Alimony and Spousal Maintenance in Arizona
When a couple decides to follow through on their divorce, the separation and divorce agreements are full of numerous conditions that must be met by one or both parties. From child custody regulations to how the estate will be divided, these agreements and documents are what ensure a divorce or separation goes as smoothly as possible. Alimony and spousal maintenance are almost guaranteed to be outlined in divorce decrees, leading to questions and potential disputes over money following a divorce. Today, we want to take a look at what alimony is, the rationale behind it, and how to best handle alimony and spousal maintenance with your former or soon-to-be-former spouse. If you have any more questions or are in need of a family law team with experience in alimony and spousal support issues, Hildebrand Law is here to help.
What is Alimony?
In the simplest terms, alimony, also called spousal support or spousal maintenance, is a sum of money that one spouse pays to another during or following a divorce. Often, this is due to one spouse being unable to financially support themselves following a separation. The lower earner is then supported by their spouse for an amount of time determined by the court. This support is often a set amount of time, but can also be in perpetuity based on the circumstances. Determining alimony is often determined on two levels: if a spouse is entitled to maintenance or support, and then what the duration and amount of the awarded alimony will be.
Spousal Maintenance Eligibility
The first part of determining alimony is deciding if a spouse is eligible to receive maintenance from the other. According to the Arizona Revised Statutes Section 25-319, there are four main factors in determining if a spouse should be granted a maintenance order. These four are:
- If a spouse lacks sufficient property, including the apportioned property, to cover said spouse’s reasonable needs
- If the spouse in question faces issues regarding employment, including
- Cannot be self-sufficient with employment
- Has a child whose age or health status requires the parent with custody to not seek employment outside of the home
- Does not have the earning ability in the current market to be self-sufficient
- The spouse contributed to the educational endeavours of the other
- If the marriage was lengthy, the spouse is at an age where self-sufficiency through adequate employment is challenging.
These four main points are assessed against the spouse petitioning for alimony and will help determine if spousal maintenance is a fitting award in the first place.
Out-of-Court Maintenance Agreements
In the aftermath of divorce proceedings, the dust will settle and any bad blood or animosity will dissolve. A battle over money can be especially intense, causing parties to be frustrated with the outcome the court has determined for alimony, or perhaps the idea of letting a court determine where your hard-earned funds will go is less than ideal. The team at Hildebrand Law believes that sound, fair litigation is a good way to resolve issues, but mediation and out-of-court settlements can also lead to outcomes best for both parties. You and your spouse, regardless of your differences, are best equipped to understand your financial situation, as well as where each of you are in life and in terms of earning potential. Utilizing an experienced mediation expert can allow you and your spouse to come to terms that are agreeable and of your own accord, rather than placing your monetary fates in the hands of someone else.
The team at Hildebrand Law understands that divorce is full of twists and turns. Whether you are on amicable terms with your spouse and hoping to resolve your issues quickly, or you are embroiled in a much more heated situation, it is important you come to a resolution effectively and with as little collateral damage as possible. Our family law professionals understand that alimony and spousal maintenance can be a highly disputed and stressful piece of developing a divorce agreement. That’s why our team is here to ensure you and your spouse find the path of least resistance to a resolution. No matter your situation, get in touch with us. Our team has experience in countless family law situations and are dedicated to helping you. Please give us a call and see how we can assist you today.