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Alimony in Arizona 101: All the Basics You Need to Know

The attorneys at GillespieShields practice family, employment, civil, criminal, probate, appellate, and immigration law.

Alimony is the money you receive or pay from one spouse to another as part of an otherwise final divorce agreement. The amount will depend on many factors, such as your income and property division but it’s usually around half for those who were at fault in causing their marriage break up – so think about what could happen if things go wrong with this type of payment before signing anything!

 What is alimony?

  • Alimony is financial support paid by one ex-spouse to the other after the marriage has legally ended.
  • Alimony is also sometimes called spousal support.
  • Temporary alimony (also called pendente lite alimony) can be granted while the divorce is in progress, to help until the divorce is final. When the divorce becomes final, there may or may not be an order for alimony after the divorce. If alimony after the divorce is awarded, that amount could be higher or lower than the temporary amount.

What is separate maintenance?

  • Separate maintenance is financial support paid from one spouse to the other while they are still married to one another.
  • The court will order separate maintenance only if the spouse with money fails or refuses to support the other spouse and the other spouse is in “genuine need.”
  • Separate maintenance is used when the spouses do not want to get a divorce but want to live apart or to get a legal separation.

What is the purpose of alimony?

Alimony is a way for one spouse to gain financial support from the other, even when they do not need it. The person asking will have to show the court that he or she needs alimony in order to prove this case and provide “reasonable” proof of said request; however, there are limits as the well-the amount varies depending on many factors such as how long you’ve been married/whether children were born out of wedlock etcetera but generally speaking if an individual files bankruptcy due at least partly because his ex-wife received child support payments rather than paying themself. 

What do I do if I want alimony?

  • You can ask for alimony as part of a divorce proceeding.
  • If you and your spouse reach an agreement about alimony, you can ask the judge to make the agreement a part of the court order.
  • If you cannot reach an agreement, the judge will decide whether you are entitled to alimony.

What if I don’t ask for alimony during the divorce, but later I decide I need it?

Requesting alimony during your divorce proceeding is an important step that you must take. You will not be allowed to do so after the case ends, but only when it first begins!

What do I do if my spouse wants alimony but I don’t think I can pay, or I don’t think he or she needs financial support from me?

The alimony award is decided by the judge, and this can depend on many factors. If one party wants an order for financial support but their partner does not agree or cannot afford it themselves then they will have to go through a legal process with these demands made of them in court where there could even be awarded amounts set forth as well-money isn’t always everything when deciding what type(s)of separation agreement would work best.

Can men ask for alimony?

Yes. Either spouse can ask the court to award alimony.

How long can I receive alimony?

  • You and your spouse can agree to include the length of your alimony arrangement in the court order.
  • If you do not agree, the judge will decide what is appropriate for your situation.
  • Indefinite alimony or permanent alimony lasts until either spouse dies or until the court determines that alimony is no longer appropriate.
  • Time-limited alimony (also called rehabilitative alimony) lasts for a limited time, as determined by the judge (for example, to allow the receiving spouse to obtain work experience or training necessary to become self-supporting).

What if I am receiving alimony and I get remarried?

If you remarry, your alimony ceases to be paid. However, if the court grants permission for this change of circumstance and ends payments on old contracts they would have been bound by before getting married again then there is no need to go through a tedious process just because someone got hitched!


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What if my spouse agrees to pay me alimony?

  • Parties may agree to any alimony arrangement that they wish without having to have the judge decide the issue.
  • The parties’ agreement should be reflected in the court order. If there is not a written agreement or a court order, your spouse can stop paying alimony at any time.

What if my spouse disagrees with me about alimony?

The judge is always looking for the best way to divide property and debts. There are many factors they take into account, but if you want them included in your case then it’s important that all relevant information be brought up from both sides.

The law states that those factors include:

  • Your ability to support yourself;
  • The time necessary for you to get a job or get training so you can become employed;
  • The standard of living established during the marriage;
  • Length of the marriage;
  • Circumstances leading to the separation;
  • Each party’s age;
  • The physical and mental condition of each party;
  • The ability of the spouse paying alimony to support him or herself while making payments;
  • Financial needs and resources of each party, including income, income from assets, potential income, previous awards of child support, financial obligations of each party, rights of each party to receive retirement benefits, and taxability or non-taxability of income.

What do I do if my former spouse is behind in alimony payments?

If you’re owed alimony, and the person who owes it is missing payments or hasn’t paid in a while – don’t wait! You can file a motion for contempt against them with law enforcement.

Can my alimony order be changed after the divorce?

When one party in an alimony agreement can no longer afford to pay, it’s important that they speak with a lawyer about their options. The courts will look at different circumstances and materials when deciding whether or not the original order should be modified.

For what reasons might a judge change an alimony award after the divorce?

The judge will consider a modification of an alimony award if the person paying has changed in some way or there is a need for increased support.

Are You Looking for a Family Law Attorney You Can Trust?

The attorneys at GillespieShields are well-versed in a variety of different legal fields, ranging from family law to civil suits, employment disputes, and probate cases. Although we specialize in several areas of practice, our greatest passion is family law. We believe in giving families peace of mind no matter their situation, and we fight hard to maintain that peace. Whether you’re filing for dissolution or divorce, determining custody of your children, or thinking about adopting children, our experienced attorneys are here to help you every step of the way.  During our private, one-on-one consultation, we’ll take the necessary time to answer and all of our questions surrounding Arizona’s family laws, your family’s unique situation, and the possible court outcomes. Contact us today for your consultation!


The materials available on this website are for informational and entertainment purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.  You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this site without seeking legal or other professional advice. The information presented on this website may not reflect the most current legal developments.  No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained on this website and we disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this site to the fullest extent permitted by law.


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