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Financial Consequences of Short-Term Marriage and Divorce

In most states, a short-term marriage is a length of approximately 1 to 5 years. If either spouse seeks a divorce after a short-term marriage, it is important to be aware of the financial agreements that do or do not apply to both parties involved.

Alimony, also called spousal support/maintenance, is financial support from one spouse to another based upon the financial situation of the supported spouse at the time of the divorce proceedings. Alimony awarded in a divorce decree can be temporary, assigned for a specific time length, or permanent.

In short-term marriages, the court rarely awards alimony, especially if the spouse that is requesting the divorce is employed or employable. Those involved in a short-term marriage might find themselves better off without a prenuptial agreement. Alimony is generally only granted in short-term marriages if agreed upon by the parties through a prenuptial agreement or some other financial agreement that states a right to maintenance after a divorce. In short-term marriages, each spouse will generally yield a relatively small award of maintenance, if it is given at all.

There is also a question of equitable distribution of marital property. People in short-term marriages usually have less time to acquire a significant amount of property. Marital property is defined as all property acquired by either spouse during the course of a marriage, even if the property is not listed in both names. Some exceptions include a property acquired by gift or inheritance, property acquired before the marriage, property acquired after a judgment of legal separation, or property excluded by an agreement between both parties.

In both long-term and short-term marriages, equitable distribution involves determining what is fair and just for both parties. In a short-term marriage, however, since less property is usually acquired in the short amount of time, the court will consider property value differences in evaluating division of property. This can include property ranging from personal items to real estate.

To determine how much property you and your spouse will be entitled to after ending a short-term marriage, it is important to speak to a Phoenix divorce lawyer about your legal options. Contact an experienced family law attorney at The Sampair Group today for a free consultation.

An Overview Of Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance also known in some states as alimony, allows for one of the parties in a divorce to receive payments, in order to get back on their feet financially after the marriage ends. The award can be made on behalf of either spouse, but is most commonly thought of as something requested by wives. Regardless of which party seeks support, it is important that assets and liabilities be divided equitably during the divorce process. A skilled family law attorney will take a look at your case, and help make sure you get what you need in order for a fresh start.

Spousal maintenance is determined by looking at certain factors set forth in the statute, some of which include:

  • Does the spouse seeking maintenance lack adequate resources or property to care for themselves financially?
  • What was the standard of living during the marriage, to which the spouse seeking support has become accustomed?
  • What are the chances, and how long will it take, for the spouse in need to get the education needed to find employment?
  • The length of the marriage.
  • The income of each party.

The Court will also consider factors that are unique to your case. The award may be for a certain amount, and for a certain timeframe. The thing to remember is that the final award should fit the facts of the case. This is true whether you are the recipient, or the one making payment. We have helped people on both sides of this equation, and work for results that are fair. Call our office today for more information.

For more information about spousal support, call us today. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment.

5 Things to Ask for in Your Divorce

It can be difficult to know what you are entitled to in the financial settlement of your divorce. Your attorney can help you understand the law, but in general, the more you ask for, the more you will get. Divorce is a negotiation. You need to ask for things you don’t absolutely have to have so that you can give them up as part of the negotiations. Here are some assets to add to your divorce settlement wish list.

  1. Retirement accounts. Whether these accounts are in your name or your spouse’s they are subject to division in your divorce. Retirement accounts have great value because of their tax implications. Many people fail to think about and plan for retirement as they are going through their divorce, placing them in a tough spot once it is time to retire.
  2. The house. This may be the biggest asset in your marriage. Asking for the house puts it into play and guarantees you a piece of its value if that is what you really want.
  3. Your half of intangible assets. These include things that you might not necessarily think to include: frequent flyer miles, loyalty program points, copyrights or patents owned by your spouse, as well as items like season’s tickets.
  4. Children’s financial accounts. Asking to be the parent in control of these accounts (bank accounts, investments, and college saving plans) may help you feel your children’s interests are protected.
  5. 5. Jewelry and collectibles. These items are likely to appreciate and provide long-term value.

It is essential that you get the best possible advice as you make decisions in your divorce.  Call the Sampair Group for help in Mesa, Glendale, and Phoenix today to discuss your case with one of our attorneys.

5 Things to Ask for in Your Divorce

It can be difficult to know what you are entitled to in the financial settlement of your divorce. Your attorney can help you understand the law, but in general, the more you ask for, the more you will get. Divorce is a negotiation. You need to ask for things you don’t absolutely have to have so that you can give them up as part of the negotiations. Here are some assets to add to your divorce settlement wish list.
Retirement accounts. Whether these accounts are in your name or your spouse’s they are subject to division in your divorce. Retirement accounts have great value because of their tax implications. Many people fail to think about and plan for retirement as they are going through their divorce, placing them in a tough spot once it is time to retire.
The house. This may be the biggest asset in your marriage. Asking for the house puts it into play and guarantees you a piece of its value if that is what you really want.
Your half of intangible assets. These include things that you might not necessarily think to include: frequent flyer miles, loyalty program points, copyrights or patents owned by your spouse, as well as items like season’s tickets.
Children’s financial accounts. Asking to be the parent in control of these accounts (bank accounts, investments, and college saving plans) may help you feel your children’s interests are protected.
Jewelry and collectibles. These items are likely to appreciate and provide long-term value.
It is essential that you get the best possible advice as you make decisions in your divorce.

Call the Sampair Group for help in Mesa, Glendale, and Phoenix today to discuss your case with one of our attorneys.

Who Gets Spousal Maintenance in Arizona?

alimony2Spousal maintenance (known also as alimony) is payments to a spouse or former spouse to help him or her maintain an adequate standard of living during and after a divorce until such time as that spouse can provide for his/her own reasonable needs. In Arizona, a spouse may be eligible to receive spousal maintenance if any of the following apply:

  • He or she does not have enough property (such as cash or assets) and is not receiving enough property in the divorce to reasonably be able to support him or herself.
  • The spouse is unable to get a job, or a job that pays enough, in order to be financially self-sufficient.
  • The spouse is the legal custodian of a child who is young or has special needs so that working outside the home is not appropriate.
  • He or she helped the wealthier spouse obtain educational opportunities or build a professional practice or business. For example, if the wife supported the family so the husband could get a medical degree or the husband supported the family while the wife opened a law practice, the spouse who supported the family could be entitled to maintenance.
  • The couple has been married a long time and the spouse seeking maintenance is at an age or has a disability where finding a job that will allow him or her to be self-supporting is very difficult or impossible.

Spousal maintenance can be set as a temporary order that lasts only during the court proceedings, for a specific period of time after the divorce or separation is finalized, or can be established to last for an indefinite period of time. In any event if the spouse receiving spousal maintenance dies or remarries, the spousal maintenance ceases by operation of law.

There is no specific rule as to how long you must be married to receive maintenance, but in general, the longer the marriage, the higher the likelihood of an award if the spouse meets any of the foregoing criteria.

The court considers a variety of factors when deciding an amount to set for maintenance. Some of the factors include the length of marriage, work history of both parties, the lifestyle acquired during the marriage and other factors.

If you are seeking maintenance in Arizona or think you might have to pay it, make an appointment now with the Sampair Group. We’re here to protect your financial interests throughout your divorce.

Common Reasons for Spousal Maintenance Modification

In the state of Arizona, spousal support (also called alimony or spousal maintenance) can be modified unless the parties have agreed otherwise. In the initial divorce settlement, divorcing spouses can agree in their divorce decree that they can or cannot legally ask the court to modify their alimony agreement.

If your divorce decree allows for modification of spousal maintenance, you may be able to lower payments, increase payments, or have them terminated altogether. There are many common reasons that either party might request a modification to their alimony.

If two former spouses have come to an agreement that they can modify the terms of an alimony agreement, it can be done without the courts approval. However, if one spouse later does not want to follow the agreement, issues may arise. When you come to an agreement without court approval, this means you cannot later use the court to enforce any new agreements. Because of this, The Glendale divorce lawyers at The Sampair Group suggest that you have your initial agreement signed by a judge for your legal protection.

If your original divorce agreement includes a cost of living clause, then spousal support/alimony will increase at a rate that is equal to a spouse’s annual cost of living. Having this clause minimizes the need to modify your alimony agreement later down the road.

Including an escalator clause in a spousal support agreement means that the recipient of support payments will receive an automatic share of any increase in the income of their former spouse. These payments are pre-determined and automatic.

Temporary hardships, such as illness or loss of employment can be reasons for temporary modification of spousal support. If the spouse that is receiving the alimony payments loses their job or becomes ill, the court may temporarily increase the amount they receive. If the payor loses a job or becomes ill, the court may also temporarily decrease their payments to their former spouse. The court determines a set period of lower payments, and they will revert back to the previous amount once that period is over.

There are other circumstances that could result in modification of a spousal support order. This could be for many reasons including:
· Increase in Income
· Change in Law
· Cohabitation – if an ex-spouse cohabitates with another person
· Cost of Living Increase
· Decreased Need for Support – the court may decrease or terminate payment obligations
· Disability
· Financial Emergency
· New Support Obligation – if the payor remarries and has a child, the court may reduce the amount they are paying for spousal support. This does not apply to an ex-spouse who voluntarily takes on the responsibility of supporting stepchildren

In any case of modifying or requesting to modify your divorce decree for spousal maintenance, it is important to have legal representation at all times during the process. Contact a Glendale divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group today. Visit www.sampair.com for a free consultation.

Types of Spousal Support

Alimony, also called spousal support/maintenance, is financial support from one spouse to another based upon the financial situation of the supported spouse at the time of the divorce proceedings. There are four main types of alimony that can be awarded.

Temporary Spousal Support/Alimony
Temporary spousal support is given when the parties are separated and the divorce is not yet final. This type of support is provided so that the spouse can maintain his/her lifestyle between the time of separation and divorce. It is necessary due to the length of time it could take before the final divorce decree is issues and a permanent alimony award is given. It is up to the discretion of the court as to whether an award of temporary alimony is warranted.

Rehabilitative Spousal Support/Alimony (Short-Term Support)
Rehabilitative spousal support is award for a short period and is used to support the spouse during a period of retraining or re-education for re-entry into an education or job experience, enabling them to become more self-sufficient. This kind of spousal support is normally set for a fixed period, and the parties can agree to a time line. If they cannot agree on one, the court will mandate one for them. If you are the one receiving the rehabilitative support, you want to be sure that your final divorce decree states that the need for spousal support is subject to later review, which allows the courts to look at the facts of a case and determine if the support should be continued, discontinued, or modified.
The courts are more compelled to award this type of alimony when a spouse seeking it has potential for establishing a viable career in the near future.

Permanent Spousal Support/Alimony (Long-Term Support)
After a long marriage, generally longer than 10 years, permanent support may be granted if the judge concludes that the dependent spouse will most likely not go back into the workforce and will need indefinite support. Permanent may end if either the recipient or payor dies, or if the recipient remarries. In some states, it ends if the recipient begins living with another person in a marriage-like relationship where the couple provides mutual support and shares financial responsibilities.
Permanent alimony becomes effective on the day of the final dissolution of the marriage. It can come in various forms:
– Periodic payments (monthly)
– Lump sum payments
– Annuity payments
– Trust payments
– In-kind payments (i.e. making direct payments for services)

Reimbursement Spousal Support
This is the only type of spousal support that is not fully based on financial need. It is instead a way to compensate a spouse who had sacrificed education, training or career advancement during the marriage by taking any job that would support the family, while the other spouse obtained a more profitable career. Reimbursement support ends whenever the agreement or court order says it does. The termination of this type of spousal support is generally not tied to an event such as the supported spouse finding work or remarrying.

If you are in the middle of divorce litigation and need guidance for spousal support, contact an experienced Glendale divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group today.