Using a Mediator to Get Divorced in Arizona When You Were Never Married

There are over five million unmarried couples living together. U.S. Census Bureau of 2000. This figure includes hundreds of thousands of gay couples in Arizona to whom

Using Mediation to Settle Disputes in Arizona

Using Mediation to Settle Disputes

the government has denied the right to marry, as well as millions of straight couples who choose not to marry.  In relevant part, the 2000 Census found:

Total 5,230,703 100.0
Male and female 87.4
Both male 332,645 6.4
Both female 326,066 6.2

The divorce process is available only to married individuals in Arizona.  If unmarried couples in AZ decide to dissolve their relationships, and if they cannot immediately agree on a fair division of their property and debts, the only court action available to them is filing a civil action to partition property in both parties’ names. The Court will not assist in a fair division when property is not equally in both partners’ names, and it will not divide other issues that it would in a divorce, such as the need for temporary support for one of the partners.

However, mediation is always an option for all couples.  In mediation, a mediator, who is a neutral party trained in conflict resolution, helps the parties to come up with compromises and agreements to divide property, pets, assets, debts and reach other agreements related to the end of their relationship.  If desired, the mediator can help the parties create a binding contract for their agreements, which is enforceable and recognized in Court.

Mediation is confidential, less time consuming, less expensive, less adversarial and less stressful than litigation.  It also results in a successful agreement most of the time.  While mediation may be the only option for some couples, it is still the best option for most couples.

Alona M. Gottfried is a mediator and attorney in Arizona.  If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or alona(at)  This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice.  See a legal professional before making legal decisions.

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