What You Need To Know About Arizona Alimony Laws
Getting a divorce can be one of the most difficult things many couples will have to go through in their lives. Not only does it involve the emotional and mental stress of separation and mourning, but there are also financial implications to consider. Alimony is one such aspect that can cause anxiety and worry leading up to, during, and after a divorce. It is often an area of particular confusion as the rules surrounding alimony payments differ from state to state, as well as individual circumstances.
Without a clear understanding of how much one may be entitled to receive or expected to pay, going through a divorce may become even more challenging. This blog serves as an introductory resource for those who want to learn what they need to know surrounding alimony in Arizona before, during, and after the divorce process.
What is Alimony?
Alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance, is a court-ordered payment from one former spouse to the other following a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to prevent any unfair economic effects of the divorce by providing a source of income to the non-wage-earning or lower-wage-earning spouse. Alimony payments are typically made regularly and can last for several months, years, or even indefinitely depending on the needs of each party. In some cases, alimony may be used to help the receiving spouse maintain the same standard of living they enjoyed during the marriage.
What determines if a spouse gets alimony will vary from state to state, all courts consider many factors when determining whether alimony should be granted and how much should be paid out. Examples of determining factors are the length of the marriage, age and health status of both parties, financial need, and ability to pay, as well as other relevant facts surrounding both spouses’ circumstances.
How Does Alimony Work?
Before Divorce Proceedings
Since the number of spouses working during their marriage has risen greatly, alimony– also known as spousal maintenance– is not as common as it once was. Not every divorce will end with required spousal support, however, it is still common enough that it is very important to consider the possibility of either asking for support or expecting your spouse to ask. With proper communication and planning, you can even avoid costly court proceedings by working out a settlement agreement before divorce proceedings.
During Divorce Proceedings
If you are unable to agree, then you will likely have to go to trial to determine the specifics of your alimony. At an alimony trial, the court will consider several factors such as the financial need of the recipient and the ability to pay the other spouse. The court will also look at how long you have been married, your age and health, your earning capacity, any contributions made by either party to increase the other’s earning capacity, and whether one spouse sacrificed their income or career opportunities for the benefit of their spouse. Additionally, they may also take into account other expenses such as childcare costs and taxes. The court must also assess both parties’ assets after dividing marital property to determine if the recipient has enough resources to provide for themselves. In making their decision, the court will evaluate all relevant information to reach a fair resolution for both parties.
And After Divorce Proceedings
Once the alimony trial has been completed, you may expect to receive or pay a certain amount per month for a designated length of time. However, if your circumstances change or you and your spouse agree to modify the order, you can petition the court to alter the conditions of your payments. It is important to keep track of all alimony payments made or received to ensure compliance with applicable laws. Moreover, both parties should be aware that any modifications made to an agreement must be in accordance with existing state regulations. If you are not receiving the payments that you are owed, there are several ways to ensure alimony payments including suspending their license, reporting the debt to credit agencies, putting liens on property, and more.
Spousal Support in AZ
Spousal support is a highly complex process and having the right legal representation in your corner can make the difference in outcomes. At Antol & Sherman, our experienced and reputable family law, divorce, and custody attorneys have earned a reputation as the top lawyers in Flagstaff, Arizona. With over sixty years of combined experience, we understand that divorce can be emotionally challenging and financially devastating and are dedicated to ensuring our clients’ interests are protected throughout the process.
Our team is equipped to help you better understand your rights and how to best protect them during divorce proceedings. If you are seeking a divorce in the Flagstaff area, it is important that you contact our firm as soon as possible.