Other states with minimal divorce residency requirements include (but may not be exclusive to):
If filing for divorce in these or any other state is appealing to you, be sure to check the grounds for divorce in that state. Similarly, you need to be aware that, if you choose to file for divorce in a state where you do not currently reside, you may need to relocate to that state for the duration of your divorce case. Given that the divorce process can take months (or longer), this is an important divorce planning factor to consider, as it may critically impact your choice in where to file.
What is best for you in this situation will depend on the specifics of your circumstances, as well as your goals. An experienced divorce lawyer can assess your situation and advise you on your best options for proceeding.
A – For military members and/or their spouses who want to pursue a divorce in Arizona3, the basic residency requirements will still have to be satisfied, and the grounds for divorce will remain the same as for civilian couples (i.e., irreconcilable differences).
If, however, the spouse who is a member of armed forces is currently deployed, things can change a bit.
Specifically, if the military member is deployed and the other partner wants (or moves forward) to file for divorce in Arizona (or any other state), federal law dictates that the divorce case will be on hold for the full term of the deployment – and potentially for as long as 60 days following the return to the U.S.
A – Absolutely. If you want to make sure that you are positioning yourself for a favorable resolution to your divorce, it’s crucial to consult an experienced divorce lawyer as soon as you can in order to get more information about your options, where and when to file and what else you may need to do now/ahead of time to protect your interests in the future.
While divorce planning can be extremely helpful, it may not always be possible – especially for those who are involved in abusive relationships and/or who may be blindsided by a partner’s wishes to divorce.
When there is no time to think about or execute your divorce plans, the single best thing you can do to protect your rights and interests as you move forward is to retain an experienced divorce lawyer.
The information in this article is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice.
If you are in Arizona and you need professional advice regarding divorce or any other family legal issue, you are encouraged to contact the Law Office of Karen A. Schoenau for more information about your rights and best options for proceeding.
1: Superior Court of Arizona, EZ Form Center (with downloadable forms) to Initiate a Family Law Action or Case - https://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/ezcourtforms/
2: American Bar Association (ABA) Family Law Guide, featuring an overview of divorce laws & requirements in every U.S. state http://www.americanbar.org/groups/family_law/resources/family_law_in_the_50_states.html
3: ABA’s Guide to Practice Aspects of Military Divorce - http://www.americanbar.org/newsletter/publications/law_trends_news_practice_area_e_newsletter_home/07_latefall_family_browning_baker.html