Under Arizona law, alimony, also known as spousal maintenance, can be a vexing subject for people getting a divorce and an attorney is often necessary to help sort through the statutory requirements. There is no exact formula to determine who will have to pay spousal maintenance or the amount that will be owed. This can be incredibly frustrating because, after all, you just got a divorce to get the other person out of your life and now you may be required to give them your hard earned money. In other cases, you may be stressed and scared because you are unable to work and spousal maintenance might be the only reasonable way to pay your bills and care for yourself.
Attorney Judd Nemiro understands the concerns and frustrations on both sides of the spousal maintenance controversy. He can work with you to evaluate the particular facts of your case, your financial needs, and the law, to come up with an effective plan to handle your potential alimony obligations.
In any case involving spousal maintenance, the court will have to examine whether or not a spouse is eligible for alimony, and if so, how much money they should get over a determined timeframe.
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Do I qualify to receive alimony payments under Arizona law?
Because there is no set formula for determining whether or not a person automatically qualifies for alimony, the court will examine each case independently. There are number of factors they will use to establish eligibility and the amount to be paid. These considerations are listed in Arizona Revised Statute Section 25-319 and include the following eligibility factors:
- Whether or not you are you able to support yourself with reasonable employment
- If you have other assets that can be used for financial support (e.g. rental properties or dividends)
- Whether you are unable to work because of a physical or mental disability. If you can’t work you may qualify for spousal maintenance.
- The length of your marriage
- How old you are at the time of divorce. An elderly person will have a harder time finding employment and may need the additional financial support.
- Whether or not you paid for expenses that helped the other spouse get an education or start a business. If you assisted them with such expenses, you may be entitled to a return on your investment in their success.
How much alimony will I receive?
This is also a fact based analysis that the court will have to analyze. Assuming you are found eligible to receive spousal support based on the factors above, the court will determine the amount and duration of alimony based on some or all of the following:
- The standard of living while married and how long the marriage lasted
- Your age, earning ability and employment history. That is, how likely it is that you will be able to reasonably care for yourself after the divorce.
- Whether the other spouse can make payments to you and still maintain their own reasonable standard of living.
- Whether the other spouse fraudulently concealed assets and resources that rightfully belong to the community interest of both spouses.
- Whether you contributed to the other spouse’s education or business endeavors
- The duration of any alimony payments may be based on the reasonable length of time necessary to obtain employment and income
- Damages, if you were the victim of criminal conduct carried out by your former spouse
If my circumstances change, will the alimony payments change as well?
It is possible that your attorney can seek to modify spousal maintenance requirements if circumstances change. Many things can precipitate a modification or termination of alimony, including:
- An injury that precludes the other spouse from working and fulfilling their alimony payments
- If you acquire better paying employment that renders spousal support unnecessary
- If you are receiving alimony and you get re-married, you will no longer be eligible for spousal support
There are countless scenarios that can play out over the course of a divorce. Attorney Judd Nemiro has first-hand experience dealing with the complications of alimony and he can provide holistic legal advice for your individual circumstances and any changes that occur. There is no set formula for determining alimony payments and you will need an attorney who is well versed in the family statutes and constantly changing case law.
Can a prenuptial agreement limit or reduce spousal support?
Under Arizona law, a prenuptial agreement can be used to do a vast number of things. The basics of these agreements are discussed in greater detail on other portions of this website, but in the context of spousal support there are important considerations to be made. Under the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, a prenuptial agreement may limit or deny spousal support, but not if that limitation would make the support recipient dependent on public benefits. If you would become homeless and dependent on public entitlements such as welfare or food stamps, the court may disregard that provision and require your spouse to pay reasonable spousal maintenance. A.R.S. 25-202.
Can I get alimony if my spouse cheated on me?
Arizona law uses the concept of a “no fault” divorce and therefore, misconduct on the part of either spouse cannot be used in determining eligibility for spousal maintenance. If you are responsible for misconduct you are not automatically liable for spousal support. Conversely, you cannot seek spousal support based solely on misconduct by your spouse. As a matter of public policy, this principle protects both parties. A decision to award alimony can only be based on the two part test in A.R.S. 25-319 that is outlined above.
Similarly, spousal maintenance eligibility cannot be based on which spouse initiated the divorce proceedings. Regardless of the reason for divorce, spousal support will only be based on the law and any valid provisions in a prenuptial agreement.
Spousal maintenance is an area fraught with complications and potential pitfalls. You owe it to yourself to hire the most qualified divorce attorney. Judd Nemiro has the knowledge and experience to build a winning case. Call his office today!