What Disqualifies You From Alimony in Arizona?

Even amicable divorces are messy. You carry the burdens of keeping your children’s lives as stable as possible while struggling with the emotional duress that often comes with detangling your life from your spouse’s. You might need spousal support or face the consequences of providing it.

What disqualifies you from alimony in Arizona? Lincoln & Wenk’s divorce lawyers in Goodyear, AZ, know the ins and outs of divorce and family court. We answer this question in detail below. Once you understand more about Arizona’s requirements for spousal support, you can decide how to proceed with guidance from one of our attorneys.

What Is Alimony?

Spousal support, colloquially known as alimony or spousal maintenance, is what one spouse pays to the other following a divorce. The money helps the paid spouse keep their head above water, financially speaking. A judge determines how much your ex-spouse must pay you based on:

  • The length of your marriage

  • How much money you currently make

  • Whether you support shared children

  • How much you and your spouse invested in each other during your marriage

The judge may order your ex to pay a single lump sum or make monthly payments. Spousal support comes with a few conditions influenced by your level of financial independence among other factors.

What Are Arizona’s Requirements for Spousal Support?

Arizona outlines some specific conditions for divorced, dependent spouses to qualify for spousal support. At least one of the following requirements must describe your situation for you to apply. If you aren’t sure whether you meet these conditions, consult with a divorce attorney who understands where Arizona state laws apply to your situation.

Inability to Cover Expenses Alone

You might struggle to make ends meet after finalizing your divorce, especially if you and your spouse shared expenses or your spouse covered yours entirely. The courts typically determine expense coverage after your shared and personal assets are divided. You might qualify for additional support if the assets awarded to you aren’t enough for short or long-term financial self-sufficiency.

For example, you and your spouse balanced your marriage with your spouse working full-time while you kept the house and worked part-time. Therefore, your spouse covered the majority of the household finances with their paycheck. Your current position and asset collection won’t cover your independence. In turn, the court awards you spousal support for the foreseeable future.

Unemployment or Underemployment

If you are unemployed or otherwise haven’t held down a high-paying position in a while, you might meet a requirement similar to the one above. Rather than your support amount depending on your combined assets following the divorce, it depends on your employment or lack thereof. Many people forgo employment opportunities to support their spouses’ careers through childcare or household work in place of employment.

Therefore, they often struggle to re-enter their previous work field or secure new employment opportunities. The financial independence of the requesting spouse depends on receiving alimony. An example of this is becoming a stay-at-home parent for your children.

Your spouse brings in more money and stability because of their position. However, climbing childcare costs challenged marital finances to the point that one party had to stay home to care for the kids. You chose to take on the role, leaving your previous position to eliminate household expenses and ensure your spouse could forward their career. Thus, you need alimony until you can secure a new position.

Young Children Who Rely on the Ex-Spouse

The Arizona court system often prefers to keep children’s lives as stable as possible. If you acted as the primary caregiver of your children, you might receive more custody than your spouse. Therefore, the courts may also award alimony in addition to child support to help you stay afloat while you care for your children.

Mutual Contributions to Personal Progress

Finally, you might have gainful employment that allows you to maintain financial stability. However, you made significant personal contributions to your spouse’s personal or career growth that came at a considerable cost to you. For example, you provided financial support for your spouse to attend a higher educational institution, attend training courses, and similar professional improvements.

You could have achieved a better position in your field, had you invested in your own growth instead. Therefore, the court may deem you eligible for compensation through spousal support.

What Disqualifies You From Alimony in Arizona?

Now that you know some spousal support requirements, you might wonder what disqualifies you from alimony in Arizona. Disqualification can happen as a court ruling or after you have received alimony for a while. You will find some reasons why you might lose spousal maintenance below.

Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement, commonly known as a prenup, is a legally binding contract you and your spouse sign before entering your marriage. The contract outlines conditions regarding what happens to personal or shared property should a divorce ensue. If you agreed to terms barring you and your spouse from alimony, you cannot go back on your agreement.

Similarly, a postnuptial agreement outlines the same terms. However, you and your spouse likely drafted and signed it after you married. Its terms can prevent you from seeking spousal support, too.

No Personal Effort to Achieve Income

The court may award you with rehabilitative alimony. This type of spousal support helps you return to your feet after a divorce. However, you must begin seeking gainful employment as rehabilitative support is temporary. Otherwise, an Arizona court may withdraw the support orders.

Lump Sum During Divorce Proceedings

Like many divorcees, you will likely undergo property settlements in which you and your former spouse will decide who keeps what assets and properties. Your spouse and their legal team might settle by allowing you to take the majority of the marital assets in exchange for no alimony payments later. If you agree to these terms, you may be unable to pursue spousal support later because you kept a significant portion of the shared assets.

Acquiring Inheritance

Do you have a sizable inheritance sum to your name? It may disqualify you from pursuing alimony from your ex. Arizona judges often look at your personal assets and the property you receive from division settlements in depth before determining whether you qualify for continuous spousal support.

If your inheritance sum can keep you afloat financially for a long period, it may prevent you from receiving support from your spouse. If you already receive alimony and procure inheritance in the future, you might lose that support should your ex ask the court to end their maintenance obligations.

Your Ex’s Earnings

If your former spouse can’t support themself, they will be unable to support you. Many courts often consider the inability of paying a spouse to provide support before awarding alimony to the receiving party. Thus, you may not qualify for maintenance payments if your spouse simply cannot fund them for any reason, including:

  • A lack of readily available assets

  • Unemployment or underemployment

  • Sizeable costs for divorce, relocation, and similar expenses that significantly set your former spouse back

Marriage Length

The longer you stay married, the higher your likelihood of qualifying for alimony. A short-duration marriage typically prevents shared finances, lifestyles, and assets from becoming deeply intertwined. Therefore, you might retain some of your previous independence when ending a short marriage versus a long-standing one.

Why do spouses in short marriages rarely receive support? Longer marriages often involve:

  • Children and other dependants

  • Shared household management

  • Combined finances

  • At least one spouse making sacrifices for the other’s betterment

  • Pooled resources for financial security

If you don’t stay in your marriage for a long stretch, you can more easily rebuild your stability without assistance from your previous partner.

Lifestyle Changes

Finally, cohabitation or remarriage can also disqualify you from receiving alimony. Presumably, a stable, long-term relationship with another person buffers your financial resources. Sometimes, the courts award spousal support on the premise that the recipient is so accustomed to shared household finances that they will struggle to make ends meet financially.

Once cohabitation enters the picture, the court may deem future payments unnecessary. You may need legal counsel to reinstate your alimony if your cohabitation agreement is platonic, like a roommate relationship.

How Does the Arizona Court Determine How Much Spousal Support Should Be Awarded?

If you qualify for spousal maintenance or support, you will receive payments based on:

  • How you and your spouse lived before the divorce

  • Whether you have disabilities that limit your independence

  • Your earning potential

  • The time needed for you to become gainfully employed

  • Whether you or your spouse engaged in criminal activity

  • Whether you were a victim of your spouse’s criminal activities or abuse

An experienced Arizona divorce lawyer can help you navigate the specifics of advocating for your interests throughout the proceedings.

Protect Your Assets During Divorce Proceedings with Lincoln & Wenk

Do you need alimony to maintain standards of living to which you are accustomed? Perhaps you still need guidance on what disqualifies you from alimony in Arizona. Either way, Lincoln & Wenk can assist you. Call 623-294-2464 to book a consultation with a divorce attorney near you.

Call us at 623-294-2464 or contact us to schedule your consultation today.

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