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Spousal Support (Alimony)

What You Need to Know About Spousal Support​

Called spousal maintenance in Arizona law, spousal support or alimony is money paid by one spouse to the other to help that person achieve financial independence. It also recognizes the receiving spouse’s contributions to the marriage. Perhaps they supported the other spouse’s education and career opportunities, or perhaps they deferred their own? Some people look at spousal support as a reward for enduring the other spouse’s bad behavior. Arizona laws do not recognize this.

In fact, when it comes to spousal support, the questions of how much and how long are the most challenging. That’s because there are no official formulas, guidelines or rules of thumb.

Despite that, McCarthy Family Law, with its decades of cumulative family law experience, helps to get the best possible outcome for you. 

Your attorney has access to all the considerable resources McCarthy Family Law brings to the table. In fact, Kathleen McCarthy created a Spousal Maintenance Handbook for Judges. It reviews all of the statutory and case law framework that applies to a broad range of spousal maintenance issues.

Keep in mind that the judge decides who receives maintenance, how much and for how long.  Five different judges could give the same case five different outcomes. And all would be correct. Also, you can only obtain it if you’ve been legally married.

5 Possible Ways to Qualify for Spousal Support in Arizona

  1. You don’t have sufficient property to provide for reasonable needs
  2. You aren’t self-sufficient through employment OR you have child custody under circumstances that keep you from employment
  3. You contributed to the other person’s education, training or career
  4. Your long marriage places you at an age where employment for self-sufficiency isn’t realistic
  5. You significantly reduced your income or career opportunities for the benefit of your spouse

When pursuing a spousal support agreement, remember the guidelines recently changed in September 2022. Prior to the change, there was no formula, no minimum duration or amount. With the change, there is now a formula, minimum duration, and amount, IF a party qualifies for support.


A word about the 2018 Federal Tax Code Changes & Spousal Maintenance Agreements

If you signed a divorce settlement after January 1, 2019 and you:

  • Pay spousal support – you do not qualify for a tax deduction for paid spousal support
  • Receive spousal support – you do not need to pay tax on spousal support income

However, if a Court later modifies a spousal support agreement entered into prior to January 1, 2019, the support will generally continue to be deductible by the person who pays it and included in the income of the person that receives it. Check with your tax advisor for details.

Talk to your McCarthy Law Firm associate to fully
understand the ins and outs of spousal maintenance, whether you’re receiving it or paying it.

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