We've all heard the term before: alimony. Also referred to as spousal support or spousal maintenance in some states, alimony payments oftentimes mean a temporary -- or sometimes permanent -- tie between spouses long after the last divorce document has been signed.
Just like its cousin child support, alimony isn't always ordered in every divorce. That's because there are certain requirements judges in Arizona consider before ordering one spouse to pay the other. So what are these requirements? Let's take a look.
Alimony In Arizona: A Two-Tiered Consideration
Arizona's spousal maintenance law requires judges to consider two major things before issuing an order for alimony. The first is whether a spouse is entitled to payments. In order to make this decision, judges consider four things:
- The financial situation of the recipient spouse, including property from a settlement
- How well an employed spouse is able to support themselves without help from their former spouse
- The length of marriage and whether the recipient spouse is able to return to work after the divorce
- Whether the recipient spouse sacrificed employment opportunities for the educational advancement of their former spouse
The second thing Arizona judges need to consider is how much and for how long alimony should be paid. To make this decision, judges will consider a myriad of relevant factors, including but not limited to:
- Length of marriage
- The financial resources of the spouse who is seeking maintenance
- Each spouse's education level and their ability to join or remain in the workforce
- The standard of living that was established during the course of marriage
- Whether time is needed to go back to school before rejoining the workforce
- The cost of obtaining health insurance after divorce
- Cost of future educational expenses for a couple's children
Judges will even consider if a spouse has destroyed marital property or lavishly spent marital funds.
When is it necessary to get a lawyer?
As you can see, there are a number of things -- and many more not listed -- that judges consider when making decisions regarding alimony requests. As such, it's important to present a clear and detailed picture of your situation so that the judge is informed.
While it's possible to make a detailed list on your own, there are important things you could miss if you haven't studied the law or understand the legalese used in family law statutes. An experienced family law attorney can not only help you understand the law, they can help you present the best case to a judge.