Understanding Covenant Marriage in Arizona
By Zachary Mushkatel on April 18, 2013
In 1998, Arizona’s legislature passed a law to create the option of a “covenant marriage” This option does not affect the standard laws for Arizona marriages, but it creates a separate option for couples who wish to choose it. Some of the basics of covenant marriage are discussed below. You may also want to speak to an experienced Glendale family law lawyer to learn more about marriage options and how they may apply to your particular situation.
Before entering a covenant marriage, a couple must receive pre-marital counseling from a clergy member or a marriage counselor. In addition to the standard marriage license, the couple must also sign a declaration expressing their intent to enter a covenant marriage in Arizona, which must contain specific language required by law. The couple must also complete a signed and sworn statement that they attended the required counseling.
Already-married couples in Arizona also have the option to convert their marriage to a covenant marriage. Conversion requires the couple to meet the additional requirements for covenant marriage. Consulting a family law attorney in Arizona can help a couple ensure they complete the conversion successfully.
Covenant marriages may be dissolved by divorce only for specific reasons in Arizona. Some reasons include adultery committed by one of the spouses, a felony committed by one of the spouses, abuse or domestic violence committed by one of the spouses, drug abuse committed by one of the spouses, separation of the spouses for at least two years or abandonment of the marital home by one of the spouses for at least one year, or an agreement between both spouses to file for divorce.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.