Decades ago, couples could end their marriages only by utilizing one of the legal grounds for divorce. This meant that one spouse had to essentially find – and prove – fault with, or blame, the other spouse for the disintegration of the marriage. Luckily, those days are gone. Today, couples are able to get a no-fault divorce in Arizona. No-fault divorce is just like it sounds – neither spouse needs to place blame on the other. Instead, Arizona requires a divorcing couple to show that a non-covenant marriage is “irretrievably broken.”  This is usually agreed upon by the parties but, even where there is a dispute as to whether the marriage can be saved, if one party believes the marriage is over, the Court will grant the divorce.

Pros and Cons of No-Fault Divorce

There are both some pros and cons to filing a no-fault divorce in Arizona. No-fault divorce makes it easier to end the marriage. A no-fault divorce can involve less mud-slinging and conflict when the focus is on moving forward rather than dwelling on the past.  However, some people who feel that their spouse has committed some wrong-doing may feel dissatisfied with a no-fault divorce because they don’t get to sling the mud.  It is usually a good idea for divorcing parties to seek the advice of a counselor to get through the process in an emotionally supportive way.  It is an especially good idea for those who feel “wronged” by their spouse.

Grounds for Divorce in Covenant Marriages

Arizona does have some other grounds for divorce in place for covenant marriages.  A covenant marriage is one in which the couple elected to get a special marriage certificate.  To know whether you have a covenant marriage, you would need to look at your actual license/certificate.  In a covenant marriage, the grounds for divorce would include:

  • Adultery
  • Physical or Sexual Abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Felony Conviction
  • Drug or Alcohol Abuse

It is best to discuss the grounds for divorce with your family law attorney before you move forward with the proceedings.

Filing for Divorce

When a couple decides to divorce, one party must begin the process by filing the paperwork. This person is the petitioner, while the other person is the respondent. This is true, even in cases where both people agree to the divorce and there is no blame on either one. Couples can work to come to an agreement regarding the settlement terms of the divorce. Just because neither party blames the other doesn’t mean that they will agree on all aspects of the many issues that need to be resolved. Discuss the many variables with your attorney for help and guidance through the divorce process.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding No-Fault Divorce in Arizona, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Barry C. Dickerson at 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools, and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.