Can Unfaithfulness Be Brought Up in Divorce Court in Arizona?

By Elizabeth Rayne

Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that the grounds for divorce from a traditional marriage do not place the blame on either spouse. Instead, you may only seek a divorce from a traditional marriage if the relationship is irretrievably broken. With few exceptions, you cannot bring up unfaithfulness during the divorce proceedings. The state also recognizes the special category of covenant marriages, which allow couples to use unfaithfulness as grounds for dissolving the marriage.

Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that the grounds for divorce from a traditional marriage do not place the blame on either spouse. Instead, you may only seek a divorce from a traditional marriage if the relationship is irretrievably broken. With few exceptions, you cannot bring up unfaithfulness during the divorce proceedings. The state also recognizes the special category of covenant marriages, which allow couples to use unfaithfulness as grounds for dissolving the marriage.

Traditional and Covenant Marriages

In Arizona, the grounds you may assert for divorce depend on whether or not you are in a traditional or covenant marriage. While most couples pursue a traditional marriage, Arizona law also recognizes covenant marriages, which require the couple to take additional steps before marrying or divorcing. The parties to a covenant marriage essentially need to prove that they believe marriage is a life-long commitment. Before entering a covenant marriage, the couple must complete pre-marriage counseling; indicate on the marriage license that they want to enter into a covenant marriage; and sign an affidavit which states that the couple understands what a covenant marriage involves. Unlike a traditional marriage in Arizona, couples may only divorce from a covenant marriage for limited, specified reasons.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Traditional Marriage Divorce

For traditional marriages, Arizona is a no-fault state so the marital misconduct of either spouse is not relevant when seeking a divorce. The state allows divorce from a traditional marriage solely for the reason that the marriage is irretrievably broken. The fact that one spouse was unfaithful does not matter and cannot be asserted as a ground for obtaining a divorce. The only fact that matters is whether there is a chance the couple wants to continue the marriage.

Divorce Decree

For the most part, Arizona courts cannot consider marital fault in determining the terms of the divorce decree for a traditional marriage. When it comes to financial settlements, including alimony, child support and property division, the courts may consider the financial circumstances of each party, but are completely barred from considering marital fault. Whether or not your spouse committed adultery will have no effect on the financial settlement. The state legislature attempted to change this rule in 2009, but the bill failed in the senate. When determining custody issues, the courts make the determination based on what is in the best interest of the child. If you can show that your spouse's unfaithfulness adversely affects the welfare of the child, such as acts of adultery committed in front of the children, then you may be permitted to bring up the marital misconduct in court.

Covenant Marriage Divorce Grounds

A number of fault-based grounds are available for couples seeking divorce from a covenant marriage, including adultery. Simply alleging that the marriage is irretrievably broken is not enough to obtain a divorce from a covenant marriage. Instead, in cases where one spouse was unfaithful in a covenant marriage, the other spouse must provide evidence that adultery occurred -- the issue of unfaithfulness may be brought up in these divorce proceedings.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Limited vs. Absolute Divorce

References

Related articles

Grounds for Divorce in Tennessee

From attempted murder to refusal to move to the state, the law in Tennessee allows couples to claim some unique grounds for divorce. While a couple may seek a "no-fault" divorce on the basis of irreconcilable differences, the state also allows divorce for fault, which places the blame on one spouse. The Tennessee law lays out the available grounds for divorce, such as adultery, bigamy or cruelty. Whether the divorce is filed on the grounds of desertion or habitual drunkenness, the court may consider marital misconduct in deciding the final divorce decree.

What Disqualifies a Spouse From Receiving Alimony in Arizona?

Alimony, known as spousal maintenance in Arizona, often becomes a disputed legal issue when a couple ends a marriage. Spousal support can affect both spouses' finances after divorce. One spouse may worry about not receiving enough alimony, while the other spouse might fear the court will require too much alimony. In Arizona, state law establishes a list of factors to determine whether a spouse qualifies to receive spousal maintenance.

Is a Sexless Marriage Grounds for a Divorce in Georgia?

For most couples, the marriage relationship includes some physical intimacy. However, in Georgia, sexual intercourse is not required for a marriage to be considered valid. Further, the state does not allow you to divorce your spouse on the basis of a sexless marriage. Understanding what alternative divorce grounds you may pursue in Georgia will help you choose the best course of action for your marriage.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

Legal Remedy for an Abandoned Spouse

Abandonment by a spouse can be a stressful experience, especially if the abandonment causes financial strain or legal ...

Illinois Divorce on the Grounds of Abandonment

Although Illinois law no longer punishes spouses for abandonment, the state does allow divorce on the grounds of ...

What Impact Does Adultery During Separation Have on Divorce in Georgia?

Georgia law allows you to file for divorce on fault or no-fault grounds. One of the available fault grounds is the ...

Does Louisiana Require Separation Before Divorce?

When spouses can no longer get along, obtaining a divorce quickly is often a top priority. In Louisiana, the length of ...

Browse by category