By Harry J. Lenaburg, Esq.
I have been an attorney practicing family law in Maricopa County, Arizona for 30 years; I meet on a regular basis with a spouse who is seeking information about the filing of a dissolution action. There are many reasons a person may decide to at least meet with an attorney to discuss the various factors and procedures involved with a divorce. Often financial issues and the stress those issues cause will lead to the estrangement of the couple.
However, it is often the case that infidelity occurs, and results in a breach of the trust that is essential to a rock solid marriage. When I meet with clients who have endured the pain of such a breach I must explain to them that realistically speaking for purposes of the pleadings filed in a dissolution matter, this breach of trust is not a ground to state in the petition as a basis for the petition.
In Arizona, as in most states, the grounds for seeking the dissolution of marriage are that the marriage is irretrievably broken, with no prospect of reconciliation. Unlike the past, when physical or emotional abuse, or infidelity, had to be demonstrated by evidence in court for the court to consider whether or not to enter a decree, irretrievable breakdown allows the entry of the decree.
That is not to say that physical or emotional abuse will not be a factor in the evidence presented to the court for purposes of other issues, such as legal decision making (custody), parenting time, or spousal maintenance (alimony). As stated, the court can enter a decree based upon the testimony of one of the parties that the marriage is irretrievably broken, with no prospect of reconciliation.
The Law Firm of Jessica M. Cotter, P.L.L.C.
18301 North 79th Avenue, Suite F-168
Glendale, Arizona 85308