Long after a divorce, its effects can still linger in many Arizona residents' lives. Permanent alimony has been abused by some but has been absolutely necessary for many. Alimony has been the subject of serious debate recently. Earlier this month Florida nearly passed a law that abolishes permanent alimony, but the bill was vetoed at the last minute by the governor. Had the law passed, Florida would have joined four other states that have already banned permanent alimony. Many Arizona residents may be wondering if Arizona should join them.
Alimony, also called spousal maintenance or spousal support, is not awarded in all divorces. It is typically ordered when there is a large disparity in income between spouses, or when one spouse has given up their career in order to raise children. In Arizona, most family law judges determine alimony using guidelines provided by the state. These guidelines include a number of factors, such as the duration of the marriage, the couple's standard of living during the marriage, and each spouse's employment history, among others. Often courts can depart from these guidelines depending on the situation.