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Understanding Alimony and Spousal Support Eligibility in Arizona

Spousal Support Lawyer

The complexities of divorce can be challenging, especially when it comes to understanding eligibility for alimony or spousal support. Arizona family law attorney Billie Tarascio and owner of Modern Law recently addressed a common misconception about alimony eligibility after a lengthy marriage. This delves into the key points discussed in the video and provides a comprehensive overview of spousal support criteria in Arizona.

The Question and the Issue

The video starts with a question from a woman who has been married for over 10 years and is currently in the process of finalizing her divorce. She expresses confusion and frustration about being told that she does not qualify for alimony or spousal support. The woman had assumed that being married for a decade would automatically entitle her to spousal support.

Clarifying the Misconception

There is no rule in Arizona that guarantees spousal support after being married for 10 years. This confusion often arises from the Social Security rule, which states that a person can qualify for Social Security benefits based on their spouse’s eligibility if they have been married for at least 10 years. However, this rule does not apply to spousal support or alimony in Arizona.

Criteria for Spousal Support in Arizona

In Arizona, eligibility for spousal support is determined based on specific criteria. The four primary factors that courts consider when deciding whether to award spousal support include:

  1. Financial Need: The spouse seeking support must be unable to meet their reasonable needs independently. This involves demonstrating a financial need for support to maintain a standard of living comparable to that enjoyed during the marriage.
  2. Contributions to Spouse’s Career: If the spouse seeking support contributed significantly to the education or career advancement of the other spouse, often at the detriment of their own career or educational opportunities, they might qualify for support.
  3. Age and Employment: If the spouse seeking support is of an age or physical condition that prevents them from obtaining gainful employment, they may qualify for spousal support. This criterion acknowledges that older spouses or those with health issues may face significant challenges in entering or re-entering the workforce.
  4. Rehabilitation: If the spouse seeking support requires time and financial assistance to gain the necessary education or training to become self-sufficient, they might qualify for temporary spousal support. This support is intended to help the spouse achieve financial independence through rehabilitation.

The Importance of Understanding Legal Criteria

This question underscores the importance of understanding the specific legal criteria for spousal support in Arizona. It is crucial for individuals going through a divorce to be aware of these factors and to seek legal advice tailored to their unique circumstances. Misunderstandings about eligibility can lead to frustration and disappointment, making it essential to have accurate information from reliable sources.

Places For Help

If you have questions about your situation you can go to the Modern Divorce Support group on Facebook, or you can call our office to speak with a client advocate about consultation options. You can also schedule a consultation online or use our low-cost legal clinic.


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