Are You Entitled to Alimony in Arizona?
A spouse requesting alimony in Arizona must first establish they are eligible for an award of alimony because they lack sufficient property to provide for their needs, are unable to obtain employment that will cover their needs or is the custodian of a child of such young age he or she should not be expected to work, had a marriage of long duration and is of such an age he or she should not be expected to return to the workforce, or contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse.
It is important, therefore, to look at the ability of a spouse to provide for his or her own needs, as well as the amount of property being awarded to the spouse seeking spousal maintenance. The court will also look at the income of both spouses to determine if alimony will be awarded. As a general rule, the court will consider all income received by either spouse.
There are exceptions, however, to those general rules. For example, Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-530 does not permit the court to consider certain forms of military disability payments as income for the purpose of child support or spousal maintenance. The Arizona Court of Appeals in the case of Swain v. Swain held a court abused its discretion when the judge considered the husband’s military disability pay in awarding spousal maintenance to the wife in that case.
Although certain types of military disability payments may not be considered when a trial judge is determining whether to award alimony, the Arizona Court of Appeals in the case of Dougall v. Dougall held that those same disability benefits may be considered by a trial judge if he or she is determining how much to order a spouse to pay towards alimony arrearages.
However, some types of military disability payments are not exempt by A.R.S. 25-530 from being included in a spouse’s income for the purpose of calculating alimony (or child support). The military has what is referred to as Concurrent Disability and Retirement Pay (“CDRP“), which is not exempt. You should read our article on the Arizona Court of Appeals Decision in the In re Marriage of Priessman case for more information on why CDRP military disability payments are not exempt from consideration of family support obligations in Arizona.
Some cases may justify the parties agreeing to one spouse receiving more of the community property, either in lieu of spouse maintenance or to reduce that spouse’s need for spousal maintenance. It is critically important that the reasons an unequal division of property is being made to eliminate or reduce spousal maintenance is clearly stated in a written agreement. For more indepth information regarding such agreements, please read our synopsis of the Arizona Court of Appeals decision in the Woodside v. Woodside case.
Contact Our Scottsdale Arizona Alimony Attorneys
Contact us today or call us at (480) 305-8300 to schedule your consultation with one of our Scottsdale Arizona Spousal Maintenance Attorneys today regarding any questions you have regarding Arizona spousal maintenance laws or any other family law matter.