While issues surrounding spousal maintenance, sometimes called alimony, often become acrimonious, it has been our experience that these matters can be resolved in ways that benefit both parties. In Arizona, the award of spousal maintenance or alimony is not automatic. However, the courts recognize that there are many situations in which one spouse is not able to support himself or herself, or has given up employment or education opportunities for the benefit of the marriage or to raise children.
Generally speaking, when one of the parties to the divorce has significantly greater income than the other, or when one of the parties is financially dependent on the other, there will be some sort of spousal maintenance or alimony awarded. Depending on how long it takes the parties to become financially independent, alimony may last a short time or it may go on indefinitely.
Factors to Consider Spousal support is governed by Arizona statutes and case law interpreting those statutes. Courts will generally look at two considerations:
At S. Alan Cook, P.C., we also look to a third aspect. Is it possible to shift the tax consequences to maximize the amount of money available to each party? Tax Implications of Spousal Maintenance
One important thing to understand about alimony is that it is generally considered income to the person who receives it, and it is generally deductible to the person paying it, even if they do not itemize tax deductions. These tax-related issues may factor into your decision to pursue or contest a maintenance or alimony award. Alan Cook is a lawyer and a former CPA, so he can help you understand the legal and tax ramifications of your choices regarding spousal maintenance. After handling more than 3,000 family law cases, you can count on us to help you find practical solutions that work for all parties and help you avoid the time and expense of litigation.