Q: Can I get a divorce without notifying my spouse?
Because it is a no-fault divorce state, married couples who are considering getting divorced in Arizona generally must allege that the marriage is “irretrievably broken with no reasonable prospect for reconciliation” rather than having to prove specific grounds, like adultery or abuse. (One exception would be for the 1% of Arizona marriages that are covenant marriages and have more restrictive legal grounds for divorce).
Because a breakdown in communication is common between spouses whose marriages are on the rocks, talking about divorce can be difficult. Asking for a divorce can be awkward. Serving or being served with divorce papers can be upsetting. Waiting for the divorce process to run its course can be difficult. But in the quest for a legal divorce in Arizona, these are necessary steps.
A Texas man is reportedly on the run after he allegedly “filed and obtained a final divorce decree with court officials without [his wife’s] knowledge”. The man is being sought “on felony aggravated perjury charges” which can carry a penalty of up to five years in prison if convicted. The wife reportedly learned of the divorce from her husband when she confronted him about suspicious charges. The fraudulently-obtained divorce decree – based on allegedly forged documents – has been vacated and the couple remains legally married.
While divorce proceedings can only be begun by one of the spouses, the other spouse is entitled to notice of the divorce action so they may appear and possibly contest it. Further, a spouse that believes the marriage is salvageable can I ask the court to order marital counseling. In that case, the divorce proceeding would generally be suspended for 60 days while the court considers whether reconciliation is an option.
If it isn’t already obvious, forging documents to circumvent the legal pathway to divorce is never advisable.
Contact Our Phoenix Family Law Attorney Today
If you are considering getting divorced, or have been served with divorce papers, or have any other family law questions, Cohen Family Law can help you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
From our office in Phoenix, we’ve been helping clients throughout Arizona navigate their family law issues since 1982. It’s all we do and we’d be happy to help you.