Most married couples do not have a covenant marriage. A covenant marriage differs from a “standard” marriage both in the steps it takes to get married, as well as the requirements for divorce or legal separation. You would likely know if you entered into a covenant marriage, but if you’re not sure, here is a summary of what is involved in achieving a covenant marriage in Arizona.
First, the couple must attend premarital counseling sessions to address the seriousness of marriage and that entering into a covenant marriage is a lifelong commitment. Next, when applying for a marriage license, the couple must sign off on the following statement:
“We solemnly declare that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman who agree to live together as husband and wife for as long as they both live. We have chosen each other carefully and have received premarital counseling on the nature, purposes and responsibilities of marriage. We understand that a covenant marriage is for life. If we experience martial difficulties, we commit ourselves to take all reasonable efforts to preserve our marriage, including marital counseling.
With full knowledge of what this commitment means, we do declare that our marriage will be bound by Arizona law on covenant marriages and we promise to love, honor and care for one another as husband and wife for the rest of our lives.” — AZ Supreme Court: Covenant Marriage in Arizona.
Although most marrying couples believe in this statement, they don’t often take all the necessary steps to obtain a covenant marriage license. If you did take these steps and you now want a divorce, the requirements for you to get a divorce are very different from couples with a standard, non-covenant marriage who simply need one spouse to assert their marriage is irretrievably broken.
If you are in a covenant marriage, you cannot get a divorce in Arizona unless the Court finds at least one of these things to be true:
1. The spouse who the divorce is being filed against has committed adultery.
2. The spouse who the divorce is being filed against has committed a felony and has been sentenced to death or imprisonment.
3. The spouse who the divorce is being filed against has abandoned the martial residence for a least a year and refuses to return.
4. The spouse who the divorce is being filed against has physically or sexually abused the spouse seeking the divorce, a child, a relative of either spouse living in the marital residence, or has committed domestic violence or emotional abuse.
5. The spouses have been living separately without reconciliation for at least two years.
6. The spouses have been living separately without reconciliation for at least one year from the date their legal separation was entered.
7. The spouse who the divorce is being filed against has habitually abused drugs or alcohol.
8. The couples jointly agrees to get a divorce.
If you can prove at least one of these items OR if both you and your spouse agree to get a divorce, Affordable Arizona Divorce can assist you in filing a Petition for Dissolution of Covenant Marriage and guide you through the entire process to assist you in achieving your divorce goals in the most timely and cost-effective manner possible. Contact us to get started today.