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How alimony is determined in Arizona

On Behalf of | Dec 31, 2020 | Family Law

Divorce is a difficult period for a family to go through, and the pain of separation is made worse by the stress of financial worries. For women who haven’t worked and have relied on their spouse for financial support, it can be a very scary time.

Factors to consider include whether you qualify for alimony if you live in Arizona, the type of alimony you would receive and how long alimony will go on, as well as how new tax laws will affect determinations. While a judge will decide the amount and duration of alimony payments as part of the divorce settlement, it is beneficial to get the advice of a skilled family lawyer in Pima County in order to plan ahead before you appear before a judge.

Factors a judge considers for alimony

In Arizona, alimony is called spousal maintenance and can be temporary or, rarely, permanent. Depending on the circumstances, the court can also grant temporary support or “pendente lite” while the divorce proceeding is ongoing and until a settlement is reached.

A judge will determine the necessity of spousal maintenance if one spouse:

  • Does not have enough property to provide for their needs
  • Cannot be self-sufficient or employed due to lack of skills or education, or is caring for a minor child
  • Contributed to the education or career opportunities of the other spouse
  • Has been married for a long time and cannot be gainfully employed due to age

Duration and length of time for spousal maintenance

The judge will consider many factors in establishing the amount and length of spousal maintenance, including:

  • Standard of living and duration of the marriage
  • Length of marriage and age of qualifying spouse
  • The financial resources and earning ability of the other spouse
  • Time necessary for the spouse seeking alimony to be educated or skilled to become eligible for employment
  • Ability of both spouses to pay for future education of children, as well as to maintain health insurance
  • History by one spouse of domestic violence, prior criminal convictions or evidence of fraud or concealment of property held in common.

While not a factor in the court’s decision, it is important to remember that recent tax law changes no longer allow a spouse to list alimony as a deduction if the marriage was dissolved after December 321, 2018.