Arizona spousal support in divorce
Part of a court order or settlement in some divorce cases involves spousal support (commonly known as alimony or spousal maintenance). This is the money one spouse pays to the other to help meet his or her living expenses. In Arizona, spousal support in divorce depends on income, property, and other factors set forth in the statute. Ultimately, the award will depend on whether one spouse needs support to meet their living expenses and whether the other can afford to pay support and still meet his/her living expenses.
In a traditional divorce, the parties leave the decision to a judge’s discretion and math. But if couples reach a settlement, they can take control over what is “fairest” for them. Collaborative divorce gives you a better chance to find common ground on what is fair for you and for your spouse.
Arizona Law on Spousal Support in Divorce
The starting point for Arizona spousal support in divorce is the relative income of each of you. After you divide your marital assets, one of you may be in a better income position to support yourself than the other. If this is the case, a support order can help the party who does not have enough income get by.
Most of the time, a spousal support order is for a fixed duration. But if one spouse is disabled, or for other reasons will never have the ability to meet his or her needs, the award can be indefinite. The idea is for the support to help get someone back on his or her feet, not to support him or her forever.
Some other factors include how long you were married, whether you have young children to support, and how much one of you contributed to help the other advance their education or career. Courts can also factor in whether one of you wasted or hid money from the other during the marriage.
Finding a Fair Settlement
For many couples, the idea of fighting about spousal support and getting a court decision is scary. You might not want to expose children to an ugly divorce process. Or you may just want to work it out and agree between the two of you about what is fair. Arizona spousal support in divorce can come from a settlement, and that can save uncertainty and frustration.
The idea of agreeing on money can be daunting, especially if you haven’t done so through your marriage. If you want to be fair, talking through the challenges can help you find common ground. It gives you a chance to decide for yourselves instead of relying on a judge. And if you can settle together, you can move forward knowing that you were fair to yourself and to your spouse.
How Collaborative Divorce Can Help
Collaborative divorce gives a process to help you reach a point of agreement. You each have an attorney to represent you, but the process also lets you speak directly and openly. The only goal of the process is reaching agreements, so the lawyers have no reason to interfere with the settlement. Everything you do in a collaborative divorce is intended to take you a step closer to an agreement.
You will also have other help. You and your spouse will hire a neutral financial expert to help work through the numbers. Arizona spousal support in divorce may rely on statutory factors in other settings, but you have flexibility here. You can look at what each of you can afford, and work through budgets and expenses to make a plan moving forward. And ultimately, you will be fair to yourselves and to each other.
If you need to move on from marriage but have concerns about Arizona spousal support in divorce, contact a professional at BestLegalChoices.com. We will guide you through the collaborative divorce process and help you prepare to move forward.
Monica Donaldson Stewart is the managing attorney for the law firm of Donaldson Stewart PC, where she practices in all aspects of family law, including collaborative divorce and family law mediation.