Converting a Legal Separation to a Divorce in Arizona

In Arizona, couples facing marital challenges may opt for a legal separation as an alternative to divorce. However, circumstances and feelings can change over time, leading couples to reconsider their decision and contemplate converting their legal separation into a divorce. It’s important to understand how to navigate the conversion of a legal separation to a divorce in the state.

Understanding Legal Separation in Arizona

Legal separation is a legal status that allows couples to live apart while remaining married. It addresses issues such as property division, spousal support, and child custody and support, similar to a divorce. However, unlike divorce, the marriage remains intact, and spouses are not free to remarry. Some couples choose legal separation for religious, financial, or personal reasons, with the intention of potentially reconciling in the future.

Reasons for Converting a Legal Separation to a Divorce

While legal separation provides a degree of separation and clarity for couples, circumstances may change, leading them to reconsider their decision. Some common reasons for converting a legal separation to a divorce include:

Irreconcilable Differences: Despite efforts to reconcile, couples may find that their differences are irreparable, leading them to pursue a divorce.

Desire to Remarry: If one or both spouses wish to remarry, they must first dissolve their legal marriage through divorce.

Financial Considerations: Divorce may offer certain financial benefits or tax advantages that are not available with legal separation.

Closure and Finality: Divorce provides closure and finality, allowing couples to move forward with their lives separately.

Process for Converting a Legal Separation to a Divorce

Converting a legal separation to a divorce in Arizona involves similar steps to filing for divorce:

1.     Petition for Dissolution: One spouse files a petition for dissolution of marriage with the court, initiating the divorce process.

2.     Grounds for Divorce: Arizona is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that spouses do not need to prove fault or wrongdoing to obtain a divorce. The petitioner may simply cite irreconcilable differences as the grounds for divorce.

3.     Resolving Issues: Like in a legal separation, couples must address issues such as property division, spousal support, child custody, and child support. If these issues were already addressed in the legal separation agreement, they may be incorporated into the divorce decree.

4.     Finalizing the Divorce: Once all issues are resolved and the court approves the divorce settlement, the judge will issue a final decree of divorce, officially dissolving the marriage.

Legal Guidance and Representation

While legal separation offers couples a temporary solution to marital challenges, circumstances may change, leading them to pursue a divorce. Understanding the process for converting a legal separation to a divorce in Arizona is essential for couples seeking to move forward with their lives separately. 

Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney

Converting a legal separation to a divorce can be a complex and emotional process. It’s essential to seek guidance from an experienced family law attorney who can provide personalized advice and representation tailored to your unique situation. An attorney can help you understand your rights, navigate the legal process, and work towards a fair and equitable resolution.

Cohen Family Law is dedicated to assisting individuals with their family law issues. Our team offers comprehensive legal support, guiding you through each step of the process. We encourage you to contact us for a consultation, where we can discuss your situation and explore the best path forward for you.