What is a Covenant Marriage?

As we discussed earlier this month, Arizona is a no-fault state. In addition, to no-fault meaning that the court is not concerned if one or both parties had an affair during the marriage, it also means that neither party has to claim responsibility for the reason behind a divorce.

In a Non-Covenant Marriage, only one party needs to assert a claim that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” in order to pursue divorce. In a Covenant Marriage, the process of pursuing divorce is much more complex.

If you have not heard of a covenant marriage before, chances are you do not have one.

Although the ideas have been around for quite some time, covenant marriage law was not passed in the United States until 1997 and Arizona is only one of three states that adopted it.

In simple terms, a covenant marriage makes it impossible to get a quick divorce. When a couple gets their marriage license in the state of Arizona, they must choose if they would like to enter a covenant marriage. If they choose to do so, there are strict criteria for getting a divorce:

  • They must receive counseling before getting married and before getting a divorce.
  • A no-fault divorce is not optional.
  • You must prove abuse or that someone committed a felony, adultery, abandonment, or long periods of separation are requirements before you are allowed to get a divorce.

Covenant Marriage was originally designed to strengthen families, as it was believed that troubled couples who receive counseling are more likely to work out their differences.

The Pro’s and Con’s of a Covenant Marriage are considered to be one and the same, depending on your perspective. For example, some believe that a Covenant Marriage can reduce the potential of domestic violence and that if abuse takes place, the victim will receive greater benefits from a divorce, giving more “security” during the marriage. However, others believe that abusive marriages are prolonged if legally bounded by a Covenant Marriage.

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to enter a covenant marriage, but the majority of Arizona citizens have chosen not to.

If you find yourself, a friend or a loved one in a Covenant or Non-Covenant Marriage and you are wanting to get out, please call OWENS & PERKINS at(480) 994-8824 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.