Arizona, like many states, offers most married couples the option of filing for a legal separation instead of a divorce when they decide they no longer wish to live together as husband and wife. A legal separation can address all the issues that a traditional divorces addresses such as child custody, property division and support. While the parties will be two separate legal entities at the end of the legal separation process for purposes of taxes, debt, parenting and finances, neither party will be able to remarry.
Determine whether you are entitled to file for legal separation in Arizona. You or your spouse must have lived in Arizona for the 90 days preceding the filing of the petition. If children are involved, they must have lived in Arizona for six months prior to filing. If you entered into a covenant marriage, you cannot file for legal separation. If one party does not want the legal separation, the court may change the proceeding to a divorce proceeding.
Complete the petition for legal separation (with or without children). File the petition with the court. A sample petition and all other forms you will need can be found on the website for the Superior Court of Maricopa County (see Resources).
Complete the child custody and parenting form as well as the child support worksheet. Submit them to the appropriate court in the county where you are a resident.
Attend the Parent Information Program. Submit the certification to the court.
Prepare the Decree of Legal Separation. Take it with you to the trial or default hearing the court will schedule.