5 Quick Tips About Adultery and Divorce in Arizona

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No one enters into a marriage thinking that it will end in divorce, but unfortunately, it happens all too often. If you are considering a divorce and adultery is involved, you need to be aware of the potential consequences. In Arizona, adultery can have a significant impact on the outcome of your divorce. Here are 5 quick tips about adultery and divorce in Arizona:

Tip #1. Adultery is not grounds for an automatic divorce.

In the state of Arizona, a divorce can be granted if adultery is proven. However, it is not an automatic grounds for divorce. The spouse who committed adultery must prove that the act caused the breakup of the marriage. Additionally, the innocent spouse must also prove that he or she has suffered damages as a result of the affair.

Tip #2. Adultery can impact alimony and child custody decisions.

If you are considering adultery as grounds for a divorce in Arizona, know that it can impact alimony and child custody decisions. For instance, if the court finds that one spouse committed adultery and that this conduct harmed the other spouse or child, the adulterous spouse may be ordered to pay more alimony or lose custody of children.

Child Support in Arizona

How much child support will be paid, and who pays it, can be complicated questions that require careful consideration. Here are 5 quick tips about child support in Arizona:

  • The amount of child support that will be paid is based on the income of both parents.
  • Child support payments usually continue until the child turns 18 years old, or graduates from high school – whichever comes later.
  • If the noncustodial parent does not make their child support payments, they may face penalties including jail time.
  • The custodial parent cannot stop receiving child support payments just because the noncustodial parent stops making payments.
  • The custodial and noncustodial parents can agree to a different child support payment plan, as long as it is approved by the court.

Tip #3. The court may consider fault when dividing assets and debts.

If you committed adultery, you may be at a disadvantage when it comes to dividing assets and debts in your divorce. The court may find that your spouse is entitled to a greater share of the marital property because of your misconduct. Additionally, you may be ordered to pay alimony or spousal support to your ex-spouse if they can prove that your adultery contributed to the breakup of the marriage.

Property Issues in Arizona

When you are married, all assets acquired during the marriage are considered to be jointly owned by both spouses. This can make it difficult to determine who gets what in a divorce. Generally, any assets acquired before the marriage or those which are classified as separate property (such as gifts or inheritances) will not be divided in a divorce. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you used joint funds to purchase a separate asset, the court may consider that asset to be marital property and subject to division.

  • Property can be classified as marital or separate
  • Several exceptions to the general rule
  • Learn how to protect your property before marriage
  • When should you consider a prenuptial agreement?
  • What are some common mistakes when preparing for a divorce? 
  • Be well prepared for the legal process of dividing assets.

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Debts and property acquired by either spouse during a marriage in Arizona are shared equally by both spouses. Debts incurred after the marriage or breakup, or before the wedding or divorce only belong to the spouse who incurred them.

Tip #4. Adultery can affect spousal support payments.

In Arizona, adultery is only a factor in spousal support if the affair caused an economic loss to the innocent spouse. For example, if one spouse spent marital money on their lover, or quit their job to spend more time with them.

But even if there was no economic impact, adultery can still be used as a factor in deciding how much spousal support should be paid. The court may decide that the adulterous spouse should pay less support because of their bad behavior.

Support Issues Alimony (Spousal Maintenance) in Arizona

In Arizona, spousal maintenance may be awarded to a spouse who is unable or unlikely to support themselves.  The amount of spousal maintenance is determined by a formula in some jurisdictions, but judges retain broad discretion when evaluating all aspects of the situation.

There are several factors that the court will consider when making its determination, including:

  • The age and health of each party
  • The length of the marriage
  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • Whether either party has custody of minor children requiring support
  • Each party’s earning capacity
  • Any other relevant factors

The court may order temporary or permanent spousal maintenance. Temporary maintenance is typically awarded while the divorce is pending, and it is intended to support the spouse until the final judgment is entered. Permanent maintenance may be ordered after the divorce is finalized, and it generally lasts for a period that coincides with the length of the marriage.

Tip #5. There is no statute of limitations for adultery in Arizona.

This means that if you commit adultery, your spouse can technically divorce you at any time. Even if the affair happened years ago, your spouse can still use it as grounds for divorce. So if you’re considering an affair, be aware of the long-term consequences it could have on your marriage.

AZ Divorce Guide

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