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Are There Different Types of Divorce in Arizona?

Posted On March 25, 2024 In Divorce

Like most states, Arizona is a no-fault divorce state where spouses need only state that their marriage is “irretrievably broken,” but does this mean the divorce process is the same for every divorcing couple in Arizona? Actually, divorce is a challenging legal process filled with nuance. In fact, there are several different types of divorce in Arizona. In some cases, spouses can choose the type of divorce they want, while other circumstances might make one type of divorce process necessary.

Sometimes life takes spouses on different paths. If divorce has become inevitable in your case, it helps to know what types of divorces are options in Arizona courts.

Uncontested Divorce in Arizona

Arizona courts require divorcing spouses to retain their separate assets and equally divide their “community assets” or all accounts, property, and valuables accumulated during the marriage regardless of whose name is on the account, title, or deed. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses don’t require a judge to decide these matters or matters of child custody, child support, or spousal support, but instead, they form a mutually acceptable settlement agreement. In an uncontested divorce, both spouses and their attorneys—often with the help of a professional mediator—form the terms of the agreement and take it to court for a judge to sign. When there are no disputes, the divorce is uncontested and doesn’t require a trial, saving both parties time, money, and contention.

Contested Divorce in Arizona

In many divorces, one or more terms of the divorce become disputes that the spouses cannot settle without a judge deciding for them. In a contested divorce, both sides go to court to present evidence supporting their side in disputes ranging from child custody to the division of assets and debts. In the end, the judge decides the terms and then issues binding divorce orders when they grant the divorce.

What Is a Collaborative Divorce in Arizona?

In a collaborative divorce, the spouses agree from the beginning of the process to keep their divorce out of court by prearranging a series of meetings with their Chandler divorce lawyer and professional mediators. Essentially, they choose to collaborate on deciding child custody, child support, the division of their assets, and spousal support if it’s appropriate. A collaborative divorce is similar to an uncontested divorce, but typically spouses in an uncontested divorce have no serious disagreements on asset division or other matters. In a collaborative divorce, they may have one or more disputes but agree to continue negotiations until they reach an agreement without going to court. Often spouses choose a collaborative divorce because they wish their divorce to remain private and not a matter of public record in court.

Legal Separation in Arizona

A legal separation in Arizona isn’t exactly a type of divorce, but it functions very much like a divorce by deciding on child custody, child support, spousal support, and the division of assets and debts, only the spouses live apart while remaining legally married. They cannot remarry unless they file for a divorce, but otherwise, they live as though divorced.

Spouses may choose a legal separation for religious reasons, to share health insurance benefits, or for tax or business reasons.

Divorce in a Covenant Marriage

One of the least common types of divorce in Arizona is a divorce in a covenant marriage. Covenant marriages are growing in popularity so this type of divorce may become more common despite the fact that the reason for a covenant marriage is to minimize the chances of a divorce. In a covenant marriage, spouses agree that they cannot have a no-fault divorce. Instead, they may only divorce on specific grounds such as adultery, abandonment, or abuse. If the accused spouse denies the grounds, the accuser must provide evidence for a judge to grant the divorce.