Arizona Alimony Laws | Scottsdale Alimony Attorneys
The Scottsdale alimony attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC want to provide you with information regarding alimony in an Arizona divorce case. Some people refer to financial support being paid by one spouse to the other spouse as alimony or spousal maintenance. Both the term alimony and spousal maintenance in Arizona are interchangeable.
There are several things an Arizona court must consider when ruling upon a spouse’s claim for spousal maintenance. The first factor is to determine whether a spouse is entitled to any award of alimony. If the court determines neither spouse is entitled to an award of alimony in Arizona, the analysis stops and the court simply denies the spousal maintenance claim.
If the court determines a spouse meets the requirement to be award alimony, the Court must then determine the monthly payment amount of that spousal maintenance and how long (i.e., duration) those monthly payments should be made to the spouse.
Let’s start back at the beginning; how does a court determine if a spouse in Arizona even qualifies for an award of spousal maintenance. The spousal maintenance statute in Arizona is found in Arizona Revised Statute section 25-319. That statute provides a court with the authority to award spousal maintenance if any of the following four factors are met:
Lacks sufficient assets to provide for their cost of living (i.e., such as lacking sufficient return on investments to pay their bills);
Cannot obtain employment that will pay enough to cover their living expenses or has a very young child such that the parent should not be expected to work at that time;
Contributed to the other spouse’s education, such as working while the other spouse went to school;
Was married a long time and is now too old to be expected to return to work;
The parties involved in a spousal maintenance case will, therefore, need to complete Affidavits of Financial Information detailing their incomes and expenses to determine how much it costs each party to live and how much more income the paying spouse has available to pay spousal maintenance. The parties may even request copies of all the bills the other person is claiming to verify the accuracy of the figures listed in that Affidavit of Financial Information.
Arizona Alimony Laws | Use a Vocational Expert
I often use a Vocational Expert to interview and do a series of tests on the spouse seeking spousal maintenance. That expert will issue a written report containing his or her opinion as to the types of industries the spouse could obtain employment.
The types of jobs that spouse may be able to secure in that industry, as well as the starting wage for each job and future expected increase in earnings in the following years. I will then call that person as an expert to testify at trial or use his or her report in settlement discussions.
The court has very broad discretion in determining if a spouse in Arizona is entitled to an award of spousal maintenance. It is, likewise, very difficult to win a spousal maintenance appeal in Arizona, unless you can prove the court abused its discretion, made an erroneous ruling on an objection to evidence that was introduced or sought to be introduced at the trial of the case or made some other error of law, just to name a few.
You should review my article Arizona Spousal Maintenance: How Much and How Long Do I Have to Pay for information on the factors the court must consider when deciding how much spousal maintenance to award and the length of time those payments must be made.