There can be no divorce without a valid marriage, of course. When two people wish to marry here in Arizona, as with all states, they have specific requirements to satisfy. A.R.S. § 25-111 lists the requirements that must be satisfied:
In 1997, Louisiana became the first state to create two marital forms: the standard marriage and the covenant marriage. The covenant marriage made its way to Arizona law in 1998. When compared to the standard marriage, there are more requirements, or formalities, when a couple enters into or exits out of a covenant marriage. A.R.S. § 25-111. Also, the couple’s marriage license reflects their covenant election and premarital counseling is a prerequisite. In a divorce, the court can only dissolve a covenant marriage when:
In the dissolution of a standard marriage in Arizona, by contrast, the only question to be determined by the court is whether the marriage is irretrievably broken. Essentially, if one spouse seeks an end to the marriage, whatever the reason or motivation, then the marriage may be irretrievably broken.
If the bride and groom are both adults, then they’re on their way to a happy honeymoon. If a bride or groom is a minor, or both are minors, then A.R.S. § 25-102 has additional requirements before a valid marriage can take place:
There are also void marriages and prohibited marriages in Arizona. A.R.S. § 25-101 places strict limitations on who can and who cannot marry:
You may be familiar with the phrase “kissing cousins” which describes a romantic relationship between second cousins who were, and still are, permitted to marry each other. Same sex marriages are not prohibited in any state following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, 135 SCt 2584 (2015). Consult an attorney if you have a question regarding validity of marriage in Arizona law.
With few exceptions, a marriage that was validly contracted in another state, that complied with that state’s legalities, is also valid in Arizona. A.R.S. § 25-112. There is nothing surprising in that, as married couples move from one state to another every day for a myriad of reasons, such as employment opportunities, affordable housing, closeness to family, educational facilities, and even nicer weather.
The common law marriage is not solemnized or witnessed by someone authorized to perform a marriage and cannot be accomplished here in Arizona. A handful of states do allow common law marriages: Colorado, Utah, Texas, Montana, Kansas, Iowa, Alabama, South Carolina, and Rhode Island. In those common law states, a man and a woman hold themselves out publicly to be husband and wife, without any additional legal formalities — it is not a ceremonial marriage. Although a common law marriage cannot be entered into in Arizona, a lawful marriage entered into in a different state is enforceable here.
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