I’m Not Ready for a Divorce!: Legal Separation in Arizona

Obtaining a legal separation in Arizona means that, although you remain legally married, you and your spouse will live apart from each other. Many couples choose this option as an alternative to divorce, and, although some remain legally separated for the long term, many do choose to divorce eventually. If you're not sure if you and your spouse are ready for a divorce, legal separation can provide a sort of "test run" before you decide.

Why Many Arizona Couples Choose Legal Separation

There are a lot of reasons why some couples prefer to undergo a legal separation rather than a divorce. Legal separation allows spouses to live apart, but still protects some of their rights and benefits. Some reasons why couples choose legal separation include:
  • Time apart: Sometimes couples aren't sure if divorce is the answer, and just need some space to think and decide.
  • Social Security benefits: Some of these benefits require that a couple remains married for ten years or more.
  • Military benefits: In order to take advantage of some military benefits, the marriage must have lasted at least ten years.
  • Religious beliefs: Couples may want to remain legally married while living apart due to the fact that their religious beliefs conflict with divorce.
  • A "test run": The separation agreement can be the template for a later divorce settlement.

How Legal Separation in Arizona Works

When you decide to work toward a legal separation in Arizona, many concerns will be addressed and agreed upon, such as:

  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Division of property
  • Division of debts
  • Spousal support
  • Visitation


Be aware when negotiating the separation agreement that many judges do use this as a template for your later divorce. It is very important to consider the terms of the separation agreement as though they were the terms of a divorce, even if you don't plan on divorcing right away. 

Legal separation and divorce in Arizona can be very confusing and emotionally difficult. If you need help preparing for a Maricopa County divorce or legal separation, give the Arizona divorce attorneys at Curry, Pearson & Wooten a call today at 1-888-929-5292. Also, request a free copy of our book, Arizona Family Law - How to Handle Tough Issues in Tough Times.