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How Long Does Alimony Last?

Accomplished Scottsdale divorce lawyers handle spousal maintenance issues

Before going through a divorce, people might have misperceptions about alimony that are based on how the subject is often portrayed in movies and on television. In actuality, the payments usually are not permanent and may be required only for a short time. If you’re wondering how long alimony lasts in Arizona, the attorneys at Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. can discuss the factors considered by Arizona judges and explain how the law might be applied in your case.

Factors used in calculating alimony duration in Arizona

A key element in alimony calculation is the duration of the marriage. The longer one spouse depended on their partner’s outside income, the longer it might take for them to restore their earning potential. However, many other factors are also considered, including the respective parties’ age and health and their child-care responsibilities. The spouses may also opt for a lump-sum or accelerated distribution that shortens the duration of alimony obligations.

Types of alimony in Arizona

Typically, post-divorce spousal maintenance is designed to be rehabilitative. This means it should last only as long as it takes for someone who relied on their spouse’s income to gain the skills and experience needed to support themselves. Rehabilitative alimony might last a few years while the recipient returns to school or trains in a new field. However, there might be a situation where a disability or some other circumstance makes it impossible for the recipient to earn a suitable income. In these cases, a court can award what is known as permanent spousal maintenance. “Open-ended” alimony might be a better description, because there are ways that the payment obligation can end.

Marital agreements and alimony

A valid Arizona prenuptial agreement can set forth the duration of alimony payments or eliminate them completely. For many prospective spouses, this is a key reason to create such a contract. However, if you believe that you were misled into signing a prenuptial agreement or that the terms of your agreement are so unconscionable that the court should refuse to enforce it, our Scottsdale alimony lawyers can examine the situation and advise you on how to protect your interests.

Factors that may end alimony or spousal support

Recipient who remarry or cohabit with a new romantic partner give up their right to collect alimony. The death of either spouse will terminate spousal support payments. However, a divorce order might include a provision that requires the paying ex-spouse to purchase a life insurance policy naming their former wife or husband as the beneficiary.

Modifications that can affect how long alimony will last

Spousal maintenance can be modified if circumstances change and the paying party is unable to abide by the existing order. For example, if an accident or illness prevents someone from working, the court can cut short the timeframe during which they must provide alimony. Likewise, the payer’s involuntary job loss might compel a judge to change the spousal maintenance end date.

Contact an Arizona attorney to discuss your alimony issue in a free consultation

Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. represents Arizona clients in alimony matters during the divorce process and after the marriage is dissolved. You can call 602-789-3497 or contact us online to make an appointment for a free initial consultation at our office on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale.

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