The prospect of divorce is an emotionally charged one for everyone involved, but if you are an older woman contemplating divorce, you probably are confronted with more trepidation and fear than others. If you have spent your entire adult life dedicated to your children and supporting your spouse, it can be hard to envision what comes next for you following the dissolution of a marriage.
There are many intangible aspects to support during a marriage, and our team understands how necessary a supportive partner is during formative career years. Here we outline what to expect from a general divorce proceeding, as well as how you can expect to be affected by them.
Questions of Property Division
One of the most important steps in completing a divorce proceeding is the valuation and division of assets, including property. Your legal team will use a process known as discovery to decide how much your marriage is worth, taking into account things like 401Ks, salary, earning potential, savings accounts, stocks and bonds and other interests. Depending on the amount of wealth involved, dividing the assets among you may require extensive mediation.
If you are a mature woman who served as a homemaker throughout your marriage, spousal support will play an important role in the outcome of your divorce. More often than not, your spouse will be expected to pay spousal maintenance to you, given the sacrifices you made that helped enable his or her success. While each case is unique, here are the general criteria that the courts use to decide alimony eligibility:
- You lack sufficient property.
- You are unable to be self-sufficient due to the custody of a minor child or other members of the family whose condition precludes employment.
- You contributed to the education and earning potential of your spouse.
- Your marriage lasted long and does not feasibly allow for you to be immediately self-sufficient.
If you do qualify for alimony, as many older women facing divorce do, the amount and duration of your spousal maintenance award will be contingent on several criteria. To determine your spousal support, the courts will look at things like your current earning capacity and the amount of time and resources you will need to obtain enough training to join the current workforce. They will also look to see if your legal team found any hidden accounts or ventures in your husband’s name that you were unaware of.
No matter their ages, your primary concern when it comes to divorce will likely be your children. If you are an older woman with minor children, custody is always a concern. In the state of Arizona, the courts tended to favor the mother in custody proceedings. However, as of 2013, fathers now have equal rights in custody and divorce.
This means that, barring extenuating circumstances such as a history of abuse or neglect, you and your husband will share joint legal responsibility for your children. If you have questions or concerns regarding the custodial process, our team of legal experts is on hand to help you with anything you need.
Hiring the Right Arizona Legal Team
If you are an older woman contemplating divorce, you need experienced and compassionate counsel to advocate for your rights. At the Law Office of Gillespie, Shields & Taylor, we have been helping women of all ages secure favorable outcomes in their divorces since 1985. Our team is prepared to review the facts of your case and go to work advocating for you, whether it is through mediation or the courtroom. To start a divorce proceeding and move on to a new chapter in your life, contact us for a consultation.
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7319 North 16th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85020 | 602-870-9700
1630 S. Stapley Drive, Suite 212, Mesa, AZ 85204 | 480-985-4000