Spousal Support Attorney Glendale
One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is figuring out how to manage your finances after separating from your spouse. If you depend on your spouse’s income or provide financial support to your spouse during your marriage, you may wonder how spousal support (or alimony) will affect your future. You need a trusted legal partner to help you navigate this complex issue and advocate for your best interests.
At the Law Offices of Cosmas Onyia, we have nearly three decades of experience handling divorce, spousal maintenance, and related family law matters for the residents of Glendale, AZ. Our lawyer, Cosmas Onyia, understands that spousal support is not a one-size-fits-all solution – it’s a combination of many factors, including the length of your marriage, your earning potential, and your lifestyle. Whether you are seeking it or paying it, we can help create a spousal support plan that suits your unique situation. To learn more, schedule a free consultation today.
What Does Spousal Support Mean in Glendale?
When you get divorced, worrying about making ends meet without your spouse’s income is natural. Maybe you gave up your career to raise the kids or earn much less than your partner. Whatever the reason, you may need financial help to get back on your feet after you both part ways. That’s where spousal support comes in.
Also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, it is money that one spouse pays to the other for a certain time after the divorce. Keep in mind it is not always guaranteed. The Glendale, AZ court will look at several factors to decide if you qualify for spousal maintenance:
- How long you were married
- Your age and health
- Your standard of living during the marriage
- Your education and work experience
- Your current and future earning potential
- Your contribution to the other spouse’s career or education
- Your financial needs and expenses
At its core, spousal support is meant to help the lower-earning spouse transition to a new life and become financially independent. That’s why it is usually temporary. The court will set a duration for it based on how long it will take you to improve your skills, find a job, or complete your education. In some rare cases, the court may order permanent spousal support if you cannot work due to age, disability, or illness.
If you and your spouse disagree on how much and how long the alimony should be paid, it can quickly become an intricate legal issue. Instead of trying to sort it out alone, contact us at the Law Offices of Cosmas Onyia to get a knowledgeable family law attorney in Glendale, AZ. Our lawyer can help you understand your legal options regarding spousal maintenance, child support, community property, and other family law matters and negotiate or even litigate, if necessary, on your behalf to achieve the best possible outcome.
Types of Spousal Maintenance in Glendale
If you have been out of the workforce, have a lower income, or have special needs, alimony or spousal maintenance can be a lifeline for you. There are three forms of spousal maintenance in Glendale, AZ that you can be awarded depending on your situation:
Permanent spousal maintenance
This is spousal support you receive or pay for an indefinite period after your divorce. It is usually reserved for extreme cases, like when you or your spouse are too old, disabled, or ill to work and become financially independent. This one is rare and hard to get in Arizona.
Rehabilitative spousal maintenance
This is also known as temporary spousal support, which is received or paid for a limited time after the divorce. It is meant to help you or your spouse get the education, training, or skills you need to find a good job and earn enough money to support yourself. So, say, you need to complete a degree program or vocational training to reenter the job market; the court may award you rehabilitative maintenance until the education/training program is completed. This is the most common type of spousal maintenance in Glendale.
Compensatory spousal maintenance
If you have significantly contributed to the other spouse’s education, training, career, or earning ability, the court may “compensate” you for it, hence the name. For example, if you supported your spouse through medical school and then got divorced, you may be compensated for your contributions and sacrifices through compensatory maintenance.
Regardless of what kind of maintenance you seek, the specific duration and amount you are awarded will depend on numerous factors, including the length of your marriage, the financial resources and needs of each spouse, and the court’s discretion based on the evidence presented.
Determining Spousal Support in Glendale AZ
In Arizona, the court follows a set of rules called the Arizona Spousal Maintenance Guidelines to determine whether, how much, and how long spousal support should be awarded. According to our experienced spousal support lawyer, here are the key factors you must keep in mind:
The first step in determining spousal support is to check if the spouse who requests it is eligible. According to the Arizona statute ARS 25-319, you may be eligible if you meet one or more of the following criteria:
- You lack sufficient property to provide for your reasonable needs
- You are unable to be self-supporting through employment, or you are the custodian of a child whose age or health condition prevents you from working
- You have made a significant contribution to the education, training, career, or earning ability of the other spouse
- You have been married for a long time, and you are of an age that makes it difficult to find adequate employment
- You have reduced your income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse
The second step is to decide if the eligible spouse deserves it. The court has broad discretion to determine the amount and duration of spousal support, but it must follow the guidelines established by the Supreme Court. These guidelines provide a preliminary target range for support based on:
- The size of the family
- The spouses’ annual income and attributed income
- The average monthly mortgage principal
- The expenditures for one adult, and one-half of the family’s indivisible expenditures
Of course, the court can deviate from this target range depending on the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage, and so on.
Lastly, the court will decide how long the spousal support should last. This duration depends on the length of the marriage and the time required for the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient. There is a special rule – “Rule of 65” – for older spouses who have been married for a long time. If the age of the spouse who receives spousal support plus the number of years you were married is 65 or more, the court will decide how long spousal support should last based on your situation.
Here are the guidelines regarding how long alimony should be paid for:
|How Long You Were Married||How Long Spousal Support Should Last|
|Up to 24 months||Up to 12 months|
|24 months – 60 months||Up to 36 months|
|60 months – 120 months||Up to 48 months|
|120 months – 192 months||Up to 60 months|
|192 months or more||Up to 96 months|
*The above duration range does not apply when the Rule of 65 comes into play.
*Starting from July 1, 2023, the guidelines above will apply to all spousal maintenance awards, except if (1) the petition was filed before September 24, 2022, or (2) the parties agree not to use the guidelines. For all spousal support modification petitions filed after September 24, 2022, these guidelines will also apply.
How Much Spousal Support Can I Expect?
To calculate spousal support, the court typically uses software that considers the following information:
- How many people are in your family, including you, your (ex) spouse, and any children you have to support legally.
- How much money you and your spouse make every year, and how much money you and your spouse could make if you had a different job or worked more hours.
- How much money you and your spouse pay monthly for the main part of your mortgage, not counting the interest, taxes, and insurance. You need to find out the average monthly amount you paid in the last 12 months before filing for divorce or separation.
- How much money you and your spouse spend every month for one person and for half of the things you share with your family, such as utilities, food, transportation, and more.
The court can choose an amount outside this range, if there are good reasons to do so.
Why Choose the Law Office of Cosmas Onyia in Glendale, AZ
Spousal maintenance can be a stressful issue in any divorce case. Whether you are hoping to receive alimony or are worried about paying it, you need a reliable legal ally with a successful track record to protect your rights and interests. At the Law Offices of Cosmas Onyia, our dedicated lawyer team in Glendale, AZ understands how challenging the divorce process can be, and we are here to help you emerge on the other side of this process with confidence.
If you want to navigate this challenging chapter in your life in the smoothest, most stress-free way possible, give us a call at 602-265-5200 or leave us a message to set up a free consultation.