No Fault Divorce – Phoenix Divorce Attorneys of Reppucci & Roeder, PLLC
A divorce, or dissolution of marriage, is a court procedure that comes with its fair share of stress and paperwork. If you are contemplating a divorce, you probably wonder whether or not you need to give the court some reasons behind your decision. However, in Arizona you do not have to justify your decision beyond giving proof that your marriage is irretrievably broken.1
What is no-fault divorce?
If you are domiciled in Arizona or another state that follows the uncontested or “no-fault divorce” proceedings, this means that you do not have to prove fault to show an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage.2 Conversely, some states follow the fault divorce system that may allow divorce based on fault.3 Some examples of reasons for divorce in a fault system could be domestic violence or alcohol abuse.
However, today the majority of states follow a no-fault divorce system. Basically, no-fault systems give the couple more discretion in divorce and change the focus from punishing guilt to focusing on what the spouses feel has happened to the marriage.4
What constitutes an irretrievable breakdown in marriage?
The “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage standard is the only standard that needs to be shown in Arizona’s no-fault based divorce. A.R.S. § 25-314. Likewise, the only defense to a petition for the dissolution of the marriage is that the marriage is not irretrievably broken. A.R.S. § 25-314(C). There should also be no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.5
To best assess whether or not there has been an irretrievable breakdown in your marriage, it is best to consult an attorney about your specific situation. The standard is incredibly fact-specific and thus it is best to get a Phoenix attorney’s help on the matter.
What is a covenant marriage?
A covenant marriage is a stricter form of marriage that is only available in a few states, including Arizona. Specifically, it offers other options for couples who want to marry.6 Such other options make it more difficult to enter a marriage and leave a marriage – for example, the couple should find premarital counseling and then sign a special statement or declaration on the application for marriage.7 Applying for a marriage license is also more strict, as certain information must be included in the application for a covenant marriage.8 It should come as no surprise that filing for a divorce is more difficult in a covenant marriage as well. In this case, you may need to prove grounds other than “irretrievable breakdown” to seek a dissolution of your marriage. A.R.S. § 25-903.
Reasons for dissolution of a covenant marriage can include abandonment, adultery, confinement of the defendant in prison for three or more consecutive years after marriage, bigamy, insanity, habitual drunkenness, and cruel or inhuman treatment.9 A.R.S. § 25-903. You should also show that both spouses agree to the divorce.10 Understanding Divorce, azbar.org, http://www.azbar.org/workingwithlawyers/topics/understandingdivorce (last visited Sep. 22, 2014).
2 Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce, nationalparalegal.edu, http://nationalparalegal.edu/public_documents/courseware_asp_files/domesticRelations/Divorce/FaultVsNoFaultDivorce.asp (last visited Sep. 22, 2014).
43 Ariz. Prac., Marriage Dissolution Prac. § 112
5Id. at§ 125
6 Covenant Marriage in Arizona, azcourts.gov (2006), available at http://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/31/Other%20DR/covenant.pdf.
9 Fault vs. No-Fault Divorce, supra note 2.
10 Covenant Marriage in Arizona, supra note 6at 6.