The easiest way to know if you have a covenant marriage is to ask yourself: do you know what it is? If you don’t know what it is, you don’t have one.
Three states (Arizona, Arkansas, and Louisiana) in the United States have a legally distinct type of marriage known as “covenant marriage.”
To enter into a covenant marriage, you must first undergo counseling with a marriage counselor or clergyman and file an affidavit of completion of counseling with the Clerk of the Court. Additionally, you have to sign a declaration acknowledging your intent to enter into a covenant marriage when you apply for your marriage license.
If you are already married and you want to convert to a covenant marriage you can do so by paying a fee and completing a Declaration of Intent to enter into a covenant marriage with a sworn statement containing your personal information and the date and place of your wedding. The fee and completed Declaration must be filed with the Clerk of the Court.
Aside from the additional requirements to enter into a covenant marriage, the other distinct characteristic of a covenant marriage is that the court can only grant a divorce or legal separation in a limited number of situations. Due to the high divorce rate in this country, the supporters of covenant marriages thought it would be a good idea to make it more difficult to get a divorce.
For example, grounds for divorce or legal separation of a covenant marriage include, but are not limited to:
- Commission of a felony
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- If the parties have lived separately for two years, or
- If the parties have been legally separated for one year prior to filing for divorce
Divorce can be a very difficult process to go through and if you have a covenant marriage, there are a few more requirements that have to be met and planning that needs to be done.
Whether you are contemplating a divorce or facing a divorce, if you would like to work with one of our experienced Attorneys, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.994.8824 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.