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Will I Have to Pay Spousal Support for Life?

Will I Have to Pay Spousal Support for Life?

When one party in a divorce is a high earner, they often fear spousal support. Many wonder if they will have to pay spousal support for life; particularly for long-term marriages. In fact, it’s often the very first question anyone interested in obtaining a divorce will ask.

While there are situations when spousal support for life is appropriate, there is Judicial discretion involved and the specific facts pertaining to each divorce case weigh heavily when the judge is making this type of decision.

Factors Taken into Consideration for Spousal Support Include:

  • Does your spouse have enough money, either through employment or division of marital assets to support him/herself?
  • Whether you are self-employed when going through a divorce or a W2 employee, your income will be compared to that of your spouse as a determining factor regarding spousal support.
  • If one of you has been a homemaker or stay at home parent, and has failed to make reasonable efforts to provide for your own support after a reasonable time has passed since the divorce, the other party may request a spousal support modification.
  • If your ex refuses to work, but they have the ability and opportunity to make a living, you may need to request a vocational evaluation. This may also be necessary in cases where your ex is underemployed.
  • Income reduction could be appropriate grounds to request a reduction in spousal support.
  • In some instances, your ex may be capable of supporting himself or herself, but they were awarded spousal support due to the marital standard of living. The further away from the date of the divorce, the less important this standard becomes in the considerations for spousal support/maintenance. This is a complex issue of spousal support law and you may need to discuss it in further detail with an Arizona family law attorney.
  • If your ex is dating or is in a relationship you can’t simply assume that your obligation to pay spousal support will automatically terminate. In situations where the new partner is reducing your ex’s need for spousal support because they contribute financially, there could be grounds for seeking a reduction or even an elimination of the spousal support originally allocated by the court.
Issues of spousal support or spousal maintenance can be very complex, please get in touch with the experienced Arizona divorce attorneys at Arizona Family Law Attorneys so we can discuss the specifics of your case with you and help you figure out how best to proceed.
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