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Is Spousal Maintenance Part Of Your Divorce?

Spousal maintenance, sometimes called alimony, is a complex area of Arizona family law. Unlike the Arizona Child Support Guidelines, spousal maintenance payments are generally not determined by a formula. Therefore, a judge’s discretion will determine who receives alimony and the total amount.At DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC, we closely examine case details to understand whether spousal maintenance is appropriate. Our attorneys understand the economic and emotional value of reaching an alimony settlement when appropriate. If an out-of-court settlement is not possible, we will use our litigation experience to fight for your best interests. You can call 602-626-9552 or 800-409-0262 to set up your first meeting.

Understanding How The Court Decides Alimony

Widespread misconceptions prevent many people in Arizona from getting alimony. Both husbands and wives can seek alimony payments as part of their divorce proceedings. A person may receive spousal maintenance on a permanent or temporary basis. The court may award temporary alimony to the lower-income spouse during the divorce process to help pay for legal expenses and keep up his or her standard of living.

Some factors considered by the judge include:

  • Whether the marriage was of duration, and one party is of an age that may prevent the possibility of gaining employment to meet his or her needs
  • Whether a party lacks sufficient property to meet his or her reasonable needs
  • Whether a party is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment
  • Whether a party helped put the other through school

Unexpected Factors In A Spousal Maintenance Dispute

Spousal support cases can involve more than the first agreement. Some parties may overlook sources of income and the costs of child care when determining payments. There are also tax considerations for both spouses. Our lawyers can give you an idea of what to expect from your maintenance dispute, and they can set you up for long-term success.

A spousal support order can be changed or terminated in Arizona if:

  • The spouse who is receiving maintenance payments remarries
  • Either ex-spouse experiences a substantial and permanent change in financial circumstances, such as job loss or lowered pay
  • Either ex-spouse dies
  • Either ex-spouse experiences a severe illness

Some of these circumstances may not apply to all maintenance orders. Our attorneys can review your order and determine if changes are possible. Because of this challenge of changing an order, you should work to get the best possible initial agreement.

Calculating Spousal Support

Spousal Support In ArizonaDivorce has become more common in the United States over the past few decades. Many more couples are choosing to move their lives in new directions and dissolve their marriage for various reasons. In fact, statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show that America has the highest divorce rate of any nation.Several important decisions follow filing for divorce. Couples must appropriate their personal and marital property, decide how to care for children, as well as decide personal living arrangements. However, another important question to consider is whether either partner will be able to provide for themselves.Arizona has developed specific spousal support/maintenance (alimony) laws to resolve this very issue.

Spousal Support Calculation

Spouses and their attorneys must first determine whether spousal maintenance is necessary. If they so determine, next the parties must decide how much is to be given and for how long. If no agreement can be reached, however, judicial intervention is needed.

Arizona courts consider several factors — as dictated by statute — before granting alimony:

  • Whether a spouse lacks sufficient property to provide for his or her reasonable needs
  • The ability of the requesting spouse to be self-sufficient through employment
  • Contributions made by one spouse to the educational opportunities of the other
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Standard of living during the marriage

A court will consider other aspects in addition to these factors, but this list should shed light on what a judge will base his or her decision on.

Additional Alimony Advice

The first step to receiving alimony is to have an experienced divorce attorney negotiate its inclusion in a separation or settlement agreement. If negotiations prove fruitless, however, then the attorney will file a petition with the court.

Many men do not realize they may be eligible for alimony payments. Many hold the belief that spousal support is only granted to women, but nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, because many women are now the primary income earners in relationships, more and more men are requesting alimony than in the past.

Finally, due to Arizona’s No Fault divorce statute, the fault of either party is not considered when determining alimony (unless otherwise agreed to by the parties). Anyone having questions regarding spousal support payments in Arizona — or concerning divorce in general — should speak with a qualified family law attorney.

Talk To Knowledgeable Spousal Maintenance Attorneys

The Phoenix, Scottsdale and Prescott offices of DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC can help you. You can contact us by email to arrange your first meeting. Potential clients can also call us at 602-626-9552 or 800-409-0262. We look forward to hearing from you.

Awards & Accolades

DeShon Laraye Pullen PLC and founding attorney DeShon Laraye Pullen received many prestigious honors, including: Small Firm of the Year, Best Law Firms in Arizona, Family Law Litigator of the Year, selection to Arizona Super Lawyers and a Superb, 10.0 Avvo rating.