Legal Separation vs Divorce (What’s Right For You)

In Arizona, divorce is not the only option. Although it is most common, for some parties, a legal separation may be a more appropriate resolution.

Annulment, Legal Separation and Divorce

In Arizona, generally, you have three options for legally separating from your spouse: Annulment, Legal Separation and Divorce.

What is an Annulment?

A person seeking an annulment is asking that the marriage be treated like it never happened. Annulments are not typical and are obtainable when an impediment rendering the marriage void exists. (See A.R.S. §25-301). A few examples of potential grounds for an annulment are misrepresentation, failure to consummate the marriage and incapacity to marry. If you wish to obtain an annulment, we recommend you meet with an experienced family law attorney to discuss this option further.

What is a Legal Separation?

Legal Separation is similar to a Divorce in that the marital community is terminated, the property will be equitably divided and child custody and support must be decided. But, under a Legal Separation, the couple is still considered married. People seeking a Legal Separation usually do so because of health insurance or religious reasons. Under a legal separation, neither spouse is legally divorced, so they are not able to re-marry. If one spouse contests the legal separation, they can request it be converted into a divorce.

What is a Dissolution of Marriage?

Divorce, known as Dissolution of Marriage, is the most common type of separation sought by individuals. Arizona is a no-fault state. A person may obtain a divorce in Arizona if they meet the jurisdictional requirements and the marriage is irretrievably broken (See A.R.S. §25-312). In Arizona, a marriage is irretrievably broken if there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. (See A.R.S. §25-316). There may be other requirements as well, if you have a specific type of marriage, such as a covenant marriage, or conciliation is required in your circumstance.

Generally, when going through a divorce, you’ll want to hire an experienced family law attorney to help guide you through the process. Contact us or learn more on our website.