Before 1970 all states required proof of a spouse's fault or guilt (i.e. adultery, mental cruelty, alcoholism) before a divorce could be granted. In most states today a divorcing couple's marriage becomes "irretrievably broken" as in Arizona or they have "irreconcilable differences". Reasons are irrelevant other than one spouse simply does not want to be married anymore. "Til death do us part" has essentially been replaced by the lesser conviction of "Til I don't want to be married to you anymore." Like it or not, if you live in a true "no fault" divorce state like Arizona, it is not your spouse's divorce to give. It is yours (or theirs) for the taking.
Myth #2 - "I want one of those 'no fault - no hassle' divorces."
"No fault" is not always synonymous with "no hassle" divorce. For although you may no longer have to prove that Harry spent the weekend with his secretary in Malibu to divorce the SOB (or Martha drinks two quarts of Jack Daniels a day), the problems of child custody, child support, visitation, spousal maintenance, who gets the house and debts, how much is the pension and business worth, who gets the pots, pans and family dog, and who pays the lawyers, still remain.
Myth #3 - "Arizona recognizes common law marriage, doesn't it?"
No. Spousal maintenance, for example, is not available to spouses of these long term relationships, and the rules for dividing property and debts are different and less predictable than community property laws. Fortunately, children of these unions are entitled to the same child support benefits as their counterparts.
Additional resources provided by the author
Mr. Cord is the author of "Divorce With(Out) Dignity - A Divorce Lawyer's View"