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How is alimony determined?

Arizona couples in the process of seeking a divorce often have questions about how alimony will be determined. Also known as spousal support, alimony may be awarded by the court or agreed to by the parties seeking the divorce. Alimony provides income to a spouse who may have earned less income or no income during a marriage. In most states, the guidelines regarding alimony are less specific than those for child support.

The Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act recommends courts consider a variety of issues when determining amounts for alimony. The length of a former couple’s marriage often affects the amount of an alimony award, as well as the lifestyle a couple enjoyed during their marriage. Courts often consider whether the spouse who must pay alimony will still be able to provide for themselves.

In the past, courts more consistently awarded alimony to wives following a divorce because women were less likely to work outside the home. Women were also more likely to need financial support from alimony to give them time to return to school or seek training in order to be able to work outside the home. However, today many women already work outside the home and can support themselves without the need for alimony, and now the award of alimony is made on a gender-neutral basis.

In order to determine an alimony award, the court must consider a variety of factors. A family law attorney can explain the factors which may affect a client’s specific situation. All options designed to maintain financial security following a divorce should be considered carefully to ensure the best possible outcome.

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