Can a Spouse Deny a Divorce in Arizona?
There are two types of divorces: no-fault divorce and fault divorce. In a fault divorce, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant did something wrong, justifying a divorce. In a no-fault divorce, the plaintiff does not have to do this. All they have to do is state that they can no longer live with their spouse as a married couple.
In fault states, a spouse can indeed challenge a divorce. If they raise a successful defense to the basis for the divorce, the divorce will not be granted. In a no-fault case, there is no opportunity for the spouse to do this. As long as the plaintiff does what they are required to do, the divorce will eventually be granted.
Why Would a Spouse Fight a Divorce?
It may be surprising that a spouse would fight a divorce. Who would want to force someone to stay with them if they are not happy? You’d be surprised. Sometimes, the spouse simply wants to save the marriage and won’t agree to a divorce. Perhaps they want to work harder to keep the family together.
Another common reason for a spouse to challenge a divorce is financial. In a divorce, the couple must divide assets and liabilities. One spouse is usually ordered to pay child support or alimony. If someone thinks their financial situation will be worse if they get a divorced, why would they agree to it?
In a fault state, either spouse can challenge the divorce. They can file a defense to the complaint, proving that they didn’t do whatever it is the plaintiff claims the did. If it is adultery, they will prove that they didn’t cheat. If it’s sexual inability, they will get medical proof that they can perform sexually.
You Cannot Successfully Challenge a Divorce in Arizona
Arizona is a no-fault state. This means that all you have to do is attest that you and your spouse can no longer live as man and wife. The most common reason cited for divorce in Arizona is irreconcilable differences. The only thing you have to prove is that you and your spouse have lived separately for at least one year. If you can do this, you have demonstrated that you no longer live harmoniously as a married couple.
Although a spouse cannot successfully prevent a court from granting a divorce in Arizona, they can make it difficult. A spouse can file motion after motion in a divorce proceeding to drag it out. They may refuse to sign any settlement agreement, forcing the court to order arbitration and mediation. They may ask for continuances along the way to slow down the process.
If You Are Filing for Divorce, Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Arizona
If you are filing for divorce (or if your spouse has filed) contact a divorce lawyer right away. Although it is possible to handle your own divorce case, it is not wise. There are a lot of important decisions made throughout the divorce proceeding and you want to have an advocate by your side. Some parts of a final judgement for divorce can take months or years to change. This can become time consuming and expensive.
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