Annulment vs. Divorce (Part 2)

There are two ways to end a marriage – annulment and divorce. Yesterday we posted about annulment and how it differs from divorce in that after an annulment, the marriage is nullified as a result of a court approval, and both parties are returned back to their prior “single” status.

In Arizona, a divorce is also called a legal “dissolution of marriage,” and is defined as the termination of a valid marriage permanently based on a court order.  A divorce is often much more complicated than an annulment. In most divorce cases, the couple must divide marital assets and settle certain debts. If the marriage involves children, a divorce proceeding also addresses custody hearings and spousal and child support issues.

In most states there are two kinds of divorce: no-fault divorce, and at-fault divorce. It is important to consult a divorce attorney in Glendale regarding your rights and which type of divorce applies to your case.

No-Fault Divorce
In a no-fault divorce, neither part accepts blame for the marital break-up. In some states, a waiting period is required for legal separation since there is an absence of a guilty party. Although some jurisdictions may not require a party to claim fault, a court may still take into account the behavior of each of the parties when considering property division, debt, custody and other arrangements. If children are involved, courts may consider factors that appear as “fault” based issues that can impact the protection of a child or children in the marriage. These factors may include history of violence, substance abuse, neglect or instability.

At-Fault Divorce
A fault divorce is a case where one spouse has chosen to assign “blame” to the other party. A fault divorce is only granted when the spouse assigning blame can provide adequate grounds for fault such as addiction to drugs, alcohol or gambling, incurable mental illness and conviction of a crime. In every state, there are major grounds for divorce that can automatically be applied to an at-fault divorce:
Adultery – One or both spouses have engaged in extramarital relationships during the marriage
Desertion – one spouse is abandoned by the other for a lengthy period of time (physically and emotionally)
Physical/emotional abuse – one spouse has been subjected to physical attacks, threats or emotional/psychological abuse from the other.

In the state of Arizona, a marriage can only be legally ended by determination of a court. To best know what your rights are in the case of a marital dissolution, contact an experienced Phoenix divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group to schedule a free initial consultation today.