Understanding Covenant Marriages in Arizona
In 1998, Arizona became one of the very few states to legally permit “covenant marriage.” Described in A.R.S. 25-901 to 25-906, these types of marriages have stricter requirements for marriage and limit the ability to both divorce or legally separate. In many instances, couples choose to enter into a covenant marriage rather than a traditional marriage for religious reasons, but couples may also choose this type of marriage as a way to prevent divorce and strengthen their commitment to each other.
In order to enter into a covenant marriage, couples are required to undergo premarital counseling with a marriage counselor or a clergyman. The couple also must sign a formal marriage declaration, proclaiming their intention to live together in marriage for life, their commitment to protect their marriage at all costs through all difficulties, and swearing that they have attended premarital counseling.
Once in a covenant marriage, it is much more difficult to divorce or legally separate. No-fault divorces are not permitted. A couple can only divorce if both spouses consent to it. Couples can legally separate for the following reasons:
- A death or prison sentence due to a felony
- Substance abuse
- A spouse abandoning the home
- Living separately for at least two years
Couples who are already in a traditional marriage have the option of converting to a covenant marriage should they wish, but couples who have chosen a covenant marriage cannot revert to a traditional one.
The Arizona Supreme Court system provides a helpful pamphlet for anyone considering a covenant marriage, which can be found online here.
Rideout Law Group handles cases throughout the entire state of Arizona, with offices located in Scottsdale and Lake Havasu City. Our attorneys are experienced in handling cases involving all types of marriage, divorce, and legal separation. For a free consultation, call 480-584-3328.