Arizona Divorce Laws

If you are considering filing for divorce in Arizona, start by learning more about the state’s current divorce laws.

Who Can File for Divorce and On What Grounds

For traditional marriages, Arizona is a no-fault state. This means that those interested in seeking divorce can do so by claiming that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” The only other requirement is that either the husband or wife have lived in Arizona for at least 90 days prior to filing.

However, Arizona allows couples to enter into a covenant marriage if they wish. Under this marriage agreement, they sign a covenant in addition to their marriage license that says they will take all reasonable efforts to preserve their marriage if difficulties develop. Divorce in a covenant marriage requires one of the following to be true:

  • The non-filer (respondent) has committed adultery.
  • The respondent has been physically or sexually abusive of the other spouse, a relative living in the home, or a child.
  • The respondent is guilty of a felony and is facing a death sentence or imprisonment.
  • The respondent has abandoned the home for one year and refuses to return.
  • The respondent is a habitual user of drugs or alcohol.
  • The couple has been living apart continuously without reconciliation for at least two years prior to filing, or for one year from the date that a decree of legal separation was entered.
  • Both individuals agree to a dissolution of the marriage.

In the case of a military family, the 90-day residency requirement is fulfilled if the military member has been stationed in Arizona for 90 days or more. However, military family law may apply to these situations, so working with an attorney is advisable.

Division of Property

Arizona is a “Community Property” state, which means all property acquired during the marriage (community property) is divided equally by the courts, provided the couple cannot come to an out-of-court agreement. Any property that is the sole and separate possession of one spouse will remain in that spouse’s possession. Factors that can be considered in addition to this law include:

  • Actual damages and judgments from conduct that was deemed criminal against the other spouse or a child.
  • Excessive expenditures or abnormal spending.
  • Destructive, fraudulent disposition, or concealment of joint property.

Debts held in common may be assigned to one spouse or the other. However, creditors may still hold both individuals responsible for debts as per the lending agreement.

Child Custody

Child custody is determined based on the child’s best interests. Whenever possible, the courts will go along with the parenting agreement the couple sets. When choosing custody arrangements, the courts will consider the following factors:

  • The parents’ wishes as to the custody of the child.
  • The child’s wishes as to the custody arrangement.
  • The relationship between the child and the parents, any siblings, or any other person who has a significant role in the child’s life.
  • The child’s adjustment to community, home, and school.
  • Mental and physical health of all involved in the case.
  • The parent’s ability and willingness to allow the child to continue with frequent and meaningful contact with the other parent.
  • Whether or not a parent has served as the child’s primary care giver.
  • Any coercion or duress used by a parent when determining the custody agreement.
  • Any false reporting, child abuse, or neglect.


In Arizona, child support is determined based on an income shares model. Any necessary child support will be determined based on the incomes of each parent. Factors considered include:

  • The child’s needs and any financial resources.
  • The needs and resources of each parent.
  • The standard of living the child would have had if divorce did not occur.
  • The child’s physical and emotional condition.
  • The child’s educational needs.
  • The length of parenting time and related expenses.

Some cases may require support from one spouse toward the other. The factors determining this may include:

  • Lack of sufficient property to meet the reasonable needs of a spouse.
  • Inability for a spouse to become self-sufficient through employment.
  • Inability to work because of the need to provide care for a child.
  • Need to contribute to the educational opportunities of a spouse.
  • A lengthy marriage combined with an age that makes adequate employability difficult.