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Alimony Lawyer

Spousal maintenance in Arizona is when one spouse pays the other spouse money each month. Other states call this alimony. You only qualify for spousal maintenance if you are married. An award of spousal maintenance is more difficult to obtain in Arizona than other states. It is not automatic. There are many factors a judge will take into consideration when determining if spousal maintenance is appropriate. The statute that controls an award of spousal maintenance is A.R.S. 24-319. If a spouse is requesting an award of spousal maintenance, the judge must first consider if that spouse:

  1. Lacks sufficient property, including property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for that spouse’s reasonable needs.
  2. Is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose age or condition is such that the custodian should not be required to seek employment outside the home or lacks earning ability in the labor market adequate to be self-sufficient.
  3. Has made a significant financial or other contribution to the education, training, vocational skills, career or earning ability of the other spouse.
  4. Had a marriage of long duration and is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining employment adequate to be self-sufficient.
  5. Has significantly reduced that spouse’s income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.

If a judge makes a finding that an award of spousal maintenance is appropriate, the judge must then determine how much money that spouse should pay each month and for how long. There are many factors to consider:

  1. The standard of living established during the marriage.
  2. The duration of the marriage.
  3. The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance.
  4. The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet that spouse’s needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.
  5. The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market.
  6. The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse.
  7. The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced that spouse’s income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.
  8. The ability of both parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children.
  9. The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and that spouse’s ability to meet that spouse’s own needs independently.
  10. The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and whether such education or training is readily available.
  11. Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.
  12. The cost for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought if the spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved.
  • 13.

    All actual damages and judgments from conduct that resulted in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or a child was the victim.

If both spouses are employed and make comparable income, an award of spousal maintenance is unlikely. If one spouse was a stay-at-home mom for 25 years, cared for the children, sacrificed her career, and supported her husband’s career, it is likely that spouse would qualify for an award of spousal maintenance. In a divorce, a judge seeks an equitable resolution. An equitable resolution is one where each party is as close to the same position post-divorce as they were pre-divorce.

It can be difficult to obtain an award of spousal maintenance if the other spouse is hiding or lying about their income. Parties are required to file Affidavits of Financial Information. These are sworn documents which outline a spouse’s income and expenses. If a spouse lies about their income on their affidavit, that is perjury. There are ways to get the truth about your spouse’s income. Ask our attorneys about subpoenas, interrogatories, and requests for production of documents. We can help you find the truth about your spouse’s financial situation.

Child Support

Parents have a financial obligation to their children under A.R.S. 25-320. In Arizona, that financial obligation is called child support. When parents divorce, separate, or break up, they still have an obligation to support their children. To determine a party’s child support obligation, you need to know income, parenting time, health insurance, and childcare expenses. Once you have this information, Arizona has a child support calculator that will determine how much child support needs to be paid each month.

If you go to trial, you will need to complete a child support worksheet to support your child support calculation. Parties can have different calculations if they are using different numbers for income or parenting time. If parents have equal income and parenting time, there will probably not be an award of child support. If one parent has sole custody of four children and only makes minimum wage, they will receive child support. Ask your attorney if you qualify.

Community Property

Arizona is a community property state under A.R.S. 25-211. Community property is any property accrued during the marriage. In a divorce, there must be an equitable distribution of community assets. That means a court must identify and divide community property accrued during the marriage. Community property can be many different things: cars, houses, businesses, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments, or equity. Identifying these assets is essential. It is not unusual for an opposing party to minimize or conceal assets. Our attorneys know how to find community property so you get your fair share.

Sole and Separate Property

Sole and separate property is not community property; it only belongs to one spouse and will not be divided in the divorce. There are very limited circumstances in which property is sole and separate. A.R.S. 25-211 says sole and separate property is any property: 1) acquired by gift, devise or descent; or 2) acquired after service of a petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment if the petition results in a decree of dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment. Property is sole and separate if it was obtained before marriage, was a gift, was inherited, or was obtained after service of a petition for divorce. There are some complicated aspects of sole and separate property law. For example, if a spouse bought a house before marriage, but that house accrued equity during the marriage, then the other spouse could be entitled to half the equity accrued. Our attorneys understand the complexities of property law in Arizona.

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Alcock & Associates P.C.
2 North Central Avenue, 26th Floor
Phoenix AZ 85004