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Arizona Covenant Marriage Law & Requirements
Arizona, has followed Louisiana in approving covenant marriages, in which couples voluntarily impose
limits on their ability to divorce. These laws attempt to put the brakes on quickie divorces by fostering a renewed commitment to having a long-term marriage.
(Arizona law went into effect, August 21, 1998. See ARS 25-901).
Although the Arizona Covenant Marriage is law, it is your option to choose to have a Covenant Marriage. The law governs the "requirements" of a Covenant Marriage.
According to Scott D. Drewianka of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, only one-fourth of one percent of couples getting married in Arizona select the covenant marriage option.
Larry James recommends that you consider this option and all of its requirements which are enforced by Arizona law.
In essence, covenant marriage gives couples the option of spurning no-fault divorce; they sign binding contracts that require premarital counseling (called "premarital counseling")
from a minister or a marriage counselor and permit divorce only in cases of abuse, abandonment, adultery, imprisonment of a spouse or a lengthy separation.
When applying for a license to be married in Arizona, both persons
must show their intention to enter into a covenant marriage by signing a special statement (or "declaration") on the application form.
For a covenant marriage, certain information must be included in the marriage license application. By law (Section 25-901 of the Arizona Revised Statutes)
a person must state their intention to enter into a covenant marriage. This statement (or "declaration") must contain three things:
A written statement, printed exactly as follows:
A Covenant Marriage
- We solemnly declare that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman who agree to live together as husband and wife for as
long as they both live. We have chosen each other carefully and have received premarital counseling on the nature, purposes and responsibilities
of marriage. We understand that a covenant marriage is for life. If we experience marital difficulties, we commit ourselves to take all reasonable
efforts to preserve our marriage, including marital counseling.
- With full knowledge of what this commitment means, we do declare that our marriage will be bound by Arizona law on covenant marriages
and we promise to love, honor and care for one another as husband and wife for the rest of our lives.
- And. . . the signed and sworn statement of both people that they have received premarital counseling from a member of the clergy or from a marriage counselor.
In premarital counseling, both people must be advised that a covenant marriage is a commitment for life. Premarital counseling also must include
a discussion of the seriousness of covenant marriage, the requirement to seek marriage counseling if marital difficulties develop and the limited
legal reasons available for ending the marriage by legal separation or divorce.
The signatures of both parties witnessed by a court clerk.
Covenant Marriage License Requirements
According to legislation (A.R.S. 25-901-906), couples who are planning to apply for a Covenant Marriage License
must provide a notarized statement from the clergy (minister) or marriage counselor who provided their premarital counseling with the license application.
The notarized attestation (statement) should confirm that:
- the parties were advised about the nature and purpose of a covenant marriage;
- the parties were advised regarding the limited reasons for ending marriage by legal separation or divorce; and
- the parties were given a copy of the pamphlet, "Covenant Marriages in Arizona,"
published by Arizona Office of the Courts (AOC). (Requires Adobe Reader).
At the Marriage License Office, the engaged couple will be asked to sign a marriage license affidavit and the "Declaration of Intent to Enter
Into a Covenant Marriage" which states they met statutory requirements.
Requirements for couples who want to convert their marriage to a covenant marriage
Couples who are already married may convert their existing marriage to a covenant marriage. It does not matter where their license was
issued. A wedding ceremony is not required to accomplish the conversion to a covenant marriage.
The married couple will be required to sign a marriage license affidavit and a "Declaration of Intent to Enter Into a Covenant
Marriage" form at the Marriage License Office. There is a fee to convert a traditional license to a covenant marriage.
The fee for the Covenant License is $76, which is the same as the Traditional Marriage License.
To get a copy of the "Covenant Marriage in Arizona" booklet
Individuals interested in obtaining a copy of the "Covenant Marriage in Arizona" booklet may contact a member of the clergy, a marriage counselor,
the Administrative Office of the Courts at 602-542-9250 or to obtain an electronic version
of the booklet click here.
(Requires Adobe Reader).
For more information about Covenant Marriage Law In Arizona, click here.
For a sample of the "Covenant Marriage Premarital Counseling Affidavit," click
(Requires Adobe Reader).