Many people have heard that Arizona is a "no fault" divorce state, but what exactly does that mean? In Arizona divorce cases, the no fault concept holds significance in three aspects of the process: the dissolution of marriage in itself, the division and resolution of financial matters, and the resolution of legal decision-making and custody of children.
In the most basic of terms, no fault divorce means that neither spouse is required to show some wrong doing by the other spouse in order to qualify for a divorce. As such, in a majority of Arizona divorces, sufficient grounds for a divorce are found through the belief by one or both spouses that the marriage is "irretrievably broken."
In regards to the resolution of financial matters, the fact that one spouse was unfaithful to the other will have no bearing on the Court's decision to issue an award of alimony. The same holds true to the division of community assets and a calculation of child support. Arizona, unlike some other states, does not have putative statutes awarding alimony or property to one spouse resulting form the misconduct of the other. As a result, the resolution of financial matters depends on the language of the law and not the actions of the individual.
The concept of no fault divorce also comes into play in determining legal decision-making and parenting time of the children. In other words, a court is unlikely to award a mother full legal decision-making and custody of the children because their father had an affair. Like it or not, a court will not equate adultery to bad parenting. However, the court will consider some bad acts such as significant acts of domestic violence or substance abuse in their determination of legal decision-making and custody.
If you are currently or anticipate going through a divorce in Arizona, you are strongly encouraged to seek the assistance of a qualified family law attorney to help guide you through the process. With over 30 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Lasiter & Jackson will aggressively represent your interests in any divorce proceeding. Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.