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If you are considering divorce in Arizona, it is important to understand the basics of alimony. Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, is a payment from one spouse to the other to help maintain the recipient’s standard of living after divorce.
Alimony payments can be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances of your case. In general, courts will award temporary alimony when one spouse is unable to support themselves adequately while the divorce is pending. Permanent alimony may be awarded if one spouse is unable to meet their needs after divorce due to a significant change in their income or expenses.
How Much Will You Pay or Receive
The amount of alimony paid or received can vary greatly depending on the couple’s circumstances. In general, alimony payments will be based on the following factors:
-The recipient’s need for support
-The payer’s ability to pay
-The length of the marriage
-The parties’ standard of living during the marriage
-Any contributions made by one spouse to the other’s education or career advancement
-Any other factors the court deems relevant
Can Alimony Be Modified?
Yes, alimony can be modified in certain situations. If there has been a significant change in either party’s income or expenses, or if the receiving spouse is no longer able to meet their needs, alimony may be increased or decreased. To request a modification, you will need to file a petition with the court. In some cases, a judge can also decrease or terminate alimony payments if you have been in prison for at least three years.
Can I Receive Alimony Instead of Property Division or Child Support?
In Arizona, courts cannot award alimony in place of property division or child support. Additionally, it is very difficult to receive both alimony and spousal maintenance (an ongoing payment made to someone after they are divorced). The only time this would be possible is if one spouse was completely unable to maintain themselves due to medical issues or disability. This is most common when one spouse does not work during the marriage but has significant education that could provide them with employment opportunities upon divorce. If they were forced to retire at a young age, this could also be a factor in awarding alimony.
If you are considering divorce and have questions about alimony, you should contact an experienced family law attorney. They can advise you on your specific situation and help you protect your interests during the divorce process.
What if my Ex-spouse Makes More Money Than Me?
You do not automatically qualify for spousal maintenance because your ex-spouse earns more than you. When deciding whether or not to grant maintenance requests, judges have considerable discretion. When determining whether an award of maintenance is appropriate, they will consider income differences as well as the separate property that both spouses will receive in the divorce.
You cannot file a post-divorce petition for spousal maintenance if you are already divorced and did not request maintenance in your case. Spousal maintenance is only granted as part of a divorce settlement. The only exception to this rule is if the divorce was granted by a court that could not establish personal jurisdiction over the paying spouse. In that case, after your divorce is finalized, you can file a petition for spousal maintenance from your higher-earning ex-spouse.
What if my Ex-spouse Has Remarried?
If you are ordered to pay alimony to your ex-spouse and he or she remarries, the alimony will be terminated under A.R.S. 25-327. This means you will no longer be required to pay spousal maintenance. It is a good idea to notify the court of your ex-marriage spouse’s so that spousal maintenance payments are no longer deducted from your wages. If you are the receiving spouse and your ex-spouse remarries, his or her new marriage will not relieve you of the obligation to pay spousal maintenance.
What if I Lost my Job or am Unemployed?
If you have been ordered to pay spousal maintenance to your ex-spouse and have lost your job or become unemployed, you cannot simply stop making your payments. Instead, you must petition the court for a modification of your spousal maintenance order in accordance with A.R.S. 25-327. To prevail on a motion to modify spousal maintenance orders, you must be able to demonstrate that your circumstances have significantly changed and are continuing.
If the court modifies or terminates the order requiring you to pay spousal maintenance, the order will not be retroactive. This means that you will still be required to pay any arrearages that you may owe. If you need a divorce modification, it is best to file as soon as your financial situation changes, because maintenance payments will continue to accrue while your modification case is pending.
Support Modifications can be tricky circumstances. This is why it is recommended to speak with an Arizona divorce attorney that can help.
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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