One of the first questions you may think about if you are getting a divorce in Arizona is how much spousal support you owe or how much you are entitled to.
Generally, there is no definitive formula that will precisely determine how much spousal support is owed. The amounts will differ for different people depending upon a wide range of factors.
Here is a look at some common factors a court will consider when calculating spousal support owed:
- Earning capacity. If one person has a significantly lower earning capacity, courts want to know. That could make it difficult for the parties to divide their assets equally and may warrant spousal support.
- Child-rearing responsibilities. If one spouse will be the primary caregiver of young children, that will mean lowering earning potential in the future as well. Child support helps cover children's expenses, but spousal support can help make up for the lost income for a parent who stays at home or works part time.
- Standard of living. Courts want to know how you live now and how long you've lived that way. If you're comfortably middle class before the divorce, the court's goal is to make sure both people can stay that way after the divorce.
- Earning potential. If, the party with a lower earning capacity can quickly improve that situation, the need for spousal support is lowered. In that case, the court may significantly limit the amount of time spousal support is available, or get rid of it altogether.
- Intangible contributions. If income inequality is due to one spouse providing child care, then courts are much more likely to order spousal support for a while so that other spouse can catch up career-wise. The same is true if that spouse supported the other while gaining education or job training for a career.