The alimony laws governing spousal support in Arizona is different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the AZ alimony law.
Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” in Grand Canyon State, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.
Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.
This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.
All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.
Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in AZ
The factors that the court must evaluate first to decide if a spouse is entitled to alimony in Arizona are listed in Section 25-319(A) of the Arizona spousal maintenance law.
Only if the court has first found a basis to award alimony in Arizona, the second part of the statute, 25-319(B), contain the spousal maintenance laws that the court must take into account in deciding the amount and period of spousal support.
Judges can grant the lower-earning spouse Rehabilitative or Permanent maintenance. Though Arizona family courts can award temporary alimony, there are two major forms of alimony that a judge in AZ might order:
Rehabilitative Spousal Support in Arizona
Financial support will be provided for a set period of time after the divorce under a rehabilitative maintenance award. When courts give post-divorce rehabilitative support, the purpose is for the receiving spouse to use the funds to improve employment skills, obtain necessary education, and otherwise better equip themselves to be financially self-sufficient.
Rehabilitative support gives the lower-earning spouse time after the divorce to get back on firm financial standing, especially if the recipient spouse gave up a job during the marriage to raise a family or advance the other’s profession.
Permanent Spousal Support in AZ
Permanent maintenance is also available in Arizona, but the courts only use it in exceptional instances. Even after a long marriage, the courts consider support to be rehabilitative, implying that the receiving spouse should eventually be financially self-sufficient.
Nevertheless, if the lower-earning spouse is unable to become self-sufficient owing to illness, disability, or age, the court may award permanent spousal maintenance.
Temporary Spousal Support in Arizona
If one spouse needs financial assistance from the other throughout the divorce process, a judge can award interim maintenance (pendente lite). A temporary support award made during the divorce process does not guarantee continued spousal support after the proceedings.
The judge will indicate whether or not support will be continued in the final divorce ruling.
Who Pays Alimony in Arizona?
In Arizona alimony law, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.
Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in Grand Canyon State is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.
So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in Arizona if the above conditions are met.
How Long Does Spousal Support Last in AZ?
The duration to pay alimony in Arizona can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. However, you should expect to pay spousal support for a duration of 80-70% of the length of the marriage lasted. So assuming you were married for 10 years, the spousal support duration will most likely be between 6 to 7 years.
As provided by the alimony laws of AZ, rehabilitative and permanent support stops if either spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries.
How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears in Arizona
When it comes to collecting spousal support in Arizona, you have a few choices if your ex-spouse has failed to make alimony payments as ordered by the court. Debts for spousal support are frequently given priority among debtors under US law.
Average Alimony Payment in Arizona
The average amount payable as spousal support in Arizona after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”
To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in AZ, the courts in AZ take into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:
- earning capacity of each spouse.
- the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
- the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
- how long the marriage lasted
- the needs of each spouse
- the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
- each party’s tax consequences
- the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
- each spouse’s health and age
- each party’s balance of hardships
- whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
- will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
- any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
- any other factors which the court wishes to consider
This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in Grand Canyon State. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.
How Alimony is Calculated in AZ
The amount to be paid as spousal support in Arizona is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator
Importance of Using a Skilled Arizona Spousal Support Attorney
If you’re getting a divorce in Arizona and need to negotiate or re-negotiate spousal support, you’ve definitely got a lot of questions and want to seek competent legal guidance. Though state Supreme Courts have supported lifetime spousal support,
your circumstances may or may not fulfill the requirements. AZ courts may judge your case differently based on the merits of you and your previous spouse. There are so many variables to consider.
If you want to get spousal support for the rest of your life or if you want to fight against it in Arizona, an expert divorce lawyer can help. Depending on the objective and the desire of the adversary attorney to bargain in good faith, you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.
For the convenience of our members, we have an up-to-date directory of AZ divorce and spousal support attorneys who can help with a variety of issues. For legal advice and representation on spousal support that is powerful and well-informed.
FAQ About Arizona Alimony Laws
Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in AZ:
Can a Husband get Alimony in AZ?
Yes. In Arizona, alimony payment is gender-neutral, meaning the sex that pays or receives is not the main determinant, but other factors as stated above. For details click here.
Who Qualifies for Alimony in Arizona?
Just as either spouse can pay or receive, the party that qualifies to receive spousal support is the dependent party while the marriage lasted. This means that in AZ, the spouse that had lesser or no income when the marriage was on is also the one qualified to receive alimony. Click here for details
How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in AZ?
To understand how long alimony lasts in Arizona, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.
However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.
Is Alimony Tax Deductible in Arizona?
Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in Arizona and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.
Is Alimony Mandatory in Grand Canyon State?
Alimony is mandatory in Arizona as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.
Can Alimony be increased in Arizona?
Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:
- an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
- if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
- loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
- an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
- when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected
Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in AZ?
Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in Arizona. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.
If it’s an Arizona court-ordered spousal support that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in AZ}.
How to Modify Spousal Support in Arizona?
When necessary, Arizona law allows for a spousal support modification. When it comes to alimony, courts in AZ usually try to do their best to create judgments that are fair and effective in the long run. Nevertheless, conditions change over time, and these changes may compel a revision or modification of the initial order.
When filing for a spousal support modification in Arizona, keep in mind that the courts will only entertain the motion if there has been a significant and long-term change in circumstances. A brief problem is unlikely to be significant enough to warrant a revision in the initial alimony ruling. Likewise, dissatisfaction with the support order is not a valid reason for a revision in AZ.
The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification in Arizona:
- Changes in income or employment
- Birth of a new child
- Health changes, including disability
- A new dependent
How to Avoid or End Spousal Support in AZ?
In Grand Canyon State, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:
- that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
- the spouse proves that he has no source of income
- the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
- if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living
- Arizona Child Adoption Guidelines
- Arizona Childcare Guidelines
- Arizona Child Custody and Visitation Guidelines
- Arizona Child Support Guidelines
- Arizona Divorce Guidelines
- Arizona Marital Property Guidelines
- Arizona Spousal Support Guidelines
- How to Check Arizona Child Support Payment History
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