Alternatives to Legal Separation in Arizona dorris law group tucson

When your marriage is not working, it can be hard on many fronts, from emotional to the legalities. Couples may be legally separated, but what are the alternatives?

Dorris Law Group is a Top Rated Local® law firm in Tucson. We offer divorce and family law representation, including help with child support, alimony, paternity, property division, and more. Our experienced team works diligently to ensure you have the most favorable outcome for your case. Below, we’ll take a look at some alternatives to legal separation in Arizona. Call our divorce attorneys to get started today!


Marriage Counseling

For many, what has led to marital problems is a lack of communication within the marriage. Sometimes, it’s helpful to have a third party to both foster communication and broker arguments if your marriage seems to be fraught with them. Marriage counseling allows the couple to work out problems in a safe environment and stay on track instead of degenerate into an argument. You will also receive professional advice and perspective from someone who is experienced in helping to heal relationships.

Postnuptial Agreement

In the state of Arizona, a couple may enter into a postnuptial agreement anytime during their marriage. A postnuptial agreement does not need to be filed in court. This allows the couple to divide all property and debt without filing for either divorce or legal separation. In addition, any debt or liabilities incurred after the agreement has been signed remains solely that of the person who undertook it, meaning it is not considered a shared debt. Likewise, any assets acquired after the agreement is the sole property of the party who acquired them, meaning this won’t have to be split evenly if a divorce were to happen. This can give you peace of mind if you do believe an impending divorce is likely down the road.

Informal Trial Separation

An informal trial separation is very much like taking some time to yourself to get your thoughts, feelings, and emotions straight. It’s where you and your spouse try living separately from each other and see how you feel and how it goes. Sometimes you just need space for a while to work through some things. The reason our divorce attorneys recommend this over a legal separation is because a legal separation has to go through the courts, and it most often leads to divorce. With an informal separation, you can set the ground rules, such as how much time you will see the children and contribute to family finances, in order to be 100% sure a divorce is what you truly want.


Mediation is similar to marriage counseling except it does lead to divorce. However, mediation is where you and your spouse are still amicable and can talk through your decisions. This puts you in control instead of the courts. You can decide property division, child support and custody, and all the terms of your divorce. This is a more affordable option than traditional divorce and results in a better experience for all parties involved.


An annulment is very similar to a divorce in that it has the same end — a legal end to your divorce. A civil annulment is stating that the marriage never legally existed due to at least one of the grounds for an annulment. In Arizona, these reasons for an annulment include one of the parties was already married, the two parties are related, one of the parties was a minor at the time of the marriage and did not have the consent of a parent, a valid, official marriage license was not obtained, and more. An annulment is granted by the courts when a judge declares your marriage null and void. One party files a petition, and the other party files a response.

A religious annulment is different from a civil annulment, and they are not legally recognized in the state of Arizona. The main purpose of a religious annulment is so that the parties can remarry again within the church. However, you will still have to have a civil annulment or a divorce if you want the legal benefits of a divorce.


As you can see, divorce is not the only answer when you and your spouse are having troubles in a marriage. Many people quickly get the legal separation or divorce proceedings going when they are struggling, which they then regret later on down the road simply because they did not know their alternatives to a legal separation. When you partner with Dorris Law Group in Tucson for your divorce representation, we can help you determine which path is right for you. With our years of experience, we’ll offer expert advice with a compassionate heart. Contact us for a free consultation today!