Fundamentals of Alimony in Arizona
We want to share the basics of alimony in Arizona. Alimony is one of the most common terms you may hear in an Arizona divorce. When one spouse has come to financially rely on his or her spouse, a divorce can be earth-shattering for someone’s lifestyle and everyday operations. As such, the legal system aims to ensure that a person’s transition following a divorce is as seamless as possible, which means alimony may be granted if certain requirements are met.
We have previously written about the requirements for alimony. Today, we want to go over more of the basics of alimony in Arizona. We will highlight how spousal support is calculated and what duration of alimony payments are common following a divorce agreement or court order. If you are going through a divorce and are seeking legal help in the state of Arizona, trust the family law professionals at Hildebrand Law, PC to get you the aid you need.
Determining Duration of Alimony Payments
Like eligibility of a spouse for alimony, setting the length of spousal maintenance is the second half of the criteria for such an award. If a spouse is seeking a maintenance order and they have met the requirements necessary to determine they are indeed eligible, the court will then examine multiple factors to come up with the length of time for which spousal support will be paid. Per the Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), there are 13 relevant factors. Some of these factors include:
- Standard of living during the marriage: Becoming accustomed to a certain way of living, only to have your life do a complete 180-degree turn after finalization of the divorce, can be a Shellshock. This aims to make the transition slightly easier
- Duration of the marriage: longer marriages lead to other changes in life, like moving away from work or losing marketable skills for job prospects
- The ability of the petitioned spouse to support themselves as well as the spouse seeking alimony: Separation and divorce lead to two lives being lived rather than one, which will strain finances. If the spouse who is being targeted for maintenance cannot make ends meet for both parties, alimony may not be the best decision
- The potential for both spouses to contribute to their children’s education later on: If the spouses are parents, the future of their children and potential for higher education is taken into account
While this is not an exhaustive list, it gives those seeking alimony some perspective. Lifestyle and long-term well-being are highly involved in the maintenance process. The longer a marriage, the more influence it will have on earning potential and marketable skills. This means that alimony will be a longer the longer the marriage lasted, in most cases.
Calculating the Amount of Alimony
When a court grants alimony to a spouse, the calculation of what the award will be is a complicated matter. While there is no perfect formula or accepted way to do it, this calculation is a mixture of mathematics and common sense. The length of the marriage is, of course, a large part that will factor into the amount, as longer marriages mean the spouse asking for alimony may have an outdated set of skills or is a stay at home parent. This means their job prospects are limited due to having been out of the workforce for a while.
There is a mathematical formula that is often used to give a quick look at what spousal maintenance payments might look like and how long the duration of this award will be. Used as a guideline rather than a hard and fast fact, this calculation can help make your outlook a little clearer.
- Calculating the amount of the payment: take the difference between monthly incomes of each spouse. Then, take the length of marriage times one and a half. This end number will be multiplied by the difference in monthly earnings, giving you a rough estimate of how much alimony payments will be
- For the duration of the spousal support payments: Taking the length of the marriage, multiply that number by anywhere from 0.3 to 0.5. This decimal will be closer to 0.5 the longer the marriage was. The end number will be a rough estimate for how long alimony will be paid
As we said, these are by no means definitive measurements, but they will help spouses have a general idea of how alimony issues will end. Alimony and divorce proceedings have the potential to get messy. Here at Hildebrand Law, PC, our team of family law experts understands the intricacies as well as the stress involved. Rather than try to handle it on your own, entrust a legal expert with knowledge and experience. Whether you are locked in a heated legal battle or are seeking resolution through mediation, we can help. Please reach out and discover how our team can aid you today.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and 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, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.
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