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How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Alimony?

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When establishing spousal support, many times known as alimony, courts contemplate a multitude of things. The court in Arizona looks at a calculator if your marriage became official after September 24, 2022.  The Calculator in Arizona is the determining factor, but there is a high, low and median number.  There are also time frames for payment.  The court could award the lowest payment possible for the lowest number of months.  This has spurred a ton of litigation.

The courts are still bound to consult A.R.S. §25-319, because those factors help the judge in evaluating how many months of support must be paid and in what amount.  But, for cases where the calculator isn’t required, you may still see the calculator argued.

Kinds of Spousal Support

If you’re not an Arizona-based reader, then we likely aren’t going to have a lot of material that you can sink your case into.  Each state has their own set of provisions they follow when determining if an individual qualifies for spousal support, and, if so, the kind of spousal support one might qualify for. Not all states use the same terminology to detail the same kinds of alimony, in which can additionally confuse things. Generally, there are 4 various kinds of alimony:

  • Permanent
  • Durational
  • Rehabilitative
  • Bridge the Gap

Permanent Alimony

Permanent alimony is, as the name specifies, designed to offer permanent spousal support. Usually, the commitment ends only upon the spouse’s passing or upon the remarriage of the payee.  California, our neighbor, has a permanent obligation in some cases.  Retirement is not a consideration in how long the payor must pay.

Durational Alimony

Durational alimony is support that is ordered for a specific amount of time, like five years, or until the last child completes high school or becomes eight teen.  This is for shorter marriages.  It may also apply to longer marriages where spouses each earned enough to support themselves.

Rehabilitative Alimony

Rehabilitative alimony, like durational, is restricted in time. Think in terms of the spouse who needs the funds saying, “I need to go finish my degree that I stopped after 18 months of marriage.  It will take me 3 years to finish, plus two years for my masters, and I need six months to find a job in that market.” Nevertheless, it is also restricted in scope. Rehabilitative alimony is particularly designed to offer the payee with the schooling, skills, and training required for them to work to support themselves down the road. If a spouse receives rehabilitative alimony and doesn’t use it?  That may be a reason to go back and modify spousal maintenance.

Bridge the Gap Alimony

Bridge the gap alimony is also for a brief, limited amount of time. It is designed to help an individual get back on their feet following a divorce. Your example here  is a spouse saying, “we jointly had higher bills, a higher earning lifestyle, and I need to get accustomed to earning $80,000 a year while my former spouse lives an $800,000 annual salary lifestyle.

Things the Court Regards When Determining the Kind of Spousal Support

Not all courts order spousal support in each of their cases. When a court does grant spousal support, they commonly consider a series of factors, including:

  • The age of each spouse
  • The physical status of each spouse
  • The financial status of each spouse
  • The emotional status of each spouse
  • The amount of time is needed for a payee to acquire the schooling, skills, or training required for supporting themselves
  • The lifestyle the couple enjoyed throughout the course of the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Did the spouse receiving money create a home life and raise children by the election of the couple?
  • Whether either spouse abandoned their own work and/or educational opportunities in order to put the other spouse through additional education or to support the advancement of their career
  • Any other elements the court considers appropriate

Many states, such as Florida, specifically allow courts to consider one spouse’s adulterous behavior when determining whether to grant alimony, and the amount of alimony to grant. Florida is additionally one of the states where the statutes offer clear guidance concerning the kind of alimony and the duration of the marriage. For instance, whereas a judge may grant permanent spousal support as the result of a marriage that lasted a minimum of 16 years, for marriages of less than 6 years, permanent alimony is only suitable in the most exceptional of cases. California, at the same time, is one of the states that offers little guidance associated to the number of years married and the kind of alimony to be granted.

The spousal maintenance laws in Arizona have just recently changed.  What your neighbor or friend endured in their divorce three years ago may diverge totally in your case.  We know the guidelines in Arizona and in spousal maintenance – as with family law in general – everything matters.

 

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