Most people have heard that about half of marriages in the United States end in divorce. The Arizona divorce and family attorneys at My AZ Lawyers dig further to learn if this is in fact true, the reasons behind it, and if there are alternatives to divorce for spouses in Arizona. Get your questions answered and find out the truth about divorce in Arizona.
The Divorce Rate in Arizona
In a 2011 census study, researchers found that Arizona had the tenth highest divorce rate in the United States. The researchers also found that 10.8 men per 1000 Arizona men get divorced each year, compared to the national rate of 9.2 per 1000. For Arizona women, the rate is 11.9 per 1000 compared to a national rate of 9.7 per 1000. Later research studies have ranked Arizona even higher in divorce rates nationwide. Slightly more than half of Arizona marriages end in divorce. It is unclear why Arizona has such a consistently high divorce rate, despite having a relatively low marriage rate compared to the rest of the country.
Reasons People May Divorce
The list of reasons that people may choose to divorce is nearly infinite. One common reason marriages end is infidelity. The pain of being cheated on is often too much for the faithful spouse to recover from, ending the marriage either immediately or after attempts to repair the relationship. Sometimes, the cheating spouse may not even want to be forgiven, and might even file divorce to remarry their affair partner.
An unfortunate truth is that some people are forced to divorce because of one or both spouses’ health issues. Some spouses may be overwhelmed by a serious health issue in their partner and jump ship. The affected spouse may develop insecurities from their condition that can eventually hurt the couple’s relationship. Mental health issues, whether or not they are diagnosed, can create obstacles that a marriage might not survive. Plus, addiction issues and abusive behavior are also often a fatal blow to a romantic relationship.
While children should never be blamed for their parents’ divorce, the stress of being parents can create additional strain in a marriage with a weak foundation. Spouses can have vastly different opinions on aspects of child rearing, like religion, education, day care, discipline, household rules and chores, and more. Having a special needs child can strengthen some couples’ relationships, but can cause an irreparable fracture in others.
The reasons behind a couple’s divorce don’t have to always be so dark. Financial stress is a common cause of arguments between couples. The culprit behind many divorces is simply time. It isn’t uncommon for one spouse to have a mid-life crisis and get divorced in the process. People change over time, so much so that two spouses may barely recognize the person they married. We only get so much time on Earth, and each day spent in a loveless marriage could be one day less with the true love of their life.
Arizona’s most Popular Reason of Divorce
Most people in Arizona list “irreconcilable differences” as the grounds for divorce on their petition. This is because Arizona is a no fault divorce state. These spouses don’t need to prove any marital misconduct to be granted a divorce. However, Arizona is one of three states that allows covenant marriages. This is a special type of marriage in which the spouses must complete premarital counseling and include a special declaration in their marriage license application. A divorce will only be granted in a covenant marriage if specific factors are present, like domestic abuse, addiction, incarceration, or infidelity.
The Divorce Process in Arizona
The divorce process in Phoenix starts when one spouse files a divorce petition with the court and serves it on the other spouse. The spouse who files the petition is referred to as the petitioner, and the other spouse is the respondent. If the respondent lives in Arizona, they will have 20 days after receiving the petition to file a response with the court. If they live in another state, they will have 30 days.
There is a minimum waiting period of 60 days after the petition is served before the divorce can be finalized. During that period, the couple should attempt to negotiate a divorce settlement agreement. They will need to agree on all of the pertinent divorce issues- property division, spousal maintenance, child support, and child custody. If the couple is unable to reach agreement on these issues, they will be litigated in court.
Is Falling Out of Love a Reason to Divorce?
Sometimes, it doesn’t take a spouse cheating or becoming abusive for the couple to fall out of love. Hectic schedules, changing interests, waning attraction, and simply time can cause love to fade, until one or both spouses realize they simply aren’t in love anymore.
If the spouses can’t pinpoint their marital troubles to a clear source, they may want to try couples’ counseling before running to a divorce lawyer. Divorce is a stressful, expensive, process that takes at least 2 months but could take years. It is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly, and counseling may help the couple avoid the divorce process altogether.
While it may be more convenient from a legal and financial perspective to remain married, the idea of a loveless marriage doesn’t appeal to most romantics. Remaining married can make finding a new love interest more difficult, and you won’t be able to remarry until your divorce is finalized.
The Other Side: Why Stay Married If You Fall Out of Love?
Just because two spouses don’t feel romantic love anymore doesn’t mean they don’t have a different, platonic love for each other. There are plenty of advantages to remaining married if you and your spouse are otherwise on good terms. You may find it easier to raise your children while still married, or can’t afford your current lifestyle after a divorce. You may want to maintain insurance coverage for each other, or avoid inheritance taxes on a shared home after one spouse’s death.
A famous example of a married couple that fell out of love but didn’t divorce is Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. The comedic duo married in 1982 and have three children together. The couple first separated in 2012, but attempted reconciliation at least once. While they still live separately, they have both publicly stated that they don’t intend to divorce each other. They remain close and speak frequently.
Reasons Falling Out of Love Doesn’t Automatically Mean Divorce
Some spouses remain married for years despite falling out of love. Divorce is heavily frowned upon in some religions and cultures, so spouses may remain a family to avoid judgment. You may be of the belief that falling in love is a choice, and therefore remain in the marriage to put the effort into falling back in love. Remaining together for the sake of the children may be the best choice for some spouses, or obtaining a legal separation as opposed to a divorce.
Therefore, if you are contemplating whether divorce is worth it for you, our Phoenix family law attorneys can help. Understanding the divorce process, the likely outcomes, and how much it will cost can be vital deciding factors. Our Arizona divorce and family law attorneys offer free phone consultations to fit with your schedule and budget, as well as affordable fees and monthly payment plans.
My AZ Lawyers
Office: (602) 509-0955
Phoenix Family Law Office
668 N. 44th St., Ste 320
Phoenix, AZ 85008
Scottsdale Family Law Office
7135 E. Camelback Rd, Ste 230
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Avondale Family Law Office
12725 W. Indian School Rd, Ste E-101
Avondale, AZ 85392
Mesa Family Law Office
1731 W. Baseline Rd., Ste 100
Mesa, AZ 85202
Glendale Family Law Office
20325 N. 51st Ave., Ste 134
Glendale, AZ 85308