Alimony or Spousal Support?
Also known as spousal support, alimony is a stipend awarded to a dependent spouse. Whether or not you will have to pay or receive spousal support depends on several factors, which our Phoenix spousal support attorneys can discuss thoroughly with you.
Divorce is an emotionally trying time, and it is hard to know what to expect once the papers are finally signed. Proceedings usually follow a standard course of action, from the division of assets to a custody agreement if you have children. In some cases, you may be expected to pay (or may receive) alimony.
DETERMINING SPOUSAL SUPPORT AWARDS IN PHOENIX, AZ
Alimony is a two-part process. First, the courts will determine if either party is eligible to receive spousal maintenance. If either one is, the next step is determining the duration and amount of the award.
Courts use specific criteria to determine whether a divorce party is eligible for alimony:
- If one member of the relationship lacks sufficient property
- If someone is unable to be self-sufficient due to the custody of a minor child or other members
- of the family whose condition precludes employment
- One member contributed to the education of the spouse
- The marriage lasted long and does not feasibly allow for a spouse to be self-sufficient
Once the courts determine a spouse is eligible for support or maintenance payments, they must then figure out how much these individuals should receive and for how long.
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The length of the marriage
- The employment history, age, earning capacity and physical and mental condition of the spouse
- The comparative wages and the earning potential of the other spouse relative to current market conditions
- How much the spouse seeking maintenance contributed to the earning potential of the other
- How much the spouse requesting alimony sacrificed in terms of employment or earning potential for the sake of the other spouse
- The ability of both members of the marriage to contribute to the educational costs of the children
- The ability (or lack thereof) of a spouse to live and make payments independently
- The time or resources necessary to seek additional training to make the spouse seeking maintenance a desirable employee
- Excessive expenditures or concealment of other assets held jointly
- The costs of the spouse requesting alimony to obtain health insurance
- Any damages or judgments of either spouse
Once the courts decide on an appropriate amount and length for spousal support, both parties must agree to the terms. When each spouse gives his or her consent, the law stipulates that the contract cannot be modified. A skilled Phoenix spousal support attorney can ensure his or her client is being treated fairly before signing any agreement.
EARNING OR FIGHTING FOR SPOUSAL SUPPORT
Regardless of whether you are requesting to receive or barring access to alimony, you need a competent Phoenix spousal support lawyer in your corner who knows the law. Though it may be tempting to try to come to an agreement yourself, a knowledgeable family law attorney can help you navigate Arizona’s complex alimony laws. Especially if you are the spouse seeking maintenance, it is essential to have your interests in the hands of a professional who will fight for your rights.
At the Law Office of Gillespie, Shields & Taylor, we have been practicing divorce law for over three decades. Since 1985, we have helped our clients’ secure favorable outcomes when it comes to custody matters and spousal support.
If you have any questions, contact our office for an initial consultation. Our team of Phoenix spousal support attorneys will review the facts of your case and help you decide the best way to proceed. Let us help you get the outcome you deserve.