Learn About Problems With Arizona Alimony Calculators
How is Alimony Calculated in Arizona
An Arizona alimony calculator does not exist in Arizona. However, a formula for calculating alimony was created many years ago. The formula also suggested the length of time alimony should be awarded.
The formula was created to eliminate confusion regarding how much alimony a judge may award. It was also created to determine how long alimony should be paid. Before the calculation was created, there were large fluctuations in spousal support awards from judges.
An attorney in Tucson sent a letter to judges in Pima and Maricopa County. The letter contained a fictitious set of facts to judges. The judges were asked to comment on what they would order given those fake facts.
The responses from the Superior Court judges were anywhere from an award of lifetime spousal maintenance to no award of spousal maintenance. This created the desire to have some spousal maintenance guidelines. Guidelines would provide guidance on the amount and duration of alimony awards.
However, the Arizona Court of Appeals later ruled those guidelines have no legal effect in Arizona. The court ruled that the guidelines were not passed into law by the Arizona legislature. As a result, they were not the law in Arizona. Judges, therefore, could not rely upon the guidelines when ordering alimony.
Despite that fact, attorneys and judges seem to rely on the formula in resolving spousal maintenance cases in Arizona. So, the good news is there is some uniformity in calculating spousal maintenance awards.
Spousal Maintenance Formula in Arizona
The formula requires you to determine the difference between the spouses’ incomes. Let’s say one spouse earns $10,000.00 a month. The other spouse earns $3,000.00 a month. The difference in their earnings is $7,000.00 a month.
You take that $7,000.00 difference and give the lower-earning spouse anywhere between 15% to 25% of that difference. In this example, 15% of the difference would be $1,050.00 (15% of $7,000.00). Applying 25% to the difference would result in an award of $1,750.00 (25% of $7,000.00). So, the range for spousal maintenance would be somewhere between $1,050.00 to $1,750.00 a month.
The percentage chosen (between 15% and 25%) depends on many factors. One such factor is the length of the marriage. A longer marriage may result in gravitating to a higher percentage (i.e., closer to 25%). The standard of living during the marriage is another factor a court must consider.
The alimony calculation then needs to determine how long spousal maintenance should be paid. The formula provided the alimony award should be between 30% to 50% of the length of the marriage.
There are many factors affecting whether the duration should be closer to 30% or 50% of the length of the marriage.
This formula for calculating spousal maintenance is very simplistic. You cannot blindly rely upon the formula and should consult with an experienced Arizona alimony attorney.
The attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC have handled many spousal maintenance cases. We will analyze all of the spousal maintenance factors to provide you with more accurate information regarding spousal maintenance in your case.
Factors for Calculating Alimony Awards in Arizona
If you are the main financial provider in your household, you may be responsible for paying alimony to your spouse. Consequently, if you were a stay at home parent you may be entitled to alimony.
A.R.S. 25-319 gives many reasons a court may award alimony or refuse to award it. A spouse who has not worked for many years may be entitled to alimony. The Court of Appeals in Boyle vs. Boyle ruled a court may award alimony to a spouse who is working full time.
However, the court will also consider how much investment income that spouse will receive from the assets divided in the divorce. The investment return may affect a claim for alimony.
A spouse who otherwise may have been award alimony may have that claim denied. For example, a spouse who squandered a significant amount of money during the marriage may be denied alimony. At a minimum, it may lower the amount and/or duration of an alimony award.
Other Reasons a Court May Award Alimony in Arizona
There are other reasons a court may award spousal maintenance. The court will consider the length of the marriage. The court will consider if a spouse is too old to return to work.
A court may award alimony to a parent whose children are so young that parent should not work.
You can find various divorce alimony calculators online. They will ask for general information and will spit out numbers. These numbers do not consider the various factors a judge will consider. So, be very wary about relying on any online alimony calculators in Arizona.
The problem with alimony calculators is they do not give you an accurate answer regarding your entitlement to alimony. We suggest you simply ignore them.
Contact our experienced Phoenix and Scottsdale Arizona alimony attorneys at (480)305-8300 to discuss your Arizona alimony case.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about alimony calculators in Arizona. Chris is a divorce attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience. He has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce.