Divorce is a challenging legal process layered with many emotional hurdles along the way. It can be easy to let emotions run the show, too. However, taking this approach overlooks how important it is to make sound, reasonable decisions about things like spousal maintenance.
Many people in Arizona have strong feelings about spousal maintenance, also referred to as alimony. These feelings are not necessarily rooted in a solid understanding of what spousal maintenance is. Those who have a strong understanding of maintenance might be better equipped to handle this important part of divorce. Here are three things that might improve your own understanding of alimony.
Spousal maintenance is not punitive
A judge will not order you to pay spousal maintenance as a punishment. This means that things like cheating or arguments during the marriage do not impact whether a judge orders you or your ex to pay maintenance, how much it will be or for how long. Instead, spousal maintenance is intended to provide continuing support to a spouse who either earned significantly less or did not work at all during the marriage.
There are many reasons why you might not have worked or worked in a lower paying job. If you had children, you may have taken time off to raise them. Similarly, you may have been responsible for caring for a sick family member.
Spousal maintenance varies
There are many factors that go into determining how much maintenance should be or for how long. Just a few examples of those factors include:
- The physical condition and age of both you and your ex
- The financial condition of both you and your ex
- How long you were married for
- Your standard of living during the marriage
Arizona judges have broad discretion to consider a number of other factors as they see fit. This does not necessarily mean that he or she is leaning one way or the other. Instead, it simply indicates that the judge is trying to get a full picture of your financial situation before coming to a final decision.
Spousal maintenance follows trends
Historically, spousal maintenance traditionally involved men paying their former wives. Today’s society and culture looks a lot different than the past, and many women earn the same or even out-earn their husbands. This means that women should not necessarily expect to automatically secure spousal maintenance during a divorce.
For many people, spousal maintenance is an essential lifeline after divorce. This support can help you bridge the financial gap as you work toward securing a job or education that will ultimately help you support yourself in the future. If you are worried that you might not get the support you need, you may want to consider learning more about your rights under Arizona family law.