In Arizona, if you are granted an annulment then your marriage is determined to be null and void as if the marriage never took place. Unlike a legal separation or divorce, you do have to prove grounds for an annulment. Possible grounds for an annulment would be that one of the party’s were underage, the parties were too close in blood relationship, there was an absence of mental capacity, intoxication, lack of contractual intent, duress, fraud, misrepresentation as to religion or concealment of prior marital status. Annulments are far rarer than legal separations or divorces but they are available if proper grounds can be established.
The process to obtain a legal separation is virtually identical to the process in obtaining a divorce. In order to establish grounds for a legal separation one only needs to show that both parties desire to live separate and a part. A legal separation stops short of dissolving the marriage but all other issues are resolved such as the termination of community property rights, establishment of custody, child support, spousal maintenance or alimony, and the division of existing community property and community debts. If one party files a Petition for Legal Separation and the other party files a response requesting that the Petition for Legal Separation be converted to a action for a Dissolution of the Marriage, the matter will proceed as a Dissolution of the Marriage.
In an action for Dissolution of Marriage, the marriage is dissolved and issues regarding custody, visitation, child support, alimony or spousal maintenance and the division of community property and debts must all be settled.
Every divorce case is different so be very careful in relying upon your friends and family for advice on how you should negotiate the terms of your divorce based upon their personal experiences. To do this is very dangerous and can negatively impact your rights. NEVER use forms, but if you do, it would be very wise to first seek a consultation with an attorney or you could lose substantial rights. For a consultation, please contact us.