Calculating Alimony in Arizona
When you’re going through a divorce or legal separation, alimony, or spousal maintenance as it’s called in Arizona Family Law, is a big concern. Divorcing spouses are concerned with avoiding payments, receiving them, and how the court decides the amount they’ll receive. Calculating alimony is tricky because the judge in Arizona has discretion on amounts and payments. A judge may even award temporary, or “pendente lite” payments during the divorce proceedings.
Once the court determines that a spouse qualifies for alimony, it then determines how much alimony to award and the length of time the paying spouse should provide alimony. The court considers many guidelines mentioned in A.R.S. § 25-319 when calculating spousal maintenance. They are:
- Standard of marital living
- Length of marriage
- Information regarding age, employment, earning capacity, and emotional and physical well-being of alimony seeking spouse
- Capacity of the paying spouse to provide alimony
- Court will compare the earning power and financial resources of both parties
- Contribution of alimony seeking spouse to the other spouse’s earning potential
- Extent of reduction of earning power of the alimony seeking spouse for benefit of other spouse
- Capabilities of both spouses to contribute funding to their children’s education
- Financial resources of the maintenance seeking spouse and the spouse’s ability to be self-sufficient
- Time and availability of training to make the spouse self-sufficient
- Actions involving, concealment, destruction, unusual expenditures, or fraudulent disposure of joint or common property
- Health care costs for the alimony seeking spouse and savings to the other spouse if family coverage is not necessary
- Damage and judgments from criminal convictions where one spouse victimized the other
But, like we said above, there aren’t hard and fast rules for calculating alimony payments because judges have wide discretion. So if alimony is going to be a factor, it’s necessary to use a family law attorney who’ll spend time organizing and preparing your case before it gets to court. Taking the time to go through financial records, assets, employment histories and other information is essential to determine the best way to present your position regardless of whether you are trying to receive or avoid alimony payments.
Also remember: attorneys aren’t accountants so it may be necessary to consult with a financial expert or have an expert testify in court. When representing a client objecting to alimony payments, a vocational expert can provide beneficial testimony about the other spouse’s career prospects. Ultimately, the complexity of your situation will indicate whether you need experts.
If you have concerns about receiving alimony paymentor are seeking to prevent an award of spousal maintenance, the Arizona family law firm of Enholm Law can help. Schedule a consultation by calling 602-889-6273 to contact the staff in our Phoenix offices.