25-Oct-2012

By Attorney Karl Scholes

Preparing for a Divorce Trial Part 2; Presenting Relevant Evidence.

Preparing for a divorce trial can be a daunting task. The difficulty comes in having so many issues to cover, and having so little time to cover them. Parties to a divorce (usually those who have opted to not hire an attorney) will commonly make the mistake of using up what little court time – and judicial patience – allotted to them by presenting the Court with irrelevant testimony.

In Arizona, there are certain findings that the court must make to enter a decree of dissolution of marriage. Those findings are found in A.R.S. § 25-312, and are as follows:

  1. That one of the parties, at the time the action was commenced, was domiciled in this state, or was stationed in this state while a member of the armed services, and that in either case the domicile or military presence has been maintained for ninety days prior to filing the petition for dissolution of marriage.
  2. The conciliation provisions of section 25-381.09 and the provisions of article 5 of this chapter either do not apply or have been met.
  3. The marriage is irretrievably broken or, if the marriage is a covenant marriage, any of the grounds prescribed in section 25-903.
  4. To the extent it has jurisdiction to do so, the court has considered, approved and made provision for child custody, the support of any natural or adopted child common to the parties of the marriage entitled to support, the maintenance of either spouse and the disposition of property.

Noticeably absent from the above factors is anything to do with marital infidelity, imbecility of newly acquired significant others, or annoying habits of the other party. If it is not mentioned in the findings above, then the court does not want to hear about it.

Now, the issues of 1.) child custody; 2.) the support of any natural or adopted child common to the parties of the marriage entitled to support, 3.) the maintenance of either spouse, and 4.) the disposition of property involve a lot of relevant testimony. The relevant factors for each of these issues are covered by statute, and are the topic for another time.

However, none of the pertinent statutes include factors that have anything to do with marital infidelity, imbecility of newly acquired significant others, or annoying habits of the other party. These are never mentioned.

Not even once.