Obtaining Alimony in Arizona
In Arizona, alimony is still awarded in divorce cases. However, it is crucial to find a well versed Scottsdale divorce lawyer who can help you get what you deserve.
Alimony in Arizona is typically called “spousal maintenance.” When spouses separate, one person may be unable to pay for regular living expenses after the divorce is final, in which case a judge may require the higher earner—whether that is the husband or the wife—to assist the lower earner financially for at least some period of time.
To award spousal maintenance, a court must find that one spouse has the financial need and the other has the ability to pay after first paying their own personal expenses. An Arizona court may determine that need exists if one spouse:
- does not have enough property—even after the marital distribution—to provide for their reasonable needs
- contributed to the other spouse’s educational opportunities, or
- is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment post-divorce.
The courts will typically award alimony at a rate which usually ranges from 16% to 33% of the higher earning spouse’s gross monthly income for a term of years which is usually between 1/4 to 1/2 the duration of marriage. For example, if the husband has an income of $10,000 per month and the wife works part-time and earns $1,400 per month, the wife should expect $1,600 to $3,300 per month. A 10-year marriage would equate to 2.5 years to 5 years of spousal maintenance. Again, every case is fact specific and no result can be assured, but these ranges have been witnessed in many previous litigated cases.
Couples may enter into their own private agreements either waiving maintenance entirely or providing that neither will seek any changes to maintenance in court. Unless they make such an agreement or unless the final divorce order says otherwise, either spouse may request a court to modify or terminate periodic payments due to a substantial and continuing change in circumstances. Payments end when the term of an award expires, when the recipient spouse remarries or upon the death of the recipient spouse.
The Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group have represented women and men in their Arizona spousal maintenance cases. To discuss your options in a Scottsdale divorce, call us today to schedule a consultation. 480-744-7711