How Standard of Living Impacts Alimony in Arizona
The standard of living maintained during the marriage may affect alimony in Arizona.
The court will consider the standard of living established during the marriage.
For example, the court will consider the size, location, and monthly costs of the home where the parties’ lived.
The court will consider the cars the parties’ drove, as well as the clothing, jewelry and other items they bought.
The court will consider the vacations and other entertainment the parties’ enjoyed. The court will consider all facts establishing the standard of living the parties experienced.
The standard of living influences the amount of alimony awarded in Arizona. However, it is not the controlling factor.
It is not controlling because the goal of an award of alimony is to help a spouse obtain education, training, or experience in the labor market.
The goal of alimony is to allow a spouse to increase his or her income or career opportunities.
The spouse seeking maintenance is expected to increase their ability in the labor market to support themselves.
This is not to say the court will make a spousal maintenance award to keep the spouse receiving spousal maintenance at that same standard of living.
It is only one of several factors contained in A.R.S. 25-319.
The court must balance that factor against all of the other factors in A.R.S. 25-319.
The following are all the factors a court must consider when awarding alimony:
- standard of living established during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance.
- The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet that spouse’s needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.
- The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market.
- The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse.
- The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced that spouse’s income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.
- The ability of both parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children.
- financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and that spouse’s ability to meet that spouse’s own needs independently.
- The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and whether such education or training is readily available.
- Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.
- The cost for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought if the spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved.
- All actual damages and judgments from conduct that resulted in a criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or a child was the victim.
How to Establish a Standard of Living in an Arizona Alimony Case
It is important to establish your standard of living for the court in an alimony case.
You do that by using financial documents demonstrating your monthly household expenses.
Documents such as mortgage statements, credit card statements, bank statements, and other documents will help establish your monthly living expenses.
Photographs of your vehicles, home, and vacations are also helpful.
You should then insert the information from those documents into a spreadsheet.
It is helpful to categorize those expenses as monthly housing expenses, monthly automobile expenses, monthly food expenses, monthly eating out and entertainment expenses, and the like.
This provides an easy way for the court to understand the standard of living of your marriage.
It is also important to prove your spouse approved how money was spent during the marriage.
There are cases where one spouse earns all the money while the other spouse simply squanders it all on lavish spending.
That spending may exceed what would be reasonable.
Most judges will not base their evaluation of the standard of living off the unrealistic and irresponsible excessive spending of a spouse.
What do you think about the effect the standard of living should have on alimony in Arizona?
Please add any comments or questions you have about this article in the comment section at the bottom of this page.
Speak to One of Our Alimony Attorneys Today
Alimony can have a big impact on your financial future so make sure you have experience on your side.
If you have questions about the standard of living and alimony in Arizona, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona spousal maintenance and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in spousal maintenance and family law cases.
Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.
Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your spousal maintenance or family law case around today.
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