Ending a marriage isn’t an easy decision and a finalized divorce has huge legal and emotional repercussions for spouses and their families. In Arizona, spouses have the option of requesting a legal separation through court orders rather than a divorce—or until they decide to divorce or reconcile. There are many reasons why spouses in Arizona may choose a legal separation to put protections in place while they live separately without formally dissolving the marriage.
If you or your spouse are considering a legal separation in Arizona, it helps to first understand the “rules” of legally separating.
Not all states offer spouses the option of legal separation rather than divorce or until a divorce, but souses in Arizona have this legal option available to them if they wish to live apart but remain legally married. Spouses may choose to legally separate for one or more of the following reasons:
If one or both spouses have been Arizona residents for 90 days or more, they can petition the court for a legal separation.
A legal separation follows a legal path very similar to divorce. One spouse must file the petition and the other responds to the petition. To obtain the separation, they must have grounds to separate. Like divorce, separating spouses need only claim “irreconcilable differences,” and that at least one spouse wishes to live apart. Once filed, either spouse may petition for emergency orders for child custody and child support until the judge’s final orders are put into place with the legal separation. Then, the rules for legal separation are as follows:
Because a legal separation involves court processes and legally alters the state of the marriage, spouses should take the process as seriously as a divorce. This means obtaining legal counsel from a Chandler divorce attorney at Wilson-Goodman Law Group, PLLC is crucial to protect their rights through every stage of the process.