The attorneys at GillespieShields practice family, employment, civil, criminal, probate, appellate, and immigration law.
Divorce is difficult. There are so many different aspects to address, and so many expenses to consider as well.
Most people probably came into their marriage thinking it would last forever — but we know now that this is far from a reality for the majority of couples. Support agreements help ensure that individuals aren’t penalized after a divorce because they didn’t have an opportunity to save for retirement or create investments during the course of their lives together.
In Arizona, there are very specific circumstances that must apply in order for you to be awarded alimony. It falls under spousal maintenance, and it can range from a one-time lump sum payment made at the end of your marriage, to monthly installments paid overtime until either person dies or remarries.
Arizona alimony can also be adjusted if either of the parties involved changes their circumstances significantly, such as loss of a job or disability — and it can even be modified if you’re on a public assistance program such as food stamps or Medicaid. If children are involved, child support is also important to consider. Whatever the agreement may be, make sure you completely understand how it works before signing anything.
Also, remember that spousal maintenance isn’t automatic; you need to request it from your attorney and show your judge that it’s warranted. You’ll then need to supply specific facts and figures about why it’s needed: for example, perhaps one of you was a stay-at-home parent and is now having trouble finding a job, while the other is making more money. Whatever the reason you’re requesting it, make sure your attorney understands exactly what you hope to gain from this agreement.
Divorce mediation might be an option for some couples in Arizona who are dealing with complex property issues along with spousal support, child custody, and visitation, or support agreements.
This can help save time by keeping attorneys involved to a minimum, which means that costs will be reduced over time. This process also allows both parties the opportunity to negotiate how they want their settlement finalized. Mediation might not always work out for everyone — but it’s certainly an option worth considering if you think your case lends itself to this type of arrangement.
Finally, talk things through with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. It’s always better to try and come to an agreement than to let the courts decide for you. This might not be easy, but it’s definitely worth a shot if you want to avoid a contentious divorce.
Factors a Court Considers in Determining the Length of Time Alimony is Paid and How Much Alimony is Paid
There is no specific formula for calculating the amount of spousal maintenance that is appropriate in a given case.
The first step in determining how alimony is calculated in Arizona is determining whether a spouse is entitled to alimony.
To be eligible for alimony in Arizona, a spouse seeking maintenance must demonstrate one of four factors. In particular, the spouse must demonstrate any of the following:
- The spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her needs.
- The spouse is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment.
- The spouse is the custodian of a child of such a young age that he or she should not be expected to work. The spouse contributed to the other’s wife or husband’s education.
- The spouse had a marriage of a long duration and is too old to be expected to work to be financially self-sufficient.
Concerning the first factor, Arizona appellate cases indicate that a spouse seeking spousal maintenance should not be required to use their assets to support themselves.
The court concluded that the court should not consider the property the spouse receives in and of itself, but rather the amount of investment rate of return the spouse will receive from investing those assets as a source of income to that spouse.
The Amount and Duration of Spousal Maintenance in Arizona. For the second factor, the court considers the husband’s or wife’s prior educational and professional work experience.
The length of time the person has been out of the industry in which they previously worked, as well as the likelihood that they will be able to find work in that industry, will also be considered by the court.
The court will also consider whether the spouse seeking alimony has the financial means to pay spousal maintenance.
In most cases, the court will take into account all sources of income available to the spouse who may be ordered to pay spousal maintenance.
Although spousal maintenance orders entered prior to January 1, 2019, were tax-deductible, orders entered after that date are no longer tax-deductible.
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!
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