Does Alimony Terminate Upon Remarriage in Arizona?
Termination of Alimony on Remarriage in Arizona
If you are wondering does alimony terminates upon remarriage in Arizona, the answer depends upon your specific circumstances. The applicable statute provides that alimony in Arizona automatically terminates upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the spouse receiving the alimony.
However, you may reach a written agreement expressly providing that alimony in Arizona will not terminate upon either the death of the person paying spousal maintenance or the remarriage of the spouse receiving the alimony.
The Arizona Court of Appeals in the case of Palmer v. Palmer addressed whether an agreement for alimony to be non-modifiable prevented the paying spouse from terminating maintenance early because the receiving spouse remarried.
The wife in the Palmer case argued that the language making the alimony non-modifiable and the omission of language stating alimony would terminate upon remarriage established the parties intended the maintenance to continue even if she remarried.
The Arizona Court of Appeals disagreed and found that omission of language in an alimony order that the alimony will terminate upon remarriage does not meet the requirement that the parties’ intended to continue maintenance. This is true, even upon remarriage, be “expressly” stated in the support order; otherwise, it terminates upon remarriage of the receiving spouse or the death of either party.
An Arizona judge will look to the laws of the state where your former spouse resides to determine if he or she has remarried. This becomes a very interesting issue in common law states where a person can be deemed to have a common law marriage with his or her significant other even though a marriage certificate has never been issued and a formal wedding ceremony has not occurred.
Most common law states require the couple to hold themselves out as a couple and may also look at how they manage their finances as either a couple of completely separate.
Judgment for Alimony Paid After Remarriage Occurs
There are times when the spouse receiving the alimony fails to inform their former spouse they have gotten remarried. Sometimes, this is done for the sole purpose of continuing to receive alimony from his or her former spouse while still enjoying the benefits of their remarriage. When this happens, you need to speak to a qualified attorney.
You have legal remedies to both stop any wage assignments for alimony, but also recover the alimony payments you have been making while your former spouse was remarried.
Judges are not very happy with people who continue to collect spousal maintenance payments even after they remarried without telling their former spouse. It is possible the court may also order your former spouse to pay your attorney fees in getting the alimony paid back to you.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about the termination of alimony in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about alimony laws in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and 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.