You may have heard the term “covenant marriage” in Arizona, which is a type of marriage created by our State Legislature. If you are considering getting married in Arizona, a covenant marriage is an option you may want to consider. However, there are some necessary steps that must be taken for a covenant marriage.
Steps to Enter in a Covenant Marriage
1. Premarital Counseling
The couple seeking to enter a covenant marriage must participate in premarital counseling. The counseling can be from a marriage counselor or member of the clergy. The counseling includes discussions of the seriousness of covenant marriage and that it is a commitment for life. The counselor must also discuss the limited grounds for terminating a covenant marriage.
2. Covenant Marriage Application
The covenant marriage application requires both persons to declare their intentions by signing a declaration on the marriage license application form. Arizona law requires all couples legally qualified to marry to obtain a marriage license. The license is obtained by filing a written application with the Clerk of the Superior Court in any county in Arizona (in some cases, the application can be filed with justices of the peace, city clerk, or town clerk). Below are a few of the additional items that must be included in the marriage license application:
• The couple must declare that they intend to live together as husband and wife for life.
• The couple must commit to make all reasonable efforts to protect the marriage, including attending marital counseling if they experience marital difficulties.
• The couple must sign a sworn statement that they attended the required premarital counseling. The couple must acknowledge they received the premarital counseling pamphlet developed by the Arizona Supreme Court.
Why Choose Covenant Marriage?
There are a variety of reasons people choose covenant marriage, but it is typically for religious reasons. A covenant marriage aligns with church doctrine and teachings.
Many couples choose covenant marriage because it evidences their commitment to each other. A covenant marriage can only be dissolved for specific reasons, which appeals to many couples who want to commit to working through difficult times and avoiding divorce.
Limited Reasons for Divorce in Covenant Marriages
Traditional marriages allow for no-fault divorces, which means a couple can terminate their marriage without any wrongdoing by either party. A no-fault divorce is not available in a covenant marriage, Instead, the couple in a covenant marriage can only legally separate for the following reasons:
• The non-filing spouse is guilty of adultery
• The non-filing spouse received a prison or death sentence
• The non-filing spouse abuses alcohol and/or drugs, which creates an unhealthy living situation for the petitioner
• The marital home has been abandoned by the non-filing spouse for more than a year
• The petitioning spouse or the children are the victim of domestic violence or sexual/emotional abuse by the non-filing spouse
• The couple has not lived together for two years or more
• The couple was previously granted a legal separation by a superior court, and the couple has not resided together in their marital home for a year or more
• Both the husband and wife agree to the divorce (if the divorce is contested by either spouse, the process is prolonged)
If you are interested in learning more about an Arizona covenant marriage, contact Stewart Law Group.
Confidence to Move Forward After Divorce Through Effective Representation
Marriage and divorce can be confusing. However, empowering yourself with the support of a trusted lawyer is invaluable. We’ve worked with clients just like you and 100% understand what you’re going through. You’ve come to the right place if you’re wondering, “Where can I find a family attorney near me that can protect my rights?”. Our Arizona marriage, divorce, and family lawyers take on the task of guiding you through this experience and fighting to protect your rights. Contact our office today for a confidential consultation about how we can help you.