Spousal Retirement After Divorce in Arizona

By Heather Frances J.D.

Arizona courts typically base alimony and child support awards on the divorcing spouses’ financial situations at the time of the divorce, but when circumstances change, a modification of alimony or child support may be appropriate. A spouse’s retirement may cause enough financial change for an Arizona court to issue a modification of his alimony or support obligations.

Arizona courts typically base alimony and child support awards on the divorcing spouses’ financial situations at the time of the divorce, but when circumstances change, a modification of alimony or child support may be appropriate. A spouse’s retirement may cause enough financial change for an Arizona court to issue a modification of his alimony or support obligations.

Types of Alimony

Arizona judges can award several types of alimony, called spousal maintenance in Arizona. The effect of a spouse’s retirement varies depending on whether the maintenance was awarded for a limited duration or long term. For example, if a spouse receives rehabilitative spousal maintenance, which is intended to help a spouse obtain education or training to improve her earning potential, the paying spouse’s retirement might have little effect, particularly if he retires toward the end of the support term. However, if the court awarded permanent maintenance, the paying spouse’s retirement may have an impact if it significantly changes his income level.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More

Alimony Modification

Arizona courts can modify spousal maintenance for a “substantial and continuing” change of circumstances, such as significant income changes or changes in an ex-spouse’s ability to work. Retirement is a continuing circumstance and could be a substantial change, depending on the situation. However, Arizona spouses can agree at the time of their divorce to make their spousal maintenance arrangements ineligible for modification. If both spouses agree to this, the court cannot later modify maintenance, even if there has been a substantial and continuing change of circumstances.

Child Support

Arizona courts can modify child support based on the retired ex-spouse’s changed income. Arizona uses the “income shares” model of child support calculation, which allocates a child’s support costs between the parents based on each parent’s share of their combined incomes. For example, if a noncustodial parent earns 55 percent of the parents’ combined incomes, he must pay 55 percent of the child’s support in an amount determined by Arizona’s guidelines. Thus, if retirement changes the paying parent’s share of the combined parental income, child support may change.

Avoiding Obligations

Courts rarely approve of a parent’s efforts to reduce his income specifically to avoid or eliminate his child support or spousal maintenance obligations. If the court feels a parent is retiring or taking other voluntary actions to reduce his support obligations, the court can impute income to that parent; in other words, attribute income to the paying parent that he doesn’t actually earn. However, if the paying parent’s actions are reasonable, such as retirement under normal circumstances, the court may not treat the retirement as an attempt to avoid support obligations.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help. Learn More
Divorce Alimony Laws Defined by New York State

References

Related articles

Is a Divorce Decree a Modification of a Legal Separation As Far As Child Support Goes?

State laws vary on how soon after separation a couple can divorce, but sometimes spouses need to resolve issues of child support before a court can legally enter a divorce decree. During separation, you can decide financial, parenting and property issues in a separation agreement or through court. Whether or not child support changes with the entry of a divorce decree, however, depends upon your state's child support laws.

Questions About Child Support in South Carolina

When parents divorce, determining child support can feel like solving a math problem. South Carolina, like other states, uses a specific formula for calculating the amount that the parent with physical custody of the child, known as the custodial parent, should receive. The other parent, referred to as the non-custodial parent, may then request certain adjustments to the base figure. Further, either parent may pursue a modification of an existing order if the circumstances change after a child support order is issued.

Modified Judgment of Divorce in Michigan

When Michigan courts make decisions in a divorce case, they base those decisions on the facts known at the time of the divorce hearings. However, circumstances may change after the court issues its divorce decree, making the decree outdated, so Michigan law allows courts to modify certain aspects of a divorce decree, including child support, spousal support, child custody and parenting time.

Get Divorced Online

Related articles

How Can Alimony Be Canceled or Modified in California?

Since divorce can be seen as a fresh start to a new life, it is no surprise that personal relationships and finances ...

How to Figure Out Alimony Owed in the State of Ohio

Divorce can cause financial hardship to either spouse, particularly when one party earns significantly less than the ...

Post Judgment Divorce Issues in New Jersey

Generally speaking, a final divorce decree is intended to be just that -- final. However, significant issues can arise ...

Missouri Alimony Maintenance Laws

Alimony, called spousal maintenance in Missouri, is financial support provided by one spouse to another after a divorce ...

Browse by category