Is spousal support mandatory in Arizona?
Spousal support is mandatory in Arizona if certain conditions are met. It is not automatic. And it may not apply if the other spouse is destitute or has no assets. A court decides that. In general, though, getting spousal support in Arizona means establishing eligibility as the first step.
The need to establish your eligibility
If you were financially dependent on your spouse, going through a divorce may make keeping your present lifestyle going very challenging. Proving eligibility, therefore, should be a center of focus.
Arizona’s divorce courts may order your spouse to pay you alimony either during the divorce proceedings or thereafter (or both). Spouses capable of supporting themselves financially, however, could be deemed ineligible for spousal support.
What is spousal support?
Spousal support, commonly referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance, is support provided to the other spouse or former spouse as ordered by the court during a divorce or legal separation. Alimony is used to mitigate the unfair financial effects of divorce.
Spousal support is decided by the court after considering a variety of financial and employment-related factors that affect both parties. The court decides whether to add maintenance as part of the divorce settlement depending on the length of the marriage, the income levels of the spouses, and the parties’ employment histories.
Do you meet Arizona’s requirements for spousal support?
The court evaluates whether you require spousal support before granting it, taking into account whether:
- you possess insufficient assets to support yourself after the division of marital property;
- You are unable to support yourself financially on your own because you need to take care of a dependent or for other reasons that prevent you from earning enough money in the job. The length of time you have been out of a job and the amount of training required to return to it, as well as if you neglected your own requirements for education and training in favor of taking care of the family, may all be taken into account by the Court while deciding this case;
- You have considerably helped your spouse advance their profession through schooling, training, or other career assistance, giving the other a major edge;
- You and your spouse have been married for a long time, but you are now at an advanced age where it may be difficult or impossible for you to remain financially independent; or
- In order to increase the prospects for your spouse, you have considerably reduced your own salary or career opportunities.
You must prove your inability to pay and your spouse’s lack of need if he or she is trying to get you to pay alimony.
How much alimony can a spouse expect to get?
If a spouse is granted alimony, the amount will depend on a number of things, such as:
- the standard of living that the couple developed during their marriage, including whether they led extravagant lives;
- the actual length of the marriage;
- the court may also take additional factors into consideration, such as mental illness or a physical impairment as well as the distinguishing qualities of the person seeking maintenance, such as age, earning capacity, and employment history;
- the other spouse’s capacity to meet their own needs while still providing for the other through maintenance;
- the financial resources and individual earning potential of each party;
- whether and how much the applicant for the award is enhancing the other’s financial prospects and earning capacity;
- how much of their own financial or professional potential they have sacrificed in order to help the other;
- how well the shared children’s educational demands will be met by both parents;
- the actual resources of the person requesting alimony, such as if they previously received the home as part of the divorce settlement, and their capacity to support themselves in the present work market;
- how long it will take the applicant to complete the training and/or education required to be self-sufficient in the employment market;
- other circumstances unique to the situation, such as whether or not unusual expenditures are required, or even if one party has engaged in fraud, concealment, or needless spending of joint property;
- Costs associated with health insurance, such as what the parties’ premiums for personal and family coverage will be as a result of the divorce; and
- costs associated with one spouse’s criminal behavior in which the other was a victim, including actual losses and court rulings.
Please feel free to contact our Arizona office at (602) 698-5520 if you have any questions and concerns about spousal support. You will receive trustworthy guidance and assistance on alimony and other family law issues from our experienced divorce lawyers.