As is the case in other states, Arizona has a process by which a couple can choose to obtain a legal separation instead of a divorce. There a number of reasons a couple might choose to take this route, including personal moral beliefs or for financial reasons like tax breaks or health insurance.
Couples who are legally separated in Arizona remain legally married, even if they are choosing to live in separate households. However, in just about every other aspect, legal separation is very similar to divorce. In other words, a legal separation is much more than just two people deciding to live apart, either because they never got married or because they have chosen to take a break for a while.
As a caveat, though, in Arizona, a legal separation can easily be converted in to a divorce if one of the parties asks for that and otherwise meets the requirements of obtaining a divorce in this state.
As in the case of a divorce, a court hearing a legal separation case will make important decisions about child support, child custody and property division. In some respects, divvying up property can be more complicated in a legal separation given that Arizona follows community property laws. It may be important, therefore, for a Phoenix resident going through a legal separation to have the help of an experienced family law attorney.
In any event, though, whether they want to take the route of a legal separation or not, a person will need to be prepared to make his or her case about how the marital property should be used and divided.