As in any state, the court system is the only entity legally able to end a marriage in Arizona, although divorcing spouses are encouraged and free to decide the terms of their divorce, if they are able to do so without litigating. Divorce mediation in Arizona is gaining in popularity as more and more couples discover the numerous benefits to avoiding litigation and settling their divorce with the guidance of a trained mediator.
In Arizona, the court in each separate county hold its own set of individual requirements for mediators as there are no statewide guidelines to follow for one to practice mediation. However, all of the courts throughout the state do require that at least 40 hours of basic mediation training must be completed, in addition to extra training that focuses on family matters for those who plan on mediating divorce cases.
The process of mediation encourages collaboration using the mediator as a neutral "buffer" to couples who wish to end their marriage without a heated courtroom battle, or simply without the need for two attorneys litigating their case. Divorce mediation in Arizona is designed to help couples make decisions about issues such as parenting time, which until recently has been referred to as "visitation," child support, spousal support or alimony, the division of property, assets, and other financial matters.
Here is a list of courts by county in the state of Arizona:
- La Paz
- Santa Cruz
Arizona Divorce Laws
The law in Arizona states that only the Supreme Court may grant a divorce, which is actually referred to a "dissolution of marriage," with the initial divorce proceedings being filed in the person's county of residence by either spouse. Rather than the divorce being "awarded" to one spouse or another, a divorce decree in Arizona ends and legally changes the status of the marriage.
The grounds for "divorce" in the state of Arizona are in most cases that neither spouse has to prove blame or state that the other is responsible for the end of the marriage, unlike in some other states. What must be proven, however, is that the marriage is irretrievably broken with no chance of a resolution between the spouses.
If your marriage is considered to be a "covenant marriage," under the state law in Arizona blame must be established, such as proving the existence of adultery, physical, mental, or substance abuse, or abandonment. A knowledgeable mediator will be familiar with this optional type of marriage, which as of now, is only available in two other states besides Arizona - Louisiana and Arkansas. A covenant marriage carries stricter requirements from the usually type of marital union such as premarital counseling and giving up the option for a no-fault divorce.
Finding an Experienced Divorce Mediator in Arizona
The State Bar Association of Arizona will have many resources and be able to guide one toward finding an experienced mediator, the majority of which will be attorneys by profession, although many are counselors, therapists, social workers, and financial experts. There are also several organizations in place to give residents of Arizona free or low cost legal assistance for those who need it, and the internet is a wealth of information regarding the process of mediation and finding one in your particular area.