One of the most commonly asked questions by people who are getting divorced is whether they will be receiving alimony or not. This is money that’s paid to provide financial support to the other spouse during and/or after a divorce. Spousal maintenance, another term for alimony, is often one of the most heated parts of a divorce, even when a couple might agree on many other parts of their settlement. This article will walk you through how to get alimony in Arizona.
One of the important things to realize is that alimony is not always guaranteed, and even when someone receives alimony, it doesn’t mean it will last forever.
Types of Spousal Maintenance Awards
There are different types of spousal maintenance awards in the state of Arizona. Where you are in the divorce process will typically determine which type might be awarded
During the Divorce
For example, the judge might decide to award temporary support when the divorce is happening. The term for this is pendente lite. This simply means that it is pending until the divorce is over.
If a judge finds that one of the spouses needs to have the other’s financial help to take care of their normal living expenses and to stay financially stable during the divorce, they might award this. It is important that you keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will continue to receive support after the divorce.
After the Divorce
After the divorce’s final judgment is entered, the judge will then let you know whether the support will continue or if it will end. The judge might offer a temporary award after the divorce. This would mean that the support would continue for a limited period once the divorce is complete. The length of time for temporary alimony in Arizona can vary from one case to the next based on circumstances.
When a court decides to award temporary alimony after the divorce, it truly is meant to be temporary. The goal is to make sure that you have the time needed to get to a point where you can support yourself going forward. You can use the time that you are receiving the alimony to relearn or gain job skills, improve your education, and make important changes that will help you going forward.
This type of support is especially important for those spouses who may not have worked in years. For example, they might have been at home raising the children while the other spouse pursued their career. With the temporary spousal support, you will have the capability to get your job and finances back in order.
There is also the possibility of permanent spousal support, but this is rare. Arizona would rather have people help themselves, which is why temporary support is more common. Even after someone has been married for a long time, the courts see the alimony as being there to help you get to the point where you are financially independent.
Typically, the only time permanent alimony will be awarded in the state would be for cases where the spouse who earns less is not able to support themselves. This could be due to their age, disability, or an illness, for example. In those cases, it would not be reasonable to require that someone be as self-sufficient as someone who may be younger or in good health.
Who Can Qualify for Alimony?
As mentioned, there is no guarantee that someone will receive any spousal support at all. The person who requests the support needs to prove that they have a need for support and that the other person can pay. If both of you were working jobs that paid about the same, it’s not likely that either of you would qualify for alimony in Arizona.
Potential Maintenance Qualifiers
The court may find that there is a need for support if one or more of the following applies.
- After property distribution in the divorce, the requesting party still does not have sufficient property to provide for their needs.
- The requesting party contributed financially to education, training, etc. that helped to increase the spouse’s ability to earn. For example, if you supported your ex financially during medical school.
- The requesting party is not able to be self-sufficient with their employment.
- If you reduced your career opportunities or income so benefit your spouse.
- If you can’t get a job and make enough money because you were in a long marriage and are no longer able to work.
Of course, the judge will have the final say in the matter. Just keep in mind that the goal in AZ is to help everyone become self-sufficient. Those who do qualify for maintenance will have the award amount and duration set by the judge. Keep in mind that even if your spouse makes a lot of money, it does not guarantee that you will necessarily get a large amount of alimony in Arizona.
How Long Does Alimony Continue?
There is no single answer to this question because each case is different. The judge will determine how long the maintenance will be awarded on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, it will only last for the length of the divorce. Other times, it might last six months to a year or more after the divorce. There are also the rare cases of permanent spousal maintenance mentioned.
However, there are some cases where the spousal support will end automatically, not just when the term in the divorce judgment ends. If either of the spouses dies or if the recipient spouse remarries, they will no longer receive spousal support.
Get Help from an Attorney
Are you worried about your divorce and wondering whether you might be receiving alimony in Arizona—or if you might be the one who has to pay the alimony? Divorce is stressful enough. You want to be sure that you have all of the correct information. They can help to give you a better idea of whether you might qualify for alimony or not. Of course, the attorney can help with other parts of your divorce, too.