In decades past, spousal support was a feature in nearly all divorces. That’s no longer the case, but spousal support is still figures prominently in many divorce settlements.
Arizona is a community property state, which means that all property acquired during the marriage is considered to be jointly owned by the spouses. Theoretically at least, this means that they will be able to split everything 50/50 upon dissolution of the marriage, but sometimes even a more generous division leaves one spouse at a financial disadvantage.
Arizona guidelines don’t assume that spousal support (alimony) is a foregone conclusion in any settlement. Rather, it’s decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on the circumstances of the divorcing spouses.
The goal the courts seek for both partners is that they emerge from the marriage’s dissolution capable of leading their lives productively as single individuals. When one partner for any number of reasons is at a distinct disadvantage, courts will consider spousal support.
In most cases, the spouses will have representation, they’ll negotiate and they’ll arrive at a settlement. Sometimes, they will pursue mediation or arbitration.
Factors the courts look at closely
There are times, though, when the divorce case goes to trial. Here are the factors the judge considers when deciding a spousal support award:
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The marriage’s duration
- Prospective payee’s age, employment history, current earning ability and physical and emotional health
- Prospective payor’s ability to make alimony payments
- Financial resources and earning potential of each spouse
- Prospective payee’s contribution to the earning ability of his/her spouse during the marriage
- Opportunities sacrificed by the prospective payee so that the other spouse would succeed
- Ability of each spouse to further their children’s education
- Prospective payee’s post-divorce financial resources and ability to carry on without assistance
- How much time will be needed for rehabilitative training or education
- Either spouse’s squandering of financial resources
- Health insurance costs
- Damages won in a lawsuit against the other because of criminal conduct
This list isn’t exhaustive, but the probing of the court will be. To navigate the divorce process successfully, for the fairest and most just outcome, it’s best to have the support and guidance of skilled counsel leading the way.