Skip to main content
Find a Lawyer
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location
Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Arizona Divorce Laws

Getting a divorce can be a harrowing experience. Whether or not you retain a divorce lawyer to handle your case, you should understand the Arizona divorce laws. This may help move the divorce process along more quickly.

Arizona’s residency requirement and rules about alimony and child custody are complex and can be confusing. This is why so many people seek legal advice before filing divorce papers.

Here, we’ll discuss the divorce laws in Arizona. We’ll also explain how the divorce process in Arizona works.

Legal Requirements for Divorce in Arizona

Arizona Revised Code Section 25 governs the divorce process. Depending on where you are in the divorce proceedings, you will refer to various subsections of this statute.

For example, Code Section 25-311 to Section 25-381.24 specifically governs Dissolution of Marriage. Section 25-901 to Section 25-906 defines the rules for a Covenant Marriage, including grounds for divorce in a covenant marriage.

You don’t need to know the exact code sections to proceed with your divorce petition. However, one of the benefits of hiring an Arizona divorce attorney is that they are familiar with the court rules.

They’ve likely handled dozens or hundreds of divorce cases during their career. They’ll work hard to negotiate a fair marital settlement agreement. They’ll also fight to get you custody and child support.

Below, we’ll discuss some of Arizona's technical and legal requirements for divorce.

Arizona Is a Community Property State

There are only nine community property states. Arizona is one of them. In community property states, both spouses receive half of the marital property. They also share responsibility for marital debt.

Each spouse will retain whatever property they brought into the marriage. For example, if you owned a beach house before marriage, your spouse won’t receive any part of that home. That doesn’t mean your divorce lawyer won’t use it as a bargaining chip, but the courts won't order you to sell the house and split the proceeds.

Residency Requirements

To file a petition of dissolution of marriage, either you or your spouse must have lived in Arizona for at least 90 days. This is per Arizona’s residency requirement. There is also a potential waiting period of 60 days.

The family court only mandates this cooling-off period if the respondent (non-filing spouse) contests the divorce by arguing that the marriage isn’t irretrievably broken.

No-Fault Grounds for Divorce

If you file a no-fault divorce, you don’t have to cite specific grounds for divorce. The courts only require that you do this when you file for a dissolution of a covenant marriage. Even covenant marriages are subject to dissolution without grounds if both parties consent to the divorce.

With a no-fault or uncontested divorce, you must state that your marriage is broken and you can't reconcile the marriage with your spouse. Your family law attorney will draft a certification confirming this fact. You'll sign this certification and submit it to the court with your divorce petition.

Defenses to a Divorce Filing

Rarely does the non-filing spouse challenge the divorce. This may happen more frequently with covenant marriages. Most couples discuss the possibility of divorce before filing a petition.

If your spouse does deny that your marriage is irretrievably broken, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether the marriage is so broken.

During this hearing, the judge will do one of two things. They may find that the marriage is irretrievably broken, or they may put the divorce on hold for 60 days or longer. The petitioner and respondent may have to attend a conciliation conference during this time.

After the conference, the judge will schedule another hearing to determine if the marriage is irretrievably broken. If they rule that it is, the divorce proceedings will continue. If not, the court may dismiss your divorce case.

Other Grounds for Divorce

If you’re in a covenant marriage, Arizona law requires you to cite specific grounds for divorce in your complaint.

The grounds for divorce in Arizona include:

  • Adultery
  • Imprisonment for a felony
  • Abandonment for at least one year
  • Sexual abuse or domestic violence
  • Living apart for one year after legal separation
  • Living apart for two years if there is no legal separation
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Consent if both spouses agree to the dissolution

Your attorney must submit specific proof that your spouse engaged in one or more of the above behaviors.

Alimony Laws in Arizona

There is no guarantee that you’ll receive alimony or spousal support. If you want alimony, you must demand it in your complaint. The court will consider several factors when determining whether you deserve spousal support.

The below statutes address alimony. You will also find detailed information about alimony in's Arizona Alimony Laws section.

  • Section 25-319 (Maintenance - Computation Factors)
  • Section 25-322 (Payment of Maintenance or Support)
  • Section 25-327 (Modification and Termination for Provisions for Maintenance, Support and Property Disposition)

The above links also provide resources on support payments and motions to modify or terminate spousal support.

Property Division in an Arizona Divorce Case

Aside from child custody and alimony, dividing property may be the most complex issue. Read on to understand how the family court will divide the couple's marital assets and debts.

You may wonder if you will receive half of your spouse’s retirement accounts and pension. It's possible you may receive some of these assets since Arizona is a community property state. It depends on how much money accrued in these accounts during the marriage.

You may also question how the Arizona courts will divide your real property. What happens to the primary residence, the rental properties, and vacation homes? Your attorney will attempt to negotiate a split of these assets with your spouse’s lawyer, but if an agreement can't be reached the courts will determine which debts and assets the parties will receive or be responsible for.

Child Custody and Child Support

Child custody is one of the most complex issues to decide in a divorce. If you and your spouse have minor children, you must devise a plan that allows both parents to spend quality time with the kids. You’ll also have to decide which parent will pay for the children’s health insurance. The non-custodial parent can credit the insurance costs through the child support guidelines.

Most couples work this out between themselves without intervention by the court. Having a judge determine child custody should be a last resort.

When you decide on custody, you'll also devise a parenting plan that works for both spouses. Your divorce attorney will include a section on parenting time in your divorce settlement agreement.

As for child support, the courts will refer to the Arizona child support guidelines. You and your spouse can agree on a fixed amount that deviates from the guidelines, but the court must approve this amount. The judge’s main concern will be the best interests of the children.

Visit’s pages on Child Support and Arizona Child Support Guidelines for further information.

Getting Divorced in Arizona? Consider Speaking With a Divorce Attorney

Getting a divorce can be a complicated process, emotionally and legally. It’s best to contact an experienced Arizona divorce attorney to help with your case. They can help you file your petition for dissolution of marriage, ensure you maintain your separate property, and receive the spousal maintenance you deserve.

Meet with an experienced divorce attorney in Arizona who can explain the legal requirements surrounding dissolving your marriage.

Was this helpful?

You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help

Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.

Or contact an attorney near you:

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.

Begin typing to search, use arrow keys to navigate, use enter to select

Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Divorces are tough and a lawyer can seek the best outcome
  • A lawyer can help protect your children's interests
  • Divorce lawyers can secure alimony, visitation rights, and property division

Get tailored divorce advice and ask a lawyer questions. Many attorneys offer free consultations.


 If you need an attorney, find one right now.

Copied to clipboard

Find a Lawyer

More Options