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:
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:
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.
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.
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 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.
Here at Alcock and Associates our team and staff are dedicated to helping and representing YOU. The first step is to understand your case. We will take the time to get to know you and your legal situation so that we are best able to answer all of your questions. After your initial consultation with our attorneys, you will know what you are facing and what can happen to your case.
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Alcock & Associates P.C.
2 North Central Avenue, 26th Floor
Phoenix AZ 85004