Divorcing Couple Mediating Alimony Payments

Is an Alimony Award Best Determined Through Mediation?

Alimony, which is referred to as spousal maintenance in Arizona, is a payment that one party to a divorce makes to help the other stay on solid financial footing. While there is no particular formula for calculating alimony in Arizona, there are factors that courts look to in determining the need for an award. Alimony may be granted to a spouse who lacks sufficient property after a divorce to provide for their needs or who can’t sufficiently support themselves and any dependent children through employment. The length of the marriage, standard of living during the marriage and assets and earnings of the paying spouse are all relevant to determining how much alimony to award.

While alimony can be granted by a court during a contested divorce, spouses may find that it is easier to resolve the issue through mediation. This is an out-of-court proceeding in which a neutral third party helps the parties come to a mutually satisfactory agreement. The court will usually adopt the agreement and make it part of the divorce judgment.

Mediation is more amicable and allows the parties more flexibility in determining how an alimony award should be structured, with a view to what is within the means and needs of the parties. For example, through a mediation, the parties may be able to work out an alimony payment schedule that increases or decreases over time, or that can be adjusted if the paying spouse’s financial circumstances change. The parties can also put certain conditions on alimony awards, such as reducing payment if the receiving spouse begins to cohabitate with another individual.

Most importantly, resolving alimony through a mediation gives the parties more ability to control the outcome. During a court proceeding there is no guarantee of how the court will choose to resolve the question of alimony and the ultimate award may be something that neither party is happy with.

If you are considering a divorce and expect that alimony will be a concern, an experienced Arizona divorce attorney can advise you on how to arrive at a fair and workable arrangement. Although mediation has associated costs, it can also save money by avoiding lengthy court litigation, which may require the use of expert witnesses.

Whether you are the spouse in need of alimony or the one who will be charged with paying, Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. in Scottsdale, Arizona has the skill and experience to effectively represent you. Please call our office at 602-789-3497 or contact us online to arrange a consultation.