Divorce is already a stressful time. It is personal. It is emotional. On top of this, you are confronted with things such as spousal support. Few things can get in the way of an otherwise amicable divorce like the prospect of spousal support, often referred to as “alimony.” While some couples are able to reach an agreement on their own about spousal support, it is common for divorcing individuals to reach a stalemate on the issue. In the event that a divorcing couple is unable to come to an agreement on spousal support, such as whether a spouse will receive it and, if so, for how long and in what amount, the court will intervene and settle the issue for them.
How Long Do You Have to Pay Spousal Support in Arizona?
To approach the spousal support issue in an Arizona divorce case, the court will first determine whether or not a spouse qualified for spousal support or maintenance. A spouse will qualify for support if he or she:
- Lacks the amount of property to meet reasonable needs;
- Cannot secure employment that would allow him or her to be self-sufficient;
- Acts as the custodian of a child who, do to age or condition, prevents the spouse from retaining gainful employment;
- Contributed to the other spouse’s educational opportunities; or
- The marriage was so long in duration that the spouse is of an age where he or she is unable to secure employment allowing him or her to become self-sufficient.
If a spouse qualifies for support, then the court will go on to determine how much will be awarded and for how long. To decide on the amount and duration of the spousal support award, Arizona courts look to a number of different factors that evaluate the relative financial resources of the spouses. The factors look to each spouse’s ability to meet reasonable needs after the divorce is finalized. The things the court will look to in reaching a decision regarding the amount and duration of a spousal support, include:
- Length of the marriage
- A spouse’s ability to pay
- The financial resources of each spouse
- The earning ability of each spouse
- The standard of living during the marriage
- The contribution a spouse made to the earning ability of the payor spouse
- The time needed for the spouse seeking support to receive the education and training needed to secure gainful employment
- How the spouse seeking support may have reduced their earning ability in an effort to support the other spouse and their family.
Based on factors such as the ones listed above, the court will render a decision on how much spousal support must be paid and for how long spousal support must be paid.
Whether you are a spouse seeking support or you are the spouse who may be paying spousal support, this issue will have a lasting impact on your financial future. At Cohen Family Law, we are committed to zealously advocating on behalf of our clients and their best interest. We will protect you at every point in the divorce process. Contact us today.