I Am Getting Divorced, I Paid All The Bills During The Marriage. Is My Spouse Entitled To Anything?
Do I Need To Continue Financially Supporting My Spouse During a Divorce?
Even when the spark in a romantic relationship has been dead for years, some spouses put off getting divorced due to financial concerns. And if your divorce is less than amicable, you may be wondering if you need to continue financially supporting your spouse during a divorce if you have done so during the marriage. A divorce can be expensive during the process, and if the divorce orders don’t turn out in your favor, it will continue being expensive for years to come. Before signing anything, you need to review your case with a Mesa experienced family law attorney. For your free consultation, call our Arizona family law firm at 480-833-8000.
Divorce Basics In Arizona
There are four major concerns that must be addressed to finalize a divorce in Arizona. Property division is an issue in almost every divorce, and it is still common for one spouse to be ordered to pay support to the other after the divorce, for some duration of time. Child custody and child support only come into play if the couple shares one or more child under the age of 18.
To file divorce in Arizona, one spouse must have lived in Arizona (or been stationed in Arizona, if a member of the U.S. military) for at least 90 continuous days. You can find more information about this in A.R.S. § 25-312. There are additional requirements that the spouses must meet to obtain a divorce if they are in a covenant marriage. However, a child must reside in the state for at least 6 months before Arizona can have jurisdiction over child support and child custody matters. Every divorce in Arizona has a mandatory 60-day waiting period before it can be finalized.
Arizona is a community property state. This is set forth by A.R.S. § 25-211. This means that everything acquired during the marriage, including assets and debts, will be split equally between the spouses should they ever divorce. That’s right- if you buy a house during the marriage, and pay it with your salary alone, it still belongs to both spouses equally, regardless of whose name is on the loan or deed. Only property and debts acquired before the marriage or through inheritance, gift, or devise will be a spouse’s own separate property. If you and your spouse can’t come to a divorce agreement out of court, the judge will try their best to split your marital estate evenly. For more information about negotiating a divorce settlement agreement, call to speak with one of our experienced Phoenix divorce lawyers at 480-833-8000.
Paying All The Bills During a Marriage
Even with the cost of living what it is these days, it isn’t uncommon for one spouse to not work outside the home in order to take care of the house, children, or pets. If you’re the family’s primary breadwinner, you probably shouldn’t go removing your spouse from your credit cards and other accounts the moment you find out you’re getting divorced. If you stop making payments on shared credit accounts or financed assets like vehicles or your house, it will only tank your credit and potentially get the asset repossessed by your lender. The same goes for failing to pay utility bills that are in your name. But you aren’t required to continue to pay household expenses until there is a court order telling you to do so. However, if you share minor children with your spouse, you may want to consider paying for household expenses in the meantime so they don’t experience additional unnecessary stress due to their parents’ divorce.
While Divorcing, Who Pays The Bills?
It can be confusing to figure out who should be paying what during the divorce process, especially if one spouse has moved out of the marital home. If you and your spouse can’t come to an informal agreement about it, you might need to continue paying on bills in your name, even if you are no longer in the household using them, just to avoid the negative credit repercussions. However, you can also request that the judge reimburse you for household expenses paid during a divorce. This goes for if one spouse has spent more than their fair share on a joint credit or debit card. You might be compensated in how many marital assets you receive, or how much community debt you are ordered to pay, during property division. If one spouse is primarily caring for the children during the divorce, this will also weigh heavily on the judge’s considerations. Contact our family law firm to discuss your specific situation at 480-833-8000.
Factors That Determine Spousal Support
In Arizona, there are a number of factors the judge will consider when determining whether to order spousal support, also known as spousal maintenance or alimony. You can find them in A.R.S. § 25-319. They include:
- Whether, after property division, the spouse seeking maintenance lacks sufficient property to provide for their own reasonable needs;
- If the spouse seeking maintenance made significant contributions to the other spouse’s education, vocational training, etc.;
- On the reverse, if the spouse seeking support reduced their spouse’s earning capacity in any way;
- The standard of living during the marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The spouses’ comparative financial resources and earning capabilities; and
- The age, employment history, health, etc., of each spouse.
What Is Temporary Spousal Support?
If you have been the main financial support in your household throughout the marriage, you shouldn’t be surprised if your spouse requests temporary spousal support during the divorce. This hearing is typically held within 30-60 days of a request, unless your spouse requests expedited service due to emergency circumstances. Being at risk of homelessness qualifies as emergency circumstances for these purposes. Your spouse can also request emergency temporary child support and child custody orders, if necessary. You can find the Arizona template for temporary divorce orders here.
Your Top Choice For Affordable Arizona Family Lawyers With Relevant Experience
Without adequate legal counsel during a divorce, you could end up paying household expenses during the divorce, spousal maintenance for several years, and you could even end up responsible for your spouse’s legal fees. Your spouse might hire an aggressive attorney who is good at convincing the judge that your spouse needs more in the divorce. So representing yourself in a divorce may save you a little bit of money up front, but could backfire and actually cost you way more in the long term. Instead, hire the experienced professionals at My AZ Lawyers to represent you in your divorce case. We can help with each step of the divorce process, whether it’s temporary orders, settlement negotiation, or even taking your case to trial. Our experience means efficiency that translates into lower hourly rates for you. We also offer monthly payment plan options with low costs to get started. This all starts with your 100% free initial consultation. Get to know the team that will be working on your case, get your Arizona divorce questions answered, and receive an affordable quote for legal representation. Fill out our online form or call 480-833-8000 to get started today.
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