What is Spousal Support and Alimony?
Alimony is a term that is often used interchangeably with spousal support and spousal maintenance. When a married couple divorces, one spouse may be required to continue to financially support the other spouse, depending on certain factors. For example, one spouse may have foregone a career to help support the other spouse during their education for a lucrative industry, or one of the spouses doesn’t have the means to financially support themselves after the divorce. Alimony payments are separate from support received for care of shared children. Alimony may continue for a set period, or may continue until one spouse dies, or the receiving spouse remarries. Payments are also sometimes made in lump sums rather than monthly payments. One spouse may also be ordered to pay the other temporary spousal support during the divorce proceedings, including the costs of their divorce attorney.
Factors Considered by the Arizona Court to Determine Alimony Include:
** Length of Marriage.
** Lifestyle During Marriage.
** The Ability of One Spouse to Pay the Other Spouse.
** The Needs of the Other Spouse.
** Current Employment or Employment Ability.
** How the Marital Assets Are Divided.
Can You Modify Spousal Support and Alimony?
Spousal Support can be modified for a few reasons. First of all, if the spouse who is receiving alimony payments remarries, the paying spouse can file for a modification to terminate the support. Some divorcing couples choose to include a provision for support to automatically increase (or decrease) each year with the cost of living. These Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs) will be based on an agreed-upon economic indicator.
It is possible for neither of these circumstances to arise for a spouse paying alimony after a divorce. A divorcee who is paying spousal support may also request a modification if they have experienced a substantial and continuing change in circumstances.
It should be noted that spousal support can’t be modified retroactively. Once the payment is due, it is due. If your request for a modification is successful, the payments will only be changed moving forward. There are serious consequences for failing to make your support payments, including seizure of your tax returns and any winnings, wage garnishments, liens on your property, and suspension of your driver’s license. If you know you are going to fall behind on your payments, you need to request a modification as soon as possible to avoid these negative effects on your life.