I was born and raised as a citizen of Arizona, and my very own parents had their divorce here. Here in Arizona, it is known as a “dissolution of marriage”. The partner filing for a divorce, petitioner, is required to file a petition of dissolution to a state superior court and to the respondent. The respondent then has 20 days, in state, to reply and they must be sure to follow within the supreme court ordered case time limit. The court has a 60 day waiting period before they grant official dissolution. If the respondent chooses not to answer, than the court may file the petition by default. They give the respondent another 10 days to reply before they hold a case to hear the evidence petitioned by the original petitioner. A legal separation can be granted without a trial if both spouses agree to all of the terms and conditions, called a consent divorce process. If necessary, the conciliation court offers counseling, education and other service to promote a happy, stable family and provide any means of desired reconciliation. However, a conciliation court is not available in every Arizona county. Upon the party’s request, the court may also restore the maiden last name before the marriage. But Arizona also offers covenant marriage, in order to ensure a mutual understanding from the start that marriage is for life. Lawful purposes make it very difficult to end a covenant marriage but the percentage rate for this type of marriage is quite low in Arizona is also known as a “no-fault state” for standard marriages, meaning they don’t need to prove reason or blame in order to grant a dissolution. It is only necessary to prove the end of the marriage with no possibility to rejoin. There are 8 main reasons in the state of Arizona where it is probable cause to end a covenant marriage: 1) adultery, 2) commitment of a felony with a punishment of death or imprisonment, 3) if abandoned by partner for at least one year prior to petitioning, 4) physical, sexual or domestic/verbal abuse, 5) if living separate for two years prior to filing, 6) if already granted legal separation by the court and have been living apart for a year, 7) regular drug or alcohol abuse, or 8) if both spouses agree to dissolution. Arizona also will void or prohibit a marriage if they include the following: marriages between parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, brothers and sisters (half or whole), aunts, nephews and vice versa, plus cousins of any kind, and if anyone is marrying underage without consent of a legal guardian. Now that does not mean they aren’t other reason to void a marriage, just the most common. The court divides the property and terms under a voided marriage. Arizona is also a community property state, meaning community property, joint tenancies and all other property help will be divided by the court if the pair can not come up with a reasonable agreement. All property gained prior to the marriage is considered separate from what is shared between the two. Although, they do have the power to put a lien on these assets in order to receive proper child or spousal payments. If the court sees one spouse lacking sufficient property, unemployed, or at risk of loosing employment opportunities due to the dissolution, the court will order maintenance based on the other’s ability to pay. There is a lot of think that goes into the determination of maintenance or not and are awarded in length and number of payments. Some of the reviewing factors are based on the established standard of living during the marriage, the length of the marriage, the age and employment earning history of the requested spouse, and the ability of the spouse to meet the requested’s needs. More factors include the result of the spouse reducing further career opportunities for payment benefits, labor market earnings and the spouse’s ability to earn money, the joint educational costs for their children, the financial resources of the requesting spouse, and if the time necessary to complete proper schooling was interrupted by the start of their time spent together. Two other factors include, the cost for the spouse to obtain proper government provided health insurance, and the actual destruction and judgments from misconduct of either spouse in the case where a spouse or the child was a victim. Now in relation to custody battles after a couple goes through a dissolution, the state of Arizona truly decides based on the health and well-being of the child. They consider the parent’s wishes for the child, and the children’s wishes for the parents (if the child is old enough). Arizona looks at the mental health of each candidate to receive primary care over the child, and if the child has ever been abused or if known cases of domestic abuse/violence run in the family. The court may award sole or joint custody, and also offers Income Share Models for calculating an appropriate amount of child support to maintain a nice,substantial living. It’s crazy to think that my parent had to go through all of this when I was 8 years old, and to remember what it was like myself to have to see cases of joint custody and child support. It really is an extensive system of work.